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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Into the Collectors Realm - Clifford Essex Special XX


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/382977

GrahamHawker - Posted - 05/03/2022:  07:01:08


Gosh I'm actually excited. I've just bought a Clifford Essex Special XX from Eagle Music for a bargain price. It was sold as parts only because after all it has no strings or bridge. I should get it in a couple of days so should I be looking at nylon strings?


Bufo Bill - Posted - 05/03/2022:  09:24:10


I would go with Nylon.
I notice there is a resonator attachment on the Dowel. Was it included as part of your deal?
Eagle are good guys, they really love a banjo.
Nice item!
Cheers from Bill.

Joel Hooks - Posted - 05/03/2022:  10:29:59


Very nice, the "Special XX" later became the "Concert Grand."

I can see that the "truss" has been installed upside down, the scalloped truss should be like a Vega WL (the inspiration for this design).

The assembly should slip apart and can be reassembled correctly.

Your best bet is nylon. For a time Clifford Essex (and Emile Grimshaw) recommended using a wire first. This was something they equipped the banjos they sold with, the rest being gut or "tropical" except for the wound 4th.

There is little evidence that this was something that caught on in wide use. Likely that wire first was changed to a gut or tropical first. In reality this was likely a compromise. The thin gut first string would be subject to breakage. The first WW caused a shortage of strings (as the countries that made them were killing each other and also sutures). Humidity was also a problem in England.



 

GrahamHawker - Posted - 05/03/2022:  10:36:17


quote:

Originally posted by Bufo Bill

I would go with Nylon.

I notice there is a resonator attachment on the Dowel. Was it included as part of your deal?

 






Yes the resonator is included. I asked them to remove it and take some photos of the inside of the pot which is what I posted. On seeing them I purchased straight way.

GrahamHawker - Posted - 05/03/2022:  10:54:21


quote:

Originally posted by Joel Hooks

Very nice, the "Special XX" later became the "Concert Grand."



I can see that the "truss" has been installed upside down, the scalloped truss should be like a Vega WL (the inspiration for this design).



The assembly should slip apart and can be reassembled correctly.






Thanks for spotting that. Although I'm familar with modern whyte laydies I hadn't spotted that. I wonder if it's been that way since the head was last replaced in 1969, assuming that's what the date means.



Time to try to stock up on nylons which is getting tricky in the UK.

trapdoor2 - Posted - 05/03/2022:  11:43:01


My favorite! I'll never give mine up.



Nylons, a bridge from @Joel Hooks ...sorted!

Bufo Bill - Posted - 05/03/2022:  12:20:34


quote:

Originally posted by GrahamHawker

quote:


Time to try to stock up on nylons which is getting tricky in the UK.






I'm planning on putting in an order with Labella for their period instrument strings. It's ridiculous. Andy Banjo went last winter and Clifford Essex seem to have disappeared . . . Not surprising considering how low down Google listed CE when you searched for them!



If you want anything other than Aquila, you're in trouble!



Cheers from Bill.

GrahamHawker - Posted - 05/03/2022:  12:28:02


quote:

Originally posted by Bufo Bill

I'm planning on putting in an order with Labella for their period instrument strings. It's ridiculous. Andy Banjo went last winter and Clifford Essex seem to have disappeared . . . Not surprising considering how low down Google listed CE when you searched for them!



If you want anything other than Aquila, you're in trouble!



Cheers from Bill.






Luckily I have a few Andybanjo nylon strings and can make up a set. Unfortunately Clem Vickery who ran Clifford Essex died so it seems unlikely they will be back. I have bought Picato sets from Eagle Music but they are not in stock.  I guess I might as well try Aquilla nylguts.

Bill Rogers - Posted - 05/03/2022:  12:33:01


String your XX with what suits you to play the music you want. Mine came with steel strings and they’ve been no problem in the 20+ years I’ve had it.

Bufo Bill - Posted - 05/03/2022:  12:57:30


quote:

Originally posted by Bill Rogers

String your XX with what suits you to play the music you want. Mine came with steel strings and they’ve been no problem in the 20+ years I’ve had it.






Absolutely. Personally I like old banjos with Nylon, they sound great! Great big heavy nylons sound unpleasant to my ear, however. Nylons last for ages too.



I don't even like the feel of metal strings anymore.



