#1109-18 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) left the Gibson factory for the first time when it was taken out as a sample on January 15, 1937 by salesman Robert Anderson; the banjo was then shipped on January 29, 1937 to a J.A. Keeton along with a Jumbo 35 flattop guitar. It was shipped a final time on November 8, 1937 to F.K. Moyer, identified by Gibson researcher Joe Spann as a Gibson teacher-agent in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. #1109-18 is a standard TB-1 from the late 1930s, with the model’s earlier fleur-de-lis fingerboard inlay having been replaced by a simple dot pattern. The wood is straight-grain maple with a dark finish and the peghead shape is a slight modification of the fiddle-shaped design of the 1920s. The hardware is nickel-plated, the flange is one-piece, and a small-diameter brass hoop, rather than a full-weight cast tone ring, sits on top of the rim.
This banjo is now equipped with a five-string conversion neck by Ron Coleman and an HR-30 tone ring by Steve Huber; the five-string neck is equipped with prewar Grover “pancake” tuners and a matching prewar tuner button has been installed on the fifth-string tuner. The metal truss-rod cover from the tenor neck has been installed on the five-string neck.
Photos courtesy of Ken Wiles.