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Myrtle's cook

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Posts posted by Myrtle's cook

  1. The metal buttons on my Excelsior (which is an early model) are flat topped and capped with German Silver - although with time and over a century of playing they have become a little rounded through wear. The relatively light springs make this no less comfortable to play than my Wheatstone which has rounded metal button tops.


    I have read or heard that glass buttons usually have rounded tops because flat topped ones are prone to chipping leaving a sharp edge that would render the key practically unplayable. Probably best to drop Chris and email via Ebay to double check if this matters to you.

  2. I have an extended treble [upwards] version of this instrument, although steel/nickel keys, not glass.


    I would echo the comments of Blue Eyed Sailor above - a good responsive instrument with a rounded sweet tone. Works well for me to accompany my singing. I have had mine 17 years and it has given me no problems and have played it on a fairly regular basis. The action is perhaps ever so slightly slower than that of a comparable Wheatstone, but not noticeably so, and that would cost perhaps double the price of this instrument.


    Can't comment on its comparison with the Geordie, unfortunately.

  3. What do people make of this strange beast listed on eBay? It has an almost DIY/prototype look about it. Whilst it follows the overall look of other early rectangular instruments, the arrangement of 5 keys on one side and 9+1 on the other is perhaps unusual.




    J W Moffat is not listed in Wes Williams survey of less well known makers. Is this the name of a dealer, here applied to a locally produced/imported instrument?

  4. I would agree with yankeeclipper - although alot of this may come down to personal learning style and perhaps even how our brains are hard wired (if that's the right term). I have always really liked the sound of the anglo and the idea of having the alternate push-pull notes/facility. I have, however, been quite unable to play one in practice, whilst the English system seems to come quite easily and flows relatively instinctively from printed noted to finger tip. No idea why this is, and can only put it down to the way my brain working in a resolutely chromatic way.


    As with Geoff I am learning Maccan duet at the moment. I haven't got to the stage where I can say it is particularly good for a specific styles of music yet, but it feels to have the versatility of an English concertina, and as Geoff says, the facility to play two parts opens up new worlds, although that may be more than is needed to join in a good Irish session. They do seem well suited to chordal accompaniment that would make them a good addition to a group scenario, or taking a step back in a session.


    Porbably no better solution to the question than trying a range of boxes - especially if you can find someone to rent/lend one for a few weeks.


    Incidently, David Cornell's arrangments at www.maccan-duet.com/cornell/ give some idea of what it is like to arrange/play the Maccan system duet.

  5. Considerably more scarce - Ebay listings, although hardly an objective source, would suggest a ratio of c.8-10 Maccans:1 Crane.

    The rather more straightforward key layout of the Crane system might be considered easier to play, particularly for those used to the English layout. Demand for Cranes and their relative rarity would seem to drive a higher price when they do appear.

  6. I was interested in this too, but the auction house were unable to send me an image of it. Particularly interesting to know if it was the original bill of sale or one for resale.


    At 5 guineas it reminds us how expensive these instruments were in their day. In the 1880s an agricultural labourer was paid around 13/- a week - so this concertina would have cost the equivalanet to eight week's wages. If we extrapolate forward, based on the UK national minimum wage of £6.08 and a 40 hour week, those eight weeks would earn £1945 (and never mind tax, NI etc!).

  7. The instrument would still seem to be for sale (same serial number), offered through the Preloved website:




    That pictured is indeed an English and a very nice looking box.


    I know that such websites are a prone to inadvertantly hosting scam adverts, although the location in Barnsley would tally with Galley Wench's location.

  8. Or sweet-talking his wife/or sweet talking her husband!


    It's a truly beautiful box, but I'm not sure I'd get away with buying it unless I had a secret concertina fund unknown to my infinitely better half!


    Seriously, do hope the buyer comes forward promptly - otherwise it is most unfair (to put it mildly) on the seller and underbidder(s).

  9. The following concertina is being offered by Bonhams auctioneers in a forthcoming sale. My initial thought on reading the description was that this was a dealers label applied to a Lachenal or Wheatstone - however the catalogue photo (see link below - my efforts at copying and pasting the image were unsuccessful) does not show the run of the mill such instruments. Does anyone recognise these ends?


    Perhaps it is by one of the smaller makers? The serial number quoted of 215 might support this. D'Almaine do crop us as sellers of their own/badged harmoniums and a host of woodwind instruments.




