The heart and soul of this beautiful instrument lies in the Brazilian ebony integrated tone ring. Well known for its super acoustic qualities, Brazilian ebony produces a powerful woody tone. It is difficult to source in the UK, so we currently import it from the United States. The hoop is block built with red African padauk wood binding on the bottom to match the red African padauk heel cap.

The neck is made from walnut reinforced with carbon fibre rods; it can never warp. Ebony fingerboard and ebony peghead overlay. The beautiful mother-of-pearl inlay consists of clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades with a double dice at the 12th fret.

The peg head features our traditional logo shield beneath a mother-of-pearl stallion. The geared tuning pegs are top quality, The tension hooks and shoes are an exact copy of those fitted to our pre-war Paragon banjos.

This banjo looks and sounds amazing. The Gambler is a very special banjo – a work of art. At £1795.00 you are not only buying the best open back banjo money can buy, you are also making an investment. Complete with a plush lined hard case, only available from Clifford Essex.


Available on back-order

Weight 6.3 kg
Dimensions 114 × 44 × 16 cm

Product Details


Main neck wood  – Black Walnut
Fingerboard and peg head material  – Black African Ebony
Heel cap material  – Red African Padauk
Nut material and Inlays  – Genuine Mother of Pearl
Geared pegs
Dyed Hardwood Red/Black/Red purfling on: centre  stripe, under fingerboard/binding, under heel cap, and under peg head overlay.
Inlays  – Clifford  Essex shield and stallion in peg head and gambler motif inlays with detailed engraved dice in fingerboard.
Reinforced neck
Traditional Clifford Essex shape for the peg head and a vintage style pointed heel.
Rim thickness – 0.5″
Total rim height – 2.75″
Rim material – Black Walnut
Tone ring material  – Brazilian Ebony (Janka Hardness 3692)
Rim Cap  – Red African Padauk
Binding – Cream
Head  – 11″ high crown
Neck width at nut – 1 1/4” (32mm)
Plating on hardware – Nickel
Rim support / Neck attachment  – Dual rim rods
Weight: 2.70 kg

If you are not familiar with the Janka Hardness standard this is what it means. The Janka number is the number of pounds of force it takes to embed a steel ball 0.44″ in diameter exactly half way into  the  wood. On my chart Brazilian Ebony comes under Lignum Vitae probably the hardest known wood.

Lignum Vitae has a Janka Hardness of 4500.  Brazilian Ebony is certainly the hardest wood we have ever worked with and it makes an excellent tone ring for the head to vibrate on. So, if our sums are correct, it would take approximately 1.85 tonnes of pressure to embed the 0.44” ball halfway into Brazilian Ebony. Some tone ring!

This instrument comes with a lifetime guarantee.
All our instruments are thoroughly checked and set-up pre-sale.
Instruments are dispatched fully insured against any loss or damage and within 2 working days.
UK shipping costs £20. Europe £70. Rest of the World £220


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