11/11/2011

c.1920 Gibson MB-JR Banjo Mandolin


I just finished a setup and light fret dress on this banjo-mando for a customer of mine. This is a '20s MB-JR (mandolin-banjo junior) model Gibson and it conforms to the other Junior instruments (stripped-down, no-frills, but excellent quality) of the time. I dampened the tone on this one just slightly with a mute from behind and a mute under the tailpiece cover -- both to cut down on weird harmonics and overtones typical with banjo-mandos.

Here's a video of me playing it:




Cool snakehead headstock with ebony nut and board. Frets were a bit chewn up so I had to dress them to get the most out of this.


Simple pearl dots.


I tried using a slightly heavier mando-style bridge on this to cut down on overtones but it had too much of a muting effect on such a small head (this one is only 9" wide) so I went back to the banjo-style bridge it came with (the only non-original part on this instrument).



This is an elegant little banjo -- simple but very well built and sturdy. The hardware and build just emit confidence all around.




Label.



Tuners work just fine.



Note the piece of foam to lightly mute the head.




...and it has a fantastic little shaped case too!

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