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Geoff Wooff

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Posts posted by Geoff Wooff

  1. Looks like  a Lachenal    by  the  tiny  screws  that  hold  the metal  ends  in place.  The  Wheatstone  version would  have  the  screws  on the inside  of the  frames.  Yes the  flat  buttons  and  the    lip on the  outer edge  of the  finger plate  suggest  Lachenal.


    The  Auction  notification  does  not  say  H.Boyd.     An interested  bidder  would  want  to  see a  photo  of the  right hand  fretwork.

  2. You have  been very  lucky  Jim,


    to have played  so many  years  on an  old  concertina without having to  replace a spring!!   


    I  just love it  when a spring  breaks  or  a pad  comes loose  in the  middle  of  a session  or  a  gig,   to  be  expected, of  course  when  using old  machinery.  Having to  replace  a  spring  under  less than ideal  lighting  conditions  and  without  those  extra  powerful close focus  spectacles !  It  is  a fiddly  job  better  done  in  comfort  at  home  so , having been caught out  once or twice  I  prefer to  carry a spare  concertina.


    While  you have  the  lid  off  you might want to  check  the  condition of  the  other  springs, though metal fatigue  is  not  too easy  to  spot,  and  look  for  loose pads  that  are  just  waiting for  an opportunity   to  add an unwanted  drone  to  your  performance.  Finding  both parts  of the  broken  spring  and   adjusting the  new  spring  to  the  playing pressure  you like  goes without  saying  BUT  with an  old  Jeffries  I  would  examine carefully  the  lever pivot  holes  which  can  become  quite  worn  after  100 +  years of  use.

  3. I  recall     when  I  went  back to  the  Mac Cann  after  a  year  on the Hayden  I  could  not  play it.  Though all the  time  I  had  continued to  play  the English. Perhaps  it  was a case of  these duets  being too similar.  I've  never seriously  tried  an  Anglo  but  I  am  happy  playing  the  Chromatic  Button Accordéon  and  the English.

  4. Having looked  at  the  Button  Box    site  I  see  at  least  two  concertinas  suitable  for  your  needs  "  as fast as  a  Model  22  but  quieter"  The  48k  Rosewood  ended  New Model  and  the  Wheatstone  model  8  should  fit  the  bill.  


    I  had  a very  good  New Model  as my  quieter  rocket  speed  machine  which lived in the double  case along side   my  Model  22  and it  was  just  as  fast  but with a very  special  tone  that  comes  with  the  New Model  design.


    The  Model  8  will  have  the  same  gentler    tone  and  good  action I am  sure  as  my  current    wooden  Aeola  version of the model  8  .  


    And then  the 'Brass' reeded ,  metal  ended TT.  This looks like a  'Tropicalized'  model  where  a  special    alloy  was used  for  the  reeds    to  prevent  corrosion  in  difficult  climates.  There  is  no  reason  why  this  will be any  slower  as the  reeds will be of  the  finest  quality.


  5. On 8/21/2021 at 7:31 PM, LesJessop said:

    I have an ex-Salvation Army Treble English Lachenal in Bb. I bought it about 30 years ago to play along in sessions with Northumbrian pipes, which are usually Bb instruments. The person selling it had several Bb concertinas, including a Bass, which had all apparently come from the same band. 


    But, not long after buying it I totally drifted away from involvement with Northumbrian pipe music, and have hardly played the concertina since.


    Any  thoughts on selling that  Bb Lachenal ?

  6. 1 hour ago, Randy Stein said:

    Why not just learn the various scales and play in those keys. The advantage of the EC, no?

    In  theory  this  is  the  right way  but  with  Irish  trad music, where one  has  imprinted   hundreds of  tunes  into  the memory  along with  a  specific  style of  ornamentation  I  find  it  difficult, on the  fly, to  transpose  tunes  from  G  to  F  or  D  to C.  This  means  the  fingering  becomes  reversed  or  'mirror imaged'.... one  would  need to  learn  many of  the  tunes  again.

    I did  this  on one of the  'Tune of the Month'  series,  the  recording is on  my  Soundcloud page,  where  I  play  a tune  in seven  different  keys  during one  2 minute  take  ( Parson's  Farewell  STE007).  But  the  tune  was  fairly  simple.


