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.
Like many style 11 banjos, this example in not marked with a factory order number or serial number. The rim thickness of approximately .610" to .620" below the flange indicates that this banjo likely dates to the earlier period of style 11 production; two holes drilled through the rim may have accommodated wiring for the electrical lights which many players used in the calfskin-head era both to keep the head dry and tight and to enhance visual appeal while performing. In contrast to the Grover "first model" tailpiece usually seen on style 11 banjos, this example features the more expensive Grover Presto type; the banjo remains in its original well-worn #511 case by Geib and Schaefer. This instrument was featured for many years in performances by King Henry and the Showmen, popular entertainers in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania.
banjo is now for sale; please
contact me for more information.