Rob's Bio

Rob is originally from eastern Pennsylvania near the Reading/Lancaster area. He started playing guitar at the age of 13. Within a couple of years he was playing Rhythm Guitar and Upright Bass with Shorty Eager and the Log Cabin Boys. A few years later he was playing Upright Bass with the Spirits of Bluegrass. Then in 1968 Uncle Sam needed Rob for a couple of years. After his time in the Army he returned to the States and got his job back with the Spirits of Bluegrass and eventually became half owner of that band.

In 1984 Rob started playing some fill-in dates with the Gary Ferguson band and the Paul Adkins band. In 1985 Rob sold his half of the Spirits of Bluegrass Band and started playing Bass with many of Baltimore/DC area bands such as: Bill Harrell & The Viginians and the Johnson Mountain Boys.

In 1986 Paul Adkins asked Rob to join The Borderline band full time. He toured with Paul until the fall of 1994. At that time Rob got the chance to play with the Nashville based band Lonesome Standard Time. After a year of commuting from Pennsylvania to Tennessee every week, Rob and his wife Gloria decided to sell their home and move to Nashville.

In the fall of 1996 the leaders of Lonesome Standard Time decided to call it quits. As luck would have it, at that same time the Reno Brothers were needing a Bass player. Rob has been with Ronnie Reno ever since, except for a short hiatus with the super group Rock County.

As for Rob's instrument repair history, he actually did his first repair work at the age of 15. The American Standard Bass he was playing at that time had a very bad fall which broke the neck heel and heel block. His first repair job wasn't very pretty but it was very strong and he played that Bass until 1984 when he acquired his 1952 Kay C-1 Bass. In 2009 Rob gave the American Standard Bass to his grandson Daniel Seefeldt for Christmas. Dan now has it at college and just loves playing it.

Through the years in Pennsylvania, Rob would do many restorations and instrument repairs for friends and neighbors. After moving to Nashville in 1995, Rob got a part-time job with Marty Lanham at Nashville Guitar Company. Rob always says: "Marty Lanham taught me everything about instrument building and repair work. I can't thank Marty enough for all his help and the great wealth of knowledge he has given me. After about three years of working for Marty, Rob opened a small repair shop at his home naming it Heartland Guitar Company. He basically took on jobs that Marty didn't have time to work on.

In 1998, Scott Vestal came to see Rob and ask if he would be interested in building the Stealth banjos. After a few months of research and experimenting to get the banjo just right, the first few Stealth banjos got out into the banjo world and it wasn't long before Rob started doing all phases of custom banjo work. In 1999, he started building banjos for Steve Huber. Actually, Rob built the Huber banjos up to serial number 43.

In 2000 the banjo world seemed to have taken over most of his busy working hours, so he decided to change the name of his company to Heartland Banjo & Guitar Co. He then started his own line of Heartland banjos using his newly designed "No Hole" tone ring and 3-ply Mahogany Rim. Bela Flick was one of the first players to want a banjo with a Mahogany 3-ply Rim. A great article about Bela and the 3-ply Mahogany Rim was in Banjo Newsletter and in the Bluegrass Unlimited magazines. Also that year, Rob was contracted by Bill Stokes to build all of the Timeless Timber banjos.

Rob says, the many years of building banjos has been wonderful and he has built complete banjos or custom necks for some of the top musicians in Bluegrass today. Clients include: Scott Vestal, Bela Fleck, Alison Brown, Kristin Scott Benson, Steve Martin, Noam Pikelny, Herb Petersen, Charlie Cushman, Bill Evans, Steve Dilling, Ned Luberecki, Wes Corbett, Glen Duncan, Richard Bailey, Stan Brown, Aaron McDaris, Casey Henry, Larry Perkins, John Bullard, Ron Cody, Gabe Hirshfeld, Chris Pandolfi, Davy Johnstone (Elton John Band), and many others.

In 2005 Tom Mirisola from Boston, Massachusetts contacted Rob about building a Style 11 (MOTS) banjo neck. After the neck was completed, Tom contacted Rob again and asked if he would be interested in building complete banjos with the Kel Kroydon name. Tom had acquired the copyrights and trademark for the Kel Kroydon banjos. The American Made Banjo Company was formed and the main goal of the company was to make affordable top quality banjos with all American made parts. This has been a time consuming and very costly process, but Tom and Rob are working tirelessly to make every piece needed to build a banjo out of products Made in America.