I was talking with Harold Herrington and he sent me an e-mail to let us know "What's New" here it is:
Indeed, what has been happening with Harold Herrington? Well I am alive and well and still making what I believe to be one of the best accordion reed concertinas in the business. Production in 2003 was off a bit due to my time being taken up with some personal matters, however, 2004 should be a very good year. In addition to producing 30 button instruments in C/G and G/D, Wheatstone and Jeffries system, we are now also producing a very interesting 24 key concertina built on a 5 7/8" hexagonal body. Now before you dismiss this instrument out of hand, because of it having only 24 buttons, let me tell you a little about this truly outstanding little concertina.
The 24 key concertina we have developed is the result of a collaboration between myself, Frank Edgley of Windsor, Ontario Canada, and Jacqueline McCarthy of Oranmore, County Galway Ireland. Jacqueline has long been an expert player of this fascinating little concertina. It was built by Wheatstone back in the late 1800's or early 1900's. The concertina has two rows of six (6) buttons on each side. These buttons incorporate the standard keyboard for the keys of C and G, but at the top of each row are added accidentals that make the instrument fully chromatic. We have made some alterations in the Wheatstone keyboard to make it a concertina specifically designed for play in the keys of G and D. Let me give you the logic behind our design.
If playing Irish jigs and reels one will play primarily in the keys of G and D, and on rare occasion in the key of A. Of the 30 buttons available on a 30 key instrument, one will rarely if ever never use more than 18, or possibly 19, of those buttons. What the 24 key instrument gives you is all the notes you need, in the bellows direction you need, and eliminates the ones you will never use. It is set up very much like a well designed 36 key instrument, but with the third row removed.
The accidental buttons give you the following notes, (push / draw). On the left you have A# / C# in the C row, and F# / G# in the G row. On the right side you have C# / D# in the C row, and F# / C# in the G row. This system gives you the essential F# and C# in both directions of the bellows. The accidentals being placed under the index fingers helps in making the system easy to learn. This is particularly true since the home keys for C and G are the same as on a 30 key instrument.
The real kicker is that having fewer buttons, the concertina can be produced in a smaller body and at a lower cost. We pass this savings on to the buyer, and business on this instrument is brisk. I have agreed to supply Ms McCarthy with concertinas, but the impact of the VAT on imports into Ireland is a problem we have not been able to find a way around. I'm still working on it.
Anyone wanting more information on the 24 key concertina should feel free to contact me by email or telephone.
I have also once more started production of finger joined hexagonal cases. I built these in the past, but because of the difficult and time consuming setup required to make the 120 degree finger joint, I stopped making or offering them for sale. I recently made a special presentation case, covered in leather and lined with a Jacquard loomed brocade material. The case looked so nice I decided to look into once more offering them. I spent about a week-and-a-half designing and building a special machine fixture. This fixture will allow me to make the 120 deg. finger joint, while reducing the setup and construction time. I am offering these hexagonal cases in standard and custom sizes, and in two models. The models will be "Standard Grade" and "Presentation Grade". "Standard Grade" is covered in a tough leather grained vinyl with a padded fancy cloth liner. "Presentation Grade" is covered in a handsome and tough genuine leather and a padded Jacquard woven liner. Pricing is yet to be worked out, but I expect to make the price reasonable and within reach of anyone owning a fine concertina. We will make these cases in custom sizes as well as the standard sizes.
A word about hexagonal cases. Most of the "vintage" hexagonal cases have come apart at some time in the past due to the weak corner joints. The finger joint, in which the joining corners are notched and glued together like intertwined fingers, eliminates this problem. My finger joined hexagonal cases, whether covered in vinyl or leather, are both handsome and strong. We guarantee the glue joint not to fail. If interested please email or phone. Email is email@example.com . Telephone and Fax 972-288-7007. I have only the one phone line which serves for telephone, fax, and ISP connection. If you phone and neither I or the machine answer, it means I am probably on-line. Email me and I will call you back.