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Bill N

Wheatstone Crane In Nova Scotia

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Whenever I travel, I make a habit of visiting local music shops in the vain pursuit of the elusive vintage Anglo.

 

I was in the Halifax Folklore Centre ( great music shop) in Nova Scotia last weekend and my heart did a flip, until I realized I was looking at a Duet, not an Anglo. I have no connection to the shop, but it was a nice instrument that should be in a player's hands, so:

 

Raised ebony ended, 48 button Wheatstone Crane with what appears to be the original case, all in very nice condition. Apparently it has had a recent overhaul. In tune at A440, plays very nicely (although I couldn't do much more than play some scales) and has a lovely tone. On the hang test, bellows movement was almost imperceptible. Serial # 34635, made in July, 1937. They are asking $1500 Canadian.

 

You can Google for their website and contact info if interested.

post-6711-0-19064100-1371763750_thumb.jpg

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Thanks Bill.

 

Just purchased it. It's staying in Canada traveling from one coast nearly to the other.

 

Tom and Marla at the Halifax Folklore Centre were awesome to deal with.

 

It's all original with the original case. Not a lot of use on it and has been completely gone through and tuned... what a deal for a pre war raised ebony Wheatstone!!!

 

Will post a detailed review of the instrument after it arrives.

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Congratulations!

Will this be your first Crane duet? If so, welcome to the world of Crane players.

 

I thought about buying it to replace my Lachenal Crane, but I like the tone of the Lachenal even if it has a few sticky buttons.

I enjoy playing it so much I am reluctant to send it away to get it repaired.

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Congratulations!

Will this be your first Crane duet? If so, welcome to the world of Crane players.

 

I thought about buying it to replace my Lachenal Crane, but I like the tone of the Lachenal even if it has a few sticky buttons.

I enjoy playing it so much I am reluctant to send it away to get it repaired.

Thanks. Yes, this is my first venture into the world of the Crane Duet. Received it last night. Wonderful sounding instrument. I was already playing a few tunes in under an hour. Played scales going around the circle of 5ths. I got up to 4 flats one way and 3 sharps the other way. Find it a very intuitive fingering system.

 

Strangley, on this Crane, the low C# is tuned to a rumbling low F. Interesting!!! I am wondering if it came from the factory this way and will have to check the Wheatstone journal again.

Edited by 4to5to6

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I can't imagine how that low F must sound. I like playing tunes in F, so it could be useful.

 

I have never tried scales on my Crane. I play a couple song melodies with 3 flats or 3 sharps. I found the fingering system very easy to learn. However, after a year and a half, I am not good at playing tunes and harmonies with both hands at the same time.

 

Best of luck with your Crane adventure.

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Strangley, on this Crane, the low C# is tuned to a rumbling low F. Interesting!!! I am wondering if it came from the factory this way and will have to check the Wheatstone journal again.

 

Interesting. I also have a Wheatstone Crane with a very low F where the C# should be. Are there any more out there like this?

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Strangley, on this Crane, the low C# is tuned to a rumbling low F. Interesting!!! I am wondering if it came from the factory this way and will have to check the Wheatstone journal again.

 

Interesting. I also have a Wheatstone Crane with a very low F where the C# should be. Are there any more out there like this?

 

This is the first I've heard of that variant, but it doesn't surprise me, considering that many a treble English has a low F (though presumably yours is an octave lower) where its low G# should be. Apparently, before the folk revival of the mid-to-late twentieth century the key of F was even more in demand than it is now.

 

I wouldn't expect to find any evidence in the ledgers, though. I don't believe I've seen any entry that mentions how an instrument is tuned... aside from the usual "baritone", "bass", etc. In fact, my own Pitt-Taylor duet has a Wheatstone (Maccann) duet model number (Wheatstone's Cranes had their own model numbers), and the word "special", with nothing more to indicate just how special or in what way.

