Pre War Seminar

Make Plans now to join us in October 21, 2017

for the next

Jim Mills Pre War Gibson Seminar

Only $195.00 per person

***Due to very limited seating your purchase is non-refundable***
 first come, first served

Be among the first to be notified of the next gathering! :  Click Here to be placed on the Pre Registration List for the Next Seminar.  you will receive a periodic Newsletter keeping you in the loop first.  The newsletter also contains exclusive links and articles ranging from unpublished tablature of banjo solos played by Jim Mills to banjo setup tips and Pre War Identification help!


JimMils1Come join six-time Grammy Award Winner and IBMA Banjo Player of the Year, Jim Mills for a rare, up close and in depth study of the Pre War Gibson MASTERTONE Banjo. This is a rare, one day only, “hands on” experience to be held in Jim’s own “Banjo Showroom” where he houses the largest personally owned collection of Original Pre War Flathead Five-String Mastertones ever assembled. You will get the extraordinary opportunity to see, discuss, experience, touch, and even play some of the rarest banjos in existence including the “Mack Crow” Gold Plated RB-75, the “Snuffy Jenkins” RB-4, the “Bill Worrell” RB-75, the “African Queen” RB-3, plus other rare flathead banjos, some of which are featured in Jim’s book Gibson MASTERTONE Flathead 5-String Banjos of the 1930’s and 1940’s. You will also see one of the most fascinating collections of banjo memorabilia including rare parts, original catalogs, photographs and even items from the Flatt and Scruggs era that helped make bluegrass what it is today!

Read the Banjo Newsletter Article describing the Seminar in detail by clicking here

Only $195.00 per person

Recommended Accommodations: Courtyard Raleigh Durham Airport 2001 Hospitality Court Morrisville, NC 27560 (919) 467-9444 with a special room rate of $99.00 per night.

A special meet and great will be held on Friday, October 20 at 7:00PM in the Durham Meeting Room of the Courtyard Raleigh Durham Airport Hotel.  Bring your banjo!

 Buy Your Ticket online by Clicking Here

This Seminar is Brought to you in part by:

Acoustic Box LLC Specializing in Banjo Repair    &    Johnson Family BBQ

Click Here to view over 300 high definition photos from the last Pre War Gibson Banjo Seminar held on April 15, 2017.

Click Here to view over 300 high definition photos from our Pre War Banjo seminar held on October 15, 2016.

Click Here to view the high definition photos from our Pre War Banjo seminar held on April 16, 2016.

Click here to view the photos from the October 17th, 2015 Seminar


Watch this video of shots taken from the very first Pre War Gibson  Seminar with Jim Mills

Here are what people who have attended this Prewar Gibson Mastertone Seminar in the past have to say:

I really enjoyed the Seminar considering that I had a inner ear trouble went to doctor Monday. Well enjoy it better next time. But the complete Seminar and all the commendations were outstanding and very professional In every way. The Residence inn could not have been any better. It was close too Mr. Mills Home and easy Accessible to and from Interstate Hwy. It had a very comfort atmosphere, and Mr. and Mrs. Mils are very good host .

Thanks again

Dannie R. Cashwell

I was actually thinking about writing a letter to say how well done I think the seminar was.  In particular I appreciate how welcome you and Jim made everyone feel.  I hope in the next year or so to attend again and bring my son.

I think the setting for Saturday added a lot to the experience.  If it had been in a conference room somewhere I think it would not have had the atmosphere of being in a home and with all the various banjos, parts and pictures I don’t know how you would create the same experience.

Eating on the patio was great and the food was a treat.  I wish I had some more of that cake.

I think think the way Jim went through the banjo evolution was very informative as well as going through all the parts and what parts are original and ones that are replacements.  I liked the stores about how Jim acquired the banjos.  I have been to South Africa so I identified with that story.

I think impressed would be the word I would use for the feelings I had about the event.  The setting, the friendliness, seeing the passion for the banjos and history all made it a not to miss event.  It’s great that you guys are sharing this.

I think the Residence in was good for me.  I think my room at least was plenty roomy and the price was good thanks to the discount.  I booked a couple weeks ago and they gave me the break even though I had missed the time period.  I suppose the host there was OK.  I normally don’t expect too much from hotel staff.  I thought there was enough parking and breakfast and eating area seemed pretty good.

On the event a very minor thing.  I think when we were all passing around the banjo parts near the cabinet.  That seemed a little tight but I suppose Jim was pulling parts out of the cabinet and understand that but this is a very minor point.

Again Kevin I thank you and Jim and Richie for the experience.

Allen Townsend

I attended your seminar this past weekend and just wanted to say thank you for a world class, once in a lifetime experience! The knowledge and experience you have in the world of Prewar Gibson Banjos is absolutely amazing!

