Bill Evans demonstrates a classic Gibson banjo.
by Teja Gerken
May 18, 2017
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.
Comments and Discussion
Leave a Reply
Please enter your email address and name to join the conversation on Peghead Nation.
Start Learning Today
One Course: $20/month or $200/year
Two Courses: $30/month or $300/year
Access to All Courses: $100/month
Peghead Nation’s String School is your source for roots music instruction, bringing you full courses in guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, fiddle, and Dobro, featuring talented instructors, high-quality video instruction, accurate notation and tab, and fun songs to play right from the beginning. Enroll and become a Peghead today!