The Gibson RB-250 is the most standard and also one of the most common models of five-string Mastertone. It was introduced in 1954 and in that original version it had "bowtie" fingerboard inlays. In 1970 Gibson revised the model to have something called a "varied pattern" mother of pearl inlay sequence on the fingerboard - but for the most part, since the last inlay depicts a flying bird, we and many other people who are not yet institutionalized call it "Flying Birdie." This revised version has an ebony fingerboard, a mahogany neck and resonator, a black-painted rim with an oval gold Gibson interior label that just says the company name and location in Nashville, TN and nothing else. It has nickel-plated hardware.
Like so many banjos, this shows a small amount of oxidation on the metal parts and will have been professionally cleaned by our repair staff – so less of it will remain. We have also gone ahead and replaced the Mylar head – so now the banjo looks newish and moose’d beautiful. And of course, while we were at it, we preformed a set-up and restring. This fine bluegrass instrument has an added sliding fifth string capo on the bass side of the fretboard, it shows light normal signs of use and wear including some belt buckle impressions (just on the surface) on the back of the resonator that do not penetrate the finish, and other minor scratches, scuffs, dings and indications of use. The Gibson RB-250 is a very fine instrument for the talented amateur or slightly less than full-time professional. It fulfills all of the requirements for excellence in sound, playability and maintaining a connection with the distant past, namely Late 1945 when Earl Eugene Scruggs (who was born January 6, 1924) – at age 21 -- joined Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys.