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This Aeola looks like what I have been looking for to replace my New Model extended treble.  I have never bought a big ticket item on eBay and am worried about the pitfalls of doing so.  The seller lists the early 1940s for manufacture. The seller also states "No Returns".


Can anyone with experience give me any advice?  Is this a good period for Aeolas? I would think the $3,500 asking price is a good price?

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This is  listed as a model  17a  which  means it is  a Tenor  48 .   Like a Tenor Treble  without the  top 8  buttons.  Goes down  to  C  one octave  below  middle C.


Generally  speaking   Wheatstone  concertinas  from  the later years  are not  so  well thought of (  not  meaning they are bad)   but  if  you  generally  play  the  lower notes  then  this  could  be ideal  and  'golden  period'  (  prior  to  1930) versions  are  like  hens  teeth. 


  My 56 Baritone/Treble  also  does not  have  those top  few notes of  a normal  Treble 48  but  although I  do  use  the  whole  keyboard on it  I  rarely  run out of  notes .


The  price  is  probably  fair, though there is  'eBay money back  guarantee'   and  you could  'make an offer' .


I  noticed  today  that  eBay.com  lists  another  Aeola  for  sale, from  France  even  though I  bought  that instrument  last week... not  through eBay.  Check  for  bogus  listings.

Edited by Geoff Wooff
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If you know what to look for, you can tell that it is a 48 key tenor by the position of the buttons! I love these small tenors, even though they have not quite enough air for big chords. I have a metal-ended one ( which belonged to Alf Edwards ), an ebony-ended one plus an Amboyna-ended one - all rather late models. Supposedly Wheatstone only started in the late twenties to make these!? I had a couple of Lachenal F-tenors, which look the same, but play in the key of F if fingered like a treble, but one row down... Rare and interesting stuff! 

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Posted (edited)

The tenor wooden ended Aeola (sn: 35364) that I am looking at was manufactured late in 1942 according to the ledgers.  Can anyone advise on the quality of workmanship during that period?  Can I assume good quality long tongue steel reeds at A440 pitch?

Edited by Syncopepper
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Syncopepper,  what  sort  of music  do  you  play  on your  concertina  ?    Or perhaps  more clearly  what  sort of  concertina  do  you  want ?    I  have a good reason for  asking,  in that  there is  another Aeola  for  sale  in your  general  vicinity.


Edited by Geoff Wooff
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1 hour ago, Geoff Wooff said:

Syncopepper,  what  sort  of music  do  you  play  on your  concertina  ?    Or perhaps  more clearly  what  sort of  concertina  do  you  want ? 

Thanks Geoff, I really appreciate your expertise and help. I have been to the Button Box and to Barleycorn and played many EC's. I currently play a New Model extended treble (circa 1880s) with solid rosewood ends.  Most of my repertory is UK folk and maritime music.  I play more in D than other keys as it fits my vocal range and spend a lot of my time in the lower range on the extended treble.


Here is a recent clip of my playing style:  https://youtu.be/PH256RgxRoU


After playing many Aeolas I have decided that the metal ended ones are too loud and I think a little harsh for my taste. I started on a Trinity 48 key tenor years ago which I still own and have no problems staying within the top range of a tenor. I very seldom use any of the bat-squeak keys at the top of the extended treble. Having the extra eight keys at the bottom would be good but my primary reason for leaving the New Model, which I love, is tendonitis and arthritis that I have developed over the last few years and that is exacerbated when playing at the bottom of the keyboard on the Lachenal due to it's thumb strap positions. I need to get thumb straps relatively lower on the key board and plan to add wrist straps. At this time it is more comfortable to play my old Trinity tenor but, of course, much inferior in many ways to the New Model.


The ebony ended Aeola I am looking at on ebay looks like it fits my bill. I am concerned, however,  on the build quality of an Aeola made in late 1942.

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Right  then  Syncopepper,  

I   can  see your desire for  that  eBay  Aeola.

What  to  expect  from  a 1942  Aeola  : 

 I  think  the  top  of  the range  Wheatstones  were still  very well made, even in 1942.  Information from  a  knowledgeable  ex member  of  this  forum   is  that  the  48 key  Tenor  was  mostly made for  the Salvation Army.  This would  suggest    the  Tenor 48  has , perhaps, an  ideal  range  for  singing to.


