Turtle Hill Banjo Company

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Stelling Banjos

Turtle Hill
Banjo Company
David E. Schenkman
P.O. Box 2866
La Plata, MD 20646
Used Banjos
5 String Resonator - 5 String Open Back - Four String

Below is a list of used banjos currently in stock. See something of interest? We will be glad to furnish a complete description and price on request.

 What's New in Banjos
   5 String resonator Banjos

Alvarez 4285. Mahogany wood. Nice condition, with only a very little fret wear. Geared tuners and friction 5th string tuner. Hardshell case. This is a nice sounding and playing banjo for the money. Pics

 Bishline Patriot. Although used, other than a wisp of fret wear it is virtually in like-new condition. Walnut neck, with a burl walnut resonator; satin finish. Ebony fingerboard with black binding. Three ply maple rim and a tone hoop. This American-made light-weight banjo is ideal for someone with back problems. Itounds great, but has a little less volume as a banjo with a heavy metal ring. Incidentally, any standard bluegrass-type tone ring can be fitted to the rim, if the owner desires to do so at a later date. Pics

Crafters of Tennessee Mahogany Classic. We sold this banjo new, and had it made with a Tony Pass old wood TS-500 rim. Overall condition is excellent and there is hardly any fret wear. The metal parts are oxidized but could be easily cleaned if the new owner so desired. This is a great sounding banjo, and in my opinion a bargain for the price. Pics

Custom banjo with prewar Gibson 40-hole
archtop tone ring. Maple neck and resonator; wreath inlay. Although this banjo was evidently made about fifteen years ago, it is in nearly like new condition, with only a tiny hint of fret wear. It is a really nice sounding archtop. Pics

Deering Deluxe. This banjo is absolutely as nice as a used banjo could be, with just a tiny bit of wear on the first couple of frets. We sold it new in 2012, and obviously it was barely played. Pics

2003 Desert Rose BG-75
. Mahogany, with a Tony Pass Lost Timber rim. We sold this new and the owner evidently rarely played it, so it remains in virtually unplayed condition with just a hint of wear on the first two frets. Scott Zimmerman is one of finest builders in the world; unfortunately he evidently isn't currently making banjos, so they are few and far between. Pics

2003 Desert Rose Salt Creek Custom
. Mahogany, with a beautiful resonator (which can't be seen well in the pics). Tony Pass Timeless Timer rim. We sold this new and the owner never tried to learn to play, so it is in virtually mint condition with just a tiny bit of fret wear.
Scott Zimmerman is one of finest builders in the world; unfortunately he isn't currently making banjos, so they are few and far between. Pics

2001 Fender Prototype Concert Tone. This one-of-a-kind banjo was built as the result of an agreement between Fender and Scott Zimmerman for a possible Fender re-entry into the professional banjo market. The wood is American walnut with a beautiful burl resonator. JLS #4 tone ring and 3-ply rim. The label is signed and dated by Scott, and there is a letter from him verifying the above. It is in virtually new condition, with not even a trace of fret wear! Pics

1927-late 1930s Gibson Bella Voce. The pot on this extremely rare banjo was, in all probability, built in 1927, and the neck a decade later. There is no carving on the neck, and the peghead inlay is completely different than on the standard Bella Voce. It is absolutely original, with tube and plate flange and a 40-hole archtop tone ring. We had Richie Dotson build a 5-string neck that matches the original perfectly. It is a really neat instrument and you'll probably never see another like it! Pics

1927 Gibson Granada. FON 8886. The previous owner installed a Mitch Meador conversion ring on top of the original 40-hole archtop ring. It can be easily removed if the buyer so desires. It has a decent 5-string neck of unknown make, with the original tuning pegs and pearl knobs. There is just a little fret wear, mostly at the 2nd fret.  Worn gold plated parts. New coordinator rods, and one missing resonator thumb screw. A really nice sounding banjo! Pics

1928 Gibson Granada. This was Steve Sparkman's banjo, which I acquired in trade for his "dream" banjo, a 1927 style 5 no-hole. The banjo was started by Gibson in 1925, as the peghead inlay indicates. In 1928 they finished it, in the process changing the tone ring from ball bearing to 40-hole archtop. Steve had Frank Neat build a really nice 5-string neck. The pot is all original; gold plating is nice, although the armrest has a repair. Pics

1929 Gibson Recording King. Chrome plated metal parts, maple wood, fancy multi-color binding, and 40-hole archtop tone ring. This is a very rare Gibson; the wood and inlay resemble the style 6 Gibson.Very nice condition, and a wonderful sounding banjo. Pics

