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david robertson

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Everything posted by david robertson

  1. The 64-key Aeola has now been sold via my website, but the lovely and very original 'tropicalised' treble remains. And in view of the time it has remained, I'm offering it at a 'final reduction' price of £3000. A fine player borrowed it for a few hours, and in his words, "couldn't fault it". Sadly, his bank manager was less enthusiastic, so this is your opportunity to acquire a great Aeola at a great price. As always, if you're within reach of Norwich, come and have a squeeze. If not, call me on 07840 838899 and we'll work something out.
  2. I'm afraid I can't speak for the Crabb company... but I know a man who can!
  3. Curiously, I also have a similar 64-key TT Aeola on the shelf, so I have had the opportunity to compare them side by side. Both are very fast, responsive and balanced across the range. At the top end, the Crabb, to my ear at least, is actually better. But overall, it is hard to tell them apart; the Aeola is perhaps very marginally louder, the Crabb a millitad sweeter in tone. But these matters are, of course, highly subjective...
  4. Made in 1931, this is a rare example of an 8-sided Crabb, made even rarer by the amboyna veneers, gold-plated buttons and fittings, and tan leather bellows and straps. It offers a range of four and a half octaves, which includes the bottom end from a tenor-treble, and the top end from an extended treble, and it is every bit as fast and responsive as you would expect of a top-quality vintage Crabb, It has been the subject of a comprehensive restoration, with new pads, valves, bushes and springs. New wrist and thumb-straps have been fitted, the bellows have had a cosmetic re-bind, and the woodwork has been refinished in French polish. Finally, it has, of course, been tuned to Modern Concert Pitch (A=440Hz). On the minus side, the left-hand end has had some slightly agricultural repairs to the fretwork, but it is sound and solid, and I thought it better to leave honest repairs visible than to try to disguise them. (And these imperfections are reflected in the price.) It plays beautifully, and it could well be many years before you see another one like it offered for sale. As always, if you're within striking distance of Norwich, do feel free to come and have a squeeze. And if not, get in touch anyway, and we'll work something out. Price: £3250
  5. This instrument is now sold, and a donation sent to c.net.
  6. Thanks for the suggestion, Wes. The action on this one is quite different, though. Each pivot post is a round column of brass, with a central slot cut down from the top, in which sits the flattened section of the lever, with the rivet passing right through the column and lever. I've seen this system before, but I can't be sure who the maker was. Jabez Austin springs to mind, but as I say, there are some mornings these days when I swear I can feel the memory cells turning up their toes...
  7. Scates, Austin, Nickolds, Ebblewhite? Your guess is as good as mine - but in a way, it matters not a jot, because the quality is obvious everywhere, inside and out. The ends are of beautifully figured solid rosewood, with very fine inlays and unusual corner bindings of German silver. The action levers are riveted through slotted pillars (another mark of quality), and the riveted reeds are well made and close-fitting (apart from the two later additions which I have replaced). The original bellows were fit only for the bin, so I have made and fitted new 6-fold green ones, with foil-stamped '3 daisy' design papers - similar to the originals, but with a bit more bling! I have also fitted matching green leather thumb-straps, and re-covered the slides in the same leather. All pads, valves and bushes have been replaced, the woodwork has been French polished, and the reeds have been tuned to Modern Concert Pitch. It is fast and responsive, with a sweet, mellow tone - an ideal singer's instrument, I would suggest. If there's anything else I can tell you, please ask. And if you're within striking distance of Norwich, do drop in for a squeeze. Price: £1250
  8. In spite of the auctioneers' supposition, it seems improbable that the bellows have been replaced by Jeffries (or, indeed, at all!) If, as Mike suggests, it's smaller than a Lachenal and looks like a Jeffries, isn't Mr Crabb the prime suspect?
