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Alex West

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About Alex West

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    Chatty concertinist

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Interests
    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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  1. You can also find a fairly comprehensive set of chords for the left hand by Barry Metzler in the old magazine "Concertina & Squeezebox" Numbers 14 & 15. You'll need to do a bit of work as the chords are organised for a C/G concertina and your layout may vary - but the work required may help you get around the keyboard and also understand the theory required as well. Let me know if you can't find a copy on line Alex West
  2. I'm signed up as well - just got to find somewhere to stay and hope that the virus lets us go Alex West
  3. Just for badness, I thought I'd let you know that the Lachenal Duet I'm working on at the moment seems to have brass pins! I'm pretty sure that there would be no particular reason why they would have used steel or brass - much like us all, they just used what was convenient (although the brass pins obviously won't rust). And as an aside, the chamber walls are nominally between 1.5 and 1.75mm thick but there are quite a few where the wall has been thinned down - almost to a vanishing point - in order to slide the reeds shoes and clamp screws in. There's usually quite a sound difference between concertinas with a lot of reeds crammed in and those with fewer reeds and more space in the chambers/less wood butchery; I'd always thought that was related to chamber size rather than wall material and thickness but I guess it could be a combination of things Alex West
  4. Adrian I've not seen this on any concertina other than a Jeffries. On my Jeffries Duet, two of the inboard reed locations on the right hand side show no scalloping and none of the perimeter locations (both sides) are scalloped so mine is unlike Gary's. On One of the 39 button Jeffries, the scalloping is with the reed longitude and is fairly crude, on the other, it's at 90 degrees. The 45 key and 50 key anglos and the Jeffries Duet are similarly neat, but inconsistent as to which reeds - both locations and right or left - are scalloped or not. I've looked over Geoff Crabb's paper on suggested explanations - he offers 4 - and they all sound credible but because of the inconsistent nature of the location, orientation and execution, I find it hard to see that there's one logical reason - either for mechanical or acoustic purposes There's got to be a PhD thesis in there somewhere! Alex West
  5. David Here's my review that I did in 2013: "I’ve taken a look at a number of concertinas from different makers including Shakespeare, Crabb, Dipper, Jeffries, Shakespeare and Wheatstone. The sample is small and may not be completely representative; I have no pictures of large Crabbs for example. Only the Jeffries has the scalloping to the woodwork around the underside of the pad-hole and this can occur on the left or right hand and in reed positions around the action including the perimeter reeds as well as the “inner” reeds. The scalloping is in locations where the reed is surface mounted screwed in position as well as in a dovetail-routed slot) and is in locations where the pad is on directly on the face woodwork as well as on top of the action board (where the pad-hole “chamber” is deeper. "This makes it appear as thought the scalloping is somewhat random rather than as part of a well thought out scheme to improve the acoustics. My first thought was that the scallops were to channel the airflow from the pad location to the optimal place on the reed, but the geometry doesn’t support this hypothesis. "In size order, here are the instruments I've seen with scallops 30 key C Jeffries in C/G - scallop to right hand top row little finger - one of the smallest reeds 30 key C Jeffries in F/C - scallop to left hand middle row little finger - lowest "F" 39 key C Jeffries in Bb/F - scallop to left hand thumb drone 39 key C Jeffries in C/G (may have been converted from a Bb/F) - scallops to right hand, 5 locations around the perimeter and inner 39 key C Jeffries in C/G - scallops to left and right hand locations (not the same as the concertina above so no consistency) 45 key C Jeffries in G/D - scallops to left and right hand 50 key C Jeffries in Ab/Eb - scallops to left hand inner and perimeter reeds 50 key Jeffries Bros Duet - scallops to left and right hand inner reeds" So in conclusion, it's not just the larger instruments, it's not just the lowest or the highest reeds and it's not just the surface mounted reeds. The "scalloping" is mostly running vertically, but sometimes is directed towards the root of the reed and sometimes towards the tip and in one concertina the scallop runs at 90 or even 45 degrees to the reed's long axis Alex West
  6. Gary Just thought you might like to know that the Wheatstone built 1925 Jeffries Duet system No 30740 with 68 buttons (plus 1 air) is at auction tomorrow - 13th March - at Gardiner Houlgate. It was up for auction last November as well but didn't sell so here's a second chance for someone! Alex West
  7. Jeffries also made 26 key, 28 key and 50 key anglos as well as the 38 and 44 (or 39 and 46 depending on how you count). There are a few of these which were definitely never duets - I know because I have a couple - so there's no reason to suspect that Mike's is anything but an anglo. I'm sure Theo would know. I have a suspicion (and only that - no evidence) that although they have the C Jeffries stamp, these larger instruments may have been the product of the sons Alex West
  8. TMSA (Traditional Music Scotland Association) run a 1 day canal boat trip session on a part of the Forth & Clyde Canal in July. I've never been but I've been told it's a fun day. It's a small boat tghough and usually oversubscribed. There are other people who run music and sail events but they're a bit more in open water so maybe not for the faint-hearted (and weak stomached!). A couple of years ago, we came across a bus tour of American musician tourists who were hosted by local musicians and turned up at normal sessions (we saw them in Plockton). They seemed a good bunch and the tour was well organised so that might be an option (if only I knew where they were based) Alex West
  9. Richard I've had a similar experience with a Koot Brits G/D. Some of the workmanship is very good, but the reeds seem very patchy and it's not good to play. It's not just that they use a lot of air; the whole thing seems to have a lot of resistance so it's sluggish and physically hard work. I have some plans for it which may improve things but I suspect I'll have to replace a few reeds as well Alex West
  10. I spoke with Mark just after the New Year about an order I'd placed a while ago. He was back in action and delivered it promptly so he's recovering although you might have to be patient
  11. Square cut valves are quite common. All of the vintage Jeffries, a George Jones and a pre 1900 Crabb I've received in unrestored condition had square cut valves. Lachenal and Wheatsone seemed to have rounded valves from early on - although the photos from the Concertina Museum show square cut valves on very early instruments Alex West
  12. Wallace is extremely good and would be a good choice. If you're anywhere near West Kilbride, I could help get you started as well Alex West
  13. I use a glass fibre pen to clean off dirt and light surface rust. If the rust is too significant to clean off with a pen like this, then it's likely that the reed has been fatally compromised Whether it changes the tuning or not isn't really relevant to me as I'm usually going to be completerly retuning the instrument anyway - however, I don't think it removes a significant amount of good metal (and even if it does, it's uniformly distributed over the reed). In my experience, most of the rust seems to accumulate towards the middle of the reed so this is away from the primary tuning locations Alex West
  14. I agree with Jodie - when I was in Montreal for a spell, I found I could play along in the sessions quite easily (OK - within my level of competence at least!) with my GD concertina. Doesn't have to be a Jeffries or Jeffries layout though Alex West
  15. From the vintage and the playing, this might be Alf Edwards? Alex West
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