    To  play   everything in  an  Irish  session  one tone  lower  would  be  akin  to  transposing a Bach  Bourrée  on the  fly,  yes it  could  be done  with  practice.


    • Like 1
  7. On 8/22/2021 at 1:45 PM, seanc said:

    Please excuse my ignorance… 


    I just don’t know how this works. 


    are the middle rows tuned to Bb instead of C? So, you would hit what would be a B and a Bb would sound. and then to hit a B you would press a Bb button?


    Yes the middle  rows  would  play  the  scale  of  Bb,   a  whole tone  lower than  normal.  So  you'd  hit  what  would  normally  be  a  B  and an  A  would  sound.  Re reading  your  question Seanc,  I  realize that  I  was  less than  clear.   I  think  the  Bb  tuned  EC  will  have  the  C  scale  in Bb  , so, all the  C  buttons  will  give  the  note  Bb.  The  complete  keyboard  will give  notes  one whole tone  lower  than  normal.

  8. I  noticed recently  that  Barleycorn Concertinas  are  advertising  a  Treble  English  in  Bb    and  saying    Bb tuned  EC's are not  so  uncommon  because  Salvation Army  concertina players  often  used  then  to  ease  playing with  their  Brass  bands.  How  true  this is  I  do  not  know  because  it is  not  so  hellish  difficult  to play  the EC  in the  Flat  keys.  Brass band  sheet  music  might of  course be  written  in  C  when  the  brass  instrument  will produce  Bb  when  reading the score. So  the  sight reading Salvationist  does not have to  transpose in their  head  when handed  a  Brass band  score.


    This  got me  thinking   about  a wee problem  that  crops  up   from time to  time.  I  have  two  major  situations  for  playing   the EC  with  other  musicians, one is  in  Irish traditional  sessions  and  the  other  with  the  local   'Bal Trad'  band  here  in France.  So,  for  Irish sessions  the  keys of  G  and  D  and related minors  and  a  normally   tuned  Treble  English  is  my  usual  instrument  BUT  now  and again a  'Flat'  session  is  encountered.  When  a  flat  session is  in C  I  can  transpose  G and D  to  C  and F  but it is  not  always  easy  to  remember  the  fingering  even  when I  can  shift  position to  make the finger patterns  similar,  flattening  Sharps and  sharpening Flats.  The  Anglo players  just  reach  for  their  Bb/F  instrument.  If, however  I  was to  utilise  an  EC  tuned  a  whole tone  lower  I  could  enjoy  a  C  session  without  further  difficulties.


    With  the  Bal Trad  band  where  most of  the tunes are in C, some  in G ,  and  the  related  minors, I  have  often  felt I'd be  happier  if the  band played in  D  rather  than  C.  Ok people  usually  feel that  C  is  the easiest  key  on the  English  but  it  can get  tiring  when  playing  for  hours in a dance band  just  using the  two  central  rows.  D  and  A  spread  the  load  more naturally over three  fingers.  So,  with  a Bb  tuned  EC  I  could  play  the  C  and G  tunes  in D  and A.


    Just  how  common  are these  Bb  tuned  EC's  I  wonder?



    • Like 1
  9. 22 minutes ago, wunks said:

    I've been advised by more than one reputable repair person against re-tuning from "old pitch" if possible because the reeds will be compromised to some degree.  In my case (Jeff duet) it could be either down to the standard C core or up to D core.  Do others agree?

    Many  ( probably  most )  of the  vintage  concertinas  in use today  have  been  re-tuned  from  one of the old  pitch  standards.  In the  UK    and  USA  the  pre  WW2  pitch   was  A 452hz. that is  the  best  part  of  half a semitone  higher  than  today's  A440hz.  In continental  Europe  pre war  pitches  vary  but  A435hz.  was  common, about  a  quarter  semitone flater  than A440hz.


      So,  are  we  all  just  used to  playing  or listening to  concertinas with  compromised  reeds ? 


    Perhaps    the  suggestions  not to  re-tune  were  more  to  safeguard  the  detail  of  original  temperaments  or  to preserve  old  reeds from  mishandling ?