There is one question that I failed to ask that I was hoping you could answer for me. What techniques and products do you use to clean up resonators and metal parts in order to get a banjo ready to sell?

Thanks again to you and your wife for your genuine hospitality!

Jeff Williamson

… “The entire event was fantastic, beyond words! Jim seemed just as thrilled to have us there as we all were to BE there! What a great host, and generous man to share his knowledge; especially to let us all in to his “vault”, and get to see, and handle these exceptional banjos. If he ever does this again, be sure to go …”

Tom Flack – Fishers, Indiana

“WOW!!  What a great weekend. Well worth the tiring coast-to-coast flights. Jim was an incredibly gracious host, a passionate and informative lecturer/story teller/historian and a great friend. Yes, he let us play the Mack Crowe, the Snuffy and the African Queen…WOW!!! What an experience! It was SO cool!”

Daniel Varadi – Seattle, Washington

“This seminar was not only extraordinary, but with the chance to play the African Queen no-hole RB-3, the Snuffy Smith RB-4, and the Mack Crow RB-75 and it was off the charts.”

Barnet Malin – Santa Monica, California

“…What an experience! Just to think about being in the home of one of the top 10 banjo pickers of our generation and listening to him talk passionately about these banjos almost seems surreal. Jim and his wife are two of the most gracious people around, and they really went out of their way to make all of us feel very welcome in their home. I just stood there staring in his China cabinet at the 6 Grammy Awards and the 6 IBMA Banjo Player of the Year awards…”

Darrell Kidd – Randleman, North Carolina

“What an honor to have attended. A lifetime experience…Thanks to Mr. Jim Mills!”

George Seymour – Waterbury, Vermont

“Jim’s warm and friendly personality coupled with his encyclopedic knowledge of Gibson Pre World War II banjos was a thrill for everyone in attendance.  When I got to actually pass around pieces and parts (including a pre war flathead tone ring, an original 5-string neck and more) of these rare banjos I gained real, hands-on insight into the history, development and evolution of what makes up the banjos against which all others are judged.  Getting to play a number of original, flathead five string Gibson Mastertone banjos, some of which still had their original Rogers 3-Star head, was just icing on an already indulgent cake! I didn’t want the day to end!”

 Richie Dotson – Chesterfield, Virginia

A special Pre Seminar meet and greet will be held at the hotel (to be announced) with Jim Mills on Friday 7:00 to 9:00 PM

This Seminar is conveniently located in the Raleigh/Durham area, only 20 minutes from the airport.

For help registering, or for more information, please call Richie Dotson at (757) 613-9627 or e-mail Richie at:

More Information is available online at or at 

Seating is strictly limited– first come, first served, so early registration is highly recommended.

Curriculum: (subject to change depending on time restrictions)

10:00 – 10:30  –  A Study and discussion of catalog descriptions from original 1930’s Gibson catalogs and brochures, including getting to see many of the actual items described.

10:30 – 11:00  –  Extensive hands on study of Gibson’s different designations and models, such as TB, PB, RB, style 1, 2, 3, 4, Granada, etc.

11:00 – 12:00  –  Detailed study of different wood types, metal plating, binding, and inlay patterns the Gibson factory utilized during the Pre War years.

12:00 – 1:00  –  Lunch of North Carolina Style Barbeque and Chicken Sponsored by Johnson Family BBQ

1:00 – 2:00  –  A hands on study of important changes that were implemented during the late 1930’s until World War II.

2:00 – 3:30  –  A study of the rarest of The Original 1930’s Five-String Flathead RB Mastertones! Experience in person, six of these banjos including their Original Redline Cases, accessories, and more!

3:30 – 4:00  –  Jim demonstrates the tone of each of these rare and coveted banjos and explores their unique tonal characteristics and response.

4:00 – 5:00  –  We conclude with the most exciting part of our Pre War Banjo Journey – the hands on discussion!  At this juncture Jim will answer any questions about anything pertaining to the subject or about any of the rare and wonderful objects in the room.  Those who demonstrate the proper respect for these rare musical instruments may be able to touch, and even play, items from Jim Mills personal collection!

Plenty of question and answer time will be provided during each segment of the day.

Limited Seating is available, so early reservations are highly recommended!

Only $195.00 per person

Recommended Accommodations: Courtyard Raleigh Durham Airport 2001 Hospitality Court Morrisville, NC 27560 (919) 467-9444 with a special room rate of $99.00 per night.

A special meet and great will be held on Friday, October 20 at 7:00PM in the Durham Meeting Room of the Courtyard Raleigh Durham Airport Hotel.  Bring your banjo!

***Due to very limited seating your purchase is non-refundable***
First come, first served 

 Buy Your Ticket online by Clicking Here