I recently won this banjo on an online auction. No markings on it anywhere but the previous owner bought it in Clifford Essex Music store back in the 50's probably used. It looks to me like a Clifford Essex but any identification help would be appreciated. I don't want to know the value or any offers for it as it's a keeper.
Hi Peter. Its definitely a CE but the inlay pattern doesn't match up with anything in my CE catalogue. My catalogue is from the time they operated from 15A Grafton St. and covers the period. Was this one on Trademe?
Hi Wayne - yep it was the one on trademe and the inlays appear original - had a look at CE images on the internet but no identical inlay layouts although the inlay shapes are all there in different layouts. No markings anywhere on the banjo itself.
WW2 put an end to CE banjos. They tried to bring back the Regal a decade or two after the war but it was no use. Post war they seem to have shifted focus on the Segovia version of the Spanish guitar as that had become very popular.
What CE did do was a lot of refurbishments of used banjos. So CE selling it in the 1950s ads up. But it is not a “CE” banjo (though the head is CE).
Please consider removing those wire strings and putting on the correct nylon.
Agree it is likely a George Houghton made banjo- have come across similar badged FDH, Savana and GHS Lion Trademark - tailpiece may be original.
Interesting seeing another one fitted with the Dallas tailpiece. Although I would have thought both of these banjos date pre 1925. These tailpieces started to appear on circa 1930's Jedson banjos usually fitted with geared tuners. Both have friction tuners of a style that can be found on Dallas banjos in the early 1900's. Houghton did have contact with Dallas and he along with some of his staff ecentually ended up working for Dallas.
Oh sorry; I was talking aboout the OP's banjo at the top.
Yes the OP's banjo is only fitted with 4 strings but it has a 5 string tailpiece and it's a 5 string banjo.
I see that it's a 5 string with only four, but I'm confused as to where the additional string would go. If it goes through the hole in the center of the tailpiece it seems the string spacing would be odd. Sure looks like a 4 string tailpiece to me but what do I know?
The middle (3rd) string goes through the triangular hole. At the time Dallas was using this design the 4 string was the more popular. They just modified the 4 string type to accept a 5th. Pretty much a copy of the Presto just a different shape hole.
Many thanks to everybody for their contributions and yep it certainly appears to be a Houghton and Sons (identical inlays etc). Strange no sign of the lion on the headstock (or depression where it might have been) but these things happen. Thanks again to you all.
this Banjo was the same as the 3rd Banjo I ever bought in the 1970’s, I eventually traded it but have since replaced it ! It is definitely NOT made by CE, although it has one of their Velums fitted. It is listed in my John E Dallas Catalogue. Keith