If you're looking at this listing you probably already know the story of Gibson's legendary "top tension" Mastertone banjos. Only made for a few years (1937-1943), original 5-string models are impossibly rare, and the whole top tension phenomena might have been forgotten were it not for Bill Keith, one of the first players to develop the chromatic style (and also the guy who transcribed all those Earl Scruggs solos). The reissues of top tension models didn't last much longer than the originals, but of course most were 5-strings instead of tenors or plectrums. First reissued in 1995, they were discontinued in 2008. This one is completely original, with its original case, the only work ever done that we can find was some expert finish touch-up to the back of the neck (and we doubt you'll be able to spot it even knowing it's there). Great maple in this example, with lots of figure and a nice sunburst that's very much like the originals from sixty years earlier. The neck inlay is a welcome change from earlier banjo designs, probably Gibson's first art deco-influenced inlay pattern specifically, and exclusively, used on banjos.

stock no. 52694

ModelRB-18 Top Tension 5 String
CaseOrig. Hard
Serial No18-0104-3
Tone ringGibson flathead
Shell3 ply maple
Resonatorsolid turned maple
Flangecast alloy