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Jun 25, 2024 - 8:38:04 AM
3634 posts since 12/31/2005

Jun 25, 2024 - 8:47:32 AM
like this

1602 posts since 7/12/2004

Hearts and Flowers headstock, Bella Voce fingerboard. Probably a custom order, or Gibson had an extra fingerboard lying around and nobody had ordered a BV.

Bella Voce was a top-of-the-line, gold plated, engraved banjo with painted carvings on the resonator and neck heel. It had inlaid wood headstock and this unique fingerboard pattern, unlike the other two banjos built at that level, the Florentine and All American, which used pearloid plastic overlays with stenciled designs on the fingerboard. The Florentine had a pearloid headstock with inlaid rhinestones, while the All American had a carved and painted American eagle on the peghead. The Bella Voce had a more conventional looking inlaid wood pattern on the head that was basically an extension of the fingerboard pattern. Some people thought it looked like the face of a tiger or lion.

You can find pictures of the Bella Voce on collector sites like Banjophiles, but that's what these pictures show. It's a little step up for the Granada, which was the cheapest gold-plated Gibson of the era, and maybe the original owner just wanted to make his (hers?) a little special. Or, as we've seen lots of times, Gibson may have just wanted to get rid of some unused parts that were knocking around the factory.

Jun 25, 2024 - 11:12:30 AM

3634 posts since 12/31/2005


Jun 30, 2024 - 4:48:08 PM

15747 posts since 10/30/2008

That banjo is already sold, BTW.

Gibson used to mix up peghead and fingerboard patterns a lot. I guess depending on what they had on hand, ESPECIALLY for banjos sent in for new frets -- it was easier to just put on a new fingerboard.

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