    My  oldest  concertina  has  certainly  been  re-tuned, perhaps  several times,  but  its  superb  reeds  continue  to  sing  beautifully.

    • Like 1
  10. As  the  Button Box  is  one of  the  best known  sources  of  concertinas  in the USA  they  could  easily  see a run on their  stock  and  as  Doug  ( the owner)  is  looking to  sell the  business and retire  perhaps  he  does not  want  to  hold  too many  instruments.


    But  as you say,  maybe  over the  last  year  or  so,  people  are staying around  home  and  taking  the  opportunity  to  learn  a new  instrument  .


    Perhaps  Barleycorn Concertinas  in  the UK  will  be  better  informed on market  trends.

  11. 16 hours ago, Everett said:

     There is also a 1907 ebony model 6 for sale...fully restored and priced at $4500. That seems like a fair retail price, but not a bargain. I see so many instruments up for sale on Ebay that need extensive repair and I have purchased a couple over the years...from such comes an education.

    That  is  still  far too much  money.  The  Button Box  have  a  nice model 8  , fully  restored  for  a $1000  cheaper  and  comes with a  garantee!  

    Good  hunting.

  12. Some  would  say  there  is  usually  no  comparison  between  a  1963  Wheatstone  and  its  1927  cousin.  Of  course  exceptions  do  exist  but  in a blind test  my  money  would always  be  on the  1927.  If  you had  to  pay  $2500  to  buy  the  1963 model  and  spend  money  on a  full  restoration  your  equity  is  sure to  be  negative.  I  have  just  spent  €800  on a new bellows, including  postage, but  it  is  for  a  1929  Aeola  which  is  playing-in  very  nicely  now. I  was a little concerned  about spending  so much  on a  bellows for  a concertina  that  was  unplayable  but  faith  is  proving  itself.

  13. 1 hour ago, Irene S. said:

    You'll find your answer in these comments by Cyril Tawney 🙂 It was indeed Alf Edwards


    Ah Ha!  My  ears  did  not  deceive me.  There is  a particular  tone  quality  that  Alf Edwards  produces, perhaps  it  is  the  particular  concertina  he  recorded  with  in the  early  post war period.  Stephen Chambers  might enlighten us  further  about Alf's  concertina.

    Many  thanks  Irene,  you are  a mine of  information!!

  14. Watching  the  1950  film    Ha'penny Breeze  yesterday  I  was    pleasantly  surprised to  hear  some  very  fine  concertina  playing  on the soundtrack . Though  I  have  so  far  not  been able  to  ascertain    who  the player  was,    but it  certainly  sounds  like  Alf Edwards.


    Seen on  Talking Pictures TV  ( in the UK).   They'll probably  repeat it.


    Any  thoughts ?


  15. There are  many things that  can influence the  output  volume of a concertina.  The  20key  being 'tighter'  would  suggest  you should  be  getting a better  attack  when  a button is  pressed  with more  compression  available.  However, if  everything  else  is  equal, and  it  can  never  really  be,  then  the  extra  reeds  of  the 30 key  instrument  will  have  a slight  deadening  effect  on the reed pans.  


    More likely   the  height  that the  pads lift,  and  how  soft  they are, how well the reedpans  fit  into  the  bellows  and  how  flat  the  wood  of  the  reedpans  and padboards are  and  the well fitting  of the  gaskets .  Even  the  wood  of  these  pieces  can  make  a large  difference.


    What  matters ?  Everything !

    • Like 1
  16. A nice thought  Alex,

      but  having tried  the  MacCann  and  the  Hayden/Wikki  I  cannot  see why  a  'duet beginner'  would  want  to  start  on a budget  Crane or  MacCann  other than  the availability of  real  quality  vintage instruments when  they  wanted to  upgrade.   The  Hayden/Wikki  is  definately  the easiest  keyboard  to  learn, IMO,  and  the only  problem  has  been in the supply    of  fine  quality  instruments.





  17. Key  Valve  and  Wrist  Straps.   


    Prior to  the  air  button  being  operated  by  a  "Key"  there  was  a " Slide Valve"   a  lever  that  the  thumb  actuated  with  a  sideways  movement  (S.V.)  .   



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