Gibson TB-Granada Mastertone #9556-32

#9556-32 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) dates to 1930 and began life as a tenor-necked instrument with a forty-hole archtop tone ring.  It was later fitted by luthier Snuffy Smith with a prewar flathead tone ring and a neck by Frank Neat.  The concentric rings of marquetry on the back of the resonator are a feature typically associated with the two-piece-flange Granadas of the 1920s, but they are found on some of the earlier one-piece-flange examples from the 1930s; both types of resonator have been seen in lot #9556.  This example features a first-generation one-piece flange with a slightly larger inner diameter than the later flanges, resulting in a rim thickness of slightly over 5/8″ below the flange.  These “fat rims” are more commonly seen on slightly earlier banjos with lot numbers in the 9400s.  The flange and tension hoop of #9556-32 remain in excellent original condition; these parts are often deteriorated on 1930s Granadas due to interaction of the gold plating with the pot metal components.

Photos courtesy of Eric C. Newell (Gruhn Guitars) and William B. Anderson.