1926 Gibson

FON 8166-20
  Ball Bearing Rim Assembly, with all balls, springs and washers correct
11" Archtop
Correct neck, 8000 series, but not original
Modern Mahogany Resonator with new finish and hardware
Replacement Armrest

My goal is to make a fine player that is priced much lower than an original example in VG condition.

These are excellent as Irish (GDAE) banjos and the Virtuoso Gerry O'Connor has a ball bearing Gibson, that many have seen and heard (tuned CGDA) on his recordings.


Rim is generally VG, has some delamination on the bottom side I will seal and touch up the finish to match

1926 FON #

A few non original nuts, I will put correct orig or repro, whatever I have handy.
Flange will be re-used regardless of moronic drilling.
I will just put a full set of washers under the nuts, problem solved.

Sealing the de-lams with #10 CA

Turns my stomach, but oh well, I have done worse!
We all get some notion that we need to "enlarge" things.

Sealed and sanded, ready for some color

Cheery, with a med brown tint I blotched in to give a close patina to the other area
I will steel wool that to satin finish


24 of these setups , all in this condition
No refinish will be added to rim, just the repaired area that was shown

Cleaned and ready to assemble

I removed the Grover tuners that match the style that was on the TB 3 neck that I had in stock.
It is not from this rim, but is an 8000 series neck
No finish will be applied to the neck, I will dress the frets and set it up as it is.


Washers added
 Setup on used head for now, I will put whatever I want on it when I am done with the work.
Original bottom rod and top nut used instead of upper rod.
If one comes in, Ill add it on, and to the price.
Modern tail piece bracket

Grover window style tailpiece, from that era., no cover, but all tabs present
New bridge

New resonator
(Recording King - Mahogany Bare wood- double bound)
This banjo came with a Maple  veneer resonator from Gibson but came to me with a TB258 Bowtie resonator on it that was used on another project.
So I am using Stew Mac Nitro, in Cherry, and then a medium brown tinted nitro, and then clear coats
Black will be used on the inside
You can see on the rim, the original color so I will get as close as I can on the mahogany.

3 coats Cherry, binding is taped off

The medium brown tint coat...binding tape pulled

Ready for clear

A close match to the original

Lugs added to resonator, checking the thumbscrew fit

Now I will take it back down and "Finish the finish"

Neck got frets up to the 10th and now taking on new tint and clear coats
Resonator still getting clear
1920s Epiphone Banjo uke coming along at the same time.

A few more to go, and then I will stop and get a the rim assembly finalized.

Rim work completed, new REMO bottom frosted medium crown
Outside tube bead painted in cherry nitro to make it pop with the rest of the new finish
Nothing done on rim inside.

Now just a few more clear coats on resonator and neck and it will be ready to assemble.

I opted for new Gotoh 4:1 gears, so just filled the old screw  holes in the peghead

Now for the last coats of clear on the resonator

Chalked in the FON# with soap stone and wiped it down to fade it

Ready to buff and assemble


Plays up and down very nicely with low action
Gig ready, now it needs a good home.
 Please inquire if you have an interest.
Thanks for watching, Vinnie