1957 Gibson RB-250 banjo with FON 7078-93. Information was acquired from an archived Banjo Hangout classified which read:
Another fine banjo with an interesting history, and now it’s time to move it along to someone else who appreciates the Bowtie era. This is one of the very nice early ones, #7078-93 (1957), distinguished by the Mastertone block on the second-to-last fret and a final pearl Bowtie on the last fret.
I acquired this banjo on the day after Christmas, 2008–and it was in pretty poor shape. The neck was structurally sound, but in need of some major work–cosmetics to fill the old tuner holes, multiple finish problems, bare wood where the lacquer had worn off, cracking lacquer where intact, etc. Nevertheless, I played it for a while because it had an excellent sound with a wide window of setup possibilities. With the head tuned low and a thicker bridge, it was hard to tell it was an archtop. The sound was full and the fourth string had some good depth. At higher head tensions with a more acute tailpiece angle and a thinner bridge, it had all the volume and crispness of the archtops we played in the 60’s.
But the cosmetics of the neck bothered me. So, in the early summer of 2010, I asked our friend Bill Hayes if he’d look over the neck and see if he thought he could restore it to like-new condition cosmetically, as well as enhance the playability. I also sent Bill the resonator, which was not as bad off as the neck, but still pretty rough after 53 years. Bill worked his magic on the neck, restoring the fingerboard, installing new wide frets, and doing a beautiful job of refinishing it to match the resonator. He also repaired a pickup jack in the resonator sidewall but decided not to refinish it, and it remains rougher but a nice match to the neck. The hardware shows some typical wear, but is in good shape.
I’ve played it (and admired it) since then, and it remains a fine sounding banjo whose neck is profoundly comfortable to play and looks exceptionally nice.
Includes the original Lifton case. All original structural components except the geared fifth string tuner and a new coordinator rod.