This banjo dates to 1926, the second year of Gibson’s “Mastertone” line (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers). It is a typical early style 3 in every respect 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 disassembly photos show the holes drilled in the rim to accommodate the ball-bearings, springs, and washers of this earliest type of Mastertone construction; the banjo’s bin number is stamped on both the neck heel and the rim at the neck junction, as was common practice in this period. #8205-40 has now been converted to flathead five-string with a no-hole conversion tone ring by Bill Blaylock and a neck by Frank Neat.
Photos courtesy of T. Rich.