JIM MILLS 'Gibson Mastertone' BOOK GIBSON MASTERTONE
(Centerstream Pub.,2009). 168 pp. softbound. Gibson Banjo fans, fanatics and aficionados will probably already have this stunning book that pictures and describes some of the most desirable 5-string banjos ever made. But those who haven' t seen it are in for a real treat as it is a gem of a book. Author Jim Mills is one of the best pickers in the business (he has won IBMA' s Banjo player of the year multiple times, and other awards while playing with Ricky Skaggs amazing Kentucky Thunder band). But Mills is not just a great picker --he is one of the very top collectors and historians when it comes to " the five" . This book --truly a labor of love --is not just a jumble of technical details and oddities --in its pages it relates the history of each instrument, many of which are now in Mills' amazing collection. Others were once playing instruments for such artists as Earl Scruggs, Don Reno, Snuffy Jenkins, Sonny Osborne, Fisher Hendley, Scott Wiseman , J.D. Crowe and others. In addition to the full color photos of RB-3, RB-4, RB-75 models, there are many pictures of artists with their instruments (including a rare one of Scruggs and Reno on stage together). And there are reprints of old catalogs (how about an RB-3 style Mastertone from the 1930s for $ 115.00 ! ) This wonderful book would make a great gift for anyone who owns --or hopes to own --a pre-war Gibson banjo. (Just so there is no misunderstanding, there are no arch-top or ball-bearing instruments here --the subtitle of the book is " Flathead 5-String Banjos of the 1930s and 1940s.") Fascinating even for general Bluegrass fans.