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Myrtle's cook

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Posts posted by Myrtle's cook

  1. Returning to ridges/flanges etc....


    Following on from Jim Lucas's survey of instruments, I took a look at the little finger rests on my concertinas. I noticed that on my Aeola 'pinhole' treble EC (no. 21477), the rests are a further variant where the metal is thinnned towards the outer edge or chamfered. This appears to have been done at the time of manufacture. Until I noticed it I had not been aware of any particular difference it makes to my playing. On reflection it does enable rather freer movement of my little finger as the remaining fingers wander across the keys - particularly when compared to another rest with the flange/ridge.


    I wonder if this form, the plain form and the flanged/ridged form are little more than examples of the areas of choice manufacturers offered for their better instruments in the late C19th-earlier C20th?


  2. Perhaps the leather sheafing of the rests was more prevalent in the earlier period of concertina manaufacture and use (when primarily a parlour instrument), i.e. up to c.1870/80s. On later instruments, less common, perhaps reflecting the developing uses and users of concertinas. A quick peruse of the instruments in the 'Concertina Museum Collection' supports this hypothesis.

  3. In addition to Chris Algar, you might also like to check out Theo Gibb's website (he is a regular contriubtor of knowledge to this site). He has a Jeffries 45 key CG anglo in his 'Box Shop' at present as well as a 40 key Lachenal CG which looks nice - although as an EC player I wouldn't know whether the latter is better than your present box.


    Check them out at www.theboxplace.co.uk (apologies for not pasting actual link, something doesn't seem to be working - probably the requsitie part of my brain).

  4. Just to add/support Greg's wise words...


    If you intend to use the concertina to accompany singing then a decent brass reeded box will serve you particularly well (unless it's with a shanty choir!) as the natural volume and softer tone is well suited to the human voice. As Greg says, the better brass reeds can be very good and not lacking in volume or dynamic range (I have an 1860s Wheatstone baritone with brass reeds which is one of my most responsive concertinas and just about - well nearly - stands comparison to a 'golden period' Aeola). This might all be slightly in the ear of the beholder, but if you can, try out the boxes in question or get to hear them played.


    There are also concertinas with 'silver nickel' reeds from the mid 19th century. I understand these are harder to tune from a reparaers point of view, but the better ones also have a very nice mellow tone and good response.


    Worth bearing in mind that the mellow tone of many of the 'mid-Victorian' brass reeded instruments is as much due to their wider construction. Steel reeded instruments of the period tend (sweeping generalisation) to have a more mellow tone than their C20th descendants.

  5. By some coincidence Chris Algar recently sold a similar Crane, although in this instance a 48 button instrument (it is still on his concertina.co.uk website, I'd post the link but for some reason my computer isn't allowing this today). This too was marked T S Mozart. Were these two were part of a batch for a Mozart retailer, or perhaps was Shakespear using 'Mozart' as a name for his range of Crane system instruments, similar to 'Aeola' and 'Edeophone', 'Linota' etc

  6. You most certainly have a right to learn - and to learn the concertina! The real problem is price - and this does rather favour those of us who are either well paid, managed to buy in the 60s/70s, found a mircaculous bargain or who no longer have to support growing children.


    The amount of practice time you mention does not necessarily millitate against learning. Many of us who are working probably manage this much, plus a little more at weekends/holidays if life permits.


    At the budget end there are some servicable instruments. The Concertina Connection Jack and Jackie are decent enough instruments to get started on. I am lucky enough to own a wheatstone aeola as my main instrument, but for some time have had a Jack baritone that gives me a lot of pleasure and whilst it isn't as pleasant to play and listen to, the fact it was 1/15th the price and probably c.40-50% as playable so means its probably pound for pound excellent vfm. I can't speak for Concertina Connections other instruments, but their English system instruments are worth your consideration - they pop up on Ebay (and with some dealers) second hand and are probably just about within your budget. I have to say the various other 'cheaper' modern concertinas I have tried have not been experiences I would wish to repeat!


    Good luck. Don't give up - concertinas are immensley rewarding - if at times equally frustrating for all sorts of reasons including availability and price

  7. If the photo was taken in Liverpool then the instruments may well have been borrowed from Rushworths. Rushworths were one of the city's principle musical instrument dealers until they closed around 2000. In addition to their extensive stock they also held an extensive collection of musical instruments (many now in the collection of National Museums Liverpool). They also supplied the Beatles with many of their instruments.

  8. Ouch! My sympathies.


    A similar experience in my teens - saved up for a decent guitar - the improvised fabric slip case didn't provide much protection from a slamming car door. Unfortunately it was more of a trip to the guitar undertaker than the guitar hospital. The next [cheaper] guitar was purchased with a basic hard case - and sod's law, no one has ever slammed a car door on that one!


