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Boyd Wheatstone Concertinas

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#37 scoopet

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 02:57 PM

hi Don,

 

         I'm just down in devon, so is there any chance I can come up to you and have a play on it.......purely in the interest of  scientific research!......


Edited by scoopet, 24 January 2017 - 03:54 PM.


#38 DonV

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 02:50 AM

Sure, send me a message direct and we can work something out.

Don.

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Perhaps you can advise on how to remove resin from carpets following my daughter's surfboard construction!


Edited by DonV, 25 January 2017 - 03:01 AM.


#39 conzertino

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 08:56 AM

Just for interest sake here a pic of my Wheatstone Boyd. It looks just like Alistair Anderson's instrument.

Note that the fretwork is very "open".

 

Boyd 1.jpg

 

I would suggest that Jay's later Boyd might sound quite different!?

In fact, personal taste changes. I used to like the Boyd a lot, but somehow now I prefer my more enclosed ebony-ended Aeola. 

 

I have played the box a lot! Still it has it's original pads and valves and plays better than new with a very light action. 


Edited by conzertino, 25 January 2017 - 08:58 AM.


#40 BW77

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 01:11 PM

Just for interest sake here a pic of my Wheatstone Boyd. It looks just like Alistair Anderson's instrument.

Note that the fretwork is very "open".

 

attachicon.gifBoyd 1.jpg

 

I would suggest that Jay's later Boyd might sound quite different!?

In fact, personal taste changes. I used to like the Boyd a lot, but somehow now I prefer my more enclosed ebony-ended Aeola. 

 

I have played the box a lot! Still it has it's original pads and valves and plays better than new with a very light action. 

Interesting...to continue the "research"...would you like to add also:

What is the serial number of it?

Why do you think Jay's (later one) might sound different? 

Does it have the flat reed pan with fairly shallow  ( 5,5-6  mm heignt) chambers discussed earlier ? Or tempered reed pan?

Can you judge if the reeds seem to be made from fairly hard metal, - at least surface harder than comparable models of Lachenals?

Do you think it is any louder than a twin model "normal" Wheatstone?

Can you judge if the reeds seem to be entirely in original shape or has it possibly been retuned?

Have you found any other characteristics seemingly different from "non-Boyd" alikes?



#41 scoopet

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 01:42 PM

how does it compare rob to the vast number of other model 22s/24s you've played?

 

I'm guessing your boyd is around 22/23000?


Edited by scoopet, 25 January 2017 - 01:43 PM.


#42 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 03:19 PM

Just for interest sake here a pic of my Wheatstone Boyd. It looks just like Alistair Anderson's instrument.

Note that the fretwork is very "open".

 

attachicon.gifBoyd 1.jpg

 

I would suggest that Jay's later Boyd might sound quite different!?

In fact, personal taste changes. I used to like the Boyd a lot, but somehow now I prefer my more enclosed ebony-ended Aeola. 

 

I have played the box a lot! Still it has it's original pads and valves and plays better than new with a very light action. 

I see the pink cardboard backing of the pads... which suggests  22,000 /23,000  to me , turn of the century  ... 

 

Fret work looks  similar to the Lachenal versions.


Edited by Geoff Wooff, 25 January 2017 - 03:27 PM.


#43 Robin Harrison

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 09:47 PM

re. Bowing valves.

    This seems odd to me........apparently bowing valves are rare on Wheatstones and yet it seems common to have the end plates prepared with slots for them.

         This in my Model 22...with slots or are they just ovals in the place where a lever / bowing valve might be ?

 

Model 22 b.JPG

Model 22 a.JPG

      



#44 BW77

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 04:11 AM

re. Bowing valves.

    This seems odd to me........apparently bowing valves are rare on Wheatstones and yet it seems common to have the end plates prepared with slots for them.

         This in my Model 22...with slots or are they just ovals in the place where a lever / bowing valve might be ?

 

attachicon.gifModel 22 b.JPG

attachicon.gifModel 22 a.JPG

      

It is really mysterious if not these slots/ovals are intended for the possible addition of bowing valves since a) they are located where the bowing valve levers are on those individual instruments having them B) they are present on both sides c) they are not a natural part of the fretwork pattern

The idea with the bowing valves obviously was abortive itself - isn't it strange that makers continued preparing for them like this?

If Lachenals did is more understandable, having advocated them initially, but other makers?? Any others than Wheatstones?



#45 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 07:07 AM

Oh yes , quite  common on this period  of Wheatstones... perhaps all the way up to the introduction of the Key Valve  in the 1920's.  My  1898 model has  these  oval slots  but no  bowing valves  or  lever air  valves (SV ) .

 

Robin... your pictures show a  model 24.



#46 Robin Harrison

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 08:25 AM

Tx Geoff......I always think of it as an extended 22.



#47 DonV

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 08:48 AM

Didn't find the serial number inside as I had hoped so will have to search for the plate.

There was L28 and R28 on the reed pans not sure if this has any relation to the model or serial number, or perhaps a batch number?

