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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Cammeyer Open back with C.E. skin head - advice


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/373833

max_levy - Posted - 03/24/2021:  08:51:05


Hi folks, my fist post here!
Late last year I decided I'd try and learn the banjo, my dad used to play and its been on my to do list for a while. I was round his today and he gave me three of his old banjos. This one caught my eye and I wondered if you had any information from the serial numbers when it was made? I'd never sell it, but for curiosity would love to know an approximate value as I cant find any open back Cammeyers on the market.
Many thanks in advance for any help or advice!
Max





 

Stephen John Prior - Posted - 03/24/2021:  09:35:17


Bit tricky to value without more details and close up photos maybe £300 - 400. BHO member Keith Wilson should be able to give you an accurate date but I'd guess around 1910. The fingerboards and peghead overlays on some of these are made up of 2 layers of ebonised timber which can cause problems. Nice dad and nice banjo. Best strung with nylon strings.

max_levy - Posted - 03/24/2021:  10:03:00


Stephen John Prior Thank you for your help! That's great to know! I'll see what I can do about getting some nylon for it. I'm a total novice and learning on a new Deering Goodtime. One thing I notice on this is the strings are remarkably high off the fret board. I don't think my dad every played this one, he gave me his one which is a fretless open back which I'd imagine is 1930s. It has simulated pegs whereas this Cammeyer has bone ones. The other he gave me is by John Alvey Turner and has ivory pegs. It's quite a bit smaller!

Thanks for your help!

csacwp - Posted - 03/24/2021:  10:59:41


quote:

Originally posted by max_levy

Stephen John Prior Thank you for your help! That's great to know! I'll see what I can do about getting some nylon for it. I'm a total novice and learning on a new Deering Goodtime. One thing I notice on this is the strings are remarkably high off the fret board. I don't think my dad every played this one, he gave me his one which is a fretless open back which I'd imagine is 1930s. It has simulated pegs whereas this Cammeyer has bone ones. The other he gave me is by John Alvey Turner and has ivory pegs. It's quite a bit smaller!



Thanks for your help!






Make sure to use a 1/2" bridge, which is period-correct for this banjo. Even then, the string action is supposed to be quite high - 5mm above the 12th fret is pretty normal. This allows the light gut strings banjos used to be strung with to vibrate freely without buzzing or "slapping" the frets when played hard. I'll second what has already been said about nylon strings. 

max_levy - Posted - 03/24/2021:  11:37:57


csacwp Thanks for the advice! I'll get measuring. I'm aware the location of the bridge is very important on banjos so have no idea is this is set up correctly at all. My mum was an antique dealer so likely bought the fretted banjos on the cheap from the local auction house a couple of decades ago.
Not sure I totally trust myself, so might drop it to the local music store to restring and see if anything needs adjusting!

Thanks again!

AndrewD - Posted - 03/24/2021:  12:30:58


quote:

Originally posted by max_levy

Stephen John Prior Thank you for your help! That's great to know! I'll see what I can do about getting some nylon for it. I'm a total novice and learning on a new Deering Goodtime. One thing I notice on this is the strings are remarkably high off the fret board. I don't think my dad every played this one, he gave me his one which is a fretless open back which I'd imagine is 1930s. It has simulated pegs whereas this Cammeyer has bone ones. The other he gave me is by John Alvey Turner and has ivory pegs. It's quite a bit smaller!



Thanks for your help!






Not sure anybody was making fretless banjos in the '30s. Either a long time before or a long time after. Celluloid pegs were around in the 19th C. Photos ?  I get my banjo strings (including nylons) from Clifford Essex.

max_levy - Posted - 03/24/2021:  13:06:03


Thanks AndrewD , I'll have a look and see if I can get some, be nice to have it set up how it's supposed to be or the first time in decades! Some pictures of the fretless attached! :-)






csacwp - Posted - 03/24/2021:  13:43:58


quote:

Originally posted by max_levy

csacwp Thanks for the advice! I'll get measuring. I'm aware the location of the bridge is very important on banjos so have no idea is this is set up correctly at all. My mum was an antique dealer so likely bought the fretted banjos on the cheap from the local auction house a couple of decades ago.

Not sure I totally trust myself, so might drop it to the local music store to restring and see if anything needs adjusting!



Thanks again!






Be careful bringing it to a music store. Most don't specialize in banjos and have no idea what they are talking about. Even many of the banjo-specific shops are clueless when it comes to vintage instruments and their setup. 

Stephen John Prior - Posted - 03/24/2021:  14:00:30


quote:

Originally posted by max_levy

Thanks AndrewD , I'll have a look and see if I can get some, be nice to have it set up how it's supposed to be or the first time in decades! Some pictures of the fretless attached! :-)






Hi Max. Your fretless maybe made by G P Matthew a Birmingham maker. Might be interesting to get a small mirror and see if there is a stamp on the underside of the dowel stick. 



I am particularly interested in John Alvey Turner banjos so would be interested in seeing photos if you would be so kind.


Edited by - Stephen John Prior on 03/24/2021 14:01:14

Stephen John Prior - Posted - 03/24/2021:  14:08:33


quote:

Originally posted by max_levy

Hi folks, my fist post here!

Late last year I decided I'd try and learn the banjo, my dad used to play and its been on my to do list for a while. I was round his today and he gave me three of his old banjos. This one caught my eye and I wondered if you had any information from the serial numbers when it was made? I'd never sell it, but for curiosity would love to know an approximate value as I cant find any open back Cammeyers on the market.

