Born in 1869 William C Stahl was given a cheap banjo on his twelfth birthday and started to learn to play the instrument by ear. When he was fourteen he stated to study the violin “so he could learn to read music” but after five years he gave it up to concentrate on the banjo and its related instruments. At the age of nineteen he composed his first banjo solo which was published by SS Stewart.
IN 1899 he was offered the leadership of a large orchestra and teaching studio in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
There he flourished and gradually built up a large teaching connection and entered the publishing and manufacturing businesses. His banjo methods were sound and well written, being un usually detailed for the period.
By 1903 “The Crescendo” was able to report “Wm. Stahl had been so behind with orders for his mandolins, guitars and banjos that he had been running his plant night and day all though the summer and is still behind with orders”. Over ten years later Thos. J Armstrong said that ”Stahl banjos had made Milwaukee famous “.
In 1919 advertisements Stahl claimed to have been the first manufacturer of the tenor-banjo –“ a dozen years ago”.
He died on April 29th 1940 but appears to have ceased banjo making some time before this date.