Style 3, the least expensive model in Gibson’s prewar Mastertone line, was revamped in 1929. The model’s straight-grained maple changed to mahogany, two concentric rings of white/black/white purfling were added to the back of the resonator, the brass tube-and-plate flange was replaced by a one-piece cast metal flange, and the headstock shape and inlay patterns also changed. While the “leaves and bows” inlay pattern was standard on the redesigned style 3, a very small number of these banjos were made with the “flying eagle” pattern as seen on style 4 and Granada banjos of the same period; this example is one such banjo.
#158-20 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) dates to 1931 and was owned for many years by Billy Pilgrim of Greensboro, North Carolina. The banjo remains in fully original condition including its #511 case by Geib and Schaefer.