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Alex West

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Everything posted by Alex West

  1. Patrick The fretwork ends look very similar to an 1870's J Crabb that I have. Mine has a J Crabb stamp in the woodwork on the "push" side of the reed block and the serial number is on the underside of the action block - on both the left hand and right hand side. It's firly unusual I think to have a Crabb without an identifying stamp or number - unless it was one made for one of the other "Manufacturers" (such as Ball Beavon or Jeffries I've been told that the left hand action can be a distinguishing feature of Crabb vs Jeffries (but I've forgotten what the difference is supposed to be - I suspect it might be more to do with the date of manufacture rather than the Crabb vs Jeffries distinction) and it might be worth sharing a close-up of the bellows papers Alex West
  2. Don't keep us in suspense Robin - what are the new anglos you're getting? Alex West
  3. Happens all the time. I was called out to fix a friend's concertina a couple of weeks ago - he was convinced that the reed was broken and that dire things had happened. I took all my gear with me - not so much in the expectation that I could make a new reed at his flat but at least to show that I was taking the problem seriously. When I opened the instrument up all I could find at issue was that the reed shoe was ever so slightly loose in the slot. When I put the box back together as a trial, the reed was sounding fine. More to prove that I'd done something rather thanjust blown pixie dust over it, I put a sliver of paper round the end of the shoe. Problem fixed; one happy camper! Alex West
  4. Daniel It's certainly a low "Buy it Now" price. It looks to be a C/G but it's been heavily worked on over its life - and not by a professional by the looks of it. It might take a bit of work to get it working nicely and the new bellows papers aren't going to do that! If I were in Houston still, I'd try and take a look; that would be the test of whether it's genuine or nt Alex West
  5. Try Roy Whitely at Accordion Magic http://www.accordionmagic.com Alex West
  6. I've had some success with a feeler gauge inserted between the leather and the wooden frame (or fabric if there was a fabric under layer), going very carefully and slowly. The bond isn't always that strong; a bit of dampness might help but you could try it dry Alex West
  7. I may be able to help. I've a restored metal ended Shakespeare 39 key in BbF and an unrestored John Crabb 28 key also in BbF and wooden ended. The Crabb is a very nice looking instrument in old pitch. Not much needs doing to it - I just haven't got round to the necessary pad/valve/spring etc replacement and re-tuning. They'd both be a bit more expensive than Sean's Crabb (but that was exceptionally cheap IMHO) although cheaper than the equivalent vintage of Wheatstone/Jeffries Let me know if you might be interested Alex West
  8. I suspect that part of the issue with Mohsen's playing and the older generation's reaction to it is the separation of traditional music from the dancing which mostly - not exclusively - it was originally applied to. Within the English traditional music scene, the emphasis on dance rythyms and the 1970's pushback to play traditional tunes slowly for dancing (as opposed to the 1950's and 60s fashion to play tunes at a speed such that a walking or running step was favoured and that stepping was impossible) has meant that such bands and "young guns" as there are have largely maintained a resonable pace. Experimentation with jazzy chords, twiddly transitions are there to be found, but even the more avant garde players seem to have stuck to the script. I've lived in Scotland for the last 14 years or so and have noticed that within the general heading of traditional music, there are a lot of sub-cultures and they don't tend to mix much with each other. The highland pipers don't tend to play in combination with other musicians (even the solo pipers keep their distance from the pipe bands!), the box & fiddle community don't tend to mix with the folk club community, and there's a big distance between the folk who play for Royal Scottish Country Dance Society type dancing and the folk who play traditional tunes but for listening to rather than dancing. The RSCDS players play extremely strict tempo but it's recognisably in the tradition that William Hannah, the Wyper Brothers and Jimmy Shand would recognise. I'm not sure when it happened, but there was a time when a younger generation in Scotland tired of the tempos and traditional tunes required for dancing and started playing more for concerts and for people to listen to. In order to keep the audience's interest - and perhaps to satisfy a younger ear - the playing became faster, more new tunes were written and more themes were borrowed from other genres and traditions. Silly Wizard, Red Hot Chillie Pipers, Salsa Celtica, Treacherous Orchestra - and many others. Even Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham (with at least one of them deeply rooted in the tradition) now play at a speed which would be impossible to dance to - even with a running step. And the concert goers love it. But what this means I think is that there's the potential for several traditions to co-exist which doesn't happen so much in other traditional music settings Within the modern Scottish "tradition" there are a number of young bands who love the repetitive riffs, jazzy chords, noodly bits and it seems to have become something of a fashion. So much so that I've stopped going to Celtic Connection festival as so many of the acts I want to see have support bands who - to my ageing ears - have no Celtic connection whatsoever and no sense of the tradition which they have been shoe-horned into Mohsen adds to this Scottish trend another sub-culture which is the "Irish within Scotland". In a number of the sessions you'll find across Scotland, particularly amongst the younger players, it can be hard to find a Scottish tune. In summary: I'm sure there's an age thing going on I don't think you can blame competitions and awards I think there's a complex Irish/Scottish basis to what Mohsen is basing his playing on rathger than any single definable "tradition" I'm sure he's experimenting with just what he can do with the tunes, his instrument and his skill level I think he's a fabulous player but I wouldn't necessarily want to listen to 2 hours of some of his stuff I'm looking forward to reading the Tony MacMahon paper - thanks Peter! Alex West
