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weaver banjo Essex and Cammeyer

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Jul 11, 2019 - 10:18:42 AM
1338 posts since 2/12/2009

the title above describes the instrument I have lately been tempted with, I have a fancy to play some nylon string music and, can't bring myself to alter any of my Vegas so, I have been offered this instrument at a reasonable cost but, being ignorant regarding classic banjos I figured I would ask if anybody is familiar with this one. thanks .

Jul 11, 2019 - 11:03:52 AM

700 posts since 9/7/2005

Spoonfed,
I have a USA made turn of the last century 12” pot Alfred Cammeyer 5 string banjo strung up with nylguts. It is my only banjo that I liked the tone with nylguts on that really sounds so good that I leave it strung that way all the time. Shallow pot, single spun over, mahogany neck, 26.5” scale. Had it about 40 + years and happy with it. I made a removable plate that straddles the frets so I can go from fretted to fretless and back in just a few minutes. Nice inlays on the neck and headstock. Great old banjo!

Jul 11, 2019 - 11:05:06 AM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

22294 posts since 6/25/2005

Pictures please. The makers’ names tell nothing about the banjo.

Jul 11, 2019 - 11:05:21 AM

4669 posts since 9/21/2007

Please post photos so we can see what you are talking about.

Weaver made banjos are solid professional instruments.

I have three Clifford Essex banjos (none were made by Weaver).  I love them all.  They are excellent classic banjos.

I know you say "Essex and Cammeyer" and I don't know enough about any releation ship that Alfred Weaver had with them.

Weaver did make the CE Special (metal hoop and wood hoop) for a short time.  But most of the Specials we see were not made by Weaver (but rather copies of Weaver's work with better metal).

Jul 11, 2019 - 11:17:21 AM

1216 posts since 4/25/2007

Weaver made for the Essex and Cammeyer partnership. It may have Essex and Cammeyer stamps on the dowel face and Weaver on the underside.

Jul 11, 2019 - 11:19:37 AM

1216 posts since 4/25/2007

Like this one.




 

Jul 11, 2019 - 11:21:57 AM

261 posts since 1/30/2019

Yes please to pictures of the Essex and Cammeyer. Also @dogfeathers can we have pictures of your US made Cammeyer too?

Jul 11, 2019 - 11:28:03 AM

1338 posts since 2/12/2009

I can't post pictures as it is owned by a buddy who showed it to me yesterday, it has an 11" pot and the frets stop short at 17 leaving what looks almost like a frailing scoop where the last few frets are absent, I asked if I could try a nylon strung banjo and he told me he had this particular one for sale strung with nylon strings , it sounded very sweet and perky, apart from the shield inlaid on the peghead the only mark was a silver plate on the perchpole saying "made expressly for Essex and Cammeyer 59 Piccadilly London W" I am hoping to try some classic finger picking just to amuse myself, hope the missing frets dont cause too much grief though !

Jul 11, 2019 - 11:37:14 AM

4669 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by spoonfed

I can't post pictures as it is owned by a buddy who showed it to me yesterday, it has an 11" pot and the frets stop short at 17 leaving what looks almost like a frailing scoop where the last few frets are absent, I asked if I could try a nylon strung banjo and he told me he had this particular one for sale strung with nylon strings , it sounded very sweet and perky, apart from the shield inlaid on the peghead the only mark was a silver plate on the perchpole saying "made expressly for Essex and Cammeyer 59 Piccadilly London W" I am hoping to try some classic finger picking just to amuse myself, hope the missing frets dont cause too much grief though !


The "frailing scoop" is concerning.  If it is just a flat unfretted section of the fingerboard then that is fine.  If it actually "scooped" meaning part of the fingerboard has been removed, that would be a 100% deal breaker for me.

Otherwise, you can't go wrong with a Weaver.

But double check on the fingerboard/scoop.  You will eventually want a full three octaves if playing classic banjo.  11" with a 17 fret neck does not sound correct.

There are WAY too many great classic era banjos to bother with one that has been "scooped."

But I could be wrong!

Jul 11, 2019 - 11:42:53 AM

1338 posts since 2/12/2009

Sorry Joel, I did not express myself too well I guess, it is just a flat spot missing some frets, definitely not a scoop. I would never entertain a scooped jo myself, was it made that way ?

