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Alex West

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Everything posted by Alex West

  1. I have a 28 key John Crabb in Bb/F if you're interested? Lovely wooden ends, dated by Geoff Crabb as circa 1876. I can send you more details if you let me know your email address Alex West
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. I bought some half-hard brass wire of the appropriate thickness in a small quantity from a harpsichord parts supplier and it's served me well. In retrospect, and in discussion with others, perhaps I should have ordered fully hard spring wire from the same source (which I think was an option) but the half-hard makes good springs with an appropriate stiffness/resistance (must be a better term than this!) Alex West
  17. I think the maximum of 32.34% includes online commission and VAT and only applies to online bids. I would assume that the VAT is applicable to Gardiner Houlgate's business, not the current owner. Absentee bids and telephone bids are also permitted so the buyer's premium in those cases would be 22% + VAT = 26.4%. Still a chunk of change but fairly standard for auction houses and maybe worth checking to confirm if one was intending to bid. Alex West
  18. Goodness! Well done Andy - now if only I'd kept a picture of the instrument (or knew who'd won it) I'd be much better informed! Alex West
  19. I stand corrected Stephen - my error. But if it was originally tuned to A=439, then my conclusion remains - there's no pressing need to retune just to move up to A=440Hz? Alex West
  20. Back to the original post - Everett, if you're happily playing along with other players in a 1927 original pitched instrument, then they're either all string players who can tune up to you or they're tone deaf. There's no way that you can play comfortably on an A=452Hz instrument with others in A=440Hz. If the others are happy to retune to you, then keep going - you don't have to change a thing. If you do decide to retune to A=440Hz, then the reeds won't necessarily be compromised. Sure, some metal will be removed (mostly at the root) but there are adjustments that can be made to the response to keep the reeds sounding well. Get the work done by someone who knows what they're doing and you'll be fine. The decision to go for an equal temperament or one of the unequal temperaments is a different decision and may depend on what the box is already in as well as what you prefer Alex West
  21. I had this issue on a concertina which originally had metal handrests so I replaced them with shaped wooden handrests which lifted the joints (which Chris Ghent so anatomically described!) and made it much easier. On another note, there are concertina players in Brisbane who might be able to let you try their instruments. I sold one there a year or so ago - a fairly basic Lachenal - but I know of at least one person there who has a stable of more exotic instruments. I'll ask and see if they're prepared to let you have a try - if lockdown permits... Alex West
  22. Alex No, the reed pans were clear and free of holes when I got the concertina. I tried the trick with screws but the bellows were still fouling the reeds at the intermediate position so rather than "nail gun" the pans with screws I decided to use the wooden wedges as a neater solution Alex West
  23. I had this issue in a bad way on one concertina I refurbished. Here's my solution - thin wedges of wood alongside the valves with the tallest part of the wedges where it would touch the inside of the bellows Alex West
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