Many thanks in advance for any help or advice!

Max






Just out of interest the armrest looks like a Clifford Essex circa 1930. If it is they are quite sort after on their own.

max_levy - Posted - 03/24/2021:  14:59:16


Stephen John Prior Thanks for the info! So I had a look, up one end it seems to have 401 and the other 117. No writing though which is a shame. What age would you expect it to be? For some reason I just assumed it was later that the other two, even though its case looks like it was made by an amateur coffin builder!

I just took some photos of the Averly but it wont let me post with pictures to prevent spamming. Not sure how else I can show you!

Thanks again

max_levy - Posted - 03/24/2021:  14:59:50


Stephen John Prior Images attached!






AndrewD - Posted - 03/24/2021:  15:02:27


Agree it might be a Matthew. Definitely not 1930's.Probably 30 or more years earlier. Love that case with sticky out 5th string projection.

max_levy - Posted - 03/24/2021:  15:16:33


AndrewD Thats great to know! thanks, I'll get researching! It's aw awesome case, the lining has always reminded me of a coffin!

Joel Hooks - Posted - 03/24/2021:  18:58:22


Here is Cammeyer’s instruction book if you would like to learn to play...

archive.org/details/essexcamme.../mode/2up

While not my favorite, it is as good as any for learning the basics.

Stephen John Prior - Posted - 03/25/2021:  00:06:40


quote:

Originally posted by max_levy

Stephen John Prior Images attached!






The one on the right was made br Wm Temlett probably around 1890. Temlett built for JAT. Another nice banjo. Again should be nylon strings.

max_levy - Posted - 03/25/2021:  02:18:18


Joel Hooks Thats awesome thank you!

Stephen John Prior Thats incredible Stephen thanks for the insight, is there a name for a banjo or reason its that much smaller than others?

Stephen John Prior - Posted - 03/25/2021:  02:24:43


quote:

Originally posted by max_levy

Joel Hooks Thats awesome thank you!



Stephen John Prior Thats incredible Stephen thanks for the insight, is there a name for a banjo or reason its that much smaller than others?






What is the scale length and pot diameter ?

max_levy - Posted - 03/25/2021:  03:28:05


Stephen John Prior Ok, I'm not 100% sure my measurements are totally at the correct locations. For the pot Ive measured the diameter of the skin head, and the external diameter of the back of the pot. This is approximately 228mm which is a fraction under 9 inches.

The scale, I've measured from the middle of the nut to the bridge (could be wrongly located bridge) and it comes it at 566mm or just a fraction over 22 1/4 inches.

Thanks again!

Stephen John Prior - Posted - 03/25/2021:  03:37:57


quote:

Originally posted by max_levy

Stephen John Prior Ok, I'm not 100% sure my measurements are totally at the correct locations. For the pot Ive measured the diameter of the skin head, and the external diameter of the back of the pot. This is approximately 228mm which is a fraction under 9 inches.



The scale, I've measured from the middle of the nut to the bridge (could be wrongly located bridge) and it comes it at 566mm or just a fraction over 22 1/4 inches.



Thanks again!






Measurement from the nut to the 12th fret. Twice that for scale.

max_levy - Posted - 03/25/2021:  03:45:48


Stephen John Prior Not sure how i measured that so wrong! If I measure from where the string leaves the nut to the middle of the 12th fret its 265mm. With the width of the nut and width of the fret theres a few mm variability there but scale length appears to be 530mm which is 20.86 inches.

Stephen John Prior - Posted - 03/25/2021:  08:21:56


quote:

Originally posted by max_levy

Stephen John Prior Not sure how i measured that so wrong! If I measure from where the string leaves the nut to the middle of the 12th fret its 265mm. With the width of the nut and width of the fret theres a few mm variability there but scale length appears to be 530mm which is 20.86 inches.






Sounds like it's a Banjeaurine. Lead instrument in a banjo orchestra. 

Joel Hooks - Posted - 03/25/2021:  08:43:42


Stephen John Prior the JAT banjo has professional frets on the side of the fingerboard. This is usually an indication that the banjo was originally smooth arm. But this one does not look like that.

Do you have any thoughts on this?

I'm thinking that this is a "ladies" model banjo and not a Banjeaurine.

Stephen John Prior - Posted - 03/25/2021:  09:18:41


quote:

Originally posted by Joel Hooks

Stephen John Prior the JAT banjo has professional frets on the side of the fingerboard. This is usually an indication that the banjo was originally smooth arm. But this one does not look like that.



Do you have any thoughts on this?



I'm thinking that this is a "ladies" model banjo and not a Banjeaurine.






From the positioning of the board inlays I would think it was always fretted. Retro fretted instruments tend to show inlay damage. It's not unusual to see both on old English banjos.



I was thinking the scale of approx. 20 & 1/2  put it in the Banjeaurine length.   



Bishopsgate address would make it no later than 1907/8


Edited by - Stephen John Prior on 03/25/2021 09:23:41

banjowilly22 - Posted - 03/25/2021:  12:48:48


Hello Max, and welcome to the BHO site. I can tell you that from the Cammeyer
Ledgers that I have in my possession that your. BAnjo was made on 4th April 1908.
And as stamped on the dowel / rim stick is listed as a Grade ‘C’ model.
It would be great to keep these details with your Banjo.
Let me know your email address and I will send you a copy of the Ledger Page.
Keith

csacwp - Posted - 03/25/2021:  12:54:20


I'm interested in the bridge that is fitted to the Cammeyer. Could you please share some close up photos of it?

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