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Posts posted by inventor

  1. I can't imagine why the 7" Peacock has so few reeds. I designed the Russian made Hayden Duet that Samantha has. It is a 7" Concertina with no less than 65 buttons ! The reeds were all laid out flat parallel to the ends. I will look out my old designs to see how I did this and how a 44 button Hayden fitted into the 6.25" size.



  2. To Don regarding design for a 46 button Hayden Duet.


    The 46 button Wheatstone Hayden Duet is the standard 6.25". It of course uses traditional concertina reeds set radially, with 21 buttons on the left and 25 on the right.

    The Crabb 45 button Salvation Army Crane duet is only 6" across. The traditional concertina reeds are set up and down as is common on Crabb concertinas. Left hand side - 20 buttons, 8 up, 8 down, and 4 in the middle; but there is enough space to put an extra pair of reeds on the right hand side of the left hand reedpan. Right hand side - 25 buttons, 9 up, 9 down, 5 in the middle, and 2 sideways (one at each end of the reedpan). I tried one of these which had been very much used and did not notice any difference in the timbre of the edge and centre pan notes.

    I have had concertinas from new which have some reeds on the centre of the reed pan. The difference in timbre was quite noticeable when brand new, but this has settled down to be unnoticeable after a good time of playing. These concertinas all had the centre reeds properly routed into the centre of the reed pan, not screwed in.

    With rectangular accordion reedplates all screwed onto the equivalent of a reedpan, I cannot see why there should be any difference in timbre at all.

    Concertina Makers do not usually publish concertina designs. It takes a lot of time to design a new type of concertina, and the makers consider that the design is their copyright.


    Now let us consider how many buttons we might be able to get into a small size concertina.

    Accordion reedplates are a pretty standard 16mm across and lengths according to the pitch - see Harmonikas CZ charts. Some years ago I designed one using the well established spacing for a 6.25" concertina. 8 X 16mm (128mm): plus 2mm between the plates (to allow them to be waxed in), and 2mm at each side (18mm): plus two 6mm bellows frame sides (12mm); gives 158mm: which is 6.25" as near as makes no difference. I designed one such Hayden Duet but was only able to get 23 reedplates in the right hand side, but the loss of the highest c#"' & d"' was I felt no great loss.

    However if you went wall to wall with screwed on reedplates, it might be possible to get 9 reedplates across on a 6.25" concertina. With the slightly larger 6 5/8" size bellows, 9 reedplates across should be no problem; and that should easily take all 46 buttons of the common small Hayden Duet


    Well best of luck with your venture, I eagerly await to see the result.



    . .

  3. Had you considered going to see Marcus just over the bridge in Wales ? He imports quality accordion reeds for his hybrid concertinas, direct from Castelfidado in Italy on a regular basis. He is an excellent fellow and may be able to help you.


  4. English Airs and Laments are quite uncommon, with one notable exception, which is tunes for the Northumberland Small-pipes. Several books of Northumberland Small-pipes tunes have been published by the "Northumbrian Pipers Society". Two tunes I particularly enjoy playing are "Noble Squire Dacre" and "Derwentwaters Farewell".




  5. This may be a very long shot. Back in the fifties I remember a Piano and music shop in Chatham Kent called Murdoch, could have been John C. A man from Murdoch's used to come and tune my sisters piano. I seem to remember that the Chatham shop was part of a chain of Murdoch music shops.



  6. When I first saw the picture before I read the article for a split second I thought it was a picture of myself taken 30 or more years ago, with the same coloured curly hair, and fatish face, with my eyes closed whilst playing. So naturally it would be a Hayden duet!

    Incidentally the 46 button Hayden Duet has a lot in common with the Irish Uillean pipes. The top note (d"') is the same note as the top of the IUP and all the other notes of the chanter (except the very lowest d'#) are entirely on the right hand side. This leaves the left hand free to play the equivalent of drones and regulators. There is a tenor d (both push and pull) on the left hand side which is missing from the standard C/G Anglo, So an instrument this huge is not needed. It only needs to be an octave lower than the standard instrument - should fit comfortably into an 8" concertina.



  7. My personal recommendation for a "few" extra buttons added to the 46 button array is as follows:-

    Add low Bbs to the left of the lowest Cs on both sides, and add low and high Ebs to the left of the Fs on both sides. OK that's 3 extra buttons on each side not 2, so leave out the D#s .

