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Alex West

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  1. I came across Wheatstone number 2118 today in a collection of other instruments. It was a nice looking (as in well preserved) 48 button rosewood English instrument with 4 bellows and buttons (coloured, with letters on the tops) indicating that it was probably a student model. It had pine baffles as well and the case was an extremely handsome piece of woodwork. I didn't have time, equipment or liberty to open it up, but inside the case was a quantity of spare (?) brass reeds mounted on a rectangular piece of wood, neatly routed to house the reeds so I imagine it was original. I also didn't have any tuning devices with me so I don't know what pitch it was in. From the ledgers, this number appears to fall into the gap between the last of the 1848 numbers and the start of the 1851 numbers (so 1849 might be a good guess?). My questions are, would anyone out there have a better idea of the date? And was it common at that time to have included with the instrument a set of spare reeds? Alex West
  2. Niamh ni Charra (http://niamhnicharra.com) is half way through a small tour of Scottish folk clubs before heading off to mainland Europe with Carlos Nunez' band. A friend and I went to see her at Stirling folk club on Monday and it was a fabulous evening with a superb concertina player and all round good musician & singer. She has with her a tremendous young guitarist, Matt Griffin who nearly stole the show with his sensitive and witty accompaniment. You've already missed her at Leith last night, but there's still time to catch her and Matt at Irvine tonight (http://www.irvinefolkclub.co.uk/) or at Falkirk on Thursday (http://www.falkirkfolkclub.co.uk/) Alex West
  3. It's definitely happening - I attended a meeting of the planning committee earlier this week and Ian has some good guests lined up, bracketed by a seminar, sessions, concerts and workshops. This event is only held every 4 years and this year is extra special as it's Ian Russell's final year as Director of the Elphinstone Institute and professor at Aberdeen University If anyone is interested, by all means be in touch and that will give Ian and the committee the incentive to lay on some even more special events. Alex West
  4. I wondered whether to post this in the Education section or here in Construction and Repair. I caught this link in a bookbinding suppliers site and copy here the first paragraph or so of the conference below. Unfortunately, I'm just about to head off on holiday so don't have time to find out more about this conference and the first topic listed, but perhaps someone can check out whether this is about concertinas as we know them? As many here will know, bookbinding skills are at the heart of concertina bellows making so there's a good chance this is relevant? "25th - 28th August 2011 *The Society of Bookbinders Education & Training Conference at the University of Warwick SoB The Society of Bookbinders' eighteenth biennial Education & Training Conference will be returning to the University of Warwick. The university is 80 miles north-west of London. It lies approximately 7 miles from the towns of Royal Leamington Spa and Warwick, with its medieval castle, and 15 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Coventry city centre with its famous Cathedral is just 3 miles away. The Society is pleased to introduce some speakers to the Conference for the first time and looks forward to welcoming members and non-members to what is believed will be a most interesting, diverse and enjoyable conference. Speakers Cristina Balbiano d'Aramengo (Italy) - Challenging Concertinas a binding structure with multiple applications Clare Bryan - Scalpel Drawing Structures (see 'The New Bookbinder' vol. 30) Mark Cockram - Alchemy of the Book Maureen Duke - Binding Sheet Music & Other Flat Material etc.......... (There are many other papers listed)" Alex West
  5. Alex West


    If anyone wants an edeophone, there's one coming up at auction in the UK on the 16th April. http://www.semleyauctioneers.com. I've not seen it in person Alex West
  6. Hammer price was £3,200 so total cost including buyer's premium and VAT was £3,776. I hope the buyer had a good look at it and knew what it was he/she was buying - it looks awfully expensive if it wasn't the genuine article Did you go Alan? Alex
  7. The button layout looks like this one? (and similar to a Wheatstone 40 button layout) http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=110654722956#ht_1247wt_940 I'm no expert on Lachenal papers and bellowsgilding but this looks similar to Lachenal dspite the apparent lack of serial numbers Alex West
  8. Sale results 1 A Duet System Concertina by Charles Jeffries (2) £3,300 2 A Baritone Concertina by Wheatstone, London, circa 1900 (1) £900 3 A Duet System Concertina by the Jeffries Brothers, (2) £3,100 4 A Twelve Sided Concertina by Lachenal & Co, London, (2) £1,400 So the prices to the buyer including Buyers premium and VAT are: 1 Actually a 39 key anglo in C/G old pitch £4,092 2 £1,116 3 Actually a 39 key anglo in Bb/F in A=440Hz £3,844 4 £1,736 I'd reckon that the C/G anglo was about right for price but the Bb/F Jeffries Bros looks a bit high for what it is. I wouldn't like to comment on the Wheatstone duet and the Lachenal Edeophone Anyone know what the numbers in parenthesis are? Alex West
  9. I just noticed this C Jeffries at Eastbourne Auction Rooms coming up on 24th March. Superficially, it looks OK, but I'm suspicious about the font of the makers stamp and there are also aspects of the fretwork and buttons which make me wonder if this is genuine. No idea about the key. The reeds and the sound are what matter but I'm too far away to be able to check Alex
  10. Has he pulled it again? I was sure the last time I looked that the auction still had plenty of bids on it, had plenty of time to go - and has now ended with no bids and a starting price of 0.99p. I wasn't interested in bidding, just like others wanting to see where the price went to and how the story unfolded. Maybe he got lucky and someone offered the £6,000+ he was looking for? Alex
