Posts posted by Myrtle's cook
There are a good range of source images for the approach Vin suggests to be found amongst the Concertina Museum's photos of George Case instruments at http://www.concertinamuseum.com/CM00183.htm
Incidentally there is an excellent paper on George Case and the English Concertina in the latest Proceedings of the International Concertina Association, available either by subscription (which is good value) or online at: http://www.concertina.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/PICA-10-Final.pdf
You might find this paper by Robert Gaskins on the use of baffles helpful/thought provoking. http://www.concertina.com/gaskins/baffles/
Alternatively, here's a solution from Danny Chapman with some external baffles that can be removed as required. http://www.rowlhouse.co.uk/concertina/pictures/
Another option, if you have even a mild case of Concertina Acquisition Syndrome, you might consider a brass/silver nickel reeded instrument. The better ones are very playable and have a much softer ('more mellow'), less penetrating tone and volume than those with steel reeds.
Might this have been his practice instrument - for use where an aeola or similar post-parlour period concertina might have been too noisy (e.g. whilst staying hotel rooms)? I have a Scates concertina from the same sort of period that I use for just this purpose.
This is a bit of an aside, but I am doing some work in Manchester at the moment and have walked past this address several times this week. It is now occupied by what looks like a 1930s building/facaded building, home to the Big Issue in the North (a paper sold by homeless people - for those outside the UK). Peering through the shop front I can't see any signs of the original layout etc.).
The little badge is certainly in a higher league than the usual paper dealer's labels that appear on Lachenals. If time permits I'll have a look in the library to see if they have any old street directories that might shed light on this operation. Is there a number on the concertina that might help with dating?
A recent purchase from Ebay. Hope this will raise a smile on a Monday, particularly amongst those of us who use the concertina to accompany maritime songs...
Published: Ralph Tuck & Sons 'Oilette' [Regd] Postcard 6414 'Sailor Laddie'.
Used and postmarked for October 20th 1904
I have previously purchased a concertina from Dean, aka Defra, and it all went very smoothly. A very pleasant transaction - and for me a very nice concertina.
I just mention this in case anyone is looking at this thread and has some reservations about buying through a peer-to-peer forum.
Thank you Jake. Looks like someone got a 'good buy' with this one (a well known dealer perhaps?).
Thank you Jim, that's made my morning!
(Anglos I note!)
I have one of these in which my large Edeophone lives. I don't generally take this box out of the house, so it works fine for this 'need'.
I purchased another such case last year on line, when it arrived some of the plastic external covering was peeling away and on closer inspection some of the lining panels were rather loose. I sent it back and got a refund, but it does suggest the quality assurance processes at the Stagi factory aren't too hot, or perhaps some of the glues/materials they are using aren't the best.
One other thing that bothers me a little about these cases is the red furry lining. I was looking at an unnamed case in a music shop fairly recently and gave the lining a little 'pluck', I was surprised how easily the fibres came away. It struck me that these might find their way into the concertina and ultimately come to rest between reed tongue and frame necessitating some fettling. I'm sure this problem is avoided when sourcing a case from the likes of Greg Jowaisis or Frank Edgley who know concertinas and their needs inside out.
Frustrating that Peli Storm cases don't come in the right sort of sizes for larger concertinas as they made the best 'off the shelf' case I could find for my treble EC..
I wonder if there is any internal damage relating to the accident that has befallen this box.
I have an edeophone that had at some time had a similar unscheduled meeting with the floor. This had weakened/opened several of the side panel joints. It had also caused a crack in the action board - presumably because the force of the impact had been communicated directly down one of the little wooden pillars. All were successfully restored, but at additional cost.
As Ceemonster says, [with good restoration] it might be wonderful...
Excuse an EC player straying into Anglo territory, but do folks think those ends are original to the rest of the box? To me they resemble copies of Crabb type patterns but look a little heavy handed and are completely flat. Replacements for damaged wooden ends or an attempt in the past to 'enhance' the box?
In a recent ICA magazine there is a full page of photos taken at a recent workshop which illustrate the variety of finger positions used to hold an EC - which supports the hypothesis that different approaches work for different people and their hands.
I have small-medium [male] hands with relatively long fingers. I tend to have my thumbs inserted into the thumb straps so that there is some grip/tightness around the first joint (perhaps a relic of initial learning the instrument and being terrified of dropping it). A couple of people have pointed out to me that my pinkie often only just sits at the end of the rest (similar to Bullethead's picture above) - this has never really caused me a problem and I hadn't previously been aware of it. As this post has made me think about it, I do find my Scates box with leather covered pinkie rest more comfortable to play than some heavier concertinas with bare metal rests which cut in a little after prolonged playing whilst standing.
