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For Sale or Trade: 1976 Stelling Trashflower Prototype #130

Posted By: revellfa (+33) | Rate Member
 Member 10+ Years  Verified Seller  Returns allowed with money back refund

$2,600 USD

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2600 with the Kavanjo head and d tuners. 2350 without.

For over 45 year as Geoff Stelling has wooed the banjo world with some of the best banjos ever made. His Staghorn stands as the premier bluegrass banjo by nearly any standard. Stelling banjos satisfy the most discerning tastes and the list of players and endorsers reads as a “who’s who” of banjo royalty including Alan Munde, Bill Emerson, Tony Trischka, Ricky Skaggs, and Don Reno. Stelling truly is “the “ultimate banjo” as their slogan proudly declares. Geoff Stelling was inducted into the American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame in 2020 for design and manufacture.

Banjo aficionados agree that there is a distinctive “Stelling sound” that is widely appreciated. Stelling banjos are not only known for the wide range of tones that they are capable of producing (from mellow to full on hard driving) but also for their beautiful wood selection, inlays, headstock design, and overall fit and finish. Even Stelling’s model names are beautiful—the Staghorn, the Sunflower, the Masters Flower, the Bellflower, the Murphys Flower, and the Moonflower.

Then there’s the Trashflower. At least that’s what one label says, the other was whited out by a less than appreciative previous owner.

When you own something like the Trashflower it is comforting to know that, save for wood selection, all Stelling models are basically the same except for ornamentation. The Trashflower is sparse to say the least. Beautiful inlays? Nope. According to one source the Trashflower was once adorned only with reinforcement paper inlays. it has since been “upgraded” to plain dots. Famed West Virginia Luthier Andy Boarman once gave sound advice when he said, “it ain’t what the hell they look like it's what the hell they sound like.”

All humor aside, may I tell you what a hell of a banjo this really is? Volume? It’s got as much as you like. Tone? Shimmering, and it's easy to play as well. It can be as dark as you like or you can make it shimmer and shine. This banjo is capable of the fullest range of tones I’ve ever seen. Up the neck this is the best banjo I’ve ever seen. It seems like it gains volume the further down the neck you go! Let me say it again—this thing will clear your sinuses. It just roars. When the Trashflower enters the stage or room it boldly proclaims, “get outta my way.”

It should be noted that in 1976 when this banjo was made Geoff Stelling was making banjos for the top bluegrass musicians of the time and that he really ramped up production in the years that followed. The Trashflower (serial #130) was made after a Golden Cross that was built for Don Reno (serial #091), an elaborate Scrimshaw built for Alan Munde (serial #105), and only ten banjos before Ralph Stanley’s Gospel model (serial #140.) Geoff Stelling also made banjos for Craig Smith and Allison Brown later that year. The Trashflower holds its place among these historic banjos.

But why is it called the “Trashflower?” According to previous correspondence with Mr. Geoff Stelling himself, the Trashflower was made in 1976 from “experimental parts” including a solid, non plated “triangular” tone ring which sits atop a full one inch thick block rim. At a weight of four pounds it is likely the first Stelling to have this “full weight” tone ring, given the age. The Trashflower also has a longer scale length of 27 inches, a unique peghead design, and what appears to be mahogany for the neck and resonator. It is likely that the neck was built by Geoff’s then partner Greg Deering, now the owner of Deering banjos. The Trashflower sports a substantial three-piece neck and is the only Stelling to ever leave the factory with a truss rod accessible through the heel instead of the peghead!

The Trashflower is a serious banjo and has been used professionally on stage and is perfectly capable and reliable in that vein. I plan to record and perform with it in the near future.

The Trashflower is a worthy banjo for any application studio or stage yet Geoff Stelling seemed a little ashamed of this banjo when I informed him that it has resurfaced and was now in my possession. “I never thought I'd see this banjo again, but things like this tend to come back to haunt you every time”, he said in an email. “I hope you can enjoy that banjo”, he also said. He also reminded me, no warranty.

The “S” is missing from the inlay on the peghead as was common to some early Stellings.

I don’t mind the Trashflower one bit. In fact, it’s one of the top five banjos that I’ve ever owned. And, it’s got a little personality to boot.

Included is the original hard shell case, and letter from Geoff stating Provence.

I am willing to sell outright. I'm also open to trades and trades plus cash of any kind. I like unique things, I like things with a proven and respectable history, like this banjo. I like Neat, Cox, Bales, Huber, Gibsons, Davis Reno model, Osborne Chief, Pre-Wars, fancy Ome or Ode, and if you have a cool old fretless, pony banjo, or uke to throw in on the deal also, that’s cool.


United States, Lavale, MD, 21502


Buyer pays actual shipping

Payment Methods:

Check/Money Order, Cash (in person), Paypal

Return Policy:

Returns accepted. Buyer must contact seller within 2 days to arrange return. Refund will be given as Money Back. Buyer pays return shipping.

Additional return policy details: Buyer pays shipping

Condition of Item(s):

Used - Very Good Condition

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