The strap that almost never was
So far I have made several straps for Steve Martin. The first one of my straps for him was a Stelling Swallowtail strap I sent to Geoff Stelling to include with his new Swallowtail banjo. Geoff didn't like the look of it so he didn't send it with the banjo. About a year later, Sherry Stelling found it in a desk drawer and asked Geoff about it. When Geoff told her he didn't like it so he just put it in the drawer, she liked it so she sent it on to Steve. THANKS SHERRY ! In the meantime Tom Marisola had me make a Kel Kroydon strap for Steve's Kel Kroydon KK-10 that he took delivery of in Boston while filming the Pink Panther movie. That is the strap pictured below. It is a buffalo lined with elk with tooling leather ends. A Kel Kroydon peghead is on the tapered end.
The Mark Johnson Connection
Mark Johnson of "Claw Grass" fame called me one Sunday from LaGuardia Airport and told me I should expect a call from Steve as he had really liked Mark's Chubby Dragon strap, saying that that was the kind of strap he had been looking for. Even though he already had two of my straps, he didn't know that I had made them. He did call in about a week and we discussed what he had in mind as well as some thoughts on my part. I suggested tooling the "Crow" image from his CD (which still looks like a penguin to me). He liked that idea and said he would also like the "arrow through the head" that he used in his earlier banjo act. So that was The basic motif for the strap for his '27 Florentine. His strap of choice is English Tooling Leather lined with elk skin. Pictured below:
The Next few straps included a strap for his Pre War Granada with matching Hearts & Flowers inlay pattern tooling, a psychedelic, whimsical, "Peace" strap, a very special strap for his RB-18 once owned by John Hartford & Roger Sprung. It Has John's signature tooled into the leather & Roger & Steve's name in 23K gold leaf.
John Hartford Strap
The infamous Swallowtail strap that almost never was. Coincidentally, he has used this strap on more performances & TV appearances than any other, at least that I've seen.
I set up and took this photo for my website and emailed it to Steve. He emailed me back and said he liked it so much, he was using it as his screensaver! Pretty cool.
At Merlefest 2010 In his tour bus and in our booth in the vendor tent. Oh, by the way, I'm the one on the left in both photos.