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Seeing some discussion in other threads about large duets and the ability to reach the outermost buttons got me to wondering about the variations in Anglos since there are no standard dimensions among different makers.

 

Some instruments are better suited than others for larger or smaller hands, and I know I have trouble with many Wheatstones feeling scrunched up, and I've also found the Minstrel to be absolutely unplayable.

 

So, here is the reach for four different C/G Anglos. Measuring from the face of the handrest to the center of the top middle button (the "apex", or button 3A):

 

Wheatstone #56716 - 70mm (2.75")

Herrington (hexagonal, August 2000) - 74mm (2.9")

Marcus #101 - 75mm (2.95")

Wolverton #22 - 78mm (3.1")

 

With the distance between the rows being about 10-11mm, these variations in reach are almost the equivalent of playing on a different row when switching between instruments! No wonder I have problems with Wheatstones, even with 1" handrests. 

 

What about other standard instruments from other makers?

 

Gary

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by gcoover
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Mine tend to be around 76mm, though I always have a conversation with the client before making the instrument. The shortest one I've made was 69mm for a lady with small hands, who incidentally previously played a Wheatstone. I personally found that one uncomfortable but it worked for the player.

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FWIW here are the measurements of my Anglos (excluding one that is away for an overhaul).

Lachenal  c1903 72 mm
Dipper    2009 73 mm
Wheatstone 1920 74 mm
Wheatstone 1965 75 mm
Wheatstone 1984 75 mm
Wakker     2020 77 mm
Koot Brits date? 78 mm

 

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I think you adapt to the different layouts as you need to by necessity .

As for Hohner branded Anglos .  I have no problems .. but as for other makes.  I admit I do not know for certainty, as to button spacing. Must be similar with other instruments as well, having to slightly change fingers and feel in another instrument. 

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10 hours ago, alex_holden said:

Mine tend to be around 76mm, though I always have a conversation with the client before making the instrument. The shortest one I've made was 69mm for a lady with small hands, who incidentally previously played a Wheatstone. I personally found that one uncomfortable but it worked for the player.

So do you actually move the buttons, or simply move the hand rest back and forward ?

 

For my "Small" Crabb/Jeffries (5 3/4" accross the flats) it's around 73mm.

 

For the inside row it's around 50mm. I have smallish hands, but I would struggle with any buttons inside that row, but could handle a few out beyond the 73mm. I guess that what would actually happen would be for every thing to move out a bit to allow for a new inner row of 1 or 2 buttons.

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On 7/11/2024 at 1:55 PM, gcoover said:

No wonder I have problems with Wheatstones, even with 1" handrests.

 

The height of the handrest is relevant. I used to own a C Jeffries 38 key and struggled with the reach compared with my 30 key instruments. So I fitted higher handrests and found it solved the problem for me. Just a couple of mms made a big difference in (accurately) reaching the extremes.

 

The measurements of my 30 key anglos, FWIW

Jeffries Bros  73mm, handrest height 23mm

Morse  Ceili   75mm, handrest height 18mm

(both handrests appear to be original).

 

 

 

 

Edited by malcolm clapp
Off topic (Chemnitzer) content removed
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10 hours ago, Clive Thorne said:

For the inside row it's around 50mm. I have smallish hands, but I would struggle with any buttons inside that row,

 

The Wheatstone inside row (button #8) is 45mm. Marcus is 50mm - much more comfortable!

 

Gary

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12 hours ago, Clive Thorne said:

So do you actually move the buttons, or simply move the hand rest back and forward ?

 

It depends on the instrument. If I'm modifying an existing design I'd try just moving the hand rail first because it's much simpler than moving the buttons and redesigning the action levers. I have also made some duets with the ability to adjust the hand rail position (duet keyboards usually have more rows than Anglos); it's possible but has a few trade-offs so I usually prefer to do a fixed position hand rail unless the client particularly wants it to be adjustable.

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I have had a short session measuring some of my various Anglo concertinas and the results are in the chart below.

I noted that all the Lachenal concertinas with 30 buttons or more have the greatest distance between the edge of the hand rest and the middle of the middle button on the accidental row. I find these the most comfortable.

There is also very little variation in the two row Lachenals of whatever age

At one time a bought a nice 30K C/G Wheatstone but found it really difficult to play as the buttons were too close together and too close to the hand rest when compared with my usual Lachenal (136631), so I px'd it for the Crabb 40k which also caused issues until I raised the hand rest and now it is fine. The Crabb 20k has also had the hand rest raised by the depth of a wooden disposable tongue depressor, and is now my go to concertina for tunes in G for Morris unless they have a C sharp or other accidental when I use the Marcus.