Jul 11, 2019 - 11:52:19 AM

4669 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by spoonfed

Sorry Joel, I did not express myself too well I guess, it is just a flat spot missing some frets, definitely not a scoop. I would never entertain a scooped jo myself, was it made that way ?


I can't say for Weaver but it was not uncommon on other makes pre late 1890s.  Weaver did make a lot of fretless or "smooth arm" banjos, this one could have been fretted later.

Often times the smooth section was to adjust for bad intonation of false strings.  False strings become most evident in the higher positions and you can adjust with a smooth section of the fretboard.

As long as you are okay playing fretless above the 17th (and the price is right) then Weavers are top banjos.

Jul 11, 2019 - 12:01:27 PM

1338 posts since 2/12/2009

I am rather intrigued and attracted by those missing frets for some odd reason , is £600 a fair price ? it is in excellent condition and sounds just how I would like a nylon strung banjo to sound, plinky and poppy ! I am however woefully ignorant in these matters having only ever owned Vegas and Mastertones.

Jul 11, 2019 - 12:03:28 PM

csacwp

USA

2365 posts since 1/15/2014

Only 17 frets? Please post photos. I've never seen one with a large fretless space at the end of the board or only 17 frets, especially on an 11'' pot.

For whatever it's worth, if this one doesn't work out for you I have an 11'' Weaver for sale that's already set up for nylon string (classic style) playing that I could sell to you for a very low price.

Jul 11, 2019 - 12:04:58 PM

csacwp

USA

2365 posts since 1/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by spoonfed

I am rather intrigued and attracted by those missing frets for some odd reason , is £600 a fair price ? it is in excellent condition and sounds just how I would like a nylon strung banjo to sound, plinky and poppy ! I am however woefully ignorant in these matters having only ever owned Vegas and Mastertones.


600 GBP is OK assuming it is all original and really clean. I'm concerned by your description of it though and the fact that it only has 17 frets. I'm asking $450 USD for mine including a TKL case but it is not in museum condition and is a "player".

Edited by - csacwp on 07/11/2019 12:05:23

Jul 11, 2019 - 12:15:05 PM

1216 posts since 4/25/2007

17 fret is indeed intriguing. But he made 19 - 20 - 21 -22 so why not. If it's in really nice condition with all it's original parts £600 is maybe not so bad. They certainly don't turn up that often these days.

Jul 11, 2019 - 12:21:39 PM

csacwp

USA

2365 posts since 1/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by Stephen John Prior

17 fret is indeed intriguing. But he made 19 - 20 - 21 -22 so why not. If it's in really nice condition with all it's original parts £600 is maybe not so bad. They certainly don't turn up that often these days.


Probably because I've bought so many, haha!

If the original poster here wants to play classic style, he is going to need more than 17 frets. I'd say 19 is the minimum that one can get by with.

Jul 11, 2019 - 12:24:20 PM

1338 posts since 2/12/2009

great offer John but, I am in the UK and don't know how it could work with import duties etc. yes guys definitely 17 frets and a "bald" area where a frailing scoop usually sits, odd or what ? if it is not right my alternative is a little wonder conversion but I dont know if tone rings are too good with nylon.

Jul 11, 2019 - 12:28:22 PM

csacwp

USA

2365 posts since 1/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by spoonfed

great offer John but, I am in the UK and don't know how it could work with import duties etc. yes guys definitely 17 frets and a "bald" area where a frailing scoop usually sits, odd or what ? if it is not right my alternative is a little wonder conversion but I dont know if tone rings are too good with nylon.


I've not seen a fretted Weaver with such a gap, so I have a feeling it's been modified. It very well could have been fretless originally and fretted at a later point, but I can't say for sure without seeing photos.

I can likely get my Weaver to you without import duties. It'd cost $100-150 to ship with the hard case. Regarding the Little Wonder, they sound fine with nylon (the vast majority of tone rings were designed for gut strings), but given that it is a conversion (and almost certainly one made with steel strings in mind) the neck angle likely will not be correct for a nylon/ classic style setup. Again though, I cannot say for sure without photos.

Edited by - csacwp on 07/11/2019 12:29:56

Jul 11, 2019 - 12:43:51 PM

1338 posts since 2/12/2009

sounding like a plan John, I am off to do a gig soon but, will PM you re the jo.

Jul 11, 2019 - 12:44:52 PM

csacwp

USA

2365 posts since 1/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by spoonfed

sounding like a plan John, I am off to do a gig soon but, will PM you re the jo.


