I have wanted to really try a Stelling for a long time. I have played a couple that were set up with the “typical” really tight setup and were maple. They were awesome banjos, but not to my taste. I have heard Alan Munde play his at camps a handful of times in the last year, and it’s beautiful, and I have been looking for a mahogany Stelling and found a 1977 Starflower at an acceptable price for a try. I played old time on open backs for a number of years, and switched to more 3 finger playing (again) about a year ago. If I play ”professionally” in the near future, it would be hybrid - a tiny bit of bluegrass and old time, and a lot of newer string bands (Trampled by Turtles, CAAMP, Avett Bros, Bothers Comatose, String Cheese, Yonder, etc.) and folk/bluegrass adaptations of other genres all together (I enjoy that as much as the “pure” stuff, and it’s what the couple of bands I play with are doing).
My general taste would be a fairly open, warm sound. I have: 1926 Gibson ball bearing (which is beautiful, but the narrower traditional spacing neck has it near the auction block); a 1929 Gibson pot with Hatfield Crowe spaced neck and Huber Vintage ring, which is my daily player; and I have Steve Huber building a Crowe spaced neck for a 1927 Gibson pot and turning it down for the HR-30 ring - but won’t have it for a while. When I find the couple that really speak to me, I’ll need to thin that heard, along with an open back Vega or two; but for now, I have a 2 week trial window on the Stelling Starflower.
So, with that info, the question is: does anyone with experience with mahogany Stellings, ideally Starflowers, but I know that’s rare these days, have any tips on setup to get close for tweaking and demoing the Starflower I will be receiving soon. I ask, because this group knows everything, and it should help shorten the time messing with setup, so I can really run it for a while before making a call about keeping or returning it.
All help greatly appreciated!