I just tried to order a gift for someone from Clifford Essex. But, the site appears to be down. Has Clifford Essex gone out of business?

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Thanks. I didn’t see that post. That is sad news. All of my emails have gone unanswered. So, I guess it is safe to assume that Clifford Essex is unfortunately no longer in business.

Tom Tyrrell said:

Yes, it is too bad.  I bought one of the Regal style armrests that they recently put out and was hoping to buy another.  When I was about to place my order I started seeing posts from people having trouble and then got the bad news about Clem. 

Makes me wonder what happened to whatever products were in stock.

That’s a good question. Looks like all of their eBay listings have also been pulled.

Tom Tyrrell said:

Makes me wonder what happened to whatever products were in stock.

I've been using CE heavy gauge strings for many years, now that they are no longer available, could anyone suggest suitable alternatives...Steve.

I was using La Bellla Classical Banjo strings. I am not sure how they compare. But, they may be worth looking into.



Steve Harrison said:

I've been using CE heavy gauge strings for many years, now that they are no longer available, could anyone suggest suitable alternatives...Steve.

If you especially like the CE heavy gauge sets you may be able to still find some from retail outlets.   Another possibility is to buy single strings of another brand that replicate the CE gauges.  A third possibility is to discover who made the strings for CE. It was easy to discover that  CE gut strings came from Bow Brand harp string company in Norfolk. Not much of a  secret but I kept the info to myself while Clem and David Wade were still living.   Perhaps the nylon strings were sourced through Bow Brand as well. That said, the  old Bow Brand  website has not had a "News" update since 2013 and their new website has no contact address. Strings Of Mystery.

Steve Harrison said:

I've been using CE heavy gauge strings for many years, now that they are no longer available, could anyone suggest suitable alternatives...Steve.

LaBella are MUCH lighter than the CE offerings.  And the Labella No. 17 are just slightly heavier than period examples. 

That said, LaBella does sell singles in pretty much any size you could ever want.  The only problem is that they don't seem to ship outside of the US.   But I suppose that some enterprising person could contact them to set up a dealership.  They seem to be open to making up custom sets for dealers. 

I've considered doing this for the two string sets that I can document to the classic era.  But I can hardly keep up with what I make on my own, keeping up with an inventory for resale might be a problem for me.   Besides, I deal with that enough at my real job.

Milwaukee Matzen said:

I was using La Bellla Classical Banjo strings. I am not sure how they compare. But, they may be worth looking into.



Steve Harrison said:

I've been using CE heavy gauge strings for many years, now that they are no longer available, could anyone suggest suitable alternatives...Steve.

The excellent shop in Michigan in the USA called Strings By Mail (https://www.stringsbymail.com) ships internationally. The sell individual strings by *many* makers in many gauges, including rectified nylon by La Bella. There may well be shops in the UK that sell individual strings by mail. That would save on postage and possible extra import duty. 

Of course they will also ship string *sets* internationally, not just single strings. And they carry LaBella 17 but that is no substitute for CE heavy. Different feel, different sound, different response. You might like it better, but they are a whole nuther thing.

I have no connection with Strings By Mail other than having been a customer for a long time. Their domestic shipping price is low (dunno about international) and their customer service is unparalleled. 

Thanks Jody, I'll have a google around the UK to see if I can find a supplier...Steve.

Jody Stecher said:

The excellent shop in Michigan in the USA called Strings By Mail (https://www.stringsbymail.com) ships internationally. The sell individual strings by *many* makers in many gauges, including rectified nylon by La Bella. There may well be shops in the UK that sell individual strings by mail. That would save on postage and possible extra import duty. 

Of course they will also ship string *sets* internationally, not just single strings. And they carry LaBella 17 but that is no substitute for CE heavy. Different feel, different sound, different response. You might like it better, but they are a whole nuther thing.

I have no connection with Strings By Mail other than having been a customer for a long time. Their domestic shipping price is low (dunno about international) and their customer service is unparalleled. 

So, we should provide a size chart for the CE sets. I guess I'll have to find an unused set and measure them. I know I was using their heavier gauge "Weaver" 4ths, which were 0.030"..

The old website had string sets listed as "Light", "Medium Light", "Medium" and "Heavy".

Light: .020"-.028"

Medium Light: .022"-.030"

Medium: .023"-.032"

Heavy: .024"-.033"

If I can dig out a set, I'll measure for the 2nds and 3rds. I think I was buying mediums...

Yes, I've used "Strings By Mail" quite a bit. Easy-peasy.

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