In the early years of Gibson banjos, the mandolin banjo was extremely popular. This 1926 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) style 3 instrument shares the nickel-plated hardware and diamonds and squares inlays of the TB-3, but differs somewhat from its more conventional counterpart in that it has a diamond-hole flange with bracket shoes and a “The Gibson” peghead inlay as seen on Gibson mandolins from the period. The tone ring is a simple tubular design similar to the ball bearing tone ring; the wood is red-stained maple. Although style 3 was a member of the Mastertone line, this MB-3 bears the same “The Gibson” label found on non-Mastertones.
Photos courtesy of Peter Fluck.