The banjo pictured above is an original five-string RB-3 Mastertone with ball bearing tone ring, dating to 1925. It has been modified with a replacement fingerboard, refinishing of the neck and resonator, removal of the original ball-bearing tone ring and addition of a flathead tone ring. In other respects the banjo conforms to standard catalog specifications for style 3 for this period with maple neck and resonator, two-piece flange, grooved tension hoop with flat hooks, nickel plating, Presto tailpiece, and fiddle-shaped peghead. The original tuners remain, including the friction fifth-string peg.
This instrument was played in the McCormick Brothers bluegrass band and was used by Haskell McCormick during his tenure with Lester Flatt’s Nashville Grass in the 1970s.
Photos courtesy of Jack Dubow.