In 1988/89 i bought a Flatiron deluxe Montana Star open back banjo directly from Flatiron in Bozeman, Montana. The Flatiron folks shipped it to me in Germany as I was then assigned as the senior military attorney (JAG) for the US Army Berlin Brigade.
The Montana Star has a “Whyte Laydie tone ring, hand engraved Hunter’s Star inlay pattern in pearl, and tube style construction.” Other than a head, bridge and strings it’s all original.
Love quality very high and wonderful sound of this open back.
I have e-mailed “stanger” to see if he might have some information on the Montana Star as I have not found anything in the forum discussions on Flatiron and the banjos they built other than one brief reference in archived 2007/2009+ discussions of Flatiron.
Would be interested in learning anything someone may know about the Montana Star such as who else might have one, how many were made, etc.
What a cool banjo thanks for sharing the photos!
I spoke to Steve Carlson the day after he sold Backporch Productions, the maker of Flatiron, to Gibson. Since Mr. Carlson has passed away and there's little chance that Gibson has saved any records beyond what they sold, I have no idea who might know the history anymore.
Gibson continued to make Flatiron mandolins for awhile after the sale but the banjo inventory that they acquired was blown out to dealers such as Mandolin Brothers and Gruhn, etc.
I had a Flatiron mandolin/banjo catalog at one time that I picked up at NAMM in the mid '80s. It may have been sold but I'll look and see.
Thank you Mike.
Stanger is the man on subjects like these….what a cool banjo!
It needs the tailpiece I’m selling!
Mike Stanger got back to me with some detailed information on Flatiron and their banjos. He was very helpful.
I looked at the tailpiece you are selling. Nice. However, as you can see in the new photo I’ve added, my Montana Star has the original high quality Flatiron tailpiece that it came with so I’m good.
Oh you've already got one - couldn't tell from the photo on my phone!
Mike is a true gentleman - glad you guys connected!
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