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Feb 27, 2020 - 11:31:56 PM
5 posts since 2/27/2020

Alright folks I’m new here. But my first question for all of you is this, right now I own a deering calico which I love. BUT, I’m thinking about selling it to get a stelling master flower... should I go for the stelling or should I keep the calico if I was only able to have one or the other? Would the master flower be a step up/down/parallel to the calico?

Feb 28, 2020 - 12:26:18 AM
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beegee

USA

21530 posts since 7/6/2005

Stelling

Feb 28, 2020 - 1:09:16 AM
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HSmith

UK

378 posts since 12/30/2005

Hi
I suspect that you're going to get a lot of votes for both banjos. Each brand has it's own army of enthusiastic supporters.
Both are quality instruments and both are around midway in their respective ranges. I've never played a Deering banjo, but I owned a Stelling Sunflower for more than ten years. It was a wonderful instrument. Superb build quality and finish and that distinctive Stelling sound which is so hard to define but so different from a Mastertone type sound (like the Deering). I loved that banjo but finally moved to a Mastertone-type (an Osborne Chief). I found I was drawn towards a rounder, less aggressive tone and the mahogany Chief produces that perfectly.
I guess I'm trying to say that there's no better or worse choice. What matters is which banjo gives you the sound/feel/look that you want. My advice is play both as much as you can, then make your own informed choice based on your own preferences.
Enjoy!

Feb 28, 2020 - 3:12:32 AM
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Foote

USA

311 posts since 3/25/2009

I played an '81 Bellflower Stelling (bought new) for 35 years. I played in a band that played traditional bluegrass, but also was open to a range of types of music. I found the Stelling would fit it all, was dependable, extremely well made, AND WEIGHED A TON! I finally sold it to a friend a few years ago when it became too heavy for these old shoulders. I know it was only a pound or two more than the 84 Gold Star I replaced it with, but it felt like a lot more. I just bought a '30 Kel Kroydon Style 11 with no tone ring so you see the direction I'm headed. But still picking at 72. Lastly, if you can afford it, buy the Stelling and keep the Deering. I've regretted almost every banjo I've ever sold.

Feb 28, 2020 - 4:26:53 AM
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2089 posts since 12/31/2005
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Stay with the banjo you claim to love. There are tons of great banjos out there, but you'll regret parting ways with one that really works for you. At that level, play before you buy. More than once I have been so excited to get somewhere to play a certain banjo, and when I played it, it did nothing for me, or I didn't like the neck, etc. I was at one major retailer with a wall of great banjos. They were good, but there wasn't one I could honestly say I liked better than the one I was playing. Don't buy just to get a brand that you've heard great things about. Brands like Deering and Stelling and others are all exceptionally well made, but they are different and not for everyone. (I had a Stelling from early 80's - neck and tone just weren't for me. I traded for a Deering plus cash).

Feb 28, 2020 - 4:36:19 AM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

23925 posts since 8/3/2003

I own a Stelling and love the sound, the playability, just the joy of hearing the sounds it makes. Having said that, which one makes you want to grab it and pick it at any time? Which one makes you happy? Which one speaks to your heart? That's the one to choose/keep.

Feb 28, 2020 - 7:18:44 AM

1597 posts since 2/10/2013

I once owned one of the first Deering "Calico" banjos made. I currently play a Stelling "Sunflower". Both were good banjos. I prefer the Stelling.

Deering is a volume manufacturer and his desire to do this resulted in the "split" between him and Geoff Stelling. Stelling was reported to having played and tested every banjo he sells. When I bought the Deering, I wanted to buy a Stelling, but they were unavailable. Note that this was back when Deering had just started selling banjos. Owning a Stelling was on my "bucket list".

Edited by - Richard Hauser on 02/28/2020 07:19:33

Feb 28, 2020 - 7:27:55 AM

2089 posts since 12/31/2005
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One thing to consider is that both banjos have evolved over time, so discussions about '70's or 80's models may not necessarily tell you about sound of more current models.

Quality for both brands has always been top notch. But both have changed their pot construction some. Deering's biggest changes pot wise are: (1) the '06 tone ring (many prefer, some don't); and (2) a looser fit of ring to rim. They used to use a press to create the tightest fit possible (I call the '70s and '80's the "tight and bright" era), as it was prevailing wisdom that the tightest fit resulted in the best transmission of vibrations. That is not the prevailing philosophy today with in the "slip fit era."

