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Stephen Chambers

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Everything posted by Stephen Chambers

  1. 28408 isn't a valid Crabb serial number, though Crabb's commonly put their stamp inside instruments, made by other firms, that they had repaired and/or sold. Are their 24 keys on one end, or is that the total number of keys? Photos might tell a thousand words...
  2. It's hard to tell much from your photo Judith, though I've manipulated it as best I can to make it clearer: The instrument is clearly an example of Wheatstone's best, octagonal, Aeola English system concertinas, made (judging by the "Best Ring Label" that's visible) not earlier than mid-1927.
  3. Now that I see there are more photos, it looks like the fingering layout is similar to a 39-key Jeffries or Crabb, except that there's an extra button above both the C-row and the G-row (a whistle and squeaker perhaps?) on the right-hand side - so it does have 40 playing buttons (only not in the Lachenal/Wheatstone layout), plus the wind-key. But the fretwork looks reminiscent of Lachenal.
  4. 40 buttons would be unique among Jeffries instruments, but normal on a Lachenal or Wheatstone. Whilst it would have been normal for Jeffries or Crabb to include the wind-key in the button count, but not for Lachenal or Wheatstone. But sellers often miscount the number...
  5. Most English-made concertinas (and especially Wheatstone and Lachenal ones) are 6 1/4" across the flats, whilst Jeffries (and similar makes) are 6" or less.
  6. That's alright, Irish players don't find much use for Eb/D#, whilst C# is vital...
  7. No, in fact there are plenty of Irish traditional music players who do that, and it's very easily reversed.
  8. Yes, the original long screws were 1" No.1 in size, but (the trouble is that) they haven't been made since the mid-1920s and they're unbelievably rare today. Hence I'm very glad that I've still got a few 1" No.2s left out of a box (a lifetime's supply of them) that I was lucky-enough to find nearly 50 years ago!
  9. That's what I was getting at in my original reply to you. Jeffries were always accommodating to customers when it came to variations in fingering layout, so not all Jeffries' were completely "standard" when they left the workshop, never mind after rearranging later to suit different players - whilst swapping around the D# and C# reeds is usually very easy because the reed-frames are usually the same size. Meanwhile there's a new layout becoming popular, named after Mary MacNamara, that has three C#5s on the first 2 buttons of the RH Jeffries-system accidental row - so that it doesn't matter if you're used to Jeffries fingering, Lachenal/Wheatstone fingering, or to having C# in both directions on the first button...
  10. "Normal" Jeffries fingering would be to have D# on the press on the 1st button, but these days it's common to have C# on both press and draw there.
  11. Yes, Hohner have never actually made concertinas of any kind, but over the years they've marketed ones made for them in Saxony, and more-recently China, whilst their 30-key Anglos used to be Italian-made by Bastari/Stagi/Brunner.
  12. I have a professional-quality tunable bodhrán made by Norbert Eckermann (a world-class, top maker, of frame drums) in Vienna, Austria, that I must have had for 25 years, or more, because I remember Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh and I found we had a complete set of them (in all the different sizes he makes) at Tommy McCarthy's funeral wake in Spanish Point, Co. Clare, back in 2000. Otherwise, I'd recommend the excellent bespoke work of Ben March, in Coore East, Co. Clare (which is not a million miles from Peter Laban). Only neither of them would normally put any kind of a bar in the backs of their drums, but might do so to special order. I use a Meinl gig-bag, bought off Thomann. But I'm an old-fashioned "hand-stricker" and my tipper is the back of of my middle finger, assisted by the index one.
  13. Maybe they wanted to still be able to use the original reedpans, and their reeds too - for a different tone/pitch/key/intonation? You'd sometimes find concertinas that were made with alternative reedpans for such reasons, and I have an early French accordion with additional reedpans, in two alternative keys, in a "secret" compartment beneath the instrument in its case.
