Style 3 was the least expensive model in Gibson’s Mastertone line. It was introduced in 1925 and remained in production through 1937, when its price was lowered from $100 to $75 and it was renamed style 75. The style 3 of the 1920s featured dark-stained maple, a two-piece flange, a fiddle-shaped peghead, and diamonds and squares inlays. In 1929, the specifications changed to those seen here; #9465-71 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) is from the first known lot of “1930s-style” TB-3s, with mahogany neck, mahogany resonator with white binding on both edges and two concentric circles of black and white purfling on the back, a one-piece flange, forty-hole archtop tone ring, Presto tailpiece, Grover tuners, and a double-cut peghead and Brazilian rosewood fingerboard inlaid with the leaves and bows pattern.
This banjo has now been converted with a five-string neck by Clancy Mullins and a Hopkins-McPeake conversion flathead ring requiring no cutting of the rim.
Photos courtesy of an anonymous collector.