“Things that are old and proven are not always out of date – they never are when Gibson makes them … the ‘old time’ 5-string banjo, as made by Gibson, is the most beautiful of all banjos in the hands of an artist,” – Gibson catalog, circa 1939.
For more than 85 years the Gibson banjo has been at the forefront of such musical genres as country, bluegrass, Celtic and now country-rock music. The hallowed history of this great instrument has produced a great many classic models through the years, none more revered than the pre-war RB-75. Gibson Original Instruments proudly recreates this celebrated instrument in the form of the Limited Edition RB-75VL Custom Banjo – a stunning new model that is finished in Gibson’s vintage lacquer formulation, and accurately captures the tone and look of the most classic and sought after pre-war Gibson banjos. The new Limited Edition RB-75VL Custom Banjo is born from Gibson’s traditional Masterone-style designs of the mid 1930s, which included the popular “top tension” models of 1937 and fast became a favorite of tone-conscious pickers everywhere. The RB-75s of that era were used my such major artists from Curtis McPeake to J.D. Crowe to Sammy Shelor, and the model shares popular tonal features such as the flat-head tone ring and one-piece flange that contribute to the sounds of other great Gibson models used by bluegrass revolutionaries such as Earl Scruggs and Don Reno. Other popular features of the original RB-75 — all of which are duplicated on the Limited Edition RB-75VL Custom Banjo — include its mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, mahogany resonator, double-cut peghead, RB-75 tone ring, white binding and nickel-plated hardware. Pearl “flying eagle” fingerboard inlays add a touch of elegance, while a genuine bone nut helps to keep the tone strong and true. The RB-75VL is also finished with an older formulation of lacquer that replicates the vintage lacquer used on pre-war RB-75 banjos and lets the wood breath with less restraint, helping to free up the tone of the instrument. Its resultant rich amber brown color makes an entirely fitting visual complement to the vintage leanings of this great Custom Banjo. The Limited Edition RB-75VL Custom Banjo brings back a legend, but only for as long as they last. Only 15 of these prized banjos will be produced, and each one will comes with a shaped Gibson hardshell case and a Certificate of Authenticity.