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Posts posted by danersen

  1. Hello Everyone - Thanks and an Update

    Thanks - to all who have replied by post and email.

    Update - I have just concluded a conversation with John Connor and the news is disappointing for we Crane seekers, but very good for the Anglo-philes.

    Due to demand and efficiency, John has been making only Anglo instruments for the last 8-10 years. Sadly for those of us who had hopes for a Crane or Hayden (or English, for that matter) from him, there are no more to come from John. He is not even considering the possibility of again building anything other than Anglos,. Too complicated, too time-consuming, too little demand, and too expensive will sum it up, I think. Making only Anglos is a much better use of Joh's time and delivers more concertinas to the world. Where have we head this, before? Once, again, the Anglo players have out-demanded the rest of us.

    So ... For my part ... Still searching.

    Be Well,


  2. Hello, Everyone.

    It's been quite some time since I mentioned this, so I've decided to mention it, again, on the chance that there's a newly-discovered one hiding or languishing out there somewhere.

    I'm still seeking a 55+ Button Crane by Crabb or Wheatstone - Aeola preferred.

    Metal or wooden ends are equally desirable.

    Not particularly interested in the Lachenal SA instruments, but could be enticed by an Edeophone if such exists.

    All replies, offers, and referrals are appreciated.

    Posts to this topic, PM's, or email directly to: danersen (at) gmail (dot) com are welcome.

    Be Well,



    PS: Chris, Greg, Theo, and David are aware and have noted this among their requests.

    PPS: Would gladly consider commissioning one if someone, say: Geoff or ?, would be willing to build it.

  3. Hello Brandon,

    For your information and inspiration, here is a bit of history and several photos of what is likely to be one of few (perhaps, only two, as Harry Geuns has the only other one that I know of) remaining in-tact C-griff unisonoric bandonions made by Schonherr and Matthes - often referred to as Schoma.

    Harry has a photo of his posted on his website, here: http://www.bandoneon-maker.com/nieuwe_pagina_6.htm

    It is the second entry on the page. He has also placed there a link to a diagram of the Praktikal layout.

    Mine is from the 1920's and was originally commissioned by a double bass player of the Berliner Philharmoniiker.

    My understanding is that very few C-griff unisonoric true bandonions of this quality and scope/size were made, but they did exist as boutique/commissioned instruments that were typically forgotten, and eventually perished, after their original owners' demise.

    Then, as now, they were/are quite rare.

    The layout, though consistent with what we today describe as C-griff, was referred to as "Praktikal," at the time.

    I find it very easy to play and have enjoyed my time with it immensely.

    I consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to have it.

    Be Well,



  4. Brandon,

    I played the dickens out of one of these that I purchased new - years ago, and subsequently sold.

    Mine was extremely durable, and as it is designed to do, I exchanged the reed blocks many times to experiment with c-griff, b-griff, and mixed treble and bass as well as mirrored configurations. I learned a ton with it and enjoyed it a lot.

    Mine was fine overall, with good action, nice bellows, easy handling, and an okay sound, though it's not an AA or ELA sound.

    Some might consider the action just a wee bit noisy.

    There are moments that I wish that I had kept it.

    If I could have adapted better to the angle of the button panels, I would have seriously considered acquiring one of the high-end models.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Be Well,


  5. @ Geoff: my thoughts exactly. If one wants something bigger than Beaumont, traditionally reeded or with certain tone, then there are absolutely no valid options...

    While the options are certainly limited, complicated, and somewhat formidable undertakings, they do exist.


    Despite the liklihood of incurring the wrath and criticism of the purists here, I will share with you that my two Jeffries duets are two such examples. The 58-button was converted from a C-core duet to a Stark layout and the 62-button A-core duet was converted to a C-system CBA layout with extraordinary results.