    That (50 buttons) is precisely the concertina that I would have liked when Steve Dickinson first offered to make a batch of concertinas over 30 years ago. The small Hayden duet was intended specifically for English folk players, but also to play Scottish, Irish and New England tunes. The most used keys being the ubiquitous G & D together with A, Bb & C, with occasional use of E, F & Eb.

    I had calculated that it would be possible to shoehorn all this into a standard 6.25" sized instrument. However when it came to the final details of the design this proved not possible. My idea of putting one or two reed chambers into the centre of the reed pan was firmly rejected. So the key of Bb as an easypeasy key was dropped in favour of an easy key of E.



  8. To Chris T: "a custom made set of reed-pans - COULD ". But I have yet to find a good concertina maker who WOULD. If there is any concertina maker out there who is willing to do this I would be very pleased to hear from them. Unfortunately good concertina repairers I know who are willing to do a job within a short time scale do not have custom routing machines,

    Regards different types of concertina for different types of music: The Hayden duet system is a neutral system, rather akin to a free-bass chromatic button accordion. It is just a matter of size. The 6.25" 46 button Wheatstone Hayden is ideal for traditional folk music; and the larger 65 button instruments are suitable for 3 or 4 part harmony classical music, and song accompaniment, or what ever music you might like to throw at it.

    I do sincerely hope that the Jeffries duet in question is bought by someone who is first of all going to learn to play it rather than put it into the back of a draw for another 50 years, and that the Jeffries system is the ideal one for the type of music that they favour.



  9. I completely concur with the idea of making a new pair of reed-pans if anyone intends to convert the 50 button Jeffries currently on ebay. As pointed out above the original reed-pans need to be properly preserved. However I would have thought that anyone capable of making new reed-pans, could easily construct a double ended box that could house the original reed-pans clamped flat.

    Henrik Muller has recently been writing about constructing a router for making the double dovetail slots in reed-pans.

    About 5 or 6 years ago I was talking to one of the stall-holders at Sidmouth who told me that he was in the middle of converting a 50 button Jeffries Duet to a G/D/A anglo for himself. The following year I asked him how the conversion had gone. He told me that it had made a most successful instrument. When I asked him if he had it with him, and could I see it: he told me that a very good anglo player had seen and played it, and immediately asked him to to name his price, so the instrument had gone to a very happy player.

    I note that a couple of days ago a Lachenal 46 button Maccann sold on ebay for only £165 (2 only bids), the sort of price a 20 button Lachenal anglo might make. "Ripe for conversion" ?



  10. My very first proto-Hayden system started life as a 50 button Jeffries Duet. However at that time I hadn't discovered the best way of arranging the notes. By the time I had hit on the right way, I had experimented with several different note arrangements, and completely wrecked the reed pan. This instrument cost me £18 in 1966, which translated into modern terms would be about £350 - £400. Any Jeffries instrument is going to cost ten times that today.

    My first new made Crabb instrument had the same curves and spaces as a Jeffries, However subsequently I did a lot of work on the best spacing and angles, to come up with the now standard 16mm, 9mm, 10,5 degree dimentions.

    For around the £400 mark you might be able to buy a small wooden ended Lachenal Maccann duet & a Lachenal 20 button anglo, which will give you almost enough material to make a 46 button Hayden duet. In my opinion this would be a better starting point for anyone wanting to experiment with concertina conversions.





  11. Lachenal made a two voice English concertina to compete with the up and coming piano-accordion before WW II. These were called "Accordeophones" They were square (like a bandoneon) with perloid ends. I have seen and heard one which the late Tom Jukes had and played. The sound was similar to a cheap Chinese melodeon ! One or two still exist and they were discussed on concertina.net about 10 years ago.



  12. Looks like a concertina made for a melodeon player. Like the RHS of the Franglo that Colin Dipper developed for French melodeon players,;nearly 100 years later. These players wanted an instrument with the same fingering as a French melodeon, but with the sound of a concertina.

    Can you give a button diagram, which might confirm this ?

    Many, especially Irish, melodeon players do not use the left hand chords at all.



  13. The saga continues:


    As you can see there is quite a tradition of left to right rising pitch, and left to right for flat chords to sharp chords.