Expect  metal capped plastic core  buttons  and   a  new type of  'hook' action.  Perhaps  Aluminium reed frames  too, which, if it  does the  lighter  weight might  help  with  your  arthritis/tendonitis.


Will this  1942  Tenor  be  tuned  to  A440  ?  The  new  case  suggests  it  has  been  bought / used  recently  and  could  have  been restored  in the last  few years  and thus  also  tuned  BUT  if it  is, or  was,  a Salvation Army  instrument  then  it  might  be  tuned to  a slightly  different  standard.  Re-tuning is  not  a real problem, plenty of  people  offer to  do  this.  Perhaps the seller  knows  or  can  check  to  pitch  .


The other Aeola  I  mentioned  is  about  100 miles   up the road  from   Kalamazoo  but  it's an  extended Treble  and  not  tuned to  A440.

Edited by Geoff Wooff
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5 hours ago, Syncopepper said:

Thanks everyone for your advice, especially Geoff!


I have made the plunge and, with trepidation and yearning, I await it's arrival.

Congratulations keep us posted!

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I promised to update the forum with a full rundown on my recent purchase of a tenor Aeola on eBay. The Aeola arrived yesterday without any shipping damage. As it was made in late 1942 I had worried that it might not be up to the quality of the older ones but I was pleasantly surprised. It was completely playable out of the box.


While the ends have not been restored and show their age, they are solid and have only a few hairline age cracks. While not expert, I do not see that any of the fretwork has been rebuilt and it all looks in good shape to me. The bellows have some wear on the bottom edge that rests on the leg but are otherwise in good shape. The case the Aeola arrived in is unblocked and I noticed that when resting on a flat surface the bellows want to expand a little, unlike my Lachenal New Model which lives in a blocked case. When first playing I found myself sympathetically gasping as I kept running out of air before my usual bellow reversals as it is not as air tight as the New Model. The New Model was completely restored some years ago by Wim Wakker and it’s newer bellows are pretty air tight. Regarding the Wheatstone, I could not ascertain air leakage from the bellows but could feel some air escaping through the fretwork on the ends, primarily on the right side.


Upon disassembly I found stamps (see pics) from Chris Alger and two other persons (anyone recognize them?) on the pad boards. The seller thought he had bought it from Barleycorn about ten years ago. Pads and leather valves look to be in good shape. The long tongue steel reeds are set in brass shoes. The keys are metal over plastic-like cores and all are of a consistent height. The action is the later hook and post but has improvements over my New Model (circa 1880’s). The cross section of the levers are rectangular instead of round and pivot on a different kind of post. As an extended treble the New Model a few years ago had “cranked arm syndrome” as discussed on this forum in the past. Some of the levers on the extended treble are quite long and kinky and one of those had worn down at the pivot so that it swiveled when it moved and the pad would sometimes not seal properly. Wim replaced that one with a riveted action and I have had no further problem. The Aeola, being a 48 key tenor, does not have the long kinky levers and the flat sided lever design seems to be more stable. I have tried many Aeolas in the past but not where I could do so side-by-side with my Lachenel and previously thought the New Model’s action was completely comparable to those Aeolas I have tried in the past. While the difference is subtle I think the action on this Aeola is a little more expressive. The reeds (which on the New Model Wim described as “Superb”) are very similar both in sound and design and I am hard pressed at this point to describe any sound differences between the two.


Upon disassembly I was not able to find any obvious sources of the air leaks. Referring to the pictures of the edge of the right end cover, there were in two places where holes from the inner edge connected to the screw holes through which air passes. While I wouldn’t think air leaks from the action box to the reed chambers should be a problem I wonder if the screw-holes which continue down through the reed pan to the bellows frame could be a path for leaking air through these holes? If so what would be the recommend plug for the pierces - PVA glue? The other thing I noticed is that the black seals between the reed chambers, bellows frame and pad board seems to be thinner and less spongy than the usual chamois.


I intend to put wrist straps on this Aeola which must have had some installed before as there are threaded inserts for them at the top and just holes in the wood on the bottom for each side where I assume just screws with grommets were used in the past.











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