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musical instrument details

~ 1939 Gibson TB-00 Banjo with Pre War One Piece Flange

Estimated price for orientation: 1 390 $

Category: Gibson TB00 Teno

Brand: Gibson Model: TB-00
Banjo Type: Tenor Banjo Country/Region of Manufacture: United States
Number of Strings: 4

    This is a nice vintage pre war Gibson tenor banjo. Gibson made these from 1935 into the early 40s and most of them had no serial numbers. This is a clean banjo and as best I can tell everything is original except for the strings and head which I replaced.  I don't see any markings other than the numbers the owner put on the back of the neck heel, very common at the time.I was just going over another one and noticed that the rim is thicker on the top than on the bottom and verified that that is true on this one as well. Although these TB-00s measure 1/2 inch on the bottom the rim is wider above the one piece flange as the flange has to press against the rim. I did not take the head off at this time but figure that the flange width is somewhere between 5/8" and 3/4" on the top where you fit a tone ring.    Going over it all the neck and rim are in excellent shape. It has the original pre war one piece flange and hooks which are in very good shape. The flange does pull up a little but there are no cracks, repairs or alterations. As far as I know the tailpiece is also original as are the Grover tuners. This one has very good original frets and a good set up so its a good tenor banjo as it is. Many convert these to 5 string banjos by adding a flat head tone ring and a 5 string neck. I would highly recommend Jimmy Cox at for that as he does great work at reasonable rates. Besides turning the rim for a one piece flange he can also put an extra ply inside to get it to full thickness.  I had him convert a Kalamazoo rim from this era  to take a Sullivan flat head tone ring and that banjo sounds amazing with a more beautiful tone than any of the 40 - 50 year old Mastertones that have passed through my hands. I have also read that Arthur Hatfield in Kentucky makes excellent flat head tone rings to fit these TB-00 rims.The woods make some of the most important contributions to banjo tone and there is nothing quite like old growth Eastern maple that has aged 75+ years and the original Gibson flanges are desirable.     The resonator looks more beat up than the rest of the banjo but it is certainly a Gibson resonator and it is not the same as the resonator on my Kalamazoo banjo from this same era. I have 2 of these TB-00s for sale but the other one has not been listed yet. If you don't care about having a perfect tenor neck please ask as there is one with a repaired neck crack that I would sell for a less. Both will probably listed on the Mandolin Cafe shortly. No parts have been changed or swapped on these and this one is as I received it from an estate some years back except for the new head.I will guarantee that this is an original Gibson TB-00 with the original finish, tuners and one piece flange in good playing order with very good frets still. It is also listed on the Mandolin Cafe for $1325 through listing no. 103584, $1275 for one with a lesser but original neck. Buyer to pay actual shipping cost, probably about $ 40 to most of the US but a bit more to the West Coast.