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f5loar - Posted - 05/10/2009:  09:51:47

Well known mandolin/banjo luthier Clermon Eugene Ward (CE Ward) died Thursday at his home in Concord, NC at age 70.
Funeral arrangements pending.

Tom Isenhour

jfb - Posted - 05/10/2009:  10:30:07

Sad news..thoughts with the family

bearface - Posted - 05/10/2009:  10:38:17

our prayers go out to the family

silvioferretti - Posted - 05/10/2009:  11:42:24

Another piece of history that's gone. C.E. built the 6-string neck for Sonny's Vega, right? Awesome work. Thoughts with the family.

"Just once I would like to hear you scream in pain" "Play some rap music..." Bruce Willis on The Last Boy Scout.

Silvio Ferretti

george t kelly - Posted - 05/10/2009:  18:08:05

Tom : thanks for the post on C. E. Ward. He was one of a kind and a good banjo player. I went by his place last year and visited with him and Dewry Farmer.

Ebanjo - Posted - 05/10/2009:  20:09:47

Sorry to hear this. He was a good friend to me for 30 years. I'll sure miss him.
Eric Ellis

plunka5 - Posted - 05/10/2009:  20:49:40

Sorry to hear of this. He was "one-of-a-kind". Made some of the most finely-crafted necks, banjos, mandolins ever produced by anyone. I loved his "wreath" necks the most...wonderfully done.

AD3AD3AD3 - Posted - 05/11/2009:  03:52:32

It's a shame to see him go. We won't see his like again, I fear.


strang - Posted - 05/11/2009:  05:51:58


Thoughts and prayers for the family.

A lot of Ward stuff is floating around the Charlotte area.

- = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = -
Bluegrass -- THE Original Country Music!

banjospanky - Posted - 05/11/2009:  06:16:05

I'm sorry to hear that. He converted a 1927 TB-1 for me a couple of years ago. I still have it and really liked the job he done. He was a pretty nice guy.


Banjophobic - Posted - 05/11/2009:  06:27:37

C.E was a very talented craftsman and great fellow. He will be missed in the banjo community. I have had many of his banjo come thru my shop and i was always pleased to see them as I knew they would be fantastic quality.
Thanks for letting us know.

bhrb75 - Posted - 05/11/2009:  06:39:50

Sorry to hear about this. I hate I never got to meet him.


"He lives so far back in there, they had to roll ''em Martha White biscuits in in a wheelbar."

TheChief - Posted - 05/11/2009:  08:36:21

Talented man..He built the first six string neck for my banjo...


Sonny Osborne Banjo Company
web site:

The Specialist - Posted - 05/11/2009:  09:11:00

Condolences to his family & his friends. I'd heard through the grapevine he was a heck of a nice guy, I hate I never had the opportunity to met him.
Kyle K

"Banjos electronically voiced to your taste in tone and timbre."

jaderhold - Posted - 05/11/2009:  09:20:17

One of the first guys to build repro necks. Very talented craftsman and picker. Nice guy to boot.


fgodbey - Posted - 05/11/2009:  09:51:08

Here's a photo of C.E.Ward taken in 1980 when he came over to Somerset, Kentucky, for a show with Carl Story. Also on the bill were The Blue Grass Boys with Butch Robbins on banjo. Lots of good banjo playing that night.

cemdunlop - Posted - 05/11/2009:  10:57:21

That's sad news indeed. I first met CE back in the 1960s. He built a banjo that I bought then (and still have). In later years I acquired a second CE Ward banjo and a mandolin. He was a great builder, repairman, and a unique personality.

Edited by - cemdunlop on 05/11/2009 11:10:12

flange5st - Posted - 05/11/2009:  12:21:01 sad to hear about Clermon Ward.............the man could get the most sound out of any instrument that he in peace, are remembered

.........speed is fine, but accuarcy is everything..........Wyatt Earp.........

Edited by - flange5st on 05/12/2009 06:15:27

fivedrive5 - Posted - 05/11/2009:  14:53:11

Will miss him a bunch, when my 3 neck was broken about 10 years ago,he built
a replacement I still play. Surely one of the greater builders and pickers.


Wes Lassiter - Posted - 05/11/2009:  16:59:20

Rest in peace Claremon, You were amazing. Condolences to all his family. He will be missed. The first banjo I ever fell in love with was Jeff Whittingtons CE Ward. The sound of it and feel of it still I can feel to this day. In a way I still measure banjos by that one.

Banjo Wes
All things excellent are difficult as they are rare.


Wes Lassiter - Posted - 05/11/2009:  16:59:39

Rest in peace Claremon, You were amazing. Condolences to all his family. He will be missed. The first banjo I ever fell in love with was Jeff Whittingtons CE Ward. The sound of it and feel of it still I can feel to this day. In a way I still measure banjos by that one.

