“So that anyone may own a genuine Gibson regular banjo, we have created this fine model for only $27.50”, said the 1937 Gibson catalog of the RB-00. Introduced circa 1935 and in production through World War II, style 00 was the least expensive banjo bearing the Gibson name in the 1930s and early 1940s. A thinner maple rim, no tone ring, lighter-gauge hardware, plain dot inlays in an unbound fingerboard, and a silkscreened, rather than mother-of-pearl, peghead logo allowed Gibson to produce this model at an extremely low price while retaining the adjustable truss rod which separated Gibson-brand instruments from the company’s budget-brand offerings.
#EG-4049 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) was shipped on September 8, 1939 to Reznick’s Music and Jewelry of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; this shipment also included RB-00 #EG-4051 and RB-00 #EG-4056. This banjo remains in excellent, unaltered condition including its #121 chipboard case.
Photos courtesy of Harold Terry.