Buy and Sell
A more personal approach to Buying or Selling… and, “Can I really afford a Pre War Gibson Banjo?”….YES YOU CAN!!!
Here at Jim Mills Banjo….I practice a little different philosophy concerning buying and selling than some…..first of all let me say that ….In the past 20 years…I’ve never needed to employ a website of any kind… to buy or sell these fine old banjos….
It’s my opinion that a “Great Banjo” will sell itself…..and rather than throwing a bunch of banjo photos up on a website and forgetting about them…… I’ve always preferred to conduct business on a more…. “Personal Level”……if you will ….. I truly enjoy communicating… “One on One”… with perspective customers to try and determine exactly what he or she might be looking for in a Banjo….and also just what their expectations or limitations may be……I then make it my goal ……to mate “just the right banjo” with… “just the right person”…..and I’m happy to say that even after all these years….I’ve never failed to have a satisfied customer in the end…..my sincere hope is that this Website will allow me to communicate… more Globally… with anyone truly interested in experiencing the difference, in these wonderful old Pre War Gibson Banjos….
I generally have banjos coming and going at such a rapid rate that it would honestly be futile to try and post photos and descriptions of them all….I’d be putting them up and taking them down almost constantly…..some sell as soon as they arrive, and some even before, etc……so I’ll just try to convey the majority of what type banjos I sell…..and strive to keep on hand at all times…***1930‘s “Pre War Gibson Conversion Banjos“ as they’re known in the trade today….…most of which started life as 4 string banjos…..and have been converted to 5 string flathead with the addition of the best of modern components…. in the way of tonerings and 5 string necks….
If someone were to tell you in passing… …that they have a….. “Pre War Gibson Banjo“…..it’s 99% most likely a “Pre War Gibson Conversion Banjo”…of some configuration…as this is the most commonly encountered Pre War Gibson Banjo today…..
*****However…***** I still continue to buy and sell several 1930’s and 40’s …Completely Factory Original Pre War Gibson Flathead Mastertones… per year as well…..the fact remains that….they just don’t hang around for very long….if you know what I mean….
Just know…I handle nearly anything and everything you can think of relating to Pre War Gibson Banjos at some point throughout the year….so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you are considering buying or selling any Pre War Gibson Banjo….I’m a “Serious Qualified Buyer” of these banjos….and can generally make a cash offer in only a few minutes….if an agreement is made…. I can travel anywhere and make payment promptly…..and if you’re looking for anything in particular….I can more than likely locate it for you…..
**Can I really afford an Original Pre War Gibson Banjo**
YES YOU CAN!!!
Contrary to what many have believed for years…. these Original 1930’s Pre War Gibson Conversion banjos are priced well within their budgets….
At Jim Mills Banjo…..I strive to keep the largest inventory of the very best examples of 1930’s Pre War Gibson Style-1 and 2 conversion banjos for sale at all times…..and have several fine examples for sale right now…..and although I buy, sell, trade, and collect everything from “Original 1930’s Pre War Gibson 5 String Flathead Mastertone’s to these Tenor Style 1 and 2…. “Sub Mastertone’s“…. these Original Pre War Style 1 and 2 Conversion banjos make up the majority of what I sell …..if you’re not familiar with these particular banjos…..I’ll try to describe them in some detail here…the 1930’s one piece flange designed Gibson Style 1 and 2 conversion banjos are considered by many the real “workhorse of bluegrass banjos“….they have been played by many professionals over the years…..and their extremely gratifying “get what you pay for” no nonsense value is one of the main reasons….In my opinion these banjos are still grossly “undervalued” ….and represent a wonderful investment in today’s market….especially when compared to some of the newer replica banjo prices on the market today….….
The 1930’s Pre War Gibson Style 1’s were constructed of Maple woods, and stained a “rich dark chocolate brown”…..and featured nickel plated metal parts….they’re not fancy at all….just plain no nonsense….straight up sleek and powerful ….Pre War Gibson Bluegrass Banjos….The 1930’s style 2’s pot construction were basically identical to the style 1’s with the exception that they usually featured beautiful “Burl Walnut” resonator veneers which really set them off visually…..they did feature an upgrade to the Grover Presto Tailpiece and Grover “Pancake” tuners…
These two particular types of Pre War Gibson Banjos….the Original 1930’s Style 1 and 2 Conversions…. are in my opinion the “real sleepers” of the entire Pre War Gibson banjo line…and represent “The Absolute Best Value in any Pre War Gibson Banjo today”…..I actually have a hard time keeping them in stock…..and they sell about as fast as I can find and convert good clean 100% Original examples……I don’t have to beat people over the head with any kind of “sales pitch” either…once they play these banjos….they simply sell themselves….period..
The thing that is so often overlooked is the 1930’s Style 1 and 2 Gibson conversion banjos are basically identical in construction to the highly rare, and extremely desirable….”Original Flathead Mastertones” of the 1930’s and 40‘s….. which sell for tens of thousands of dollars today..… these 1930’s Style 1 and 2 conversion banjos wood rims, resonators, and all metal parts will actually “interchange” without any problems whatsoever in the Original Flathead Mastertones….but what most folks also fail to take into consideration is this…. these Original 1930’s Pre War Gibson Style 1 and 2 banjos were manufactured at the exact same time…. of the exact same materials… in the exact same Kalamazoo, Michigan Gibson Factory….. by the exact same Gibson factory worker’s hands…..the exact same hands that created the Original 1930’s Original Flathead Mastertone’s that are so coveted today….now isn’t that something…
The real kicker is….these fully Original 1930’s Pre War Style 1 and 2 Gibson “Conversion Banjos” can be purchased today at prices that very closely resemble that of any of the…..“newer replica style banjos“……that appear on the market today….
