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Suttner or Jeffries 30 key cg anglo?


Crabb97
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40 minutes ago, Geoff Wooff said:

There  is  a  Suttner  A2  (C/G)  with  Jeffries  layout  for  sale  in  France.  Asking  price  €4500.  Located  near  Lille.

 

www.leboncoin.fr     and  search  concertina.

 

Cheers Geoff - I'll check it out!

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Last winter, happenstance led to my having 4 different Jeffries and a Dipper on my dining room table, so I took the rare opportunity to carefully compare each of them. They were quite different instruments - 3 Bb/F, including a 50 button C. Jeffries, a 30 bone button C. Jeffries and a 30 metal button Jeffries Bros. The C/G a 30 bone button identical to the Bb/F. 

 

The biggest impressions on the two of us who were playing them was that they all felt quite different to play. Although they all played really well, each had its own characteristic feel, but at the end of the day they were all uniquely Jeffries instruments. The sound shared that characteristic - each of them had a slightly different voice and volume, but were easily identifiable as Jeffries. My thought is that they were probably all very consistent early in their lives, but depending on how they were played and treated over the years, as well as who had worked on them over their long lives, led to the differences. 

 

I think Suttners as well as the other great makers are likely the same. Instruments today that are relatively young will have a high degree of consistency across the board. The next 100+ years of experience will lead each of them down different paths. 

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6 minutes ago, Pgidley said:

Last winter, happenstance led to my having 4 different Jeffries and a Dipper on my dining room table, so I took the rare opportunity to carefully compare each of them. They were quite different instruments - 3 Bb/F, including a 50 button C. Jeffries, a 30 bone button C. Jeffries and a 30 metal button Jeffries Bros. The C/G a 30 bone button identical to the Bb/F. 

 

 

Pgidley - I haven't had the opportunity to see or play a Dipper before! I've heard fantastic things about the Dipper concertinas though - would you rate it highly? 

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33 minutes ago, Crabb97 said:

 

Pgidley - I haven't had the opportunity to see or play a Dipper before! I've heard fantastic things about the Dipper concertinas though - would you rate it highly? 

Yes, its a lovely instrument. It has a distinctive tone of its own and is light and responsive. I had to make a decision whether to keep the Jeffries C/G or the Dipper and the Dipper won out in the end. We don't see as many Suttners on this side of the Atlantic, but I would rate Carrolls right alongside each of them, just to make your decision a bit more difficult. 

 

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28 minutes ago, Pgidley said:

Last winter, happenstance led to my having 4 different Jeffries and a Dipper on my dining room table, so I took the rare opportunity to carefully compare each of them. They were quite different instruments - 3 Bb/F, including a 50 button C. Jeffries, a 30 bone button C. Jeffries and a 30 metal button Jeffries Bros. The C/G a 30 bone button identical to the Bb/F. 

I had a road trip in October which took me, with another contributor here , from Chris Algar to Jake Middleton-Metcalfe via the Dippers and Mr Wheatstone (Steve Dickinson), also visiting yet another contributor with a collection of high quality Jeffries.  Overall, we had the opportunity to try over 20 Jeffries (Some original and some restored & retuned by Dipper or Wheatstone), 3 Dippers, 3 Wheatstone concertinas (1 vintage, 1 new), 2 or 3 Wolvertons and a selection of Lachenals. No Suttners, Carrolls, Holdens or Kensingtons on this trip unfortunately.

 

As has been said, all were terrific (the Lachenals being at a lower playability and price level), all were different to play and of a high quality.  Impossible to say "That one was the best" which all could agree on, although each person might have a different opinion.  Yes, of course there is variability between individual instruments from the same atelier and some might suit one person better than another (either because of keys, pitch, size, weight, undefinable sound quality).

 

The road trip may be reported elsewhere (when I get round to it), but my point is that the best vintage or modern instruments are all good and which one is right for you depends on a lot of factors including budget.  The only answer is to try as many as you can - but stop short of thinking that the "best" one is still out there just waiting for you to find it!

