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C. Jeffries - Opinions


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If the retuning is done by raising the pitch by one whole tone it would be a very damaging process. It needs to be done by moving the reeds to the appropriate places for it to become a C/D. This is not all that simple, and one has to consider that some of the reeds needed for the new key will not be available from the existing reed set. i.e. The key of G has one sharp, but the key of F has one flat.

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Hi Griffinga,

 

Frank has offered sage advice. Retuning a Jeffries is not done lightly and can destroy the tone of the instrument if you are not lucky. It can be especially risky if the instrument has been retuned before and you try to retune it again. In these cases, there is usually insufficient metal left on some of the reeds for the retuning. I have two Jeffries that have been left in their original pre-A440 tuning to avoid risking the loss of the wonderful character of the tone. Of course this means I am pretty much kept out of sessions with these instruments unless the other players can tune to me, but better to protect a good sounding concertina than risk it just to play in sessions. Having another instrument for session play lets you save the Jeffries tuning as it is. But this is not always possible.

 

Having an old unplayable (I'm assuming that) Jeffries restored is always an act of faith and hope. I recently did it and was rewarded with a wonderful instrument. I hope you are as fortunate.

 

BTW, I'm in Western NC in Tryon -- south of Asheville. If you are close and would like to share a tune or two sometime or have me look at this prospective Jeffries restoration project with you, contact me through the IM. I'd be delighted to meet you.

 

Ross Schlabach

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Thanks. Any serious problem tuning one in Bb/F to C/G or GD?

Yes, its not something to consider unless you know for sure that you, or a potential buyer want a particular key. Even then it is probably better to look for one in the required key and sell or trade the one you have to help pay for the deal. If you have an old concertina that you care about and you want to get it back into playing then keep it in it's original pitch and it's original tuning if possible. If you come to sell it there are players out there who prefer the less common keys and original tunings. Once these original characters are changed they are gone for ever.
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I believe that his most common tuning is Bb/F. G/D is a relatively modern tuning and I believe that most of them you find are tuned down from Ab/Eb.

I accept most G/Ds were probably Af/Ef originally but find it hard to believe Bf/F was the most common key for a Jefferies concertina.

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I believe that his most common tuning is Bb/F. G/D is a relatively modern tuning and I believe that most of them you find are tuned down from Ab/Eb.

I accept most G/Ds were probably Af/Ef originally but find it hard to believe Bf/F was the most common key for a Jefferies concertina.

 

Not that I play the anglo or know much about it, but it would explain why there's a glaringly absent Bb accidental in the C/G Jeffries layout. If they were all in Bb anyway, the missing accidental would be Ab, which is a bit more excusable.

 

 

Edit: I stand corrected. The C/G Jeffries layout has all the B-flats I would expect it to. Also, please don't trust me for advice on the relative merits of different Anglo layouts. =)

Edited by Ransom
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I believe that his most common tuning is Bb/F. G/D is a relatively modern tuning and I believe that most of them you find are tuned down from Ab/Eb.

I accept most G/Ds were probably Af/Ef originally but find it hard to believe Bf/F was the most common key for a Jefferies concertina.

 

I vaguely recall someone once saying something like about 50% were C/G, 40% were Bb/F and most of the remaining 10% were Ab/Eb, but I don't know if I'm remembering that correctly, if it was accurate in the first place or if anyone really knows.

Edited by Daniel Hersh
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I believe that his most common tuning is Bb/F. G/D is a relatively modern tuning and I believe that most of them you find are tuned down from Ab/Eb.

I accept most G/Ds were probably Af/Ef originally but find it hard to believe Bf/F was the most common key for a Jefferies concertina.

 

I agree with Chris. I think every anglo tutor I've seen is for an instrument in C/G. There may be something relatively recent for G/D, but I haven't even heard of any tutors for Bb/F. (Maybe Randy Merris could tell us more?) Doesn't seem right if Bb/F instruments were so common.

 

Of course, if the Bb/F instrument is being used to read band music for a trumpet or other Bb instrument, then one would be reading as if it were a C/G, but were there really enough concertina bands to make Bb/F the most common tuning for Jeffries?

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It all sounds like good advice to me and much appreciated. What's the old saying about fools rushing in? Plenty of time to think about this

before making a commitment. I've worked with old instruments (other than concertinas) for a while and respect efforts to maintain their

original structure and sound.

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