Gibson (used, 1935) TB-11 Tenor Banjo

Tag No 39-2381 Used
This item is NOW ON SALE!

#ISI2052, no serial number, in very good condition with the original hard shell case.

The TB-11 was one of Gibson’s highest level non-Mastertone tenor banjos.    It has the greatly desired “one-piece” flange and the tragically yearned-for ultimate rim construction that renders ecstatic the person who wishes to convert this to a five-string banjo by way of having a new 5-stirng neck made for it and installing a first class tone ring.    The back of its maple resonator is pearloid covered and has a large four-point pastel-color flower whose petals are dark cherry sunburst, with some flourishes between the petals, and this is bordered in yellow with a black fluted border similar to a wreath.  

Its original tuners are “Grover Pat” geared with grained ivoroid buttons.  The top and back edges of the resonator are bound in yellow celluloid.  There is some green oxidation on around half of the brass ring that sits under the apparently original skin head; there is a small amount of rust indicated on the single full coordinator rod inside the instrument (which is accompanied by a stump with a cap).   It retains its “The Gibson” oval interior label, and its inner rim is finished in black, as it should be.  This banjo was made during a relatively brief window of time in which it could be ordered with a bell-shaped truss cover made of aluminum!  The tailpiece appears to be original – we first thought it a replacement but since then we have looked at images of other folks’ TB-11 banjos and sure enough we see the same tailpiece!     This instrument shows normal signs of use and wear including scuffs on the headstock and elsewhere, nicks, scratches and dings.   The case appears to be original – lined in green fabric, but the case pocket is a bit loose.    

In the interests of full disclosure we are advising that this banjo does show a bow in the neck -- not enough to affect playability - it plays just fine as a tenor banjo -- and we need to point out that the truss rod turns but does not seem to affect the straightness of the neck.  Of course if the reason you are purchasing the instrument is to convert to bluegrass by way of a five-string neck then this factoid becomes academic.   There is some finish wear on the upper treble side of the resonator, and there is wear showing in the form of finger erosion of the finish on the back of the neck including finish checking which is chipping.  There is also finish checking on the celluloid back of the resonator.  Please don’t let this concentration on the negatives depress you – most one-piece flange Gibson prewar banjos would be likely to show the same or similar changes from “brand new.”  

The important thing is that this banjo’s “best and highest purpose” is as a bluegrass five-string banjo (you can always hold onto the tenor neck so that if tenor banjo playing comes back strong in the third decade of the 21st century you’ll be ready.     The repair work is now completed and, happily on display in our High End Banjo Room  it turns out to be spiffy, cleaned up, full of bliss and vinegar, and suitable for music making in the parking lot, long after the last act at the festival has gone home.   OUR PRICE WAS $3608 BUT NOW ON SALE FOR:


Our SALE Discount Price is $3,091.00 and Our SALE Cash Discount Price is $2,999.00.

Sorry, this item has been sold.
You may still add it to your want list, and we will contact you if your desired instrument comes in!

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