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What are your views on Crabb concertinas?

The ones I've played have ranged in quality from good to great. If you're thinking of buying one, I'd suggest that you try to get the opportunity to play it first. If that's not possible, see if you can have it tried out by someone whose judgment you trust. (I would make that recommendation about any vintage concertina.)

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I play a 40-key C/G anglo made in 1972 which I've had for more than 20 years and I'm very happy with. It has aluminium reed shoes so it's quite light. I also used to have a 1924 38-key G/D, which was a fine instrument but I never quite got on with it, probably because I found it a bit heavy compared to the C/G.


They're good instruments. A lot of Jeffries were made by, or using parts supplied by, Crabb. As Daniel says, any vintage instrument must be looked at carefully. However with a good Crabb you'll get a fine instrument.

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Crabb concertinas have been made since 1860 starting with John Crabb and over 4 generations to Geoff Crabb who's still making them. Crabb have made all types of concertina (English, Anglo, Duet) in all the sizes over this timescale.


So with this history and wide range of products, it's difficult to generalise and give opinions which are valid for all. As Daniel has said, their quality is in the upper range and their best are very very good indeed. Early Jeffries anglo concertinas were most probably made by Crabb (see this article http://www.concertina.net/rd_crabb.html) so there should be no obvious and immediate reason why Crabb instruments aren't of equivalent merit, equivalent value and equivalent price to a C Jeffries instrument. However, the auction results tell a different story - at least on the price front.


The ultimate test is whether the instrument in front of you is right for you in tone and playability. Again, as Daniel has suggested, try the instrument in question.


Alex West

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the auction results tell a different story - at least on the price front.


As another current discussion indicates, it appears that some people are willing to pay a premium for the Jeffries name. Unless you are convinced that only a Jeffries will do, you could do a lot worse than get a good Crabb, and could expect to pay rather less for it.

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