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Alex West

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Everything posted by Alex West

  1. Indeed Richard - my mistake. The G makes perfect sense Alex West
  2. OK - All of the other keys I checked have the equivalent of A5 there - apart from the Bb/Fs which all have a G there when I would have expected a Gsharp. Apart from one Bb/F instrument which had a C in that position Alex West
  3. And I've just checked my records on Jeffries CG instruments - yep, they all have A5 there. I'll take a look at the other Jeffries in other keys for which I have maps and see if it's the same equivalent Alex West
  4. George Yes, the Ab/Eb is still available. I've attached a file with some more information and pictures and if you send me a PM with your email address, we can talk further. There's no drone under the left thumb with a 27 key instrument, and even if there was, it would typically be Ab/Ab. It would be possible to swap a couple of reeds around to get a Bb drone under the left little finger, or there's space to add an extra button and a couple of reeds to get a drone but that's a job for one of the makers I'd suggest Alex West C Jeffries AbEb.docx
  5. I thought that might be the case Ciaran but the element of doubt put me off bidding as high as you were obviously prepared to risk! With the cost of a new set of bellows, you must be getting close to the top end price for a Jeffries Duet though, add in the tuning of 102 reeds... Brave man! Alex West
  6. Joachim I used this method specifically to be able to re-use the leather end binding without damaging it. The pictures below show the edge binding I wanted to save and the new bellows built around the old leather. If you want to make a completely new bellows, then you don't need to take such care. If it's a vintage concertina, then it may well be a water soluble glue or a glue softened by heat. In my experiments, it came off without heat or water. In fact it may have been less messy as the old glue turned to powder when I ran the feeler gauge along. In a newer concertina, I would not be sure what glue might have been used to attach the leather to the end frame. No problem to contact me if you want assistance Alex West
  7. Joachim I'm not sure how good your English is or how Google will cope with the translation but here goes! I have done this so it's possible but I won't say it's easy and it is not without risk. It might be more easy or more difficult, depending on what the concertina is and how the bellows leather was glued to the frame. In my case, it was a vintage concertina and there was a layer of cloth glued to the frame and the leather was then glued to that, either using a starch glue or a rabbit skin (or similar hide) glue. Basically, I peeled back the chamois gasket at the edge of the frame and slipped a feeler gauge between the frame and the bellows. If you do this in the middle of a side, the glue seems to be weaker near the brass 'nut" where the end bolt goes and it's easier to get the feeler gauge in here anyway. Since I was going to re-cover the frame with new cloth, I wasn't worried if the cloth ripped but I was careful to keep the bellows intact. Once you can work the feeler gauge down the full depth of the bellows frame, you can then work it backwards and forwards to the corners and you should find that the leather/cloth comes free. You may have to wiggle the feeler gauge a bit and approach the corners from both sides and have a bit of patience. but with a time and small steps, the corners come free and it's possible to remove the frame. If you want any more help and think that I can assist, feel free to PM me Alex West
  8. Did anyone else see the Jeffries Duet which went at auction today at Sworders auction house? According to the declared condition, it sounded to be a bit of a wreck which makes the hammer price of £1,300 plus a buyers premium of 30% (inc VAT) a bit of a surprise. I don't see much change out of £2,700 to get this to playing condition and if it was bought by a dealer, that pushes the value up towards £3,000 which is surely a bit steep for a 51 key Jeffries Duet - even with the history of this one Alex West
  9. I suspect you mean Alex Holden, Dave. I've made new reed tongues but only to fit existing shoes. Alex H makes his own shoes (as do Steve Dickinson and Colin Dipper in the UK and possibly others I've forgotten) Alex West
  10. Robin I had exactly the same issue with a Lachenal New Model Duet which I restored. As Alex H suggests, the local jeweller helped me out and it wasn't too costly either Alex West
  11. In doing some research for one of my instruments, I looked at the Wheatstone price lists available over at the Concertina Library. My instrument is a special so slightly bigger than a typical 40 key Wheatstone but that was my starting point to see how much my concertina might have cost when it was made in 1921 and what it might have cost relative to the average wage at the time. I'm only the second owner of it and I'm still curious as to why the original owner commissioned it, whether he was trading up from something less expensive and what he might have played on it. My first note was that there seem to be more Duet pricelists over a wider spread of dates than for Anglos. My second note was that Duets seem to be quite a bit more pricey than Anglos. My third observation was that the price difference between a Class C or Model 62 40 button Anglo and a Model 36 46 key Duet seemed to be relatively consistent from 1910 to 1934 at around £7. I can't see any logical reason for the price difference between the Duet and the Anglo, given that the specifications are very similar. Obviously, the reed count is greater on the Duet, but if you try to work out a "cost per reed" and then a "cost per woodwork", "cost per bellows", the Anglo seems relatively quite a bit cheaper not only as a complete instrument but also on a "per component" basis. It's not easy to work out the cost compared to the average salary - that could be anywhere between 6% and 10%; that might compare quite well with a brand new Wheatstone, Dipper, Carroll.... Was this Wheatstone simply charging what they thought the market would bear as their Duet and English customers would expect to pay more than a typical Anglo customer (compared to the cost of a Jeffries/Lachenal/Crabb)? Any thoughts? Alex West
