Gibson TB-3 Mastertone #8161-28, the “Harry Lykins”

This TB-3 dates to late in 1925, the first year of Gibson’s “Mastertone” line (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers), and was originally owned by Harry Lykins of Lexington, Kentucky, who is pictured above with the banjo in a period photograph of the “Kentuckians” orchestra.

#8161-28 is a typical early style 3 in most respects with dark-stained maple neck and resonator, a two-piece flange, ball-bearing tone ring assembly, and diamonds and squares inlay with a fiddle-shaped peghead.  The one unusual feature of this banjo is the presence of the Gibson logo in a mother-of-pearl block on the peghead; this rare logo variant has been seen only on a few other early style 3 Mastertones, including #8131-40.

Photos courtesy of Charlie R. Hall.