Gibson RB-1 #9468-5

The style 1 of the 1930s was a non-Mastertone model and therefore had no true tone ring–only a small-diameter brass hoop on top of the rim.  It did, however, feature the same pot metal one-piece flange and three-ply maple rim as the Mastertones of the same period.  Style 1 had nickel-plated hardware and a dark-finished maple neck and resonator, with white binding on the neck and both edges of the resonator.  Style 1 banjos of the period typically had fiddle-shaped pegheads and fleur-de-lis inlays; this example is a rare original five-string that is especially unusual due to its non-standard peghead shape, sometimes referred to by collectors as the “Coke bottle” shape.  Owner Teddy Schug fills us in on the rest:

“(The banjo) is fitted with a Huber tone ring at this time; it was originally fitted with a Cox Ky-5 in the early 80s.  This banjo was bought in a pawn shop in Virginia in the mid to late 60s for $100. . . I have seen pics of Uncle Dave Macon leaving the Opry stage with this banjo or one just like it in his hands. I know that there is another five-string that has the same headstock that this banjo has. . . I believe this is the only lot of one-piece-flange style 1s that has this headstock. I have seen around a 1924 style 1 open-back with this headstock before. I have played on this banjo since about 1975; it was owned by a close friend of mine and he decided to sell it to me about four years ago.  I added the Huber tone ring and had Charlie Cushman set it up for me and it is the only banjo that I own and I try to play it every day.”

Good photos courtesy of Teddy Schug; blurry ones by the webmaster.