The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

Gibson RB-250 Mastertone Banjo Mahogany, 1976

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The Gibson RB-250 Mastertone was the working-musician’s banjo for decades and offers that classic Gibson sound with the “Snap” to the treble attack that only Gibson’s have.

This is essentially the same banjo as the famous Gibson RB-3 without the Wreath inlay, Gibson built a few RB-250 banjos every years from 1949 until 2010, when a devastating flood in Nashville destroyed Gibson’s Banjo and Mandolin facilities.

This Gibson RB250 Mastertone banjo was built during 1976 in Kalamazoo, Michigan and carries serial numbers 00200261 on the Mahogany neck and 8127 20 for the rim. The Rosewood fingerboard sports the classic Bowtie Inlay pattern.

It also features a Flathead tone ring, Clamshell tailpiece, Schaller Keith-style D-tuners, capo spikes at frets 7 & 9 and a very recent new head and Deering Smile bridge.

The original hard shell case is included.

Grant MacNeill at The Twelfth Fret performed this work and makes these comments:

  • Fret dress, recrown and polish
  • Cut nut slots, bridge slots, head tension to G# and setup with new Deering Medium strings to standard 5/64 action.

“This Gibson RB-250 Mastertone sounds great — it sounds like a Gibson banjo !!
Typical of Gibson in the 1960s and 1970s, there is a mix of hardware from various historic models…all routinely done in the Gibson factory.

Fortunately this banjo was fitted with a Flathead tone ring and typical of Gibson at the time, they used the two-piece or Tube & Plate flange that one normally would see with an archtop tone ring banjo like the Granada; a top of the line model.
It was later on that both Gibson and the banjo world tweaked to the fact that Earl Scruggs preferred his flathead banjos. As we moved into the 1980s one begins to see the RB3, RB250 and Earl Scruggs models fitted with the Flathead tone-ring, plus the associated hardware: one piece zinc flange and Presto tailpiece making them more true replicas of the historic originals.

This banjo has the correct Clamshell tailpiece. The hidden hook that bears on the tension hoop would normally force the Clamshell to sit too high has been removed so it now sits lower, bearing on the tension hoop as it should.   2nd and 3rd string Schaller Keith-style D-tuners have been added as upgrades.

The new Deering Smile-Bridge with radius foot contour and the Snuffy Smith-back-leaning stance is the best bridge money can buy.  The frets are freshly dressed and the truss rod works as it should. A new head, properly tensioned offers that classic Gibson Banjo “Cluck”.

This Gibson RB-250 Mastertone is a wonderful banjo with 46 years of history and easily will last well into the next century.”

Grant MacNeill, Banjo Specialist


 

Price: $3,450.00 CAD
  • Model: EB-250 Mastertone
  • Year: 1976
  • Finish Natural
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 00200261 / 8127 20, built during 1976 in Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 04/05/2022

  • Consignment Item

  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 10.12lbs 4.60kg
  • Scale Length: 666.75mm 26.25in
  • Nut Width: 30.30mm 1.194in
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