The modification above is interesting (and thought provoking) - does it make the concertina harder to hold when played standing? I have a sense it might 'droop' without the full ability to brace against the original line of the pinkie rest?
Some additional mentions located from the British Newspaper Archive - by no means exhaustive, but adds a little colour:
27 September 1909, Palace Theatre, Aberdeen, appearing in a supporting slot and billed as 'Francini Olloms Europe's most brilliant concertinist' (perhaps this is the European branding - as Johnyace shows above he was 'Europe's Finest...' on US playbills!)
31 December 1918, Hulme Hippodrome, Francini and Elsie Olloms appearing in a supporting slot
9 February 1929, Burnley Empire, Francini Olloms, a supporting slot in a comedy based review
7 November 1936, Portsmouth Coliseum, Francini Olloms as a support act to an acrobatic novelty acts 'Seven Romas'
Last mention seems to be in 'The Era' and a listing for the Byker 'Grand' for 16 February 1939
During 1917/18 there are also listings for 'Gaestano Olloms and his concertina'. A son, brother or alternative 'branding for Francini?
For anyone else reading the thread and considering a purchase they can be ordered direct from the author (who is a regular and generous contributor to this site):
Like others above, I would strongly recommend it, good for helping me decide when it's a job that I can manage and when its time to pass the task over a proper restorer/fettler.
More photos now posted by auction house:
Looks like this concertina has had quite a hard life, and from the verdigris and white deposits on the leather, not all of that life has been spent in the dry. The state of the reeds would be an area of risk for anyone buying this without seeing/trying it first.
As rose wood was used fairly regularly in Victorian and Edwardian furniture making I would expect that better models do indeed have rosewood ends.
In the few examples I've seen of rosewood furniture (though I don't know from what period), it has been rosewood veneer over some more common structural wood, just as I've described for concertina ends. Was that the exception rather than the rule?
Probably the rule I would think.
As rose wood was used fairly regularly in Victorian and Edwardian furniture making I would expect that better models do indeed have rosewood ends. However, as Blue Eyed Sailor notes, finishes can be deceptive. There are certainly instances of veneers and laminates of several thin layers of wood being used.
In terms of foxing, it may be that a good quality cotton based paper (or similar) was being used (?). My understanding is that foxing is either an oxidation of impurities within the paper or caused by fungal growth (which may be more likely in wood pulp based papers)- high humidity/damp being a catalyst to both. I think there are modern 'archival' standards for paper which include a resistance to changes such as foxing.
I would second Jim Lucas's tutor recommendations above. Both good fun and Alistair Anderson's is, in particular, well paced for a beginner giving a good sense of achievement as one goes. I am guessing an interest in folk music from Bald Raynard's name - in which case Anderson's content should be very much to your liking.
Good luck - and most importantly - ENJOY!
Yes - quite a bargain at the estimate!
Does look like it has had quite a tough/hard working life so likely to require some work.
None the less, tempting....
Here it is (for the next 29 days) on BBC iPlayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00mkdqs/flog-it-series-8-6-sunderland
The feature starts at 33 mins, the picture of the former owner mentioned above it at 37mins 37 seconds. The only photo I could find of Gordon Cutty at a younger age is at https://mainlynorfolk.info/folk/records/gordoncutty.html(click on first album to enlarge) which to my eye is similar, but not sure it's conclusive. An associated invoice is shown at 37mins 35 seconds for two thumb straps made out to a Mr J Smith on 7 March 1926 (12 years after the concertina was made - so a likely 'consumable').
Instrument number is 26546 for anyone curious and it sold for £2,200 (+ probably 20% in commission/fees). As Alan says above, someone has been lucky!
Jim Lucas wrote: 'Isn't the Geordie a Morse (Button Box) model'
Yes - absolutely - brain clearly far from engaged when posting.
Bald Raynard - it might be worth making a trip down to the music room in Cleckheaton to have a play through their stock to see what fits with your interests (they usually have instruments from the Jack/Jackie upwards). From memory I think least two of their staff are concertina players and more than happy to demonstrate models. Nothing like seeing and feeling the models in the flesh to inform decision making. if you can get over to Whitby for Folk Week, next week, there is usually a good offering of concertinas from the humble entry level upwards available from a range of dealers at the craft/music fair.
