Bill’s Banjos


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Welcome to Bill’s Banjos! Now retired from my ‘day job,’ I am able to pursue a long time passion of old Gibson banjos! One major goal of this site is the production of a record of my banjo projects covering many years. A second goal is simply to use the information here as a means of conversation with other enthusiasts. And the third goal is to make the results of these projects available to the banjo community with the possibility of getting these fine instruments into the hands of players who will appreciate them as much as I do.


I emphasize this site is dedicated to ‘player’ banjos – NOT collectables. I must confess that I am a big fan of simple, vintage instruments (such as Gibson Style 1s, 2s, 00s, etc.) that can be excellent banjos as to tone, playability, and character. These instruments (under my stewardship) have been treated with great care; however, most do show the common wear and tear of many years of use. To me, this ‘vintage’ look and feel only add to the character.


NOTE: The following banjos are available ONLY via personal appointments. I travel on a regular basis to bluegrass festivals in the Southeast and will be happy to have instruments with me as interest is shown. I prefer to deal person to person and do not wish to pursue the hassles of shipping and risk damage to these instruments. I also feel that musical instruments are very personal and that what is a fit for one person may not be for another. As a result, I feel it is very important for anyone in the market for an instrument to be able to play the instrument before considering a purchase.


Click HERE for communications with Bill. (Please use email to establish communications. Thanks.) I am also available via the Banjo Hangout as RB100.


Available banjos (Pre-war Conversions):


8245 – 50   TB-2 1926*

8254 - 28

TB-1 1926*

8259 - 49

TB-1 & PB-1 1926*

8359 – 22

TB-1 1926*

8413 - 39

TB-2 1926*

8718 - 17

TB-1 1927*

8930 – 12

TB-0 1928*

9439 - 11

TB-1 1929*

Kalamazoo Conversion

TB-00 Conversion

Mid 30s-WWII




*As per Spann's Guide To Gibson 1902-1941, Joe Spann, Centerstream Publishing, LLC, 2011.


Non Pre-war Available Offerings:


Aria Pro II (late 1970s) Maple with Cox rim and Hatfield gold plated 20 hole tone ring

Gibson RB100 (1965) Original neck and resonator with Hatfield pot - 266-16-56 (resonator) 265301 (back of peghead)


RB1 Gibson Reissue (1994) 1-9404-03


Gibson Parts Banjo (Arthur Hatfield neck and resonator and Frank Neat pot with mid 60s Gibson RB100 hardware)


Gibson Style Parts (replica) Banjo (Wyatt Fawley neck and resonator with First Quality Music pot)


Goldstar GF100W (mid eighties)


Goldstar GF200 1952 (2009) 1 of 12 produced in 2009 as a custom order. 


Banjo Parts: Coming soon! (tone rings, necks, miscellaneous hardware) I hope to start listing in the near future. 9/9/16


I wish to thank several folks who have provided assistance in this quest. Arthur Hatfield has provided the conversion work for several of the instruments and the banjo world is well aware of the quality of his conversions as well as his Hatfield banjos. I am fortunate to own Hatfield Buck Creek #33 and it is a wonderful instrument that is not for sale.


Joe Spann has been involved with Gibson banjos for many years and has written the definitive book for collectors. Spann's Guide To Gibson 1902-1941 should be in every banjo owner’s library for the historical information including everything on these wonderful old banjos ranging from batch numbers to diagrams, photos, to factory order numbers (FON) and much, much more. My thanks go to Mr. Spann for his efforts in pulling together this information and making it available to those of us who may be characterized as obsessed with ‘old Gibson banjos!’


Greg Earnest is well known for his site dedicated to the history of Gibson Mastertone banjos. If you are not familiar with this site, you owe it to yourself to check it out and study the wealth of information Greg has amassed. Greg is also a great banjo player of the Atlanta area in addition to being a student of old Gibson Mastertones.


Another book that I highly recommend is Gibson Mastertone: Flathead 5-String Banjos of the 1930s and 1940s by Jim Mills. Mr. Mills is a talented banjoist as well as historian and collector of Gibson Mastertone banjos. This book has documented many of the iconic instruments of Gibson banjos of the ‘golden era (roughly mid-1920s through the beginning of the 1940s).’ This was a labor of love with wonderful photos and documentation of instruments well known to collectors.


Like many banjo players, I enjoy reading about the history of all aspects of the banjo. One especially interesting topic to me is the history of National finger picks. Dean Hoffmeyer has pulled together a great history at his National Finger Picks web page! Dean is also producing modern finger picks building on his knowledge. Enjoy!


Bill Brown, Ed.D.


North Georgia Bluegrass Chronicles