Gibson TB-1 #9690-8

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 fiddle-shaped peghead of the 1920s Mastertone line was retained on the style 1, with a slight simplification in shape.  The rosewood fingerboard was typically inlaid with a fleur-de-lis inlay pattern which is also known by such varying names as “bats” and “flying birds”.

#9690-8 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) dates to 1930; when it surfaced in 2011 it remained in excellent original condition with the exception of a replaced tailpiece ; no armrest was present and, like a number of style 1 banjos, this example may have been shipped without one.  This example has now been converted to five-string with a straight-grain maple neck by Steve Huber and a Huber Vintage Flathead tone ring.  A prewar armrest and a Presto tailpiece have also been added.

Photos courtesy of Devon Avery.