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adrian brown

Jeffries 39 Button Anglo Keyboard Variations

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It struck me while participating in these threads:

 

http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20126&do=findComment&comment=188063

http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20133&do=findComment&comment=188007

 

that it might be worth trying to do a survey on the different variations on the Jeffries 39 button anglo layout - we might even include the larger 45+ versions too. For some reason, this particular layout seems to have so many variations, that it is easy to throw up one's hands and simply declare that there is no (and perhaps never was any) standard layout. That said, when you have seen a number of these instruments, it is possible to perceive certain trends. For example: RH button 5b is often the reverse e/f (draw/push) and 6b, the reverse d/c, which in practical terms means you can complete the diatonic c octave in both bellows directions with only 2 additional buttons. Another trend is the RH push f# on button 1b and the push Bb on 10 (accompanied by the shift of the high f# to button 7c, mentioned in David's topic above)

 

Anyway, with Gary's new numbering system up and running so to speak, we could actually reduce this survey to a simple spreadsheet - not quite sure how that works on this site, but I'm willing to try to keep one going for the duration of this topic and post it here once there is enough data.

 

Anyone else think this would be useful?

 

Adrian

 

PS. Here's a link to my own layout below, that I posted to the other thread last week

Edited by adrian brown

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My layouts for my 45 key Jeffries are in the PDFs attached. The first shows the layout as it was before I bought it (which is probably more relevant to what Adrian is discussing here). I had the layout altered when I bought the concertina. I was already used to the wheatstone/lachenal accidentals from my previous anglo so I had the notes on the top row altered to match that as shown in the second PDF. If I were to do the alteration now I think I may do it slightly differently, I have lost some of the advantages of the Jeffries system, especially the c#5/eb5 reversal and I have ended up with two eb6s on the pull. But my playing has been shaped by this layout and I feel that it is too late to change now.

 

A few people have also raise the lack of an f4 on the push on the left hand on my concertina, it is one of the few missing reversals. I have seen a number of Jeffries (including Adrian's) that have an f4 on the push of the thumb button, but I use the thumb drone so much that for me it is a useful trade off.

 

What is particularly interesting for me is the key at the top of the G row on the right hand (sorry not familiar with Gary's new numbering system) which both I and Adrian have as a G#/Bb reversal instead of the high F# and B as it is on almost every other concertina I have played. I find this reversal extremely useful, far more than the extreme high notes it displaces. I wonder if/why this is unique to only the larger Jeffries.

Cohen Jeffries-key-layout original.pdf

Cohen Jeffries-key-layout altered.pdf

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My ideal layout, borne out of my own playing wishes/needs plus observing a great number of instrument layouts and having conversations with many players about this, is basically identical to Adrian and Jody's ideal layouts. The only change I have is on RH 10, where (for a C/G instrument, as in Adrian's diagram) rather than [bb/G#] I have a pull high Eb (a fifth above the G# that it replaces). On a G/D, this note (a high Bb) is vital to a lot of great tunes in G minor, for which it's the highest melody note in the tune (Presbyterian Hornpipe to name just one). I do miss the reversal that I have to give up, though since I still have that reed I can just swap it in again if I change my mind :)

 

I've got a small collection of other people's Jeffries layouts, but as several of them belong to other forum members perhaps I should wait for them to contribute? And some of what I've collected are not on my laptop... and may never see the light of day, who knows. Most memorably, Father Charlie Coen's layout, outside the basic twenty buttons, is best described as (and I say this as someone who spent a lot of time trying to find some sense it it...) "someone dropped his reedpans at the factory and put the reeds back in at random as quickly as possible hoping nobody would notice"; and the infamous "special D" concertina, where on a 38-button Jeffries 14 draw buttons made a D, and 10 push buttons made a D, in various octaves. Pretty much anywhere you put your fingers outside of the basic twenty, there were D notes, which was fantastic if your interests didn't really extend beyond that note... :wacko:

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Thanks for your replies Cohen and Will, I think we would need to have quite a large selection of layouts to make any broad statements, but I am struck by how similar your original 45 layout was to my own Cohen. The RH C/D E/F reversals, the push F# and Bb and left hand layout are all the same as on my impression of a 39 "standard". In addition, the single 4th row button of my 39 (9cLH and 7cRH are on the corresponding buttons of yours too, so I'd suggest there was sometimes an attempt to make the 45 layout compatible with the 39.

 

Concerning your thumb button Cohen, I think this is normally linked to the same chamber and thus same reeds as your button 10c via an extra pad in the chamber? I don't have any experience with this, but have read about it here. This presumably rules out you tuning 10c to a different pair of notes? For my own preference for a push F here, I sort of took the view that if I want to do a drone, I can simply swap between the thumb and button 3, and I need the push F quite often.

 

I forgot to add to my original post that of course if anyone has AbEb, BbF etc. anglos with this keyboard, we could incorporate these too and see the relationship to a CG layout and take into account any variations there too.

 

Adrian

Edited by adrian brown

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Here's an interesting one I played today: Jeff Thomas #19 (2018), a 40-button C/G made for my friend Benedict Gagliardi.

