Here’s a nice example of a lower-end Gibson tenor banjo dating to circa 1927 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers). The style 1 of this period featured a bracket shoe construction and a flange with hexagonal openings; style 1 was a non-Mastertone model and therefore had no true tone ring–only a small-diameter brass hoop on top of the rim. The hardware is nickel-plated and the wood is dark-stained maple. The inlay is a simple dot pattern and the only peghead ornamentation is a silkscreened “The Gibson” logo. The date “December 25, 1928” is written in pencil on the underside of the calfskin head; this is purported to be the date the banjo was presented to its original owner, a thirteen-year-old girl whose name has unfortunately been lost to history.
Photos courtesy of Robert Bowden.