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Kelteglow

Comparison Of Anglo C/g To G/d Construction

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Posted (edited)

Their are many more Anglo C/Gs than G/Ds .For instance the two boxes that I have owned have been of similar size and weight .I know that some of the G/D reeds are bigger but are the chambers of similar size ?and why is it that concertina makers only offer to make (concertina reeded) C/Gs ?

Edited by KelTekgolow

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The C/G is more traditional. They only started making G/D in the mid-20th century to satisfy Morris musicians who wanted them.

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I've had a couple of Jeffries G/Ds (and a few more Ab/Ebs) and whilst 1 was a Jeffries Brothers, so perhaps 19101920s, 1 was a C Jeffries so more likely to be earlier and well before the Morris revival. They were of similar overall size to C/G instruments but I've never checked the individual chamber sizes. The left hand reeds were certainly well weighted with solder and definitely not "long scale" so they could be a similar length to C/G reeds - but they were stamped as G/D so made that way

 

Alex West

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I've had a couple of Jeffries G/Ds (and a few more Ab/Ebs) and whilst 1 was a Jeffries Brothers, so perhaps 19101920s, 1 was a C Jeffries so more likely to be earlier and well before the Morris revival. They were of similar overall size to C/G instruments but I've never checked the individual chamber sizes. The left hand reeds were certainly well weighted with solder and definitely not "long scale" so they could be a similar length to C/G reeds - but they were stamped as G/D so made that way

 

Alex West

Just to add to Alex's comment - I have an F/C from the C Jeffries period that has a slightly bigger AF dimension, 6 1/2", but with the same size reeds as my Ab/Eb from the same period.

 

Adrian

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Posted (edited)

I have two Jeffries 38-button concertinas, whose fretworks are identical and whose components (inside and out) appear to be of nearly-identical vintage. One is dated extraordinarily precisely, in that it came with its original "Bought of Charles Jeffries / English & Anglo German Concertina Manufacturer / 23 Praed Street, Paddington W" sales receipt, dated March 11th 1897, cost £6 / 18 / 6, and signed by "C Jeffries" (presumably Junior, as Senior was by accounts I've read illiterate and signed with "X").

 

The above-described is a C/G. The right fretwork (but not the left) says "C JEFFRIES" "MAKER" amidst the buttons. There is also a "C JEFFRIES" "MAKER" stamp on one side of the wooden end on the left side (adjacent to the strap screw).

 

The other is a G/D. The right fretwork (but not the left) bears an identical "C JEFFRIES" "MAKER" amidst the buttons. (There is no stamp on any of the wood endframes.) The look of the reedpans, reed shoes, reeds, and levers is not different from the C/G, though the tops of the metal buttons on the G/D are more rounded than on the C/G. (Other parts of the G/D - pads, many valves, and most notably bellows - are by the Dippers, whereas on the C/G appear to be original.) In every respect I can tell, the reedpans and reeds for the G/D appear original and with G/D being the original keys.

 

Given all of this, I have always assumed a date of 1890s for the G/D being made, as my understanding is that the stamping on the fretwork changed to include "23 PRAED ST" not many years into the 1900s. (Nothing inside gives me the impression the G/D reedpans and reeds were a later substitution.) Robin Harrison may have an estimate of his own (as I bought this from him). And of course, I welcome all of your opinions as well!

Edited by wayman

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Posted (edited)

As with Alex's description, the reeds appear (from photographs I took years ago) to be the same length, but with solder on the G/D reeds. My recollection is that the shoe stamps are for the G/D notes indicating the solder was original, not added later. E.g.,

 

C/G left-side:

DSC05459a.JPG

 

G/D left-side:

IMG_5993.JPG

 

If I have occasion to take these apart sometime soon, I'll try to do some close-up reed comparison photos that clearly show the stamps.

Edited by wayman

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How much does it affect the sound/response, using C/G size reeds but pitched down to G/D (effectively shortening the scale)?

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The C/G is more traditional. They only started making G/D in the mid-20th century to satisfy Morris musicians who wanted them.

I've had a couple of Jeffries G/Ds (and a few more Ab/Ebs) and whilst 1 was a Jeffries Brothers, so perhaps 1910,1920s...

... Given all of this, I have always assumed a date of 1890s for the G/D being made

Sorry. I guess I was thinking of G/D melodeons. Since I don’t play either, what do I know?

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No need to apologise David; my knowledge is only based on the instruments that have passed through my hands and I can't be sure of the history and dates of manufacture even of those. I suspect that what I assume (and referred to above) is a C Jeffries (senior) instrument could also be attributed to C Jeffries (junior) - my only comparison is to a similar looking instrument for which I've also seen a dated receipt but there's nothing I could call a definitive fact based on my direct experience.

 

Now, why did the Jeffries produce instruments (albeit in relatively small quantities) in such a diverse range of keys? - I can only guess. C/G is certainly the predominant key (and there's no need to have an anglo concertina in each key if one is appropriately proficient - sadly that excludes me)

 

Alex West

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Now, why did the Jeffries produce instruments (albeit in relatively small quantities) in such a diverse range of keys? - I can only guess. C/G is certainly the predominant key (and there's no need to have an anglo concertina in each key if one is appropriately proficient - sadly that excludes me)

 

Alex West

 

I think it's because the anglo having its diatonic lowest octave, you always need to select your instrument/key depending on the available bass notes - at least that's how I use the various different tunings. The AbEb tuning probably came about to allow for playing with brass instruments and I believe there's even a SA tutor that assumes an anglo is in in Ab? I've not seen a Wheatstone with that tuning, but they came relatively late to the anglo game, didn't they?