    This is certainly no undertaking for the faint of heart. It requires the skill, expertise, vision, and willingness of a superbly qualified individual like Wim Wakker, substantial planning and engineering, finding and acquiring an instrument with the proper range of notes that can be suitably adapted while preserving its originality and maintaining its fundamental integrity, the willingness to invest the necessary funds, and the ability, as Lady Macbeth so aptly puts it, "to screw one's courage to the sticking place."


    It takes time (months, really) to properly analyze and suss it all out and determine the feasibility. Then it requires far more time to complete the work properly as it involves a meticulous and sophisticated series of intricate processes. But in the case of these two concertinas, the risk paid off and produced a handsome reward - two extraordinary concertinas that were previously lying dormant are now readily playable and regularly fulfilling the purpose for which they were originally constructed.

  6. "Sounds remarkably like a 56+ button duet to me."


    Is that what you play? If so, would you feel comfortable playing melody, chords, harmony and improvising in Ab while dancing about on stage? Of course, it's quite possible that you don't play that way in any key. Just curious though. Perhaps a Hayden could do it.


    Yes, I play duet: 58- and 62- buttons in Stark Chromatiphone layouts, and a 62 button CBA layout. (By the way, I continue to search for a 55+ button Crane Aeola)

    Yes. Playing melody, chords, harmony, and improvisation in Ab is no more difficult than in C; however,

    No. Not while dancing about - on or off a stage. The activities which you describe are far beyond the limited confines of my comfort zone or my physicality.

    Assuming that you are playing in Ab major, the Wikki (Hayden) layout would be quite a stretch - literally - side to side across the keyboard moving between the tonic and dominant (which is the same arrangement, and actually quite an easy position in Ab major) and the subdominant (which requires spanning most of the keyboard in either direction) depending on whether you choose to use the G# with the C# on the far right or continue on past the F to the left outer row and use the Ab located there. However, if one has long and nimble fingers, one would likely adapt to it rather quickly. Omitting the C# on the far right (there is no Db on the left, by the way, which is the true complicating factor of the Wikki layout, in this case) would simplify the effort greatly.

    Improvisation in Ab major in the right (melody line) hand should not be difficult given the cluster of tonic chord notes in near proximity and position on the left side of the Wikki layout and that the C# is rather easily accessible by extending the pinky of the right hand.

    It seems to me that a person of your skill, range, experience, and accomplishments - and given that you are accustomed to playing on a horizontal axis - could, in the timeframe given, master a singular undertaking of the type you describe in Ab major on a large Wikki duet layout with moderate effort.

    Please note that my comments are based on Wim's 65-button W-H2 as the reference keyboard scope. This endeavor will prove MUCH more difficult on a smaller compass of notes like Wim's 46-button W-H1. If you are interested, both Wikki and.the Stark Chromatiphone (W-C2) layouts are illustrated on the duet pages of his wakker-concertinas.com website.

    I hope this makes some sense, and is amusing, even if not particularly helpful.

    Be Well,


  7. Adding my own thanks to Geoff for the chart.

    I would welcome an opportunity to experiment with this layout.

    It's a truly uniform "vertical" layout reminiscent of the early Wheatstone Double and the late Wheatstone Chidley layouts.

    (As compared to Stark or Meisel or Wicki which I label "horizontal" in orientation.)

    However, while appearing compact, it doesn't seem particularly efficient or isomorphic.

    My own first impression suggests that everything could be a bit of a stretch except G, Gm, E, Em, and Dm.

    And though there is uniformity in the layout, the need to learn many multiple and varied patterns for the different scales/key signatures - like a piano keyboard - remains a necessity. I haven't charted them, but I think I see at least five on a glance.



    I don't see the similarities with the CBA system except for the sequence of the minor thirds which are "separated" rather than adjacent.

    The adjacent diagonals have no whole tones in either direction, and the semi-tones are in both diagonal directions (rather than one) due to the "split."

    Am I missing something?


