1987 Gibson Granada PROTOTYPE Banjo OWNED BY SONNY OSBORNE. Includes Original Hardshell Case. CALL TODAY 404-372-5482.
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1987 Gibson Granada PROTOTYPE Banjo OWNED BY SONNY OSBORNE
This is a Granada that was one of the Prototypes made by Greg Rich before Production. The Banjo was owned by Sonny Osborne and has been signed by Ralph Stanley and Bill Monroe. This has been inspected and set up at the Banjo Warehouse.
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This is Prototype #3 for the Gibson Granada Banjo, made by Greg Rich before production. This banjo was the model for the reproduction of the Pre War Gibson Banjos which started in 1987. The banjo is all original and in phenomenal condition. As if that wasn’t already spectacular this banjo was owned by Sonny Osborne and was played on stage.
The story is in the summer of 1987 Greg Rich took this banjo down to Grand Ole Opry and presented it to Sonny Osborne onstage. Sonny declared that he absolutley loved the banjo and played it on stage at the Grand Ole Opry that night. We were finally able to piece this together as accurate after multiple discussions with Greg Rich and Doug Hutchens.
In 1988 or 1989 the individual that sold us this banjo ran into Greg Rich at a bluegrass festival and wanted to buy a Granada. Greg said there was a couple year wait but he knew of this banjo possibly being available and this man whom we purchased this banjo from was able to get in touch with an agent or worker of Sonny’s and acquire the banjo. There are a couple of letters in the case pocket that he wrote including what appears to be an old address for Greg Rich and the story I just told. This is an incredible piece of banjo history,played on stage at the opry by Sonny Osborne and owned by Sonny for a short time. I have no doubt Greg Rich will confirm this information.
Likely the reason he let go of this banjo is the original Pre War Granada that Sonny Osborne owned had a Hearts and Flowers inlay and this had a Flying Eagle. According to Doug Hutchens Sonny was also given a Hearts and Flowers Granada around this same time. Sonny probably chose the other banjo for that reason.
The head has several signatures including Ralph Stanley and Bill Monroe. The label is marked Prototype #3 and signed by Greg Rich. This banjo has been handled by some of the greatest players in Bluegrass history and was the original Greg Rich era Gibson Banjo, made before production started as a model.
This has a 3 ply hard rock maple shell with a curly maple neck and resonator. The hardware is all Gold and engraved with the Granada pattern. The gold also has a very nice satin coat which was representative of the early Greg Rich era Gibson Banjos. This has the original one piece flange and the original Gibson Tone Ring. This banjo is all original and includes the original case and is very clean.
This banjo sounds amazing. I have truly had no other modern pre war type banjo come through that sounded so much like the original sound of a Pre War. This banjo is not only an incredible piece of history this banjo will blow your socks off.
This is a phenomenal piece of history on every level. The Greg Rich era Gibson Banjos not only were a brilliant rendition of the Pre War Gibson Banjos but they set the stage and provided the design for all Gibson Banjos made later. The fact this was also owned by a celebrity of Sonny Osborne’s status takes this far over the top.
Condition and Set Up
This is in fantastic condition and we have done almost nothing to clean it. The banjo has been set up in our shop.
The only cleaning I did was oiling the fretboard. I wanted to leave this banjo alone because it is such a high level collectable. Oiling the fretboard is good for long term maintenance but that is all I did. I believe the head is the original head and it has been signed by a lot of people. Especially considering one of the signatures was Bill Monroe I decided to leave the head on. It is set the head to 90. The bridge is a Snuffy Smith Bridge and the strings are new Huber Truetone .10’s. This banjo is set up well and has a truly heavenly and angelic tone and is a phenomenal player.
The only wear is on the armrest and a bit in the finish on the back of the neck under the headstock. I have been told the wear on the neck may have been intentional, like a relic, to match Sonny’s Granada although I am not sure of that. Other then those spots this banjo is basically perfect.
This is the type of banjo that carries a spirit with it which is felt by all who get near it. This is the ultimate in the WOW factor. I am not sure if this is the Holy Grail for collectors but there isn’t much out there that could even try to compare with this. If you want to have the banjo that absolutely every Banjo Player would drool over this is it.
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