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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. It sounds like a very interesting instrument Shay, presumably made in order to solve the problem of the tone difference between the reeds on the inside row, compared with the rest of the instrument, from the more normal (parallel-chambered) Jeffries reed-pans. Are you coming to Miltown, and will you have it with you?
  2. Yes, it's a Jeffries that was made by John Crabb. This model is more-commonly found with 26 keys and they have a very nice sound, but the price being asked for this 20-key one is utterly ludicrous.
  3. #31844 is listed as a model No. 4 in the ledger, in which case the reed-pan will be of uniform depth all around and it could have been put into the bellows frames 'a "notch" ( 1/6th rotation ) away from alignment with the other side.' You can determine the correct alignment by ensuring that the R or L markings on both reed-pans and bellows frames are lined up with each other.
  4. Dan Worrall's paper The Concertina at Sea: A History of a Nautical Icon can be viewed and/or downloaded here: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/3988437/the-concertina-at-sea-the-anglo-german-concertina
  5. I think he's probably sometimes changing harmonica to get the accompanying chord he wants at that given moment, rather than for melodic reasons.
  6. Playing with two (or more) tremolo-tuned harmonicas, in keys a semitone apart (thus making the combination of the two diatonic diatonic instruments into a chromatic one - like a B/C, C/C#, or B/C button accordion) seems to be quite the style in the Far East, and the Japanese Tombo firm (the manufacturers of the instruments played in the video) facilitates this by offering tremolo harmonicas in every key possible. Here's another video of the same player, performing The Blue Danube, on various combinations of harmonicas: https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1k54y1t7rQ/?spm_id_from=autoNext
  7. The image on the concertina appears to be a simplified version of what's on the label - I wonder if it was the maker's trade mark? The maker's label in your link, Daniel, is printed with the initials G. G. K. S., which probably stands for Gebrüder Gündel, Klingenthal, Saxony - a harmonica, accordion and concertina factory founded in 1872, and still operating in 1961. I have a copy of the 1903 Musical Opinion & Music Trade Review Directory that lists "Gundel, G. (Klingenthal).-Concertina maker. Sole agent: R. Hahn, 81 Milton St, EC" John Henry Ebblewhite's address on the box label of the eBay one, at 4&5, High Street, Aldgate, was where he was located from 1883 until his death in 1901, and his executors continued to run the business (under his name) there until 1916.
  8. It's called the Windharmonika, or Aeolsharfe, and their origins go back 200 years, or more, and before the invention of the concertina. They've been revived in recent times: https://www.guriema.de/windharmonika.htm This is the Google translation of the German text: Aeolian instruments The idea is old and spread all over the world. The basic principle can already be observed in nature. When a vibratory material is set in motion by the wind, a specific sound event can occur. If leaf tongues are exposed to the influence of the wind, as in the case of the Aeolian harmonica, you get an instrument for the soloist nature. According to its categorical classification, the Aeolian or wind harmonica is one of the first autophones, mechanical instruments followed much later as relatives - such as the punched-tape-controlled pianolas. These instruments had their heyday in the Romantic period, but can still be found in the lists of a few instrument makers up until the beginning of this century. The following can be read in a catalog from the Adolf Klinger company, Reichenberg in Bohemia from 1912: "Aeolian instruments are those which are not made to sound by the hand of an artist, but speak of themselves by exposure to the effects of a natural current of air or wind. The music thus conjured up has a special appeal to every receptive mind and Depending on the nature of the various Aeolian instruments, resembles either the sympathetic chords of distant choirs and organ tones, or a lovely, melodic chime." Instruments of this type were probably built between 1920 and 1930 by the Seckendorf company in Markneukirchen. After more than 60 years, we rediscovered the wind harmonica. Based on old catalog illustrations and the memories of some older citizens, we have made a new and functional instrument within two years. In the meantime, this unusual instrument adorns many a roof in Germany. Among other things, a wind harmonica from our production can be admired on the roof of the musical instrument museum in Markneukirchen and on an old listed powder tower in Großschirma. Depending on the strength of the wind, the wind harmonica emits humming sounds, at first softly, like distant organ tones, which seem to be getting closer as the wind strength increases, becoming stronger and stronger until they finally ring out in full harmonic chords. The sheet metal parts are cut by hand, rounded, beaded and then soft soldered. The blade, which automatically turns the instrument in the direction of the wind, is also hand-driven. The reeds are made especially for us in the foam factory in Klingenthal. They are made of a special brass alloy and are ground in individually and riveted to a plate on one side. Therefore, when it is windy, they only react to pressure and not to pressure and tension as with the harmonica. The elaborate tuning (in A major) is done by hand. Due to the sensitivity of the individual reeds, only the lower tones speak at low wind speeds. The reed plate is weatherproof and set in a special aluminum frame. The body made of titanium zinc sheet metal is polished to a high gloss and coated with instrument paint. All other metal parts are chrome-plated. Wind harmonica No. 2000 Body made of titanium zinc sheet metal approx. 66 cm long, diameter of the bell 31 cm, weight approx. 4.8 kg, height of the structure max. 107 cm. The wind harmonica can be equipped with different attachments. Our standard attachment is the lyre. Depending on your wishes (for an extra charge), the following motifs are possible: pennants with the year or initials, dragon, compass rose or motifs according to personal suggestions.
  9. Tell me about it Geoff, I'm starting radiotherapy in two weeks time! 🙄
  10. Thanks Geoff, so there's (seemingly) a big space-saving internally (compared with an Anglo) from not having a wind key, so 29 buttons on the right-hand side and 25 on the left = 54...
  11. 56-key treble English concertinas (though in a more regular 6 1/4" size) were commonly made.
  12. Those two features make it sound very much like an Italian, Bastari, English concertina, like this one: https://reverb.com/item/6881748-bastari-english-concertina
  13. I found it by Googling "C1080 concertina" - it's on the Concertina.com website: http://www.concertina.com/jeffries-duet/index.htm That's the kind of thing I was trying to describe to you Pikeyh, only you'll have to transcribe this one to Bb.
  14. Ah, and then there's this thread that you started in 2005 Wes:
  15. What a wonderfully informative sleeve Wes, a great find! There's more about Ross in this thread, from Geoff Crabb and myself:
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