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musical instrument details

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

Estimated price for orientation: 1 350 $

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.  The neck, rim, tuners and J clamps are original. I'm not sure about the tailpiece but it is ancient and made to take 8 strings. It plays well and sounds great. I just went over it and it has a new bridge and one new J hook for the tailpiece which was held on with a long sheet metal screw and an original hook nut.When I bought this one a few  years ago it arrived with a crack starting below the tuners, a partial head crack. I fixed it and the repair should last. It was clean wood and the repair can probably be made invisible with a little fine sanding and rubbing out. I was going to keep this one for myself but someone was asking about it. I have an extra original TB-00 neck that was never broken for it but this is actually a better neck. I also have another TB-00 listed with the nice original neck and very little fret wear.I was just going over this one and noticed that the rim is thicker on the top than on the bottom . 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. It should clean up nicely, all I did was wipe dust off with a moist paper towel.    Going over it all its all in pretty nice. 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 and its good. The resonator is nice on this one and it has the curved back. It still has an ancient calf skin head in good shape. 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 although its probably not needed. 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. 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. This one should end up with killer tone as you can hear it in the woods now.This one still has its original hard shell case. Its in good condition still, it shows its age but works. I will guarantee that this is an original Gibson TB-00 with the original rim and finish, tuners and one piece flange in good playing order. The neck is as described. It is also listed on the Mandolin Cafe at a better price for $1275, listing no. 103584 . The other one with a near perfect neck and frets is $1325 through the Mandolin Cafe. This is less than I paid for some of these.Buyer to pay actual shipping cost, probably about $ 40 to most of the US but a bit more to the West Coast.