  11. Andrew £6,000 for a really good 30 button C/G C Jeffries, restored or with no immediate problems and in fully working condition wouldn't be exceptional I wouldn't have thought - prices might have come down if the recession in Ireland has depressed the Irish market but there are people around who have seen prices well above £6,000. Some of the instruments which clearly need a lot of work which have gone at auction or on ebay seem to have sold for prices which indicate that the repaired cost to the musician (ie auction cost, plus repairs, plus dealer's margin) are going to be at or above the £5,500 - £6,000 level. That's not to say there aren't bargains out there, and possibly this particular instrument is very nearly top-notch - unless you see and hear it, it's impossible to tell. I wouldn't have thought that a bit of wear and a missing end bolt would be very costly to replace if the rest of the instrument is in shape. If we're talking about the same instrument, I do notice that he's had some bids and that there's no indication that he had a reserve in place. If that's the case, I don't see how he can withdraw the instrument now without incurring the wrath of ebay? Alex West
  12. Dick I'm not so sure this is a Bb/F. When I tried to play the same notes as the vendor on his Youtube video and transposed them to match a "typical" Jeffries note layout, I reckon this sounds more like an Ab/Eb. Difficult to tell whether it's in concert pitch but it might be. There are a few unusual characteristics to it for a typical pre-1900 C Jeffries (with reference to the debate in your other post on dating Jeffries). It seems unusual to have the Jeffries stamp in an oval on both sides of the instrument, the buttons look a little larger than a "normal" C Jeffries and the shape of the "flower" opposite where the thumb buttons are seems slightly less detailed; more like a Jeffries Bros instrument? - maybe this is a transition instrument? I recognise this is purely conjecture without seeing the instrument close up, but I'm reasonably certain about the key Alex West
  13. Or from Celtic Chords for £290, though I don't know anything about that dealer other than what I see on their web site. I can vouch for Celtic Chords. The proprietor, Pete Murray is an irregular visitor here but well known in the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire music scene and has had his business for a few years. He's an enthusiastic and skilled melodeon, concertina and guitar player, runs a good business and tries hard to give good service. I think he's only recently taken on a dealership for Wim Wakker's instruments but has placed more than one order so is getting repeat business. He knows his concertinas! Alex West
  14. David Unless one went to see this instrument and inspected it, I agree it's difficult to be certain who made it, what key it's in, what condition it's in, how much it might take to get back in working order and therefore what it might be worth. With a "Private" listing, it's also impossible to know who bought it (unless someone here owns up) although it's possible that teh ebay "private" security might not work on mobile phone 3G browsers. Having said that, for someone with an adventurous disposition, the price paid isn't too far above what some people have paid for a 30 something key Lachenal anglo. This at least has 37 keys, a decent box, attractive wooden ends and the possibility of being a Crabb or Jeffries. Let's go mad - if it is a Jeffries and in C/G, what might it be worth in fully restored condition? The Button Box have two C Jeffries for sale right now, one a 31 key Bb/F at $9,200 and a 45 key C/G at $10,900; so let's say "ours" is worth upwards of around $10,000. At this level of value, it starts to be worth a punt - and if you were able to inspect it or get a reliable verdict from someone who had seen it, maybe this is a real bargain? Of course, as a number of us have found - getting a reliable verdict on ebay listings is often close to impossible - and the horrors when a box is opened can quickly destroy the adventure. In case you're wondering, no, it wasn't me - but it might have been if I'd been near a computer and while I think I know who might have won it, I think I should respect privacy and not speculate in public! Alex
  15. Shaun I can't claim huge knowledge of the subject but I've read a lot about the various temperaments in an effort to understand. As I'm sure you realise (and certainly if you've read any of Paul Groff's threads I'm sure you will) it's not as simple as meantone versus equal temperament - there are a huge number of different temperaments available from the 16th century to the present day aimed at resolving or enhancing the tonal and "colour" differences between the keys we play in in Western music. (There are a whole bundle of other temperaments and aesthetics to grapple with in Middle Eastern and Chinese music as well as some experimental Western music where the scale is not limited to 12 notes!) The purpose of this reply is just to point out that Bach - at least according to most modern references - did not compose "The Well Tempered Clavier" in order to highlight the benefits of equal temperament. Current opinion is that he was promoting well temperament, (which uses one or more of the sets of temperament between meantone and equal temperament to reduce or remove the harsh fifths and wolf notes) to illustrate the differences in colour and emotion between the different keys. I hope this helps Alex
  16. Apprentice I'm doing something similar at the moment with somewhat the same issues. You might be right about the key heights, but I think in my case, the wood has been so dry that in the ageing process, the holes have simply become bigger and the loops therefore looser in their slots. Your approach sounds OK as a fix - simply serrating the loop ends might also be sufficient to increase the mechanical grip of loop to wood; a dab of superglue would work just as well as epoxy and be slightly less messy Alex
  17. I didn't hear all of the sales but the Wheatstone Duet went for £1800 and the Jeffries 30 button was hammered down for £2900. The Jeffries looked in good condition but was Ab/Eb so in todays' market, that's probably about right for an instrument that may need work and tuning whether you're a dealer or an ordinary customer Alex West
  18. I've recently come across an old Crabb anglo with a card inside indicating that the box belonged to a Michael R Burn of Wimbledon, London in 1971 and that he'd restored it as a C/G, then re-tuned it to C/F for playing convenience. Has anyone ever come across Mr Burn? I was in London and on the folk scene from the mid 1970's but never heard mention of him Alex West
  19. From conversations with the vendor, it appears that the original owner of the three instruments was a NASA engineer of German origin who worked at Langley. The stickers on the case for one of the instruments indicate that he'd been to the NorthWest Regional Folklife Festival in Seattle and was associated with Mystic Seaport in Connecticut and the Mariners Museum in Newport News so maybe there's also a connection with the sea and shanties? Who knows - maybe someone here met the owner and his instruments over the years? My reading is that this was a person who knew his instruments and bought quality; but I guess I'll never know Alex West
  20. Tom What I meant was that, regardless of distance away from the owner, no-one here would be talking up the difficulty of the job or of the scale of work necessary, trying to persuade someone to part with hard earned cash to do work which was within the competence of the owner to do themselves. Of course, I haven't got expereience of all the posters, but all of the ones I've dealt with have been absolutely straight and honest. (By the way, I've no personal experience of Wim Wakkers' work, but I've not heard anything which would correct my sweeping generalisation either) But it seems fairly logical to me that however good the photographs are, a first hand visual inspection is always going to reveal more about what work needs doing than simply a good look at 2 D pictures. Sorry if I gave the wrong impression and I apologise to those who took offence - I thought I was passing compliments on our collective good behaviour! Alex West
  21. Lizzie We're really not trying to put you and your husband off, it's just that a few of us - myself included - have learnt through bitter, painful and costly experience that there's more to concertina repair and restoration than meets the eye. Even if one's woodworking, leather and metalwork skills are at a high craft level (and remember the immortal description of concertina making being the art of taking a sycamore tree, a goat and a steel ingot and turning them into a musical instrument), there's a level beyond the "mechanical" where the musician and the artist combine to produce the best out of an instrument. That's what the best restoreers are capable of and what the best instruments deserve. To focus on just one practical issue which you (or your husband) have, the wood of a Wheatstone of that vintage is not usually ebony but an ebonised wood, typically pear. The result of the ebonising process is that over time and if not looked after, the wood de-laminates and pieces break off - and it looks as though that has happened to yours. The wood can be stabilised with the right glue and pieces can be matched in either with ebony, another ebonised wood or even darkened resin, but it's not a process to be rushed. Once again, good luck - again, my advice would be to contact someone as local as you can to get some good first hand advice. The people on this forum are extremely unlikely to give such advice expecting to make a fortune out of "winning" the repair work. Best of Luck Alex West And as a PS, after seeing your note, from the photos you've posted, I wouldn't say that the valves are the biggest concern. They don't look in bad condition and they can probably be coaxed back into life - at least temporarily - while the rest of the instrument, action etc is rebuilt. If you do decide to replace them, the valve materal is quite critical; any old leather won't do - it's recommended to use only the leather from a "hair sheep" (look it up!) - best to get them from a supplier or from one of the makers you'll find on the forum. Wim Wakker's not too far from you I would have thought?
  22. Lizzie It'll help people to give you an estimate of value if you can let us know what the number is - that should identify the model number within Wheatstone's catalogue as even having said it's a Wheatstone, there could be special features which would increase the value - and also if you can let us have or post some photographs showing the damage and the condition of the reeds. I'm sure your husband knows what he's competent to do, but beware that some very amateur repairs may not be reversible and may decrease the value of the instrument considerably. Whereabouts are you? Maybe there's a specialist or knowledgeable contributor to the forum within easy reach who can give you some first hand advice? Congratulations on your purchase - perhaps you might take up playing it, rather than trying to move it on? Alex West
  23. As I'm sure you know Ralph, there's a big difference between an auctioneer's estimate and what the item will actually sell for. There was an auction in Maine (US) a couple of weeks ago where an unrestored wooden ended 26 key C Jeffries went for $2100 against the estimate of $800 whilst The Button Box has a fully restored Bb/F one for $9,800 - admittedly metal ended. The old problem of worth versus value I'm afraid. And now that we've told everyone about it, there'll be no more bargain! (But at least the seller should be pleasantly surprised) Alex West
  24. I don't know if anyone's seen this coming up for auction at Gorringes in Lewes on 8th September? Number is 29768 and it's a model 19 Aeola from 1923. There's a George Case English as well but I suspect this one is the star. Interesting that Gorringes have an estimate of £150-£200 on the Wheatstone and £200-£300 on the Case Alex West
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