Monday, October 22, 2018


Enter keyword(s) below
to search entire inventor

Include Sold Items

New York String Service
87 Luquer Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Mon - Fri 12noon - 7pm
Sat 12noon - 6pm

718 237 4040

Contact Us

Pay online securely with    

Gibson GB-1 Guitar Banjo (1927)

Gibson  GB-1 Guitar Banjo  (1927)

Gibson GB-1 Model Guitar Banjo (1927), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 8848-4, brown lacquer finish, laminated maple rim; maple neck with ebony fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

Here is a nice example of one of the Gibson company's more elusive creations: a six-string Mastertone-era banjo. This is a fairly rare instrument, even more so than the company's earlier "trap door"-style large-rim guitar banjos built prior to 1925. This one carries a factory order number from 8848-4 stamped in the rim and marked on the resonator internally in white paint, indicating it was the 4th one in a batch built in mid-1927.

Very few batches of these were assembled in any given year, as the tenor banjo was by far the best seller. The GB-1 six-string banjo is built on the standard 11" Mastertone-style rim but without any of Gibson's elaborate tone rings, just a simple solid metal hoop-like ring sitting atop the rim. The model is basically equivalent to the TB-1 tenor from the same year. It carries the older-style two-piece tube-and-plate flange that would be superseded in a couple of years by the cast one-piece unit. The sound on this banjo is mellower than a Mastertone, still fairly loud but with less overring and snap.

The neck is a substantial round-backed affair with a bound dot inlaid ebony fingerboard and a guitar-shaped headstock with "The Gibson" in silver paint script. The headstock carries six Grover Simplex non-geared tuners and the typical Gibson truss rod. This GB-I was the less expensive sister to the Mastertone GB-3 that early country fingerpicker Sam McGee used to back Uncle Dave Macon and record several of his most famous pieces, and is basically the same instrument minus the elaborate tone ring. In more recent times, the Gibson six-string banjo is most often associated with Neil Young. The GB-1 is a cool Gibson rarity and still one of the best banjo-guitars extant. This is a good playing example and makes a fine "Git-jo" for a variety of styles.
Overall length is 36 3/8 in. (92.4 cm.), 11 in. (27.9 cm.) diameter head, and 3 1/2 in. (8.9 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 in. (635 mm.). Width of nut is 1 13/16 in. (46 mm.).

This GB shows some wear but overall remains a nicely original piece. The first three frets have been replaced with matching wire but some previous work in that area left some light scarring on the fretboard which has been filled in. There is finish wear overall, most notably to the back of the neck in several spots. All the hardware is original, including the Kersher tailpiece and non-geared tuners. The bridge is a nicely made oddity with a bone saddle, but the instrument sounds good so we left it in place. Set up with a fiberskyn head; plays great with a nice old-timey plunk very different from its Mastertone cousins. Includes a nice, if well-worn, original HSC. Excellent - Condition.

Item # 8102
This item has been sold.

Click on a thumbnail above for a detailed view.

All text and photographs © 2003 New York String Service
and may not be reproduced without permission.

Retrofret Online Retrofret Online!
Visit our companion site,, dedicated to vintage guitars and fretted instruments.

The Musical Eye The Musical Eye
Our selection of historical musically themed images.

Audio Samples
Audio Samples

Link to instruments with audio samples.

Recent Sales
Recent Sales

View some of our recently sold items.

New York String Service | 87 Luquer Street | Brooklyn, New York, 11231 USA
718 237 4040 Voice | 718 237 6092 Fax | contact us
© 2003 New York String Service - All rights reserved