The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌ Gibson TB 3 Mastertone Tenor Banjo, 1926


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Built from 1925 to 1937, the Gibson TB 3 Mastertone tenor banjo was a popular though relatively unadorned instrument, used in jazz and banjo orchestras. As the popularity of tenor instruments waned, many of these banjos were converted with 5-string necks. This example is in largely original condition, save for the tuners.

The Gibson TB 3 Mastertone tenor banjo – the TB actually stands for Tenor Banjo – features a plain Maple rim and Mahogany resonator, with Mahogany for the neck and Rosewood, likely Brazilian given the date, for the fingerboard. The tone ring and flange designs changed at least three times during the TB 3’s production. Initial 1925 and early 1926 models used a classic ball-bearing tone ring, then for later 1926-1928 a solid archtop tone ring, and finally the flathead tone ring for 1929. The flange for the 1925-1928 models is two piece, with the one piece flange appearing in 1929.

At this point, Gibson often did not use serial numbers. On this banjo, the FON or Factory Order Number is 8488-34; the 8488 indicates a particular lot of instruments, and the 34 is the position of this instrument in that lot. With those numbers and the characteristics of the ball bearing tone ring and flange, this banjo dates to the 1926 period.

This banjo is in good working order and has been recently set up by Anne Hartman. While it is in good working order, it could use some peghead work. The original tuners had a tendency to twist and wear the wood around them, and this has happened for the high string tuner. This could be patched and re-finished, but the replacement tuners do work.

Fret wear is moderate and the neck is straight. The finish is in good shape, though there are some indications that it was tinted and oversprayed at some point around the headstock. The tuners are modern replacements for worn-out original parts.

The original hard shell case is included.


Price: $2,500.00 CAD
  • Model: TB 3 Mastertone Tenor
  • Year: 1926
  • Finish GLoss
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 8483-34
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 12/07/2019

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Required CITES documentation
  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 9.77lbs 4.44kg
  • Scale Length: 22.75in 577.8mm
  • Nut Width: 1.18in 30mm
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