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Alex West

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About Alex West

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    Chatty concertinist

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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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  1. Well, maybe it is an A/E! I only suggested an Ab/Eb in a high original pitch (and 460Hz was a guess rather than knowledges of a particular "standard" old pitch) because Ab/Eb concertinas are quite common and I've only come across A/E in instruments which have been tuned up from Ab/Eb to suit the fiddle keys (as opposed to the brass instrument keys). Mind you, it's also reasonably common in old instruments to see reeds stamped with note letters which are an approximation of what they might be rather than the actual. Do the reeds look original, or as though they've had a lot of filing post-manufacture? Alex West
  2. Sprunghub I wouldn't say that this looks particularly unusual; to me the core 30 buttons look like a typical Ab/Eb originally tuned to A = 460Hz (or maybe even higher). That would sound uniformly sharp against a tuner referenced to A=440Hz. Okay, some of the ancillary notes are not what I'd expect but I don't think they're particularly odd Alex West
  3. Here's my solution - not very hi-tech, but effective Alex West
  4. We might both be right Bill; the commission depends on if you were there in person, on the telephone or using the bidding online system. I know some of the larger Jeffries might be duets, but even some of the large button formats were always anglos - and this particular one looks to have started out - with the fretwork at least - as a standard anglo Alex West
  5. Did anyone else see this Jeffries Bros concertina at auction this morning at the Plymouth Auction Rooms? It's a curious beast which looks like a "standard" 39 key Jeffries but with extra rows of buttons slotted into the fretwork on the left and right to make a 46 key instrument (Air button's missing though) It went for a hammer price of £2,000 which means a total cost of £2,480 before restoration - not a bad price! (Not me though - I saw it too late to register) Alex West
  6. I can't imagine how painful a 3mm diameter button would be! Over the range of concertinas I've measured, the smallest diameter buttons have been 4.1mm (a number of Jeffries) and the largest diameter 7mm on a Jones. The most comfortable size for me is 5mm but the comfort does depend on the flatness and radius of the ends Alex West
  7. I have the key map for a different F/C Shantyman concertina which confirms that the two left hand buttons are an F drone and Eb/C# and I'd expect the ButtonBox one to be similar. The air button on an anglo is under the right thumb (any exceptions?) I've a 50 key Ab/Eb Jeffries Anglo (50 plus air) but in a 6 3/8" body - it's a tight squeeze! Too difficult for me to post many pictures here but I can send a dropbox link if you're interested, Alex. I've just finished restoring a large Lachenal 62 key duet withou an air button - it seems odd at first but I think the duet player I've loaned it to for an extended test won't find that a big issue Alex West
  8. Charlie If you look for the Red Star Brigade on Youtube, you'll find videos of a session I used to go to just outside Aberdeeen. The videos concentrate on a couple of the accordion players, Jim Halcrow from Shetland and Charlie Lawie but I'm there to the left of the screen, playing anglo. I played a GD anglo for most of these sessions but there were a limited number of tunes which fitted better (for me) on a CG Alex
  9. I meant to add - in terms of the "correct key", I wonder if there is one? If the tune was composed for and played on the Highland pipes, then it would probably be in something close to Eb or Bb. (See this article for some explanation http://www.leodpypz.com/skmqa019.htm). If it was for the small pipes, then, depending on the chanter, the tune might be played in one of the sharp keys. If it's been written or adapted by a modern fiddler, then A or D is common If you're playing by yourself for your own amusement, you can play in whatever key you like and can adopt whichever technique suits you. The same applies if you're introducing the tune to a session and nobody already plays it. In a more established session, there are two opinions in typical Scottish sessions; 1. The tune was written in this key, contains these notes, grace notes and variations and can be played no other way. If you don't know the tune and can't play it exactly as written, then leave your instrument in its box and don't join in until you've learnt it properly. 2. The correct key for the tune is whichever key the starter of the tune plays it in. Whichever way the lead player takes the tune is the "right" way. Everyone who wants to join in should play in that key and adapt their plaing to suit the "lead" player (or play a non-clashing accompaniment - a "second box" approach). I've played in and enjoyed both types of session but it's important to know which company you're in to preserve dignity! My own view as an "ear" player is that everyone learns the tunes in a different way and from different sources so regional and personal variations are possible so I prefer the second approach I hope that helps; the Anglo concertina and the pipes go very well together so there's no reason that tunes written for one shouldn't be played on the other - go ahead and enjoy playing Alex West
  10. There may be a few more players of Scottish music on the English than on the Anglo but it's by no means impossible, nor should it send your brain into contortions. I play a G/D anglo in the "along the rows" (and crossing when I have to) style. On a C/G, you might need to adopt the Irish technique of Anglo playing to get the fluency in the tunes. 2/4 marches, 3/4 marches, 6/8 marches - all are possible Alex West
  11. Even more ridiculous price since they're missing one of the reed holding plates and yet are described as in "very good condition"! Alex West
  12. You can also get felt from Steve Dickinson - maybe slightly pricey per sq m but at least he sells it in small quantities suitable for a single concertina rather than a minimum order from a larger supplier and he knows eactly what's required in terms of thickness and composition Alex West
  13. David This doesn't look like a genuine Jeffries to me. The sans serif, the button layout, the bellows papers and some of the fretwork details all look non-standard Jeffries (and I've said as much to the auctioneer) Out of curiosity, what key is it in? Alex West
  14. I was out of reach of an internet connection but knowing you were interested Steve, I probably wouldn't have bid anyway - but did you get it? It seemed to sell for rather more than I thought it would given the unknown provenance, date and internal condition Alex West
  15. Here's my solution. The case is made by an Italian company called Melano which used to have a Dutch distributor (I think). I've searched online but not found them still trading unfortunately. I got it as a toolbox in a Norwegian yacht chandlers (sadly now closed) and with suitable foam padding, it holds two concertinas very nicely with space for a paperback and other small incidentals. It's not light but it is robust (plywood covered with leather) and it's travelled with me on many flights in the overhead locker. Alex West
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