Updated 04/11/22

Gibson Mastertone RB-3 Conversion 9691-18

This banjo was originally a four screw TB-1, with 50 ounce 20 hole flat head tone ring and small Gibson decal. The tone ring is a perfect reproduction of the ring borrowed from the 116-5 RB-3, an original five string flathead. The tailpiece is a prewar Presto punched for five string use by Jerry Keys. The remaining hardware is original as far as I know, and the style 1 banjos used the exact same nickel plated hardware as the style 3's.
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
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Jones OK 73049
405 659-1959