Vintage Instruments: Gibson Guitars

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1929 Gibson TB-3 Conversion

A professionally converted Gibson TB-3, this instrument features its original rim, archtop tone ring, tube and plate flange, tension ring, brackets, mounting hardware and armrest. The rim measures a full ¾” in thickness, and has retained its original Mastertone decal and finish. The conversion 5 string neck is built with 5 laminations, with figured maple and a center reinforcement line. The original Mastertone inlay appears to have been salvaged from the banjo’s first neck, as were the tuners. Since then a pair of Keith tuners have been installed and the original G and B tuners are in the case pocket. Double-cut headstock, bound and non-radiussed ebony fingerboard, bold inlays. The resonator is original to the banjo, with matching FONs. It was refinished to match the neck at the time of the conversion.

We don’t have knowledge as to who built the neck, but it was nicely made and quite some time ago; perhaps in the 1970’s. The finish on the back of the neck shows wear consistent with that estimate.

This TB-3 Conversion plays easily, with an excellent neck angle and a 5/8” Snuffy Smith bridge. The frets appear to have been dressed fairly recently, and although a bit on the low side, play cleanly. Nut width of 1.25”.

With early 70’s Gibson Hardshell case.

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