Gibson TB-1 #157-38

The style 1, priced at $50, was a mainstay of Gibson’s lower-priced non-Mastertone line of the 1930s.  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”.  Even though the Mastertone models had by this time gone to the double-cut peghead shape, the fiddle-shaped peghead was retained on style 1, with minor modifications–the two small indentations normally found under the fourth- and first-string tuners were absent, and the “points” of the peghead were sharp rather than squared off.  The rosewood fingerboard was normally inlaid with a fleur-de-lis inlay pattern which is also known by such varying names as “gulls” and “flying birds”.

This style 1 tenor banjo dates to late 1931; the factory order number #157-38 is stamped on the wooden rim and written inside the resonator (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers).  “A.J.D.&” is stamped several times on the inside of the resonator sidewall; the significance of this marking is unknown, but it was likely done by a previous owner for identification in case of theft.  #258-1 remains in original condition with the exception of a replacement tailpiece.  This banjo is housed in its original #511 case by Geib and Schaefer.