  12. I'd say Theo's got it about right - and very succinctly too! Dances are different in different places though so a tune played for Contra might be considerably faster than the same tune played for dancing in the UK (although there are regional differences even here - the tempo in Scotland tends to be a bit quicker than in Southern England where dances are "stepped" rather than walked or run through). I'd gauge ability in a slightly different way. To qualify as advanced, you should be able to keep up with a session playing a tune that you're familiar with, without fumbling for the note, slowing down for the tricky bits (and reciprocally not speeding up in the easy bits or where the triplets encourage folk to push the pace). You don't necessarily have to play at a breakneck speed - even in Irish music, there's a considerable variation in tempo between, say Mary MacNamara and Mohsen Amini - but your playing should be accurate and replicable, not just a lucky one-off! As for embellishments, I guess I'll leave others to comment, but I guess they mean that where there are grace notes, cuts, rolls and the occasional accompanying chord, you should be able to put them in without tripping over and losing the plot. I don't think it really matters whether you're playing alone, in a session or with a regular accompanist. Whether you choose to play fast, slow, with embellishments or unadorned can be musical choices rather than badges of merit. In a session, I very often adjust how and what I play in order to fit in with others in the room Alex West
  13. Yes, it's still available and I can send more information and pictures to your email address if you send me a PM. My best guess as to age is around 1880-1890. It has mahogany action boards and bone buttons Alex West
  14. Keith, Sorry to not reply earlier but I seemed to be having some problems with my computer or the site or both. I’m not a dealer and don’t run a shop. I play concertina and restore instruments as a hobby to get them back into playing condition. If you’re interested to know more about any of the instruments here, let me know your email address - via private message to be more secure - and I’ll happily send you more information, pictures and let you know what sort of price I’d like to get for it Alex West
  15. I've now sold the 33 key Lachenal and made the usual donation to cnet - Thanks for this site Paul. There's interest in some of the others, but nothing confirmed yet so by all means get in touch. I also have a couple of 20 key Lachenals which are nearly ready to ship - just awaiting new papers Alex West
  16. Chris Of course you're right - it's impossible to turn a poor Lachenal reed into a sparkling Jeffries, Wheatstone (or Dipper or...) reed, but not all Lachenal reeds are bad and it is possible to improve even a poor Lachenal reed. But only with even more work...!🙂 Alex West
  17. I'll admit that I did exactly this last year. I was "gifted" a very run down 39 key Lachenal MacCann duet with beaten up fretwork but reasonable reeds and reed pans and I converted this into a GD Anglo. It has to be said that this was not a trivial conversion as the action had to be totally reconfigured, (and I took the opportunity to make a better action than a Lachenal "gate" mechanism), I had to make new bellows, the ends had to be completely remade, the reed pans had to be adapted and I had to make a few new reeds - about 13 as I recall. What I've now ended up with is a very nice looking instrument which plays fairly well and doesn't have a tremendous amount of inherent value so that I can take it sailing with me and not risk a more valuable instrument. A new 39 key anglo with concertina reeds and a slick action would have cost me what - over £2,000? And how long would I have had to wait? The donor instrument was worth very little even if restored; the cost of restoration as a playable duet could have been significant; how many players - even beginners - want a 39key Lachenal MacCann? I did think about the ethics, but I'm confident I wasn't taking an instrument out of the stock of playable, worthwhile prospects. However, if someone asked me to do it again, or wanted my advice on how to do it, I'd question their sanity! Alex West
  18. Thanks for the reply Dave. I've since had it on very good authority that the instrument is more than likely (better than 90% certain) a Shakespeare, confirming what John Dipper thought. I don't think "my" instrument is very similar to David Aumann's - at least in the fretwork, but perhaps it does support the thinking that Shakespeare acquired his parts from a wide variety of makers. It'll remain a bit of a mystery, and it's now in a new home, but it still sounds and plays very well! Alex West
  19. Sure Bill It's a 39 key Jeffries pattern instrument in concert pitch and equal temperament, which I got from the late Paul Davies, rebuilt by me and tuned by Colin Dipper. Send me your email address via a Private message and I'll send you some pictures, a key map and a bit more detail Alex West
  20. The G Jones is now sold and a donation made to concertina.net. The rest are still available - make me an offer before I have to consider selling on ebay! Alex West
  21. Yes, Mark's still in business and supplying. I've been communicating with him about supplies very recently Alex West
  22. The difference in size in this case is rather small so wouldn't change the pressure/volume ratio significantly compared to a piano accordion. You could argue that a baritone concertina would have a very different ratio from a piccolo, but again, I'd suggest that the accordion would still be an order of magnitude different. I play Anglo, so I'm not sure about the English, but I prefer a slightly larger concertina, simply to fit my hand size Alex West
  23. Dana Where do you get your UHB20C steel in appropriate reed thicknesses from? Are there any UK suppliers for small quantities? Alex West
  24. The protrusion of the fretwork screw through to the action board face is fairly common I'd say. It looks a bit odd, and can be a source of a mysterious air leak until you put that screw in, but once it's seated, the leak goes away... Alex West
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