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david robertson

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Everything posted by david robertson

  1. In the 15 years or so since I started restoring concertinas, I have never seen a better one of these. When I bought it, it had spent about 40 years in a cupboard - but it must have been a cupboard that offered just the right environment, because the reeds were in spotless original condition, with absolutely no trace of rust. Like a 56-key tenor/treble, it goes down to tenor C, but at the other end, it carries on up to top G. And throughout the range, it plays with fast response and even tone. It has new pads, valves, dampers, bushings and straps. The woodwork has been stripped and re-finished, the bellows have had a cosmetic re-bind, and it is tuned to modern concert pitch. The original tan leather case is in good condition, save for the missing lock strap, and the serial number is 29691. As always, if you're within striking distance of Norwich, you're more than welcome to come and try it out, or if there's anything else you'd like to know, just send me a PM. I'm asking £3750.
  2. I'm just starting work on a 38k Jeffries with lovely engraved ends, and I've discovered a peculiarity in the tuning. Try to play a scale of G on the right hand, and you find that where the F# should be, there is a G# from the octave below. This is clearly the original arrangement, but can anyone suggest why?
  3. The Lachenal trade mark is clearly stamped on the RH wrist bar - see the pic of the instrument in its case.
  4. I have now had a response from the seller, who has no idea why my postcode was mentioned. But Mike Rowbotham has kindly suggested that it's because the seller offered a 'click and collect' option, and the eBay system uses the enquirer's postcode to suggest collection points nearby. I did try contacting the seller via his blog, but the email address given there simply doesn't work. So while caution is always advisable, I may have been overcautious in this case, perhaps because my own eBay account has been hijacked in the past.
  5. There's currently a 30 button rosewood Lachenal on eBay which seems to have a whiff of scammer's sweat about it. (Item no. 222733729340) The seller claims to be Eric Beharrell, who is a respectable maker of ukuleles and banjos, as well as a melodeon player... in short, someone I would have expected to recognise a Lachenal, rather than attribute it to Albert Silber of Silber and Fleming, the retailers whose label it bears. What's more puzzling is that the listing claims that the instrument can be collected from NR7 0QE, which happens to be my postcode! I have asked for clarification, but so far, no reply. All I'm saying is proceed with caution...
  6. Absolutely breathtaking! Anyone want to buy my Jeffries? I'm giving up...
  7. Robbie, I'm surprised that you think one is enough!
  8. This is a cracking metal-ended Aeola that I recently took in part exchange for an ebony-ended tenor-treble. The only reason the owner wanted a change was that the treble was just too loud to accompany his own singing... and I can see his point! I sometimes try to sing with my own Jeffries, and I admit it often feels more like a contest than a collaboration. However, if you're looking for an English that will hold its own in a session and laugh in the face of massed melodeons, this could be the one for you. It was fitted with 7-fold bellows by Crabb around 1970, and they are still in fine, flexible and airtight condition. In 2008 Colin Dipper fitted new springs, bushings and straps, and tuned the instrument to modern concert pitch. It is fast, light and fearsomely loud. On the cosmetic side, the nickel plating is a bit worn, but if you're looking for a wonderful player rather than a beauty-contest winner, you won't be disappointed. I'm looking for £3000.
  9. These ends are made from a single piece of laminate, with the edges formed on a router. The only difference is that the edges are finished in black French polish. When restoring them I usually mask the frames and use a brush to apply black stain to the edges, then apply clear French polish over the whole end with a traditional pad or 'rubber'.
  10. It's a little known fact that some of the early manufacturers kept specially trained hamsters to gnaw out the fretwork. Having discovered that the hamster was quite capable of memorizing the pattern of a maze, if there was a food reward at the end of it, it was but a short step to devise a maze in the form of a fretwork template, rewarding the industrious creatures only if they gnawed as they went. Occasionally, however, a hamster would go rogue, chomp through the walls of the template, and produce fretwork with no discernible pattern or symmetry. This appears to be one of those cases, and one can only sympathise with the maker. However, on a more positive note, this kind of occurrence did give rise to a small but profitable business in the production of warm and fashionable hamster-skin gloves.
  11. Can anyone shed any light on this eBay offering? I'm guessing that Mozart was a retailer, and probably unrelated to Wolfgang Amadeus of that ilk, who had already been dead for over a century by the time this concertina was made...
  12. Over the years I have learned never to trust whatever is stamped on the reed shoes. No, the readings were taken from my trusty tuning meter, and I did make allowance for the old tuning. So barring transcription errors, what you see is what you get.