1930s Gibson KK-10 conversion. The pot is all original except for the tailpiece. The flange is pulled up a little, but is better than most; it is very solid. Richie Dotson made a new 5-string neck with Flying Eagle inlay, and installed one of his new Dotson 75 flathead tone rings. A great sounding and very powerful banjo! Pics

1930s Gibson KK-11 with new wreath inlay 5-string neck by Richie Dotson. The rim is uncut and still has the original hoop tone ring. The pot is all original except for the tailpiece; it even has the original Rogers skin head. The flange is pulled up as usual, but is solid. It has great tone, and of course Richie did a great job with the neck. Pics

1930s Gibson KK-11.
The pot is all original except for the tailpiece. The flange is pulled up as usual, but is very solid. Richie Dotson made a new 5-string neck with Reno inlay, and installed one of his new Dotson 75 flathead tone rings. This is an excellent banjo in all respects. In my opinion, TB-11 and KK conversions are absolutely the best bargains in bluegrass banjos. Pics

1970s Gibson RB-250. Decent overall condition with practically no fret wear. There is some green vertigris on the metal parts which could be cleaned. The tube has a couple of breaks, which are harmless because it is stable as is. If you are looking for an RB-250 at a great price, look no further. No case. Pics

1929 Gibson TB-2. One piece flange. Very nice condition and 100% original. The flange is solid and not badly warped. It is pictured as a tenor, and it is available this way or with a new Florentine Special inlay neck built by Wyatt Fawley. Call for details if interested. Pics

1925 Gibson TB-3 banjo. New mahogany 5-string neck by Richie Dotson with Hearts & Flowers inlay. Ball bearing tone ring. The pot still has the skin head. The resonator has a very dark, almost black, stain and appears to be original, but I can't be sure. One of the resonator wall lugs is missing. Original Presto tailpiece and new Gotoh tuners. A good banjo at a good price! Pics

1926 Gibson TB-3 banjo with ball bearing tone ring. We had a new 5-string neck made, and the resontor was refinished to match. The pot is 100% original except for the tailpiece, which is a new Presto. One of the resonator screws is missing. It still has the original skin head. Pics

1927 Gibson TB-3 banjo. New mahogany 5-string neck by Richie Dotson with Wreath inlay. No-hole archtop tone ring. The pot in very nice condition and is 100% original, including the tuners and Presto tailpiece, except for the armrest which is newer. This is a really nice prewar banjo. Pics

1928 Gibson TB-3 with no-hole archtop tone ring. New 5-string neck with Hearts & Flowers inlay by Richie Dotson. The pot is 100% original. There are numerous scratches on the resonator. This  is a really good sounding banjo. Pics

1929 Gibson TB-3 with 40-hole archtop tone ring. We had Richie Dotson make a new 5-string neck with the Reno inlay pattern. The pot is 100% original, although the top cover is missing from the Presto tailpiece.The resonator has seen a LOT of hard use and has numerous worn spots, etc. It could be refinished, but most people prefer not to do so. This is a very strong banjo! Pics

1932 Gibson TB-3 with one piece flange. Very nice condition. The resonator has been refinished and it looks "right." The flange is very solid, with no problems. We have a great 5-string neck for it, made by Wyatt Fawley. Call for details if interested (1472). Pics

1935 Gibson TB-3/75, with 40-hole archtop ring. I've dealt in prewar Gibsons for thirty years and this is by far the cleanest one of its type I've ever had or seen. The metal is about as bright as it would be on a new banjo and the wood is great. I just put a new Wyatt Fawley neck on it, and it is available that way or as a tenor. Notice the rare Bella Voce inlay on the tenor neck. Pics

1925 Gibson TB-4.
Ball bearing tone ring. Nice 5-string neck by Robin Smith, with Flying Eagle inlay and rosewood fingerboard. New Presto tailpiece. The resonator has the expected scratches, etc. The banjo still has the original skin head, and it has a really great tone. Pics

1925 Gibson TB-5. The post is 100% original, and it has a new 5-string neck by Richie Dotson, who did a fantastic job building it. It has the cleanest metal parts you'll ever see on one of these banjos. The walnut resonator is exceptionally clean, with just a little scuffing in the center. Pics

1928 Gibson TB-6 with Checkerboard binding.
40-hole archtop tone ring. This banjo is exceptionally nice in all respects. I assume it was a custom order, since it has a honey maple finish instead of the usual Argentine gray. I've never owned one of these with nicer gold plating. The new 5-string neck was made by Richie Dotson. Pics

Huber Jim Mills. SN 453-21. Gold plated with engraved armrest and tailpiece. Mahogany wood with speed neck. It has the expected fret wear, mostly on the first few frets. The resonator has a number of "marks" which can only be seen by tilting it. Overall a very nice banjo. Pics

