“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.
#FG-2588 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) was shipped on April 8, 1940 to Payne’s for Music, identified by researcher Joe Spann as being located in Greenville, South Carolina. Gibson shipping ledgers indicate that the banjo was shipped to Payne’s once more on April 19, 1940 with the notation “sent to us by mistake”. #FG-2588 features Kluson tuners with Catalin buttons as frequently seen on lower- to mid-grade Gibson banjos of the period.
Photos courtesy of an anonymous collector.