Sounds good. 

Jul 11, 2019 - 1:14:07 PM

700 posts since 9/7/2005

Pictures of my Cammeryer as requested:

 I bought it in upstate New York in the mid 70's at a flea market needing lots of work. I returned to California and took it to Frank Ford of Gryphon's and Frank said it was a wall hanger and not worth repairing and declared it firewood at the time so it sat in a closet for 20+ years. Then I found a guy who was willing to work on it and bring it back to life    (" Super Mario" look on Frets .com)   http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/FieldTrips/Mario/mario1.html  He did indeed bring it back to life and it has been played ever since. 

Because it was declared firewood I decided to make a fret less conversion out of it so made a brass plate that straddled the existing frets allowing me to play fret less or fretted and back again with just a few minutes work. I have a detailed write up on how I did it, if anyone is interested, send me a pm.




 

Jul 11, 2019 - 1:42:28 PM

261 posts since 1/30/2019

That's a really nice looking banjo, good job saving it from the flames.
That single central dowel wedge looks like my HC Nelsen.
Thanks for sharing @dogfeathers!

Jul 11, 2019 - 4:27:16 PM

10701 posts since 4/23/2004

quote:
Originally posted by csacwp
quote:
Originally posted by Stephen John Prior

17 fret is indeed intriguing. But he made 19 - 20 - 21 -22 so why not. If it's in really nice condition with all it's original parts £600 is maybe not so bad. They certainly don't turn up that often these days.


Probably because I've bought so many, haha!

If the original poster here wants to play classic style, he is going to need more than 17 frets. I'd say 19 is the minimum that one can get by with.


The number of Classic Style tunes out there that require frets 18-22 are few and far between. They're usually showpieces and not stuff that I'm terribly interested in. I'll stick with the 99% that never go past the 17th...there is enough difficulty there to keep me interested for the rest of my life.

Jul 11, 2019 - 4:31:03 PM

2192 posts since 4/29/2012

My Tilley (1885 ?) has only 17 frets on a normal length fingerboard. Not unusual in early fretted banjos. Are you planning to play Classic banjo from notated arrangements or do you just want a banjo to play your current stuff on nylon strings. If the latter then ask yourself how often you need frets 18 et. seq. on your current banjo. According to the usual sources Essex and Cammeyers partnership only lasted from 1893 to 1900 and they started making their own banjos in 1896. So you can date this one pretty accurately to the last 5 years of the 19th C.

Jul 11, 2019 - 4:57:31 PM

csacwp

USA

2365 posts since 1/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by AndrewD

My Tilley (1885 ?) has only 17 frets on a normal length fingerboard. Not unusual in early fretted banjos. Are you planning to play Classic banjo from notated arrangements or do you just want a banjo to play your current stuff on nylon strings. If the latter then ask yourself how often you need frets 18 et. seq. on your current banjo. According to the usual sources Essex and Cammeyers partnership only lasted from 1893 to 1900 and they started making their own banjos in 1896. So you can date this one pretty accurately to the last 5 years of the 19th C.


I never said that the 17 frets is unusual in general. It is just strange for a Weaver. An 11'' Essex & Cammeyer era Weaver would normally have 20 or 22 frets. 11.5'' Weavers always always had 20 frets, and the 12'' Weavers had 19. 

Jul 11, 2019 - 4:59:17 PM

csacwp

USA

2365 posts since 1/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by trapdoor2
quote:
Originally posted by csacwp
quote:
Originally posted by Stephen John Prior

17 fret is indeed intriguing. But he made 19 - 20 - 21 -22 so why not. If it's in really nice condition with all it's original parts £600 is maybe not so bad. They certainly don't turn up that often these days.


Probably because I've bought so many, haha!

If the original poster here wants to play classic style, he is going to need more than 17 frets. I'd say 19 is the minimum that one can get by with.


The number of Classic Style tunes out there that require frets 18-22 are few and far between. They're usually showpieces and not stuff that I'm terribly interested in. I'll stick with the 99% that never go past the 17th...there is enough difficulty there to keep me interested for the rest of my life.


I would be inclined to agree, but our friend here is English and I'm guessing is interested in Morley and Grimshaw pieces that do venture to the 19th fret. Also, the second you start embellishing pieces instead of playing them as written those extra frets come in handy, especially for runs of arpeggios.  

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