Gibson RB-75 Mastertone #752-1

Gibson introduced the RB-75 Mastertone in 1937; the company’s catalog of that year described their five-string, or “regular”, banjo offerings as representing “The ‘old time’ banjo brought up to date by Gibson” and claimed that “this instrument is the most beautiful of all banjos in the hands of an artist”, with the player provided “extra twang and ring in a Gibson Regular Banjo because of the special tone chamber”.  The “special tone chamber” to which the catalog referred was in fact the flathead tone ring which Gibson had adopted on its five-string and plectrum Mastertone models beginning in 1929.

#752-1 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) dates to 1938 and spent its first fifty years in Kannapolis, North Carolina, where it was originally sold by the Bell Music Company.  A number of different inlay patterns are seen on style 75 banjos; this example features the “flying eagle” inlay pattern on the rosewood fingerboard and the “leaves and bows” inlay on the double-cut peghead with the Gibson logo inlaid straight across rather than on a slant, a combination also seen on RB-75s from lot #518. #752-1 remains in excellent original condition with its “red-line” #521 case by Geib.

Photos courtesy of an anonymous collector.