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Boyd Wheatstone Concertinas

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#19 BW77

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 07:14 AM

Please excuse Geoff, obviously a non thoughtful shortcut by myself. Since your "1898" IS domed its place in the market competition sound likely but as I said we have to know for sure in what chronologic order these newish designs came up from respective makers.

I made the assumption because of your reported problems with the pad lift. Now - as it got domed ends - this surprises me even more since with metal ends it ought to gain some 3-4 mm extra space for pad lift compared to a same kind wooden ended instrument. I've got a 48 key sixsided domed wooden ended Wheatstone from 1905. I will take it apart tonight to examine it a little for comparisons. It is interesting what you say that maybe the model was "not fully developed" in 1898. I think mine also got 4 button washers originally. This routine which IS somewhat peculiar maybe reflect some problem with the lacking space you have described. Usually one thick or maybe 2 thin washers fix the damping allright. The other 2 just reduces the button travel ( and for what reason?) Muting the sound by reducing the pad lift IS a possibiity. I have muted some instrument by reducing the pad hole opening itself with tape strips. The result is quite interesting. Another method of course is using various kinds of "baffles" underneath the endplate.

 

Someone who really knows the order of appearance of the domed/raised ends Lachenals and Wheatstone is welcome reporting!

 

Poor mans choice between violin and concertina is another interesting subject. Here we are talking about top of the line concertinas and a rough guess of mine is that such an instrument cost at least 2 months wages for a worker. Saving that amount must have taken a lot of time...Not surprising if a low budget standard concertina would be more tempting, cost say 10-20% of the top one.

I have no reference regarding violins but industrial made German ones I actually guess ought to have been cheaper than even mid standard concertinas. Some documents around to tell?

 

By the way...when the Boyd label is presented in the fretwork what does it look like? On Lachenals integrated with the fretwork like the "SA" letters for Salvation Army models? On Wheatstones with a printed paper label replacing the original "C Wheatstone" label? Or engraved? Any photos somewhere?



#20 Laitch

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 08:07 AM

By the way...when the Boyd label is presented in the fretwork what does it look like? On Lachenals integrated with the fretwork like the "SA" letters for Salvation Army models? On Wheatstones with a printed paper label replacing the original "C Wheatstone" label? Or engraved? Any photos somewhere?

A search of this site brings up these, among others.

 

First, an advertising description of H. Boyd.

H. Boyd Lachenal.png

 

Here is his name in an endplate.

H. Boyd in endplate.jpg



#21 JayMiller

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 02:50 AM

My 1912 Wheatstone is listed as "Model 22, Nickel, 48 keys, B.V." in the ledger with no indication that it was for Boyd although it has the name in the metal. It's also the only model 22 they produced during June of 1912, so Boyd clearly didn't always order in batches.

 

Perhaps the B.V. (which I believe stand for bowing valves?) is a clue? I just went through the whole ledger for 1912, and it looks like they only made 5 model 22's the whole year, and mine is the only one with the B.V. notation. 



#22 BW77

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 08:07 AM

My 1912 Wheatstone is listed as "Model 22, Nickel, 48 keys, B.V." in the ledger with no indication that it was for Boyd although it has the name in the metal. It's also the only model 22 they produced during June of 1912, so Boyd clearly didn't always order in batches.

 

Perhaps the B.V. (which I believe stand for bowing valves?) is a clue? I just went through the whole ledger for 1912, and it looks like they only made 5 model 22's the whole year, and mine is the only one with the B.V. notation. 

Does this instrument of yours have the "Boyd" name inlaid in the fretwork like the instrument in previous message #20 which I would guess is a Lachenal? Or is the name "Boyd" engraved ( meaning that it might have been added after delivery from Wheatstones...)

AND does it actually have bowing valves now? or are there any signs that they have been there originally but removed? I checked several Wheatstone englishes from 1905 to 1930  having the slots for possible bowing valves on both sides but not having had the actual valves. For none of them identified in the ledgers (1910-30) there is any notation saying B.V.

 

Questions: Does the "B.V. " surely stand for bowing valves having been mounted ? Can it stand for fretwork prepared for bowing valves? ( would be strange...)

