Gibson TB-3 Mastertone #9488-21, the “William Patton Kennedy”

Style 3, the least expensive model in Gibson’s prewar Mastertone banjo 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.  #9488-21 is from one of the first lots of style 3 banjos made in this “new” configuration.  It remains in excellent original condition with the exception of the tension hoop, which is showing disintegration due to “zinc pest“, a common problem with the earliest pot metal components supplied to Gibson by the Doehler Die Casting Company.

The longtime owner of #9488-21 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) was William Patton Kennedy; the banjo remained in the Kennedy family until late 2020.