Gibson RB-Granada Mastertone #8690-1

#8690-1 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) dates to 1927 and is the earliest known original five-string Granada; it surfaced in 2015 in the original owner’s family and was acquired by Jim Mills.   The pot features the same specifications seen on tenor- and plectrum-necked Granadas of the time with the exception of its extremely rare original five-string Granada-engraved tension hoop and Kershner tailpiece; the Mastertone block is the narrower type used on tenor banjos as seen on other early original five-strings, including RB-5 Mastertone #8267-1 and RB-3 Mastertone #8447-10.  The small factory order number by the resonator neck notch is written entirely in chalk rather than having the lot number written in red paint, consistent with a banjo which was the only one in its lot.

This historically significant instrument remains in excellent original condition including its original plush-lined hardshell case, friction fifth-string peg, and vintage Rogers calfskin head.  The name of the original owner has not yet been determined, but the name “Robert L. Todd” is written on a chord booklet found in the case pocket.

Photos courtesy of Jim Mills Banjo, Inc.