TB-1 #9545-26, the “Frank Kocevar”

The style 1 of the 1930s was a non-Mastertone model and therefore had no true tone ring–only a small-diameter brass hoop on top of the rim.  It did, however, feature the same pot metal one-piece flange and three-ply maple rim as the Mastertones of the same period.  Style 1 had nickel-plated hardware and a dark-finished maple neck and resonator, with white binding on the neck and both edges of the resonator.  The fiddle-shaped peghead was retained on the style 1 even though the Mastertone models had by this time gone to the double-cut peghead shape.  The rosewood fingerboard was normally inlaid with a fleur-de-lis inlay pattern which is also known by such varying names as “bats” and “flying birds”; however, other inlay patterns are sometimes seen on style 1 banjos and this example features the pattern that had been used on style 2 banjos of the 1920s and on the Nick Lucas artist model guitar.  Style 1 banjos have an oval “The Gibson” label inside the rim which is similar to the Mastertone label found on the higher models. 

While the majority of style 1 banjos had only three resonator mounting lugs, lot #9545 is one of a few lots of style 1 banjos made with four lugs as seen on Mastertone models; as is the case on most four-lug style 1 banjos, this example does not have one lug offset to allow for placement of an armrest, and was most likely shipped without one.

This banjo was previously owned by Frank Kocevar of Charleroi, Pennsylvania, who was owner and proprietor of the Charleroi Hotel from the 1940s through the 1970s; it is believed he was given the banjo as a barter payment by a hotel guest.