Bobby Casey passes

Fans of the limited production Mossman Guitars are in mourning since the death of chief luthier and company owner Bobby Casey at his home in Sulphur Springs, TX on April 28, 2023. He was 85 years of age.

Mossman Guitars was started in 1968 by Stuart Mossman in Illinois, though he soon moved the company to Winfield, KS where it remained until health problems forced him to sell in 1984. Under Stuart’s oversight Mossman became a popular small shop option for professional and serious amateur players, and found their way into the hands of pop culture figures like John Denver and Eric Clapton.

In the bluegrass world they were championed by flatpicking phenom Dan Crary, who sparked a great deal of interest among grassers.

Casey bought the company from Stuart in 1985 and moved the operation to Sulphur Springs, where he continued Mossman’s disdain for large scale production. Guitars continued to be made by hand using only the finest materials, and Bobby was always proud to say that after he took over, he received Stuart Mossman’s blessing and endorsement for the quality of the instruments he built in Texas. Stuart died in 1999.

Though he did bring in Mike Austell to help when a table saw accident slowed him down a bit, Bobby’s conviction about building only the finest guitars kept their numbers so low that many people were unaware that Mossman Guitars were still being produced. They did no advertising or promotion, but built instruments for anyone who found out about their operation through word of mouth.

Austell will continue with the Mossman name, as he had become a co-owner with Casey, and is in the process of moving the shop to his home in Canton, TX where he will keep building.

The Texas Bucket List visited the Mossman shop a couple of years ago and produced this video with Bobby and Mike.

Funeral services for Bobby Casey were held on May 1.

R.I.P., Bob Casey.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.