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Duet Concertina - Lachenal Crane fingering layout


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Looking to get information on Duet Lachenal Crane Concertinas.  Looking to find out the following information for various sizes; weight, inches across the flats, and any pro's and cons to each one. I understand there is a 42 Key, 48 key and 55 key version. Not sure if there are any with more buttons or not. Any help you can provide would be appreciated. 

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Unfortunately the very useful Crane Concertina history site went down a couple of years ago and we haven't been able to contact the former admin. You can find an archived snapshot of at least part of the site here, though it seems to be missing some pages from the gallery:

 

http://web.archive.org/web/20190523224806/http://craneconcertina.com/

 

 

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There is also a 35 button version. 15 on the left, 20 on the right hand. 6 1/4” across the flats. Brass reeds and very light. This one has badge is Crane Bros/ Lachenals, Serial number is 76.

20210106_160748.jpg

20210106_160543.jpg

Edited by Tiposx
More info added, twice.
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I'm not sure why you're concentrating on Lachenal. Wheatstone and Crabb also made Cranes, and the general information you're after applies to all.

 

Broadly speaking, more buttons = bigger and heavier. Many people (not all) consider small to be better so it's a classic compromise of which is the smallest that will give you the buttons (i.e. notes) you need. And that depends on what sort of music you want to play.

 

In the past I've owned several instruments ranging from 35 to 55 buttons. There are a few instruments with more than 55 buttons, but they tend to be oddly positioned (for technical reasons too much to go into here). If this is to be your first Crane, stick to one of the standard sizes until you really know what you want. In the 35 - 55 button range almost all instruments start at C4 (middle C) on the right and C3 (an octave lower) on the left.

 

35 button instruments are generally small and light - 6 1/4" AF. I learn on one and there's a lot you can do with it, but there are two limitations. Firstly the right hand stops at G5. Several folk tunes go a note or two higher. On the left hand the small number of buttons means there are certain chords you can't play fully - A, Bb, and B - but it's not a show stopper. You can always find ways round.

 

42 button instruments go to C6 on the right so very useful. All you really need in fact. The left hand has most of the limitations of the 35 (except you now get a C# to play a full A major chord). The one I had was 6 1/4" AF so quite a good instrument. However, they are pretty rare.

 

48 button instruments add three higher notes on the RHS, but I've never found much use for them. However, the 20 buttons on the left is the minimum you need to form every chord you might need. For this reason 48s are generally considered to be the smallest size for serious playing. I wouldn't entirely agree, but it's a good starting point. Size is generally 6 5/8" AF. Doesn't sound much more than 6 1/4" but in your hands you can feel the difference.

 

55 button instruments add a couple more accidentals to the top of the RHS, and a whole extra row of buttons on to top of the LHS. The extra LH buttons can be useful, but by no means essential. Size is generally 7 1/4" AF.

 

In my opinion, the optimal instrument (trading physical size against the minimum number of buttons you need) is the RH of a 42 with the LH of a 48. That's pretty much what I've got in my custom @alex_holden 44 button Crane.

 

If weight is a particular concern it's worth noting that an instrument with aluminium ends and reed frames is lighter than its brass equivalent. If I recall correctly, my Crabb 48 weighed less than my Lachenal 42.

 

Hope this helps.

 

LJ

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I find my 68 key crabb cfane to be the the best for my vocal range . The left hand goes down to an octave below the right hand end (not counting a low F outrigger button,under thelayout are two single action buttons,  a D sharp , E and Low Bb(double action). Thier is an octave overlap betwee the left and right hand ends.

More info than necessary

Mike

 

My 80 key is even more of a beast

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Mike implicitly raises a good point - beyond 48 buttons there's more benefit in adding lower notes rather than more higher notes. Very large instruments (such as Mike has) add a whole row on either hand below the normal C start (and then a few more besides). What Crabb did with their 58/59 buttons instruments was to take a 55 and, typically, add to the LHS B2, Bb2 and F2; the first two being outliers in a sixth column and the last being a thumb button.

 

One way to get lower notes without having a large (and fairly rare) instrument is to modify a standard 48 by re-purposing the rarely used C#3 button (and maybe the Eb3 too). For example if you sing in flat keys you might have C#3 retuned to Bb2. If this is done properly by weighting the tip of the reed it is easily reversible with no damage to the concertina. 

 

Mike, out of interest could you clarify:

 

51 minutes ago, Mike Acott said:

... two single action buttons,  a D sharp , E and Low Bb(double action).

 

Does this mean you have two buttons (D# and E) which sound in only one direction (which is what single action normally means) or are they two notes on one button in the style of an anglo concertina?

 

LJ

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4 hours ago, alex_holden said:

Unfortunately the very useful Crane Concertina history site went down a couple of years ago and we haven't been able to contact the former admin. You can find an archived snapshot of at least part of the site here, though it seems to be missing some pages from the gallery:

 

http://web.archive.org/web/20190523224806/http://craneconcertina.com/

 

 

I'm sure Rod (the new owner - https://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?/profile/7691-saguaro_squeezer/) will jump in. Here's a link to the website onto which he has salvaged some of the old content:

 

http://www.craneconcertina.net/

 

 

 

 

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Amazing, John! The contact page on that presence leads to the ICA, so someone over there supposedly restored the old cranceconcertina.org? I can probably pinpoint fairly closely at what time the snapshot was taken...

 

good catch!

 

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11 hours ago, PushButtons said:

Looking to get information on Duet Lachenal Crane Concertinas.  Looking to find out the following information for various sizes; weight, inches across the flats, and any pro's and cons to each one. I understand there is a 42 Key, 48 key and 55 key version.

 

I have a 55B Lachenal New Model Crane.  It weighs 3lb 4oz (1482 gm) and measures 6 5/8" (168mm) across the flats.  6-fold bellows.

 

This is the button layout:

image.png.c0954a1feaee32cd9001abef5dbf82cf.png

 

 

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2 hours ago, Little John said:

I followed RAc's link, which led to a fairly skeletal site, but I also found this which looks like the old site.

 

Interesting, I knew Rod had started constructing a new site but I didn't know the ICA had also put a snapshot of the old site up. I'm guessing the ICA didn't have access to the most up to date version of the previous site, because it doesn't include either of the instruments I submitted to the gallery.

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Thanks for all the great information. A lot to digest. I recently purchased an Elise duet. Love how logical the layout is. I definitely am looking for a chromatic instrument as I want to play various types of music including jazz.

 

My hands are medium. I was led from Hayden to Crane. From what I learned above I need to make the buttons to weight decision. Price is another factor to consider. I am not necessarily decided on Lachenal any thoughts on this. 

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11 minutes ago, alex_holden said:

 

Interesting, I knew Rod had started constructing a new site but I didn't know the ICA had also put a snapshot of the old site up. I'm guessing the ICA didn't have access to the most up to date version of the previous site, because it doesn't include either of the instruments I submitted to the gallery.

 

actually, the snapshot must have been taken before Feb 20,2019 because at that date Chris had (upon my request for privacy protection) removed my name from Wheatstone 20796. On the snapshot it's still there. I received your #3 about a week prior to that, so I suspect your entries weren't on the site yet when the ICAs snapshot was taken.

 

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I love having light instruments to walk around the house with, frightening the wife and dancing around to.

When playing or practicing seriously I sit down and the weight isn’t really an issue. I don’t use wrist straps even though I have some instruments with the fittings.

My concertina friends always tell me to sit down and rest the ‘Tina on my knee like they do.

 

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