I have the opportunity to buy what im told is a genuine 1913 Clifford essex Paragon 5 string banjo but to me the rim and resonator looks very different to what I understand the 2 types of paragon to be, but could this be because it is a much older model though im rather sceptical? ill add more pics when I get them

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The pictures are too blurry to see much but from what I can make out there are no Paragon features to the pot (rim). It is also suspicious that the neck is unstained light wood and the rim is dark. 

yes as I said it really doesnt look so right to me, but I was told that this is a very early incarnation of the paragon, so im really looking for confirmation of my hunch that it is not a paragon pot and resonator. if someone could identify the pot and resonator( I am waiting on more pics coming) it would be a great help, the banjo does have a raised head tone ring like a paragon and the rim looks decent quality

A photo showing the tone ring would be helpful for identification.

Jordan Kay said:

yes as I said it really doesnt look so right to me, but I was told that this is a very early incarnation of the paragon, so im really looking for confirmation of my hunch that it is not a paragon pot and resonator. if someone could identify the pot and resonator( I am waiting on more pics coming) it would be a great help, the banjo does have a raised head tone ring like a paragon and the rim looks decent quality

Well, it would be REALLY early as the Paragon was introduced in June of 1924.

Deductive reasoning might help.  Paragon tenors are very popular and are one of the few examples of tenor banjos being worth more than regular banjos.  "Conversions" (or 5 string banjos that have had tenor necks made for them) show up for sale regularly on eBay UK and other online sellers (like facebook marketplace).

That means that there are a lot of 5 string paragon necks floating around (see where I am going with this).

Follow what Jody wrote and post more photos.  Clear, well lit (take it into the sunlight), full front, back, side, hardware, and anything that might be if interest.

From the terrible photo, it looks like someone built a rim for a neck leftover from a "conversion".

And the bizarre thing about the desirability of the Paragon tenor was that although Barney McKenna of The Dubliners played one, his Paragon had been altered.  He was the first Irish tenor banjo player the average person was aware of. Except that Barney McKenna's Paragon had had its Paragon tone ring replaced with another kind of tone ring so his tone was not Paragon tone. The source of his sound was his hand and his mind anyway. And he had the most disorderly right hand technique I've ever seen. It made no difference, he made excellent music.  But not because of his Paragon.

I think Joel is likely to be right about the neck being the remnant of a cannibalized CE Paragon 5-string banjo. By the way, many years ago I met a musician from Wales who was collecting necks from cannibalized Gibson Matsterone tenor banjos whose pots had been mated with new 5-string banjo necks. His plan was to have new pots made and sell these as tenor banjos, but not to represent them as original Gibsons. I don't know if his plan materialized.

Joel Hooks said:

Well, it would be REALLY early as the Paragon was introduced in June of 1924.

Deductive reasoning might help.  Paragon tenors are very popular and are one of the few examples of tenor banjos being worth more than regular banjos.  "Conversions" (or 5 string banjos that have had tenor necks made for them) show up for sale regularly on eBay UK and other online sellers (like facebook marketplace).

That means that there are a lot of 5 string paragon necks floating around (see where I am going with this).

Follow what Jody wrote and post more photos.  Clear, well lit (take it into the sunlight), full front, back, side, hardware, and anything that might be if interest.

From the terrible photo, it looks like someone built a rim for a neck leftover from a "conversion".

yes everything you say here confirms my suspicions. I dont have the banjo as yet and haven't seen it and only seen these photos. I have more photos but for some reason my computer isn't let me upload them.. . ..  yes Barney McKenna's banjo had a 40 hole Gibson Archtop ring fitted I have played several Paragon models and had incredibly rare tunnelled 5string in my possession for a while too. 

Jordan, I know of a genuine Paragon 5-string banjo that might be for sale at a fair price. It's in Northern California, in the possession of the daughters of a friend of mine who passed away a few years ago. I don't know where you are located but  let me know if you are interested.

Jordan Kay said:

yes everything you say here confirms my suspicions. I dont have the banjo as yet and haven't seen it and only seen these photos. I have more photos but for some reason my computer isn't let me upload them.. . ..  yes Barney McKenna's banjo had a 40 hole Gibson Archtop ring fitted I have played several Paragon models and had incredibly rare tunnelled 5string in my possession for a while too. 

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