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Stephen Chambers

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About Stephen Chambers

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    STEPHEN CHAMBERS had the misfortune to be stricken with the highly contagious concertina bug around the time he left school in 1970. He believes he caught it as a result of attending folk clubs in Derby and his native Burton-on-Trent, though he cannot rule out the malevolent influence of the "Concertina Consciousness" movement that was active at the time, not forgetting his becoming a member of the International Concertina Association at an early stage (as the result of an accidental meeting with ICA Secretary Jim Harvey on London's Battersea Bridge). In the early stages of the illness he rapidly progressed from simply listening to concertinas being played to seeking to have one of his own; an ambition he rapidly achieved with the purchase of an 1890s Wheatstone for £25 through an advert in the local newspaper, and his life has never been the same since. The progression of the bug to fully blown Concertina Acquisition Disorder, coupled with an interest in history and training as a librarian, has caused him to carry out research on the instruments murky past and to publish articles about it, but really he is only trying to mask the symptoms of his condition.

    He is the author of "Louis Lachenal : Engineer and Concertina Manufacturer" Part 1, "An Annotated Catalogue of Historic European Free-Reed Instruments ... " (based on the instruments exhibited at the Symposium "Harmonium und Handharmonika", at Stiftung Kloster Michaelstein, in November 1999) and "Some Notes on Lachenal Concertina Production and Serial Numbers", which stands (in the interim) for "Louis Lachenal" Part 2.

    All the above may now be viewed online, courtesy of Robert Gaskins, by clicking on the Home Page url below.

    His latest paper "Joseph Astley, Oldham Concertina Band
    and the MHJ Shield" was published in PICA (Papers of the International Concertina Association) Volume 4, 2007: http://www.concertina.org/archive/pica/pica_2007_4/pica4_2007_p31_44.pdf

    Stephen is the present custodian of the first Wheatstone concertina (his avatar), which was formerly the pride of Wheatstone's own collection. It was shown, & described as such, in the 1961 Pathe Newsreel "Concertina Factory", or "Concert in a Factory"(which can be viewed online at: http://www.britishpathe.com/product_display.php?searchword=concertina+factory).

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  1. Is it that the fretwork and sides are all in one unit Dave, and that they lift off the pad board complete like they do on a typical German concertina? I've seen that on early examples of the 2 guinea "People's concertina".
  2. They're baritone in range, but designed to sound very bassy on the lowest reeds - I'm very familiar with the innards of the two that Cormac Begley has. I'm also very familiar with his Lachenal piccolo, which I got playing much better for him last year.
  3. I was only referring to the fretwork on that 4-row Jones/Jeffries Anglo, Alex - the gold tooling on it is a design that Jones used on numerous slightly larger (6 1/2" - 7") instruments. The instrument in my photo is a very beautiful, and high quality, early George Jones English concertina, #1181, made in the 1860s. The bellows "papers" on it are actually gold-tooled leather, whilst the bellows frames, and the thumb straps, bear the familiar so-called "Jeffries/Crabb" design - which had also been used previously, in the 1850s, by Wheatstone, and by George Case.
  4. Those three accidental buttons on a 26-key Jones are located where you'd get buttons 2A, 3A and 4A on a 30-key instrument (there's nothing where 1A should be), and those notes are exactly what you usually find on those buttons on a Jeffries. I've long considered it an indication that "Jeffries" fingering derives from such Jones instruments...
  5. There's a 4-row, White Lion Passage, Jeffries in the Horniman Museum that was made by George Jones, and it has "Jeffries pattern" fretwork: https://www.horniman.ac.uk/object/M8a-1996/
  6. Though A-415 is regarded as "Baroque pitch" today, there was no actual standard pitch during the Baroque era and 415 was chosen in modern times as a very convenient (one semitone flat of 440) approximation. I'd suggest that what you have there is a B/F#, a tuning that's surprisingly common in Jeffries, and Crabb, Anglos.
  7. I've had them like that. But. of course, the earliest Jeffries concertinas were made by George Jones, and he was using what we'd think of as that Jeffries/Crabb gold-tooling early on (I've a very pretty early Jones English with it). In fact, maybe it was Jones who started off that whole "Jeffries" style of Anglo in the first place?
  8. STOP PRESS! Latest news: "This listing was ended by the seller because the item is no longer available."
  9. Not really, when you consider that it's a list of Anglo players, and Tommy played the Maccann duet...
  10. Here's a clearer rendering of Big Nick's photo Alex, showing three rows of five buttons each: We're still under lockdown here at the moment, though that's expected to end soon. I'll try and get to see Jackie Daly once I can get to Clare again, and see if I can examine/photograph Paul Davies' old one after all these years.
  11. I see he has a Gretsch guitar listed now as well: 57 Gretsch Silver jet 6129 Beautiful Sound Great Shape! But the title and wording of that have also been cloned, and the photo has been on the internet since (at least) March 2009... These auctions should be avoided with the proverbial bargepole!
  12. Auctioneers estimates don't mean much. They can be more a reflection of the auctioneer's (and/or his client's) ignorance of what he's selling, or an indication that there is no "reserve" price on an item - which is how I'd take this one. A high estimate, on the other hand, would tend to suggest that there'd be a high "reserve" price, below which the lot could not be sold...
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