I hope this doesn't convene any forum rules, apologies if I have, but I'd like to give this group first refusal on a banjo I have for sale.

It's my Clifford Essex “Clipper” 5 string.
Made in the Clifford Essex & Son period at 15a Grafton Street so dates between 1919 and 1936.
It's in nice condition, good and straight, and has original tuners and the original detachable resonator. It has been lightly restored and fitted with a Renaissance head.
I’ve strung it with steel strings and used it for clawhammer but it loves nylon strings and sounds just fabulous playing classic style.
As an additional piece of history the banjo comes with a photo of it with a previous owner, Ray Emery taken I think in the thirties along with a pennant for his band The Banjo Boys which is also included.
Here is a clip of it being used to play a clawhammer tune - 

I reckon it's worth something like £500, is that fair? Inbox me or post below if you have any questions or if you would like to make me an offer. 

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You can't beat a Clifford Essex banjo for classic style !!



is this still for sale and where are you based


Hey Jon.

Yes it is and I'm in Walthamstow in North East London.

Any use to you?


thanks for the reply..

on reflection, i'll give it a miss 

many thanks

Hi Russ
Very interested in this post.
I knew Ray Emery when I was living in Southall in the 1970s. He told me about his days with the Banjo Boys and threatened occasionally to get his Clifford Essex down from his loft. I never, however, got to see it. Real joy for me, therefore, in seeing the photos.
Best wishes
Mat Baker

That's fascinating, thank you so much, Mat!

When I first got the instrument I tried to find out about Ray, but this was about ten years ago just before the widespread adoption of groups like this so I didn't get very far.

Can you tell me some more about him and the band?

Here is the picture of him with the banjo and the pennant taken mid thirties I reckon.

Yes, I can recognise Ray in this photo. Thank you so much for sharing it. It looks as though he was a sax player as well which I didn't know. I am afraid that I can't shed any light on the Banjo Boys. Ray was a charming and resourceful man (I believe that he and his father had built the house in which he and his family lived). He was well known in the Norwood Green area of Southall, but I suspect that few of his neighbours knew of his earlier musical career!
The banjo sounds fantastic.

Hi - still got this for sale? It looks nice.

Yes it is, Andrew.

OK - how well do these old tuners stay in tune? Never played with friction tuners and steel strings before.....

They aren't too bad. They are a bit more of a fiddle than modern planetary tuners naturally, and switching between tunings is more time consuming but once it's in its very stable. It's not so awkward that I thought it was worth hurting the originality of the instrument by upgrading them, although that would be an option for the next owner.

I'm in Walthamstow, North East London if you at anyone else wants to pop in to meet it.

Hmm - I'm in North Wales so popping in not so easy. I'll make contact again in a week or so to see if you still have it. (Moving house this week - not far, but still time consuming.) Did you do the work on it?

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