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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: 1975 Bellflower

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cahilldrummer - Posted - 05/12/2021:  11:46:58

Hello BHO folks. This is my first post here so please excuse me if this is in the wrong place or if I'm ignorant of any posting protocols.

In 2018 I inherited my father's 1975 Stelling Bellflower. It's almost exactly the same age as me and it's the only banjo I remember him owning. An old friend however has mentioned that he thinks my father was not the original owner.

So if you, or someone you know, was ever the owner of Stelling Banjo #46 I'd sure love to hear from you.

I've been in touch with a few forum members who've owned Bellflowers of similar a vintage and they've been very helpful.

So thanks in advance.




ChunoTheDog - Posted - 05/12/2021:  11:53:14

You could also try contacting Geoff Stelling with the instrument's serial #, maybe he has some old record of the original sale? Worth a try perhaps.

cahilldrummer - Posted - 05/12/2021:  12:34:16

I did in fact contact Stelling directly but I didn't get very far. I was very close to his shop in 2019 and asked if I could bring it by for him to look at but I didn't get a reply.

MoJoBanjo - Posted - 05/12/2021:  13:13:00

Beautiful banjo BTW

Alvin Conder - Posted - 05/12/2021:  13:27:45

Banjo was owned by your Father and is the same age as you? My suggestion is to honor your Fathers legacy and learn to play the banjo he left you. You would be very hard pressed to find a higher quality instrument out there for you to play.

If that is already your plan, that is fantastic. Enjoy the journey.

cahilldrummer - Posted - 05/12/2021:  17:16:57

Oh I’ve been playing it! Don’t worry about that. Badly but I don’t care, it’s a ton of fun.

mikehalloran - Posted - 05/13/2021:  11:49:52

From the pictures, the wood appears to be cherry with some nice flame in it.

cahilldrummer - Posted - 05/13/2021:  14:03:31

I believe it’s Japanese birch.

mikehalloran - Posted - 05/13/2021:  18:23:30


Originally posted by cahilldrummer

I believe it’s Japanese birch.

Maybe. Geoff used both woods and the flame figures can be similar. The grain, however, looks more like cherry. If I had it in hand, it would be easy to tell but I'm going by pictures only. There are Bellflowers in walnut, too.

Too bad yours doesn't appear on The List. Perhaps you can get them to add it.

Important Instruments and Significant Dates Compiled by Sherry and Geoff Stelling


Here's a Staghorn about the same age as yours in birch.


cahilldrummer - Posted - 05/13/2021:  19:00:28

I did send Geoff photos but as I said that didn't  go very far. Interestingly their list has 46 being the first instrument from 1976 but the tag is clearly labeled 1975.

Would a close up of the back help w/ identifying the wood?




Edited by - cahilldrummer on 05/13/2021 19:02:22

mikehalloran - Posted - 05/14/2021:  19:17:02


Originally posted by cahilldrummer

I did send Geoff photos but as I said that didn't  go very far. Interestingly their list has 46 being the first instrument from 1976 but the tag is clearly labeled 1975.

Would a close up of the back help w/ identifying the wood?




Possibly. Also any end grain like, say, the curve going into the heel. 


desert rose - Posted - 05/15/2021:  06:00:33

This will be birch for sure the grain and color are the give away, my old npicking buddy has number 16 Stelling a birch Bellflower he is also only the second person Geoff ever taught banjo playing to.

I met Geoff at the Golden West bluegrass festival in 1974 a skinny guy in Navy denem with a hand made banjo number one trying to find interest in his dream of selling his banjos for living, been friends that long

notty pine - Posted - 05/15/2021:  17:59:53

I will try to remember (it's getting harder lol ) to ask Geoff this Monday to look to see if he can find who the original owner was. It should be in his books. I havent seen the earliest books but the more recent ones list who they are sold to.  Though it may well be a dealer instead of private owner. 

Edited by - notty pine on 05/15/2021 18:05:04

cahilldrummer - Posted - 05/16/2021:  16:12:57

That would be fantastic!

My father owned a music store in Canada and I thought that that's how he may have acquired it. In talking to some of his old friends and employees though I found that none of them seem to remember where it came from.


notty pine - Posted - 05/19/2021:  11:16:03

Well I got Geoff to look #46 up in the old books and the buyer name looked like Grizby or something close. It had been crossed out for some reason.
#47 just below it was sold through McCabes.
Sorry I could find more.

cahilldrummer - Posted - 05/19/2021:  23:54:23

Thanks so much for asking. That's cool that he has records from back then.

The name Grizby doesn't ring any bells but I'll ask some of the folks that would have been around my fathers shop back then and see what comes up.



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