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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
  • Location
    North Ayrshire, Scotland

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Chatty concertinist

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  1. I always take a concertina on the boat with me. I made the mistake of taking a "cheap" one once and it was so awful to play compared to my domestic instruments that I rarely touched it and didn't enjoy it when I did. Nowadays, I have a dedicated "boat" instrument which is not so precious but plays well. By the way, I've never seen a problem with salt air affecting the reeds in any way The instruments I play in sessions are also my domestic players. If an instrument is so good, why not play it with friends? Sure, look after it, but they deserve to be played Alex West
  2. You might consider a Dabbler (https://www.flyingduckconcertinas.co.uk/dabblers.html), or a Marcus (https://www.marcusmusic.wales/new-concertinas) as new concertinas to add to your research, or Andrew Norman both makes new instruments and has vintage ones as well (http://www.acnorman.co.uk/). Depending on where you are in Scotland, Celtic Chords in Stonehaven markets AP James concertinas and the owner may have pre-loved instruments available as well. I have a vintage 30 key Lachenal which is available and which you'd be welcome to try but it's down south at the moment Alex West
  3. The difference between Wheatstone and Jeffries is not just in the number of buttons and the keyboard layouts. IMHO, the sound quality and feel is quite different (and I'm not making a judgement here as to which is better). Crabb concertinas (and others) are available in Wheatstone or Jeffries layout as well and again, the tone quality may suit some people better than others. Alex West
  4. I've not tried one, but I've dealt with Paul, the proprietor, and I think the short answer is almost certain to be "yes" Alex West
  5. Anyone seen this listing? https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/275238047818?hash=item401577504a%3Ag%3AtkkAAOSwqEpiQZ9Q&LH_Auction=1 Doesn't interest me but it might appeal to someone if it's genuine Alex West
  6. I've a feeling Chris Algar had one (or very similar) on ebay recently. It needed a bit of repair work as far as I can remember. Even if that one isn't right, he might have a different one which would suit you so he's worth a try Alex West
  7. Slightly off topic, but my tuba (brass but silver plated) was made in 1915, (completed on Christmas Eve) one of two large tubas made in amongst a run of bugles. Each tuba took over a week to make. At the time, the Boosey & Co Stanhope Place factory was in overdrive producing army bugles for the war effort... Did Wheatstone have a similar shortage in 2015? Alex West
  8. It is possible to get small cabinet key blanks from companies such as this https://www.nichelocks.com/Traditional-Cabinet-Locks/Cabinet-Key-Blanks, from which you can recreate "your" key profile. In my experience (YMMV) the keys for old Lachenal and similar concertina cases are very simple single lever locks so they don't need the fancy saw cuts that your key seems to have Alex West
  9. Sorry Adrian! I've had three 26 button (plus air) Jeffries of various keys through my hands and they don't have the LH thumb button. I've had one 28 key C/G Jeffries and that had an air button and a LH thumb button making 30 buttons in total - but that was a C Jeffries rather than a Jeffries Bros. Alex West
  10. I used wooden beads in the restoration of a concertina intended to be Vegan. With limited success. (though the wooden beads weren't the problem issue). Steve Dickinson supplied them to me in a repeat of the same beads I used for an Aeola restoration as he said that Wheatstone had used them for a time and were therefore "original". The biggest problem was that, no matter how fine grained the wood is, the act of screwing the beads onto the levers inevitably splits some of the beadds along the weak grain axis. Steve noted to me that the wooden beads were no cheaper to make than leather beads and offered no significant advantage so wouldn't be making any more Alex West
  11. The low D is quite common on Lachenals. It makes sense for the G row pattern, but not when you consider that it's an exact duplicate as you point out, so the A is a useful and common swap Alex West
  12. At the time we visited him, Chris Algar had around 25 Jeffries on his shelf. We didn't try all of them. There are people in this world with multiple Jeffries - if you know where to find them, and can get a couple of friends together for some music, it's possible to get quite a few together in one place Alex West
  13. I had a road trip in October which took me, with another contributor here , from Chris Algar to Jake Middleton-Metcalfe via the Dippers and Mr Wheatstone (Steve Dickinson), also visiting yet another contributor with a collection of high quality Jeffries. Overall, we had the opportunity to try over 20 Jeffries (Some original and some restored & retuned by Dipper or Wheatstone), 3 Dippers, 3 Wheatstone concertinas (1 vintage, 1 new), 2 or 3 Wolvertons and a selection of Lachenals. No Suttners, Carrolls, Holdens or Kensingtons on this trip unfortunately. As has been said, all were terrific (the Lachenals being at a lower playability and price level), all were different to play and of a high quality. Impossible to say "That one was the best" which all could agree on, although each person might have a different opinion. Yes, of course there is variability between individual instruments from the same atelier and some might suit one person better than another (either because of keys, pitch, size, weight, undefinable sound quality). The road trip may be reported elsewhere (when I get round to it), but my point is that the best vintage or modern instruments are all good and which one is right for you depends on a lot of factors including budget. The only answer is to try as many as you can - but stop short of thinking that the "best" one is still out there just waiting for you to find it! Alex West
  14. In my experience, import duty from the UK to the US is not an issue with most Jeffries instruments as they are all (well, mostly) over 100 years old and qualify for a zero customs duty as an antique. Similarly, import duty for instruments under 100 years old is not such a big concern if you use the correct product code Alex West
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