Stelling went from a very good block rim construction to the Pass True Timbre shell. Both are great, but they are different.  I don't know if fit to rim changed because the wedge fit of Stelling ring was not dependent on tightness if I recall correctly.

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that both Stelling and Deering typically use a shallower resonator than traditional Gibson spec (with exception of Deering Golden line, which I believe uses Gibson like specs).

Plus, setup is a lot. There is an album out called "Stelling Anthology." It is not just great picking, but it can really demonstrate some of the variety you can get out of Stellings.

Edited by - Brian Murphy on 02/28/2020 07:29:23

Feb 28, 2020 - 8:02:38 AM

240 posts since 3/30/2010
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I have owned several Gibsons, a Rich and Taylor, a Stelling Sunflower. I currently have a Huber and a Stelling Masterflower. All are excellent instruments. The Masterflower solved my BAS (banjo acquisition syndrome). Only you will know if a certain instrument fits your idea of greatness.

Feb 28, 2020 - 9:14:37 AM

10654 posts since 2/12/2011

Listen to Sherry above. There is no right or wrong here. If I had to choose a fave of the 3 I own, it would be the Deering Tenbrooks Legacy with Kreuger tone ring.

Feb 28, 2020 - 9:23:09 AM

5 posts since 2/27/2020

Apparently he still tests every banjo out. Because himself the shipping clerk apparently he still tests every banjo out. Because himself the shipping clerk. He's the last person to handle and ship the orders.  Brand new ones are still hard to come by considering that if I want a brand new one which I do and I plan on getting, there's a 4 to 5 month wait because they are made to order which I love the idea of that. 
 
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Hauser

I once owned one of the first Deering "Calico" banjos made. I currently play a Stelling "Sunflower". Both were good banjos. I prefer the Stelling.

Deering is a volume manufacturer and his desire to do this resulted in the "split" between him and Geoff Stelling. Stelling was reported to having played and tested every banjo he sells. When I bought the Deering, I wanted to buy a Stelling, but they were unavailable. Note that this was back when Deering had just started selling banjos. Owning a Stelling was on my "bucket list".


Feb 28, 2020 - 10:08:06 AM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

23212 posts since 6/25/2005
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Feb 28, 2020 - 10:53:05 AM

3863 posts since 9/21/2009

I've never owned a Deering and probably never will unless I just find one at great deal. I have played them and heard them played by others and I just can't get that warm fuzzy feeling for them. I own a Stelling Red Fox and it's a very fine instrument. Every Stelling I have played sounds and plays great and they are built like a tank. No shabby work by Geoff!

Feb 28, 2020 - 5:50:54 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

23212 posts since 6/25/2005
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Four to five months isn’t bad. My Ome Mira took almost exactly a year—and well worth it.

Feb 28, 2020 - 6:22:16 PM

369 posts since 12/14/2008

I never did like the older deerings. They didn’t really have it. Then when they came out with there new line I played one not knowing that they had changed everything pretty much and was pretty impressed. I’m not sure what year they went through the changes, new tone rings and parts etc., but it wasn’t that long ago maybe 5-10 years at the most. But if it was between one of the newer ones I probably would pick the deering.

Feb 28, 2020 - 6:25:17 PM

369 posts since 12/14/2008

A lot of stellings on the other hand, sound good and loud, but they tend to be a little harsh for my taste. They don’t really have that Gibson growl rattley dry sound. Maybe with set up they could be great but I personally haven’t played one that I was in love with.

Feb 28, 2020 - 11:42:41 PM

410 posts since 2/5/2014

I prefer the Deering banjos. I had a great older Sierra, and foolishly sold it to buy a Gibson 250. Yikes! I hated the neck and the sound, so I sold it and got a Stelling. No matter how I tried, all I could do was daydream about my Deering.
The Stelling is now owned by someone else, and I have a Sierra again. To my ear, it sounds like a sweet bell when I play it.
Obviously every banjo player here will give you their reasons to pick one over the other. It will be interesting to see what you decide to buy. Good luck!