 

L/H

1a-5a as normal (2a draw is low Bb as it would be on a 30-button)

1-5 as normal

6-10 as normal

 

5ab push F# (reversal of 7)

5ab draw C# (reversal of 3a)

5b push Bb (reversal of 5a)

5b draw E (reversal of 4)

10b push F (reversal of 4)

10b draw G# (reversal of 5a)

Th push/draw C drone

 

R/H

1a-5a as normal for Wheatstone arrangement

1-5 as normal

6-9 as normal (and 10 as normal for Wheatstone arrangement, push high-B, draw F#)

 

1ab push F# (reversal of 6)

1ab draw C# (reversal of 1a)

1b push F (reversal of 3)

1b draw low-G (as on L/H 5 push)

6b push Bb (reversal of 3a)

6b draw G# (reversal of 3a)

 

5ab push super-high C (an octave above 4 push)

5ab draw D (reversal of 8)

 

6c push Eb (reversal of 1a)

6c draw low-A (as on L/H 5 draw)

8c push D (reversal of 2)

8c draw E (reversal of 2)

 

I haven't played this instrument enough to really get my head around it, but ... on the right side, I feel like the placement of the reverse D,E,F are bizarre, and the lack of a reverse C (1 push) on the right feels limiting. And the location of the reverse Bb feels really, really weird to me. The inclusion of the draw D (reversal of 8) at 5ab is the best part of this instrument's extra-button layout, as the lack of that note is the Wheatstone accidental layout's worst shortcoming, and putting it right next to the place it "should" be (say I, a Jeffries player!) is helpful.

 

Am I just making these observations / opinions because I'm familiar with a Jeffries-38 layout? Or is there something about the placement of extra notes on a Jeffries-38 which is ergonomic or more efficient for playing runs (because of which fingers are used)? My gut says the latter: that the placement of the Jeffries's C/D and E/F reversal buttons is actually better from a functionality or efficiency standpoint.

 

This instrument has two buttons where the two reeds are nearly an octave apart (1b, with a G and the F above it; 5ab, with a D and the C above it). I haven't opened the instrument to see what the reedpans look like, or spent enough time playing it (and playing the odd buttons) to really know how they sound and feel. I'll get some more time with this in April when this instrument - oh, and Benedict too! - visits me in England :)

Edited by wayman

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I haven't played this instrument enough to really get my head around it, but ... on the right side, I feel like the placement of the reverse D,E,F are bizarre, and the lack of a reverse C (1 push) on the right feels limiting. And the location of the reverse Bb feels really, really weird to me. The inclusion of the draw D (reversal of 8) at 5ab is the best part of this instrument's extra-button layout, as the lack of that note is the Wheatstone accidental layout's worst shortcoming, and putting it right next to the place it "should" be (say I, a Jeffries player!) is helpful.

 

Am I just making these observations / opinions because I'm familiar with a Jeffries-38 layout? Or is there something about the placement of extra notes on a Jeffries-38 which is ergonomic or more efficient for playing runs (because of which fingers are used)? My gut says the latter: that the placement of the Jeffries's C/D and E/F reversal buttons is actually better from a functionality or efficiency standpoint.

 

 

 

This is something I've pondered in the past and not come up with a satisfactory conclusion. I've become so used to where they are, that if I try playing a 30 button instrument these days, my fingers tap uselessly in the spaces where those buttons should be! Is it the most ergonomic position for them? I think the fact that they are paired C/D and F/E means you only have to learn where the two buttons are to cover those bits of a scale. I remember feeling when I was working through those renaissance pieces just how handy many of the the fingerings were and musing whether it would have been as easy on (for example) the Jones layout. I guess to a certain extent, you just get used to what you know and at a certain point, you've invested so much in that system, you'd simply waste a lot of time in changing.

 

Adrian

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Posted (edited)

Here's the layout of my 38 key C/G - quite similar to those others shown here

 

attachicon.gif Jeffries38CG.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Andrew, Sorry, I've only just seen this today. What strikes me instantly is that the few differences between your instrument and Geoff Crabb's "typical" layout, are so close (mostly around a semitone) as to make it quite possible they were re-tuned at some point in the past. What would be interesting is the next time you have it apart, if you could perhaps check the reed shoe note stamps with the actual pitch? The notes that are different are on buttons: LH: 2a draw, 5b draw, 10b push RH: 1b draw. Plus of course the push LH thumb button, where the "drone" c has been preferred to the push F, which you have on 10b in place of the "typical" f#.

 

Thanks for sharing this - another brick in the wall :-)

 

Adrian

Edited by adrian brown

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Posted (edited)

Another couple of bricks...

Here is the existing layout for the rather lovely 38k Jeffries I'm working on at the moment. Anyone spot any logic in the arrangement of the accidentals? Another curiosity is that on the left hand, innermost row, nearly everything has been shifted one place to the right, compared with Geoff's "standard" layout.

 

post-1437-0-86482100-1522138313_thumb.jpg

 

post-1437-0-68424700-1522138315_thumb.jpg

 

Edited by david robertson

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Another couple of bricks...

Here is the existing layout for the rather lovely 38k Jeffries I'm working on at the moment. Anyone spot any logic in the arrangement of the accidentals? Another curiosity is that on the left hand, innermost row, nearly everything has been shifted one place to the right, compared with Geoff's "standard" layout.

 

attachicon.gif img024.jpg

 

attachicon.gif img025.jpg

 

I've been trying to get my head around this one for days David! I really can't see any logic to that inner row and since it's a variation on the basic, or "core" 20 button layout, I don't think there is any? My best effort is along the lines of what Will described above - the reed pan falling out sometime and someone stuffing the reeds back in at random :-)

 

Adrian

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