Of the Chinese and other fairly cheap concertinas, e.g. Scarlatti, I have tried (including a Hohner 30k c/g which I also owned at one time) none of them were comfortable to play and most sounded awful.

The Wheatstone Baritone and Crabb 40k are used mainly for playing in a concertina band in parts.

  Hand Rest Distance            
  Distance from inside edge of handrail to middle of middle button on Accidental or outer row of Anglo concertina            
  Concertina Make Serial Number Number of buttons Tuning Date Distance mm Number of Rows
1 Wheatstone Linota Bari 28365 30 C/G 1920 73 Three Row
2 Marcus Metal Ends 625 31 G/D 2012 73 Three Row
3 Crabb Metal ends 18225 40 C/G 1968 73.5 Three Row
4 Jones Rosewood 28064 30 A/E 1907 76 Three Row
5 Lachenal Rosewood 1367631 30 C/G 1895 77 Three Row
6 Lachenal Mahogany 147351 26 C/G 1896 78 Three Row
7 Lachenal Metal ends 178079 32 C/G 1907? 78 Three Row
8 Crabb Mahogany veneer 9231 20 C/G 1936 69 Two row
9 Lachenal Rosewood 152421 20 C/G 1898 73.5 Two row
10 Lachenal Mahogany 149366 20 Bb?F 1896 74 Two row
11 Lachenal Rosewood 76332 20 A/E 1883 74 Two row
12 Lachenal Mahogany 167878 24 C/G 1899 74 Two row
13 Lachenal Mahogany 121869 20 G/D 1891 75 Two row
14 Lachenal Rosewood 40338 22 D/A 1875 75 Two row
15 Lachenal Mahogany 18273 24 C/G 1872 75 Two row

 

 

 

 

 

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If you mean the third button on the accidental row, my octagonal instruments are 76mm.  The button I have trouble reaching is the last button on the accidental row both sides as my little finger is shorter by a lot.  The RHS is of more consequence as it has a reverse second octave A.  I have thought, if I ever make myself another instrument I may bring that button preternaturally closer. 
 

I have 30mm handrests on my own instruments and I usually fit 25 mms.  
 

If anyone has an instrument they love except for being unable to reach the accidental row easily, it is possible with most instruments to modify the rest so it is closer to the buttons by sanding the rest so it leans forward, or by making a wedge to sit under the rest to lean it forward.  Sanding the rest itself effectively lowers it so an extra wedge is a better solution.  It is also a good idea to drill new holes in different locations through the end as the old holes are now on the wrong angle.  If you do not glue the wedge on it will all be very reversible.  

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5 hours ago, Chris Ghent said:

If you mean the third button on the accidental row, my octagonal instruments are 76mm.  The button I have trouble reaching is the last button on the accidental row both sides as my little finger is shorter by a lot.  The RHS is of more consequence as it has a reverse second octave A.  I have thought, if I ever make myself another instrument I may bring that button preternaturally closer. 
 

I have 30mm handrests on my own instruments and I usually fit 25 mms.  
 

If anyone has an instrument they love except for being unable to reach the accidental row easily, it is possible with most instruments to modify the rest so it is closer to the buttons by sanding the rest so it leans forward, or by making a wedge to sit under the rest to lean it forward.  Sanding the rest itself effectively lowers it so an extra wedge is a better solution.  It is also a good idea to drill new holes in different locations through the end as the old holes are now on the wrong angle.  If you do not glue the wedge on it will all be very reversible.  

One of the Anglos that was built to my order has what would be the last top button on the right-hand end moved to the innermost row for that very reason. I have been meaning to post the layout and I may get round to it eventually.

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A few more for anyone interested in these comparisons.Measured from the same points that Mike used.

C Jeffries- metal ends- 31 bone buttons-Bb/F- 1890-73mm

C Jeffries- metal ends- 31 metal buttons -C/G-1890 -74.7mm

G Jones- Rosewood ends- 34 metal buttons -C/G-1890- 75.6mm

Nickolds- metal ends -30 bone buttons-C/G- 1890 -75.5mm

Wheatstone Linota- metal ends -36 metal buttons-C/G -1917 -73.8mm

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On 7/20/2024 at 3:51 PM, Richard Mellish said:

One of the Anglos that was built to my order has what would be the last top button on the right-hand end moved to the innermost row for that very reason. I have been meaning to post the layout and I may get round to it eventually.

Richard, thanks for that thought, it would be easily done.  I have a reversal of the high c#/bf button on the last button g row but I have never used it so wouldn’t miss it. I’ll keep the last button accidental row the same for the moment and have two instances of push A.
 

Off to the shed!

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