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Gibson Stelling Mahogany project + my traveling banjo for Peru.

Posted by frianm on Friday, July 31, 2009

The banjo recently completed was still not quite right so I further experimented.  I put a walnut rim from Cooperman into the previous configuration and liked it but it was not yet what I wanted.  SO, I looked at a radical combination.  I had a Stelling flange and an uncut mahogany rim.  With a friend we started to work on a new pot.  We cut the rim for the Stelling flange and then mounted the Cathey #12 ring.  It took a few tries to get the dimensions corect with much stopping the lathe, measuring and fitting.   It took some fine tuning of the heel to get a good neck fit (still needs a bit of tuning) but it is together and very playable.  This is now an all mahogany instrument, including a vintage Gibson resonator from the 60's.  The TP is now a 1934 as I thought this would be more traditional and I did not want to drill the flange like a Deering to take a standard TP fitting.  The result is very pleasing and a delight to play.  The sound is satisfying but it needs some playing in and settling.

I am so grateful for the many rainy days we have had up here in Vermont as I can take time for these projects and not feel that I am wasting outdoor time when I might be in the yard.  I have also reassembled my Vega necked Dan Pennington.

I was suffering from carrying my Peru banjo which was very heavy when going long distances in the airports as well as up and down hill sides in Peru.  The tone ring was very heavy!  Dan built me a wooden tone ring to fit and that is now installed.  I am thrilled with the result.  The banjo is sufficiently ringy, light and lively.  It is the one in the picture on the left in its former manifestation.  It now sports a Fults Cumberland TP which is perfect for the instrument.  In Peru I play is small huts and buildings, sometimes in a small church.  To add a resonator just is overkill in terms of volume.  The music is just folkey Gospel and while not sophisticated in itself nor with my playing it adds a joyful dimension to our worship.

Thanks guys for all the encouragement.

3 comments on “Gibson Stelling Mahogany project + my traveling banjo for Peru.”

JZB Says:
Friday, July 31, 2009 @9:26:19 AM

Nice work, Ian.  Would love to hear a sound clip once you have the neck fit tuned to your satisfaction.  Gibson/Stelling/Cathey... I can say I have never heard that combination.  It should have a unique character.  Keep up the good work, brother, and thanks for sharing.  Best,  Jack

frianm Says:
Friday, July 31, 2009 @9:34:30 AM

Thanks Jack

Bongshang Says:
Friday, July 31, 2009 @12:57:05 PM

I wouldn't mind hearing a clip of her too. Dan Pennington makes great rings for an incredible price.


Take Care,



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