C&R Dipper Cotswold anglo concertina review
Text and photos by Bill D'Ambrogio
Maker/Model: C&R Dipper/Cotswold
Manufactured: November 1998 (Serial # 293)
Buttons: 31 Naval Brass with Wheatstone Spacing
Ends: Wood (Burr Elm)
Bellows: 7 Fold Goat Skin with Papers
Extensive research consisting of frequent email
exchanges with Paul Schwartz, numerous visits to Paul's
web site, and contacts with dealers and makers led me
to take a giant step and order a C&R Dipper Cotswold
C/G tuned concertina. Colin Dipper recommended this
concertina based on my expressed interest in playing
slow tunes, such as traditional Irish slow airs, with
The Cotswold is 6 1/4 inch across, whereas the smaller
Dipper Clare model which is 5 5/8 inches.
Cosmetically, the burr elm wood grain pattern blends
nicely with the filigree ends, and the naval brass
buttons and bellows papers further enhance its
appearance. The Wheatstone button spacing allows me to
easily reach some of the buttons that were a stretch on
The notes on the buttons follow the Jeffries system,
shown in Bertram Levy's book, with three exceptions.
The exception on the left hand side is the 31st button, which plays F#/E (same notes as left side buttons 12 and 9, respectively). It is located at
the top of the C-row (when held in the playing
position), next to the G/A button. I haven't used the
F#/E button with tunes, but I expect to find it helpful
with bellows direction. The other two exceptions are
on the right hand side. The top button in the
accidental row is a C#/C# (not D#/C#), and the button
next to it is a F#/D# (not C#/D#). I find the C#/C# to
be extremely useful. It makes playing tunes with this
note easier, and more bellows friendly.
I took the concertina apart, and was very impressed
with the internals of the action box. It's a
mechanical masterpiece with shiny brass riveted action
bars which move "frictionlessly". It has parallel reed
pan construction with handmade steel reeds mounted in
brass frames. The action is quick, smooth, and
responsive. The notes speak immediately which attests
to the quality and workmanship of the steel reeds.
It has a pleasant harmonious sound. Chords sound with
a nice resonant effect. The resonant effect was an
unexpected, pleasant surprise when I first heard it.
Colin told me that this would get even better with
time, as the instrument gets broken in. I am also
pleased with the balance, e.g., the volume between the
left hand and right hand notes.
Overall, I'm very impressed with all aspects of my
Cotswold, but it's a Dipper so who wouldn't be.