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Suttner or Jeffries 30 key cg anglo?


Crabb97
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Hi there...

 

Just wondering how people would rate the Suttner concertinas (say an A2 30 key c/g anglo) made nowadays to the vintage Jeffries concertinas?

 

I'm thinking of changing my current concertina, but haven't played either before and given Covid it may be sometime before I can get out and actually meet prospective sellers. 

 

Also, has the price of the Suttner concertinas remained the same over the last number of years? - I know at one point people were selling them secondhand for a bit more than the catalogue price as there was such a long 4-5 year of a waiting list.

 

All comments welcome!

 

Thank you. 

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4 hours ago, Crabb97 said:

Just wondering how people would rate the Suttner concertinas (say an A2 30 key c/g anglo) made nowadays to the vintage Jeffries concertinas?

 

 

"Rating" concertinas is a pretty subjective thing.  I prefer the honky sound of a good Jeffries, which works well for English trad and playing in the harmonic style; many ITM players I know prefer the crisp sound of many Suttners.  But there are great ITM players who prefer Jeffries, and I'm sure some great English players who are loyal to Suttners.

 

It's all subjective: the sound and feel you like.

 

And there is considerable variation within brands, especially in terms of action/playability.  A while back I played a Suttner that was absolutely sublime, but at the same event played one that was - to my ear - meh.   I love my Jeffries - the sound and the action - but have played a couple that were mediocre and one that was dreadful.  I suspect there's less variation among Suttners, since they were all built over a narrower time range in a single shop; Jeffries were built over a longer period, in different shops with different craftspeople having a hand in their construction.

 

I will say that Jeffries have the advantage of proven durability over many decades; a prime Jeffries has lasted a century or more.  I wouldn't be surprised if Suttners prove just as durable, but we'll have to wait a few decades to know for sure.

 

They both can be fantastic instruments. So can a Carroll, a Dipper, a Wakker, a Dickenson Wheatsone and probably a Holden and a Wolverton, although I've never laid hands on the last two.  What's "best" is purely subjective. 

Edited by Jim Besser
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15 hours ago, Jim Besser said:

And there is considerable variation within brands, especially in terms of action/playability.  A while back I played a Suttner that was absolutely sublime, but at the same event played one that was - to my ear - meh.   I love my Jeffries - the sound and the action - but have played a couple that were mediocre and one that was dreadful.  

 

Jim - thanks for your input!

 

Interesting point you make re "mediocre" Jeffries- I suppose this is only something you would know by playing them! Is it standard practice to open up a concertina and take a look inside when purchasing or will you solely know from playing it whether it is a good one or not? 

 

I would tend to agree with your statement that one would expect less variation among Suttners - I was researching the different models, A1,A2,A3 - just wondering has anyone on here played all or any of them and would have any suggestions. Hoping to get a 30 key this time given I already have a 38 key anglo. 

 

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5 hours ago, Crabb97 said:

Interesting point you make re "mediocre" Jeffries- I suppose this is only something you would know by playing them! Is it standard practice to open up a concertina and take a look inside when purchasing or will you solely know from playing it whether it is a good one or not? 

 

 

I would be relucant to buy an expensive instrument from any source other than an established dealer.  In that situation, I don't see any need to examine an instrument's innards.  If I bought from an individual seller, I would be a lot warier. Buy from Barleycorn, or the Button Box, or one of the restorers like Greg Jowaisas,  and you know exactly what you're getting.

 

You can tell a lot by just playing an instrument, but not everything.

 

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My experience of the Suttner and Jeffries instruments I've played were that the Suttners were like a fine European sportscar, and the Jeffries were like a fine British locomotive. 🙂  

Both are wonderful instruments, but nothing else I've played has that characteristic Jeffries honk.  My only issue has been all the Jeffries I've played have been a bit on the heavy side, but I don't know if that's true of all of them.

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1 hour ago, eskin said:

Both are wonderful instruments, but nothing else I've played has that characteristic Jeffries honk.  My only issue has been all the Jeffries I've played have been a bit on the heavy side, but I don't know if that's true of all of them.

Yes. Every Jeffries I've played has been heavy.

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With a Suttner concertina your life will probably be made rather easier, they are good.

