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Alex West

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Everything posted by Alex West

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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?
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. Here are some more photos of the concertina Alex
  15. I'm looking to sell this Rock Chidley English concertina which I've had for a couple of years. The instrument is number 1698 which dates it to between 1850 - 1860. The sharp eyed will recognise this from the eBay listing which I bought it from. I believe it had come from South Africa where it had been extensively modified - the bellows, buttons and fretwork are clearly not original. It needed a lot of work when it came to me; it hardly played at all so I worked on the action, reeds, bushings valves and gaskets and it's now a reasonable player - but I'm never going to get to grips with the English system so it has to go. The bellows are very good - they look as though they're going to be stiff but they're actually very supple. The action is pretty good for an old, hook style action and the whole box is now in concert pitch. It's obviously not a collectors piece so I'm realistic about the price I expect - but I would like to get my costs back. It has some antique feel and genuine concertina reeds and I'd say it plays well enough for a beginner/improver. Any offers before I put it out to eBay? Usual donation applies to anyone buying from cnet Alex West
  16. It's worth a look at a book titled "Interview with a Vamper" by Peter Barnes. The author mainly plays for American contra dances but his range of techniques is vast and the style of accompanimnet is basically similar Good Luck! Alex West
  17. Michael I've got a piece of rosewood which I got from a luthiers supplier as a half guitar back. It's 8 1/2" wide, 21" long and 3/16" thick (but it is as sawn and still needs sanding). I got it for a similar project on a Rock Chidley and it cost me around £25 including postage a couple of years ago. There are lots of different types of rosewood as I'm sure you know and I can't remember which this one is Alex West
  18. http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Miniature-Midget-Wheatstone-English-Concertina-1927-/350371363604?cmd=ViewItem&pt=UK_MusicalInstr_Keyboard_RL&hash=item5193c2bb14 I'm slightly surprised no-one seems to have picked up on this. Price seems high but it might appeal to someone given the heritage and provenance Alex West
  19. I haven’t got a 30 key C/G Jeffries but I do have some measurements for a G/D and an Ab/Eb which I’m afraid won’t help you much. The short answer is that the measurements between the rows are not a constant, neither is the dimension between rows and handbar and neither is the handrail height. If you look at any of the pictures, you’ll see that the rows are set out along a slight curve and that the handrail is straight. What’s not so obvious is that the curve is tighter at the thumb end than at the little finger end – although even that isn’t totally consistent; some buttons are closer than others. The vagaries of 19th century manufacture! Alex West
  20. Hammer Price was £2,400. Buyer's premium at Gardiner Houlgate is 15% with VAT on top of that so total cost was £2,823 Alex West
  21. Alex West


    And so to the results. The 50 key Duet - £1900 The 30 key bone buttoned C Jeffries - £3500 The rough looking 39 buttoned Jeffries - £3000 The 36 key Wheatstone - £2100 All the above are hammer prices to which should be addedthe buyer's premium, the VAT which makes some of them on target and others look a bit costly? Alex
  22. Given that a less than top model 36 button Wheatstone from 1937 went at auction unrestored fopr £2100, plus buyers premium, VAT and restoration costs, it'd be a shame if this didn't fetch rather more? Alex
  23. http://www.gardinerhoulgate.co.uk/Catalogues/mi190310/lot0048-0.jpg The attached picture shows a concertina coming up for auction this Friday at gardiner Houlgate. Interesting and unique massive concertina made by C. Wheatstone & Co., to celebrate their centenary, with McCann duet system and steel reeds, eighty metal buttons on foliate pierced metal ends and ten-fold bellows, inscribed on both sides "Property of Phil Goldman", 16" x 16", case *This concertina is reputed to be the largest concertina in the world and once belonged to the famous bandsman Phil Goldman. More recently this instrument has been in the collection of Ruth Askew and is illustrated in a biography about her entitled 'A Maid and her Music, Memories, Melodeons and related reed instruments of Ruth Askew' by Paul Marsh, see page 102* Estimate: 2000-4000 There are a few lachenals also in the sale but nothing quite as spectacular as this! Alex
  24. Alex West


    If comparing prices, please bear in mind that buyers' premium and VAT will add a fair bit. Also, depending on the condition, you may need to add a bit for repairs, refurbishment, new bellows, tuning and so on. If you haven't inspected the instrument, then there's a fair bit of risk here andan auctioneer won't necessarily have listed all of the issues with any particular instrument - they are selling as seen. The Wheatstone does look a little low, but the year and the model number indicate that this is one of the cheaper models so it may not have brass reed shoes, screwed reeds, riveted levers and all of the things that the "best" Wheatsones have. Also, it may not be in C/G which could affect the value Alex West
  25. Gavin You've missed one! I have 28853 which is described as a type "62 NP raised side 47 key" instrument - 48 keys if you count the air button. Mine is a straight C/G anglo - basically a 40 key instrument with a few extra buttons to give more options in push and pull. I believe Vic Gammon has a large Wheatstone anglo (more keys than mine I think) which may be one of the ones you've listed Alex West
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