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I have my eye on an antique 26 key, and while I wouldn't much miss the low E/F and could live with just pull C# but not push, I'd kinda miss the 3rd octave d note, and definitely the middle G#/Bb.  Would it be possible to add these notes - are there empty reed pans in there which could be put to use?  Or would you need to build a new pan - which would probably mean you'd just as well buy a 30 key instrument and call it good.

 

For that 3rd octave d you could always retune the 3rd octave e, too.  There aren't really any solutions that come to mind for the missing G#/Bb.  Well, assuming those notes are missing in the first place - I'm actually not sure.

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49 minutes ago, LR71 said:

I have my eye on an antique 26 key, and while I wouldn't much miss the low E/F and could live with just pull C# but not push, I'd kinda miss the 3rd octave d note, and definitely the middle G#/Bb.  Would it be possible to add these notes - are there empty reed pans in there which could be put to use?  Or would you need to build a new pan - which would probably mean you'd just as well buy a 30 key instrument and call it good.

 

The answer to your question would depend on the make, and model, of the 26-key Anglo, but I have successfully converted a few 26-key, mahogany-ended Lachenals into 28- or 30-keys, using the vacant reed chambers in their reed-pans.

 

Photos of an end, and a reed-pan, would be a big help in determining if it was possible.  

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Well, it's this lovely Jeffries Barleycorn are selling.  I'm showing my hand by mentioning it, I guess...what a steal, only £3300!  That's interesting, that Lachenals had extra room in there.  Is the same true of Wheatstone or Jeffries?

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38 minutes ago, LR71 said:

Well, it's this lovely Jeffries Barleycorn are selling.  I'm showing my hand by mentioning it, I guess...what a steal, only £3300! 

 

That Jeffries would need completely rebuilding, including replacement fretwork - it's because of the offset layout of the accidental row buttons (normal on a 26-key Jeffries), the layout of the levers, and the fullness of the fretwork.

 

Quote

That's interesting, that Lachenals had extra room in there.  Is the same true of Wheatstone or Jeffries?

 

Like I said, it depends on the exact model, even the individual instrument - I've had a late 20-key Wheatstone converted into a 30-key for a customer (by Steve Dickinson) because its layout was that of a 30-key lacking the third row. But you couldn't do that with 99.9% of them...

 

And I've converted 26-key rosewood ended Lachenals that had been made with the fretwork of a 30-key - sometimes even with the extra levers already inside them!

 

 

 

 

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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I've had ace repairguy Greg Jowaisas modify a 26-button C/G anglo Jones with an additional button on the L side, inside row closest to the handrest. Works nicely. One might also consider getting a 30- button anglo, removing an unwanted/unneeded set of reeds (highest note on R, lowest on L, perhaps) then creating the appropriate arm + button mechanism. Greg has also modified a couple of 34-button anglos by re-purposing the "novelty" (baby cry, bird whistle) buttons and inserting useful musical notes, e.g., a C# + F# combo. Takes a good knowledgeable person to do it, but it can be done on some instruemnts, IMHO.

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It is one thing to swap a reed or two to optimise an instrument for your style of play.   I'd be sceptical about making major changes like adding buttons. Just because something may be possible, doesn't mean it's a good idea.

 

The end result might be the loss of an antique instrument for the gain of a compromise. Why not look for an instrument that already suits your needs?

Edited by Mikefule
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10 hours ago, LR71 said:

Am I right about which buttons are most likely missing?

 

On any 26-key the buttons you have are numbers 3, 4, and 5 of the accidental row of a 30-key on the LH side, so C#/Eb, A/G, G#/Bb, regardless of the maker.

 

But the RH sides are different:

 

On a Lachenal or Wheatstone you'd get buttons 1, 2, and 3 of the accidental row of a 30-key, so C#/Eb, A/G, G#/Bb again, an octave higher.

 

Whilst on a Jeffries you'd get buttons 2, 3, and 4 of a Jeffries 30-key, giving you C#/Eb, G#/G, and C#/Bb.

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Ah, no low Bb, that'd be missed as well.  Maybe some new reeds could be made to fill in these gaps - I wouldn't want to retune the originals. By the time you're done it might cost as much as a 30 key Jeffries in the first place, of course...thanks for all the details! 

 

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Here's Bob Snope's addition of the 3 missing low notes ( including buttons ) on my large Jeff Duet.  My choice of F,G and A.  The chambers, dovetails and slots were already present.

 

Cheers and happy new year!

IMG_2022-11-23-13-20-31-509.jpg

IMG_2022-11-25-15-55-44-640.jpg

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