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Collectauke

The meaning of the term concertina “size”

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I am relatively new to Concertinas......

Reading many articles on concertinas I find that the term “size” seems to refer to the amount of buttons.....How then do people describe a concertina which for example is 8 inches across the flats with 8 inch bellows without specifically detailing its measurements? 

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 I cannot see any problem with describing a concertina in the way you suggest  and often people do  say    the 'across flats'  size  but the  button count is  often of first importance  and  it can determine  the size of instrument  too.  So, most players will know that a 48key Treble English, a  normal  (20 to 30+ ) key Anglo  or a small duet (35 to 48) keys  will  usually be  a  6.25"  Hexagon  for  most of the output of  Lachenal and Wheatstone.... though  Jeffries  anglos  can be smaller  at 6"..  Of course  I am refering to  traditional  'English' made  instruments.

 A Duet player  will soon learn how big  a  72  or 81 key  instrument is.  But I agree  it would be  usefull to sitpulate.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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The number of buttons shows the range and versatility of the instrument and is crucial.  For example, on an Anglo, 20 buttons has all the notes for 2 major keys, but no extras, which makes some tunes difficult or impossible to play.   A 30 button Anglo has all the notes for 2 major keys, plus 10 buttons (= 20 notes) that provide some accidentals and alternative fingering options.  Not only can you play more complex tunes, but you can harmonise them more imaginatively, or play them faster and more smoothly, or explore a wider range of keys.  A 38 button has even more accidentals and alternative fingering options so it is much more versatile, but at the expense of weight and cost.  I don't play English or Duet, but broadly similar considerations would apply.

 

"Across the flats" describes the distance from the centre of one flat side to the centre of the opposite flat side.  So if you lay the concertina on its side, that would be its height in that position.  The size gives some idea of the likely weight and quality of the instrument and is also useful if you want to choose  hard case.  However, it is not a statistic which, alone, would influence my choice of instrument.

 

Bellows are described by the number of folds, not in inches.  If you open the bellows, you see a series of ridges and valleys like this:  []\/\/\/\/\/[].  The number of ridges is the number of folds.  A basic Lachenal 20 button Anglo typically has 5 fold bellows.  7 is more common on bigger and better instruments, but there is some variation.  The number of folds gives some indication of how much air will be available before you need to change bellows direction.  So 7 fold bellows are a bit more expensive and a bit heavier, but give you more ability to play long notes or chords without reaching the end of the bellows' travel.

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Thanks Geoff that makes perfect sense....thank you......how large do 60+ Duets come?

thanks Mike for your explanations....very concise.

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Depends.  My 69-button Crabb was 9 3/4" across the flats and, I believe, 10 1/4" side to side.  I'd wager the 72+ Maccans are bigger.  Thanks Captain Obvious.

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Oh right.......when I have seen them for sale no one ever mentioned their physical size...and also their pictures of them on the net make them look like they are the same size as a standard Anglo.... Didn’t realise how big they are

 

got it in my head that only bass instruments were big....why I thought that  I do not know!  Just lack of knowledge.   Thanks Rod.....

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1 hour ago, Collectauke said:

Thanks Geoff that makes perfect sense....thank you......how large do 60+ Duets come?

thanks Mike for your explanations....very concise.

Depends on the make  Collectauke.

 

I had a  58k  MacCann Wheatstone  Aeola  and that was    7.5"  across flats...  Later a 67k  that was  8.5  ( if I remember correctly)...  You can get sizes from the Wheatstone Ledgers  held  at  The Horniman Museum  , they are on line.  Just scan  through  the pages  for the 1920's  where there are a plethora of Duets.  You might need the model Type  numbers, it helps... and you can find them  on old price lists  which  can be found on   www.concertina.com 

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Interesting didn’t know that either.......Each to their own...I do have a vested interest in the dimensions ofJeffries duets if anyone has knowledge they wish to share it would be appreciated as there is nothing I have been able to find searching the net........thank you all .  Robert

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I have two.  A Jeffries 51 button that is 6 1/4" across the flats and a Wheatstone/Jeffries duet that is 53 buttons and 8 1/2"

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thanks Wunks.....the first I presume is an original Jeffries made instrument and the second a Wheatstone made instrument with Jeffries button layout....I am actually trying to get info on Jeffries duets and in particular a Jeffries Bros 59 button model with raised ends which measures 8 inches across. I have recently acquired such an instrument which is in old high tuning approx 455hz in b flat......and is very heavy.

I cannot find pics or details of another one anywhere in my searches which frustrates me as there must be others out there.......

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10 hours ago, wunks said:

I have two.  A Jeffries 51 button that is 6 1/4" across the flats and a Wheatstone/Jeffries duet that is 53 buttons and 8 1/2"

 

Wow! That second one is huge. Only two extra buttons and yet a massive increase in size. Any idea why? Does the big one go much lower, or what?

 

My experience of Crane duets is that they seem to go: 35 and 42 button - 6 1/4"; 48 button - 6 5/8", 55 button 7 1/4". These are what might be called the "standard" instruments. Once you go into a greater number of buttons there doesn't seem to be much of a standard layout with extra buttons above or below, or outside the normal five columns and even under the LH thumb.

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"The number of ridges is the number of folds."

 

I've always found that a bit puzzling.  For example, to my way of thinking, 7 'ridges' would mean 8 'valleys', which means 8 folds.  But I suppose if the concertina fraternity calls that 7 folds, it's too late to change now.

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12 minutes ago, maccannic said:

"The number of ridges is the number of folds."

 

I've always found that a bit puzzling.  For example, to my way of thinking, 7 'ridges' would mean 8 'valleys', which means 8 folds.  But I suppose if the concertina fraternity calls that 7 folds, it's too late to change now.

 

In geography, a ridge is a narrow raised area of land, sort of the opposite of a valley. In architecture, the highest bit of a gable roof is the ridge.

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Exactly.  So 7 ridges would mean that someone has had to construct 8 folds to make 8 valleys, leaving 7 ridges between them.  That's why I always thought that meant 8 folds, not 7.  But I bow to the general usage, however misconceived.

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Ah, I see. Perhaps we should count the number of hinges instead - so a 7 fold bellows has 17 hinges per side!

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