I have believed that the bowing valve concept was practised by Lachenals only (marketed by Lachenals and  in cooperation some way with Alsepti advocating for them in the tutor published by Lachenals but I may be mistaken of course...). Someone who has got a Wheatstone with bowing valves? 



#23 JayMiller

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 09:40 AM

 

Does this instrument of yours have the "Boyd" name inlaid in the fretwork like the instrument in previous message #20 which I would guess is a Lachenal? Or is the name "Boyd" engraved ( meaning that it might have been added after delivery from Wheatstones...)

AND does it actually have bowing valves now? or are there any signs that they have been there originally but removed? I checked several Wheatstone englishes from 1905 to 1930  having the slots for possible bowing valves on both sides but not having had the actual valves. For none of them identified in the ledgers (1910-30) there is any notation saying B.V.

 

Questions: Does the "B.V. " surely stand for bowing valves having been mounted ? Can it stand for fretwork prepared for bowing valves? ( would be strange...)

I have believed that the bowing valve concept was practised by Lachenals only (marketed by Lachenals and  in cooperation some way with Alsepti advocating for them in the tutor published by Lachenals but I may be mistaken of course...). Someone who has got a Wheatstone with bowing valves? 

 

 

It's in the metal. In fact, I believe that's my concertina shown in #20. I recall doing that with the red circle (quite an accomplishment given my complete lack of Photoshop skills) the last time Boyds were discussed.

 

My Wheatstone came from an estate auction in Newcastle and it needed a complete overhaul, but as I recall the bowing valves were still operational (since switched to regular air valves although easily changed back). I don't think just doing the slots and mounting the valves later would have been practical given the internal modifications required.

 

That said, would it have made sense for Boyd/Wheatstone to make a batch of metal ends and have them on the shelf for whenever Boyd ordered an instrument? It seems rather inefficient to make custom ends every time he bought one, although I may be bringing modern production line sensibilities into this. The idea that they made them in batches would also account for your instruments that have the slots and nothing else. It would be interesting to find a Boyd with the old style metal tag made after the company had changed to the newer style.

 

Does anyone have a solid date for when Boyd went out of business? What's the newest instrument anyone knows about?


Edited by JayMiller, 21 January 2017 - 09:42 AM.


#24 Laitch

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 10:08 AM

 

Someone who has got a Wheatstone with bowing valves? 

 

 

It's in the metal. In fact, I believe that's my concertina shown in #20. I recall doing that with the red circle (quite an accomplishment given my complete lack of Photoshop skills) the last time Boyds were discussed.

 

That photo is an extract from this recent for sale post, Jay, to which I added the red circle.

 

Here is another Wheatstone with bowing valves.



#25 BW77

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 04:41 PM

The instrument in #23 above obviously is a Lachenal. Jay -  it would be interesting to compare it with  the fretwork inlays with the Boyd name in your Wheatstone. Can you show a photo? and what is the serial number of it? 

 

Laitch -  (  Here is another Wheatstone with bowing valves ) .... that example obviously prooves the existence of Wheatstones with bowing valves. Now....is there anyone around having used them according to the instructions by "Signor Alsepti"  ? 



#26 JayMiller

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Posted Yesterday, 07:50 AM

Here you go. #25610 dated 12 June 1912.

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Boyd Logo.jpg
  • boyd1.jpg


#27 BW77

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Posted Yesterday, 10:10 AM

Many thanks Jay.The logotypes differ a bit. On the Wheatstone "HBoyd" can easlily be detected. On the Lachenal at first I didn't

see the *H* at all, but then it came up as someting like "H x Boyd" .

 

Some curiosity remains...Since the Boyd instruments are supposed to be extra loud for these two examples it would be interesting to 

- compare the general construction (The fretwork is fairly alike and ought to have no influence)

 -compare the loudness itself                                                         between the two ( or similar) and with not-Boyd similar instruments

- compare the onset response                                                                                                   -"-

- compare the reed chambers ( length, height, flat / tapered )                                                   -"-

- compare the reeds ( length, profiling, metal hardening)                                                           -"-

- compare the reed shoes ( measures and profiling)                                                                  -"-



#28 JayMiller

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Posted Yesterday, 02:16 PM

Just to add another complication, it's quite possible that Boyd tinkered with the instruments once he got them.

