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Ptarmigan

My 1899 Jeffries 39 Key!

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As I bought myself an old Jeffries last Saturday, I thought it only fair to post some details here, for I'm sure at least some of you might be interested! ;)

 

For a start here are a few Photos

 

Sadly, I lost my good Digi Camera at the weekend, but as soon as I get another one, I'll post a load of detailed shots of it ... inside & out.

 

I learned a little from Albert's Grandson, from whom I bought this Concertina & I'm hoping to get more info from him, which I will of course in time, add to this thread.

 

So my "Jeffries Anglo German Concertina", was first bought on the 26th of June 1899, by one Albert Canacott {1881 to 1956}, new from Mr Charles Jeffries himself ..... & I have the actual receipt to prove it!

 

It cost Albert the princely sum of £7 & 7 Shillings, although on the day he actually only laid down £2 & 2 Shillings.

Of course I did have to pay just a little more than that, when I bought it, last Saturday. :P

 

According to the letters stamped on the Reed Blocks & the receipt itself, this Concertina actually started life as a C/G, but some time before about 1930 I suppose, Albert had it retuned to A/E, perhaps because he sang with it himself or played along with singers.

 

Anyway, today it is around G#/D# & I must say, there is a lovely growl from those low Reeds.

I may well, at some stage if the Reeds are up to it, bring their pitch back down to the closest concert pitch i.e. G/D.

However, I have absolutely no interest in taking them back to C/G, even if that were possible, because I did have a C/G Jeffries Concertina for years, but always found that pitch far too squeeky for my ears!

 

As well as Albert's Receipt, I have his old Concertina Book, which contains detailed drawings of all the notes & how to play a number of scales, which is fascinating to see.

 

Sadly, Albert's whole company was killed in a Mustard Gas attack, during the first World War & as they were clearing away the bodies, they actually found Albert, still alive under a pile of bodies! Can you imagine how that must have felt, being the only survivor! :blink:

He always had trouble with his lungs after that, but still managed to reach the ripe old age of 75!

 

Incidentally, I called this Concertina a 39 Keyed instrument, quite simply because that is in fact the way Charles himself describes it on the receipt ... & who am I to argue with C Jeffries!

 

As they say in all the best Cartoons ... That's All Folks! :D ..... but there will be more, to follow.

 

Cheers

Dick

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Great Dick, it would be worth putting copies of the pics and the book with some history up on a permanent place maybe the concertina library if it's still accepting items. Any chance of some sound files or vid clips?

Cheers

Mike

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I would stay with Ab / Eb. Lovely low key, and with a number of old fiddle recordings, flute and some older pipes. Robbie Hannon mar shampla. The other advantage would be playing solely in the G ( Eb ) row as an Eb instrument.

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Never fear Chris, once I get her Ship shape & Bristol fashion, I'll be posting a bunch of clips.

I might even post a couple of tunes with her, just as she is now, warts an' all.

There are a couple of honking Reeds, but after all this is how I got her, so it might be nice to have a few before & after clips for comparison.

 

Yes indeed Michael, I'd love to post an article all about it, on the Library.

 

Aye Lawrence, the trouble is it's not actually in Ab/Eb anymore, I assume because it was re-tuned before the modern Pitch came into being, around 1930 I believe, which means it is now just a little shy of G#/D#. That's why, when I get it tuned, if I do decide to move the pitch, I'll only be taking it to the nearest concert pitch, which would be G/D. I already have a little 26b G/D Lachenal, so I'd quite like an A/E Box, but I have no intention of moving those reeds further than is necessary. Also, I'd prefer to have weights added than have any more metal taken off, which is clearly what would have to happen, to bring it up to A/E.

 

Cheers

Dick

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I've owned an Aflat/Eflat (old pitch) 30b Jeff. Bros for some time. (I also have the receipt! £12.00 in 1920). I didn't play it very much because of the anti-social pitch - and the tuning was pretty rough. As I now play a lot with Liz Giddings, fiddle player, and she likes to play in A, I decided a couple of weeks ago that it should go into A/E concert pitch. I took it to Steve Dickinson last week and yesterday I picked up the finished article. With Steve's skillful dedication and craftsmanship it has become a different instrument and I think I am going to be obsessed with it for a good while! I'll bring it to Bradfield, but I don't think the ECMW is ready for A/E this weekend!!

