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Alex West

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    Came late to the concertina having started with tuba. Now playing in regular Scottish and English dance music sessions. Occasionally still playing tuba with Flowers & Frolics.
    Also devoting a lot of time to restoring concertinas
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    North Ayrshire, Scotland

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  1. I use a marble wall tile. Flat enough and the leather doesn't seem to slip too much. I've not noticed the edge dulling, but then I strop the knife fairly regularly And like Jake, I use a saw blade, ground to a shallow profile. I've made a few in curved, straight cut and also in right and left hand angled versions Alex West
  2. Peter, Alan - I understand; my BBb tuba made in 1916 had extra lengths of tubing added at a later date in order to make it in tune at A=440Hz. But I remain confused; a typical concertina at that time would also be in high pitch - so a high pitch trombone in Bb would match a high pitch Bb concertina, whereas a high pitch B concertina would be a semitone sharp? I've checked and I don't think the concertina I have is a Bb/F in high pitch. Unless you're saying that people ordered a B/F# concertina in A=440Hz so that it would play harmoniously with a Bb trombone in A=452Hz? Alex West
  3. Thanks Alan - That would make sense if it was Bb/F - but B/F#? Alex West
  4. I recently acquired an anglo concertina from around 1880 and although the reeds are stamped as if it's in C & G, it seems to play in B and F#, even accounting for the probability of it being in an old pitch somewhat different from A=440Hz. It's not the first time I've had a B/F# and I've been told by very reputable sources that it was very common in the 19th century. Has anyone any idea why B/F# should be so common then? Alex West
  5. I had a concertina with bad smells. I "soaked" the bellows in a UV light for 36 hours and fixed a small piece of charcoal filter material inside the bellows where it wouldn't interfere with playing. The owner (very sensitive to mould and odours) declared herself fully satisfied with the result and could play the instrument once more without bursting into coughing fits Alex West
  6. Stasia It really doesn't matter which side you rest the instrument on. Whatever feels comfortable for you. Some really good players of both Anglo and English rest the bellows on their knee as they feel it gives them greater freedom of movement and accepting some wear - on the basis that bellows are relatively easy to replace albeit at a cost. Some people put a cloth over their knee to minimise the abrasion and hence wear. Personally, I don't subscribe to either of these views but that's just my preference Hand straps should be a bit looser than you think. If they're too tight, you won't be able to move your fingers freely enough to reach all the notes fluently (or at all). A Hayden or duet player may have a different view, but as an anglo player, The heel of my hand, the non-playing finger(s) and the back of my hand for a 3-point support giving stability and a strong basis for pushing, pulling and control as necessary I hope that helps Alex West
  7. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/276301783355?hash=item4054dea13b%3Ag%3ATuQAAOSwy9BkwUp-&amdata=enc%3AAQAIAAAA4IKKvW%2FiFnFMi8xl7LqpYGZLwJN13izJsmxNElCToD4TQ1b9xdOR0oImZFh3cP%2BhxEzsbWNG2GOxwt%2Bp8CaVgLnKOZ8PtrSz2QLM7atOC5cFAJKun8Awc0wH87CHk2T7YSIAnAc7jLIDJinIUImIuiDfufAzv7DEROjLyD%2B2eDoLkCHo0MUPSQZr5WMWuXhxsX8L9kD7Gy2waLKBj844nIkzaCGy9jI434XC1EUlYy4Oki1C4k%2B6Gv%2BnlNodroJPqwENy8BNf22wDLHkgqGuhE2UOSy3DwD7qUxAJbS1o0OB|tkp%3ABk9SR6KPtoSoYw&LH_Auction=1 Looks suspicious to me with the Buy It Now price hidden in the description? What do others think? Alex West
  8. Just a small correction to Wim's article. I've made a couple of wooden ended raised ends, copying another maker's methods. The ends aren't carved out of a solid piece of wood, they're made by glueing several plies of veneer together and pressing in a mould. I can't comment on the acoustic effect but I find it hard to believe it's significant. Alex West
  9. The raising or doming of the ends has nothing to do with button height above the end when the button is pressed. Buttons can be made shorter and felt washers can be removed (or added) to adjust the depressed height to suit the player. I believe that the Jeffries and Lachenal New Model raised ends were both made based on a circular mould (but I only have a limited sample). In both cases the surface around the buttons is flat. There is a slight weight reduction in having raised ends but I doubt this is significant. They do look cool though 😎 Alex West
  10. Many thanks Geoff - interesting details! Amazing that the bellows have survived relatively unscathed for 145 years! Alex West
  11. Thanks Stephen For future reference - is Geoff's data here at cnet or do you have a personal copy? Alex West
  12. This nice little 26 key concertina has come my way recently. In most respects, it's identical to 26 key wooden ended Jeffries that I've seen before but: It's not stamped C Jeffries Maker on the sides of the action frame The levers are steel, not brass The bellows papers are the dot & cross Lachenal type papers It has a number 8115 stamped on the left and right action boards and reed pans The seller thought it was a G Jones, but my working assumption is that it's a Crabb, dating from the 1880s. The reeds are stamped as for a C/G but it sounds as though it's a Bb/F. The left hand lever layout as pictured is peculiar - I've not seen one quite like that before Any thoughts? Geoff? Alex West
  13. I've a decent 30 key C/G Jeffries which I've recently restored and which might be suitable for you. (I have a 30 key Lachenal as well but I doubt that's much of a step up from your Phoenix). I'm away from home at the moment but can send you more details and maybe FaceTime (or similar) to show you "live" in a few days Alex West
  14. SR = Steel Reeds, 6F = 6 fold bellows, CP = Concert Pitch Depending on what you're looking for, I have a couple that you might be interested in Alex West
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