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Crabb built Jeffries


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I know that quite a lot of early C.Jeffies concertinas were actually built by Crabb, but beyond that I am unclear.

 

Did Mr Jeffries re-temper and fettle the reeds etc., or did he simply stamp his name on the end, or what?

 

I have an interest in this because when I had Colin Dipper do some work on my "C. Jeffries" aorund 15 years ago,he said that it was probably built by Crabb, and that it looked like it might originally have had wooden ends.

 

To honest I'm not too bothered whether it's a Crabb or a Jeffries as it is a lovely instrument either way.

 

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There seem to be a number of theories on this subject and it sort of depends who you ask unfortunately. Many believe that in the early days Jeffries simply stamped his name on the end of an instrument made at Crabb's and he later learned to make the instruments himself.

 

Here is a paper on the subject where Geoff Crabb talks about his family's business and there is some mention of interactions with Jeffries, quite an interesting read in my opinion, I like the part about making the press tools by hand:

 

http://www.concertina.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/PICA07-2010.pdf

 

Enjoy!

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By the way, I see you are in Northamptonshire - when sessions start up again I can really recommend the Albion in Ampthill. Once a month, English, Northumbrian and Scottish music, really good! I hope the pub has not gone under by the time restrictions are lifted...

 

Also if you play Irish music my wife runs an Irish session in Northampton 2nd Friday every month starting again August 13th. In the "swan and helmet". Here is a facebook page for it: https://www.facebook.com/events/1865493413614222

 

There is some good Sliabh Luachra style Irish music, which I had not encountered until I met Patrick Curtin an old Kerry man at this session, great fiddle player!

 

 

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19 hours ago, Jake Middleton-Metcalfe said:

By the way, I see you are in Northamptonshire - when sessions start up again I can really recommend the Albion in Ampthill. Once a month, English, Northumbrian and Scottish music, really good! I hope the pub has not gone under by the time restrictions are lifted...

 

Also if you play Irish music my wife runs an Irish session in Northampton 2nd Friday every month starting again August 13th. In the "swan and helmet". Here is a facebook page for it: https://www.facebook.com/events/1865493413614222

 

There is some good Sliabh Luachra style Irish music, which I had not encountered until I met Patrick Curtin an old Kerry man at this session, great fiddle player!

 

 

 

Jake,

 

Thanks for the heads up. I'm an english style player rather than irish, so i'll probably skip the Swan & Helmet sessions (I've been to a few rockier gigs in that pub though).

Is the Amtphill session a general folk session, or concertina specific? - my first instrument is really a melodeon. Also how open minded is it?. Would it object to a saxophone (my wife's instrument).

 

PS I am having lessons with John Kirkpatrick at the moment and he was very complimentary about your concertinas.

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27 minutes ago, Clive Thorne said:

 

Jake,

 

Thanks for the heads up. I'm an english style player rather than irish, so i'll probably skip the Swan & Helmet sessions (I've been to a few rockier gigs in that pub though).

Is the Amtphill session a general folk session, or concertina specific? - my first instrument is really a melodeon. Also how open minded is it?. Would it object to a saxophone (my wife's instrument).

 

PS I am having lessons with John Kirkpatrick at the moment and he was very complimentary about your concertinas.

 

 

The session in Ampthill is not instrument specific, just sticking to traditional English, Northumbrian and Scottish. A few melodeon players are there. Basically any instrument would be fine non amplified.

 

Good to Hear John is giving lessons.

 

Best wishes

Jake

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If concertinas labelled as Jeffries were variously made by that firm from scratch, by them out of Crabb components, or by Crabbs and just labelled Jeffries, what does that tell us about the Jeffries reputation? Are the reeds special, and if so does that apply to reeds that were really made by Crabbs?

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Posted (edited)

I think it means that if you want to buy the best Jeffries or Crabb concertina you should pay more attention to how it plays, and less to the name it bears. 

Edited by Theo
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For a few years I owned a very nice Crabb that was labelled internally with a T. Bostock stamp. Outwardly it was identical to my two Jeffries, differing only in that it had a mahogany action padboard and action box rather than sycamore. The reeds on the Crabb were every bit as quick and responsive as on the Jeffries. Out of curiosity, I spent a lot of time comparing the instruments side by side. 

 

Aside from the mahogany vs sycamore, there were some observable differences in the reeds. Reed shoe thicknesses were the same. Reed screws and overall construction looked to be the same. There looked to be differences in the venting profile of the underside of the reeds, and a distinctive difference in the tempering. The Jeffries were blue tempered, the Crabb were not. 

 

There is a difference in the tone. The Jeffries all have a distinctive sound that is easily identifiable as "Jeffries" but hard to quintify. The Crabb is maybe brighter, less honk. In direct comparisons, a few musician friends preferred the sound of the Crabb, funny enough. I preferred the sound of the Jeffries (what do they know!?). Ultimately I sold the Crabb, and I hope the new owner in Boston is enjoying it as much as I did. 

 

Some photos of it attached. I have some sound samples around somewhere that I could upload. Unfortunately I can't find photos of the undersides of the reeds, but I'm sure I took some at some point. 

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21 hours ago, Theo said:

I think it means that if you want to buy the best Jeffries or Crabb concertina you should pal more attention to how it plays, and less to the name it bears. 

 

I could not agree more. I had the pleasure of restoring a 1905 (or thereabouts) Crabb anglo a year or two ago and found it to be great. A force to be reckoned with volume wise and very responsive.

