Gibson TB-00 #F560-7

“A genuine Gibson tenor banjo for only $30.00”, said the company’s 1937 catalog of style 00, which had been introduced two years earlier.  Style 00 was the least expensive banjo model produced by Gibson in the prewar years, and was evidently quite popular; after the fancier styles such as the Granada had been dropped, the humble 00 remained in the Gibson catalog through 1942, and style 00 banjos continued to leave the factory sporadically throughout the World War II years.. 

#F560-7 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) conforms for the most part to standard catalog specifications for style 00, with maple neck and resonator, sunburst finish on the neck and back and sides of the resonator, binding on the back edge of the resonator only, nickel-plated hardware, no tone ring, and a one-piece pot metal flange.  The peghead shape is unique to style 00, and the Gibson logo is silkscreened in white rather than being inlaid in mother of pearl.  The tuners are Klusons with amber-colored Catalin buttons.

In two respects, however, this example is rather unusual.  Dot inlays were standard on style 00, whereas this banjo features the fancier “fleur-de-lis” pattern which had been used on style 1.  This is especially unusual since by the time this banjo was made, the inlays for style 1 had also changed to simple dots.  The other unusual feature of this banjo is the veneer on the inside of the resonator, which is flamed maple of the kind normally found on the much fancier Granada and style 18.

This instrument is in fully original, excellent condition.  The factory order number is stamped into the back of the headstock, as was standard practice during this period; #F560-7 was shipped on August 16, 1940 to Vance Music, identified by Gibson researcher Joe Spann as having been located in Mason City, Iowa.

Photos courtesy of David McLaughlin.