Jump to content
Alex West

George Jones or Crabb?

Recommended Posts

I’m working on a mystery instrument at the moment and I’d appreciate some help in determining who might have been the original maker. Externally it looks like a Crabb or Jeffries; internally it looks more like a George Jones but I don’t know enough about Jones to know all of the distinguishing features.  What’s puzzling is that it’s a real mixture of very good quality and some less high quality execution.  There are no obvious identification marks or date guides.

Externally, the metal fretwork is almost identical to a Jeffries.  The pattern is very similar – the scrollwork is finer than some but the execution of the saw cuts is not as good.  There is no reinforcing solder at the bolt holes so the metal is a little floppy.

The bellows are well constructed with typical Jeffries/Crabb gold decoration. The papers are green based Crabb style with a perfect Celtic cross pattern, two dolphins and no chevron

Internally, there is a number stamp of 212 on the bushing board, the action pan, the bellows frames and the reed pans.  The action posts look to be typical Jones “keyhole” pattern and the levers have quite crudely cut threads – very long threads on some levers and almost none on others.  The buttons seem to be mostly ivory (characteristic stripe pattern) but one or two are bone (characteristic black specks).

The reed pans are typically Crabb/Jeffries rectangular pattern. Some of the slots seem to be badly routed (evidence of the router going too deep on one or two slots). The reeds themselves seem to be very well made.  They have some of the closest tolerances I’ve ever seen. No evidence of reed tempering (no colour on the underside of the reed except for the two which have a bit of solder on the tip). The reed frames (with one exception) are the thickest I’ve ever measured and the stamping appears to be a typical Crabb rather than Lachenal font. The exception is the lowest note, stamped C which looks to be around the thickness I’d expect for a Lachenal reed shoe.

The reeds are stamped as a typical C/G and the concertina plays as a C/G with a home pitch of A=415Hz (Baroque pitch) and in ¼ comma meantone with a root note of C

So my key question is, did George Jones make his high end concertinas with exteriors which looked like Crabb? Or did Crabb make bellows and fretwork with Jones internals?  Any idea what date might be appropriate?

Alex West

Action.jpeg

Bellows end and papers.jpeg

RH Fretwork.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a Jeffries duet 61/4" from the early 1900's and a Lachinal EC 61/4" from the late 1800's.  On a whim, when I had both opened up,  I swapped the ends, reed pans and all and discovered a perfect fit.  Even the end bolts threaded snug and tight.  Seemingly there was quite a bit of standardization at this size.  Perhaps it's a mongrel?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alex,

Measurement of the thickness of the reed shoe and picture of the reed assembly particularly the clamp screws would be helpful.  Thanks.

 

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Greg

 

Here's a couple of photos of one of the Jones? reeds with the equivalent Jeffries reed alongside it.  In case you can't read my scribbles, the Jeffries reed shoe is 2.3mm thick (and that's similar to other Jeffries reed measurements I've taken) and the mystery reed shoe is 2.45mm thick.  I'm not sure if you can see on the photo but the mystery reed looks to have been pressed with straight sides and then ground to a slope to fit into a dovetailed slot which gives it a "waisted" appearance.

 

The mystery reed is 2.5mm wide at the tip and the Jeffries reed is 2.45mm at the tip so the mystery is certainly not broad (although that may not be significant if, as has been reported, Jones made reeds in varying widths).

 

I've also added a shot of the mystery left side reedpan alongside the Jeffries

 

Alex West

IMG_4942.jpeg

IMG_4941.jpeg

IMG_4943.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had them like that. But. of course, the earliest Jeffries concertinas were made by George Jones, and he was using what we'd think of as that Jeffries/Crabb gold-tooling early on (I've a very pretty early Jones English with it). In fact, maybe it was Jones who started off that whole "Jeffries" style of Anglo in the first place?

Edited by Stephen Chambers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stephen

Interesting observation. I suppose there's a philosophical debate about whether "my" instrument is a Jones put together by Jeffries or the other way round (but probably before Jeffries started working his magic on the reeds).  Since the major components affecting the musicality and performance look to be typical of a George Jones, then I shouldn't get too concerned about the fretwork, bellows paper and gilding being more Crabb/Jeffries like?

 

But is there enough about the action and reeds which confirm that this is in origin a Jones?  Is it significant that there's no makers identification anywhere? Would there be any clue about what date (or range of dates) this might be from? Once Crabb and Jeffries got going with the more typical Crabb/Jeffries style, did George Jones carry on producing similar styled instruments or did he move on?

 

And who on earth would commission a baroque pitch (A=415Hz) unequal temperament instrument in the 1870s/1880s?

 

Alex West

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Alex West said:

And who on earth would commission a baroque pitch (A=415Hz) unequal temperament instrument in the 1870s/1880s?