Huber VRB-4, with Truetone Engineered rim and HR-30 tone ring. Beautiful walnut wood and chrome plated parts. SN 513-60. Like new condition, with virtually no fret wear. Pics

Mullins Bluegrass Special with tunnelled 5th string. Built by Clancy Mullins in 2016,  it has a prewar Gibson hoop type tone ring (as used on TB-1, etc.) maple neck and resonator, Pass-Schaeffer old wood rim, Waverly tuners, and Price tailpiece. Great condition. Pics

Ome Phoenix Custom. Maple wood. Radiused fingerboard with gorgeous abalone and pearl inlays and a Tony Pass ThinSkirt old wood rim. The metal parts appear to be chrome. I sold this in 2005, and the customer can no longer play it. Other than head wear, it is in virtually new condition, without even noticeable fret wear. This banjo is stunning in all respects! Pics

2005 Stelling Crusader Deluxe.
Mahagony, with gold plated and engraved tailpiece, armrest, and tension hoop. It has the Tony Pass rim, as made. Condition is like new on this great banjo! Pics  On Hold
1993 Stelling Sunflower. This banjo has been taken care of very well and is in great condition, although it does have  the expected fret wear, and a few marks on the side of the peghead. The wood is exceptionally attractive. I installed a Tony Pass Lost Timber rim for the owner a few years ago; the original rim comes with the banjo. Pics

5 String Open Back Banjos

Mike Ramsey Presentation Grade
with 11" pot and Whyte Laydie style tone ring. Curly maple neck with extremely fancy inlays, beautifully carved heel. The tension hoop is engraved. Scale is approx. 26 inches. Like new condition. Pics

Mike Ramsey 12" Fretless with Presentation Grade inlays. Brass hoop tone ring. Curly maple neck. Scale length is approximately 25.5 inches. The tension hoop pl;ating is dull, but the banjo is in like new condition. Pics

Mike Ramsey fretless with Stelling tone ring. That's right; you read it correctly. This banjo wandered into my shop about fifteen years ago, and has remained in the back room until now. It was built while Ramsey was in Ohio; serial number is 190. Scale length is approximately 25." The tone ring is a flathead Stelling, and is marked as such. It apears to be aluminum, but I haven't removed it. I talked with Geoff Stelling and he remembered it as an experimental ring, but didn't recall how it left his shop. So, it is absolutely a one-of-a-kind instrument. Sounds great, and is in excellent condition. Pics

1928 Vega Tubaphone
with Mike Ramsey curly maple neck. Fancy Tubaphone style inlays on peghead, fingerboard, and on the back of the peghead and heel. Backstrap. 10 15/16" pot. Scale is approx. 26 inches. Like new condition. Pics

Vega Little Wonder. 1928. 10 15/16" pot. This banjo started life as a tenor. It now has a new 5-string neck made by Wyatt Fawley, with an engraved griffin inlay on the peghead. Pics

1921 Vega Style N. We had Wyatt Fawley build a new mahogany neck with torch inlay. Other than some rusty brackets, two of which don't match the others, the pot is in decent condition. This is a really nice sounding banjo. Pics

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Four String Banjos
(Tenor unless otherwise specified)

Gibson one-of-a-kind Florentine, circa 1934. This is undoubtedly the rarest prewar Gibson archtop banjo in existence! From the front it looks like a regular Florentine, with the ice cream cone peghead and scenes of Italy on the fingerboard, but the resonator and neck carvings are completely different than on any other banjo. It also has one piece flange construction, which is found on only a few Florentines. -- Pics

Ome Grand Artist plectrum. This was sent to me on consignment from the estate of the original owner, who paid $15,000 for it. It is in absolutely like new condition, with just a tiny hint of fret wear. The metal parts are heavily engraved. The resonator and neck heel are carved, as are the sides of the rim. There is abalone trim around the resonator and sides of the neck, and even two bands of it on the outside of the rim. The family will consider a realistic offer. Contact me if you have any questions. Pics

1916 Vega Tubaphone.
This early Tubaphone has the 10 3/4" pot, which many players prefer to the later 10 15/16" pot. It has a 17-fret neck. The banjo is in nice condition, and still has the original skin head. There is a little rust/darkening on some of the brackets, as usual. Pics

1920s Vega Vegaphone with Tubaphone tone ring; serial number 89120. This Tubaphone has the 10 15/16" pot and a 19-fret neck. The brackets have been replaced with later ones. Original (and rare) Grover tuners and engraved Presto tailpiece. Pics

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