 

Oh yeah, my Jeffries-made Crane has your low F, but it's outside the normal array. Mine is 59 buttons, which is basically a 55 with four extra buttons... three in the left hand (low Bb, A, and F, outside the normal array), and a low B in the right hand (in the middle column, right where it belongs in the pattern). Mine isn't unique, either. Apparently Jeffries -- also Crabb? -- made at least a few instruments with this same button layout, though not always the same notes on the extra left-hand buttons.

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My 59 key Crabb Crane goes down to the same low F by taking down the entire left side a whole fourth. The F is accomplish with a key outside of the five-column pattern. Then the f# (like your c#) is loaded up to sound lower (in my case, the C two octaves below middle C). You can see more at scraggy.net/tina.

 

I also have a Crabb Crane with 57 keys (a normal 55 with a low Bb and a low F added with the C# unaltered). In both cases these instruments were not altered from their original construction.

Edited by Kurt Braun

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Oh yeah, my Jeffries-made Crane has your low F, but it's outside the normal array. Mine is 59 buttons, which is basically a 55 with four extra buttons... three in the left hand (low Bb, A, and F, outside the normal array), and a low B in the right hand (in the middle column, right where it belongs in the pattern). Mine isn't unique, either. Apparently Jeffries -- also Crabb? -- made at least a few instruments with this same button layout, though not always the same notes on the extra left-hand buttons.

 

 

The low F seemed to be a common requirement by many players. Crabb specialised in custom made Crane system instruments from 1900 and seemed to have made more variations than all others makers put together.

The attached list shows examples of 33 Crabb variations of button layout that were made (documented, plans exist or have been reported to me). Inclusion of individual unusual note allocation within the normal 5 column array, as found on some instruments, has been avoided as this is an almost impossible a task to undertake.

Many of the examples, as indicated in the footnote, were produced as 6, 8 and 12 sided models so increasing the actual number of instruments/models produced.

 

 

Some examples indicate 2 or 3 types with the same button count. This is explained in the text. Limited space prevents posting all the various charts but the 67 Button Types A & B are included below for comparison purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

Geoffrey

Edited by Geoffrey Crabb

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The low F makes sense and it makes me think of tunings used by Salvation Army players. They play a lot in Bb and F.

 

If you play simple songs with 3 chords in C(CFG), in F(FBbC) or Bb(BbEbF) the low F is very useful for chords. Also good in tunes where G is the basic melody chord where you sometimes go down one note to F - like in Irish music in D you sometimes play a C on the last count of a line.

 

Like Kurt has low F's on his cranes, this low F is also on my 71 key Crabb crane, on the key under the thumb (anglo players would call it the drone).

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Geoffrey,

There are 73 buttons on my Crabb crane. I think you know the instrument. Is it button variety number 32 in your list?

Thanks,

Marien

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...wow Goeff; thanks for the direction to that UTube tidbit! That is worth playing through several times. Makes me want to run out and buy a giant Crabb crane---and thank-you Marien for having posted that. I'd never viewed it before. That was really nice for a Friday night treat! Exciting!

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Thanks John and Shelly, I never had such a nice audience.....

 

...Makes me want to run out and buy a giant Crabb crane---

 

Shelly,

About the Yosl Yosl tune, it's playable on the buttons of a 50+b crane as well (where the left hand side has at 25 buttons).

 

But for its looks, huge sound, action fastness and reed response, I agree that the giant Crabb is *the* wannahave amongst all cranes...

Marien

 

(edited to add the remark about the buttons on the left hand side)

Edited by marien

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Just saw this thread. I almost bought this one myself. It's a beauty. I'm pretty sure that that tuning was popular with the Salvation Army and many of theirs are like that. Like you I've been combing the Maritimes for a vintage box -- they used to be plentiful here but we've lost ourselves, and our traditions have been replaced (nearly) by faux folk Americana. Though having said this I had an epic trad session with the best Cape Breton Jew's Harp player I've ever heard last week. My first time playing with just Anglo and Jaw Harp. Our Queen Anne's Reel was special! Anyway, glad to hear the Duet went to a good home. I have a Lachenal Duett (ser. 1015) that I torture from time to time, but would have loved to have adopted yours. It really is very pretty.

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