 

Maybe they were nothing more than the manufacturer's best quality instruments when they left the factory, and Boyd had a workbench up in Newcastle where the magic happened. It might not have been anything more complicated than a careful fine tuning of the reeds and an adjustment of  the action, but as every musician knows set-up is everything.

 

Think about it from Boyd's perspective--if he really thought he had ideas that produced a better sounding instrument why would would he have shared them with  the factory? 



#29 scoopet

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Posted Yesterday, 02:46 PM

can we have a photo of your lachenal new model aswell please Jay?

 

 

Is the wheatstone just a louder instrument    or   Are there other differences when playing?

 

 

Did you buy the lachenal boyd from a chap (chilton)   in france?  

 

 

 

I love the romanticism of the idea that the Boyds are better instruments but  I've only every played one.......  and that was a lachenal   though it did have a wim wakker rivetted action in it and a great set of new bellows made by him aswell.  It played really well but I don't recall it being particularly loud........

 

 Perhaps a meeting needs to be  arranged for metal ended treble concertinas only from the late 19th and early 20 th century.......  possibly  in devon!!!


Edited by scoopet, Yesterday, 02:55 PM.


#30 Geoff Wooff

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Posted Yesterday, 03:19 PM

Scoopet,

 

I recall playing  (our) Flat reedpan Wheatstone for Chiton,  he had a try too and asked if I'd leave it to him  in my Will  !!

 

Jay,

 

Very possible that  Harry Boyd  'breathed'  on the instruments  before he  sold them. There are things one can do to  refine  the set up  as you say.  The instrument I spoke about with Scoopet  was  carefully worked on after I bought it from him... I even found  a fault  in the original  work  112 years  after it was made !



#31 BW77

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Posted Yesterday, 03:40 PM

1. Is the wheatstone just a louder instrument    or   Are there other differences when playing

 

2. I love the romanticism of the idea that the Boyds are better instruments but  I've only every played one.......  and that was a lachenal   though it did have a wim wakker rivetted action in it and a great set of new bellows made by him aswell.  It played really well but I don't recall it being particularly loud........

 

3.  Perhaps a meeting needs to be  arranged for metal ended treble concertinas only from the late 19th and early 20 th century.......  possibly  in devon!!!

1-3 added by me:

 

1. Not talking "Boyds" here but from the couple of dozens fairly alike Wheatstone and Lachenal comparable sixsided medium to top of the line  english models from ca 1905-1935 I have tinkered with, my impression is that the Wheatstone tone is a bit louder ( and mostly "harsher") than the Lachenals ( mostly a bit "softer/mellower"),  In general the Wheatstone reeds are a bit more precise and when filing them giving a "harder" resistence ( possibly depending on a different, sometime bluehardening of the metal or the steel composition ( the rumour however says that the original composition of "music steel" for free reeds from delivering steel works has been very much the same throughout history BUT of course there must have been some batch differences all the same. What may have been done however is an occasional extra bluehardening by the makers when processing the actual reedworks  ) 

IF this subjective observation  corresponds with reality this also is a factor to keep in mind when comparing the makes in general AND the "Boyds" also

 

2. Another individual observation but still maybe supporting the assumption that maybe after all there is not so much, if anything, extra with the "Boyds" but perhaps a combination of good marketing and from that good reputation...Neither the new action nor the new bellows ought to have had any influence here...

 

3. Would of course be interesting and a bit intriguing doing some blind tests with several players and audience as well. When and where?



#32 scoopet

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Posted Yesterday, 04:17 PM

geoff et al,

 

     do you sometimes find that you'll make a set of pipes that turn out to be 'magic', and you've done nothing different than the last twenty you made.....

 

    we certainly used to find this with manufacturing surfboards.......out of the blue something special would appear with no real rhyme or reason.

 

     I'm sure this is the same with concertinas,   the Boyd 'hype as bw77 said is good marketing  and nothing more.....a hundred years of rumour and exaggeration( though something must have started the rumour)....yet I'm still sucked in by it and would love to have one!!!!!........

 

    It would be nice to hear Rob's (conzertino) opinion as he has had a wheatstone boyd for a long time   and has owned alot of model 22 concertinas.(But its only 1 boyd so if its good it could be a lucky one)

 

     we do need to get all the good metal trebles together and play and compare them......