Banjo Wes
All things excellent are difficult as they are rare.


f5loar - Posted - 05/11/2009:  17:13:26

Thanks for all the kind condolences for CE Ward. If you will continue to post and any photos would be great too and Tuesday night I will present the family with a print out of this post at the Funeral Home in Concord, NC. 6 to 8 is the time at Hartsell Funeral Home, Hwy 3.
My memories of CE go back to the early 70's when I was in his band with Joe Smith, David Smith and me on the mandolin. We played regularly at the Drawbridge nightclub in Charlotte. CE knew his way around a banjo neck and always had excellent taste and tone in his breaks. I also remember the summer of '70 I was thinking of buying a CE Ward F5 Gibson copy and didn't have the $600 at the time and he said just keep it til I got enough money. After all summer of working and keeping up my girlfiends I never came up with the money and gave it back to him. A few years ago I got to play again with CE in Paul Hill's Sunnyside group. Truly a legend in NC Bluegrass music.

Tom Isenhour

george t kelly - Posted - 05/11/2009:  18:03:30

Tom did you know the Parker fellow that helped C. E.learn to play the banjo?.

1935tb-11 - Posted - 05/11/2009:  19:35:09

our prayers go out to his family
hey tom did you play with them in the 70s
when joe smith was playing fiddle?
i married joes niece and she was telling me about
some of the wild times C E and joe used to have.

terry m

4 longs and 1 short=banjer ring

BrittDLD1 - Posted - 05/11/2009:  19:40:35

I knew of the name, but never met Mr.Ward. But the loss of any good
instrument-maker is a loss of rare knowledge, and practiced skills, that
all of us will miss.

My condolences to his family and friends.

My best wishes, and regards --
Ed Britt

A good fiddle tune will bring two or more people together who might otherwise be enemies.

arby3 - Posted - 05/11/2009:  19:48:47

I met Clermon in 1967 when he did some work for me at his shop in Charlotte. Not long after I bought a -3 conversion from Paul Sasser that had one of C.E. 's necks in it. It was as good a neck as I've ever played. Traded that banjo for one of his F-5 copies, also a fine piece of work. Last time I saw him was a few years ago at his shop, which is not far from my home. He was in his M.O.T.S. phase. There was pearloid everywhere! I'll always think of Clermon when I pass by Ray Linker Rd.


JIMBO53 - Posted - 05/12/2009:  05:06:23

Here's the obituary from The Charlotte Observer this morning:
Clermon Eugene Ward
CONCORD -- Clermon Eugene Ward, 70, died May 7, 2009. Graveside service 2pm Wednesday, Charlotte Memorial Gardens; visitation Tuesday, 6-8pm, Hartsell Funeral Home of Concord

Clermon did a refret, binding replacement and set up on my '35 TB2 a few years ago-the best refret and set up I ever had. He had a tiny shop in a utility building next to his mobile home nestled in the woods at the end of a dirt road, stuffed to the rafters with wood, tools, instrument parts, and a massive pile of bluegrass cassettes which played endlessly. I was talking to Jack Lawrence recently and he was telling me he worked with Clermon as an apprentice when he was in high school. He was old school all the way,dedicated to uncompromising craftsmanship, creating instruments that will leave a legacy in the music he loved. Another link to the past has been silenced. Rest in Peace, Clermon.

"Life Has Been Easier On Me Than Any Lazy Person Like Myself Has The Right To Expect"-Pete Seeger

f5loar - Posted - 05/12/2009:  11:19:51

No, Joe Smith was his guitar player/singer. David Smith, the half blind fiddler was with him then and those guys helped cut the LP of CE Ward and the Bluegrass Revue. Ronnie Prevette played mandolin and then I went in to play mandolin when Ronnie went with Bluegrass Alliance.
Jack Lawrence also played guitar in his band. I called Jack to tell him and he will not be able to attend funeral and sends his personal condolences to his family. I never heard of the Parker fellow. Buy the time I met CE he was already a well known State Champion banjo picker. His shop in Charlotte was a hangout for some the greatest bluegrass legends in the business. I remember going in there and he was working on Red Smiley's prewar D45 and he let me hit a few chords on it and I knew then what all the hype was on these pre war instruments by Martin and Gibson.

Tom Isenhour

Wes Lassiter - Posted - 05/12/2009:  16:06:46

Appreciate all the information Tommy

Banjo Wes
All things excellent are difficult as they are rare.


flange5st - Posted - 05/12/2009:  17:04:11

....I called several folks to tell them about CE's passing and they all send their condolences,
Ronnie Prevette
Wayne Hauser
Dave Osborne
Winfred Hunt
Harold Chrisco
Mike Casstevens.....peace

.........speed is fine, but accuarcy is everything..........Wyatt Earp.........

Edited by - flange5st on 05/12/2009 17:32:42

jsnbrgg - Posted - 07/30/2009:  10:26:03

My Great Grandfathers name was C.E. Ward...
I wonder if there was any relation?


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