Best wishes,

Roger

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I've owned an Aflat/Eflat (old pitch) 30b Jeff. Bros for some time. (I also have the receipt! £12.00 in 1920).

 

Ah Ha ... good to know I'm not just imagining all this Roger. ;)

 

£12 eh! so they went up by a whole £2 & 5 Shillings in just 20 years!

Mmmm .... so they did have inflation after all, even back in the good old days! :P

 

The tuning on this one is actually excellent, perhaps because it hasn't been played since the early '50s, but sadly, one important reed for tunes, is now honking a little, which is spoiling my fun a little, so one way or another it's going to need some tlc from Mr Prebble, pretty soon.

 

Do you know from the Reed Blocks of your instrument, whether it started out as an A/E or was, like mine, changed from a C/G?

If it was originally a C/G too then, can you tell me, did Steve Dickinson have any trouble with any of the reeds?

If not, then it'll mean I can be more confident with the idea of changing the pitch of this instrument.

 

Thinking about playing in A: would playing all my D tunes from my C/G days but now on a G/D box, not mean that I was now actually playing those in A?

In which case, wouldn't G/D be a more useful option for anyone wishing to play lots of tunes in A?

I might find this rather useful you see, being a Scot myself, with a head full of Heederum Hoderum Strathspeys & Reels ....... frae North o' the Border! :D

 

Anyway, I look forward to hearing your A/E sometime soon, on YouTube perhaps ;) .... pity I can't get over to hear it live. :(

 

Cheers

Dick

 

P.S. Roger, on your receipt, how many Keys does it say your Concertina has?

Just curious to know if they were still adding the Air Button as a key, to describe them.

Edited by Ptarmigan

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Hi Dick,

32 keys on the receipt so he was counting the air-button.

Steve says it tuned in beautifully and it certainly sounds that way. I think it was originally Aflat/Eflat; it was certainly not in concert pitch and in Steve's words 'all over the place'. (Quite restrained for him!) He replaced one reed; the extreme right hand button at the top of the inside row where you'd expect D/D# had the D an octave lower and Steve didn't think he could retune through such a distance without losing quality.

I've been plying A exactly as you describe with exactly the same precedent - having to play in D when I only had a C/G (nearly 40 years ago!). On an A/E that gives me B major! Now that could get me thrown out of a few sessions!

I don't do Youtube! You'll have to come and spend a few days here in Essex!

Best wishes,

Roger

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Ah 32 eh Roger!

So when did the convention for including the Air Button when listing the number of keys change, do we know?

 

Aye B Major is not exactly what you'd call a Session Friendly key, although all our marching Fife & Flute band players over here would be well pleased! They say they are playing in Bb but most of their Flutes sound closer to B ... of course, sadly, not many of them sound like they're in tune with each other! :ph34r:

 

I must admit, after driving through London last Saturday, for the 1st time in my life, I'm not too keen to face all that Motorway & City driving again, for a long time to come. But just out of interest ... what do you charge for B&B? :lol:

 

Cheers

Dick

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If I recall correctly, if it's stamped as a C/G on the reeds, it may still have started life as an Ab/Eb so he may not have had it re-tuned. The stamp really represented the reed location. I read this on c.net somewhere and I have seen a few instruments, reeds untouched, stamped as C/Gs but actually Bb/F. I have a 26B Jeffries (or Crabb) like that in my workshop at the moment).

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We (Algar-Chambers-Gaskins-Lee-Merris-Williams) have Jeffries sales receipts for severeal Jeffries concertinas. All but one are from the post-1900 period. However, the one exception is from June 1899--the same month and year as the "Mr. Canacott receipt". The receipt--call it the "Wardle receipt" since it was for a purchase by a Mr. Wardle--was reproduced in Concertina Magazine, 24 (1987), page 19. The Wardle receipt is dated June 9, 1899--just 2 1/2 weeks before the Mr. Canacott receipt of June 26. Like the latter, the Wardle receipt is for a 39-key Anglo concertina and leather case: "One Concertina with 39 Keys & leather Case in the Key of G. {Pound sign}8-5-0" [The receipt also indicates that Mr. Wardle paid the full amount: "Cash Paid (Pound sign)8-5-0" The printed sales receipt forms and the handwritings, including the "C. Jeffries" signatures, on the receipts clearly match (even taking account that I am not a handwriting expert).

The differential between the sale prices of the two instruments, GBP 8-5-0 versus GBP 7-7-0, is interesting, given that the Wardle receipt does not indicate any special features that would account for the additional shillings. (And there might have been justification for Mr. Wardle to pay less--not more--given his up-front payment of the full purchase price.) But maybe the differential is explained by the difference in tunings--the Wardle in G (that is, C. Jeffries' term for G/D tuning)and the Canacott in C (that is, C. Jeffries' term for C/G tuning). Could it be that a G/D tuning was "special" enough to ask for a few extra shillings?

[incidentally, notice that the Canacott receipt is clearly dated June 26, 1899 at the top, but at the bottom show "26/8/99". But presumably Charles Jeffries knew that June was the 6th month of the year.]

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If I recall correctly, if it's stamped as a C/G on the reeds, it may still have started life as an Ab/Eb so he may not have had it re-tuned. The stamp really represented the reed location. I read this on c.net somewhere and I have seen a few instruments, reeds untouched, stamped as C/Gs but actually Bb/F. I have a 26B Jeffries (or Crabb) like that in my workshop at the moment).

 

That's fascinating Paul & exciting too!

 

To be honest, looking at these Reeds, I could be wrong of course, but I'd be very surprised if anything has actually been done to them, since day one! Of course, I would be absolutely delighted if they were as new.

 

However, one thing doesn't quite fit! If it left the shop as an A/E or Ab/Eb, why would Charles have marked it as being in the Key of C on the Receipt? ....Oh for a Tardis!

 

Cheers

Dick

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The printed sales receipt forms and the handwritings, including the "C. Jeffries" signatures, on the receipts clearly match (even taking account that I am not a handwriting expert).

 

Many thanks for that verification.

 

The differential between the sale prices of the two instruments, GBP 8-5-0 versus GBP 7-7-0, is interesting, given that the Wardle receipt does not indicate any special features that would account for the additional shillings. (And there might have been justification for Mr. Wardle to pay less--not more--given his up-front payment of the full purchase price.) But maybe the differential is explained by the difference in tunings--the Wardle in G (that is, C. Jeffries' term for G/D tuning)and the Canacott in C (that is, C. Jeffries' term for C/G tuning). Could it be that a G/D tuning was "special" enough to ask for a few extra shillings?

 

Or, could it be that Wardle had asked them to re-tune a C/G to G/D & that is why he was charged more?

 

[incidentally, notice that the Canacott receipt is clearly dated June 26, 1899 at the top, but at the bottom show "26/8/99". But presumably Charles Jeffries knew that June was the 6th month of the year.]

 

Aye, but which one is correct.

Could this have been an old receipt, which had been dated at the top back in June, then not used until August?

 

Guess I'll have to celebrate both dates now ... just in case! B)

 

Cheers

Dick

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Dick,

This conversation is getting a bit disparate! To answer your two questions in the briefest terms: Geoff Crabb has said that you count the air button (he calls it the 'wind key') on a Duet but not an Anglo. (Where did this convention arise?).

There's no charge for B&B but you play for your supper!

Best wishes,

Roger

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I've owned an Aflat/Eflat (old pitch) 30b Jeff. Bros for some time. (I also have the receipt! £12.00 in 1920). I didn't play it very much because of the anti-social pitch - and the tuning was pretty rough. As I now play a lot with Liz Giddings, fiddle player, and she likes to play in A, I decided a couple of weeks ago that it should go into A/E concert pitch. I took it to Steve Dickinson last week and yesterday I picked up the finished article. With Steve's skillful dedication and craftsmanship it has become a different instrument and I think I am going to be obsessed with it for a good while! I'll bring it to Bradfield, but I don't think the ECMW is ready for A/E this weekend!!

Best wishes,

Roger

 

 

You and Liz sounded good at ECMW anyway Roger, she s got a lovely style, I look forward to hearing you both at Bradfield in A , but not too much in the sessions please or I'll bring my mate who plays non stopScottish tunes on Piano Accordion.! cool.gif

Edited by michael sam wild

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Especially for those who were asking, here's a YouTube of this Concertina in action.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNwGM-ieEXc

 

Considering it hasn't been played since 1956, I don't think it sounds too bad! B)

 

Cheers

Dick

Edited by Ptarmigan

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Sounds very good Dick have you decided on the retune?

 

Not yet Michael & I won't, until Dave Prebble has checked out the Reeds for me, but my gut feeling is still, to get him to just nudge them down to G/D.

 

Cheers

Dick

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