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Mike Jones

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Interests
    Morris dancing, woodwork tools, learning to play music, Minis (1959 - 2003), keeping my concertinas in working order and SqueezEast Concertina Band.
  • Location
    Norwich Norfolk UK

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Chatty concertinist

Chatty concertinist (4/6)

  1. I've been away for the May weekend playing and dancing with Kemp's Men in Shropshire on our spring tour. Because I have recently damaged a tendon in my right wrist and hand and I can't easily play on that side as a result, I've been playing melody on the left with the odd note from the right , so no chords, but not a problem when playing with three Melodeons as you can't hear concertina chords anyway. On Saturday evening I noticed the C5 on the G row of my 40k C/G Crabb was a bit flat. When I had time I took it out but there was nothing to see , put it back in and all was OK for a couple of tunes and the same thing happened again so I put it away. On the Sunday we scrambled to the top of Clee Hill for a couple of dances into the mist and murk, as you do (we had one of our biggest human audiences of the weekend while dancing at the top), and it was OK if slightly variable in pitch and tone. Later in Stourport the reed went flat again so I had to use my G\D concertina for the rest of the day, playing an octave lower. Investigating it this morning now I'm back home, I found the reed varied between 518 and 528Hz, so praying there was something I could do, the instrument was again dismantled. In the bright light under a lamp I noticed there was a very slight sugary deposit on one side towards the root of the tongue. This I managed to clean off the aluminium shoe, the reed top and bottom and slide a 2thou feeler gauge up and down the sides of the tongue and reassemble the box. The reed now sounded at 521Hz and warbled even though it was tight at the end of the slot. A second cleaning and the addition of thin paper down the side of the reed slot now appears to have restored the tuning to 523.6Hz, which is good enough for Morris. I think what happened is that someone spilt some beer close to my box on the Saturday evening and a drop got under the pad and on to the reed. As the weather was quite warm the drop dried and formed a clear syrupy crust on the reed tongue and shoe that caused the reed to flatten. This I was not able to see as the light was really bad. On the Sunday it was very damp on top of Clee Hill and the syrup thinned, resulting in some variation to the sound . Later, as the day warmed, the crust formed again and so the reed flattened again. I have no idea why or how, after I cleaned it, the reed became loose in its slot to cause the warble but hopefully all is now well. Had I been playing using both hands I don't know if I would have noticed the change in pitch etc for that C. if it had been used within a chord so perhaps the injury had some unforseen benefit. I've not had this happen before after xxxx years in the Morris to any other of the various boxes I've used and all have been subject to various minor skirmishes with errant or feral beer even sitting in a pool of the stuff on one occasion, a quick wipe with some absorbent cloth and all was well on that occasion.
  2. Have you considered hiring a concertina? There are a number of concertina clubs in the UK several of which do hire out instruments to starters (you would have to join but it is quite cheap) and several that provide instruction usually by way of the internet e.g. via Zoom, West Country Concertina Players (WCCP) is one that does both. This way distance is no object and you get to try an instrument for a while before you make an informed decision.
  3. Hi John Sylte, The 26k Lachenal is no longer available but the other two are. If you will send me a personal message with your email address I will send photos of the other two. I'm unable to post photos to this forum as I've used my memory space allocation. Regards Mike
  4. Hi David, I have a 30k Jones Anglo tuned A/E probably from the very last few weeks of the companies existence (No. 28064). It is "Verdi" tuned to A=432 Hz and although I have no proof, I am assuming this was because it was an orchestral instrument for a particular piece or part of an arrangement or as a remote possibility, for e.g. a Salvation Army band specialising in community singing. I'm leaving this as it is because I really like the sound and sonority of it and I play it at home for my own pleasure. I also have an A/E (now all tuned A=440Hz), 20k Lachenal that was originally a C/G instrument but has been re-tuned at some time, probably in the 1890's (it was made in approx 1885}. I've resisted doing anything about changing the tuning of this as the reeds are now so mangled. Its quite fun (as the Anglo is a transposing instrument) to play well known tunes usually originally in the keys of C or G just to see what they sound like and to assess if its worth changing the key signature and writing a new arrangement for the new key. Lastly, its just possible someone may want an A/E instrument in order to get a full set of all possible tuning options. I had this ambition once only lacking a B/F* and C/C*. Eventually I came to the conclusion it was a pointless exercise and also, under pressure from my wife, am trying to downsize my collection of over 30 instruments to more manageable levels Apart from the above purposes I can't see any other reasons for having something in A/E. Mike
  5. It's happened to me and my Anglo, especially in cold weather. I think that part of the problem is that different metals expand and contract at different rates. It seems to be occuring after several minutes of playing outside , once the cold air has had time to circulate within the bellows and thus chill the reeds. Now, when playing outside in Winter I wear a voluminous coat and tuck the concertina inside between tunes, a bit of body heat seems to help and more recently the only issue has been a few reeds "tinkling" as the clearance between the side of the reed, and the shoe decreases and the odd reed sounding a bit flat. Mike.
