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20 button anglo - low G row variation.

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I have just bought a nice 20 button George Jones anglo.  Apart from a few minor holes in the bellows, now fixed, it's in pretty good shape, with very sweet sounding brass reeds, more or less in tune to old philharmonic pitch,  possibly combined with some variety of meantone. 

But on checking the tuning I discovered that the bottom button of the lower G row does not play the standard B/A but instead plays G/D.  Has anyone else come across this variation, and can anybody tell me whether it has any advantages?

I think I would miss the low A for tunes played in the lower C register,  but possibly there is some advantage in this layout for the G chords?  I wonder if any of the musicians on this forum could advise me?

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That D on the pull isn't really so rare, many other instruments have the same.  The G on the push isn't really that rare either.

 

I have a 26 button Jones, and it originally had the same G/D for the lowest button on the G row.  I had Greg Jowaisas here in the USA swap these reeds out for B/A vintage Jones reeds when I bought it.  Perhaps one of the several excellent concertina repairers in the UK have some spare Jones reeds and could the same for you.

 

Two possible advantages with the original G/D reeds on the low button:

1) The G row has exactly the same fingering pattern as the C row, so if you play along the rows then anything you can play on one row can be played on the other row a 5th higher (or lower) with exactly the same fingering.

2) The lowest three buttons on the row offer a simple chording harmony:   PUSH give you a "power" 1st chord (open tonic with no third)  and PULL give you the major fifth chord (dominant) without even thinking about it.  These are the same two chords offered on the push/pull with the left hand button of a single row melodeon (like a Cajun accordion) and will carry you a long way through many folk dance tunes.

 

With your instrument in harmonic pitch and possibly in mean tone tuning, leaving it at is to get these chord options might be the way to go.  But as I already said, I had the reeds for that button changed to B/A on the instrument I bought (which has steel reeds.)   I did this for much the same reason you have already pointed out.  Getting that low A is more useful there to me than having a third way to play the same D note, and I was already used to the B on the push in that position from another instrument, and thought it more valuable than having a third way to play the low G. 

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Thanks Ted.  It's interesting to know that this configuration was used on other Jones instruments.  Maybe this was intended to allow easier chord making, as you suggest.  But I think I agree with you that the low A on the draw is more valuable than the D, which is available in the C row anyway.  I am also used to a B on the push, but don't mind the G so much.  I think I will certainly look to changing the D to A if I can get hold of a suitable reed.  Thanks for your advice.

John.

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I've seen this on some really old German concertinas, where the two rows had the identical pattern in C and also in G. I would guess that as the Anglo-German concertina developed in England someone had the bright idea of making that first bottom button (#6) much more useful by not mirroring the C row pattern. I really prefer the B/A, but have also seen old Lachenals with B/D.


Gary

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