 

Alex West

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3 hours ago, Pgidley said:

Yes, its a lovely instrument. It has a distinctive tone of its own and is light and responsive. I had to make a decision whether to keep the Jeffries C/G or the Dipper and the Dipper won out in the end. We don't see as many Suttners on this side of the Atlantic, but I would rate Carrolls right alongside each of them, just to make your decision a bit more difficult. 

 

 

Ya I looked at the Dipper's website but couldn't see any mention of price or waiting time - has anyone on here dealt with the Dippers recently or would have an idea? Thanks

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3 hours ago, Alex West said:

I had a road trip in October which took me, with another contributor here , from Chris Algar to Jake Middleton-Metcalfe via the Dippers and Mr Wheatstone (Steve Dickinson), also visiting yet another contributor with a collection of high quality Jeffries.  Overall, we had the opportunity to try over 20 Jeffries (Some original and some restored & retuned by Dipper or Wheatstone), 3 Dippers, 3 Wheatstone concertinas (1 vintage, 1 new), 2 or 3 Wolvertons and a selection of Lachenals. No Suttners, Carrolls, Holdens or Kensingtons on this trip unfortunately.

 

 

Alex, sounds like the dream trip for a concertina enthusiast!!!

 

Where did you try that many Jeffries? Seems like they are far and few between these days

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At the time we visited him, Chris Algar had around 25 Jeffries on his shelf.  We didn't try all of them.  There are people in this world with multiple Jeffries - if you know where to find them, and can get a couple of friends together for some music, it's possible to get quite a few together in one place ;)

 

Alex West

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If you want the actual projected waiting time it is best to actually use the contact info and ask.  Websites are sometimes up to date, sometimes not, and things change all the time.  Many makers get piles of email from serious and not serious inquiries, so be pleasant and be patient.  

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  • 3 months later...
On 1/10/2022 at 10:15 AM, 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? 

 

 

Assuming the instrument has been fully overhauled with new pads, valves, etc etc you will learn more by playing than by looking inside, unless you know what to look for.   The biggest risk with buying a Jeffries is that the reeds may have been badly treated and that may not be immediately obvious to the eye.  It will be obvious when playing if the tone and volume is not consistently good across all buttons, if pitch drops excessively when playing loudly, or if buttons don't all move easily and with a smooth feel and even spring pressure.

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I have a Dipper-restored C/G Jeffries (30 bone button, plus drone, baby cry and bird call) that I bought from another player in 1984. Having never played a Dipper, it has always felt like the perfect blend of vintage and modern to me, but over the years I guess I've come to take that for granted. During the pandemic I temporarily lost my mind and made what I thought was a low bid on a Bb/F Jeffries from a seller online. To abbreviate a long story, the seller accepted my bid. The Bb/F has decent action, if a bit softer than the C/G, but it doesn't sound like a Jeffries because someone along the way has swapped-out most of the Jeffries reeds. It has a pleasant tone but not the authority of a good Jeffries. Happily, it's fun to play, though I'm not especially attached to it. It makes me appreciate my C/G even more.

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2 hours ago, Joe G. said:

...  but it doesn't sound like a Jeffries because someone along the way has swapped-out most of the Jeffries reeds...

 

Exactly the sort of unfortunate situation I was alluding to above, though it is more common to find a Jeffries where just some of the reeds are not original.

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Quite right, Theo. It's an expensive lesson, to be sure. I suppose the good news is that it sounds pretty even across the spectrum, and the action is good. Still, the main point of a Jeffries is the tone, and this doesn't have the "bark."

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11 hours ago, Theo said:

 

Exactly the sort of unfortunate situation I was alluding to above, though it is more common to find a Jeffries where just some of the reeds are not original.

At one time I had one that had started life as a Jeffries. Steve Dickinson had overhauled it and found that many reeds needed to be replaced. Rather than leave a mixture he had replaced all the reeds by new ones.

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