Hey, hey, hey! We are excited to let you know that Geoff Stelling, of Stelling Banjo fame, will be coming to our Murphy Method Intermediate Camp on Friday, March 22, to give a demonstration about banjo set-up. Geoff is a whiz at banjo set-up and he knows how to talk about it so that the lay person can understand it. He will also be bringing some Stelling banjos for you to play.
As you know, I’ve been playing a Stelling for years ever since Geoff gave me one after hearing me jamming at the SPBGMA convention in Nashville. That one was a Top Tension and when I decided it was WAY too heavy to tote around, I got a walnut Masterflower since I coveted the one my student Opal had just gotten. (You know what the Good Book says: covet earnestly the Best Things!) I liked the Masterflower a “right smart” but I missed the arched fingerboard that my other name-brand banjo had. And I missed the size and shape of that other neck, which fit my hand perfectly. So, gathering all my courage together, I finally asked Geoff if he would build me a neck like that other banjo had, a smaller neck with what we are now calling a “radiused” fingerboard. He was more than willing and thus the MurphyFlower was born.
Then, a few years later, after schlepping that banjo (on my back) up and down the hills of West Virginia (Augusta Heritage camp) and across the plains of Maryville College (Kaufman Kamp), I decided it needed it to be lighter. So I took the banjo down to Geoff to see what he could do. Basically, I wanted to take out the tone ring. Ever helpful, he put together several different “pot” options and I played them all. I finally decided on what I think was an older Tony Pass rim and a little metal hoop for a tone ring. It sounded fabulous and was considerably lighter. My back said “thank you” a thousand times! (We may just have to take my banjo apart at the Intermediate Camp to see what’s in there! I did lose a bet to Marty one year when I insisted that the banjo had no tone ring at all!)
Geoff will also be offering tips about what you can do to make your banjo sound better, Stelling or not. And he will answer any questions you may have about banjo set-up, strings, tail pieces, bridges, head tension, and all that delightful minutia that trips the trigger of so many banjo players. (Not me!)
I think he’s also going to hang around and play in our little concert that night (with Steve Spence and Scott Brannon) and then remain available for jamming later on.
So, if you’ve ever wished you could ask one of the best banjo builders in the world some questions, this will be a golden opportunity!
We still have a few openings left for our Intermediate camp. As you know, we try to keep the camps small so you can have lots of individual attention from Casey and me. And we try to create a comfortable atmosphere so you can feel free to play and ask questions. We never intimidate and we think all questions are good ones! Give us a call or shoot us an email if you’d like to join us or if you just want more information. 1-800-227-2357. See you real soon!