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Seán Ó Fearghail

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Posts posted by Seán Ó Fearghail

  1. 16 hours ago, Paul Groff said:

    Hi Dan,


    I think I see where you are going with this idea. I believe when you write " "B/F#" concertinas in effect were Bb/F concertinas in the old high pitch" you mean that *low pitch B/F# concertinas* could possibly be equivalent to *high pitch Bb/F concertinas.* In a way this is fairly close to true  (see below **) although I'm not sure it is exactly what Stephen meant. Later in the concertina era (I believe, in the 20th century, after the John Crabb period) I do see German-made concertinas with a B row in low pitch, around A = 435 to A = 437, made for export to England (we can tell that because they turn up in England,  are labeled in english, and some of them are copies of 3-row Lachenals -- though with German action design and reeds mounted on longish plates -- and with English rather than German non-equal tuning). The B row of those German-made concertinas in low pitch (A 435-437) is not too far from English-made anglos in Bb/F high pitch (A 452.5) though the latter are audibly flatter to my ear. (see below for the reason  **)


    However in my interpretation Stephen is talking about the John Crabb period in the late 1800s when English pitch was quite high, usually A 439 to A 460 and with Society of Arts pitch (A 446 to A 448 ) and Philharmonic pitch (A = 452.5) especially common.  At this time if the Crabb workshop made a concertina in B/F# it wouldn't be likely to be close to a Bb/F german concertina, rather it would be  more likely close to a C/G low-pitch german concertina.


    ** Close to true. Here are some rule-of-thumb rough conversions for key and pitch. They are based on 12-tone equal temperament for simplicity, although I have evidence that the german concertinas and probably most of the english made anglo concertinas during the John Crabb period were not tuned to equal temperament.  If you explore this table, you'll see that "Bb when A = 452.5" is quite flat of "B when A = 435" or even "B when A = 430." But, possibly close enough!


    When A = 430 Hz in 12 tone ET, then     G#=   405.87     Bb =   455.57   B=   482.66  C=511.36

    When A = 435 Hz in 12 tone ET, then     G#=    410.60     Bb =  460.87    B=  488.27   C= 517.31

    When A = 439 Hz in 12 tone ET, then     G#=    414.36     Bb=  465.10      B=  492.76   C= 522.06

    When A = 440 Hz in 12 tone ET, then     G#=    415.3       Bb =  466.16     B=  493.88   C= 523.25

    When A = 447 Hz in 12 tone ET, then     G#=    421.91     Bb =  473.58     B=  501.74    C= 531.58

    When A = 452 Hz in 12 tone ET, then     G#=   426.63     Bb =  478.88     B=  507.36    C= 537.52

    When A = 452.5 Hz in 12 tone ET, then  G#=   427.10       Bb =  479.41     B=  507.92    C= 538.12

    When A = 458 Hz in 12 tone ET, then     G#=   432.29     Bb =  485.23     B=  514.09    C= 544.66

    When A = 460 Hz in 12 tone ET, then     G#=   434.18      Bb = 487.35      B=  516.33     C= 547.03


    Note: I had to edit this several times because the information here is so complex to explain. I hope I have it right this time but my apologies if errors remain - I assume we'll sort those out in the ensuing discussion.

    Thats fantastic Paul! Thank you! 

  2. 23 hours ago, Geoffrey Crabb said:

    As I have, amongst the plethora of old Crabb concertina stuff, the original metal template from which this fretwork design was copied and applied to the instruments prior to piercing, I believe that the tina is an early one, late 1860's early 1870's, by my great grandfather John Crabb 1826-1903. 

    The B/F# was the most popular for many years as seen from the Sept.1889 - Dec.1891, period of the available sales/production records.

    Of the 114 Anglo concertinas made in the Crabb workshop during that period:

    21 were C/G,

    17 were Bb/F

    75 were B/F#,

    and 1 was G/D, (The earliest recorded Crabb G/D, a 32 button, metal top, 08/11/1889).,   


    B natural was also a known requested core key for some Crane duets up to the 1930's.


    I'll leave others to speculate why B/F# was so popular.





    Wow! that is interesting! Thank you so much for the info Geoff. I wonder why that key was so popular? Anyone have an idea? I'm way too far out of my comfort zone to speculate. 

  3. I know of one particular concertina that was sold at the same auction house 3 different times... Each time the new owner opened it up and realised that all the reeds had been swapped out for very poor brass reeds, it went back and they sold it again.. And made their seller's/ buyer's fees.. 3 times.... 

  4. On 11/3/2018 at 4:14 PM, Geoff Wooff said:

    Just this last week  there was an interesting  Wheatstone English  for auction  on ebay france.  Interesting because it was a model  7  ( which is a flat  ended Hex.  56 key  Tennor Treble)  which is quite  a usefull  budget  model.  Also of interest was  the address  of the seller  ,    the town of Guérande on the coast of  Brittany,  a place famous  for  its  salt industry and  sandwiched  between  the sea and  a large wetland area.


    I was encouraged  by the  low bids  to look hard at  the photos  but every  steel external part  had  sure signs of rust. Short of detailed internal pictures  I decided it  might be  too much of a gamble,  with the distinct  possibility  of  rusty reeds.  I hope that  whoever   the winner is  finds a good set of reeds   !

    Even though all the rest of the parts are fairly corroded on the outside,  the reeds are surprisingly OK! Small bits of rust but I have come across a lot worse. Maybe it didnt live there for long. Or was never played once arriving there. Everything is in very good shape apart from the steel parts on the outside. 


  5. And just while we're on the subject... I recently serviced a concertina that was only a few years old.. That now lives in Doolin, (on the Atlantic coast) in an old enough house... The reeds that were closest to where the case closed, were already starting to form rust on them...!!! About 6 of them... 


  6. Hi lads, I'm back in business after a very, very busy year. The best way to get a hold of me is to send me an email at - 


    or other details will soon be on the website. I am now permanently located in Athlacca, Co. Limerick, Éire

    Best wishes and happy squeezing to everyone! ?

    le gach dea-ghuí,



    • Like 1
  7. I hope that people don't mind me adding this post but I have put together a little website.




    I have been repairing all kinds of concertinas for a good few years now and I just wanted people to know that it's there and is an option for people.


    I have a huge amount of people to thank for their support, knowledge and patience. (A lot of people read and contribute to this great site.)


    I won't name people as I will probably leave someone out.


    Thanks and best wishes to all,


    Seán Ó Fearghail

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