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MelBoy

Jeffries English Concertina For Sale

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Posted (edited)

Hi to all;

 

Offers are invited for a rare – possibly unique – Jeffries English concertina; Raised fretted ends, Praed Street address, riveted action, with 5-fold gold embossed bellows. This is a 48 button Tenor instrument … ie it has additional low notes going town to low C, but without some of the highest notes found on a standard treble.

 

From my research, Jeffries English concertinas are rarities with perhaps half a dozen known to exist; the majority of these are wooden-ended. The Horniman Museum does have one metal-ended English Jeffries concertina; an instrument with typical Jeffries flat-ends. The instrument in this listing has raised metal-ends, ebony trim and embossed bellows as found on the best quality Jeffries anglos and duets. It carries the Praed Street address on the escutcheon.

 

The condition of the instrument is remarkable. When I received it, it played immediately ‘out of the box’ … it required only light cleaning, new thumb straps, pads and valves. The tuning was excellent and I have not needed to touch the reeds other than to free a couple of tongues that were sticking. There are two small pieces of ebony trim missing … shown in the photos below. The photos also show the instrument in its original condition (see broken thumb-straps), with original valves and also with new valves and pads.

 

The reeds are in outstanding condition – with very clean tongues and frames and carrying only light and professional tuning marks. The reed-pans fit snugly into the ends, the chamber gaskets are very clean, signifying little air-loss. The fretted ends are almost untarnished. The riveted action is unworn and the metal buttons bushed and felted. The 5-fold bellows are lightly scuffed but seem to be strong and are completely airtight. The papers appear to be black, but with a layer of stain that rubs off easily to reveal what appear to be plain tan papers underneath; the black stain has been left in place.

 

What does it sound like? It sounds exactly like a Jeffries! I am a lifelong anglo player and over the years I have owned many Jeffries, Wheatstone and Lachenal anglos. I have also had many good quality English concertinas pass through my hands. Many fine English concertinas sound (to my ear) either too polite or rather shrill. This is the first English concertina I have ever heard that has the rich tone so characteristic of the Jeffries sound. It doesn’t have the sharp edgy ‘brashness’ of some of the earliest Jeffries; more the clarion ‘snarl’ typical of the fine mid-period and Praed Street Jeffries. I am not an English concertina player, but those who have played the instrument have all agreed that it has an exceptional tone. They also said it is heavy for an English concertina … the actual weight is 1.6 Kg … slightly more than my 36 button Dipper Pride of Albion which weighs 1.51 Kg. It measures fractionally under 6.5 inches across the flats.

 

As I am not an English concertina player I have had to ask others to play the instrument for me to record. There is a soundfile on my soundcloud site – this normally used to illustrate my work on melodeons. In truth, it’s not the best recording in the world, but the player was used to the standard Treble layout and was confused by the additional low notes of the Tenor. The direct link is …

 

https://soundcloud.com/microbot-2

 

Colin and Rosalie Dipper have seen the instrument as have Nigel and Sarah Sture. Finding this instrument and realising what a rarity it is was exciting enough, but to hear the instrument deliver such a fine tone was just a joy. I am a musician and I love the music we play… a rarity is always interesting … but in the end it is the qualities as a musical instrument that matter. Needless to say I would like this instrument to go to a good player.

 

In terms of value, I would place this concertina alongside the best Jeffries and Dipper anglos. We are all aware that English concertinas usually command a lower price than anglos, but its rarity and quality would, I argue, certainly make up for this.

 

I would prefer not to take part in an open discussion on price/value on C.net. I suggest people pm me directly if they wish to make an offer ... I will treat all these exchanges with confidence and treat everyone with respect. In the past, I have been in negotiation for a concertina only to be suddenly informed it had been sold. I know the feelings involved and will make sure I communicate fully with people who have taken the trouble to correspond with me.

 

I am also looking forward to the information and queries that are raised by this thread. Not least; are there any other Jeffries English concertinas of this type and, if not, why this one? For whom might this instrument have been made? I will attempt to answer any detailed questions on the instrument itself as fully as I can and will happily supply more photos/facts/data. If anyone is visiting Cornwall or prepared to make the trek down to the far West, they are welcome to come and play the Jeffries.

 

Cheers to all on Concertina.net.

 

Mike Rowbotham

 

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Edited by MelBoy

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I think that's the first Jeffries I've seen with radial reed chambers. I was prompted to look inside my raised-end Jeffries to see if that was the same, but it has the usual parallel chambers.

Presumably it's because it's English system. I've heard that the air bounces differently around radial chambers and gives a softer sound. Any theories?

Best wishes,

Roger

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I once saw a wood end English Jeffries on ebay July 2011 (I didn't bid on it) which seemed to have radial reed chambers. The photos are not clear but through the bellows reed layout looks radial.

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I don't think I've ever seen a traditionally-reeded English concertina (by any maker) without radial chambers. Has it been done, and if so, why? It seems like parallel chambers would artificially limit the number of reeds in the instrument by a lot.

 

Hybrid-reeded English concertinas have parallel chambers, but that's only because a radial layout doesn't make sense given the blocky rectangular shape of the hybrid reed frames.

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Hi Takayuki, Roger and Wayman,

 

does anyone have photos of the fretted ends of one of the wood-ended Jeffries English? I've seen a few of the wooden-ended anglos and the fretwork is very simple (though they can sound great).

 

cheers

 

Mike R

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Posted (edited)

A 48 key tenor at that! Boy O boy, Oh I would love to hear John Roberts with this instrument. I feel that, with his vocal range and style, this tenor would sound amazing

Edited by nicx66

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Posted (edited)

I see modifications such as the pivots for the lowest notes moved distally. I wonder if the left-hand side has similar changes.

 

*Upon closer inspection I see that the pivots for the lowest notes seem to be in their original positions but fall outside the boundary of the disk, hence the extensions. Extra holes might indicate the springs were relocated? Very clean set of reeds and nice re-valving and padding. Yes, a Jeffries tenor English - a rarity twice over. I wonder why so few were made. Perhaps ahead of his time. I don't think Wheatstone tenors were made until the 1930s? Does anyone know?

 

 

 

 

*Addendum

Edited by Mike Pierceall

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does anyone have photos of the fretted ends of one of the wood-ended Jeffries English?

Also from ebay 2011, the fretwork is simple though the photo is not very clear.

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Hi Mike,

 

good in a way that I stumbled over your add only after having acquired my new but already beloved ME TT Aeola - you would have got me into serious trouble otherwise I guess, as I had always been musing about a Jeffries English, should one ever come around..., and now it's even a (highly desirable) small-bodied tenor..., incredible...!

 

Good luck with the sale - I'm eager to learn who will make the deal, and hopefully listen to his/her playing then...

 

Best wishes - Wolf

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Hello , Would an offer of £3000 be any wher near what you are looking for , if so please ring me on 01728 768128 and we can talk !

Best regards. 

Mike Acott

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Hello, If you would let me know the price you are looking for  then I may be willing to go that far , it may be more suitable to mail me that way it is not public Knowledge

REgards. Mike Acott

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Hi Mike,

 

thanks for your posts ...and apologies for not responding but I've been ferociously busy. 

 

I'll try to ring you tomorrow.....

 

cheers

 

Mike R

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