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Mike in Oban

For Sale: Anglo Concertina In Bb/d

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For sale, a 20-button Anglo Concertina in Bb/D. Lachenal, brass reeds, in modern concert pitch, all in very good working order.

 

This is an oddity. I confess, when I bought it from E-Bay, I assumed the Bb/D was just a misdescription, but it wasn’t. See the attached layout.

 

It seems to have good provenance – there’s a Barleycorn stamp inside, though corresponding with Chris Algar, he has no idea how it ended up in this tuning. There’s a receipt from Worthing Hobgoblin from 2011, for five hundred pounds, correctly describing it as Bb/D.

 

Perhaps someone else on Concertina net will be familiar with this layout, but it’s sufficiently unlike anything else that I can play, that it isn’t for me. It’s a shame, because everything else about the concertina is really lovely.

 

It comes with a nice old (but not original) wooden box, whose condition I’d describe as ‘inexpertly restored’.

 

Any offers in the region of £300?

 

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Hello Mike in Oban,

I hear your whisky is very good! I hope to try some next year!

 

I'm very intrigued by this concertina, but although I have multiple 20 Key Lachenals in various key configurations, I'm curious why someone would have it in these keys...My question to the C-Netters is, does anyone have any idea at all why someone would have ordered an instrument made this way? Or, was it retuned over time from G to Bb? (are the reed shoes stamped to correspond to the note layout you put up? Thanks,

Don Smith

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I hear your whisky is very good! I hope to try some next year!

So they tell me ...

 

It is wierd, isn't it? I'll check the reed shoes, but the reeds don't look to be tuned to within an inch of their lives, so I'm guessing replacement reeds have been swapped from another instrument.

 

The best I could come up with is the observation that D and Bb are very common keys for men to sing in. Perhaps someone was aiming for an instrument that could provide very basic accompaniment in both those keys. In effect, it has created two simple instruments from a more complex one. Pure speculation, of course.

 

Mike

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The right hand rest is clearly stamped "Steel Reeds". However, the reeds in the photo appear to be brass.

 

Q <but the reeds don't look to be tuned to within an inch of their lives>

 

It doesn't take much filing to drastically change the pitch of brass reeds....

 

A mystery for sure....

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It's almost chromatic - just missing the Ab/G#. Could that be the thinking?

 

Alex West

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Thanks for your responses. The chromatic idea is ingenious. I just tried to play some chromatic scales on it, and the sequence is pretty challenging.

 

I looked at the reed shoes, and see that some of them are stamped and some aren’t. Interestingly, where I can see a note, it’s the right one – and there are examples in both rows. The Bb row is clearest, and seems like it might be a complete set, so I’m now guessing it’s the D that’s been added, and made up of spares.

 

Mike

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Hey man, thanks for the update. This is making my head hurt! As we all know, anything is possible, from a factory special order, to, someone down the line doing some personal customization. I'm not a fan of the chromatic theory, as not having the G# seems pretty pointless. (but, then again, we don't know what keys this person like to sing and/or play in, do we?) But what I find most perplexing is this? I have, and have had, a fair number of the Fancy ended Rosewood Lachenals come into and out of my possession(not like Chris Algar or Greg Jowaisas, but, more than the average Joe, I'm sure), and I have never seen one with brass reeds, even when there was no "steel reeds" stamped on the right hand side. Has anyone? My other question is, are ALL the reeds brass? Or, just the Bb ones? It is hard to tell from the pictures on the computer. And, is it, as Malcolm Clapp stated, clearly stamped with the words "Steel Reeds"? I myself could not definitely make that statement,due to either my eyes or computer screen. I think I saw it there, but I can't be sure. Let us know about that. This is definitely quite the enigma!

 

Don

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Hi Don - it turns out to be even more of an enigma than I'd originally thought.

 

I wonder if I've misled people with the claim that the reeds are brass. To be honest, I'm now less confident that this is true. Malcolm is right, there is a stamp saying "Steel Reeds" on the right hand rest. (Depsite being right in front of my face, I'd not noticed that before.) My claim that the reeds are brass comes from the fact that this is how it was desrcibed to me as I bought it. It also sounds like a brass-reeded instrument - best suited to accompaniment. However, that's a judgement I've made from other brass and steel-reeded instruments I have - and they're all very different from this, so may not be comparable.

 

Is there a straightforward way to distinguish brass from steel reeds? It would be nice to settle that aspect of the conundrum at least.

 

Mike

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Hi Mike,

yes, very easy. Brass reeds are brass colored, yellowish. Steel reeds are grey to sort of silver colored. The reed shoes are brass, but that doesn't necessarily make the reeds brass. Are the reeds the same color as the shoes? In the pictures, some of them look brass, but that could just be re-flexion.

 

Put a magnet on the reeds, if they are magnetic, they are steel! Let us know how you make out, thanks,

Don

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Thanks Don - yes, I've checked now and they're definitely brass. All of them. Given the 'steel reeds' stamp on the handrest, that seems to prove that all the reeds have been replaced, so goodness knows what key the instrument started life in.

 

Mike

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.... so goodness knows what key the instrument started life in.

 

Mike

 

Assuming that the handrest has not been replaced at some time, which would seem fairly unlikely, and none of the existing reeds therefore appear to be native to this instrument, then the original keys could have been anything.

My guess would be either C/G or Bb/F, being the two most commonly found configurations of 20 key Lachenals.

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Well, we are getting somewhere...sorry, but, I have another question....do the serial numbers on the reed pans match the serial numbers on the bellows frames?

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Hi - yes they do - 191917 in both cases. You can just about see the reed pan stamp in the photo, and that's replicated in the bellows frames. Apparently that gives a best date estimate of around 1930, but I know there's a lot on uncertainty around Lachenal dating.

 

Mike

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Hi folks,

the reason I asked was to see whether the reed pan had been swapped out at some time. I wonder what happened to the original reeds!

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Thanks to everyone for your interest. Sale is now agreed, and I'll make a donation to concertina.net once the transaction is complete.

 

best,

Mike

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