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Double-Bass Concertinas


SteveS
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I noticed in the Wheatstone price lists that they advertise that they can make (bass and) double-bass concertinas according to requirements.

 

Does anyone have any information about these double-bass concertinas?

 

What is the note range of such an instrument typically?

 

Does double-bass refer to the note range, or double action (as opposed to a single action bass)?

 

Anyone got one?

Edited by SteveS
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I noticed in the Wheatstone price lists that they advertise that they can make (bass and) double-bass concertinas according to requirements.

 

Does anyone have any information about these double-bass concertinas?

 

What is the note range of such an instrument typically?

 

Does double-bass refer to the note range, or double action (as opposed to a single action bass)?

 

Anyone got one?

 

It definitely doesn't refer to double-action vs. single-action. A standard "bass" can be either, and so presumably can a "double bass", though I suspect that single-action would be preferred, for a variety of reasons.

 

What I remember from my old Wheatstone price lists is that the lowest note of the "double bass" is an octave lower than that of the "bass", i.e., 3 octaves below middle C (as opposed to 2 octaves below for the bass). I myself have never seen such a double bass, though I've seen several basses, including my own.

 

To confuse matters, there are also instruments with a low note of G between the C's of the bass and contrabass, or an octave lower than a baritone. I think Dave Elliott calls those "G bass", as opposed to the standard bass, which he calls a "C bass". It seems not to have a place in the Wheatstone standard terminology. My own is a double-action Lachenal. The one recently listed for sale by our member conzertino is also double action, but I don't see that he specified the maker.

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I've got 35-button double-action EC bass, #39216 and presumably a Lachenal, that starts at middle C and goes down two and a half octaves to a very low F - a "fartophone" if ever there was one. I'm guessing this would be a double-bass? I can't imagine getting reeds to go much lower in pitch. You feel the bottom notes more than you hear them!


Gary

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I've got 35-button double-action EC bass, #39216 and presumably a Lachenal, that starts at middle C and goes down two and a half octaves to a very low F - a "fartophone" if ever there was one. I'm guessing this would be a double-bass? I can't imagine getting reeds to go much lower in pitch. You feel the bottom notes more than you hear them!

 

Gary

Wow!

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I've got 35-button double-action EC bass, #39216 and presumably a Lachenal, that starts at middle C and goes down two and a half octaves to a very low F - a "fartophone" if ever there was one. I'm guessing this would be a double-bass? I can't imagine getting reeds to go much lower in pitch. You feel the bottom notes more than you hear them!

 

As noted in my above post, that's not what the Wheatstone price lists called a "double bass", which goes even lower.

 

Yours seems to be the same as mine, except that mine -- also 35 buttons with middle C as its top -- only goes down to G. Where's your low F located?

 

As for your "fartophone" designation, mine was actually used for that. Many years ago I was asked to provide some music and sound effects for a play that was being auditioned by a theater company. In one scene with soldiers around a campfire, one of them lets out a fart. My low G provided the sound effect. :o

 

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So Bernard Wrigley has named it well!

 

The low F on mine is located where the low G# would normally be. A very sensible substitution, especially if used for band music. I got it from Lark in the Morning many years ago but don't know any history previous to that.

 

Jim - we need to get together some time and work up a version of Spinal Tap's "Big Bottoms"!


Gary

Edited by gcoover
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  • 1 year later...

On the dutch website www.marktplaats.nl a Wheatstone double bass concertina is being sold.

I never saw a picture of it before.

 

$_85.JPG

 

C. Wheatstone & CO InventorsPatentees & Manfacts Concertinas & Aolas, London nr.: 32454. 8 tones, both sides, original.

The sellers asks € 1.150,00.

Looks like a potential museum piece?

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On the dutch website www.marktplaats.nl a Wheatstone double bass concertina is being sold.

 

Here's the ad.

 

Very interesting! It's in the ledgers (#32454)... 18 inches across the ends and 16 keys, so apparently one full octave from 3 octaves below middle C to 2 octaves below middle C.

 

Too bad all the pictures show only the one side. Aside from the full octave in standard layout there should be one additional note. In terms of keeping the layout rectangular, it should be the C# to go with the upper C, but that doesn't make particularly great musical sense, so maybe something else was substituted?

Edited by JimLucas
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What a beast! Would love to see what those reeds look like, and to hear (feel?) that lowest note. Obviously the Mother of All Fartophones!

 

And I see in the ledgers that the very next concertina, #32455, was a miniature with only 8 buttons. Bet they looked great together in the workshop.

 

 

 

Gary

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The low F on mine is located where the low G# would normally be.

I have acquired a 29 button Wheatstone bass (no serial number), with F where the G# should be on the RHS, and C on LHS 2 octaves below middle C.

It has huge resonance chambers for the lowest notes.

According to the provenance, it once belonged to the Oldham Concertina Band.

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I've got 35-button double-action EC bass, #39216 and presumably a Lachenal, that starts at middle C and goes down two and a half octaves to a very low F - a "fartophone" if ever there was one. I'm guessing this would be a double-bass? I can't imagine getting reeds to go much lower in pitch. You feel the bottom notes more than you hear them!

Gary

 

Gary,

 

your Bass is the same range as my Bass, 2 octaves below the treble concertina, with the 'G#' tuned down (or replaced) to 'F natural'. in band play parlance we tend to call these 'G' basses, to differentiate them from the short Basses that go down to the 2nd 'C' below middle 'C'. This 'C' bass's compass is the same 'C' as lower open string on a Cello, some people also call them Cello Bases for this reason.

 

I believe the standard tuning on a double bass, without the 'C' extension is to the 'E' below the 'G' bass's 'G', this about half way into the contra-bass octave, so it might explain the alternative name for a 'G' bass as a contra-bass??? but it is hard to extend this thought process to a Double bass concertina.

 

Knowing the reed sizes for the very low 'G' and the 'F nat' I shudder at the size and weight of an 'E' or 'Eb' never mind the air-pump needed to get such reeds moving.

 

Dave

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The low F on mine is located where the low G# would normally be.

I have acquired a 29 button Wheatstone bass (no serial number), with F where the G# should be on the RHS, and C on LHS 2 octaves below middle C.

Not at all relevant to the discussion, but this reminds me of the "Beyond the Fringe" sketch about WWII, the part where they were preparing for a German invasion by switching signs around (I gather that in real life, they were simply removed):

 

"We'll put Ipswich where Great Yarmouth was...Great Yarmouth where Lyme Regis was...and Lyme Regis where Great Yarmouth was."

 

"Arr, that'll fool the Boche!"

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