Russ was turned onto vintage Gold Star Banjos when he took his first lesson with Tom Adams at the Arrow Horse in Gettysburg Pa. Ever since that day he has had the desire to own and learn everything possible about these great instruments.
The first vintage Gold Star purchased by Russ was a 1981 J.D Crowe sn# 81005. The banjo was originally sold by Chris Warner at Warner's String Works in Hanover Pa. Chris kept the banjo for a little while and even used it with Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys. It was then sold to a friend of Chris & kept under a bed for 15 years. Chris then bought it back a few years & put it under a different bed. The stars finally a lined and he contacted Russ about owning the banjo. Due the lack of use over the years the Crowe is in brand new condition & completely un-rashed. It still retains the factory ring and rim.
The second vintage Gold Star purchased by Russ was a 1978 GF-100W sn# 780289. The banjo is another excellent central Pa Warner's String Works instrument. Sold by Chris in the late 70's the 100W spent most of it's life in Maryland. It was another stars a lining moment when Russ found a video of Tom playing the 100W on his "banjothink" Youtube channel. Phone calls were made and the banjo was purchased the day before leaving for the Country Rendez-Vous Festival in Craponne, France. The banjo is in very similar condition to the Crowe. No rash, all the original hardware & it still has the factory ring and rim.
Russ uses Shelor wide band finger picks and BlueChip thumb picks. Both Gold Stars are set up with 11/16" bridges with Crowe spacing. In the current configuration, the heads and bridges are the only non factory original parts on both banjos. The heads are set between G & G# & both banjo run GHS PF185 Almost Medium strings.