    I tihnk I remember seeing someone with a Marcus in a rather nice hard case with internal padding at a festival some years ago, if I recall rightly they said the case came from Marcus too.


    Hope the treatment is effective and the hospital stay not too long.

  9. I play English and have tried to play MacCann. So, for what it's worth, my experiences are:


    - the English is pretty flexible - as Geoff says - check out Steve Turner, Billy Whaley (English and MacCann, both providing rich accompaniment), Dick Miles et al on youtube. I found it relatively easy to learn (the logic of it's layout seems to work for my brain's hard wiring) and I find it easy to play from 'the dots' and by ear. The ergonomics of the EC - discussed elsewhere on this forum, and placing an initial strain on thumb and little finger - have been overcome by practice, muscle development and in the case of my heavier instrument a strap for the back of each hand.


    - MacCann - I love the idea of a duet, but having have come to the reluctant conclusion that for my brain it requires rather more investment of time to master than the English. The layout rather lacks the straight forward logic of the English, although there is robust theory behind it. I am also left handed so this means the bulk of the fiddly playing is required from my less coordinated right hand. I have tried playing the instrument 'the other way around' - which was better - but just made me more aware of how awkward my brain finds this particular layout.


    You might also want to consider the Crane system duet (in addition to Hayden suggested above). Less common than MacCann, but still a reasonable number of good vintage instruments available. The layout is in many ways similar to an EC - although not the same. I have tinkered around with one and found I could quickly get a tune from it. The left hand/right hand issue still applies, but the layout is easier for my brain to grasp. Check out Geoff Lakeman on youtube (he is a contributor to this forum) to get an idea of just what can be achieved from this system.

  10. Yep - that works!

    Just ordered mine and looking forward to the addition to my library.

    Handy to have all these in one place in a book (despite the infinite possibilities of the internet). Looks like a good addition to previous works, scholarly and otherwise.

  11. Hi Fourest

    Firstly welcome to Cnet, ...and congratulations on your purchase. I too have a Jones English (amongst others - a later one with metal ends) - good concertinas and sometimes underrated!

    Whilst not wishing to deprive any label owners of a sale, you could always download and print one of the label images from the Concertina Museum collection. here's a good one (and by flicking through the other instruments there are of course others): http://concertinamuseum.com/CM00332.htm

    Good luck and enjoy the concertina (and Cnet).

    Kind regards

  12. I've seen this 'monitor fretwork' on a couple of other concertinas, a friend's Lachenal 'New Model' Maccann and a Victorian EC by one of the smaller makers (I can't remember which, off hand) although it was a high end model.


    I remember this feature being discussed previously on Cnet. I can see the logic in it if it is to let the player hear their instrument more clearly - or give a wider broadcast to the sound being produced. Others on this forum with more knowledge will doubtless be able to comment as to their effectiveness.

  13. A most unusual custom instrument! I am wondering if the key layout is in fact true Maccann or some sort of hybrid/different system? I have a vaugue gfeeling of having seen this before (perhaps an earlier Ebay listing of the instrument). Might the differing proximites of the buttons be to ease some chordal based playing style(?) or a particular approach to playing (e.g. arpeggio based - although I can't quite make sense of this).


    Other custom elements would seem to be the gilded keys, the monitor fretwork in the side and the metal on the hand rails (more usually bone and wood on aeolas(?)). The case, if original to the instrument on leaving the factory, is also different to the usual brown leather cube shaped boxes that aeolas seem to come with in this period.


    A most odd beastie. A successful buyer might find themselves the only player of this particular system, unless it is drunkenly arranged Maccann as suggested. It would be challenging, to say the least, to switch between this instrument and a standard layout Maccann.

  14. I'd add to some of these comments - the CD alone, which I much enjoyed, would justify the membership fee for me. As Hereward says, it provides much food for thought in terms of developing one's own playing (whatever type of music you favour). Concertina World is also invariably a good read, from which I have learnt much.


    Keep up the good work Pauline & Co.


    (from another grateful ICA member)

  15. The damage shown to the left hand end, around the bottom three edges, would perhaps support what Jim says, above. It looks like it might be the result of the breaking down of an imitation toroiseshell (early plastic type) material.


    There also looks to be gap in the end frames, at this end of the concertina, perhaps from an impact/drop. My recollections of antique toroiseshell when used as a veneer, is that it can crack, and occasionally scale, but not break down to a semigranular form.

  16. Both these Hercules are rare and precious things to be treasured.


    I too would happily contribute towards the vertinary bill for the four legged Hercules. In the meantime I hope the pampering has the desired effect, if nothing else, I am sure he will be feeling a happier tortoise.

