Dating vintage gibson banjos


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Look for the serial number on the back of the peghead.

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A serial number is an important piece of information in establishing the authenticity of your banjo. Remove the back of your banjo--the resonator--to see the serial number if it isn't on the back of the peghead.

1930 Gibson Granada Banjo Demo from Peghead Nation

Loosen the screws attaching the back to the banjo. The screws are large enough that you can do this with your fingers, and a screwdriver won't be necessary.

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You may see the serial number stamped into the wooden rim of the banjo's body or written inside the resonator in chalk. Check that the configuration of the serial number is right for the time period.


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Go to the official Gibson website or check a list of Gibson serial numbers see Resources. These lists will tell you what year your banjo was manufactured and what style it is.

The numbering system used by Gibson to choose their serial numbers was counterintuitive during their prewar period. Knowing if your Gibson banjo is a prewar or postwar model will help you understand the serial number. There are many styles of Gibson banjos, and there is a lot of variation within those styles.

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Gibson's with no Serial Numbers - Discussion Forums - Banjo Hangout

Even if your banjo doesn't match the description of a Gibson exactly, it may still be one. The prewar Gibson Mastertone banjo is the rarest and most valuable model of Gibson banjo, so it is the most likely to be faked.

If you have an old banjo and a verifiable ship-date, please contact me! Every point of data helps progress our knowledge about this important time in banjo history. Please send me an email if you have any comments, corrections, or if you wish to contribute any information or pictures. The date ranges below have been updated to reflect recent documentation that points to earlier production dates for banjos in the and ranges.

With the database of known serial-numbered banjos at hand, we can do some fun analyses!

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As you can see, the vast majority of these desirable vintage banjos were actually styles 3 and 75, the low-end of the 's Gibson Banjo Product line. There are many "gaps" in the batch runs, as far as the "known" banjos as of today. If you know anything about these banjos: Looking for Banjos with Serial Number , I would be delighted to hear from you - click here: Information on Gibson Serial number.

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