Gibson TB-11 # no number
"This model is alive with flash and color and yet is not gaudy", proclaimed Gibson's Catalog X of 1936 in describing the TB-11. Introduced in 1931, style 11 used pearloid, blue paint, and silkscreened designs to dress up what was one of the company's less-expensive banjo offerings. Selling for $50, half the price of the least expensive Mastertone model, the style 11 proved to be quite popular and remained in production through the early 1940s. Besides lending "color" and "flash", the pearloid and paint provided Gibson with a way to use cosmetically flawed wood which might not have been suitable for more expensive models.
banjos, this example in not marked with a
factory order number or
it features a rarely-seen variant of the resonator silkscreening, with the
floral design being oriented as an "x" rather than a cross. This banjo was
played for many years in a Dixieland band at
Blanche's Courtyard restaurant on
St. Simons Island,
Georgia. Years of exposure to the humid coastal Georgia environment
led to some deterioration of the nickel plating and cracking of the pearloid
veneers, but the banjo remains in solid structural condition and ready for many
more years of music-making.