 

Both firms seemed to go through various and sometimes slightly subtle differences to their designs and materials over the years as well, and the results of that can be a bit subjective. I suppose you have to just play it and decide what you think. 

 

Thanks Pgidley for uploading the photos, the one I worked on was very similar to what you had there, same buttons and same variation on the fretwork pattern (I think). Though the one I was working on was stamped crabb on the ends and ball beavon on the side of the action box.

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Many years ago I was looking for a better CG Anglo and Paul Groff sold me one he had been playing for some time. It looked very much like a Jeffries (end plates, bellows stamping, bellows papers) but was in fact a Crabb with the oval cartouche left blank. But that was not all. It bore a hand engraved brass plate on the right side frame and the plate read “Rushworth & Draeper, Islington”. AND if you looked very carefully at the wooden side frames, you could see the remains of a stamping “& Co, London”. So this instrument very likely was intended for Ball Beavon & Co. but before it was delivered, the ends were redone and it was ultimately sold by Rushworth & Draeper. This is my conclusion. It was in fact an excellent playing instrument with good tone and nice action. It was let down only by a couple of lower notes that didn’t have the fullness of the rest of the instrument. That concertina helped my playing advance a good bit during my early years with the instrument.

 

Ross Schlabach 

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4 hours ago, RP3 said:

Many years ago I was looking for a better CG Anglo and Paul Groff sold me one he had been playing for some time. It looked very much like a Jeffries (end plates, bellows stamping, bellows papers) but was in fact a Crabb with the oval cartouche left blank. But that was not all. It bore a hand engraved brass plate on the right side frame and the plate read “Rushworth & Draeper, Islington”. AND if you looked very carefully at the wooden side frames, you could see the remains of a stamping “& Co, London”. So this instrument very likely was intended for Ball Beavon & Co. but before it was delivered, the ends were redone and it was ultimately sold by Rushworth & Draeper. This is my conclusion. It was in fact an excellent playing instrument with good tone and nice action. It was let down only by a couple of lower notes that didn’t have the fullness of the rest of the instrument. That concertina helped my playing advance a good bit during my early years with the instrument.

 

Ross Schlabach 

Hi Ross, Because you don't make this explicit, I think it should be made crystal clear here that I never represented that concertina as a Jeffries. When selling it,  I pointed out all those markings you mention, as well as the internal 4 digit identification number from the known Crabb 8000 (+) series. It was through and through a Crabb, and a very nice one that I really enjoyed playing, as have several other owners since you owned it.  I think the correct spelling BTW is "Rushworth & Dreaper," well known music dealers on Islington (a street and district) in Liverpool, and I've also had Lachenals with their re-badging. Ironically Crabbs were located for many years on Liverpool Road in Islington (London).

 

PG

Edited by Paul Groff
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18 hours ago, RP3 said:

Many years ago I was looking for a better CG Anglo and Paul Groff sold me one he had been playing for some time. It looked very much like a Jeffries (end plates, bellows stamping, bellows papers) but was in fact a Crabb with the oval cartouche left blank. But that was not all. It bore a hand engraved brass plate on the right side frame and the plate read “Rushworth & Draeper, Islington”. AND if you looked very carefully at the wooden side frames, you could see the remains of a stamping “& Co, London”. So this instrument very likely was intended for Ball Beavon & Co. but before it was delivered, the ends were redone and it was ultimately sold by Rushworth & Draeper. This is my conclusion. It was in fact an excellent playing instrument with good tone and nice action. It was let down only by a couple of lower notes that didn’t have the fullness of the rest of the instrument. That concertina helped my playing advance a good bit during my early years with the instrument.

 

Ross Schlabach 

 

Ah the low notes, were they by any chance the E/F and B/A, the lowest buttons on the left hand side accidental row and left hand side G row? If I remember those ones are usually scaled down (shorter than they should be for their pitch) due to the way the reedpan is designed and the size of the instrument there is not enough space for them to be full size reeds. Its the downside of that design.

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Paul I never suggested that you ever implied that my concertina was a Jeffries. I clearly said it was a Crabb but had the additional stampings, etc. that went along with the Crabb history from Geoffrey Crabb’s musings as recounted in the ICA article. And in case there is anybody in doubt, you only ever represented that concertina to me as the Crabb that it was!! And a wonderful Crabb indeed.

 

Jake you hit the nail on the head. Those two accidental row buttons were the culprits - mainly the A/Bb. I also had a 28 button CG Jeffries with an awesome sounding A/Bb to compare to so I knew how they could sound!

 

Ross Schlabach 

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2 hours ago, RP3 said:

Paul I never suggested that you ever implied that my concertina was a Jeffries. I clearly said it was a Crabb but had the additional stampings, etc. that went along with the Crabb history from Geoffrey Crabb’s musings as recounted in the ICA article. And in case there is anybody in doubt, you only ever represented that concertina to me as the Crabb that it was!! And a wonderful Crabb indeed.

 

Jake you hit the nail on the head. Those two accidental row buttons were the culprits - mainly the A/Bb. I also had a 28 button CG Jeffries with an awesome sounding A/Bb to compare to so I knew how they could sound!

 

Ross Schlabach 

Hi Ross, And I never suggested that you did. However, given the title of this topic, I think it's important to make clear that the concertina in question was *not* marked, nor represented, as a Jeffries.  That was actually not explicit in your post above.  As a general point: I think Geoff's dating work argues that the Crabb family firm was making concertinas with many design features that are considered "typical of Jeffries anglos" before, during, and after the period in which members of the  Jeffries family were retailing similar ones. Thanks! PG

Edited by Paul Groff
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