Clifford Essex Professional Dating (they were made 1922 or later).

While at the Kaufman's house, instead of the rally, I had a chance to sit with Eli and go through BMGs.  For various reasons I did not get to take them to scan (mostly because they are all bound in leather volumes that are thick and heavy).

But I did find what I was looking for.

In the January 1922 issue there was a teaser about the Professional saying to watch next month for full particulars.

February 1922 announcement with details and the statement "The Best Banjo in the World for Professional Use".   No price given.

April 1922 same ad with a cost of £15  15s. 0d.  "Specially Manufactured by Clifford Essex & Son for the use of Public Players". This issue also includes a full page write up on the model. 

I took photos of each of the above and will add to this post later.

Continuing on, issue by issue, the ads seem to vanish by 1925.  Did they only make them for 3 years?  Not even a mention of them after that except for listings of used examples.

The tailpiece was released at the same time which gives an over date for banjos with the Professional tailpiece (unless it was added later).

I know that the depression seriously impacted sales and the war shut production down all together. 

So it seems that Professionals were only built for a short time.

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They are very odd banjos in my opinion, built like battleships, and not like any other Essex banjos. They share characteristics of banjos built by the mysterious Barnes Brothers, and the  nuts on the tension hooks are the same as those used by Weaver but I don't think that he had any part in building or designing these banjos. I've only owned a couple and seen about three or four more, of these banjos over the years. They were a bit too chunky for my liking so i sold mine on to more muscular banjo players.

I have #200 that, besides someone changing the tuners for modern geared, looks nearly new.  I like it a lot but have to be in a special mood to play it. It is slightly tubby in tone. 

Yeah, they are odd.  I had a chance to compare it side by side with a later Metal Hoop Special last weekend that was clearly made by the same person/people. 

Richard William Ineson said:

They are very odd banjos in my opinion, built like battleships, and not like any other Essex banjos. They share characteristics of banjos built by the mysterious Barnes Brothers, and the  nuts on the tension hooks are the same as those used by Weaver but I don't think that he had any part in building or designing these banjos. I've only owned a couple and seen about three or four more, of these banjos over the years. They were a bit too chunky for my liking so i sold mine on to more muscular banjo players.

Put it on a scale, Joel. I'd like to see an actual weight. Yours didn't feel much heavier than my Special...but I'm lousy at guessing weights!
I thought it very nice...and "tubby" is right up my alley. ;-)

8 lbs 2oz.

Marc, yours was built by the same people.  Eli has one just like yours and we went over them side by side and they were very similar. So your Metal Hoop Special might have more heft than earlier ones like mine which is teens-- post Weaver but pre Barnes Brothers. 

Okay, my Metal Hoop Special is 6 lbs 16 oz.

People usually call that "7 pounds".  

FWIW my CE XC Special weighs 7 pounds 4 oz.

Joel Hooks said:

Okay, my Metal Hoop Special is 6 lbs 16 oz.

Ha!  So actually it was 6 lbs 15.7 oz but I rounded up not paying attention.  I should know better since weighing stuff is a big part of my day job.

Jody Stecher said:

People usually call that "7 pounds".  

FWIW my CE XC Special weighs 7 pounds 4 oz.

Joel Hooks said:

Okay, my Metal Hoop Special is 6 lbs 16 oz.

Speaking of not paying attention I seem to have typed XC Special instead of XX Special and didn't notice.   Anyway, I guess some knew what I meant, and the rest didn't notice the typo.

Joel Hooks said:

Ha!  So actually it was 6 lbs 15.7 oz but I rounded up not paying attention.  I should know better since weighing stuff is a big part of my day job.

Jody Stecher said:

People usually call that "7 pounds".  

FWIW my CE XC Special weighs 7 pounds 4 oz.

Joel Hooks said:

Okay, my Metal Hoop Special is 6 lbs 16 oz.

LOL, now I know why yours didn't feel much different than mine. I just weighed mine: 7lbs 4oz...just like Jody's.

Oh, and for the record, mine is a "C.E. Special"...#4330. Eli put it at 1934.




Yeah, mine is a different model, XX Special,the one that later was called Concert Grand. I mentioned it and its weight because at present it is my only Clifford Essex banjo.  Just for comparison.

Trapdoor2 said:

LOL, now I know why yours didn't feel much different than mine. I just weighed mine: 7lbs 4oz...just like Jody's.

Oh, and for the record, mine is a "C.E. Special"...#4330. Eli put it at 1934.

I also have a Concert Grand (can you tell I like CE banjos?).

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