Gibson TB-1 #124-12, the “Charlie ‘Tex’ Oldokowski”

The style 1 of the 1930s was a non-Mastertone model and therefore had no true tone ring–only a small-diameter brass hoop on top of the rim.  It did, however, feature the same pot metal one-piece flange and three-ply maple rim as the Mastertones of the same period.  Style 1 had nickel-plated hardware and a dark-finished maple neck and resonator, with white binding on the neck and both edges of the resonator.  The tailpiece was an inexpensive type referred to in Gibson catalogs as the “Grover first model”.  The fiddle-shaped peghead was retained on the style 1 even though the Mastertone models had by this time gone to the double-cut peghead shape.  The rosewood fingerboard was normally inlaid with a fleur-de-lis inlay pattern which is also known by such varying names as “bats” and “flying birds” (see TB-1 #157-38); however, other inlay patterns are sometimes seen on style 1 banjos and this instrument features the “diamonds and squares” pattern that had been used on style 3 Mastertone banjos in the 1920s (see TB-3 Mastertone #8830-2, the “Edmund Martin”).

#124-12 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) was owned for many years by Charlie Oldokowski (August 14, 1920–November 29, 1991).  A member of Mr. Oldokowski’s family tells us that “he loved to play and his family joined in with his wife on the organ and his son on the guitar.  His nickname was ‘Tex’, even though he was Polish and raised on a farm in Holden, Massachusetts“.

Here’s a sound sample of #124-12 in “as found” condition: