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51k Crabb Crane Duet for sale

david robertson

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This is a really lovely Crabb with an interesting provenance. Made in 1947 (SN 10192), it belonged to the late Cathy Scott, who played alongside Harry and Ivy Crabb, not forgetting Tommy Williams, in the North London Concertina Band, which Harry ran from around 1960 onward.


Geoffrey Crabb has kindly sent me some pictures of the band, showing Cathy with the instrument on her knee. He has asked me not to publish them, since he hopes to use them in a book at some time, but I will gladly provide prints for the new owner. He also tells me that Cathy and his mother would often perform duets together at various functions.


Now to details. As I hope you can see from the pictures, the instrument is in lovely condition. All I have done to it is to replace all the wearing parts (pads, valves, springs and bushes), polish the buttons, and check the tuning. The layout features an outlying Bb on the right hand, while on the left, there is Bb an octave lower, a G below that, and, under the thumb, a low F which rattles windows and rearranges your internal organs.


The ends are made of polished Duralumin, and the same material is used for the levers. (In the immediate post-war period, brass was scarce, but Duralumin much easier to come by, I guess because it was commonly used in the aircraft industry.) You might think that this would make it a lightweight instrument, but you'd be wrong. In fact, it weighs in at well over 4.5lb - more than 1lb heavier than my 38k Jeffries.


The 8-fold bellows are in outstanding original condition, with bright, sharp gold tooling. And last but not least, there are the reeds, which are everything you'd expect of a Crabb - loud, lightning fast, and with a miserly appetite for air.


If you'd like to try it, just send me a PM, and we'll arrange something. I'm asking £1950 - reasonable, I think, for such a rare combination of condition, provenance and performance.


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That sounds exactly as I would describe my Crabb 69-key. Just a few more buttons but the phrases "lightening fast and miserly need for air" work for me as well.


Don't forget the fact that you're still able to trace it's history through the original family that made it. That is something that you can't duplucate with a Wheatstone or Lachenal or Shakespear. Did anyone else make a Crane Duet that can make that claim?


If I had £1950 extra, I'd be snapping it up. I'm still on the hunt for my elusive C-2 laugh.gif Anyone seen an 80-key Crane available?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, sounds like a great concertina.

I got hold of (what I am pretty sure is) a 35 button Lachenal Crane Duet.

I was thinking I might of had to have it tuned, but the notes in C seem to be OK (just getting a feel for the others).

Have to say its a good bit of crac learning it (gave up on the piano when my young fellow passed me out).

Just wondering do you know the best way to go about having a concertina looked over.

I love the look of your 51 button Crane, but I guess its a little soon for me to aspire to one like this!


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