Gibson RB-1 #8652-5

Here’s a nice example of a lower-end Gibson five-string banjo dating to circa 1927 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers).  The style 1 of this period featured a bracket shoe construction and a flange with diamond-shaped openings.  Style 1 was a non-Mastertone model and therefore had no true tone ring–only a small-diameter brass hoop on top of the rim.  Despite the lack of a heavy tone ring, the owner reports that this banjo is surprisingly loud.  The hardware is nickel-plated and the wood is dark-stained maple.  The inlay is a simple dot pattern and the only peghead ornamentation is a silkscreened “The Gibson” logo.  This banjo retains its original friction fifth-string peg and was apparently made for export since it bears a “Made in U.S.A.” label inside the resonator.

Style 1 banjos have an oval “The Gibson” label inside the rim which is similar to the Mastertone label found on the higher models.  

Photos courtesy of Jack Dubow.