  9. Stephen, you're right as usual - it's a marriage. The action boxes, end covers and bellows are all stamped with the serial number 1274 The reedpans have the same number, but only in handwritten form, and they are clearly not original. From the positioning of the support blocks in the bellows, it is obvious that the original reedpans were of the tapered design, with deeper chambers for the lower notes. The replacement flat pans have been adapted by gluing on little blocks of wood, of varying thickness, which correspond to the support blocks. I wondered at first why whoever fitted them didn't simply build up or move the support blocks, but I suppose it would have been easier to adjust the thickness of the blocks glued to the reedpans, rather than furtling around inside the ends of the bellows.
  10. Many thanks to everyone for your suggestions. I'll post a few more pics when I've got a few minutes to spare.
  11. Love to oblige, Theo, but I'm creatively drained. I may have to lie in a darkened room for a day or two...
  12. The glue that you use to stick soles to your shoes Is a gem of adhesive modernity. It may not be sexy, but it's tough and it's flexy - And the sole sticks from here to eternity. But what's good for shoes becomes terrible news When it's used on the valves of a 'tina. Whenever I find it, I eff it and blind it (And sometimes add something obscener!) For though it's tenacious and most efficacious, Restorers have no cause to thank it - Though we scrape and we scour for hour after hour, It still sticks like sh** to a blanket!
  13. Frankly, I bow to no-one in my ignorance of matters metallurgical, but I'm happy to believe that the reeds in this particular instrument are not your common-or-garden brass. In terms of tone, volume and response, I find them absolutely indistinguishable from steel.
  14. A more radical diagnostic procedure is simply to bend the reed upward. If it's cracked, it will simply break along the line of the crack.
  15. The first of these, No.27162, is a brass-reeded treble instrument - but please don't let that deter you! These are top-quality Wheatstone brass reeds, not the gappy, breathy things found in low-end Lachenals. In terms of volume and response, they are virtually indistinguishable from steel, and this is as lively an Aeola as has ever passed through my hands. The instrument is amazingly well preserved - all I have had to do is replace the straps and tune it to modern concert pitch. I listed it over a month ago, but in view of the spontaneous outburst of indifference provoked by that listing, here it is again, with the asking price reduced to £3250. The second offering is a 64-key tenor-treble, No.28290.This one has had the more usual "full Monty" restoration - new pads, valves, bushes and straps, re-finished woodwork, a cosmetic bellows rebind, and tuning to modern concert pitch. Now I'm well aware that most people don't lie awake at night wishing they could own a concertina with those extra bat-squeak notes at the top end. But this one is a lovely player, from arguably Wheatstone's top period. And at £3250, I'm actually asking less than you would have to pay for a 56-key of similar quality. If I can tell you more about either instrument, please ask. And as always, if you're within striking distance of Norwich, you're more than welcome to come and have a squeeze. (If you're not, get in touch anyway, and we'll try to arrange something.) concertina-restoration.co.uk
  16. When I buy an Aeola that's more than a century old, the first thing I usually do is to strip out and throw away all the original pads, valves and bushes. Not this time. The condition was so fine and original that I decided conservation rather than restoration should be the approach. The pads were perfectly serviceable, with no sign of the usual insect damage, so I have left well alone. The valves were in similar condition, though I have replaced a handful which had stiffened up with age and were producing an audible slap on closing. I usually like to install new red felt bushes in the button-holes... but in this case I have resisted the temptation, because the original bushes still hold the buttons in a firm embrace, with no trace of a wobble. In fact, my only interventions have been to replace the slightly shabby original straps, and to tune the instrument to modern concert pitch - and even that was not a major task, since it was tuned approximately 15 cents flat throughout, rather than the usual 50 cents sharp. One more thing. When I first took an end off this instrument, I was astonished to find it had brass reeds. Astonished, because in terms of volume and response, it is the equal of any steel-reeded Aeola that has ever passed through my hands. I'm sure you won't be disappointed. I'm asking £3250 for this one. And as always, if you're within striking distance of Norwich, you're more than welcome to come and have a squeeze.
  17. I recently acquired this pretty little English treble... presumably by one of the minor makers, but which one? It has delicate German silver corner inlays, and all the corners are brass bound. The bellows papers are the gold & cream "3 daisies" pattern, the reed tongues are riveted rather than clamped, and the riveted action features slotted cylindrical pivot posts. All suggestions gratefully received.
