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Alex West

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Everything posted by Alex West

  1. Wim I appreciate what you say about incompetent repairers destroying instruments by not considering the many complications involved in repair and restoration, but surely replacing pads and valves is at least relatively harmless as the process can be reversed (albeit by the subsequent use of the correct materials by someone who has teh necessary skills). The real nightmare would be incompetent tuning wouldn't it as the removal of metal is irreversible? I don't have any superior knowledge here, you will have seen many more concertinas than I have and you clearly have a very deep understanding of what makes them perform properly, but I'm a littel confused Alex
  2. Hilary I've sent you a PM with some suggestions Alex
  3. I don't know your liquid hide glue, is there a UK equivalent? anyone? Dave I got a liquid hide glue called "Titebond" from Axminster in the UK. It seems fine for all sorts of concertina purposes but it is hygroscopic and it remains tacky now for a long time where it would set hard when it was fresh Alex
  4. My recently acquired Duet is a 50 key Jeffries Bros in C. So we're now up to 12! The Oval stamp is 23 Praed Street, but there is also (crude) stamping on both ends for 12 Aldershot Street, Kilburn NW6. I'm not sure if this gives an indication that this is a late model or not (pure speculation, but perhaps C Jeffries Junior took some of the materials which had already been stamped as 23 Praed Street Jeffries Bros when he set up on his own. Was this an early way of him branding his work?). The fretwork is more similar to a "standard" Jeffries 38 button anglo than to the duets and larger anglos I've recently here and on e-bay. Mine needs a bit of work on it and there are indications in the box that it hasn't been played seriously (if at all) since 1942
  5. I was the buyer of the very recent Jeffries Duet on eBay at £1950. Next highest bidder was £1850 so there's a market at that level. I seem to recall another duet on eBay a couple of months ago and my recollection is that it sold for over £2000 but my memory may be faulty here - I couldn't locate it when I did a search for completed items. Don't yet know the condition but there will inevitably be some fixes to make in valves and pads. The fret patterns appear significantly different between the duets, even in ones of apparently similar vintage. Some are like Juanita's with "vertical" patterns, some are more like a larger anglo which are more floral. Is there any significance in this? Any thoughts? It looks like you got a bargain Peter! But they're all cheaper than anglos. If half the value of a concertina is in the reeds, then we've got a value equivalent to 1 and a half 30 key Jeffries which seem to go for £4000+! Although the real value of any concertina is surely in the music they make - priceless Alex
  6. Maybe this link has appeared before but I found this site amusing - and a good reference to accordions and concertinas in movies www.mediarare.com/MRFilmSq.html Alex
  7. As has been said in previous threads, the market decides the price and, as high as $5350 sounds, it doesn't seem totally out of line. I did a quick estimate of costs - obviously individual's circumstances would vary, but here goes, assuming a UK buyer. In adddition to the purchase price, there's the cost of money transfer - bank charges and exchange costs. There are also freight costs and import VAT - which fortunately would be 5% as it's over 100 years old and therefore an antique. This lot would push the cost up by £230 before getting it into the UK. As to repair, assuming a fully professional job, an action rebuild is going to be of the order of £200 with straightforward tuning at around £250. A replacement reed could be £5-10 and bellows I'm guessing at, but they could be £300 or so. The work required to get the reeds in a state for tuning could be over £100 and if the instrument is in an old pitch, then allow a bit more for extra tuning time. The action pan crack is going to take a bit of work to make it look beautiful and the exterior woodwork needs a bit of work - say £50 as an estimate? There may be other things go wrong during the repairs which would push the cost up and there's the cost of shipping to and from a repairer. The total comes to around £4300 - and for that you've got a fully restored smart looking modern pitch C Jeffries 39 metal button concertina. If you're a player, you've possibly saved a bit on the cost of a pristine one from the market assuming it plays well at the end of all the work. If you can do the work yourself to an acceptable standard, the costs would be less. If you're a dealer, you'll be looking for a profit - and I've no idea what the mark-up might be. Alex West
