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Bill Crossland

Concertina Bands

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I've recently been lucky enough to work on two Lachenal Bass anglos, both originally sold into Concertina bands. The first, in Bb/F is internally inscribed "Pride of Wooton" and has a Liverpool suppliers plate inset into the end. Serial number 174,914.

 

The second went from Astley's Concertina Emporium, in Oldham, to Tottington (Lancashire) Concertina band, and is in C/G, serial 151,069. The current owner has some history of the band, which he believes was formed around 1900 in Tottington Mill, moving eventually to a band room in Sunnywood Lane, Tottington. It was recorded as late as 1938 by the BBC, performing in concert along with the Brittania Coconut dancers. 

 

Both are great fun,  and go some way to explaining Cormac Begley's upper body development....  I wondered if anyone has any history relating to either of these bands.

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Very Interesting Pictures.

 

One point is that Bill has seen a couple of Bass Anglos (which are as rare as hen's teeth - I have only seen three in 50 odd years), but the pictures, and most others that I have seen of the Old Bands show them playing English system instruments. I have seen references to early bands around 1900 changing from Anglos (which lots of recruits would already have been able to play) to English. The Mexborough Band certainly played the English system at the end (which was in the 1970's).

 

Nick Oliver.

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Pictures of the Tottington Bass, including one of the underside of the elaborately engineered left hand reed pan. As well as being built on two levels to accomodate two depths of chamber (16mm on one side to 25mm for the lower notes) it has an underslung pipe constructed for the lowest reed (low E, rather than Low C). Dave Elliot tells me that this isn't unusual on bass instruments, but you can only admire the techniques by the Victorians/Edwardians who put it together.

Tottington Bass.jpg

Left reed pan tunnel.jpg

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No, it's double action - you can see the valve of the opposing reed which is conventionally mounted on top of the reed pan, situated under the left end of the pipe.

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3 minutes ago, Bill Crossland said:

No, it's double action - you can see the valve of the opposing reed which is conventionally mounted on top of the reed pan, situated under the left end of the pipe.

 

I see, it looks like that reed must be much shorter then, if the pad for that chamber is at the left hand side?

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Yes there is quite a mix of reed sizes in there, you can see the low G and the low F side by side in this picture and they are significantly different in size.

Left reed pan top.jpg

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Oh, that's interesting. I'm guessing the pad hole is  at the bottom end of the middle chamber in that picture, and when you play it on push the flap in the dividing wall opens the passage to the pipe, effectively almost doubling the length of the chamber?

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Great Pictures!

 

I noticed that in both of the Tottington Band pictures most players have their instruments held mid to upper chest level.  I would guess that most players today might find that high for comfortable playing.  If so was this just posing for cameras?

 

It appears the band is dressed for marching in the second photo. Did they march with their concertinas at this height for band Esprit De Corps? Widening the scope is it very common to find instruments displayed like this in other historic band photos?

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5 hours ago, Syncopepper said:

I noticed that in both of the Tottington Band pictures most players have their instruments held mid to upper chest level.  I would guess that most players today might find that high for comfortable playing.  If so was this just posing for cameras?     It appears the band is dressed for marching in the second photo. Did they march with their concertinas at this height for band Esprit De Corps?

 

I often find that when playing my EC while processing that it helps steady it by holding it high, with my elbows braced against my body.

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