Related to Pār's discussion on upgrading, I have to admit to not knowing the relative merits or otherwise of the various CE banjos. Which were the student-level instruments, and which were the top pro-level instruments? And what were the defining characters or qualities of each? I keep using the past tense, but of course these banjos are still with us. 

Views: 201

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

What's wrong with a cloth between dowel and head? I sometimes use one very lightly touching the head, or when playing at night (and not wishing to annoy neighbours or family members), squeeze it in tight, which really halves the volume and more. Talk about tone killing, but it means I can practise fingering. 

I missed where someone said there was something wrong with that?

I do it all the time for practice.  If I really want to be quite I use one if the various mute contraptions I have acquired over the years.  The best total mute ever made was the Hartnett Developer.  Fantastic mute for as close to silent practice as on could get.

As far as sticking stuff inside the banjo, I do use corks or the Van Eps "Sound Post" (which is a thin flat piece of light pine or balsa stuck between the dowel and head.  All of these things, to me, reduces the reverb and adds focus to the tone. 

The Grover devices were designed to sell things people did not need.


Rob MacKillop said:

What's wrong with a cloth between dowel and head? I sometimes use one very lightly touching the head, or when playing at night (and not wishing to annoy neighbours or family members), squeeze it in tight, which really halves the volume and more. Talk about tone killing, but it means I can practise fingering. 

Stuffing a cloth or sponge or foam-rubber in the pot, between the dowelstick and head or simply lining the interior is a time-honored tradition in the "old time banjo" world. I did that when playing clawhammer on my Stewart (foam rubber between stick and head, just at the heel end). I felt it tamed some of the higher frequencies...for steel strings. I don't stuff my plastic stringed banjos...but I do use a "Mike's Mute". I've had dozens of mutes over the years and Mike's is the one I still use.

Mike's Mute?

Ah, found it. I'll stick to my cloth, which can regulate between just taking the edge off of the reverberation, to choking it to midnight practice levels. And I can wipe the gut strings with it after playing, and polish the back of the neck. I think I'll start marketing Big Rob's Magic Banjo Cloth! You'll wonder how you ever got by without it...

Rob MacKillop said:

Mike's Mute?

Now, this is the advice I was looking for: https://classic-banjo.ning.com/forum/topics/the-unexpected-essex

...where Jody mentions that a CE Professional is not "not quite right" (NQR) for classic style, being more suited to Old Time and steel strings. Though Ian goes on to argue otherwise. 

Any other models NQR for classic style?

Well... we are all entitled to our opinions.

I can only speak of the two Professionals that I have played (one has become my #2 banjo since I got it) and I find it a fantastic banjo for classic-- but it is different.

I would describe it as the middle ground between a late era classic banjo and an early "tub."

Notice on Ian's photo that there is a dirty smudge under the first string by the rim-- I drew a line on mine with a marker there-- that is the high C.  You have to play it on the head.

They are MASSIVE in size.  It is hard to tell how dang big they are from photos.  They are big all over-- even the necks are like baseball bats.

Here is Eli Kaufman holding mine with his Vega Regent (of the 11" size). -- See, it is HUGE.

It is like a sledge hammer.

A couple of problems.  You will not find a plastic head for one.  I had to custom order one and it took 6 moths to get from Remo.  I've been told that was fast.  Mine was 12 3/16" high crown but I've been told that they are all a little different.

The other concern is that Clifford Essex banjos might not fit in with your goals.  You expressed an interest in the music of Frank Converse.  All Clifford Essex banjos were built after he passed.

As far as I can tell from the BMG magazines, the Professional Model was first offered after 1920.

In my posts at that link I was saying that some *other* players thought it not quite right. I did not give my opinion. Having never played a CE Professional set up for classic playing I was unqualified to have an opinion so I did not give one.  I did give my opinion about how it was with steel strings because I had played such a banjo.  I did speculate that the latter set up might be the best use of this banjo.  But I intended to make it clear that this was speculation. 

Also I would not have said  that *I* thought the Professional  was unsuited for classic playing because what I really think is that any unbroken banjo, including one with a tone ring and resonator can be adjusted through setup to be viable for classic style. The same is true for the myriad old time styles. The only 5 string banjo music that usually requires a particular type of banjo is bluegrass. And even then I have heard very good bluegrass banjo being played on an open-back Vega Folk Ranger. Early recordings of Earl Scruggs, playing on the Opry with Bill Monroe, were made when he was playing a banjo with no tone ring. He still sounds like Earl.
Rob MacKillop said:

Now, this is the advice I was looking for: https://classic-banjo.ning.com/forum/topics/the-unexpected-essex

...where Jody mentions that a CE Professional is not "not quite right" (NQR) for classic style, being more suited to Old Time and steel strings. Though Ian goes on to argue otherwise. 

Any other models NQR for classic style?

Jody - okay, I misinterpreted you. Apologies. Your position is now clear and understood.

Joel - wow, that IS big! I am, of course, completely aware of the period of Converse and that of the CE models. I have two very suitable banjos for converse, both SSS Orchestra models, one fretted, one not. I just like to know what's what, fill in the gaps in my knowledge. 

LALALALALALALALA...I'm not listening! I don't need another banjo! Aaaaaaaiiiiieeeee!

I am simply attracted to big...banjos.

Joel Hooks said:

Well... we are all entitled to our opinions.

I can only speak of the two Professionals that I have played (one has become my #2 banjo since I got it) and I find it a fantastic banjo for classic-- but it is different.

I would describe it as the middle ground between a late era classic banjo and an early "tub."

Notice on Ian's photo that there is a dirty smudge under the first string by the rim-- I drew a line on mine with a marker there-- that is the high C.  You have to play it on the head.

They are MASSIVE in size.  It is hard to tell how dang big they are from photos.  They are big all over-- even the necks are like baseball bats.

Here is Eli Kaufman holding mine with his Vega Regent (of the 11" size). -- See, it is HUGE.

It is like a sledge hammer.

A couple of problems.  You will not find a plastic head for one.  I had to custom order one and it took 6 moths to get from Remo.  I've been told that was fast.  Mine was 12 3/16" high crown but I've been told that they are all a little different.

The other concern is that Clifford Essex banjos might not fit in with your goals.  You expressed an interest in the music of Frank Converse.  All Clifford Essex banjos were built after he passed.

As far as I can tell from the BMG magazines, the Professional Model was first offered after 1920.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2019   Created by thereallyniceman.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service