Not much on the web about H. Boyd but found this:-

http://banjolin.co.u...p?pageName=Boyd

Might be of interest to those who haven't already found it.

Don


Edited by DonV, 27 January 2017 - 11:22 AM.


#48 conzertino

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 12:35 PM

No serial Number!

 

Mine has bowing-valve-slots on both sides, one is used with a normal air-lever.

 

The reed pans are fairly shallow and flat:

 

Boyd1.jpg

 

Both the ends and the frames are a few mm thinner than normal ( the other one is an Aeola )!?

 

Boyd2.jpg

 

The Boyd has quite a piercing sound, but the Aeola has more "body" to it's sound - and is lounder alltogether ( it is a top peroid one ( 31xxx ))!?

 

I have owned and played loads of M 22s - and I always liked them. The best ones were - once again - 31xxx ones!

 

I would assume that Jay's Boyd also has more "body" to it's sound - similar to the later M22s and Aeolas - as the fretwork is more closed.

 

I might get around to record 5 different ended Aeolas, a pin-hole Aeola and the Boyd one day... The differences are enormous!


Edited by conzertino, 27 January 2017 - 01:17 PM.


#49 scoopet

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 01:28 PM

hi rob ,

    is there nothing stamped on the inside of the metal work underneath the thumbstraps?It normally has 'wheatstone' and the number below it  somewhere around the 3 drilled thumbstrap holes.

 

 When you say 'best'........ Are the 31000 concertinas abit more 'refined'  , well balanced and better for chordal music? and do the earlier instruments 22/23000 seem a bit more raw and honky ? (is honky a word?.......... :rolleyes: ) and suited for melody of traditional music?


Edited by scoopet, 27 January 2017 - 05:03 PM.


#50 BW77

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 05:31 PM

No serial Number!

 

Mine has bowing-valve-slots on both sides, one is used with a normal air-lever.

 

The reed pans are fairly shallow and flat:

 

attachicon.gifBoyd1.jpg

 

Both the ends and the frames are a few mm thinner than normal ( the other one is an Aeola )!?

 

attachicon.gifBoyd2.jpg

 

The Boyd has quite a piercing sound, but the Aeola has more "body" to it's sound - and is lounder alltogether ( it is a top peroid one ( 31xxx ))!?

 

I have owned and played loads of M 22s - and I always liked them. The best ones were - once again - 31xxx ones!

 

I would assume that Jay's Boyd also has more "body" to it's sound - similar to the later M22s and Aeolas - as the fretwork is more closed.

 

I might get around to record 5 different ended Aeolas, a pin-hole Aeola and the Boyd one day... The differences are enormous!

- Many thanks ! Lacking serial number can it still be judged what year it is?  Is it known how long did the Boyd business go on? After WW1 at all?

- Reed pans seemingly being the standard flat ones for the model

- Are the frames really thinner than a comparable non-Boyd but same model? The reed pan can hardly be thinner than 5 mm. Is the space between action board and end plate particularly low ?

- Sound...you compare with an Aeola and then we do expect different tone...but what about a twin non-Boyd same model?

 

You say: "I have owned and played loads of M 22s - and I always liked them. The best ones were - once again - 31xxx ones!"

Does that mean that from your viewpoint the common 31xxx M22s have been  "better" than the (earlier) Boyd ones too...??

 

I have the impression still that it is not certain that when speaking about identical specific *models* ( like the 22 ) the *Boyds* are different from the *non-Boyds* . Maybe the standard of them is a bit more even....possibly due to extra good delivery control....or demands for selected reeds...or possibly extra end finish by Boyd himself  ( or associates) before sale. So far nothing has come up speaking for special reed works which is the factor one would expect being involved IF the *Boyds* are objectively louder than  twin instruments but this seems to be questionable still. The hype seems to go on....wonder if there is some superstition around also....When will the blind test ( blinded player, blinded audience...) take place?

 

 



#51 conzertino

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 05:45 PM

I see a development from the early wooden-ended instruments with little fretwork and leather or wooden mufflers ( up to approx 1900!? ) through very much closed pinhole Aeolas, a short period of half open fretwork ( M22s and Aeolas ) to very open fretwork ( early ME Boyds and Lachenals, Aeolas and M22s ) into the twenties and finally a return to slightly more closed fretwork in the middle of the twenties.

 

I have quite a number of 30xxx to 32xxx instruments - but somehow my favourites are in the 31xxx range!? They tend to have a well balanced "full-bodied" sound, fast and low action and -with the bigger ones - more bellow-folds.

 

Some say that with the decline of the golden concertina-days Wheatstone had to come up with thier best craftmanship to satisfy the few remaining customers.

 

I also have two high-class 33xxx Aeolas with riveted action and the best features, but most of the later ones couldn't compare with the older ones.

 

When I bought my ME TT Aeola from Chris, I had a choice of about 15 instruments - and after hours of testing ended up with a 31xxx...

 

As I mentioned, I have seen and played loads of instruments, but my older Boyd is somehow different - not necessarily better, but unique!?

