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.”
#9848-22 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) is a style 1 mandolin-banjo dating to 1931. Although style 1 banjos in tenor, five-string, and plectrum neck configurations had by this time switched to a one-piece-flange design, this lot of MB-1s retained the older, 1920s-style “bracket-shoe” construction including a flange plate with hexagonal holes and a rim measuring ten and one-half inches in diameter rather than the full-size eleven-inch rim common to most Gibson banjos of the period. The peghead’s silver silkscreened “The Gibson” logo and dot fingerboard inlays are also consistent with style 1 banjos of the 1920s as opposed to the more commonly-seen 1930s style 1 fleur-de-lis pattern. #9848-22 remains in excellent original condition with its #385 case by Geib and Schaefer.
Photos courtesy of an anonymous collector.