Stelling article and video online

Stelling Banjo WorksMonday’s (3/3) edition of the Charlottesville, VA Daily Progress featured a lengthy article on Stelling Banjo Works, whose small shop production facility is located in nearby Afton, VA.

The article discusses founder Geoff Stelling’s banjo design innovations, which brought him recognition from the US Patent Office.

Frustrated by a pair of patent rejections, Stelling had traveled to Washington to show the people in the patent office that the banjo he’d built himself was different from the ones that roll off the factory line.

"I played ‚ÄòPike County Breakdown,’" Stelling said.

The performance worked. Afterward, Stelling was approved for a patent for the banjo design that is at the heart of his Albemarle County business.

They also discuss Geoff’s plans to retire in the next few years, with the operation of the company passing to his son, Jimmy, currently a luthier in the Stelling shop.

As a founding member of the Charlottesville-based band the Hackensaw Boys, Jimmy Stelling recorded several albums and played thousands of gigs across the country and beyond.

"I don’t see how you can really make a great banjo unless you know how to play," he said.

He left the group and went to work in his father’s shop. It wasn’t a foreign environment for Jimmy; he’d been hanging around the banjo shop off and on since he was a kid.

"I was making skateboards, you know," he recalled.

You can read the full article on The Daily Progress site, which also includes an online video demonstration of the Stelling wedge-fit pot assembly.

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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.