    It goes with out saying that pianos have this, and organs too, inspite of the fact that on an organ with two keyboards it would be possible to mirror the two keyboards.


    the Crabb family made me a very nice medium sized Duet concertina with my arrangement of buttons, and i expected this to be just a one off, just to suit my personal tastes. However Dave Arthur the editor of "English Dance & Song" asked me to write an article about it for the magazine. This generated a certain amount of interest in the idea, and people started to communicate with me on how they might obtain such an instrument. Whilst Crabbs had rather a long waiting list (I had waited nearly 7 years for mine to arrive); Steve Dickenson had recently taken over Wheatstones and with a new apprentice was looking for extra work. - I ordered ten instruments.

    Before I went to see him and work out the final details, Pat Robson; (a bandoneon player with an encyclopedic knowledge of the many ways that buttons on all types concertinas had been arranged); invited me to come and see him to look at several aspects of my concertina. A couple of questions he asked me were: "what is it like for playing a chromatic scale" - I demonstrated this to his satisfaction; and "what about playing a tune in octaves". I had never done this, but with a bit thinking about it played a scale in octaves. He then asked me if I had considered making the left hand the mirror image of the right, as is done on several chromatic bandoneon systems, and is said to make playing in octaves simpler.. I admitted that I hadn't even considered this idea, but would think about it.

    I considered this possibility from all aspects, but at the end of 3 days I decided that this was not a good idea. Several of the people that were interested in my idea were accordion players looking for a much more portable instrument, who liked the idea of a left hand with the chords in the same order as on a stradella bass. Also I was considering using the idea on electronic pianos and organs. Used on an electronic piano the left hand simply runs into the right hand side. I also had in mind for an electronic organ the same keyboard could be split (with a moving line depending if you were playing in sharp or flat keys), and with an extra set of buttons for the thumbs to play the equivalent of a pedal board, which wouldn't have worked if you had two diverting separate organ keyboards.

    I then set about to teach myself to play tunes in octaves using both sides of the instrument. I took 3 weeks to master this technique. If I had had the left hand mirrored would I have done this in 3 days? Other useful techniques would have been more difficult. See replies above.



  14. The saga continues.


    I did not mention earlier that Melodeon left hand basses and chords are also arranged in sets of four, with the ones that semi-automaticaly accompany the flattest key down to the left, and the ones for the sharpest key up to the right.


    Some years later I bought a secondhand C/G Jeffries anglo concertina. The left hand had the lowest notes to the left and the highest notes to the right. I quickly modified this instrument by moving a few reeds so that I could instantly play morris tunes on the right hand side; and quickly learned to accompany them on the LHS.


    This was an excellent instrument for Cotswold Morris, but when I started to accompany singers it was more difficult. So I got what I thought might be the solution by buying a Jeffries 50 button Duet. The left hand also had most of the lowest notes on the left hand side to the left and the higher notes of the LHS were to the right.

    However I did not find the instrument particularly easy to play, and being pitched in the Key of Ab didn't help. I experimented with several different layouts over a year, and finally came up with the now celebrated "Hayden Duet System". I was totally unaware that a Swiss Gentleman had come up with the same idea for a bandoneon style concertina nearly a hundred years earlier.


    The Jeffries was by now almost a complete wreak; so some years later I had a concertina made to my specification. I had by now seen the two other common types of duet. (Maccann and Crane) which also played in parallel (not mirrored), and one player even showed me how he could turn the instrument over to play the melody an octave lower with a high up accompaniment. I rather liked this idea, though I have rarely used it.


    To be continued.







  15. Historical choice.

    First of all my personal background on free-reed musical instruments. I started at the age of 17 with a D/G Hohner Erica melodeon; with the now bog standard 3rd note start note arrangement. My aim was to play for Cotswold Morris dancing and English Country dancing. The right hand keyboard progressed in rising pitch, as on all melodeons and accordions, from left to right. That settled the right hand permanently into my brain.

    At that time melodeons in those keys were very uncommon and melodeon players rarely played with fiddle led country dance bands. Fiddle players played mostly in D & G, but also quite a bit in A, and for this reason I acquired an A melodeon. Swaping the two melodeons in the middle of a dance set usually lost me 8 bars of music, and as I played with 3 fiddle players, and was the only player with any sort of bass accompaniment, this was not ideal. I had also found that the D/G melodeon had quite a lot of very high notes that I never used, and I couldn't find any of them in all the Traditional tune books that I had accumulated. On the A melodeon I found that for most tunes I was playing an octave below what was written, and to play at usual pitch I had to relearn the fingering. This led me to my first invention of a melodeon with only 21 playing notes (some played in 2 different places on the instrument) in A, D & G; with all the octaves playing the same fingering.