  13. This one has now gone to a new home in Germany.
  14. I've been asked to repair some badly damaged bellows from an early Wheatstone, but my usual supplier doesn't have any dark green leather to match the original. It needs to be around 0.5mm thick for gussets, valleys and top runs, and I'm happy to cut and skive it myself (and to adjust the colour by blending dyes), but has anyone found a reliable source, please? The other problem is with the white, green and gold papers. Because these early Wheatstone belows have such a big inset, the outermost papers are much deeper than the rest, and all of them are a few mm shorter than the widely available reproductions. Does anyone reproduce these odd sizes?
  15. I'm a big fan of the New Model, and this is a lovely example, fresh from a comprehensive restoration, with new pads, valves, bushes and straps. It also has brand new 6-fold bellows. (If the New Model had a fault, it was that the original bellows never seemed to open as fully as they should.) The woodwork has been stripped and refinished in French polish, and the instrument has been tuned to modern concert pitch (A=440Hz). The action is fast and responsive, and the tone surprisingly bright for a wooden-ender. If you would like to come and try it out in Norwich, just send me a PM. I'm sure you won't be disappointed! I'm looking for £1750. My apologies... I've just noticed that I had already listed this instrument a couple of weeks ago. (I thought I had only added it to my website - blame the age and decrepitude!)
  16. Possible, I suppose... but probably not by the previous owner, who, apparently, was an upholsterer who didn't read music, and used to play the odd tune in his local pub for half a pint. I'm told he never had two pennies to rub together, so I'm guessing he wasn't the original owner!
  17. Thanks Adrian - not just me then! My own conclusion was 'so much choice, so few benefits'. In fact, several disadvantages, since the layout makes it impossible to play across the rows. And with all three key rows crammed into an octave and a half, the range is less than exciting. Now, had it been arranged with an F row below a conventional C and G, that would have been quite something...
  18. Thanks for the replies, Adrian and Gary, and apologies for omitting the octave indications. I attach a revised version of the layout diagram. As for how the instrument sounds, well, it sounds like it hasn't been played for several decades! However, the reeds are good and clean, the 8-fold bellows immaculate, and it comes from the very best Wheatstone period. I think that with new valves and a bit of packing to make the reed pans a tighter fit, it will sound great.
  19. This instrument has recently come my way, and I'm damned if I know what to make of it. Serial number 31282, it's listed in the ledgers as a 72-key AG. As you can see, each end has 6 rows of 5 or 6 keys, plus miscellaneous outliers. The three rows of five on the right hand give you scales of C, Bb and G#, from outer to inner. That is, a downward progression of 2 semitones from each key row to the next. I imagine this is a unique layout, made to special order, and I'm hoping that someone much more knowledgeable than me might be able to make some sense of it. I attach pics of both ends and a diagram of the layout.
  20. A lovely example of Lachenal's New Model (or an Edeophone without the fancy dress, as I like to think of it). It has new pads, valves, bushes and straps, and new 6-fold bellows, including new chamois seals. (No case, though.) It's loud, fast and bright - like an Edeophone, but without the alarming price-tag, or the even more alarming tendency to roll off tables. I'm looking for £1750, and as always, if you fancy a trip to Norwich for a bit of a squeeze, just send me a PM or contact me via my website.
  21. This concertina is now off to a new home in Australia. Big place, but strangely, the buyer knows the only two people I know in Adelaide. Spooky!
  22. Don't be silly, you will never get Paul and Nigel into the same angler's bag!So sorry, could not resist. English folkies might be more familiar with Sid and his dad Henry, aka The Kipper Family...
  23. Due to a spontaneous outburst of indifference among the great concertina-buying public, I have now reduced the asking price of this fine instrument to a bargain £2250 - or if you're in the mood for a gamble, it's currently listed on eBay with a starting bid of £1950 and no reserve. It's a lovely example of an early Edeophone (No. 36875), still with the oval cartouche and paper label rather than the later 'Edeophone' metal scroll - though at this point in its evolution it had already acquired the 'Edeophone' thumbstrap adjusters. Best of all, it comes with the very desirable glass buttons. When I bought it, it had a rather stiff set of 5-fold bellows, but I happened to have a later Edeophone whose ends were beyond repair, but which had a good 6-fold set, so I cannibalised it, and those are the bellows you see here. Restoration work has included new pads, valves, dampers, bushings and straps. All chamois seals have been replaced, all woodwork has been stripped and refinished in French polish, and the instrument has been tuned to modern concert pitch. It lacks its original case, but I will throw in an Aldi angler's bag, which has compartments enough for a few spares and a screwdriver, and a waterproof compartment for a pair of kippers. If you'd like to give it a test drive in Norwich, please send me a PM, or call me on 01603 702644.
  24. I have finally got round to updating my website. This instrument is still available, and you'll find it on the 'For sale now' page. Do feel free to make an offer, provided it doesn't involve magic beans...
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