Gibson TB-6 Mastertone #9226-11, the “Francis Koekenberg/Paul Lloyd”

The November 24, 1928 issue of Music Trade Review magazine carried an article with a Philadelphia dateline announcing a “New Tenor Banjo in the Gibson, Inc., Line”:

“Following a round of the prominent musical organizations and orchestras of the Quaker City, Factory Representative E. Havenza, of Gibson, Inc., manufacturer of the Gibson banjos, has brought to the attention of the profession the latest model of tenor banjo which the firm is introducing.  It is known as Gibson tenor banjo No. 6, and is constructed with the improved attachment to the arm rest, which provides for a set or adjusted pressure of the arm, giving softened and expressive playing and when released allows for volume of tone.  The wood frame is of novel two-tone effect, making an artistic design.” 

What the article described as a “two-tone effect” was the new sunburst finish which Gibson referred to as “Argentine grey”;  #9226-11 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) dates to late 1928 and its tension hoop, tone ring, and flange are engraved in the pattern used on the top-of-the-line Florentine model rather than the “x” engraving pattern which was standard on the style 6.  The larger Gibson logo and slightly oversized inlays are seen only on a few of the earliest style 6 Mastertones.  This example otherwise conforms to standard specifications for style 6; the armrest is the type intended to operate Gibson’s newly-introduced “Vibrato Tone-Master” armrest-activated mute and although there is a hole in the rim for the mute activator rod, no internal mute assembly is present.  The tuners are Grover DeLuxe “two-bands” with genuine mother-of-pearl buttons.

The original owner of #9226-11 was Francis Koekenberg, a regular participant in the yearly Mummers Parade in Philadelphia; his name appears in aftermarket engraving on the truss-rod cover.  The banjo was subsequently owned by fellow Mummer Paul Lloyd and remained in his family until February 2018.