Edited by - talljoey on 02/28/2020 23:43:24

Feb 29, 2020 - 9:02:08 PM
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78 posts since 8/20/2019

Funny I see this post tonight when I got home from a fundraiser event where my bluegrass group played.

The banjo player in the band before us had a Deering, no idea what model, I chatted with him a little while they were packing up on stage and I was getting ready to play.

We got on stage and the sound guy asked me to check my mic. He gave a thumbs up after I played a little down and up the neck, all set.

We played our show, and at the end, as we were packing up, the sound man came to me and said, "Hey nice banjo, easy as hell to set you up, that thing has some power behind it. The last band, I had to keep messing with the banjo player's mic almost their entire show."

I was playing my 2005 Stelling Staghorn with the Lost Timbre rim. The other guy had a Deering of some sort.

Dunno if that helps, but is what happened to me tonight. The sound guy was happy with my Staghorn.

Mar 1, 2020 - 9:35:09 AM

3901 posts since 10/18/2007

I love my two Stellings.

Mar 1, 2020 - 6:57:57 PM

banjoez

USA

2347 posts since 7/18/2007

I was not a Deering fan until I tried one of the newer models with the 06 ring and new generation rims. I have a great 05 Stelling that I have never found anything that comes close to but the Deering just blew me away. It actually has volume and clarity that matches or exceeds the Stelling (and anyone who owns a Stelling will tell you they are powerful banjos) but still maintains a sparkling full gutsy tone. I still shake my head how they did it with a traditional Mastertone design. Every other modern Masterclone/Masterclone I've tried has always been lacking  something. The Deering has it all.

Edited by - banjoez on 03/01/2020 19:02:11

Mar 2, 2020 - 10:18:34 AM

54 posts since 11/2/2009

So, I’m reading mostly about sound - I’d be interested in playability comments. I am thinking about replacing an RB 250 that has a pretty twisted neck, even after work by a top pro (from this site).

Mar 2, 2020 - 11:24:18 AM

banjoez

USA

2347 posts since 7/18/2007

quote:
Originally posted by gcpicken

So, I’m reading mostly about sound - I’d be interested in playability comments. I am thinking about replacing an RB 250 that has a pretty twisted neck, even after work by a top pro (from this site).


You'd be hard pressed to find a banjo with a better playing neck than a Stelling.

Edited by - banjoez on 03/02/2020 11:31:50

Mar 3, 2020 - 3:51:59 PM
Players Union Member

spini

USA

390 posts since 9/10/2014

quote:
Originally posted by Richard Hauser

I once owned one of the first Deering "Calico" banjos made. I currently play a Stelling "Sunflower". Both were good banjos. I prefer the Stelling.

Deering is a volume manufacturer and his desire to do this resulted in the "split" between him and Geoff Stelling. Stelling was reported to having played and tested every banjo he sells. When I bought the Deering, I wanted to buy a Stelling, but they were unavailable. Note that this was back when Deering had just started selling banjos. Owning a Stelling was on my "bucket list".


Deering is not a volume manufacturer, they dont have upperline banjos laying around. They only make what is ordered. I just had this conversation with them last year when I asked if they would have a Golden Wreath at an event.

Mar 3, 2020 - 7:04:20 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

23212 posts since 6/25/2005
Online Now

No surprise that most of the answers explain what the poster of that answer prefers. I suggest that you want to choose a banjo you prefer.  Do consider comments about the differences in tone of the two makes, but make sure you know why  a poster prefers their chosen banjo.

Mar 4, 2020 - 6:39:50 AM
Players Union Member

spini

USA

390 posts since 9/10/2014

quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

No surprise that most of the answers explain what the poster of that answer prefers. I suggest that you want to choose a banjo you prefer.  Do consider comments about the differences in tone of the two makes, but make sure you know why  a poster prefers their chosen banjo.


Agreed! I'm a Deering fan, but have never held or seen a bad Stelling either. I just happend to have my Deering Maple Blossom first. I did play a Stelling not long ago that sounded and played just like my Maple Blossom. So to each there own.

As stated above there is a difference between a banjo by either company made years ago compared to today.

Mar 6, 2020 - 5:37:32 AM

figmo59

USA

30362 posts since 3/5/2008
Online Now

I have not read the whole thread..but..
If you can..
Play them side by each..n then..you ..decide..

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