Gibson MB-0 #8297-43

Prewar Gibson literature promised that the mandolin-banjo combined “a certain portion of the mandolin sweetness with brilliancy, volume and tone quality of the banjo into one marvelous instrument.”  Gibson had heavily promoted mandolin orchestras in its earlier years, and with the increased popularity of banjo ensembles in the 1920s the mandolin-banjo was touted as providing an essential “sweet soprano voice in the banjo band.”

#8297-43 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) is a style 0 mandolin-banjo dating to 1926.  The rim is 10 1/2″ in diameter rather than the standard 11″ Gibson dimension; although the dot fingerboard inlays and silkscreened “The Gibson” peghead logo are also seen on style 1 mandolin-banjos of the period, the MB-0 is distinguished by its lack of a resonator.

Photos courtesy of Ryan Deasy.