 

Though A-415 is regarded as "Baroque pitch" today, there was no actual standard pitch during the Baroque era and 415 was chosen in modern times as a very convenient (one semitone flat of 440) approximation.

 

I'd suggest that what you have there is a B/F#, a tuning that's surprisingly common in Jeffries, and Crabb, Anglos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why has it got Shakespeare action, button spacing and ends, if it’s a Crabb/Jones/Jeffries? It could of course be an example of the famous Welsh counterfeiter Geoff Rhys 😉

Edited by John Dipper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks John

 

I'm sure you've seen more concertinas than I have so you're spotting things I haven't seen.  Most of the Shakespeares I've seen pictures of have more crude fretwork than this one, and the button spacing doesn't look much different than a 32 key Jeffires I have so I didn't think that was a key factor.

 

I thought the keyhole action posts were typically Jones, although I have seen a picture of a Shakespeare with keyhole posts (but I've also seen them with straight posts).

 

I hadn't heard of Geoff Rhys before. How could I confirm that his hands had been involved?

 

Alex West

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Alex West said:

I hadn't heard of Geoff Rhys before. How could I confirm that his hands had been involved?

 

Try saying his name out loud.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"But. of course, the earliest Jeffries concertinas were made by George Jones"

 

I didn't know that. I have a concertina here that, to my untrained eye, looks a bit similar to the concertina at the start of this post. I was told was a Shakespeare, but it has a Jones action, no serial number, trapdoor air button (as on another Jones I've seen), and the ends are Jeffries pattern but cut coarser.  My simplistic understanding was that Shakespeare was an assembler of parts that could have been bought from a variety of sources (or that "a Shakespeare" was a convenient way of describing a hard-to-identify non-thoroughbred concertina.)

 

I'm just posting because of the similarity to Alex' post.

5 Fake Jeffries fretwork.jpg

LH action.jpg

LH reedpan 1.jpg

LH reedpan 2.jpg

RH reedpan 1.jpg

rh Reedpan 2.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw that Stephen, but there aren't any pictures of the internals or the bellows papers and whilst the gilding is superficially simlar, it's nowhere near identical to the later "standard" Jeffries/Crabb pattern. It's clear on this instrument that Charles Jeffries was quite proud of his manufacture/assembly/marketing/engraving (BTW, for someone alleged to be illiterate, there was obviously someone in the workshop who knew how to put words together in the stamping).

 

I'm not anxious to attribute "my" instrument to Jeffries; it has more similarities to a Crabb I think except for the action and the reeds - which is what led me down the path of Jones

 

Alex West

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/30/2020 at 4:16 PM, alex_holden said:
On 6/30/2020 at 4:06 PM, Alex West said:

I hadn't heard of Geoff Rhys before. How could I confirm that his hands had been involved?

 

Try saying his name out loud.

 

Doh! OK, You got me!

 

Alex West

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an observation... I have two George Jones concertinas and a couple of Lachenals and have just discovered, (from Andrew Norman) that George Jones "accidental/incidental" (outer) rows had/have a slightly different layout to the standard Lachenal or Jeffries layout ie: Left hand: Jones (and early Lachenals) used E push/G# pull on the lowest button, later everyone went to E/F as the lowest button

Right Hand: Jones used D#/C#push for 1A, G/G#push, Bb/c# push, the f/a (like the highest Lachenal button) then a high d#/and very high c on the push (Credit to Andrew Norman for this info as he is currently restoring my third George Jones (although keep an eye out as I will be selling  at least one of them shortly to pay for the current restoration :) )

So a reflection on the button pattern might shed some light on whether it is a Jones?

Gerry S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/1/2020 at 6:34 PM, paaudio said:

Just an observation... I have two George Jones concertinas and a couple of Lachenals and have just discovered, (from Andrew Norman) that George Jones "accidental/incidental" (outer) rows had/have a slightly different layout to the standard Lachenal or Jeffries layout ie: ...

Right Hand: Jones used D#/C#push for 1A, G/G#push, Bb/c# push ...

 

Those three accidental buttons on a 26-key Jones are located where you'd get buttons 2A, 3A and 4A on a 30-key instrument (there's nothing where 1A should be), and those notes are exactly what you usually find on those buttons on a Jeffries. I've long considered it an indication that "Jeffries" fingering derives from such Jones instruments...

 

SALVATION ARMY TUTOR - 1905 - ANGLO KEY LAYOUT   059.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gerry

Here's the key map of "my" instrument as if it was a CG rather than as Stephen has suggested possibly a B/F#.  Bearing in mind that it appears to be in 1/4 comma meantone so  there are D# as well as Eb keys, this looks pretty similar to 32 key Jeffries which I've had/seen so I think that also matches Stephen's comments about Jones being the precursor of the "Jeffries standard" pattern

 

Alex West

Screen Shot 2020-07-03 at 13.46.21.png

Screen Shot 2020-07-03 at 13.57.35.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...