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Jun 14, 2024 - 7:59:21 PM
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15747 posts since 10/30/2008

My newly acquired 1967 Gibson RB 500 is now posted on Greg Earnest's fine website.

Since I sent Greg the photos he's done some research in Gibson catalogs of the day and it seems the "custom" stain on this banjo was called Burnt Sienna by Gibson. I called it "Light Tobacco" like on a few of the old Lloyd Loar mandolins. So I stand corrected.

It's a nice banjo.

Jun 15, 2024 - 4:20:13 AM

5470 posts since 11/20/2004

Nice find! Thanks for sharing.

Jun 15, 2024 - 7:43:28 AM
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3634 posts since 12/31/2005

Interesting that this would have been considered less desirable than those gaudy 800's.

Jun 15, 2024 - 8:16:27 AM
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5827 posts since 5/29/2011

Originally posted by Brian Murphy

Interesting that this would have been considered less desirable than those gaudy 800's.

In it's day the RB150 was less desirable than the RB250. Look how times have changed.

Jun 15, 2024 - 9:33:09 AM
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15407 posts since 6/2/2008

Great find.

Would love to see a photo of the unusual exposed band of wood on the rim and the jog-cut heel that accommodates it.

Jun 15, 2024 - 10:19:47 AM



1356 posts since 5/19/2007

Wow. I like the looks of this one a lot better than the RB-800s. Very cool how the binding now almost matches the gold plate.

Jun 15, 2024 - 1:54:51 PM
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15747 posts since 10/30/2008

Ken there is a photo on Earnest's web site attempting to show that jog. It's poorly lit and tough to visualize what youre looking at. Taken up close from the 5th string side of the neck, looking right into the joint area with flange at bottom, rim, then tone ring above it.

The key is the rim fits the top of the flange perfectly in the usual way. Then where the tone ring skirt touches the rim, the O.D. of the skirt is NOT matching the O.D. of the rim beneath it. The rim sticks out maybe 0.10" further than the skirt. One might mark that down to mistaken turning of the rim perhaps, EXCEPT the the heel cut has the exact same "jog" cut into it! The heel fits the rim perfectly and then has a little "extra" length sticking out just above to fit flush to the slightly smaller O.D. of the tone ring skirt.

Another way of looking at it might be to think the tone ring and flange are "squeezing" the rim so much that rim wood swelled out in that little area between flange and skirt. Except the neck heel is cut to fit so well.

Whatever it is, the combined neck heel and pot are purposely made to match up perfectly.

It's a puzzlement.

Jun 15, 2024 - 7:15:57 PM

697 posts since 11/12/2004

Hi Dick,
I have a 1967 RB-800 that has a finish very very close to yours. Perhaps a tad darker/browner and tobacco-ey in color.
Same 1 piece flange and 3-ply brown rim that you have. And it has a full weight gold tone ring. It's my favorite sounding post-war maple Gibson thus far and that includes 2 Rich era Granadas.
You've got a beauty there.

Jun 16, 2024 - 5:06:31 AM
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5470 posts since 11/20/2004

This Pic shows the angled rim band extending beyond the ring skirt. Over the years, I have seen straight cut and beveled sides. The bevel looks to create somewhat of wedge fit.

Jun 16, 2024 - 5:44:20 AM
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2361 posts since 5/19/2018

Beautiful instrument. A RB-500 may be the last banjo I have on my bucket list of banjos to acquire before I start the opposite process of disposition….except I really want to get one of those bizarre Yellow and Fire Engine Red ones to match my similar vintage Yellow and Fire Engine Red Gibson Dove.

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