Sign up for our mailing list to receive daily inventory updates and news from Gruhn Guitars


The World’s Premier Guitar Store

Featured Inventory Archives 1999-2012

Gibson Top Tension

Gibson Custom Top Tension Tenor, 1939

In 1937, Gibson solved a perceived problem in banjo design by placing making the head-tension adjustments accessible from the top of the head, so that players did not have to remove the resonator to adjust the tension on the head. While the top-tension design did not survive World War II, the three models, Styles 7, 12 and 18, remain desirable today for their flat-head tone rings.

This example (inv. #JE2661) from 1939 falls between the Style 12 and Style 18. It has the maple resonator of the 18 (the 12 had walnut) but with unengraved chrome-plated hardware (the 12 had nickel hardware, the 18 engraved gold-plated). The large Art Deco fingerboard inlays were a feature of both models, and this example has its original flat-head tone ring. The tuners have been replace.

In excellen condition with orignal hard case, this banjo is offered at $40,000.

This instrument is SOLD

For further enjoyment...

Close of body
Armrest area
Back of headstock
Back of neck
Full back view