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Stephen Chambers

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Posts posted by Stephen Chambers

  1. Worthy of mention is that there's a difference between "German" and "Anglo" fingering concerning the first (bottom) button of the inside row on the left-hand side - in that German instruments typically have a low-octave keynote on the press there (so Bb in this case), whilst Anglos have the third note of the scale (so D if the row is in Bb).


    Also, German concertinas continued to be tuned to a just intonation scale (as many harmonicas still are), which produces much sweeter chords - so the notes won't read zero compared with an electronic tuner (which is going to be set to equal temperament intervals)...


  2. On 9/20/2023 at 9:26 PM, Dr Alison said:

    It is a Crabb Concertina (with case), in black, with 24 keys, and a serial number of 28408. Hoping someone here can help shed some light. Thanks Alison


    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 there 24 keys on one end, or is that the total number of keys?


    Photos might tell a thousand words...

  3. 22 hours ago, Stephen Chambers said:

    40 buttons would be unique among Jeffries instruments, but normal on a Lachenal or Wheatstone. Whilst it would have been normal for Jeffries/Crabb to include the wind-key in the button count, but not for Lachenal or Wheatstone.


    But sellers often miscount the number...


    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...

    • Like 1
  5. 6 hours ago, wunks said:

    Is small size ( across the flats ) an indication as to the maker?  I have a 6" set of 44 button edge beveled T. Shakespeare ends ( bird motif )


    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.

    • Like 1
  6. On 8/17/2023 at 1:03 AM, fatt_mazio said:

    ... it looks like maybe a #1 screw, but an inch long. Maybe someone else has some...


    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!

  7. On 8/16/2023 at 5:11 PM, xgx said:

    Seems the question has been asked before, the definitive answer is yes and no.


    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...

    • Like 1
  8. 15 hours ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

    „Hohner“ branded concertinas will be made by Stagi (or Bastari, if older) - and a maker in China can’t be entirely ruled out either, I reckon


    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.

    • Like 1
  9. 7 hours ago, Michael Burke said:

    Seeking insights on 18" tunable t-bar Bodhran purchase. Any preferred brands?


    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.



    Also, advice on cases and tippers.


    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. 

  10. 30 minutes ago, david robertson said:

    The reedpans have the same number, but only in handwritten form, and they are clearly not original. From the positioning of the support blocks in the bellows, it is obvious that the original reedpans were of the tapered design, with deeper chambers for the lower notes. The replacement flat pans have been adapted by gluing on little blocks of wood, of varying thickness, which correspond to the support blocks. 

    I wondered at first why whoever fitted them didn't simply build up or move the support blocks, but I suppose it would have been easier to adjust the thickness of the blocks glued to the reedpans, rather than furtling around inside the ends of the bellows. 



    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.

  11. 15 hours ago, constantsqueezer said:

    I have a wooden ended 20 key anglo. with white buttons -  plastic or bone? Steel reeds

    It require some attention but I think it is recoverable without too much work and it would be suitable for a beginner.

    It has no makers name but has a number 50784 on one of the reed plates.

    Does anyone recognise this number sequence?  It does not fit in the Wheatstone numbering system.


    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.

  12. 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... 

  13. On 4/8/2023 at 12:03 AM, Daniel Hersh said:

    Edited to remove Boorinwood (since they no longer seem to have their own brand of concertina)


    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.





  14. 10 hours ago, Blackmore said:

    Thank you very much Stephen! Why do you think Concertine Italia says its not a Stagi or Bastari? Didn't those concertinas have brand on them?


    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.



    • Like 1
  15. 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...

  16. 2 hours ago, gcoover said:

    I hadn't realized the circular-fret Wheatstones were so dangerous! 


    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 

    • Like 1
  17. 10 hours ago, gcoover said:

    Exactly where Stephen remembered, in a 1974 Free Reed Magazine. And before that in the Cambridge Evening News.


    I'm glad to hear you found it, and where I thought I'd seen it.



    Steve Schulteis and I are working on book of church music for the Anglo, so this is most appropriate 


    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. 

  18. 4 hours ago, Leanne said:

    would you guys have any idea how old it is? should i put on ebay for 200?


    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!

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