Gibson TB-Granada #9152-57, the “Selmer Lien”

By the late 1920s the Granada had evolved from its original ball-bearing tone ring, through a brief period of no-hole archtop rings, to the classic forty-hole archtop tone ring.  For the most part the model’s other specifications remained the same, including dark-strained curly maple with two concentric rings of wood purfling on the back of the resonator, a fiddle-shaped peghead, hearts and flowers inlays, a two-piece flange, gold plating, and engraving on the armrest and tension hoop.  The grooved tension hoop and flat hooks of the ball-bearing period had by now been replaced by a notched hoop with round hooks, and the tailpiece was a Grover clamshell (in this case engraved “Granada“) rather than the earlier Kerschner.

The banjo’s current owner fills us in on its history:

“My dad was Selmer Lien and he played in a band on the radio in Fargo, North Dakota during the 1930s as a second job.  He bought the banjo new and it’s been in a closet inside its case since his death in 1955.  The only thing ever done to it was to replace the tuners, though I have the originals, because they weren’t holding tight enough.  He also played guitar and piano, but used the banjo with the band.  My mother says he always complained that he had to strum it for half an hour or more before the skin got warm enough to give him the sound he was looking for.”

Photos courtesy of the family of Selmer Lien.