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Paul Groff

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About Paul Groff

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    Chatty concertinist

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  1. Hi Stuart, A point to consider. Many of the Jeffries and Crabb anglos being played today have been re-worked into equal temperament. Where the original instruments may have had duplicate enharmonics (for example, separate reeds for D# and Eb in a C/G system instrument), these duplicate reeds are sometimes retuned to other notes. Specifically, the "typical modern" location for a low Bb (on a C/G instrument) was often originally the home of a reed to sound D# on the early Jeffries and Crabb anglos. Since Eb is right next door, also on the draw, if such an instrument is re-tuned to equal temperament that D# note is often retuned to a low C# draw or replaced with a low Bb. On the early Jeffries and Crabb anglos in original condition, that low Bb would typically only be found on anglos with more than 30 keys, and located on the draw on the index-finger C row extra button (paired with Bb press an octave higher). PG
  2. Thanks for posting this Geoff, but a friend in France tells me that this listing is not genuine.
  3. See attached, I hope it is understandable Crossed levers 31 button Crabb Anglo.doc Geoffrey Thanks a lot Geoffrey, that's very clear and understandable Adrian Hi Adrian, Geoff, and all, It's always a great honor to all readers (present and future) when Geoff takes the time to join these discussions! Thanks Geoff for all the invaluable information and wisdom you share! Just as an addendum to Geoff's contribution, I have seen 20th-century 31-key H. Crabb anglos with a different LH lever arrangement than shown in Geoff's drawing (and I know he has seen those as well). I looked for the forum discussion in which we talked about them, but didn't find that discussion. However, the search retrieved this article in which Geoff is quoted, so I know that he has seen this type of lever design also. Note the lack of overlapping levers and the serpentine curvature of one lever in particular: http://www.concertina.net/mws_inside_a_crabb.html In my opinion, this arrangement of levers (and the entire design of the action and the reedpans) may have been intended as a compromise with these goals in mind: 1) Bring up the volume of the notes sounded by the index finger button on the LH inside row (these would be D / E on a typical C/G anglo). 2) (possibly) Avoid crossed levers of the older design, that can lead to interferance when sounding the LH thumb button simultaneously with the top button of the outside row. In my own opinion, goal number 1 may have been most important. In some more common designs for the action of a 31-key anglo, the notes from that D/E button can be muted. Those are the smallest reeds on the left side of a typical 31-key anglo, and they are sometimes situated in a position in which their volume is muted further by the handrail, fretwork design, and player's hand. But the anglos designed like Mark Stayton's H. Crabb (and similar ones that I've seen) have a very bright, clear sound from the D/E button. However, 2) may have been a factor stimulating the layout of these non-overlapping lever designs. I can usually set up the action of a 31-key anglo that has crossed levers to avoid any lever interference, by careful attention to pad heights and damper thicknesses. But my own preferences are for lots of pad lift and lots of button travel, so that when I optimize the action of an old 31-key anglo for the sound and feel that I prefer, I do sometimes get a slight contact of levers when I use the thumb key simultaneously with the G#/Bb key (top button, outside row). PG
  4. Hi Adrian, Geoff, and all, It's always a great honor to all readers (present and future) when Geoff takes the time to join these discussions! Thanks Geoff for all the invaluable information and wisdom you share! Just as an addendum to Geoff's contribution, I have seen 20th-century 31-key H. Crabb anglos with a different LH lever arrangement than shown in Geoff's drawing (and I know he has seen those as well). I looked for the forum discussion in which we talked about them, but didn't find that discussion. However, the search retrieved this article in which Geoff is quoted, so I know that he has seen this type of lever design also. Note the lack of overlapping levers and the serpentine curvature of one lever in particular: http://www.concertina.net/mws_inside_a_crabb.html In my opinion, this arrangement of levers (and the entire design of the action and the reedpans) may have been intended as a compromise with these goals in mind: 1) Bring up the volume of the notes sounded by the index finger button on the LH inside row (these would be D / E on a typical C/G anglo). 2) (possibly) Avoid crossed levers of the older design, that can lead to interferance when sounding the LH thumb button simultaneously with the top button of the outside row. In my own opinion, goal number 1 may have been most important. In some more common designs for the action of a 31-key anglo, the notes from that D/E button can be muted. Those are the smallest reeds on the left side of a typical 31-key anglo, and they are sometimes situated in a position in which their volume is muted further by the handrail, fretwork design, and player's hand. But the anglos designed like Mark Stayton's H. Crabb (and similar ones that I've seen) have a very bright, clear sound from the D/E button. However, 2) may have been a factor stimulating the layout of these non-overlapping lever designs. I can usually set up the action of a 31-key anglo that has crossed levers to avoid any lever interference, by careful attention to pad heights and damper thicknesses. But my own preferences are for lots of pad lift and lots of button travel, so that when I optimize the action of an old 31-key anglo for the sound and feel that I prefer, I do sometimes get a slight contact of levers when I use the thumb key simultaneously with the G#/Bb key (top button, outside row). PG
  5. Both are definitely Jones, I've seen quite a few examples of the same model. Nothing about them is inconsistent with this model of Jones anglo -- the layout of button locations, left thumb buttons, fretwork, air valve, woods, bellows stampings, reed sizes, levers etc etc. They are a little big but they have a great sound when they're going well!
