Gibson TB-3 #8719-42, the “R.K. Smith”

TB-3 #8719-42 dates to 1927 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) and features the no-hole raised-head tone ring frequently seen on Mastertone banjos from this period.  The banjo conforms to standard specifications for style 3 Mastertones of 1927 to 1929 with maple neck and resonator, a tube-and-plate flange, nickel-plated hardware, and “diamonds and squares” inlay in the rosewood fingerboard and fiddle-shaped peghead.

#8719-42 remains in original condition with the exception of replaced tuners, frets, tailpiece and truss rod cover, and has been owned by three members of the Ban-Joes of Michigan banjo band:  R.K. “Ken” Smith of Clawson, Michigan, who inscribed his name and home town inside the resonator; Harry Cooper, and current owner John G. Smith.

Photos courtesy of John G. Smith.