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Jun 30, 2022 - 3:19 PM
3 posts since 6/30/2022

Hi all,
Will putting SS frets on my Stelling Master Flower affect it's value if I want to sell it? It was originally owned by Bill Emerson (name is on truss rod cover).
Thanks much.

Jun 30, 2022 - 4:09:07 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15742 posts since 8/30/2006

You have Bill Emerson's banjo? That means you can prove it? Provenance?

Personally, I would not change a thing. I got to work on the Stelling Bell Flower that played in Smoky and the Bandit. Don't change a thing.

I think the value would go down.

Jun 30, 2022 - 4:16:51 PM
like this

rcc56

USA

4341 posts since 2/20/2016

As long as the work is done competently, it should not affect the value at all.  But be sure that the person who does the work knows what they're doing.

Of course, there will always be a few buyers who will nickel and dime you to death if an instrument is not 100% original, but the vast majority of buyers will prefer an instrument that's got a good set of frets over one that's got worn-out originals that don't play worth a darn.  I will say that if the instrument is celebrity-owned and the originals are in good shape, you might want to consider leaving them alone.  But if they're chewed up and/or have been ground so low that they won't play well, it's probably better to replace them.

I don't worry about the pickiest buyers. They'll always find something that displeases them. If one thing doesn't bother them, they'll find something else to chirp about . . .

A couple of years ago, a well known shop had an instrument that was previously owned by a well known player. They decided not to change the worn-out strings, which were as rotten as they could be, because they had been installed by the well known owner.  It was a very good instrument, and they couldn't understand why the it had been sitting around for weeks collecting dust. I suggested that if they changed the strings, the instrument would sell within a few days. They took my advice, changed the strings, and the instrument sold quickly.

Edited by - rcc56 on 06/30/2022 16:25:59

Jun 30, 2022 - 4:50:12 PM
like this

416 posts since 3/27/2010

Stelling offered stainless frets as an option (I have them on mine) so it shouldn’t affect the resale value any more than any other refret, which I agree with the other comments is preferable to worn out frets.

Jul 1, 2022 - 1:58:45 PM

3 posts since 6/30/2022

quote:
Originally posted by Helix

You have Bill Emerson's banjo? That means you can prove it? Provenance?

Well, the banjo was a gift from a long lost friend. We served together in the navy. When the banjo arrived on my doorstep, it had a commercial cassette tape of an album called "Appaloosa" with a few songs highlighted showing which songs the banjo was used on. I have (had) some paperwork that came with it from the dealer my friend bought it from. It also has "Bill Emerson" on the truss rod cover. Not sure someone would fake that but I guess it's possible. As a bonus, he knew Bill Keith and the banjo came with FOUR Keith tuners!

Jul 1, 2022 - 2:23:16 PM

3 posts since 6/30/2022

quote:
Originally posted by rcc56

As long as the work is done competently, it should not affect the value at all. 

I can see that there are people in both camps. I had the work done but didn't want to influence anyone's opinion, so I didn't say so. I had SS frets installed by Sam Miller at Deering Banjo in San Diego (near home). He has worked on many Stellings. The first few frets were pretty worn. He did an amazing job (as far as I can tell). The fingerboard looks new, everything is shiny! I just got off the phone with Geoff and Sherry Stelling and he looked up the serial number and it is indeed Bill Emerson's Master Flower. By the way, the banjo was a GIFT from a long lost Navy buddy. He was a friend of Bill Keith so of course the banjo arrived with FOUR Keith tuners!

Jul 1, 2022 - 2:35:04 PM
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rcc56

USA

4341 posts since 2/20/2016

Ask the Stellings if they will send you a signed letter stating that the banjo was indeed built for Bill Emerson.

They may ask a few dollars for a letter of provenance. Since such a letter will carry great weight if you or your heirs ever decide to sell the banjo, it would be well worth it.

Edited by - rcc56 on 07/01/2022 14:42:25

Jul 1, 2022 - 6:28:20 PM
like this

980 posts since 6/6/2008

quote:
Originally posted by rcc56

As long as the work is done competently, it should not affect the value at all.  But be sure that the person who does the work knows what they're doing.

Of course, there will always be a few buyers who will nickel and dime you to death if an instrument is not 100% original, but the vast majority of buyers will prefer an instrument that's got a good set of frets over one that's got worn-out originals that don't play worth a darn.  I will say that if the instrument is celebrity-owned and the originals are in good shape, you might want to consider leaving them alone.  But if they're chewed up and/or have been ground so low that they won't play well, it's probably better to replace them.

I don't worry about the pickiest buyers. They'll always find something that displeases them. If one thing doesn't bother them, they'll find something else to chirp about . . .

A couple of years ago, a well known shop had an instrument that was previously owned by a well known player. They decided not to change the worn-out strings, which were as rotten as they could be, because they had been installed by the well known owner.  It was a very good instrument, and they couldn't understand why the it had been sitting around for weeks collecting dust. I suggested that if they changed the strings, the instrument would sell within a few days. They took my advice, changed the strings, and the instrument sold quickly.


Well said, I agree with you.  Especially if a person plans on playing and keeping the banjo.  SS frets mean your fretboard will wear out before the frets.  I think it's a selling feature.   If someone tried to talk me down on a banjo because of SS frets, I'd tell 'em to deal with it because that wouldn't change my price is at all.  
 

but everyone will have their opinion.  

Jul 1, 2022 - 7:45:13 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15742 posts since 8/30/2006

When I re read what I posted, It sounded rude to me, No offense.

I had been in touch with Bill from a booking point of view, both seminars and performance.   www.fiddlersdream.org
He had responded positively and was willing to travel over here.
We are all volunteers for 35 years, all acoustic, no PA.   He got us right away.  His illness and other factors prevented us from working together, but he was definitely a top pro in his approach and friendliness

Thanks to all for conserving and promoting your friend, it isn't the same, I know, My own belief is that his music has even killed death for a short moment.

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