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Jeffries in B/F# (really!)

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I have just acquired a 30-key Jeffries which turns out to be in the keys of B/F#. Stranger still, it is pretty close to modern concert pitch throughout, though the reeds look original and untouched.

So here's the question: I'm reluctant to tune it up to C/G, but would anyone want it in its original tuning, or should I take it down to Bb/F? Any experiences, opinions or expressions of interest gratefully received.

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There are Uilleann Pipers  who  play pipes  that are  a semitone  lower than  D.   So the B/F# Anglo  would  work  with these  C# pipes.


Jacqueline MacCarthy  plays  an A/E  Jeffries   in duet with her  husband , Tommy Keane, on his  B  pipes.


The  traditional pitch of the Northumbrian Pipes  is  a nominal  F ,  nominal  but  often more like  F#.


  So, I would suggest  offering  your  B/F#  to  those who play  with Pipers.  It is worth  a try .

Edited by Geoff Wooff
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I had one very similar to renovate a few years ago and had the same dilemma.  I kept it in it's original pitch and found a buyer more quickly than I expected to.  It is a delightful player.  I rather think that the obsession with CG is well past it's peak, and after several decades of dealers retuning everything possible into CG (including Jeffries Duets) there are fewer original pitch instruments about,. and those that remain are in relatively more demand.  

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I've certainly never heard of a B/F# before.  I've owned C/G, G/D and Bb/F, and also played a D/A.


My thoughts are:

  • When you're playing solo, it doesn't matter what key you're in as long as it sounds nice.  You can transfer the fingering if you don't mind about the key.
  • When you're singing, can you easily get the chords in a comfortable key?
  • C/G players often move round the cycle of fifths to D and A.  On a B/F#, the equivalents would be C# and G#.  None of these 4 keys seem particularly useful playing either with traditional folk instruments or with brass.
  • Someone must have had a use for it, otherwise it would not have been made.


But most of all: if you choose to retune it:

  • What if the new owner wants to tune it back?  It will not be as good as it was before.
  • It will lose its unique selling point.
  • You may be investing time or money in something that adds no value, and may even decrease its value — although it may make it quicker to sell.
  • How would you decide between tuning up a semitone to C/G or down a semitone to Bb/F?    Both of these are fairly common choices.  C/G is probably more popular.


I'd leave well alone, and either keep it as a curiosity (and melodeons' bane) or sell it as it is.

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Thank you all for your input. My strong inclination is to leave it in its original keys. If it takes a while to sell, I'll use it to sing with... G is sometimes a bit of a stretch for my ageing voice! Mind you, singing with any Jeffries can feel more like a contest than a collaboration!

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According to this page and some older threads, there were some B/F#s by various makes in the past. Its not a common key though. My opinion to the OP is that leave it in the  original key. I have re-tuned G/D (from Ab/Eb) and enjoy this but would like to hear the original tuning sometimes.



Edited by Takayuki YAGI
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I'm not sure if this transfers from the Jeff duet to an anglo but as an an artifact of the note (button) arrangement centering on C, the keys of C# and G# are also conveniently arranged in the accidental row.  If your instrument is in modern pitch you might find C and G to be quite handy but with different fingerings of course. 


My Jeffries is in old philharmonic pitch (sharp) but I have a modern pitch box as well and the Jeffries gives me some more options for singing.

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I have been wondering about the interest in Anglo boxes in other keys. I have a supplier of 2 row Chinese models that are unique in that the reed blocks are removable like a conventional accordion,and that I have the entire stock of Weltmeisters old warehouse of reeds sitting on shelves in the back of my shop. B/C anglo anyone?

These would sell for about $300 USD with the wandering button problem the have fixed.

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