 

Even though it is quite loud, I find it difficult to hear myself in a session, as it projects to the sides more than normal. 

 

The sound can probably be compared with good early Jeffries anglos ( with very open fretwork ). 


Edited by conzertino, 27 January 2017 - 06:05 PM.


#52 BW77

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 10:01 AM

1. ..Some say that with the decline of the golden concertina-days Wheatstone had to come up with thier best craftmanship to satisfy the few remaining customers.

2. .I also have two high-class 33xxx Aeolas with riveted action and the best features, but most of the later ones couldn't compare with the older ones.

3.  When I bought my ME TT Aeola from Chris, I had a choice of about 15 instruments - and after hours of testing ended up with a 31xxx...

4...As I mentioned, I have seen and played loads of instruments, but my older Boyd is somehow different - not necessarily better, but unique!?

Comments to added 1-4 above

 

1. Looking at the production figures of Wheatstone Englishes the output (= sales?)  was fairly constant from 1900 until WW2 and maybe even larger than during 1890-1900. But for sure the general market demand had fallen in the early 1930s and Lachenals had closed down which likely helped Wheatstones to survive. Having spoken to quite a few really old concertina players in England several have said in unison something like:

"The best period of Wheatstones was pre WW1 since the war drained the firm of a number of the best workers"

so ...maybe the "Golden era" may still be hard to define....

 

2. You mention riveted action as a feature of importance.and so it often is referred to - but is it really? What is the advantage in such case?

 

3. Please excuse the nagging...but did you have about 15 other ME TT Aeolas from different periods to compare with?? I only ask for the general point that - as we have said before -  it is so terribly difficult making adequate comparisons and subjective preference really is a difficult method - just as you say here:

 

4. " my older Boyd is somehow different - not necessarily better, but unique!?"

 

Is that how far we get?..... "Unique" - at least for the fretwork name inlay and the emblem - and "loud" - but "not necessarily better"



#53 conzertino

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 01:15 PM

ref. 3. Chris had about 12 ME TTs plus 3 EE TTs from different periods for me to try. But: I was biased towards 31xxxs

 

But then again: of course the choice of a good and expensive concertina is subjective!!

 

There are objective criteria like dynamic range, ease and precision of action ( riveted is definitely better than hook! ), tightness, suppleness and number of folds of bellows and condition.

 

But sound is very much up to personal taste.

 

I own a tortoiseshell TT Aeola, which is in absolute mint condition. It has alloy reed-frames and is rather light, but also rather quiet. It wouldn't be a session-box but it is a delight to sing to.



#54 BW77

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 03:32 AM

There are objective criteria like dynamic range, ease and precision of action ( riveted is definitely better than hook! ), tightness, suppleness and number of folds of bellows and condition.

 

I own a tortoiseshell TT Aeola, which is in absolute mint condition. It has alloy reed-frames and is rather light, but also rather quiet. It wouldn't be a session-box but it is a delight to sing to.

- DYNAMIC RANGE...I wonder...This.is firstly a function of reed status is it not? I believe the common experience is that the *total range* i e the capacity of a reed sounding as soft as possible up to as loud as possible is determined by reed material, precision in processing, precision of assembly, profiling, setting. BUT..it is very hard ( or impossible.?.) to make a reed which combines a quick onset and very soft sound at very low pressure with a quick onset and very loud sound at very high pressure. What you mostly get is either good capacities from low to medium pressure ( = soft sound to medium loudness) OR good capacities from 

medium to high pressure ( = medium sound level to great loudness ) 

So....maybe the total dynamic range does not vary so much ( with good quality reeds) but you have to make a choice between low OR high average dynamic level . I have the impression that instruments historically or periodically or occasionally may differ a great deal in this respect and MAYBE your 31xxx period mostly represents the later category...or what do you think?

Readers with much experience from reed making maybe have comments to add?

- EASE OF ACTION....Since the basic construciton was the same for a century I find it difficult to see why the 31xxx period ( or any other) might have produced significantly different "ease of action".

- RIVETED vs HOOK action.....Production and assembly costs likely have influenced the makers  and precision of assembly work certainly has varied by economization but regarding performance capacities - provided that all parts are in good condition -  it is hard to see why there should be any important advantage with "riveted action" vs various hook constructions. Or what is it?

- TIGHTNESS. SUPPLENESS. NUMBER of FOLDS. ...These are things that vary throughout history and individually but something characteristic for the 31xxx ?

- TORTOISESHELL instrument....The tortoiseshell ends is a luxury feature firstly. They may have some influence on tone but if positive or negative is again a dubious matter. A friend and I  once had access to two same period basically identical Aeolas, one ebony ended and one tortoise shell ended. Ends and reed plates were interchangeable. We tried all four combinations and we agreed about the impression that the tortoiseshell ends seemed to cause a harsher, more piercing, tone. The most reasonable explanation seems to be less absorption of overtones.

Your instrument however got "alloy reed-frames"  that may be the cause of a different experience. What kind of "alloy" and from what period?  Wheatstone aluminium reed frames from late production definitely have a "softer/mellower"  tone.






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