1976 Gibson RB-100
1976 Gibson RB-100. 1976. 48 years ago. The year of not only the bicentennial of the United States, but also my high school graduation. The significant memory I have of that era of my life is the class of ’76 was required to choose class colors. One would think with such a historic landmark us ‘76ers would choose the hues of the American flag; red, white, and blue. Nope. Somehow the stoners got the vote with (Panama) red and (Acapulco) gold. While those of us in Northeast Ohio were snickering behind the backs of the school administration, in Kalamazoo, Michigan a darn decent 5-string banjo was being created in the Parsons Street factory. This RB-100 follows the catalog description of the day. The neck is 3-piece mahogany (unless you include the peghead “ears”, then it is 5 pieces) with a 26-3/8” scale rosewood fretboard. The fiddle shape peghead has no overlay and the (Acapulco?) gold Gibson decal aa well as the original Gibson branded Schaller tuners. The 11” diameter thin multiply rim has a one-piece flange (slightly pulled), 24 hooks and nuts, and a Waverly style tailpiece. All the metal rim parts are chrome plated. Due to the hole for lower coordinator rod’s tailpiece hole being misdrilled, we made a tailpiece bracket that attaches to the flange to center the tailpiece correctly. The resonator is maple with a walnut stain matching the color of the neck. Repairs and maintenance include; Refret, new top frosted Remo head, cleaning, slight shim on neck heel, minor neck reset, sliding 5th string capo removed and holes filled, 5th string railroad spike capos installed at 7, 9, and 10th frets, previously mentioned tailpiece bracket, and cleaning. Now it’s a good looking and great playing banjo from the days of my youth. At 8-3/4 pounds it is not the back breaker that an RB-250 from the same time is. Tone? Being a clawhammer player I cannot do it justice for bluegrass, but it is loud, warm and has a slight hollow sound that works very well for old-time music. We’ll put it in the hands of a bluegrass player in the next few weeks and report back then. Price is $1,500 and the original, solid condition Ess & Ess hard case is included.