Gibson TB-2 #8439-41, the “William Milne”

In the 1920s, style 2 was the fanciest non-Mastertone in the Gibson banjo line.  This 1926 example (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) has an eleven-inch maple rim with bracket shoes and a flange with diamond-shaped openings.  The hardware is nickel-plated and the wood is maple; the tone ring is a simple tubular design and the tailpiece is the Grover Presto model that was also used on the lower-priced Mastertone models.  The peghead shape is unique to style 2 and the fingerboard inlays were also used on Gibson’s Nick Lucas Special flattop guitar of the period. 

#8439-41 remains in excellent original condition with its original case and bracket wrench.  The daughter of this banjo’s previous owner gives us some background:

“William Milne was born and lived in Hamilton, Ontario (1915-1985). He wasn’t the original owner of the banjo, but bought it from Waddington School of Music in Hamilton. The lesson card shows he started lessons in April 1946 and I assume he bought the banjo then. My mother taught accordion at Waddington’s from then until she opened her own studio in 1950 and I think he started the banjo to be involved in music with her. He didn’t pursue it for very long as I don’t remember him playing much when I was little. Mostly at family parties (in the 50’s and early 60’s) when Mom would play the accordion and everybody sang along.”

Photos courtesy of Chris Quinn.