Cheers from Bill.

hobogal - Posted - 05/03/2022:  23:34:42


Congratulations on your find GrahamHawker

I've bought individual strings from Strings Direct - they are good quality nylon strings:stringsdirect.co.uk/strings-c1...20/s14831



(due to the quirks of Banjo Hangout, I can't tag you in and make a link activate at the same time as they use different 'text')

GrahamHawker - Posted - 05/04/2022:  03:37:29


quote:

Originally posted by hobogal



I've bought individual strings from Strings Direct


 




Thanks Carrie. I remeber you mentioning these before and this saves me searching around.

AndrewD - Posted - 05/04/2022:  04:13:31


Beautiful. Wish I'd seen it. The weird thing about this is the juxtaposition of "Eagle Music" and "bargain".
My old CE Clipper has happily had steel strings on it for over 30 years. It's been a wall hanger for some years now, but still straight as a die.

GrahamHawker - Posted - 05/04/2022:  04:35:59


quote:

Originally posted by AndrewD

Beautiful. Wish I'd seen it. The weird thing about this is the juxtaposition of "Eagle Music" and "bargain".






Yes I was surprised as well. I'm not sure how they came to a price of £249 for this apparently just because it has no bridge or strings.

hbick2 - Posted - 05/04/2022:  04:45:42


I know very little about Clifford Essex banjos, but I question whether or not that tone ring is actually upside down. It appears to be constructed more like a Fairbanks 'Inverted tone ring" than a Whyte Laydie ring. I did a quick search this morning and found at least one other Essex with the inverted ring. Here are some photos of Fairbanks banjos with both a standard Electric ring and an inverted Electric ring:


m06 - Posted - 05/04/2022:  04:51:31


That quality for that price, it’s no wonder you’re excited!



I imagine a Cheshire cat grin too?



Nice find.



If you are having trouble finding strings I can suggest trying Savarez. Their white, red and yellow card sets offer flexibility in regard to tension. I've never liked the feel of nylgut strings but I love Savarez strings on my early English banjos.


Edited by - m06 on 05/04/2022 04:59:43

GrahamHawker - Posted - 05/05/2022:  07:54:27


The banjo has arrived with case that is battered on the outside but functional. Everrything looks fine except for one lose resonator support thing. I'm not sure what sort of nut these would have had - I think it has a less vinatge replacement. Here are some pictures:


Edited by - GrahamHawker on 05/05/2022 07:56:47


Bufo Bill - Posted - 05/05/2022:  09:55:32


Gorgeous banjo, what a buy! Excuse me while I gently steam and dribble.
Well done that man!
Cheers from Bill.

GrahamHawker - Posted - 05/05/2022:  11:20:13


quote:

Originally posted by Bufo Bill

Gorgeous banjo, what a buy! Excuse me while I gently steam and dribble.

 






Thanks. It's not absolutely perfect. The tuners need some lubrication, the action is about 3/16th inch so I'll try a lower bridge and while the neck seems good there are a couple of gouge marks on the fretboard edge and one of the frets needs knocking back into place - it's sticking out on one side.



 


deke46 - Posted - 05/05/2022:  22:38:32


Great find, I`m in the process of restoring its successor, a Concert Grand, and a grand instrument it is in every respect. Mine arrived with the skin fitted in such a fashion that I fail to see how it could be tensioned, however I managed to save the skin and refit it correctly. Yours is in much better condition and at that price I`d be buying another 250 pounds on lottery tickets.
From the photos it looks like the fret are protruding because it has lost some of the fretboard binding, I`d be checking further before "knocking" the fret back into position :-).
I`m also about to start work on a Clifford Essex Paragon plectrum banjo. Not sure whether to attempt a new tenor neck for it, I think the inlays are definitely beyond my skill level.
Hope it fills the CE shaped hole in your life. :-)

GrahamHawker - Posted - 05/06/2022:  00:30:42


quote:

Originally posted by deke46

From the photos it looks like the fret are protruding because it has lost some of the fretboard binding, I`d be checking further before "knocking" the fret back into position :-).

 






The protuding fret is further up the fretboard where the edge is fine. Generally though the fret ends are a little bit sharp I guess down to an imperfect refretting job in the past.

Bufo Bill - Posted - 05/06/2022:  03:42:45


quote:

Originally posted by GrahamHawker

quote:

Originally posted by deke46

From the photos it looks like the fret are protruding because it has lost some of the fretboard binding, I`d be checking further before "knocking" the fret back into position :-).