    Be Well,


  8. For those interested, here is more information from the seller in reply to my questions:


    Dear danersen,


    This concertina has a different note on blow and draw on both sides. Every note plays. There are no air leaks. There seems to have been a repair to the bellows as can be seen in picture #4 (or maybe melted from heat). I do not know about the reeds as this instrument is a consignment piece and I do not wish to take it apart to examine the reeds. I do not know about the age of the instrument. All keys and functions are working. The pictures of the button keys are a bit blurry, but in #3 you can see the markings of the keys next to the buttons. I can register A440 on the instrument.


    - lynell03

    Click "respond" to reply through Messages, or go to your email to reply


    From: danersen

    To: lynell03

    Subject: danersen has sent a question about item #380963844238, ending on Aug-29-14 13:01:53 PDT - Concertina Vintage *NICE!*

    Sent Date: Jul-30-14 20:50:54 PDT


    Dear lynell03,



    I am interested in this instrument and have a number of questions about it.

    1. Is it bisonoric (different tone from same button on draw than press) or unisonoric (same tone on press and draw from same button)?

    2. Does every note sound on both the press and the draw?

    3. Are there any air leaks or other issues with the bellows?

    4. Is the pitch a=440 or some other?

    5. Are there any repairs or damage of any kind?

    6. Do all of the mechanics operate properly and smoothly?

    7. Are the reeds individual accordion reeds, concertina reeds, or long-plate reeds?

    8. What is the scope of the notes (lowest to highest) in each hand?

    9. Is there any uniform sequence to the note layout?

    10. Have you any knowledge or estimate about its age?




    - danersen

  9. This is probably way, way up there in the "whatever is he thinking" or "just what is he smoking" category, but, nothing ventured ...


    Jim (Lucas) mentioned "a 59-button Crane made by Jeffries" in another post.


    I am curious how rare/plentiful these were/are/may be.


    If anyone has an inclination to part with one so it can join two of its Jeffries duet siblings in Colorado, I'd love to arrange for a reunion.


    In any case, I don't recall a thread devoted to Jeffries Cranes, here.

    If there is, perhaps someone could point me to it.

    If not, please opine.


    Be Well,


  10. This is consistent with my own experience on a "C-core" and an "A-core" Jeffries (duets, of course).

    This seems also to be true of the Crane given the limited scope in the left hand and the accidentals being placed in the outside rows.

    The problems do begin to creep in, however, if, like me, one has a disposition toward isomorphism and is predisposed to uniformity.

    It seems to me that the concept of outboard accidentals works just fine on the English as it provides a predictable structure and orientation, but, personally, I've found this arrangement on a duet to be less than ideal.




    On a C-core Jeffries Duet all the keys round the circle of fifths from Bb to E are manageable with practice in my experience. Outside of that it can be a bit horrific esp. if you go flatter, but really it's no harder to play outside the home keys of C/G/D and F than the Maccann. In some ways I find it easier to be honest.

  11. Hello Karl,


    Much of what has already been mentioned is generally consistent with my experience,


    Here are some thoughts that might be helpful to you based on my experience with the various duet systems.


    1. Determine the ease of transition and consistency between the melodic and chordal structures which you will predominantly play – especially between a I chord shape and the IV and V chord shapes and locations, e.g., distances and stretch.


    2. Are relative minors important?


    3. Are semitones and accidentals prominent and frequent?


    4. If so, in what keys are these most likely to occur?


    5. Consider the ease with which one can transition from a 7th to a 6th to an augmented to a major to a minor to a diminished chord.


    6. Determine how important uniformity is to you.

    Note that the Maccann layout has a huge (what I call “rotational”) shift in both hands.


    7. Is it comfortable to reach “down” on the keypad for a higher note?


    8. Is it comfortable to reach completely across the keyboard into another row for a related semitone?


    9. Your wife might appreciate that the Crane layout could be viewed as an “upside down” Stradella layout.


    Below are some melody lines that have proven very helpful to me in my evaluation of various systems and layouts. They have been my go-to references, so to speak.


