Updated 04/10/22

Gibson Mastertone RB-3 Conversion 8279-8




This banjo began as a 1926 ball bearing archtop TB-3 with two piece flange. The holes in the top of the rim that held the washers, springs and ball bearings were plugged with maple dowel. The outside of the lower part of the rim was turned to fit the early "fat boy" one piece flange, and the wood stained and finished to match the existing finish. The top of the rim was turned to fit the Price Classic 20 hole flat tone ring. The tailpiece is a prewar Presto punched for five string use by Jerry Keys. The remaining hardware is consistent in appearance and function with early one piece flange RB-3 banjos.


The neck is made as closely as possible to faithfully reproduce the prewar construction methods and materials. The center section of the peg head is narrower than the heel where it joins the tension hoop, as was done on the original prewar five string necks. Many modern makers simply use a two inch thick board to which are added strips of wood to gain the 3 inch width, which results in four small stubs when viewed from the rear. Original five string necks had pegheads which appear identical to those on tenor or plectrum banjos (see photos of 9528- examples on Greg Earnest's web site). The fingerboard is made from Brazilian rosewood bought from the C. F. Martin company in the late 1960's.


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© Gary H. Price
P O Box 1115
Jones OK 73049
405 659-1959