  8. Many thanks to all those who replied both on and off forum. The consensus - some of it very expert - is that it has a number of features which look like Crabb manufacture and there are certain similarities with Shakespeare. It doesn't look anything like the only Ball Beavon I've been able to see (apart from some action similarities which again could point towards a Crabb origin. I'm pretty certain it's not a Jeffries - not enough points of similarity - and it's possible it's had a few repairs - maybe even the raised fretwork ends are a remake? Given that there's no positive identification, the instrument remains a mystery. I hope I gave my friend good advice and she has a fair price for it Alex West
  9. Malcolm The mystery one-armed concertina player was Dave Brady of Swan Arcade (from whence came Jim Boyes, now of Coope, Boyes and Simpson). Nostalgia's OK, but it's not what it used to be! Alex
  10. Paul Very sorry you were caught by this. I haven't been checking out the eBay listings recently but I understand that the one you were caught by was the Jeffries which was advertised in Australia back in January. Lots of people thought that was a scam as the seller had a private listing and was also de-registered from eBay halfway through teh process. The good news was that there were genuine reasons and I ended up buying the concertina using a trusted intermediary. I didn't pay any money over until we were both absolutely sure that it was what teh vendor said it was. It doesn't help you I know, but my experience was that not everything that looks like a scam is a scam. However I was biting my knuckles until the box arrived a couple of weeks ago! I'll post separately on the Australian Jeffries sometime later when I've got to grips with it all. It's a high pitch Ab/Eb and the bellows definitely aren't supple! Alex West
  11. Martyn Perhaps it's not clear from the photographs but it's a riveted action. There seem to be certain similarities between this fretwork and the Shakespeare English that's in the Horniman (www.horniman.ac.uk/music/music/fra_data_10_58.html), and the McCann duet that's on eBay at the moment so I'm tending towards the Shakespeare theory Alex
  12. I've been sent this concertina to see if I want to buy it, but I'm having difficulty identifying it. There are no signs of a maker's mark, although the metal ends look like a roughly executed Jeffries pattern. It seems to be a 38 key Bb/F in an old pitch. A=449 is what it measures on my meter. Some of the notes seem to be in odd positions - I haven't mapped it fully yet but there are a couple of Csharps right next to each other on the left hand draw accidental row for example. It's got raised metal ends and the buttons are all metal. The bellows are plain and are quite flexible - the inside card is quite thin. Not fully airtight but not bad, but look more like a leather cloth than full leather - they don't look as substantial as a Jeffries. The pads and valves are pretty shot, but the instrument plays in tune with itself and is quite a nice tone - not very loud though. The keys are all nicely bushed but the plywood bushing board doesn't look as though it's ever had any felt in it. There are no signs of a maker's mark, although the fretted ends look like a Jeffries pattern. The Vickers name is plastered all over the inside of the pad plates and there's some indication of the name of a previous owner - and what looks like a date but it's been scribbled over. The reeds are a tad rusty and don't look desperately consistent - some with flat head screws and some with round heads. On some, the tongue screws are right at the edge of the metal - they look to be barely gripping I've been told (by someone who hasn't seen one) that it could be a Shakespeare, but I read elsewhere that Jones and even early Crabbs didn't always have a maker's identification. Can anyone help? any ideas? Alex West
  13. Chaps, I was the high bidder on this item and don't worry, I haven't paid any money over. I am in touch with the seller, he has a very genuine sounding story - there is an issue which eBay are looking into with him, but he has a plausible excuse and I hope to be able to conclude a deal with him. He certainly seems to be acting in an honest way to his difficulty. I have a bit of an issue with eBay in that the maximum bid system seemed to whack me straight up to the limit of the maximum bid rather than just increment it by just enough to beat the previous high bidder. There may be an explanation there. I'm in the UK, and have friends in the Sydney area willing to go and take a look at the instrument - and the seller - to establish credentials. However, they are non-concertinists and non-musical from what I remember. With your permission, Malcolm, I'll contact you off the open forum to see if the seller is in your neck of the woods Alex West
  14. Try this http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Vintage-Mahogany-Woo...1QQcmdZViewItem Alex West
