Jump to content

38k Jeffries but a Wheatstone Layout


Recommended Posts

Well, I got an unrefurbished 38k Jeffries on an online auction.  I waited in anxious anticipation for its arrival.  I eagerly opened the box, the bellows were rough, but still held air ok, all the keys and levers moved pretty well, 95% of the reeds sounded ok and then I realized the unique quality it possessed... it's a Wheatstone layout!!!

 

I opened it up and everything seems original.  I bought it from a gentleman who bought it from a gentleman who's Grandfather bought it when he 13 years old and then immigrated from Norway to California 125 years ago.

 

So I know I've seen one or two Jeffries with Wheatstone layouts before.  Were these most likely custom orders by Jeffries?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is pretty unusual. If the reeds are stamped with the same notes as they are sounding then as far as we know that is original. Its likely someone would ask for something like that, no one has ever asked me to make a 38 button instrument that was the same as any other 38 key I made, such idiosyncrasies must have existed in the past too I would guess.

 

Jeffries and Wheatstone had slightly different ideas about where to put the extra buttons though with Wheatstone tending to add them at the end of each row and Jeffries tending to add them to the end of two of the rows and then putting one down below the usual three rows - I am guessing the accidental row is usual Wheatstone accidentals and the extra buttons are something approximating Wheatstone but not necessarily in the same place? 

 

I hope it is good fun to play! Best wishes

Jake

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jeffries', and other makers, were always happy to oblige customers with small, or large, variations in fingerings, though you'd find them less, and less, these days after instruments have been restored and put into what we'd consider "standard" Jeffries fingering today - so I'd see no reason why they would not be prepared to make an Anglo in Lachenal/Wheatstone fingering.

 

Whilst Lachenal's even manufactured a Special Anglo Model that fingered like a 39-key Jeffries...

 

On the other hand, I've personally converted several Wheatstone concertinas to Jeffries fingering, and vice versa.

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As far as I've found, the stamps on the reeds match what I'm finding with the Wheatstone layout.  So it doesn't look like the reeds have been tampered with.

 

There are some oddball keys that don't really aline with either the Jeffries or Wheatstone layouts like the last button on the left hand side inner row is a B/D instead of a more standard B/A for either system.  Which I suppose supports the case of someone asking Jeffries to do a one off custom layout.

 

I'm probably going to steal the C pull from the first button on the middle row of the right hand side, tune it up to C# and swap it with the A on the second button of the outer row and then reverse the C#/Eb of the first button outer row.  It'll still have it's eccentricities of course, but that'll give me my two C#s in the right places.  

 

If I'd make those changes it looks like, I'd be at about a 86% match to your 38k Jeffries layout on your website, Jake.  Still not ideal, but it'll be much closer while retaining all the original reeds and doing minimal tampering.

Jeffries 38K Wheatstone Layout.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
On 5/6/2022 at 2:35 PM, Jewish Leprechaun said:

There are some oddball keys that don't really align with either the Jeffries or Wheatstone layouts like the last button on the left hand side inner row is a B/D instead of a more standard B/A for either system.  Which I suppose supports the case of someone asking Jeffries to do a one off custom layout.

 

B/D is commonly the original tuning of the last button on the left hand side inner row of antique concertinas, which may make more sense for the "harmonic" style of Anglo playing (though the G/D that's found there on 20-key German concertinas might make even more sense, echoing the C row, for that in a rudimentary form) - but I'd routinely convert the D to a low A for "melodic" style playing by Irish players. (Indeed, this is paralleled in tremolo-tuned harmonicas, where German instruments are tuned for vamping an accompaniment at the bottom end, whilst oriental ones are tuned for melody playing - and hence oriental ones are commonly the choice of Irish players.)

 

 

 

 

Edited by Stephen Chambers
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...