  14. Except it would have had matching gold-tooled thumb-straps when it was new...
  15. On the contrary, it could be a Wheatstone from the beginning of their new 50000- Anglo sequence that started in 1937, but the relevant ledger is missing (presumed destroyed on B&H's bonfire), in which case the buttons would be made of the casein plastic "Erinoid". Otherwise it could be a Lachenal from c.1878, with bone buttons. I can only presume that the "reed plate" you refer to is the wooden "reedpan" into which the reed-frames are slotted? Whilst, as I often say, a picture tells a thousand words.
  16. With riveted reeds and those bellows papers you'd suspect Wheatstone's may have made those parts in the Edward Chidley snr. years, but the high-quality ends with no rebate around the edge are more old-fashioned (for the quality of them) and appear to be the work of another maker. I'd suggest it's either a major rebuild that was done at Wheatstone's, or a "marriage" of parts from two concertinas. But more photos might tell another story...
  17. A single row instrument in the key of A shouldn't have a G natural...
  18. It seems that (my late friend) John P. O'Neill's wholesale business Gortin Musical Wholesale (brand name Boorinwood) was wound down in 2013, and that he died in 2016. The retail business, O’Neill’s Music Shop Gortin, passed to his son Sean, who continues to meet the needs of the traditional music community, specialising mainly in accordions, in Gortin, Co. Tyrone. https://oneills-music-shop-gortin.business.site/
  19. The lovely ladies at Concertine Italia are maybe not aware of the (perfectly normal) trade practices of their predecessors (whilst I've had years of practical experience with accordion/concertina manufacturers in both Italy and Germany). These English-system concertinas were originally made for Oliver Heatwole in the United States, starting in 1972, then launched in the UK at the beginning of 1974 (at which time Heatwole published his tutor book). None of the concertinas made for Heatwole (or supplied to Neil Wayne in England) had any maker's name on them. Whilst later incarnations of the firm continued to label their products Bastari to sell in some markets (e.g. Zulu speakers sometimes actually call the concertina "iBastari"), or with importers'/wholesalers' own brands such as Hohner, or Gremlin, etc.
  20. Like I said, it's a Bastari. See Free Reed/The Concertina Newsletter, No. 17 January/February 1974 for the launch of this model: https://www.concertinamuseum.com/FreeReed/FR17.pdf
  21. The concertina in your photo (is that your instrument, or another one similar to it? It's not clear.) looks very much like a Bastari English-system concertina, and I remember seeing them first advertised, as a new development, in Free Reed/The Concertina Newsletter in the early 1970s. Bastari (a firm set up after WW2) became Stagi, and then became Brunner, before being reincarnated as Concertine Italia...
  22. Yeah, right! 🙄 (But my 1910 No. 6 "Special" #25100 is much-more dangerouser!!! 😉) Anyway, it ties the church use of my circular-fret concertina, #1017, to early in the history of our instrument, in the period when church bands (like the one described by Thomas Hardy) were still active - though starting to be replaced by the school ma'am with her harmonium... The site of Stoke Mandeville Old Church, and its graveyard, recently underwent a major archaeological investigation because they were about to be swept away by the construction of the controversial HS2 railway line: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/may/07/unique-opportunity-hs2-unearths-history-medieval-church
  23. I'm glad to hear you found it, and where I thought I'd seen it. I have an 1846 "circular fret" Wheatstone English that was used to accompany psalms and hymns in Stoke Mandeville Old Church, which was closed in 1866 because it was considered unsafe.
  24. Like Wes Williams already said, our best estimate is 1911, in which case it's a model No. 4 as listed in their (nearest) circa 1905 Price List, and would have been made with brass reeds, or "The Popular" model as listed in their (post-WW1) circa 1920 Price List, which would have been made with steel reeds. The instrument is a relatively basic one, and evidently needs repairs/restoration, so I'd suggest starting it at £100 and letting the market decide the final price. Best of luck with it!
  25. I like to learn something new every day, the problem these days is remembering it... 😕
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