Edited by scoopet, Yesterday, 04:18 PM.


#33 JayMiller

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Posted Yesterday, 04:34 PM

 

Did you buy the lachenal boyd from a chap (chilton)   in france?  

 

I love the romanticism of the idea that the Boyds are better instruments but  I've only every played one.......  and that was a lachenal   though it did have a wim wakker rivetted action in it and a great set of new bellows made by him aswell.  It played really well but I don't recall it being particularly loud........

 

 

Yes, that's my Boyd. As you say, and as I mentioned in my original post, it's a very nice instrument, but there's nothing about it that makes you say "This must be a Boyd." Of course Wakker replaced the action, tuned the reeds and made new bellows before I got it, so it's like my Grandfather's axe at this point--it's had 2 new heads and 4 new handles, but it's still my grandfather's axe.

 
My Wheatstone came from the estate of an old woman in Newcastle, and it was apparently owned by her long dead husband (I got that from the auctioneer so it may be complete rubbish), but it still has its original bellows (5 fold) and has only been tuned once, so there might just be a bit of magic dust left inside it. I won't say it's the better instrument, but it certainly has a distinctive sound and it is LOUD with a real attack. I’ve always thought of the sound as being a bit closer to the sound of the pipes than a regular concertina, although that might be my imagination. 


#34 Geoff Wooff

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Posted Yesterday, 04:38 PM

geoff et al,

 

     do you sometimes find that you'll make a set of pipes that turn out to be 'magic', and you've done nothing different than the last twenty you made.....

 

    we certainly used to find this with manufacturing surfboards.......out of the blue something special would appear with no real rhyme or reason.

 

  This used to happen  indeed , but by careful study of the reasons  why  something turned out   'magic'  and trying hard to replicate  it   the next time  , and trying to drag every new set up to the highest  possible  level...  the main result was a great slow down  in production  but  it has paid off. Yes some  instruments are born great  and others have to be encouraged    but the  general  niveau  is more  constant these days.

 

The problem with assessing  old  concertinas  for their playing qualities  is  their age and  condition, the  life they have led.. the playing field  is uneven.


Edited by Geoff Wooff, Yesterday, 04:38 PM.


#35 BW77

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Posted Today, 04:24 AM

 

geoff et al,

 

     do you sometimes find that you'll make a set of pipes that turn out to be 'magic', and you've done nothing different than the last twenty you made.....

  This used to happen  indeed ........ Yes some  instruments are born great  and others have to be encouraged    but the  general  niveau  is more  constant these days.

 

The problem with assessing  old  concertinas  for their playing qualities  is  their age and  condition, the  life they have led.. the playing field  is uneven.

 

Agree completely and that makes ALL our present discussions on these matters rather accidental unless one tries to objectify by as said before some kind of blind tests and of course by very detailed technical investigations.

 

The subtle subjective differences ( more or less "magic") between seemingly twin instruments is well known among users of any kind of musical instruments and on top of that comes reputation and imagination....Just pick Stradivarius-es or Steinway grands ( if you got some...) as an example. ( Or numerous blind expert tests of red wine which sometimes turn out very entertaining ( not to say embarrassing...) )

 

One issue regarding history of old concertinas is if they have been used much or not,  if still today being in "original condition". If hardly used at all this may be caused either by having some hidden defect making them inferior some way and put aside by the early owner ..or being absolutely superior from the start but just forgotten one way or other. NOT having been played for a very long time makes sqeezeboxes go out of tune and a major retuning may be necessary which risks ruining the early excellency, or at least makes the tonal quality uneven. The best old instruments you find today likely are those which have been played regularly, by as few owners as possible, BUT  not reconditioned at all except for bellows, bushings and other replaceables .So...generally speaking there is a risk we travel on thin ice here most of the time....

 

Jay...by the way...it sounds as if you are saying that your "Wheatstone Boyd" is louder than your ex "Lachenal Boyd" . Is this something others want to support too it seems also to support my reflection in #31 that there is a common "loudness" difference between the common, same class models, of instruments coming from Wheatstones and Lachenals resepctively. IF SO...this is a particular bias also when speaking about "Boyd loudness".....or "Boyd response"....






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