  9. David I've only had one 30 key C/G C Jeffries in my hands as a reference - which I think it was probably a late 1890's early 1900's version - and that was identical to Juergen Suttner's layout. I've had other 30 key Jeffries in other keys (both C Jeffries and Jeffries Bros); I haven't time to transpose them tonight but I'm pretty sure that they were the equivalent of Juergen's layout Alex West
  10. Brian - I hesitate to try and correct someone so experienced, but based on the limited sample of "big" Jeffries and Crabb anglos I have and have seen, it's by no means certain that they are "highly likely" to be converted Jeffries duets. On the two instruments I have most familiarity of, a 45 key G/D and a 50 key Ab/Eb, the reeds are all uniquely marked and in the locations you'd expect for a regular anglo, rather than with a number of reeds tuned differently from their stampings as you might expect for a duet conversion. The Ab/Eb in particular is in high pitch (and possibly also un-equal temperament) and came from the US in pretty bad shape where it had been used as a donor instrument for levers (not fortunately reeds!) so was most unlikely to have been retuned as one could expect for a UK sourced, modern pitch, equal tempered instrument. I wonder if the popular wisdom of "all big Jeffries anglos are retuned duets" - which I've heard a lot of times - is a piece of folk wisdom which is not actually correct? Alex West
  11. Stuart If you send me a PM with your e-mail address, I can send you the note layouts for three 45/46 keys and a 50 key Jeffries Anglo. The format I have them in is too big to post here. The Button Box also has 2 big anglos for sale together with their layouts. Alex West
  12. Chris or Greg What size punch or press do you use for the flatening of the rod? Alex West
  13. I've just checked a C Jeffries F/C 32 key anglo and that had a very neat scallop cut into one pad hole on the lowest F reed on the left hand side - so they did exist, probably pre-1900 even on the smallest anglos. Also seen them on a Dipper but not on a Crabb Alex West
  14. I'd say the Ab/Eb is reasonably common - at least as common as Bb/F and more common than G/D, F/C and D/A - but my sample size is quite small. On the old Cnet front pages there was an article (maybe it was by Wes Williams?) which compared the quantities of instruments made in the different key combinations. If you can find that article then you'll be closer to the precise answer. Needless to say, I don't get much opportunity to play the Ab/Eb with other people so I've kept one of mine in old pitch as the existing tone is so wonderful, but the combination of a lower, less harsh tone than a C/G with most of the penetrating quality (more than you'd get with a G/D or F/C) is very attractive. What a shame you missed Dick Glasgow's 39 key Jeffries (sold on ebay very recently) which was an Ab/Eb in an older pitch! Alex West
  15. Following on from Greg's research in the Horniman ledgers, I was having a browse for all the Anglo instruments larger than 40 keys (for another but parallel purpose). Between 1910 and 1930, Wheatstone made 22 instruments described as "Type 62, or "Special AG" or "AG Duet", with numbers of keys varying between 46 and 74. Of these, 8 are specifically called AG Duet - but I know that at least 2 of these are basically straightforward anglos with an extra row of "drone" notes - ie they play the same not in both directions - like the one that's always cropping up on ebay. I've excluded the McCann and Crane system from my count; McCann system duets have a Wheatstone catalogue type number and Cranes are specified. I know of a few of the instruments in my count that are basically anglos with more keys - more options for notes in both directions. There has been communication about some of these in previous threads. So, given that Wheatstone may not have been completely consistent in their nomenclature for instruments which weren't catalogued, there are possibly between 6 and 16 instruments which are Wheatstone's "version" of a Jeffries Duet? Alex West
  16. It does seem a good price but it's possible that import duty into the UK (or Europe generally) for an instrument less than 100 years old would make it less attractive Alex West
  17. I have a 26 button wooden ended Jeffries - stamped Jeffries as per Mike Byrne's post - and an unmarked wooden 26 key which has been attributed to crabb. They do look a little different in the fretwork and they sound a little differnt but the reed shoes don't measure significantly differently. Someone who's seen more of these than I have dates them later than you might suppose, so maybe they are from the period when Jeffries made their own concertinas. The stamp is identical to the stamp on my 45 button which I think is clearly later than the J Crabb era. I know Dan's instrument, and the sound is as nice as the "Jeffries" 26 key I have. As far as I was aware, the previous owner and the restorer (who has also seen more instruments than me) both attributed it to Jeffries rather than Crabb. I agree with Chris, the sound of the 26 key is very full and doesn't have the harshness that some Jeffires C/Gs can have - it's close to being my favourite. Congratulations David - if my server hadn't crashed at the last minute, it might have been me starting this thread! Alex West
