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Jeffries oddity?


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On my bench at the moment is a 46k Jeffries Anglo. While mapping the layout, I noticed that on the left hand, the 4th button on the innermost row and the single outlier button both play F4/C4. And when I opened it up, I discovered why: both buttons operate on the same pair of reeds! 

This is not an arrangement I've come across before, and I'm having trouble imagining a reason for it. Any ideas?

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Hi David, This is very common in the 4 row Jeffries anglos and has been discussed here before. If you can't find the threads and photos, please message me and I'll hunt them down as I contributed explanation and photos to those earlier discussions.

In my opinion, this is the reason for what you see:  These anglos, especially the early (1890s) examples of the 4 row type that are very compact, were made to a fairly standard pattern of reedpan and often had a bird whistle sounded by one of the buttons in the left hand inside row. That bird whistle only requires a very small chamber in the reedpan, too small to accommodate a reed of useful size. But (as a general matter, even today) we often see that some players object to committing one of our concertina buttons to a novelty effect and prefer an actual note for every button. Sometimes a concertina with novelty effects (bird whistles, baby cries) can have those converted to a note by fitting in two reeds to the chamber originally dedicated to the novelty effect, but in the case of some of these 4 row Jeffries that's not practical without major surgery. I think when we see a button in the inside row of a 4 row Jeffries whose pallet operates  (as an extra pallet!) on the same chamber as contains the reeds for the left-hand thumb button, we're seeing the best option to use that inside-row button (normally committed to bird cry) for a note. This may sometimes have been done as an after-sale modification but I think I've seen examples where that "change" was done in the original construction, to avoid having to use a radically different chambering plan.  Easier to see in comparing photos of the two types of reedpans and action boards.

Edited by Paul Groff
clarity
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Many thanks for that, Paul. It's obvious from the reedpan layout that there wouldn't be room for another chamber. Still, I'd have thought the path of least resistance might have been simply to leave out the thumb button completely!

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5 hours ago, david robertson said:

Many thanks for that, Paul. It's obvious from the reedpan layout that there wouldn't be room for another chamber. Still, I'd have thought the path of least resistance might have been simply to leave out the thumb button completely!

Ah but for fingering, it can be a wonderful option to bring in the left thumb! As a piano and organ player, I always feel it's a waste of that left thumb when there's no button for it on an anglo.

Edited by Paul Groff
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I have this pad arrangement on both by Jeffries Anglo and Jeffries Duet, where the topmost button on the row closest to the hand rest and the thumb button both operate the same reed with two separate pads.

 

One curiosity is that the tone between the two buttons is different, the button on the row being slightly more muffled while the thumb button giving a slightly harsher/buzzier sound, additionally when measured against a tuner the two give slightly different pitch readings. 

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50 minutes ago, cohen said:

I have this pad arrangement on both by Jeffries Anglo and Jeffries Duet, where the topmost button on the row closest to the hand rest and the thumb button both operate the same reed with two separate pads.

 

One curiosity is that the tone between the two buttons is different, the button on the row being slightly more muffled while the thumb button giving a slightly harsher/buzzier sound, additionally when measured against a tuner the two give slightly different pitch readings. 

Hi Cohen, This is not always true when 2 different pads open on to one chamber in these 4 row Jeffries, but I have seen it before. Chris Ghent asked about this exact issue in his comments on the earlier thread that I cited above.

 

It shouldn't be suprising, because the location of the pad hole in relation to the tip vs base of the reed tongue is one of many variables in the function of concertina reeds. The amount of lift of the pad might also be different between those two buttons that operate on the same reeds/chamber, and of course the acoustic filtering/reflections will be slightly different for any two pad locations in the action case.

 

Regarding airways that open to direct airflow nearest the base vs  the tip of a free reed tongue, one familiar example is that accordion reeds often function and sound very differently if flipped top to bottom in their location on the reedblock. You can often see the highest few reeds on a reedblock inverted compared to most of the lower reeds. And another example: bass reeds in a german open-pallet melodeon with growlbox function and sound very differently depending on the location of the airway in relation to the two ends of the reedtongue. I once bought a professionally-restored Wyper model International whose basses didn't sound full or "right" and discovered that the bass reeds had been installed differently than in my original, unrestored example. The basses gave the right notes but were muffled and quiet until I flipped them 180 degrees, then they came to life.

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