12/26/2015

1965 Gibson PB-100 Plectrum Banjo




Update 2016: I received this in trade and now it's for sale. I updated the photos and description where needed. FYI, a K&K pickup is installed for gig use.

While there were numerous examples of the tenor version of this banjo (TB-100), the PB-100 is a rarer bird. It features a 26 3/8" scale 4-string neck compared to the 22 3/4" tenor neck and has the standard Gibson multi-ply maple rim with a bigger brass hoop tonering.

Work on this included a light fret level/dress, replacement (compensated) bridge, a good cleaning, K&K pickup install, and a restring for DGBE (Chicago) tuning. It'll also work tuned CGBD, too.

It has a good, full tone, with an extra touch of bass and sweetness to the high end compared to something like a full-on Gibson tonering sound (read: Mastertone rings). I would think that at the time this was built the only market for this instrument truly would've been for older Dixieland players -- and the more "rounded" tone really suits the strummed chords of the style, if not entirely single-note picking. It also has a great fingerpicked tone, too. The soundclip sounds slightly thin only because I had to back the banjo off from the mic a lot (it's loud).


Everything on the 'jo is original save bridge and head (an Elite-branded FiberSkyn type). This would have a lot "poppier" tone with something like a Renaissance or frosted-top type.


Thank goodness for a nice, functional truss rod and geared pegs.


Standard Gibson old-style "jumbo" frets are installed and the dots are pearloid. The neck is mahogany (with lots of finish weather-check) and the board is, from what I can tell, Brazilian rosewood.



The bridge is an all-maple, fiddle-maple style bridge that I've compensated for DGBE/CGBD tuning.






There's no mistaking that sunburst for anything but a '60s spray job. I like!


The tuners are still going strong.


Note the weather-check all over the neck.




Here's the jack output for the K&K pickup.


Here's the slight delamination at the resonator edges (inside). This is on both the treble/bass sides of the resonator.


A period, hard, Epiphone-branded case comes with it. I'm guessing that this is original as I've seen plenty of Epi-badged Gibson-made banjos come with these cases from the time.

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