    A few years later I bought a small 48 bass Piano-accordion, and converted the right hand side into a melodeon button keyboard with 5 rows in Bb/A/D/G/Bb. All the Bb buttons were repeated and many of the other notes appeared in 2 different rows, so that in total I used only 12 different buttons per octave.

    My reason for buying the instrument was 1) to add the key Bb, which is the next most commonly used key by traditional fiddle players, and to be able to play sometimes in other keys ; and 2) to have counter basses and many minor chords on the left hand.

    The left hand (Stradella) bass is quite easy to learn, with the flattest chords to the left and the sharpest chords to the right.

    The order of notes on the 2nd bass row of this accordion was Eb, Bb. F, C, G, D, A, E.


    I will have to take a break now from my life history but will continue my explanation in another couple of days.



  16. I have viewed the interesting video several times. I tend to think that it is some sort of "chromatic" Bandoneon (i.e. both notes are the same, push and pull). The Kussrow keyboard immediately springs to mind. I don't think it is the one based on a CBA. The classic bisonoric Bandoneon is normally played unidirectionally, so it is difficult to see from just from observing his playing, if it is one of these.


    I note that the basic concertina box that is being used, is an even more basic than the Wim blanks that I suggested in an earlier post. The button array of 7 - 8 - 9 - 9 - 8 - 7 in a row, would be more than enough to cover 3 octaves in each hand on a Hayden system, with plenty of enharmonic sharps and flats.


    I see no reason why this very instrument could not be programed to a Hayden system; the precise spacing of the buttons should not be any problem.


    Perhaps Lukasz or Matthew could find out who made this instrument and how much they might cost ?



  17. To BRG & rigph a welcome to the world of concertinas, duets, and Hayden Concertinas in particular.


    I think that all the problems of straps and the air button have already been answered. Personally I think that hand rests should be somewhat higher in general and much higher under the forefinger than the little finger, but that is not possible on a budget concertina like the "Elise".


    Any new concertina takes a little time to be "played in" before the reeds and action loosten up to optimum level.


    My musical interests are English Folk music, (and also Scottish and Irish Traditional tunes); and Baroque Music (particularly Vivaldi & Handel). But I have played all kinds of music over the years, and am happy to answer any specific questions about playing on Hayden concertinas.



  18. I have looked again at a 39 button Maccann and realise I have made a mistake with that inviting spare large tone chamber on the left hand side. In fact the 39B doesn't have a low e as well as the low d. so you will need an extra pair of low Es as well as the extra Ds.
    What threw me was that somewhat quirky placement of the D#s on the Maccann. The spare tone chamber is intended for the low e on a 46B.
    If you do go ahead with the 39B I would suggest you either ditch the left hand d'# and put a low e there and use the other tone chamber for the low d. Alternatively, somewhat more difficult: move the actions in collumn 4 so that each of the buttons conects to the next highest tone chamber, of that collumn; with the top button going to the high c" tone chamber, and ditch the high c".


  19. To Matthew about a 39 button Maccann.
    RHS has 20 buttons g' to d"' (chromatic). The top d"' is the same as the top note of the standard 46 button Hayden. It has the same (25 tone chamber) reedpan as a 46 button Maccann, with 5 of these empty at the top. If you can live with a Cheesemanesque array and no notes below the g' on the right hand side, it would be just a case of moving those reeds round, with some small adjustments.
    LHS has 19 buttons detached tenor c then e to g' (chromatic) then a',b',c". The reedpan has 21 tone chambers. There is one small one at the top; and I was amazed to find one large empty chamber at the bottom lefthand side, perfectly placed to take that missing low d !!
    Well worth adding even if it looked slightly odd in the fretwork. You can buy plug cutters and matching forstner bits from any good tool shop (such as Axminster Power Tools} to make a neat job of this. This would mean adding only a couple of reeds and an action and button to the instrument.
    Personally I think it would be well worthwhile to add the c',d',e',f' & f#' to the right hand, and a g#' to the left hand using all the spare spaces. And reroute the action and recut the frets, to take it up to the standard Hayden layout; but that would require a lot of specialist work.


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