TB-3 #8977-5 dates to 1928 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) and features the no-hole raised-head tone ring frequently seen on Mastertone banjos from the 1927-1928 period. This 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.
#8977-5 remains in original condition and is currently equipped with a five-string neck by Richie Dotson which incorporates the original Grover “pancake” tuners from the tenor neck. Owner Antoine Brousseau reports that “this no-hole archtop has a very deep, dry and powerful sound with fat, clear highs up the neck and a fourth string with a ton of bass. The banjo vibrates through your chest simply picking open strings (even the high D string!) An absolute cannon. . . This TB-3 conversion by Richie Dotson is affectionately known around my house as the Chuñotone, cause the dog Chuño seems to really like it.”
Photos courtesy of Antoine Brousseau.