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For Sale: 1998 Gibson Earl Scruggs 49 Classic (w/ a real "Mastertone Sound")
A Grammy nominated banjo player friend of mine has played this '49 Classic' a number of times, and told me that this has "The Mastertone" sound that many Gibson lovers are looking for.
Much more rare and harder to find than the Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard, this Gibson ES 49 Classic is patterned after Earl Scruggs' PreWar Granada that he sent to Gibson in 1950 for new frets and other work, and it came back with bowtie inlay (that is the same as on this '49 Classic'.)
I bought this '49 Classic' from the originally owner, who bought it in 1998.
It definitely has "the sound."
Beautiful tiger maple neck, Kulesh tone ring, and just a solid monster of a Mastertone.
I love this banjo, and really hesitate to sell it, but because I am moving overseas, I decided that I can only keep 3 of my 4 Gibson banjos, and that the other three are more rare Gibson I have and would be harder for me to find again in the future. It was a difficult decision.
Come with its original "The Gibson" case.
And, because it would be meaningful to the owner of the '49 Classic,' I will also include a vintage Gibson Earl Scruggs banjo poster that mentions the '49 Classic' (just pay for the additional shipping).
The banjo looks exactly as it was when I bought it from its original owner. It has normal wear and tear for a banjo this age, including surface scratches on the resonator and a lacquer ding on the edge of the headstock. But, no damage to the banjo. The case has normal wear and tear, and as with a lot of these Gibson cloth flap cases, the cloth hinge that holds the case lid straight (when open) came unglued, but should be able to be glued back.
No Trades, please.
STORY of the Ear's '49 Classic' Pre-war Granada banjo:
The Granada: Back to Gibson
But as the months went by, other issues began to surface. The flange continued to deteriorate, losing most of the rest of its gold plating. The frets were worn out and needed replacing. The neck had lost much of its original finish and was also very large, making it difficult to play in the upper frets. Earl decided he had nothing to lose by trying to thin down the neck himself so he took a wood rasp to it. The thinner neck started to warp, adding more problems. It was clearly time to send the banjo back to Gibson for a complete overhaul. Early in 1950 Earl did just that, with written instructions to fix the frets, neck and flange. He also carefully instructed the Gibson Company to preserve the original tone ring.
Earl would not see the RB-Granada again for almost a year, and when it was finally returned to him, it would be a very different banjo. [including a new bowtie inlay fretboard]