Gibson Ukulele

3.7/5 (1)

Please rate this

Gibson are far better known for their guitars (such as the Les Paul and the SG), but they did also produce ukuleles. Gibson made both wooden ukuleles and banjo ukuleles (famously played by George Formby). They are no longer made and have become something of a collector’s item so those that crop up on eBay tend to command quite a high price.

On Video

The legendary George Formby on his Gibson UB2 ukulele banjo.

On eBay

On eBay UK


  1. John November 1st, 2010 7:17 pm

    This is indeed a UB-3, which is what George bought, saying that it was “a good one”, and it remained one of his favorites, showing up in more movies than any other of his ukes.

    However, in the late 20’s, Gibson changed its catalog listings. They offered the UB-1, UB2, UB-2 ‘Deluxe’ (which was the new designation for what we both recognize as a UB-3), a new UB-3 (which had a chrome-plated flanged resonator), and the UB-4 (which had a larger chrome-plated flanged resonator). In their next catalog, 1930, they offered a gold-plated version of the UB-4 as the UB-5 – see here:

    As you can also see, In 1932, Gibson discontinued the old UB-2, at that point simply designating the the UB-3/UB-2 ‘Deluxe’ model as the standard UB-2.

    By 1938, they had stopped making all of their 8″ pot ukes, discontinuing catalog listings for all marks of the UB series except for the UB-1, which they were at that point only offering with 8 tension rods instead of the usual 10. I used to have that version UB-1, and its not as good a player.

    Why Gibson did this, I have no idea. But this is why occasionally, people identify the UB-3 as the UB-2 or UB-2 ‘Deluxe’. They’re not wrong, but it is damned confusing.

    Thanks, Gibson! 😀

  2. John November 2nd, 2010 4:20 pm

    Whoops! I just read what I posted and I mis-typed.

    I meant to say that in the “early 30’s,” Gibson changed its catalog to offer the UB-1, UB2, UB-2 ‘Deluxe’, the new flanged resonator UB-3, and the UB-4. See, you get confused even with the catalog in front of you. 😀

  3. Toby calaway August 10th, 2012 1:04 am

    I have a Gibson ukulele #5337 22 in good condition I think it is a 1950

  4. Maz October 2nd, 2012 12:18 pm

    Has anyone heard of Smeck Ukulele’s (presumably after Roy Shmeck)?
    Seen a tenor uke of this brand for sale locally, owner says it’s solid Koa and the brand is an offshoot of the Gibson company.

    It’s a beautiful looking uke and sounds good too, going for £165.

    Pondering whether to buy!

  5. Stewart Thomson September 25th, 2014 7:43 pm

    I have a cinenza byt&k soprano koa wood that I bought in honalulu, it cost around 230dollars , how do you think it measures up against the rest.i bought it in 2000 while on holiday.

  6. Scott Gifford September 27th, 2016 6:58 pm

    Was just GIVEN a Gibson UB trapdoor banjo uke. It’s dusty & dirty, but should clean up well; all it needs are the nut & bridge reset, new strings and I’m hoping it’ll be ready to go. I keep hearing that the the smaller models which followed the original UB are better performers, but I’m just happy to have lucked into a playable uke w/so much history!

  7. Iain October 16th, 2016 6:44 pm

    I sadly recently sold my 1928 Gibson Tenor (five pin) uke. Now looking for another……

Got something to say?