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Location: Shortcut to Homepage /BMG Magazine/BMG. BACK ISSUE. AUTUMN 2012.

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The Home of the Banjo, Mandolin, Guitar and kindred instruments



The Oldest Fretted Instrument Magazine In The World

The magazine for players of all fretted instruments

Founded by Clifford Essex in 1903


The wise player never misses an issue of this instructive and interesting magazine for it is the best way of keeping up to date with the world of frets. BMG is a quarterly publication issued in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. A 12 month subscription in the UK costs £20.00 post free to be delivered to your door. In Europe £22.00 and outside Europe the annual subscription is £25.00.

Clifford Essex The Sign of Quality

Articles full of new ideas about playing techniques
Sheet music - In every issue
Interviews with top players from around the world
News of festivals, concerts and musical events  


Thoughts on Session Playing: Maurice Hipkiss
Eddie Peabody Website: Jackie Lynn MacCoy
Modena Mandolin Revival
Bluegrass Mandolin: John Baldry
Grimshaw Plectrum Banjo Technique 3:  Ron Hinkle
Fun with the Bass!
Chord Melody for Tenor Banjo (San): Bill Somerville
Making your own Guitar 5: Roger Dalby
Bluegrass Banjo 7: David Cotton
The Eddie Peabody Project 3: Georgette Twain
Wrockin’ Guitar
BMG Tape Club (Hawaiian Guitar Section): John Marsden
Tenor Banjo Breaks 2
Music Supplement:
Mood Mesto: Mandolin:(Alberto Tomas)
Bagatelle: Plectrum / Finger- style Guitar: (Harry Volpe)
Joette: Banjo: (Joe Morley)
Some Folks Like to Sigh:
Plec. Bjo (Foster arr. Miller)
Banjo Fingertricks CD: Review by David Wade
Country Music Conference: Anthony Lis
Plectrum Guitar Endings 2: Don Roberts
Eddie Lang Technique: 7
Cover Picture: Martin Wheatley
Fingerstyle Ukulele 3: Ray Woods
The John Bright Column
‘The Banjo Story’ and Joseph McNaghten
The Banjo Story 2: A.P. Sharpe
Jazz Guitar Minor Chord Scales:  Phil Jones
‘The Sharpe’ Banjo
From a Bath Chair: Richard Ineson
By the Way: David Wade
In search of a Charango: David Cotton
For Sale
Garry Silbert: Luthier - The launch of the Clifford Essex Weaver banjo.
Mathematical Curiosity

Audio files to accompany 'Bluegrass Mandolin' by John Baldry:

Exercise 1.    Exercise 2.    Exercise 3.    Exercise 4.    Sally - Crosspicking. Sally - Regular.

Some parts of A P. Sharpe's 'The Banjo Story' were wrongly published after his death in 1968. The book was not ready for publication, in this issue of BMG, we clear his name. The illustrations referred to below are printed in BMG.

THE BANJO STORY  and J. McNaghten        
When A P. Sharpe died on January 1st 1968, his life’s work ‘The Banjo Story’ was not ready for publication. Before then he had given a copy of most of his work to Alan Middleton for checking. We have that copy here in the Clifford Essex offices. There are literally hundreds of pages, the margins are filled with copious notes made by AP, relating to facts which needed to be checked.
We are putting a great deal of work into updating AP’s book, and in so doing we are checking all the items to which he referred. To date, we have found several statements which needed amending: he was quite right to question the authenticity of  some of the facts he acquired.
We mentioned in the last issue that J. McNaughton sold AP’s master copy to Lowell Schreyer of ‘Hector’s Banjo Parlor’ in the United States; the year was 1987. Schreyer regarded himself as a banjo historian, but instead of checking the statements in Sharpe’s manuscript, it seems that he published sections of the book in various magazines, exactly as written. This has resulted in AP coming under fire from knowledgeable banjo historians throughout the world. We consider this to be most unjust and our purpose here is to set the record straight.
Joseph McNaghten (the same J. McNaughton who for many years wrote the Zither-Banjo Causerie columns in BMG) started editing the magazine  in October 1970, and held the post until 1977, when the firm went into liquidation.
We can only assume that by 1987, both Kevin Keogh (the last Clifford Essex Director) and AP’s widow had died, because  McNaghten appears to have decided that, as the last editor of BMG, he had the right to take and sell anything he desired to anybody who would pay the highest price. We have acquired certain documents which show just how illegal and unprofessional his transactions were. The scribbled document shown below is supposed to be a ‘Transfer of Copyright’.
We know that before his sudden death in 1968, AP had every intention of finishing ‘The Banjo Story’ and making it a Clifford Essex publication. In the event, it was not published, hence it was never copyrighted. In the scribbled note, McNaghten claims to have acquired the copyright from Keogh’s widow, and is transferring it to Schreyer, to ‘subsist’ until 31st December 2018. There is no mention of the $1,000 he received from Schreyer, or details of the other items included in the transaction. The legality of the sale is debatable, but the fact remains that the book at that time had not been finished or revised for publication.
It has been reported that when the Clifford Essex Music Company went into liquidation in 1977, Marco Roccia (the Clifford Essex luthier) returned from holiday to find all the tools, stock and music, in skips outside the shop in Earlham Street. Perhaps, a lot of it was, but not all.  In a letter to McNaghten dated 2nd June 1988, Schreyer  thanks him for the Clifford Essex Company’s personal bound volumes of BMG dating back to 1909; Grimshaw’s personal music; bound volumes of the 1901 ‘Banjo World’ magazine, and a rare tailpiece. He goes on to say that the $100 bill included with the letter completes the balance of what was owing, but feels that the total ($1,000) was insufficient, considering the historical value of all the material. (Not surprising, since it consisted of much of the C.E. Company archives!).
Perhaps McNaghten felt that with the company gone, he was free to do as he pleased, but Banjo historians throughout the world cannot blame A.P. Sharpe for any errors they may find in excerpts from his unpublished book. They should be blaming Joseph McNaghten.

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