Style 00 was introduced in 1935 as the least-expensive banjo in the Gibson line. An initial price of $30 was lowered to $27.50 by 1937, and the model proved to be quite popular; after the company had discontinued many of its higher-end banjo styles, the humble 00 remained in the Gibson catalog into the World War II years.
#G2297-4 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) was shipped on May 8, 1941 to Edward Szalay, identified by Gibson researcher Joe Spann as the owner of Szalay Music Store in Trenton, New Jersey; Gibson factory ledgers record the shipment of fifty-five instruments to Szalay between 1935 and 1941. With the exception of this banjo and two Kalamazoo-brand tenors, every instrument shipped to Szalay was a mandolin banjo; for unknown reasons, the majority of these mandolin-banjos were stipulated as being shipped without resonators. Lot #G2297 appears to have consisted of twenty-five TB-00s shipped between February and June 1941 and is one of the few lots to feature a “G” letter prefix. The maple veneer on the back of the resonator exhibits a surprising amount of figure for this model; the gold-plated tailpiece bracket is highly unusual but has been seen on a few other Gibson banjos shipped during this period including RB-75 Mastertone #F906-2, the “Davis Brown”, indicating that the factory must have found itself with a surplus of these parts after the discontinuation of the majority of their gold-plated banjo models.
The Kluson tuners with amber Catalin buttons, Phillips-head screws, short bracket nuts, and large truss-rod cover are all features common to Gibson banjos of the early 1940s. This example remains in excellent original condition and was found left behind in a house in Lowell, Massachusetts in the fall of 2014.