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Geoff Stelling

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About Don Reno's banjos

Friday, October 23, 2020

Don Reno's first Stelling was #91, a walnut Golden Cross delivered on 6-8-76.  At that time, we were finishing the banjos with Sherwin Williams' catalyzed varnish.  The batch we finished Don's banjo with and about 1000 other banjos, was missing a necessary ingredient to control cracking of the finish and Don's Golden Cross cracked so badly that he quit playing it for a while.  When he finally told me about it, I offered to make him a new one with a different finish.  It was Golden Cross #327 made on 2-26-77 and delivered two days later.  It was also a walnut banjo but in nickel plating with no engraving.  I believe Jason Skinner ended up with that banjo.  The new Golden Crosses are made of curly maple with a Cremona style shaded stain (commonly called a sunburst).   Number 327 was the banjo that Don had in his UVA hospital room when he finally passed away and was the banjo he played his last performing years from 1977 till some time before he was hospitalized in 1984.  He passed away in October a month before Geoff moved to Virginia.  The last time I saw him was in July of 1984 in that hospital room along with some family and most of his band.  Stelling won the lawsuit against Sherwin-Williams in a court in Charlottesville, VA in a year or so after moving from California.

Geoff Stelling, 10-23-2020

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Playing Since: 1959
Experience Level: Expert/Professional

[Socializing] [Helping]

Occupation: Luthier

Gender: Male
Age: 80

My Instruments:
1988 Stelling Master's Cross Deluxe
2002 Stelling MasterFlower
Several other collectible Stellings
ལ Kay M or S style, ཿ Kay S-1 Basses

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Alan Munde, Bill Emerson, Little Roy Lewis
Ralph Stanley, J. D. Crowe, Michael Cleveland, Kenny Baker, Ricky Skaggs, Jim Mills
Greg Liszt, Will Parsons, both awesome banjo players, many others too numerous to mention

Classified Rating: not rated
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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 10/16/2006
Last Visit 3/20/2023

Founder and owner of Stelling Banjo Works, Ltd. Started playing bass in summer of ཷ. Learned to play tenor banjo that same year on a 1930 Vega owned by my girlfriend's father. I love listening to Dixieland and trying to play it on my cornet as well as hearing great hardcore or modern bluegrass with drive. I was sorry to see Newgrass Revival retire. I'm not playing much any more but am working on my tennis game. Trying to age gracefully. It's not working too well. Nothing graceful about it....

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