Instruments & Gear: Vintage Vault

1927 Gibson Style 5 Deluxe

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Bill Evans demonstrates a classic Gibson banjo.

by Teja Gerken
September 27, 2018

Gibson Style 5 banjos were made from 1923 to 1929, and about 100 Style Deluxes (with solid cast tone rings) were made in 1927 and 1928. Ralph Stanley famously played a Gibson Style 5 Deluxe for much of the 1960s and ’70s, and in this video, Peghead Nation instructor Bill Evans demonstrates a 1927 Style 5 Deluxe that’s nearly identical to the one played by Stanley.

Like a number of vintage banjos, this instrument was originally built by Gibson as a four-string tenor banjo, but was fitted with a five-string neck by master neck builder Randy Wood more than 30 years ago. As is typical for a Style 5, the instrument has a walnut neck and resonator. Its two-piece flange and archtop tone ring contribute to its distinctive, bright, sound, and it includes the original Kirschner tailpiece as well as planetary tuning pegs with large pearl buttons. With its beautiful wood purfling and engraving, the Style 5 Deluxe is a fancy banjo, and at a time when a Ford Model T cost $360, its original sales price of $250 put it at the top end of Gibson’s line of banjos.

To study banjo with Bill Evans, enroll in his Beginning Banjo or Bluegrass Banjo courses now!

Category: Instruments & Gear

Comments and Discussion

Posted by William McClean on
Hello Bill,
Warm greeting from N Ireland. I only started playing my Banjo in 2010! I have 2, beautiful Custom made Banjos for me. One called Saratoga Star Tenbrook Banjo and the other one is called Boston Banjo. Warm greeting from N Ireland. Mr William Mcclean
Posted by Jim DiSabito on
Great video! Thanks Bill.
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