  6. I'd be interested in learning more about that octave-tuned D/A! This is a great system that I play myself. I had a nice octave tuned German D/A but passed it along to a student. Can Labuschagne make one with an extra button or two (21 or 22 buttons plus the air key)? Thanks, Paul Groff
  7. Well, not so cheap, quick & dirty, but the way I would want to see this done would be to commission a concertina maker to make a new set of reedpans, to match the pad/hole positions of the original action case, to fit the original bellows frames and with reedslots designed to fit the original reeds without altering the reedframes. You might have to start with two instruments as inventor mentioned. *If* a workable reedpan could be designed that meets those criteria, then with careful notes and photos of the original condition you could have a fully reversible conversion, comparable to the banjo players who have a new 5 string neck made for a tenor banjo, but keep all original parts. If the original reedpans and reedframes were not altered, you could then return the original concertina(s) to original configuration at a later date. Your converted duet would still have the original layout of button positions on the ends, which as inventor points out may not be ideal. You would also have the substantial cost of making reedpans. Your maker might have to be very clever to accommodate all the right sizes of reeds in chambers positioned in the right places, to lie under the padholes for the appropriate buttons. But there are old and new tricks in laying out reedpans -- for example, as seen by the Dippers' innovative designs and also those that the early Jones instruments used in setting parallel reed chambers on a diagonal for the left side. This is just a speculation. But if I wanted a Hayden duet, and if I wanted to benefit in an ethical way from the quality -- and the parts value -- that are latent in the many underpriced unrestored unpopular duet system concertinas . . . this would be the first strategy that I would try. PG
  8. From the label, this concertina may have accompanied Scates (or been sent to him) during his first visit to Ireland in 1850, so it appears to be among very few concertinas with evidence of such an early arrival in Ireland. Somewhere in storage I have a Scates english with the same label, but a later serial number and much different fretwork, similar to some Wheatstones. Mine has Scates' own annotations and signature inside in several places. Mine also has ivory buttons, as did many of the very early english concertinas from the 19th century. It's great that this very historic concertina is for sale in Ireland, and I hope a serious student, collector, or museum is able to purchase it and retain it there -- especially since transporting ivory across international borders, or even possessing it, has become increasingly restricted. PG
  9. Hi Gary, Thanks for reprising that great photo. It was published years ago in one of the concertina magazines . . . but haven't you guys also seen the film footage? Click on the link, play the video (evidently no charge to stream), and watch especially from 00:26. Too bad it's silent. http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675041811_Armistice-Day_United-States-flags_huge-crowd_musical-instruments PG
  10. "Viva" the Crabb Victor . . . vs the Vauxhall Victor or Vauxhall Viva for that matter?