The only thing these Pre War Gibson Style 1’s and 2’s lacked originally when compared to the Original 1930’s Flathead Mastertone models….. was basically the tonering itself….and an extra coordinator rod….therefore when the highest quality modern components in the way of Flathead Tonerings and replica 5 string necks are combined with these fully Original 1930’s Pre War Gibson Banjo’s Pot Construction……These Original 1930’s Gibson Conversion banjos are hard to compete with indeed..…and represent the absolute closest possible look, sound, and playability to the Original Flathead Mastertone Banjos of the 1930‘s available today in my opinion…and when you really think about it…..how can anything made today be expected to compete with them? I’m often asked about the difference in tone….when comparing the new versus the old…….and in my opinion…the best way I know to describe it is…. I hear a more…. “Mature Tone”…..right away without question….. in these Original 1930’s Pre War Gibson Conversion banjos…….
Now I certainly understand that there are some who will prefer a….“Brand New Shiny Banjo”…. one that no one else has ever touched or played….then by all means….one of the newer “replica banjos” would certainly be the way for you to go….and many of the new banjo manufacturers are building some of the finest replica’s of these Original Pre War Gibson’s ever….but….please take this into account before spending your hard earned dollar….these newer builder’s are trying their absolute best to “replicate every feature that’s already present” on all of these Original 1930’s Pre War Gibson Conversion banjos that we’re speaking of…..That’s the most intriguing thing to me that is so often overlooked…. that…. All of these Original 1930’s Pre War Gibson Conversion banjos….. already have all these features.…..such as the Pre War Gibson Factory Wood Rims, Resonators, and all original Pre War metal hardware…..and it all came on them originally…. from the Gibson Factory…..in the 1930‘s!!!……they’ve had it all for over 75 years now!!!! It seems a “No Brainer” to me…..
Most of the highest quality “modern replica banjos” mentioned above retail in the neighborhood of between $5,000.00 to $6,000.00 today…..and the most common misconception after hearing the term….“Pre War Gibson Banjo”…today is to think… “I’ll never be able to afford one of those”….or to immediately think in terms of prices starting at $20,000.00 and up….which couldn’t be farther from the truth…
I sell these completely Original 1930’s Pre War Gibson Style 1 and 2 Conversion banjos in the $6,500.00 to $7,000.00 range regularly……..and this includes a personal “set up” by me…a “Letter of Authenticity”…. Guaranteeing the banjo to be 100% original in writing, a Deluxe Hardshell 5 string case….and their original tenor necks when available….
These banjos are ready to play anywhere……and are “Professional Grade” in every way…. They’re extremely powerful wonderful sounding….. solid…..no nonsense…. “Bluegrass Banjos”……
I often play them on stage with folks to break them in….and could be happy playing one of them every night…..
The real “Common Sense” question I continually find myself asking is….”why would anyone purchase a “replica” or “copy” of anything…..when they can own “An Original” for only slightly more”…
***The main focus of my business is this…..making folks completely satisfied with their purchase of a great Original Pre War Gibson Banjo……so I therefore deal exclusively in…..”No Questions….No Excuses”….fully Original examples of 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s Pre War Gibson Banjos…..and absolutely nothing else…when a banjo is purchased from me….I stand behind it…..Period….”In Writing”….100%….. ****Every Nut, Bolt, Washer, and Screw****
I can tell you from experience this is something you’ll not find very often in this business….this is also why you may find lesser priced examples out there on the market for sale in various places…..but please know this also……it’s been my finding that most often they’ve been “buggered up” in some way…. Most have been refinished, re-plated, or feature replaced non period “after market” parts…..which can greatly effect the banjos overall value in a very negative way…..and of course many of these folks selling the banjo either won’t bother to mention this….or simply don’t have enough experience to know about such things either way….and the purchaser is often left holding the bag….with simply a mediocre …“parts banjo“…with little to no collector value whatsoever….
At Jim Mills Banjo I like to say….“Yes…You’ll pay for what you get….but you’ll also Get what you pay for“…..”Quality without Question”….
Also… I realize that when any new customer purchases one of these fine old Pre War Gibson banjos to play… usually the last thing on their mind is even considering ever selling it…..but I always tell them up front…. to stop and consider this…if and when the time ever comes to sell or trade their Pre War Gibson Banjo……they can rest assured that these banjos are always “Liquid”…..unlike many “newer banjos”…. that can be very hard to sell……even at rock bottom prices……mainly because the used market is often completely flooded with them….. since there is unlimited supply of new banjos being made every day…..on the contrary…no Original “Pre War Gibson Banjo” has been manufactured since 1944….. and the good clean…fully original examples are getting much harder to locate every day….and are therefore increasingly sought after……
A nice and clean, fully Original, Pre War Gibson Banjo is always easy to sell….they’re always in demand ……and always bring a premium…… in any economy…..
I’m more than happy to send photos of any of these banjos for your review….and can answer any question you may have concerning them….for I know them all very well… you’re also more than welcome to make an appointment to visit my Banjo Showroom…. and see for yourself the difference in these fine old Original Pre War Gibson Banjos…..you’ll be glad you did….
Thank you again for visiting, and I look forward to hopefully hearing back from you soon……
Sincerely, Jim Mills