 

The reason I say that is that although Jeffries made very good instruments, those instruments have suffered the ravages of time and hard use. Any Jeffries instrument will have been worked on outside the original business that made it by this point and sadly in many cases by people who don't necessarily have the skill of the original manufacturer which means you have some of these instruments being in good nick and others really not so good nick. It is a minefield. I don't know if it was always like that or not. I am not saying its not worth pursuing a good Jeffries but by comparison a Suttner is going to be reliably made to a certain high standard.

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15 hours ago, Jake Middleton-Metcalfe said:

I am not saying its not worth pursuing a good Jeffries but by comparison a Suttner is going to be reliably made to a certain high standard.

 

Thanks Jake for your input here.

 

Having considered all of the comments here I think I'm slightly swaying towards a Suttner now. Also, I think the import duty will dissuade me from buying a Jeffries from the UK or the US! 

 

Anyone any ideas on the current wait time for a new Suttner or would I be better getting one secondhand?

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41 minutes ago, Crabb97 said:

 

Thanks Jake for your input here.

 

Having considered all of the comments here I think I'm slightly swaying towards a Suttner now. Also, I think the import duty will dissuade me from buying a Jeffries from the UK or the US! 

 

Anyone any ideas on the current wait time for a new Suttner or would I be better getting one secondhand?

 

Its all on their website here: http://suttnerconcertinas.com/ordering/ 

 

Wait times are quoted on the page I linked. Best of luck I hope you find something to suit you.

 

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In the very early days my friend Jürgfen Suttner restored two of my Jeffries and my Linota and took measurements of the instruments. As a good German engineer ( his father had an engineering company ) he further developed the principles while sticking to the traditional ways. I had both my 38 key Jeffries and a metal ended A4 on a skale. If I remember rightly, the Suttner was 400g lighter. Sound and action are quite different, but it is realy hard to decide which one is "better"... Try to play as many as possible different instruments before you spend so much money! If you can make it, go to Chris Algar's place and spend an afternoon testing. I picked my ES ME TT out of a dozen similar boxes.

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On 1/10/2022 at 4:58 PM, Jim Besser said:

If I bought from an individual seller, I would be a lot warier. Buy from Barleycorn, or the Button Box, or one of the restorers like Greg Jowaisas,  and you know exactly what you're getting.

 

 

I don't completely agree if you buy it on the Internet...You don't get to test the concertina or hear what it sound like. Barleycorn (as example) refuse to give any description of sound because of subjectivity...I can understand but still...

From an individual seller, you can ask for a video: You can see if the push/pull is effortless and have an idea of sound ! But yes from a known dealer, you are sure about the quality but not that you will like the instrument !

But I would never buy an expensive instrument without trying it anyway 😉

I can't believe those buying a 6000eur Jeffries without trying it !

 

Nicolas

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On 1/11/2022 at 11:33 AM, Crabb97 said:

Also, I think the import duty will dissuade me from buying a Jeffries from the UK or the US! 

In my experience, import duty from the UK to the US is not an issue with most Jeffries instruments as they are all (well, mostly) over 100 years old and qualify for a zero customs duty as an antique.  Similarly, import duty for instruments under 100 years old is not such a big concern if you use the correct product code

 

Alex West

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1 minute ago, Alex West said:

In my experience, import duty from the UK to the US is not an issue with most Jeffries instruments as they are all (well, mostly) over 100 years old and qualify for a zero customs duty as an antique.  Similarly, import duty for instruments under 100 years old is not such a big concern if you use the correct product code

 

Alex West

 

From the Irish perspective though VAT would be chargeable on vintage instruments at 13.5% on imports from outside the EU - so would be costly!

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8 hours ago, conzertino said:

I sold several concertinas to the US as "small accordion" and there never were any duties...

 

There is an oddity in the harmonized tariff schedule where piano accordions (9205.90.15) are duty free, but harmonicas and other accordion-type instruments (9205.90.18) are subject to 2.6% duty. Also, antiques over 100 years old are duty free.

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14 hours ago, Crabb97 said:

From the Irish perspective though VAT would be chargeable on vintage instruments at 13.5% on imports from outside the EU - so would be costly!

 

Presumably the instrument would need to be over 100 years old to qualify for 13.5% reduced rate VAT rather than the standard 23% rate?

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1 hour ago, alex_holden said:

 

Presumably the instrument would need to be over 100 years old to qualify for 13.5% reduced rate VAT rather than the standard 23% rate?

Alex - Yes exactly, that’s my understanding! 

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