 

Also knowing CJ was something of a businessman, he could have marketed the various sizes to satisfy those with an early form of Concertina Acquisition Syndrome...

 

Adrian

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Hmmm................I have always thought that the favoured keys for concertina band players were Bb and F......and I had also thought that these were far more numerous than the Ab / Eb combination ( and I'm referencing Jeffries anglos here).

Have I been wrong all these years ?

Robin

 

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Posted (edited)

Let me quote from the Preface to H.H. Booth's "Instructions for the Salvation Army Concertina," which deals with playing the Anglo by ear:

 

 

The main key of The Salvation Army Concertina is Ab Concert Pitch, that being the key in which most of our tunes are sung. But as this key is the same as Bb on the Cornet, and seeing that our Concertinas are mostly played with brass bands, we call it the Bb key, although it is really Ab Concert Pitch.

 

 

The fact that the Cornet (the lead instrument of the brass band) is a transposing instrument in Bb, and the key was probably called out accordingly ("We're going to play this in C, lads!" when in string-player's terms it would be Bb) led to a shift in terminology for the Anglo. But this must be disregarded from a modern absolute-pitch point of view, because Booth states twice that the "main key" of the S.A: Concertina "is (really) Ab Concert Pitch."

The secondary key would therefore be Eb - so the old S.A. Anglos were Ab/Eb instruments.

 

I believe that many of the vintage G/D Anglos around today are in fact old S.A. instruments tuned down a semitone and adjusted to modern concert pitch.

 

Edited to add: ... which would explain why there aren't more Ab/Eb Anglos around nowadays.

 

Cheers,

John

Edited by Anglo-Irishman

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which would explain why there aren't more Ab/Eb Anglos around nowadays.

 

And, I guess, also explains what lead me astray.

Bb/F's are more common now ( I believe) because all the Ab/Eb's have been G/D'd ?

Thanks for the explanaton

Robin

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Hmmm................I have always thought that the favoured keys for concertina band players were Bb and F

Robin,

Booth's explanation involves brass bands. Concertina bands could well be a different kettle of fish.

 

Cheers,

John

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How much does it affect the sound/response, using C/G size reeds but pitched down to G/D (effectively shortening the scale)?

You can make reeds of the same pitch but within a wide range of lengths. The limiting factors are less the size constraints than finding the balance between stiffness, length and mass distribution that allow a reed to speak at the same pressure as the rest of the reeds. For flat unprofiled, parallel reeds, each octave is about 1.4 x as long as the one above it. These lengths get long fast in the lower octaves, also creating reeds that are louder than the ones a few octaves up. To bring them back to being balanced with the rest of the reeds, they have to be shorter and have more tip weight. The shorter and heavier they get, the less responsive they get. More tip weight means less stiffness and a thinner weaker reed. My experience has been that shorter more heavily weighted reeds are slower and less bright. I would not consider weighting c/g reeds to make them a g/d. Perhaps a Bb/f, but not lower. There is room for longer reeds. My G/D’s are the same size as my 6.25 inch c/g’s and have full size long scale reeds. My reed pans are oriented 60 degrees off a typical Jeffries, since that puts the longest chambers nearer the buttons for the lower notes without needing weird levers. (and also eliminates really short levers ). If I were to make a C/G (octave lower ), I would switch to a larger format rather than sacrifice response and tone.

Dana

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Thanks Dana, I agree it wouldn't make sense for a modern maker to weight a C/G sized reed set down to G/D, I was just curious how well Jeffries got away with it! Did other vintage makers like Lachenal and Wheatstone put larger reeds in their G/D anglos?

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Thanks Dana, I agree it wouldn't make sense for a modern maker to weight a C/G sized reed set down to G/D, I was just curious how well Jeffries got away with it! Did other vintage makers like Lachenal and Wheatstone put larger reeds in their G/D anglos?

I think Wheatstone probably did continue their scale to the lower notes. Certainly the case on my old McCann duet. But that wasn’t an Anglo. Even if you limited your reeds to the size of a low C, and weighted them way down, adjusting the chamber lengths accordingly could help improve their response. On my duet, while for upper notes the chambers were only as lone as the reed shoes needed, the lower you went, the longer the chambers got till at the lowest G, the chamber was much longer than the reed shoe. On my Bb/f Jeffries, though it had a wonderful tone and great response in the mid and upper range, the weighted low notes response wasn’t as good. I make a guess that there is some optimal proportion between stiffness and tip weight at any given pitch. Heavier tips tax the reed’s ability to counter the extra momentum, causing wide swings at lower pressures like with a weak reed. Increasing the stiffness to regain the needed strength, and you raise the pitch and have to add more weight, defeating the purpose. You can gain stiffness without too much pitch change by adding thickness to the mid section of the profile where the location of the mass has a more or less equal effect on pitch, the increases mass countering the increased stiffness. It is likely that even if Jeffries used the same reed sizes for the lower notes, the profiling may have changed to better suit the weighted ends. Chris, where are you? Don’t you have a Jeffries G/D? I’m talking a bit through my hat.

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I have two Lachenal G/Ds, one brass reeded, and the other steel reeded. (both 20 buttons) Both from the 1800's. The steel reeded one has longer reeds, the brass reeded one has reeds more like a C/G, as far as length goes. I had a good discussion(online) with Geoffrey Crabb about this about five years ago, and he gave a good explanation of why brass reeds can be shorter, and steel ones need to be longer(in order to be lower pitched). And this is without solder or weights, etc...It all has to do with the different properties of brass versus steel, mechanics, physics, that sort of stuff. It was very informative, I wish I could remember exactly, maybe he'll chime in?

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