Gibson PB-3 Mastertone #8318-15

By 1926 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) the lowest-priced Gibson Mastertone model, style 3, featured a reddish-stained maple neck and resonator, single white binding on the fingerboard and and back edge of the resonator, two-piece flange, nickel plating, Presto tailpiece, fiddle-shaped peghead, diamonds and squares inlay, and Brazilian rosewood fingerboard.  The tone ring was the ball-bearing type introduced the previous year, but by now the tone ring skirt had lost the holes seen on earlier examples.

While the tenor was by far the most popular neck configuration offered during the prewar period, the plectrum banjo, seen here, offered an alternative voicing to the four-string player.  It featured the long neck and tuning of the five-string or “regular” banjo, but without the peculiar, short fifth string to get in the way of chord-melody playing.  This example is in excellent original condition including its #522 case by Geib and Schaefer.

Photos courtesy of an anonymous collector.