  18. This is a vintage Crabb (Geoffrey confirms it was made by his grandfather in 1911) sold by the major London music retailer Ball Beavon, whose stamp appears on the action box frame. It has the standard Crabb layout, with a C drone on the left hand. I have made and fitted new 7-fold bellows... the original 6-fold set was in as sorry a state as I have ever seen: someone had tried to make them useable by lining them with a plastic bag! In addition, I have renewed all pads, valves, bushes and straps, and tuned it to modern concert pitch. Cosmetically, the ends are not the finest. They have lost their youthful sparkle, and they show some light pitting, so for that reason I am not asking top dollar. But if performance is more important to you than pristine appearance, then this could be the one. Price: £3450
  19. Thank you so much, Geoff. Stupid of me, but because of that blank cartouche, I hadn't even looked at your records! Thanks again, David
  20. I wonder if I might beg a bit of help with identifying this one? It has Crabb/Jeffries style fretwork, gold tooling and papers, but is unmarked apart from the serial number 8863. I wondered if it might be an early George Jones, but it lacks the typical keyhole-shaped pivot posts. These are quite slim, and unusually sharp-pointed. The bush-boards, too, are cut out much more neatly than anything I have ever seen in a vintage Crabb or Jeffries. It's clearly an instrument of some quality, though the condition is not so much distressed as suicidal. It's the first time I've ever seen an attempt to save completely wrecked bellows by lining them with a plastic bag! Any ideas as to its origins will be most gratefully received.
  21. This is a late Lachenal (the Erinoid buttons weren't introduced until the late 20's, so we can assume it was produced in the last few years before the company ceased trading). The extra buttons, by the way, are all useful, useable notes, with none of the silly whistles and squeakers that infest many bigger Lachenal Anglo's. It also, unusually, has all-black 7-fold bellows, which I'm pretty sure are original. In any case, the instrument has obviously not led a hard life. I'm guessing that someone bought it around 1930, spent several months trying to master it, and then decided he had better stick with the tambourine after all. The rosewood ends are undamaged - my only intervention in that department has been to ream out and bush the button-holes - and the reeds are exceptionally clean and rust-free. With new pads, valves, dampers, bushes and straps, and tuned to modern concert pitch, it is fast, loud and agile, and a good deal more versatile than a standard 30-key. Price: £1850
  22. The glass rod is set into a brass ferrule, and the combination is much sturdier than Wheatstone's wooden-cored buttons. As for the weight, Robert, I suppose they may be marginally heavier than the usual Edeophone hollow metal buttons. Out of idle curiosity, I weighed a bunch of metal ones, which come in at 1.36g each, or 76.2g for a set of 56. If we assume the glass buttons are 10% heavier, the difference is less than the weight of an English pound coin! The whole instrument, by the way, enters the ring at 1.27kg. For comparison purposes, my Jeffries, with 17 fewer buttons, weighs in at just over 1.5kg. No wonder I feel tired all the time!
  23. A beautiful example of an extended treble Edeophone - Mr Lachenal's top model, with the rare riveted action and the even rarer glass buttons. It also comes with its original leather case in serviceable condition. I'm selling it on behalf of a regular customer... a man with an eye for a bargain! When he bought it about 40% of the fretwork on both ends was missing. But behind that damaged facade lurked a lovely, unmolested instrument, and now, with all fretwork restored, plus new pads, valves and bushes, and re-tuning to modern concert pitch, it's a little cracker! Remarkably rapid and responsive, with a lovely wooden-ended tone, it's a joy to play. Price: £2300
  24. This is a bit of a long shot, but I wonder if anyone out there in the concertina community knows Richard Bird and/or his wife Chris? He plays a 45k Jeffries, which is currently sitting on my shelf, with restoration almost complete. Here's the problem: I stupidly omitted to take his phone number, and I'm getting no reply to copious emails. So if anyone has his contact details, I'd be very grateful if you'd share them with me, or give him a nudge to contact me.
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