    The first is the same set in different keys with different starting locations among the white and black keys on a piano keyboard. Though it is the same melodic sequence, some are much easier and others are much more difficult to execute depending on the key and the layout.


    The second melody line is a simple sequence in its usual key.


    Additionally, you might want to experiment with the melody line of Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 5. It is very accessible and it will reveal a great deal to you in a very short period of time.


    Regrettably, I have limited experience with folk music so I have no material to suggest to you for experimentation; however, I’m certain there are others here who can – and hopefully will – provide you with recommendations.


    Perhaps this will help in some way/s. Please keep in mind that this is my own perspective and will likely differ from that of others'.


    Be Well,




    D D# F# G A Bb A G F# F# D G G

    A A C Bb A G F# F# D G


    B C Eb E F# G F# E Eb Eb B E E

    F# F# A G F# E Eb Eb B E


    E F G# A B C B A G# G# E A A

    B B D C B A G# G# E A


    F F# A Bb C C# C Bb A A F Bb Bb

    C C Eb C# C Bb A A F Bb


    F# G Bb B C# D C# B Bb Bb F# B B

    C# C# E D C# B Bb Bb F# B


    G# A C C# D# E D# C# C C G# C# C#

    D# D# F# E D# C# C C G# C#




    Bb Bb A A G G F# F# D

    Bb Bb G A A F# G G F# F# D

    G G F Eb D C D Bb A G

    F# G A D – D(octave lower) – E F# G

  12. Hello Karl,


    I've played all of the usual duet systems (and a couple not so usual) sufficiently enough to have a reasonably thorough knowledge of them, so I'll try to collect my thoughts and share a few insights over the weekend.


    The short answer, though, based on your comments seems to me to be the Crane system.


    In the mean time...


    Marien ... Where are you?

    Could you not contribute meaningfully, here?


    Be Well,



    Whatever the story, it is currently displaying here:



    J Crabb and Son concertina Crane Duet, catalogs Jeffries Wheatstone Lachenal


    Seller : marcmaudio (8 ) 100% Positive feedback

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    Item condition:Used

    “See description.”

    Time left: 5d 19h (May 03, 2014 16:47:06 PDT)

    Starting bid:US $2,099.00

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  14. Hello Joe,

    Scales, scales, scales in all key signatures - first major, then minor.

    Simultaneously, with both hands, progressively play and master the following:

    First - five-note scales ascending and descending (do, re, mi, fa sol, fa, mi, re, do) with both hands playing in the same direction, then with each hand playing in the opposite direction of the other.

    Then - eight-note scales (one octave) ascending and descending (do, re, mi, fa sol, la, ti, do, ti, la, sol, fa, mi, re, do) with both hands playing in the same direction, then with each hand playing in the opposite direction of the other.

    Then - two octaves each ascending and descending (do, re, mi, fa sol, la, ti, do, re, mi, fa sol, la, ti, do, ti, la, sol, fa, mi, re, do, ti, la, sol, fa, mi, re, do) with both hands playing in the same direction, then with each hand playing in the opposite direction of the other.

    Then - progressive 4-note arpeggios ascending and descending (do, mi, sol, do, sol, mi, do) with both hands playing in the same direction, then with each hand playing in the opposite direction of the other.

    Chords will likely follow quite easily and naturally, now.

    Then - contrapuntal exercises, especially the contrary and oblique forms.

    Get a metronome if you don't already have one and start with simple straight quarter notes in strict time around 60 beats per minute maximum speed to begin.

    SLOWLY increase your speed with no errors or delays.

    Once you've mastered straight time, add some syncopation for variety always keeping both hands playing in unison until your reach the contrapuntal stage.

    When you've mastered these, your brain and your fingers will be well synchronized and you will not have to "think" about the relative positions of the tones. Your fingers will just "know" where to go.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Be Well,


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