Gibson TB-00, the “Nathan Ellis”

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.

As is the case with most style 00 banjos, this example is not marked with a factory order number or serial number.  Its original owner was Nathan Ellis (1919-1989) of Pittsburg County, Oklahoma.  Mr. Ellis and his brothers all played various stringed instruments, and he later joined a group called The Grandpas which met regularly to play in the McAlester, Oklahoma area.

Mr. Ellis’s TB-00 conforms to standard specifications for the model and, despite many years of use, remains in fully original, excellent condition.

Photos courtesy of the family of Nathan Ellis.