    Catalogue description is as follows:

    [Lot] 160Y

    Ceramics, Glass, Pictures and Works of Art

    An English forty eight button concertina

    With hexagonal, fretted mahogany endplates, ivory buttons, with the accidentals stained black and the C's stained red, with four-fold leather bellows with decorative papers, with label 'D'Almaine & Co, Manufacturers, 20, Soho Square, London', and with serial number 215 to the opposing end, 16cms diameter, in a lined, hexagonal mahogany case, together with auction catalogue where concertina was purchased in 1978 (2).


    £200 - 300

    US$ 310 - 470

    €260 - 380

  10. I would agree with Andy that a good basic Lachenal EC might be a good place to start - it will hold its value and if it falls out of favour for a few years it is likely to remain fully playable if properly stored (not so sure same can be said of Stagis and similar). I would also think contacting the likes of Chris Algar Barleycorn concertinas) or Theo (of this forum) might bear fruit in matching your specification to things they might have in stock or be aware of through their networks - that way you'll be getting a fully playable instrument with some sort of warranty - as a child I was completely put off playing the violin by being given a poorly set up instrument to learn on.

  11. I think Spindizzy has hit on an important consideration here - the strength of the springs. I have an early Lachenal Excelsior EC with flat topped metal buttons which is a pleasure to play - and whilst my Edeophone Maccan has rounded top buttons and is perhaps a little more comfortable - it doesn't seem to make that much difference to me. That said the Excelsior EC has had 100+ plus years of fairly continual play that has certainly taken any sharp edges and worn in the springs to a 'comfortable' but still effective strength!

  12. Bravo to the OP!


    Suggestion: How about a collection of dots for good cowboy concertina tunes? Here are a few titles to start you out. Move the collection to the right forum though!


    Colorado Trail

    Red River Valley

    I Ride and Old Paint

    Bury me Not on the Lone Prairie

    Streets of Lerado (I suspect that is what the OP called "The Lament")

    the original tune to Yellow Rose of Texas

    Timber Trail (might be in copyright by Sons of the Pioneers)


    There are more.....


    If someone starts the collection in the tunes forum I'm willing to add those I can.



    Suzy Bogguss has recently recorded 'The American Songbook' which comes with an excellent song book with all the dots plus chords etc. Very concertina friendly. Lovely recordings too (at least to my ear!). This was a project triggered by her frustration and fear that a whole generation were growing up unaware of this great music. Content includes:Shady Grove


    Red River Valley

    Froggy Went A-Courtin'

    Wayfaring Stranger

    Banks Of The Ohio

    Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier

    Ol' Dan Tucker

    Rock Island Line

    Sweet Betsy From Pike

    Swing Low Sweet Chariot

    Careless Love

    All The Pretty Little Horses

  13. And what happened next?


    Well, second time around it sold to me for the UK sterling equivalent of c.£600 once carraige and duty were included - a not insignificant gamble of my hard earned cash - but within a nail biting whisker of my upper bid.


    When it arrived it showed signs of having had a hard working life and a certain degree of bodged repairs. An initial assessment suggested it needed:

    - New pads (one had already detached itself)

    - New valves (again, some missing/detached)

    - Retuning (although mercifully all reeds were sound and in brass frames)

    - Bellows: the leather rather dry, but basically sound; air escaping where the bellows are formed over the end frame atthe bass end

    - Frame on the treble end: at some point the box had succumbed to gravity and rolled off a table, or been dropped. It looks like it landed on this end, requiring the joints to be re glued with a few rather crude replacement pieces of wood. A rather crude but hopefully reversable job

    - Several other small pieces of wood (now detached) also need to be glued back onto the frames

    All in all a rather sorry state - but those keys that did play produced a very encouraging sound!


    Not wishing to add to a history of bodged repairs I resisted the self-restore route and sent the box to Andrew Norman. His appriasal also identified that the bellows seals had suffesred some bodging and some of the patching to the bellows was a tad workmanlike. At sometime the exterior of the bellows had also been painted gold (eye catching - although not in a particularly pleasant way!?), before being re-blacked. After a little time in Andrew's 'waiting room' the concertina has now been fully restored and back with me for a few months. It looks great and if I ever get to full grips with this duet system (I am an EC player used to a rather more straight forward lay out!) I am sure will also sound brilliant.


    Was it worth the eBay gamble in this event? Well total bill was roughly double the purchase price. I have not seen a 55k edeophone Maccan for sale recently so lack a direct comparator, but this feels good value. Unexpectedly, the most satisfying thing is knowing that a rather distressed box has been returned to full playing order. The discussion on concertina.net (above) was tremendously helpful - belated thanks to all those involved.


    Will try and post some images when I have mastered that particular trick.


    Should add that I consider Andrew's work on this concertina to have been absolutely first rate.

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