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The banjo reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!

7185 reviews in the archive.

Rims: Stelling rim conversion from block to 'Almost Flathead'

Submitted by DbBanjo on 7/4/2016

Where Purchased: Stelling Banjo Works, Ltd.

Overall Comments


  After doing a fair amount of research via chats with David Schenkman, Keith Arneson & Geoff Stelling (along with Carla Schaeffer at Pass rims), I decided to ask Geoff S. to convert my 1993 Stelling MasterFlower.  This conversion involved Geoff S. removing my original block rim & tone ring and replacing this combo. with a Pass, 'almost flathead' rim.  After receiving my converted Stelling I was impressed by both the improvement of tone (more resonant & balanced low end) and the reduction of weight (roughly 3 pounds).   I had an initial concern this conversion would result in a noticeable loss of volume (due to the removal of the tone ring).  Having played my converted MasterFlower on a fairly steady basis over a week's time, I can clearly say this concern \ fear was totally unfounded.  

  On a directly related note: If anyone is considering obtaining one of the new Stelling 'Afton Star' models, I would highly recommend it.  These banjos are powered by the same 'almost flathead' rim as I now have in place in my 1993 MasterFlower.

  For ref, here are links to some prior discussions involving this Pass 'almost flathead' rim:



Overall Rating: 10

Nechville: Athena

Submitted by DbBanjo on 8/24/2012

Where Purchased: Part of a trade ...

Year Purchased: 2012
Price Paid: () (bought USED) historic exchange rates / currency converter


I was looking for a banjo which would: 1. Have a lighter weight; 2. Have smaller no. of metal parts (in order to reduce the prob of corrosion - I often play outside in hot, humid conditions) & 3. Have a radius neck. This model of Nechville, Athena, took care of each of these items.

Sound Rating: 8


Note: The original owner (and seller) of this Nechville wasn't primarily a banjo player. The action was a bit high for my taste & I both lowered the action through use of the Heli-Mount neck (wonderful concept) & a shorter (height) bridge. Note: I choose the replace the Nechville bridge with a Kat Eyz bridge. The Nechville bridge was a bit thich for my taste (though it was well made and had rock solid intonation).

Setup Rating: 9


Outstanding design and wood selection (Black Walnut).

Appearance Rating: 9


Outstanding quality, material selection & design.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Excellent & informative website.

Customer Service: 10


Very helpful and response to both questions & in requests for help. Also, I when I purchased some upgrade parts (black chrome tuning keys & tailpiece), they shipped quickly and offered to purchase (not credit - purchase) my old, replaced parts.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

Outstanding and well designed.

Overall Rating: 9

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