Gibson MB-11 #DA-5041, the “E.W. Andersen”

The mandolin-banjo reached its peak of popularity in the 1920s, but as late as 1942 the Gibson catalog was proclaiming this odd hybrid “a necessity in every banjo band for lead or obbligato–ideal for solo playing”.  Style 11, introduced in 1931, was a lower-end, non-Mastertone model which, according to one Gibson catalog, offered banjoists “a touch of color and flash” with its pearloid veneers, stenciled “inlays”, and blue finish.  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.

The serial number #DA-5041 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) is stamped on the back of the peghead; Gibson shipping ledgers indicate the shipment of an “MB-11 neck only” with this serial number to the New York Band Instrument Company on March 31, 1939.  The MB-11 on which this replacement neck was installed was likely the one shipped to New York Band on June 18, 1937 in a #122 case by Geib.

The original owner of this MB-11 was E.W. Andersen.

Photos courtesy of an anonymous owner.