  6. Hi Scott, 55341 is still available and sending it to Canada is not impossible. I don't have any video or sound files. I do have some photos I can send but my memory/storage allowance for this site seems to be full so if you can send me your email address or a PM, i'll forward those on to you and see what I can do here about recording something audible. Regards Mike
  7. I have been instructed by my other half to cull my collection of Concertinas so she has somewhere to store the (new) Christmas decorations, thus the following are now for sale. Offers close to the asking price may be considered. If you send me a message of interest I can provide pictures and more information. They are all in playing/working order (I just don't play them much any more) and come in boxes (some of which may be original/contemporaneous) or gig bags. Lachenal Anglo: 30k C/G; No 55341 (matching numbers) Ends: Mahogany: Bellows: Black, 5 fold, leather: Reeds: Brass in brass shoes. £600 Lachenal Anglo: 24k C/G; No 167878 (matching numbers) Ends: Mahogany Bellows: Black, 5 fold, leather, Reeds: Brass in brass shoes. Tuning on accidental buttons: A4/G4 reversal and G*/Bb on left and C*/Eb, A5/G5 reversal on right. £350 Lachenal Anglo, 26k C/G: No 18868. Bellows: Leather, 5 fold green: Ends: solid Rosewood, end key holes bushed with original black felt. Buttons: Bone with black stained accidentals. Reeds: Brass shoes with steel tongues in 30 key reed pan. £600 Lachenal Anglo 22k D/A: No 40338 (matching numbers) Bellows: Leather, 5 fold dark green: Ends: solid Rosewood: Buttons: Bone: Reeds: Brass shoes with steel tongues. £450 Lachenal 46k Maccann Duet : No 3359 (matching numbers): Ends: Rosewood: Bellows: Black, 6 fold, leather : Reeds: Brass in brass shoes: £600 The following concertinas are owned by SqueezEast Concertinas, (SE) also need to go, they are surplus to requirements. They have been marked with SE reference numbers using correction fluid which can easily be removed and the boxes/bags have SE labels riveted on. Likewise, these are removable. Scholer Anglo 20k: D/A: No leaks, One button head has been replaced otherwise original. It was fettled and tuned by A C Norman in 2009 and sounds better than most concertinas of this type and is in excellent condition. The action is probably the best I have tried for this make and type of concertina. Comes in a red 7” record case suitably blocked to prevent damage. £150 Rosetti Rambler De Luxe Anglo 20k: F/C: A 20K double reeded concertina which would benefit from a little work as some of the reeds “tinkle” and others are slow to sound unless played with emphasis. Overall it is in good order with no significant faults and very fancy looking. It comes in an old but serviceable gig bag with working Zip. £120 Rigoletto Anglo 20K: F/C: Although a relatively cheap German made concertina with definite signs of use it plays well, has no leaks and is in pretty good tune. Includes refurbished and refitted hexagonal box with side handle. The inside C row plays an octave higher than a standard C/G: £140. Mike (currently in remission from CAD) Suitable donations to site made after sale
  8. Stephen, Thanks for that information. I have read your paper, but it was some time ago, and it had gone from my memory. Perhaps the concertinas that were made as a result of the donation were given numbers outside the routine and general ID allocation by Crabb. This might account for why Geoffrey has listed them as "unallocated" in his dating sheet. I'm interested in knowing the ID number of the instrument being sold by Squeezebox Marketplace. Also, I was talking with Dave Robertson today and he thinks he knows where there is another and who owns it. Regards Mike
  9. Sean, I'll see what I can do for pictures but I think i've used up my allocation of space. I have the photos and can easily attach them later. In the meantime, searching the web last night I came across an identical instrument, badged Crabb, on the Squeezebox marketplace website, https://www.squeezeboxmarketplace.com/concertina/anglo-concertina/Anglo-Concertina-CG-20-key-by-Crabb The diameter of the end bolts looks the same, the brass knurled small strap bolts look the same and the fretwork is the same design down to the pointed ends of the fretting, the size and shape of the cartouche hole for the label, it even mentions the aluminium shoes for the reeds in their legend and it has no labels. I'd like to know what number it has inside (and how far degraded the Aluminium is, as it does tend to oxidise fairly easily). It certainly gives me hope that my original ID was correct. Mike
