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 known today by players and collectors as a “window” tailpiece and referred to in Gibson catalogs of the period 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”; 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.
#124-7 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) dates to 1931 and remains in excellent original condition including its period calfskin head and two-footed bridge.
Photos courtesy of an anonymous owner.