  18. Jim I've not been myself, but I think the Babbity Bowster session on Wednesdays is in the afternoon rather than the evening. Jim Kane (you've met him at the Arran Concertina Event) would know and Samantha has his contact details. I'd offer, but we're hoping to get away sailing this weekend and suring the time you're here. Tickets booked for the Islay Whisky Ceilidh at Port Ellen on Monday 25th! Alex West
  19. Rikki It might "just" work on endbolt screws that screw directly into the wood and I've done something similar on an old 20 key Nickolds . I can't remember but I think that those screws were a larger diameter even than 3/32" which is the maximum diameter of the Stewmac device. It won't work on the Jeffries/Crabb/Wheatstone type of bolt which screw into a brass "nut". Underneath the nut is a clearance hole so the problem is at the brass "nut", not in the wood itself Alex West
  20. In my UK newspaper yesterday was a short article under a "United States" banner: "Two bagpipers have forced a rethink of the ban on ivory after customs agents impounded their pipes as they returned from a competition in Canada. US law prohibits importing ivory taken after 1976 and the bagpipes containing the material were older, but were siezed anyway. The Fish and Wildlife Service said musical instruments would now be exempted." The short piece doesn't answer all the questions that might arise, but it appears that US customs at least are relaxing the rules. I wonder if this applies to other previously proscribed materials? Alex West
  21. The Blue Lamp is definitely going to feature in the programme both as a concert venue and as a session pub Alex West
  22. Wolf The pricing for the event is currently being finalised; keep your eyes on the buttonboxesandmoothies.com site for more information or I'll post another update here when registration opens - unfortunately, I know I won't be at the next committee meeting. But we have been told to distribute the flyer widely so I have! Alex West
  23. Here is the flyer for the Button Box & Moothies event - good cast list eh?boxes and moothies (4).pdf I'm on the organising committee so I'll definitely be there! Alex West
  24. Orm PM sent regarding a 26 key wooden ended Crabb Alex West
  25. Steve Congratulations - that's a very lucky find, especially knowing the family history. From the photographs, it doesn't look as though the instrument has been played much at all and the cupboard has protected it well - I've seen plenty worse! By the looks of the reeds, it's a CG - have you found out whether it's in concert pitch or not? On to your questions: Repairing the veneer can be quite tricky - the likelihood is that it isn't ebony but an ebonised wood and it's very fragile - are the chips really that significant? The joints don't look too bad - the end action boxes don't take any significant load which would cause them to spring apart so reinforcement isn't usually necessary. No reason to use hide glue unless you want to be able to remove it and disassemble the parts in future. There's a prooduct called Chair Doctor which is a thin aliphatic resin glue designed to get into small cracks. I've found that to work pretty well in this type of application perhaps with a bit of light clamping. A tiny bit of sideways movement in the levers isn't a problem and unless the rivet holes are worn oval (sufficiently that you should replace the whole lever assembly) why not leave them alone? If you were thinking of removing any slop by tightening the rivet (ie hammering), I'd suggest that you could cause more problems with a tight joint than you currently have with a slightly loose joint. If you did need to remove a lever assembly for any reason, you shouldn't need glue to secure them back in. Replacing pads, springs, bushings etc is a "normal" service job but it can be tricky to get everything lined up and working again afterwards. You need a lot of patience! Rust, what rust? These reeds are pretty clean - certainly compared to others I've seen. What light rust there is on a very few of the reeds will likely come off in the tuning. A light brush with a fibreglass pen can remove wha rust there is but this is mostly cosmetic. It's not wise to use a chemical cleaner or oil. Why does the gasket need replacing - is there any leakage of air? Why remove it if it's doing its job? Not every corner had a reed pan support originally; in some cases, the pan support is not actually in the corner as it can clash with the reed. You do look to have one or two missing but when you replace them (pretty obvious where one has been glued before) you may find that any leaks you had from the gasket are no longer there Bellows do look original and in good condition but one or two of the internal cloth hinges seem to have come unglued. Theses need to be glued back down as this joint is critical to the bellows integrity. I use a vinyl wallpaper paste - a weakish PVA. The stiffness will ease with use, but you could use a good wax show polish on the exposed leather to help the dryness. Don't be tempted to use anything solvent or oil based as these could dissolve the glues holding the bellows together. You probably don't need to contemplate bellows replacement and even if you do eventually need a new set, that can be completely independent of the other work you're getting done For tuning and voicing, you should definitely find an expert. There are a few in East Anglia and one or two in Essex including Steve Dickenson in Stowmarket who still makes new concertinas and does repair and re-furbishment as C Wheatstone & Co - easily found through Google. Steve can also supply you with any materials (leather, valves, springs, pads, bushings etc) you need. There are other sources for materials and parts, including Concertina Spares and any of the makers - either UK based or further afield Best of luck! Alex West
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