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I own a 12" banjo with a good calf skin which I am thinking of selling because I may be acquiring a Clifford Essex Boudoir Grand. I think the neck is rosewood with an ebony fingerboard. The hoop is all wood.
This banjo was built by Sidney W Young for John Alvey Turner.
"I have been told that this banjo is not currently available for sale."
Edit by Ian on 20th Jan.
Why do you think the Boudoir Grand will be a better banjo? I have played 2 or 3 banjos of this model and I thought they were good banjos but your Sidney Young JAT banjo sounds like something very good as well. I guess you've played the Boudoir Grand and like it better. Have I got that right?
I tend to agree with Jody about the CE Boudoir Grand. I have a Boudoir Grand for sale that is in immaculate condition and it sounds beautiful!!!... but it has a very narrow fingerboard, too narrow for me. I wondered if the "Boudoir" in the name was because it was made as a "Lady's" banjo (if you are allowed to say this nowadays?). My fingers are too fat to play it!
It took me a while to figure out the probable intended meaning of the CE Boudoir Grand model of banjo. It turns out that a very small piano in shape of a grand piano was called a Boudoir Grand. Yes, the CE BG might well have been intended for "the ladies". In the immortal words of Eric Stefanelli a 12 inch pot encourages a banjo to sound "like a motorcycle". He was referring to one with a Tu-Ba-Phone tone ring but the point was that a bigger pot can give power to the sound.
I wonder if the Boudoir Grande neck profile is similar to the CE metalhoop special? I acquired a woodhoop CE Special last year and it has a totally different neck profile with a wider, thicker neck. I actually prefer the neck profile on the metalhoop CE Special (being a lady and all).
Jody Stecher said:
Hi Lady Carrie,
I posted about my beautiful Boudoir Grand a few years ago:
Here is a link:
I think that the neck at the nut is slightly narrower than the CE Special (metal hoop). I much prefer the wider Weaver necks, so it never gets played!
FWIW, I own the following CE models:
Metal Hoop Special. This predates the professional tailpiece but post dates Weaver building them.
Concert Grand. This was purchased in 1929 (I have the payment book).
Professional. I have no idea on the timeline of these, late 1920s- WW2?
I'll post measurements of fingerboard widths this evening when I get home. Nut, 12th fret, and at the rim.
Metal Hoop Special:
My Special is pretty wide.
BTW: I bought a couple pairs of Starrett pocked calipers off of eBay for cheap, best small measuring tools I've ever used. They don't make them anymore but are pretty common used. The pair I use at work are both Imperial and Metric.
We in the UK now speak a different language when it comes to measuring stuff, so 1-15/64" is a bit like speaking in "strange tongues" to most folk over here.. BUT fortunately I am exceedingly old and still work in both the "Imperial" system and the new fangled metric system.
I will dig out my CE Boudoir Grand tomorrow and measure it, and also use my modern day cypher gadget to update your US measurements ;-)
Just using a metal ruler, my CE Special (metal hoop) is 30 mm at the nut and 45 mm at the 12th fret whereas the CE Special (woodhoop) is 34 mm at the nut and 50 mm at the 12th - might not be totally accurate but the neck profiles are also very different. The latter is definitely for those with bigger paws.
The professional is basically 1-1/4" at the nut. That matches the catalog specs. I mostly use metric but banjo measurements tend to be correctly in imperial.
Wow Carrie, your Metal Hoop is pretty narrow.
Thank you to all who have responded to my original message.
I am new to the classic 5 string banjo.
With kind regards
My Boudoir Grand has exactly the same neck measurements as your CE Special metal hoop!
Boudoir Grand sizes:
30mm at the nut
44/45mm 12th fret up to the hoop.
I had no problem playing the CE Special so I guess that I am comparing the Boudoir's widths to those of my Weaver which are:
20 fret Weaver sizes:
34mm at the nut
49mm at the 12th to the hoop.
Joel, this side of the pond few people under 60 years can understand the old Imperial system as we "went metric" in 1965.