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 wood was straight-grain maple with a dark finish and the peghead shape was a slight modification of the fiddle-shaped design of the 1920s. The hardware was nickel-plated, the flange was one-piece, and a small-diameter brass hoop, rather than a full-weight cast tone ring, sat on top of the rim. 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 bears the factory order number #867-23 stamped in the rim and written inside the resonator(see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers); it was originally shipped on June 10, 1935 to Wallace, Schwartz and Wallace (location unknown). This banjo is now equipped with a faithful reproduction five-string neck by Wyatt Fawley and a disk-type tone ring by Mitch Meadors which requires no alteration of the wooden rim. Other banjos from lot #867 have been observed which differ significantly from standard style 1 specifications, such as TB-1 #867-6, the “Charles Emmett Viar”.
Photos courtesy of an anonymous owner.