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Unusual Jeffries?


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Hi. This is my first post here but I've been a member over at melnet for a while. I'm new to the concertina and I feel this is the best place to ask my questions:

 

So I just purchased this concertina from a gentleman in Canada and it's currently in transit (waiting patiently). I did quite a bit of research on Jeffries instruments but I was unable to come across another example like this one with 4 rows and 5 buttons on each row. I confirmed it's an anglo (diatonic). He played scales on each row and they appear to be the major scales of C#, B, A and F# from the inside out on the right-hand side. I will confirm this when it arrives. The tuning is certainly non-standard pitch. I tried finding a similar chart online but I'm completely at a loss - nothing matches. So I'm wondering if anyone knows what sort of tuning it would be? I'm assuming it's to match the brass band so is probably a flat key.

 

A bit of ownership history from the seller:

First owner was Herbert Booth (son of William Booth - founder of the Salvation Army) who brought it over from England to Canada

Second owner Colonel Potts.

Third owner Colonel Potts' Daughter who didn't play it and kept it in storage for approx. 20 years.

Then to the most recent owner who didn't play either and had it stored in its box for over 30 years.

And now it's on the way to me.

 

I would be grateful for some insights into the following questions:

- Any inkling on tuning based on my vague description above?

- Why the 4 rows? Aren't they usually 3 rows? I've seen some 4-rows but with more notes per row.

- I notice there's a baffle material behind the metal grille which looks non-original. There is some brown staining near the metal on this material. Could it be corrosion of the metal or does the material typically brown over time or if wetted? I've seen this on accordions but without the associated corrosion. I'm hoping the baffle protected the internals from dust & moisture etc.

- Does the "C. Jeffries Maker 23 Praed St, London W" stamp indicate pre-1900 manufacture date? My research of Herbert Booth found that he arrived in Canada in 1892 so he likely purchased it prior to that trip (my guess).

 

Any info would be much appreciated. I'll post more photos below since there's an upload limit.

 

Thanks!

Chris

conc2.jpg

conc3.jpg

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Those ungilded /ornamented bellows interest me.  My wife's 38k instrument has plain bellows.  Hers in in A/E tuning which I am fairly sure was set up for 'song' accompaniment and designed to be 'plain' for 'sacred' if not S/A use.   I think the bellows are original.  It will be interesting to see the interior of yours as and when.

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6 hours ago, Ken_Coles said:

I'm just speculating, but if it is tuned flat of modern, A=440 pitch, it might sound the keys you heard but was originally meant to be in D, C, Bb, G. Just a thought.

 

Ken

Alternatively,  if it is sharp of modern ( old philharmonic), it would be C, Bb, G, and F which are the easiest major key fingerings of a C core duet such as mine.  

Hmm... if the A is true it would yield G# so no match there.

Edited by wunks
more info
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Thanks for all the replies so far. I can't really confirm anything yet until I receive the instrument.

 

Are Jeffries Duets diatonic instruments? This one has different notes per button depending on bellows direction so I'm leaning towards anglo still. Maybe it's just a non standard layout to suit the original owner - this confuses me though because Herbert Booth wrote the 1888 tutor for anglo concertina??

 

I will post a video of all the notes being played when I get it. Then I will disassemble and photograph each component up close.

 

Interesting about the bellows - I read somewhere that Salvation Army ordered their concertinas with black bellows - so I'm also assuming they're the originals. The carry case doesn't appear to be original since there's a wheatstone sticker on the inside.

 

Looking forward to discussing this further.

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15 hours ago, odonovanchris said:

 

- Does the "C. Jeffries Maker 23 Praed St, London W" stamp indicate pre-1900 manufacture date? My research of Herbert Booth found that he arrived in Canada in 1892 so he likely purchased it prior to that trip (my guess).

 

 

 

Charles Jeffries died about 1906, and instruments with the C. Jeffries Maker, 23 Praed St, were made as late as 1908. So yours would be between 1893-1908. 

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Hello Folks,

 

I received the concertina yesterday after a shipping delay. It looks to be in good condition and Pgidley was very helpful in showing me how to take it apart carefully to inspect the insides.

 

We are confused about the layout - it is certainly non standard. The reference pitch is A453 and I zeroed my tuner app to this and created the layout diagram (attached).

 

Everything appears to be in original condition and it was very difficult to get the bellows to separate from the end blocks. After some gentle encouragement I finally got them off. Here are pictures (multiple posts due to file size). I'd appreciate any thoughts on the tuning etc. Thanks all!!

 

Edit: The Head & Toe on the layout is wrong - disregard them.

layout.jpeg

15.jpeg

16.jpeg

Edited by odonovanchris
Error on layout diagram.
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Lovely one Chris, it's a custom-layout Praed St. Jeffries. Not the first I've seen.   It might not fall into the "most desired" category for fast dance music, since those many large buttons (not to mention the action and reeds) are substantial. How heavy is it, and is it of typical size for a Jeffries 38 key? 

 

I think this unusual instrument deserves some careful thought about trade-offs between originality and conversion to a more standard layout, but surely has a great musical potential for the right player!

Edited by Paul Groff
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So am I reading right from the diagram that the rows are, from the outside in, F, Ab, Bb, C? 

 

The only others like this that I'm aware of are Ab/Eb/Bb/F, but no doubt there are others with vastly more experience than myself on this forum who may have seen more of these.

 

With such a unique layout, in original tuning, and in remarkably good condition, it would be bordering on criminal to make drastic changes to this instrument. It's in good hands luckily! 

Edited by Pgidley
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8 hours ago, Paul Groff said:

Lovely one Chris, it's a custom-layout Praed St. Jeffries. Not the first I've seen.   It might not fall into the "most desired" category for fast dance music, since those many large buttons (not to mention the action and reeds) are substantial. How heavy is it, and is it of typical size for a Jeffries 38 key? 

 

I think this unusual instrument deserves some careful thought about trade-offs between originality and conversion to a more standard layout, but surely has a great musical potential for the right player!

Hi Paul, thanks for the info. I've attached a pic of the weight. It's definitely a box for playing along the rows. As I try to learn tunes on it I'm getting some fun chord possibilities, all which stir up the creativity. No doubt I'll be keeping this as original as possible. The chords along the rows are so pure it seems like "just temperment" - but that's to my untrained ears - I'm used to a very wet paolo :)

Concertina Weight.jpeg

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