 






The protuding fret is further up the fretboard where the edge is fine. Generally though the fret ends are a little bit sharp I guess down to an imperfect refretting job in the past.






Yes those frets look chunky and modern. Not the tiny Classic era frets methinks.

Hamstrings - Posted - 05/06/2022:  13:53:41


quote:

Originally posted by hbick2

I know very little about Clifford Essex banjos, but I question whether or not that tone ring is actually upside down. It appears to be constructed more like a Fairbanks 'Inverted tone ring" than a Whyte Laydie ring. I did a quick search this morning and found at least one other Essex with the inverted ring. Here are some photos of Fairbanks banjos with both a standard Electric ring and an inverted Electric ring:






I have three different friends who each have a CE XX and I have worked on all of them. I also own a Whyte Laydie from 1901 with an inverted tone ring. The tone ring on yours is not upside down.  The Clifford Essex XX is like a Whyte Laydie on steroids, all of the metal parts are heavy duty copies of a Whyte Laydie and the wooden parts are very robust too. All three of the ones I've seen have steel strings and can handle them just fine.


Edited by - Hamstrings on 05/06/2022 13:56:07

Meestro - Posted - 05/06/2022:  16:32:06


Hi Jim, Hopefully I’ll be able to see you at the end of July!

GrahamHawker - Posted - 05/07/2022:  02:21:56


quote:

Originally posted by hbick2

I know very little about Clifford Essex banjos, but I question whether or not that tone ring is actually upside down. It appears to be constructed more like a Fairbanks 'Inverted tone ring" than a Whyte Laydie ring.






As far as I can tell you're correct it's an inverted tone ring with the usual pieces joined as one.



 


hbick2 - Posted - 05/07/2022:  03:45:26


It is definitely an inverted "Electric" style tone ring. No possibility of flipping that one over. Below is a link to Hank Schwartz's website on Fairbanks banjos. If you scroll down, you will see pictures of an inverted Electric tone ring both on and off of the banjo. There are several differences between the Fairbanks and the Essex tone rings. The Fairbanks has a longer skirt on the outside. The Essex has a tube attached to the top of the ring. The points on the Essex are also much flatter than the Fairbanks.



hschwartz.com/FairbanksBanjos/...dco2.html

GrahamHawker - Posted - 05/07/2022:  04:03:10


quote:

Originally posted by hbick2

Below is a link to Hank Schwartz's website on Fairbanks banjos. If you scroll down, you will see pictures of an inverted Electric tone ring both on and off of the banjo. There are several differences between the Fairbanks and the Essex tone rings. The Fairbanks has a longer skirt on the outside. The Essex has a tube attached to the top of the ring. The points on the Essex are also much flatter than the Fairbanks.


 




Yes I've looked at that site. On the Essex the bottom of the scallops just rest on the rim, which is why I guess they are flatter, and there is no square hoop for them to rest on as with the Fairbanks assuming I don't have any missing bits.

steen - Posted - 05/07/2022:  13:17:48


How deep is the pot of the Clifford Essex and how deep is a Whyte Ladie. It is my impression that the Clifford E. is deeper than the Whyte Ladie, - but is it? Steen

GrahamHawker - Posted - 05/08/2022:  00:57:54


quote:

Originally posted by steen

How deep is the pot of the Clifford Essex and how deep is a Whyte Ladie. It is my impression that the Clifford E. is deeper than the Whyte Ladie, - but is it? Steen






Total depth is 2 and 7/8ths inch.



Depth of wooden rim 2 and 1/8th inch.



Tone ring to bottom of the sleeve is 1 inch.

Ivor - Posted - 05/08/2022:  06:18:49


Congratulations Graham, what a result I imagine you are chuffed to bits...how much will you charge for me to come around and see it!

GrahamHawker - Posted - 05/08/2022:  07:44:56


quote:

Originally posted by Ivor

Congratulations Graham, what a result I imagine you are chuffed to bits...how much will you charge for me to come around and see it!






My charge is a free cup of tea for you to drink and to bring the Recording King so you can show me how you're getting on. I am much chuffed and have been playing it a lot

Ivor - Posted - 05/08/2022:  08:29:06


That sounds like a deal, I’m spending all my time prepping the Austin Seven for the centenary event, but as soon as I’m done I’ll be round!

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