Hi all!

I've just acquired a Clifford Essex Imperial ( I think). It was fairly cheap so I took a punt on it unseen. Now that its arrived I can tell that it will require some work to get it back to its old self. The fretboard is hanging over from the neck slightly and there's a bow, perhaps because of the metal strings that have been on it. 

Do you think its worth the trouble getting it back up and running? does anyone have any experience restoring bowed necks on these


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Definately worth getting it up and running. I have one myself and it's a pretty decent banjo. Mine also has a slightly warped neck. It's still playable, specially with the rather high action I'm using.

I showed my banjo to a banjomaker/repairer (Norbert Pietsch from Bremen, Germany) who suggested it would be enough to take the frets of and sand the fretboard straight. I might try that at some point. A very important thing to do, in that case, is to take photos of the engravings on the MOP inlays. I would not have thought about that by myself... :-/

The engravings on my Imperial is rather worn and difficult to see now. So, if you get to fixing your banjo, I would be extremely thankfull for photos of the engravings, if you get to take some pictures of them!

Good luck and let us know how you progress!

That would be quite an interesting method if a little unorthodox ; Not sure that the CE staff would make  of it ....

Any room on your butchers table? I'll make you some roast beef in return. 

Well, as I said, the neck is slightly warped, maybe a millimeter here and there, and not in a uniform way, sort of wayvy...Not even sure the neck is warped, might only be the fretboard being out of shape.  To me it sounds like the sensible thing to do. The alternative, I guess, would be to work with heat and moisture to "bend it straight", probably involving having to remove all the layers of wood in the neck an reglue them. Just my thought. Sounds like a lot of risk to me. If the ebony fretboard is thick enough, I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be possible to shape it straight. It's being done on violin instruments of all sizes all the time.  I'm sure the banjomakers and repairers here could give better insights.

On Andrews banjo it might be necessary to do more work to get the neck straight.

Well, Norbert Pietsch makes some fine banjos, in my eyes. And good repair work. Just have a look on his home page:

Pietsch banjos

marc dalmasso said:

That would be quite an interesting method if a little unorthodox ; Not sure that the CE staff would make  of it ....

Yes Pietsch is a well knowed & very good luthier ; sanding the fretboard straight is the good way to make it playable again , and in the same time , keep the instrument as original as possible ; I was just kidding

ON most of the English banjos , it is possible because the fingerboard is thick enough

Ok. Then I missunderstod your post, Marc. I'm sorry for that.

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