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Alex West

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About Alex West

  • Rank
    Chatty concertinist

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Profile Information

  • 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. Alex West

    San-serif Jeffries?

    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
  2. Alex West

    WTB: Distressed Crane duet

    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
  3. Alex West

    Case for carrying 2 concertinas

    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
  4. You've seen brass reeds replaced by steel reeds before Wolf? Or do you have some experience of Mr Summerscale's work? Seems odd to do this to a 20 key instrument. Alex West
  5. I was recently "gifted" a 20 button rosewood ended Lachenal (No 38381) which is probably beyond repair. The interesting thing is that on both ends of the bellows are inscriptions from Wm Summerscales of Stuton via Leeds. On one side, in glorious copperplate - it says that he "tuned and repaired with steel reeds, Dec 22nd 1886. On the other it declares in pencil "Wm Summerscales, Sleeton tuner and repairer of Concertinas and Accordions" The instrument itself doesn't have the traditional Lachenal "Steel Reeds" stamps on the handrest so I wonder iwhy he said that he repaired with steel reeds, if the instrument came fitted with brass reeds and he really replaced brass reeds with steel reeds? Also the lever hoops are bent wire rather than the pierced brass which I'd expect from a fancy ended Lachenal I haven't had a really good look yet to see if the reeds look non-standard Lachenal. The reeds have light rust but the fretwrk is badly damaged and the action woodwork has woodworm so it's probably not a fixer-upper Anyone else come across Mr Summerscales? Alex West
  6. Alex West

    445 Hz?

    Before you get to the Button Box, there are quite a number of players either in or not far away from Toronto. I know Ontario's not a small place and journey times can be - significant - but it might work! Best of luck! Alex West
  7. OK Folks - is there any real use for a 39 key Lachenal McCann Duet? I've just been "Gifted" a metal ended one and it's in pretty bad shape. Most of the buttons are there but there's mould everywhere, the wood is falling apart, a lot of the reeds are rusty and I seriously question whether it's worth the effort of trying to put it back together. Normally, I'd bend over backwards to get it playable again but even if I cost my time at nothing, I wonder if it's any practical use? Is a 39 key Lachenal a good starter duet? It's just possible that I could turn it into a decent anglo but even that would mean making new ends, new bellows, some new reeds and levers. Any thoughts before I stoke the fire up and use the reeds as spares? By the way, it's number 1147 - 1900 or so? Alex West
  8. Alex West

    445 Hz?

    WHereabouts are you? It's more than possible that you're near enough to someone who has an instrument (of whatever flavour) you might be able to try before you make a decision Alex West
  9. I'm in the final stages of restoring a 62 key Lachenal New Model Duet no 755 - maybe from around 1890? What's puzzling me at the moment is that this instrument doesn't seem to be laid out the same way as other 62 key Maccanns in that it has only 25 keys on the Left (not 28) but has 37 keys on the Right, and instead of having a range from A2 to A7, it goes from C3 all the way up to C7. Lachenal catalogues of around the time seem to denote a 62 key instrument as a Baritone from Cello G or A upwards so this one seems to be somewhat higher (more like a tenor treble range?) and maybe a special of some kind. It seems to have the same range as a "standard" 56 key Maccann but with more overlap between the Left and Right hand. I'm not a Duet player so don't know if this would be normal - has anyone else come across this configuration and range before? Alex West
  10. Another question is raised; what is the difference between a Baritone-Treble model 14 and a Baritone model 20a? Same range, same number of keys, same price Alex West
  11. Alex West

    Broken End Bolt Jeffries Anglo

    Short answer is yes Alex West
  12. I'd say Scotland is one of the places where the English system is doing fine. Maybe older players still out-number the younger players but without doing a detailed head-count, there seem to be more English than Anglo instruments around. Having said that, there is rarely more than 1 concertina player at any given session Alex West
  13. Alex West

    Concertina care

    With regard to playing a concertina close to the sea, here's where my experience differs. My main squeeze is a Jeffries G/D which I got nearly 10 years ago. I live quite close to the Firth of Clyde (within 500 metres) and we occasionally get salt storms which are bad enough to take the tender shoots off plants and turn the leaves of the trees brown. We sail during the summer and I always take a concertina on the boat with me for up to 3 months at a time. It's usually the Jeffries although one year it stayed home while I tried a less valuable instrument - but the joy of playing disappeared so I haven't tried that again. I don't play in the rain or when the waves are crashing over the sides but I do play outdoors. On reviewing the correspondence here, I thought I ought to take a look inside at least to check the reeds - not a sign of rust or tarnishing. Maybe I've been lucky but I don't think it always has to be the case that playing concertinas close to the sea necessarily involves replacing the reeds frequently Alex West
  14. I'd echo Frank's caution - before leaping to conclusions about the cure, have a good look around to see what's causing the problem. If it's the pad failing to close it's unlikely to be something stuck in the reed (so bashing the concertina, however gently isn't the cure - and in any case, there are gentler ways to remove dust from reeds). The logical answer is that there's something preventing it closing - which could be: something physically in the way a misalignent of the lever mechanism (which might be the staple rising) friction in the action mechanism either at the lever pivot, at the button where it passes through the fretwork (unlikely with a Lachenal 20 buttin but possible) a weak or poorly performing spring There may be other issues associated with the above but the cure will depend on the problem. If it's a weak spring, then removing and regluing the pad isn't necessarily going to fix it. If it is the humidity, waiting until spring probably isn't an option! Alex West
  15. Alex West

    Pierced Metal Sides

    Mike The cross row fingering is indeed different. It was made for a specific person playing Southern English music in an idiosyncratic style but he was an anglo player first (although he did gravitate towards Cajun button accordeons before giving up free reed instruments entirely and becoming a proper musician - saxophone and drums!). Since I now play normally configured anglos, it's harder for me to get the most out of the Dipper but I still get it out occasionally for a bit of exercise Alex West
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