  15. My apologies; when it comes to quality, we're in the realm of opinions. I may not be best placed to make clear comparisons and everyone will have their own opinion as to what makes the besy sound and what is the best concertina or best period for a particular maker. However, there is at least a historical distinction to be made between the concertinas which C Jeffries made himself, those which the Brothers made and the ones which were made for him by others. Maybe it's splitting hairs, but if C Jeffries didn't actually make this (or have it made in his workshop under his supervision), then it can't be one of his best. Other people - and Geoff Crabb is probably one of them - will be better placed to judge whether a Crabb/Jeffries is of similar quality to one of the later Jeffries Still seems a lot of money! Alex
  16. Whilst agreeing with Rhomylly that the starting price seemed high for a complete rescue job, the market sets the price. Here are a couple of pictures which the vendor sent me taken thrugh the holes in the bellows. There's going to be a lot of work needed to the reeds, let alone the action and the bellows. Also, this doesn't seem to be a Jeffries from the top drawer; although it has the C Jeffries maker stamp, it appears to be from the era when John Crabb was making them and before he made his own (according to the history articles on this site. The case is certainly not a Jeffries case. I'm not suggesting the vendor is misrepresenting - he makes it clear that he's not an expert, so caveat emptor. It's more slightly worrying that one of the questioners of the Japanese Jeffries tries to suggest that it is one of the best that money can buy and could be Kimber's concertina - a ludicrous suggestion. I do wonder who will get the job of restoring the English Jeffries, what he'll try to sell it for after restoration, how it will play and how it will be described then The selling price certainly seems well out of line compared with the genuinely top of the range lovely Wheatstone 46 key McCann Duet which went for £1260 something a couple of weeks ago. Alex
  17. According to the Horniman Ledgers, it's an 8 sided 67 key Duet (were they all McCanntype fingering?) of type 39 - the best quality - made in 1911. Sounds like a very nice instrument Alex West
  18. We live on a farm and when practising outside in the summer, (a morris jig with my wife dancing), we noticed after a while that all the cows were lined up against the fence watching and paying quite close attendance. I tried testing them later by waiting until they were at the end of the field, then started to play. Sure enough, after about 30 seconds, they came running up to the gate to see and hear what was going on. Obviously wasn't the wife's dancing then! The best audience I've ever had except they didn't clap much and didn't leave anything worthwhile in the hat afterwards. Alex West
  19. Chris It's really difficult to tell subjectively whether the side fretting makes any difference. My Dipper's a small G/D (5 5/8" across the flats) and the G row is an octave higher than a "normal" Jeffries G/D. This, plus the Dipper reeds means that the sound is extremely bright, piercing and loud. So much so that my wife and cat find it difficult to be in the same room when I play. I've never noticed the G row being muffled - again perhaps because the instrument is so bright anyway. On the other hand, in a very subjective test this morning, I couldn't really discern much muffling on my other boxes either - maybe that's my ears though. Maybe this topic is going somewhat off the thread? Perhaps a more technical person will open a new thread? Alex West
  20. Sorry about this, you must think I'm just teasing. I haven't got broadband at home and the file crashed after less than a third had made it to the post. If any of you are still with me, I'll try again from work when I can get the mp3 onto a memory stick Alex
  21. Here goes again with the MP3 of Christmas Tree (Kris Kringle) Alex West
  22. In reply to Mark, I've got a Dipper with similar fretted sides. This is Dipper No 104 and is very much a special Alex West
  23. You'll find a version of Kris Kringle on "A People's Carol", an LP published by Leader in 1973 as an anthology of songs sung at Christmas in pubs around the Sheffield and North Derbyshire area - a tradition which continues to this day. 04 Christmas Tree.mp3 If I've figured out how to attach properly, you'll find the MP3 here. I actually got this LP as part of my fee for the recording of "Bees on Horseback" - the first Flowers and Frolics record (The rest of the fee was another LP from Neil Wayne's "remaindered" box) Alex West
  24. Does anyone remember the name of the Scottish March tune played by the bands as Chris Patten (last UK Governor of Hong Kong) handed over Hong Kong to the Chinese? I remember it got a lot of coverage at the time and was being played as he left on the ship (Brittania?) It was described as his favourite tune and was certainly a nice one. Alex West
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