With regard to the comment about the lung power volume of ECs versus Anglos, I would agree with Blue Eyed Sailor - I've heard a couple of Edeophone and New Model ECs that have plenty of bark and bite. I have also played Wheatstone Model 6 EC which was amazingly loud and whose original bellows gave a great power. But , granted the EC and Anglo are very different instruments and I have yet to hear an EC that can imitate the likes of a good Jeffries.
In terms of the quality of the Jack, I have one and would say it is excellent value for money. I bought mine as I was curious as to how useful the baritone range would really be in my music - and I didn't want to spend £2k+ on a good vintage instrument only to discover I would only sing two or three songs with it.
It is rather plastickey (sorry, I know this is not a proper word!) compared to a vintage instrument and the bellows don't have a leather appearance. However,
- it is light for its size
- the reeds are certainly as responsive as a brass reeded Lachenal baritone that I have had the chance to try (sometimes the lowest ones seem to need warming up, but once awoken play well)
- it has a good action (I think it is a riveted solution, same principle as the better Wheatstones). Whilst the keys aren't bushed, they aren't over clackety
- the reeds have a pleasant sound both singly and in chords. To my ear it is a sound quite distinct from vintage concertinas, but not at all unpleasant and quite 'warm' and 'mellow'
My own feeling is that a second hand Jack would be a good investment and unlikely to loose much value - I can't be the only person tempted into buying one in order to try out the baritone range.
I think the Cleckheaton Music Room website has a link to one of these being played (YouTube?) which might be helpful.
In terms of the wider Concertina Connection instrument production, I also have a Geordie tenor EC - which I rate very highly. Light, very responsive, really good build quality. Again, to my ear, the reeds' sound is distinct from vintage ECs with fewer dynamics than you would find on a really top range instrument. That said, it's truly reliable and I have taken it to some places I wouldn't risk a vintage instrument.
I don't play English concertina, but I'd just venture an observation - in my experience, the weight of an instrument is far from being the only indicator of how strenuous it will be to play it,
I would certainly agree with Stuart's observation, accepting that extremes of weight do have an overriding impact on the experience of playing an instrument. Having played a number of ECs, and owning a couple, I have been struck by the impact of small changes in the positioning of the thumb and finger rests (and the lengths of the latter on instruments with longer scales) make on an EC in terms of its centre of gravity and ergonomic fit with my hands and muscles. The second factor here being that we all have slightly different shaped hands with differing lengths of thumb and little finger - so an instrument that sits comfortably in one person's hands may not always do so in another's. For example, I have an extended Excelsior treble which I get a lot of pleasure from playing, but another concertina playing friend (used to the weight of a TT) just cannot get comfortable with regardless of alterations to thumb strap and thumb position within the strap. I guess this re-iterates that there is no substitute for trying the instruments when possible.
That said, I'll try and weigh my Wheatstones this weekend and report back - interesting to see if what always seems light is actually light (if that makes any sense!).
Fair comment Crane Driver, I was trying to stick to the facts and avoid rushing off in all directions of my own scatter brained interpretations/hypotheses. ...so here is one of them...
This deception does appear odd and perhaps unnecessary on the face of it - as everyone who might know JHM in Liverpool would have understood (wrongly) that he was married, in name as least, to the now deceased Minnie and thus free to remarry (if rather too hastily). JHM, his family and Eliza would certainly have known otherwise, but there is little I have seen to suggest that their circle extended to Liverpool. JHM also appears to have ceased his touring by this date and with it his national exposure. I did wonder whether the paranoia manifest when he was confined to Bethlem (Stephen Chamber's post 2 May 2015, above) never truly left and he feared he might be discovered through some process (cross checking of records?) and needed to take evasive action. Incidentally I have been looking for any evidence that he might have been admitted for care in Liverpool due to recurrence of his mental illness, but I have, to date, found no evidence.
The other possibility I considered, but dismissed, was that if speculation above concerning alcoholism is correct, then these might be the actions and errors of a barely 'functioning alcoholic'.
38B. Wheatstone Ec. At Auction 14Th March. Abingdon, Uk.
in Buy & Sell
A lovely collector's piece.
The range is likely to be that of a 'treble' of its day (without some of the more familiar higher and lower notes we are accustomed to seeing). The first of the 48 key treble models, that we are familiar with these days, seem to date a few years later e.g. http://www.concertinamuseum.com/CM00009.htm