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Featured Inventory Archives 1999-2012

Gruhn Guitars Roy Smeck electric banjo

Gibson Roy Smeck electric banjo


Roy Smeck was one of the first instrumental stars of the guitar and banjo world. Known as The Wizard of the Strings, his performance prowess was filmed by Vitaphone in 1927 in what was essentially the first music video. In the 1930s he endorsed a pair of acoustic Hawaiian models for Gibson while he continued his solo career playing electric as well as acoustic instruments.

At the dawn of the electric guitar era, Gibson put pickups on everything, including mandolins and banjos. Around 1937, Gibson apparently tapped Roy Smeck to endorse an electric tenor banjo, and this first example of an ETB has a flange and resonator that the later production model (not endoresed by Smeck) lacked. The top is made of wood, like the later ETB, but is finished white (along with the rest of the rim and neck). The "Charlie Christian" style pickup would also be standard equipment on an ETB, but this one is fitted with a mechanism to raise and lower the pickup height. The gold-plated, one-piece flange is engraved, and the armrest is the same as on the Style 18 top-tension model of the same period. This unique instrument is in excellent condition and is fully functional. With a hard case, it is SOLD.

This instrument is SOLD

Close of body
Inside
Knob area
Fingerboard
Headstock
Back of headstock
Back of neck
Neck heel
Back view
Back of body