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Posts posted by StuartEstell

  1. Thanks all - very interesting. Gary - I'd be interested to know the serial if you do have it and it's not too hard to excavate.


    Inventor - how peculiar. The only 60+ button Jeffries-made duets I've come across have retained the 4-row configuration, with (assuming an instrument "in" C) the high notes C -> G along the row nearest the handrest, minus the C# which is usually tucked inconveniently next to G# over on the far right of the second row.


    I'd also be interested to know whether anyone's ever come across a larger one that goes below middle C in the right hand. Mine is a 55, with RH lowest note of middle C; the Holy Grail for me would be one that went down to the G below...

  2. I was very interested to play a Jeffries system duet made by Crabb in 1970, belonging to a member of this parish earlier this week. It was a 60-key and, perhaps needless to say, had some quite significant deviations in layout from my own Jeff duet.


    But it got me wondering - have any other manufacturers made instruments of this system? Might there be the odd Wheatstone lurking in the ledgers?

  3. Thanks for your response Mili -- I'm keen to get my hands on any instrument I consider so would look only at instruments in the UK at the moment.


    If this approach fails me I may ultimately have to reconsider, but I'm in no rush to find the right box!

  4. Hello Adrian


    I enjoyed this but I do hear in your arrangement the persistent difficulty that I also have with songs that use that kind of countryish guitar rhythm. What I tend to do is make it just a little more sustained, both in the bass and the off-beat chording. I sometimes imitate fingerpicking patterns too. It's probably a little harder to do that on anglo than on duet but it can make it a little less "music hall" in feel.


    That said, I think what you've done here works fine (and have no problem with the balance for a home recording)!

  5. All,


    I've recently been doing a series of releases via my Bandcamp page in order to raise money for my local foodbank, the B30 Foodbank in Birmingham. Based at a local church, they are affiliated to the Trussell Trust, and provide 3 days' emergency provisions to local people who have fallen on hard times.


    Each of the releases features at least one track with concertina -



    (includes The Rochester Recruiting Sergeant, played on Jeffries duet - in E for comedy fingerings, and The Red Flag on one-row melodeon)



    (includes two morris tunes on the C/G Norman anglo I recently sold)



    (includes The Juniper Tree, from the singing of Jean Ritchie, on Jeffries duet)


    If anyone feels moved to download any of these I've set the download price very low - the money goes straight to the foodbank; I'm covering the Bandcamp/PayPal fees.


    Thanks all


  6. If your main reason for not playing your English concertina in public is that it's hard to play standing up, why not play sitting down?


    I always perform sitting; if I wanted to, I probably could play my Jeffries duet standing, just about, but with my Maccann it would be out of the question. It's a bit of a compromise where singing is concerned, but not so much that it really matters.

  7. Sir Locust - Satie's "Gymnopedie No. 1"??? I'm not sure that would be playable on a 30+ button Anglo! But kudos to you for being ambitious.


    Here's a version on concertina, but played on a one-of-kind custom duet (that only looks like an Anglo): https://youtu.be/vbJqi6K3B-0.





    It's possible on 30-key anglo, with a lot of cross-row work, transposition up a fourth if on a C/G (I always hesitate to talk in terms of "key signatures" where Satie is concerned as his use of tonality is very ambiguous), and a bit of imagination where the accompaniment is concerned to imply those lovely major 7th chords where they can't be played in full.

  8. Reading back over this thread, unless I'm being gormless I don't think we've established what kind of music Sir Locust thinks he would like to play on concertina - if you can give us any details that might help us to advise.


    As I said on another thread, I think if I were starting now on a low-ish budget I would buy as good a 20-button vintage instrument (i.e. a rosewood-ended Lachenal) as I could afford with the expectation that it would keep its value enabling me to trade up when necessary without losing much - or potentially any - money. I'd expect to outgrow it quickly, but to have much more enjoyment from a good vintage 20-key - as Mike also suggests - than from a modern, more plasticky budget 30-key (which still aren't cheap).


    But my needs may be very different from yours, Sir Locust.

  9. John, I'm no technician, merely a player - I can anecdotally report that I've found some physically heavy instruments far less tiring to play than some that are much lighter. For example, early this week I compared a very light 30-key Crabb anglo with lots of aluminium in it with a 50-key Jeffries that was built like a tank and in relative terms weighed a tonne. The Crabb's reeds spoke very quickly indeed, but the Jeffries was much less work to play.

    It's startling how different instruments of the same make and model can feel, too, even if the instruments you're comparing are in tip-top condition - and that holds true for pianos, say, every bit as much as it does for concertinas.

    As I said previously, I can't comment specifically on English concertinas as I don't play them, and I'm no technician beyond doing the occasional running repairs, so I can't comment on construction details. However, when I'm seeking instruments I find it essential to compare instruments for real, particularly when they can have such chequered histories as our beloved hexagons/octagons. The statistics you're collecting may help you to decide roughly what avenues to explore, but I've often gone looking with one idea and come out with something totally different because it felt right, despite everything my research told me.

  10. Speaking as someone who started with a Hohner (rebadged Stagi) 30-button anglo - I'd say they're OK as a starter box if you can get one cheaply enough; personally I wouldn't pay full-price for a new one, and if you take to the instrument you'll want to upgrade quickly.


    I don't play in the Irish style, and I know that some consider 30 buttons essential for that, but otherwise a 20b Lachenal will be a much better instrument than the Stagis of this world.


    If I were doing it all again, I'd probably go for a Lachenal 20-button to check that the anglo suited my brain, and then save up for either a hybrid (Norman, Marcus etc.) or vintage box with 30 buttons.

  11. For those of you who are London-based or curious enough to travel, this might be of interest:




    The South Bank Centre are staging a few events for Shirley Collins's 80th birthday celebrations, culminating in this concert in the evening of Sunday 5th July.


    Featuring not one, but two concertina-players! John Kirkpatrick is musical director of the evening and leading the performance of the whole of Shirley Collins and the Albion Country Band's album No Roses.


    In the first half I'll be joining Stewart Lee to perform our version of Polly on the Shore; I'll also be doing a solo turn on Jeffries duet.


    The concert also features Graham Coxon from Blur, who does a tremendous version of The Cruel Mother.


    (Edited to say: the capitalisation of topic titles in this software is very, very frustrating!)

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