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Paul Groff

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About Paul Groff

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  1. So around 3 pounds, 7 oz or around 1.56 kg? That would put it a bit heavier than the 45 key Jeffries listed here: https://www.concertina.net/guide_weights.html Not unmanageable but as I thought, the weight might be noticed by many players if used as an instrument for fast dance music. Heavier than the 50 key Praed St Jeffries I've had, IIRC. But fast dance music isn't the only context in which a Jeffries sounds great! Absolutely it would be great if you can learn to use it with no mods in its present layout and pitch! That's certainly what I would do with it if I had it to work with. But if someone is someday tempted to modify it, as is often the case when an instrument of superb quality has been custom-built in a system that is out of the mainstream, it would be great if the conversion were reversible. In this case it would be terrible to lose those deep low notes and terrible to make modifications in those beautiful original reedpans. So a very expensive but very respectful path would be to get a top traditional-style builder to make a set of alternative reedpans. They could be made to fit the original F row and C row reeds, but in the current positions of the Ab and Bb row reeds, leaving the original Ab and Bb row reeds in the original reedpans. Then 40 more reeds (made to order ideally) would be swapped in and you'd have an instrument in "standard 30 key layout plus a row" in the gorgeous low keys of FCX, plus an extra inside row to be set up to the preferences of the player. This could be done to preserve not only the original sound of the instrument but its original pitch and temperament but made playable with a standard 30 key core layout in those very low keys, and allowing 100% reversibility to its original condition. None of that would be needed if you can adjust to the original custom-built system, and it's really great news for the future of this historic instrument that you are willing to try! PG
  2. Lovely one Chris, it's a custom-layout Praed St. Jeffries. Not the first I've seen. It might not fall into the "most desired" category for fast dance music, since those many large buttons (not to mention the action and reeds) are substantial. How heavy is it, and is it of typical size for a Jeffries 38 key? I think this unusual instrument deserves some careful thought about trade-offs between originality and conversion to a more standard layout, but surely has a great musical potential for the right player!
  3. 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
  4. Thanks for posting this Geoff, but a friend in France tells me that this listing is not genuine.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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!
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. "Viva" the Crabb Victor . . . vs the Vauxhall Victor or Vauxhall Viva for that matter?
  13. 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
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