  17. I would second what Jim says about the Morse instruments. I have one of their tenor trebles and have tried a baritone. Very responsive, light and well made. They do turn up second hand on eBay, via dealers and Cnet, often providing a saving on the new price. They do not use traditional concertina reeds, but the sound is quite acceptable to me, I recall the baritone had characteristics in common with quality brass reeded baritones (e.g. earlier Wheatstones), that is to say quite a mellow rounded tone and good reed response.


    You might also consider the Conertina Connection 'Jack' baritone. I bought one of these second hand to make sure I really did 'need' a baritone instrument. I had a lot of fun with it before buying my Victorian baritone. OK, it's not Aeola quality, but it is a small fraction the price. It is a bit 'plasticky', but is essentially well engineered in my opinion (particularly for the price) and the reeds are quite responsive once it has been played for a minute or two. The bellows are decent and quite tough, and they usually come with a soft gig case. It is also of sufficiently low value and replacability for me not to worry too much when I put it down in a sing around and go to the loo or bar. There are a couple of therads on this forum describing how to improve Jack/Jackie concertinas, e.g. bushing the buttons.


    As my Jack is now sitting in its case unplayed, I might consider selling it - PM me if interested.

  18. 'According to Chris Flint's "Case Notes", a serial number of 695 would place the manufacture date to somewhere between 1849 and 1854, so perhaps the original reeds have been replaced? Or could a concertina in the 1850:ies have been made with steel reeds?'


    A couple of observations in terms of reed material and date:

    - Case concertinas also come with nickel/silver nickel reeds, which can look quite steel-like. There's one in the Concertina Museum http://www.concertinamuseum.com/CM00180h.htm

    -At the time Scates/Case et al were operating, steel, 'brass', silver nickel and even gold reeds were being used by the various manufacturers. Each material imparts a particular tone, so there may have been a degree of accommodating user preference - somewhat like the myriad of front/side/back choices of wood for the guitars offered today. Steel reeds were however far, at this time, from the norm.


    Concertinas from this period have a particular tone, often described as 'mellow' or 'sweet' - as you observe. It's a tone I love, I am lucky enough to have an earlier Scates EC with silver/nickel reeds. Your instrument would probably have once had wooden or leather baffles fitted to dampen any harsher overtones. For modern requirements the loss of baffles probably helps increase volume for use with voice etc. A super instrument to start a concertina journey on.


    There's some useful further information on Case here: http://www.concertinamuseum.com/SiteS4c.htm


    Chris Flint has also researched Joseph Scates and his very informative site includes references to Case: http://www.scatesconcertinas.com/introduction.html

  19. The auctioneer has posted a whole series of new photos:




    The ones of the bellows show a sort of dovetailing join - which would seem to confirm the conclusion that the bellows can be detached.


    The final photo shows the case containing some rather intriguing templates/plates that might have something to do with this arrangement. The Horniman [Concertina Museum] photos cited above show something broadly similar within the bellows.

  20. They look a very neat set of bellows and overall solution - really informative Blog to, most interesting - thank you!


    There was an interesting article in the June ICA Concertina World on Bill Crossland and his work and workshop. He has developed a similar solution mounted on a fairly tall bench so that he could operate the bellows via a strap attached to his leg/knee. The only flaw I could think of was being distracted whilst attached and moving away from the bench suddenly and so potentially tearing the bellows. Then again, no doubt Bill (and others) have much greater powers of concentration that I.

  21. Hi Josqueeze

    Welcome to Cnet.


    It sounds as if you potentially have a very nice instrument.


    Received wisdom seems to be that the likes of Rushworth & Dreaper rebadged the instruments of others - and as you suggest, were not the makers.

    Others on this forum with far greater knowledge will be able to expand on this, but (as someone who lives in Liverpool and keeps an eye out for such things) I recall seeing both a Jones anglo and a German 'Anglo' with this dealer's label.


    If you are able to post some photographs on the forum then that would greatly aid identification.


    In terms of appraisal and next steps, I see you are based in Yorkshire - so you are probably reasonably close to both Dave Elliot and Theo Gibb (both have easily googled websites). They are both restorers who are regular (and generous) contributors to this forum. There are, of course, many other good restorers (I think Bill Crossland is also Yorkshire based), but Dave and Theo have both undertaken work for me and I have been pleased with the results.


    So, in answer to the first part of your question, photos would probably bring a result from the Cnet community. They might also help inform an answer as to why the reeds are not readily speaking as expected.


    [EDIT: Cross posted with Theo - we must have been typing at the same time, but me slower!]

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