  10. Hi Wes Thanks, I had thought of this, but the rivetted action is not Lachenal or much like Wheatstone and not very much like Jones either, and the fretwork looks exactly the same as another Crabb 20k I've seen, much better cut than any Lachenal with the terminal scrolls in the fretwork pointed, not rounded. The general build quality is much better too. The Bellows are five fold leather with black papers, not the usual cross and dot, and are in excellent fettle and look to be original. Who would put black papers on the bellows of their cheapest instruments? Crab and Wheatstone come to mind. The palm rests most closely resemble those on the 20k Wheatstones and are nothing like Lachenal or Jones. The number inside, 9231, is definitely not a Lachenal (it would need to be built somewhere in the 1860's, its much too refined a build too) or Wheatstone sequence or number type (I believe they were not building Anglos in 1856 when it looks like this number was used ). and the number type is not Jones, nor is the fretwork. All in all its looks quite modern in build, not vintage, possibly 30's or 40's, even 50's. According to Geoffrey Crabb's dating sheet 9231 would be 1936, which is about right. Another indicator of more recent build is the round topped moulded plastic buttons in the vintage style and nothing like the erinoid buttons Lachenal used (I've changed lots of those for bone as i don't like the feel of erinoid). the nearest likeness i can think of is the plastic buttons used on May Fair Wheatstone's (and I'm 100% certain its not one of those). Lastly, if someone was having their concertina serviced or repaired by Crabb would they have paid out for a full set of new steel tongues in Aluminium shoes (which all seem to be about 1/4 tone sharp of the note stamped on the reed), surely it would have been more economical to change a few where necessary and retune the rest. So, The experts agree, I don't have a Crabb, and I'm certain its not Lachenal, Jones or Wheatstone (although perhaps the comments above may revise that opinion), and I don't believe it to be a Norman, Dipper, or any of the more recent makers, so what is it? A well made instrument of better quality than the norm (I've had lots of the cheap 20k vintage boxes and spent lots of time getting them playing again) which requires very little work to make it sing again. Another thought is that Crabb made an excess of components and at some time e.g. prewar, someone came to the shop wanting a cheap 20k instrument to take abroad with them. Having nothing in stock they put together very quickly a complete instrument and gave it the first number they knew was vacant. Thanks to everyone for their contributions. I'll put this debate/quandry to one side and try thinking of other possibilities. I think I'll take it to Halsway in March and let a few there have a look, unless someone wants to visit and examine sooner. Mike
  11. Thanks chaps for your knowledge and wisdom,. However, there is no metal label on this wooden ended concertina and no holes for rivets or screws nor any glue residue on the outer face of the fretwork, but, there is evidence of a paper label having been stuck behind the fretwork on the RHS. I suppose this could be a dealer or retailer stamp. It is definitely stamped on the reed pans, Crabb and Son, Maker, London. The number too is odd, it comes from an unused sequence according to Geoffrey Crabb's dating lists, and would be far earlier than the fitted Aluminium shoed reeds this one has. I have emailed Geoffrey about this. MIke, if you wish you are welcome to come to my place, or I could come to yours for a more in-depth examination if you so desire. Mike, Did I see you at Thaxted yesterday? I was about to dance and thought I saw you in the crowd up at the Windmill, but couldn't find you when we finished. MIke
  12. I recently purchased a Crabb 20k C/G Anglo at auction. it comes without any external labels for the Maker or the ID number, although it is stamped inside Crabb and Son, Makers, London and ID numbers in the usual places. I need a couple of things 1. Does anyone know what typeface was used to print the numbers on their paper labels (or the nearest equivalent on a PC)? 2. Does anyone have a picture, .jpg or similar of the paper label that would go in the vacant cartouche on the right hand side? I would appreciate answers to both questions. I can copy the labels off my metal ended instrument if they are the same. Otherwise it is in excellent shape, but in need of tuning. Many Thanks, Mike
  13. In your dating document you request owners to get in touch if they have a Concertina where you have listed the ID number in Red as having not been used. This week I purchased a 20 button Concertina at auction that that mimiced a Lachenal, but when I opened it up had the stamp "Crabb and Son, Makers, London" on the bottom of the reed pans. The number appears to be 9231 stamped on Bellows frame, top and bottom of the action box and between the chambers of the reed pan. It came with steel reeds in Aluminium shoes and five fold leather bellows. The woodwork appears to be all mahogany veneered ply on the ends and the buttons are plastic, the action is rivetted and the pads and valves (mostly brown) are in generally good condition. My other Crabb instrument (18225, 40K anglo) also has aluminium reed shoes and I associate the use of Aluminium with post war (39-45) manufacture but the ID number is apparently from an earlier period so I'm thinking there is some discrepancy here. I am wondering if it has been refurbished at some time before You ceased trading. I can provide photographs if you would like to see the Crabb stamp and numbers Several of the numbers are in places hard to decipher as the ink has run. Regards Mike Jones
  14. Hi Paul, My 1960's Crabb is totally unadorned black and I like it that way. I much prefer originality over enhancements. Mike
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