Gibson RB #617-1

This original five-string model is not illustrated in any Gibson catalogs of the period but is virtually identical to the tenor instrument
#606-1.  The wood is flamed maple, with a flat-back resonator rather than the arched back normally used by Gibson.  Even stranger is the fact that the head diameter is twelve inches as opposed to the standard eleven inches.  The strangeness continues at the tone ring, which has seventeen holes rather than the typical forty.  The ebony fingerboard is inlaid with mother-of-pearl blocks, while the double-cut peghead is inlaid in the flying eagle pattern.  The flange is two-piece and all hardware is gold-plated.

Photos courtesy of Stan Jay/Mandolin Brothers.