  11. Hi Gary, Apologies for bringing up such an old thread. Possibly your questions from 2004 have been answered. However, I'm currently researching Louis Miller and may have some relevant information for you about him, if still of interest. Do you still have the concertinas? First, here's a (poorly) digitized reference on the early years of the musical instrument trades in San Francisco: http://www.archive.org/stream/musicaltrade185000unit/musicaltrade185000unit_djvu.txt Louis Miller is discussed under accordions (which he manufactured; the dates are usually given as ca.1883 - 1917). In that paper, you'll see a quote from the San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 12, 1898, which reads in part: "Owing to the weight of a concert accordion it is a difficult instrument for a lady to manipulate and he is now planning a lady's concertina with a perfect chromatic scale." As you know, in the mid-late 1800s there were many different free-reed keyboard designs invented, many motivated by this same desire to increase chromaticism in a small instrument. Concertinas were known in San Francisco of course, including english-made instruments. Miller seems to have been preceded in San Francisco as an accordion maker by C. C. Keene, who is said to have made concertinas, flutinas, accordions, etc. from the 1860s. In the 1980s, I found examples of nice London concertinas from 1850 - 1870s, surfacing in San Francisco after having been there for many decades, and concertinas are known with shop labels specifying San Francisco addresses that disappeared with the 1906 earthquake. When I lived in Berkeley in the 1980s, one of my concertina students had an ancient "concertina foot bass" that had been made in San Francisco around the turn of the century, but I don't recall if it was made by Miller or another shop. BTW, I have several successive addresses for Miller now, subsequent to the one he wrote in the concertinas you mention. But the 1906 earthquake and fire drastically changed the map of the city, long before the changes Jim noticed in his own lifetime. At any rate, it's great to have your documentation that Louis Miller worked on (and possibly ?? experimented with the layout of ) English-made concertinas in the late 1890s. Later, ca 1902 - 1906, he seems to have made a series of interesting small accordions such as those discussed here (note that you may need to register and login to melodeon.net to see all the photos posted): http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,5536 http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,5706.msg171157.html#msg171157 I'll be developing a database of Miller's instruments (often dated internally), their specifications and addresses, and photos where available. It might be good to include instruments that he repaired and modified as well. Thanks for any insights that you (or others) can add. Edited to add: see this new thread on Louis Miller's accordions (mostly): http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,14968.0.html Paul Groff Miami, Florida, USA groffco at gmail dot com
  12. Hi Stuart, Great stuff. Thanks again for your work with the concertina. Paul Groff
  13. Now we're talking! An excellent paper, and properly focused. Leaving aside various minor issues that could be disputed, I'd like to point out two great virtues of this work. 1) Documented history 2) A very broad understanding of different options for tuning and tempering the scales of fixed-pitch musical instruments. There are more tunings in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in the philosophy of most concertina players. Some of the old tunings (despite being perceived by many today as "out of tune according to my meter or my ear" ) were very consciously chosen to enable powerful musical effects if properly employed. Jim, years ago I remember having to convince you that the duplicate keys for D#/Eb and G#/Ab were originally included in what became the standard keyboard of the english concertina *because those duplicate keys were intended to sound reeds tuned to different pitches.* That idea was not original to me of course; I was reading about Wheatstone's 14-tone meantone scale in Montague and other 20th century works at the same time I was looking at concertinas with original tuning. Now that concept to understand the english concertina keyboard is a commonplace in discussions by modern amateurs and I'm reading concertina players and tuners throw around the names of mean-tone temperaments. But I hope Gawboy's article will help players and students of the instrument understand that there's more to concertina tuning beyond equal temperament and some familiar variations of mean-tone. The conception of the concertina pioneers (early inventors, improvers, and tuners) went far beyond superimposing one or another standard scale on a new kind of noisemaker. They were striving for new options that the new instrument might allow -- through different experiments in compromising layout, button number, size, many variables of sound production and assigning pitches -- all with a goal toward flexible, beautiful, and powerful sounds (especially harmonized sounds). PG
  14. Chris, Except for the E/G# buttons on each side, the layout is what you would expect from the top 4 buttons on each side of the middle row + the outside row of a 30-key, 3-row D/A anglo in Wheatstone layout. Thus, imagine a 30 key anglo concertina with no "inside row." For simplicity's sake you can imagine that it's a C/G. If you can play settings of tunes using the C row + accidental row of a Wheatstone-layout C/G concertina, many of those settings will finger similarly on the 2 rows of this miniature (but transposed up a step, or more likely here a step plus an octave). On a 30-key C/G anglo, the F# note tends to be the one note that's only found on the G row. Transposed up a step, that F# becomes G#. Places were found for that note, in 2 octaves, on the draw on the outermost buttons of the outside row of this miniature. The 2 octaves of E on that outside row are duplicates of the notes on the main D row, in reversed bellows directions. A clever system to maximize the fully chromatic range of a small instrument, while still overlapping with part of a familiar anglo layout. To make a miniature feel more familiar for many traditional styles of music, some players might prefer instead to have a different subset of the layout of the traditional anglo included -- to have more of the two inside rows (the C and G rows of a C/G, or the D and A rows of a D/A) available -- but that would result in more duplicate notes and less chromatic range. Either way makes perfect sense depending on the player and his or her intended use of the instrument. PG
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