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Dirge

Duet Sizes

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Can anyone EASILY tell me the difference in size between a 71 and an 80 key Maccann aeola? I'm just toying with the idea of going for maximum range (it's the last few bass notes down to bottom C that are seductive) but it's the inevitable trade off of range versus size: I have an idea that the 80s are bigger.

 

And should I be considering an Edeophone?

 

All very conjectural at this stage I repeat; just mulling it over..

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Can anyone EASILY tell me the difference in size between a 71 and an 80 key Maccann aeola? I'm just toying with the idea of going for maximum range (it's the last few bass notes down to bottom C that are seductive) but it's the inevitable trade off of range versus size: I have an idea that the 80s are bigger.

 

And should I be considering an Edeophone?

 

All very conjectural at this stage I repeat; just mulling it over..

 

I play a 67 which is, I think, the same size as the 71 I picked up and played with last weekend at Swaledale.

 

Someone more knowledgeable than me will be able to give you measurements, but in terms of manageability I don't think there's really a great deal of difference. The size difference between that and an 80-ish key box is quite noticeable - they do feel pretty bulky - but it's more the added weight I've noticed when playing the bigger instruments. I don't think it's anything you wouldn't get used to quite quickly though; in fact I passed up an 81 key last year - but not because it was too big or too heavy, it was just too loud! :lol:

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Well I forsook my raised end 61 for this 71; as it's an Aeola it didn't have the 'sticky-out-corners' of yer standard 6-sider so not much bigger; it had alloy reed frames so very little heavier; after a lot of fettling, with more to come, I'm beginning to believe it was a good decision. I like and use the extra range, including the low B on the RH

 

I'm not sure I want those bass notes enough to put up with a larger instrument though. The bulk of the thing when travelling comes into it.

 

(How could it be too loud?)

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but not because it was too big or too heavy, it was just too loud! :lol:

 

I don´t get that - how could the instrument have been too loud?

When I look at mine I notice that it must have (often) been played in a very loud way.

Meaning I can play softly but the instrument seems to like louder playing.

(Although I notice my attempts to being able to play it in a soft way seem to have at least some results now).

 

May that be what you mean?

 

Greetings

Christian

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No, it wasn't so much that - the reeds simply weren't very predictable at lower volumes. Couple that with a stridency of tone that my box doesn't have, and it just wouldn't have been a good instrument for song accompaniment.

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Chris Algar had an alloy framed 81 Aeola last year; was it that one? I didn't even consider it at the time as I was busy with my current one.

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Stuart,

 

The bottom end of double acting big reed instruments are always difficult to set up, so as to make them as responsive as the mid and upper ranges of the instrument. A lot of the problem is in the valves, but this is the easiest aspect to overcome. The reeds, however are what they are, big with corrsponding air demands, particularly to 'start' them.

 

To play 'ppp' on the lower notes needs quite a bit of experience and technique but it is certainly possible to get pretty close.

 

Dave

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In answer to the original question I can only quote sizes of Crabb octagonal Maccann Duets.

 

81 key - 10.75 inches across the flats.

 

72 Key - Normally 9.5 inches across the flats.

 

As all Crabb Duets were commissioned, the former was pretty standard but with the latter, the size varied depending on the range required for each side of an individual instrument.

 

Geoff.

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Ive never come across a Crabb Maccan (not that that proves much). Were many made, Geoff?

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Ive never come across a Crabb Maccan (not that that proves much). Were many made, Geoff?

 

Hi Dirge,

Although specializing in the Crane Duet some small number of Maccann system instruments were made by the Crabb family. I doubt if more that 60 were made but the majority seem to have been ‘special’ and of course Crabb instruments were always less expensive to buy than those of the contemporary makers.

Crabb built Maccann instruments were made in 6,8 or 12 sided versions and, from the plans held, in 46,49, 55,57,59,60,62,63,65,66,67,69,70,72,76,79 and 81 button numbers in 'Base' keys of C, Bb or Eb as required. Usually with raised metal tops, some ebonised flat or raised wood top instruments were produced when requested.

With some arrangement of attachments elsewhere to gain some ‘global space’, here is a picture of a typical Crabb ‘Professional’ Maccann.

 

It is an octagonal 46, base key of C, range down to C each side (not G as in most cases). Raised & plated metal ends and N/S buttons, riveted action, steel tongues in brass reed frames. Radial and sloped reed pans. 8 Fold gilded bellows. Measures 7.25 inches across the flats.

Made in 1948 by my father for my mother, it really is an outstanding instrument having a dynamic and powerful, when required, output due to the fit of the reeds and use of the old ‘unobtainium’ reed steel.

The only drawback to many, maybe, is it’s range and weight although my mother played it for thirty years with no difficulty.

 

Geoff

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I recently aquired a very nice example of a Crabb crane duet - 70 keyed ( it was sold as 69, but there are 70 playing notes including the left thumb). Measures 8.5" across flats so not too big, and has delightful engraved and fretted ends.

 

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Could somebody provide dimensions for the 55 Key McCaan? I've been thinking seriously of upgrading next year (after I get my tax return) to the 55.

Edited by Hooves

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7" across the flats of my rosewood ended Wheatstone, Hooves. It's a nice portable instrument. The bellows cross section seems just right for good leverage too. I can make a hell of a racket with it but it doesn't need to be pumped 19 to the dozen when you've got lots of notes down together.

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7" across the flats of my rosewood ended Wheatstone, Hooves. It's a nice portable instrument. The bellows cross section seems just right for good leverage too. I can make a hell of a racket with it but it doesn't need to be pumped 19 to the dozen when you've got lots of notes down together.

 

 

Ok thanks. Thats actaully a bit larger than I had thought, my 46 is "standard" 6.25" concertina size, but it has no air button and it does look cramped inside. Those extra reeds got to go somewhere.

 

So a 48 key English can be found in the standard 6.25" size, and will sometimes have an air-button as well, yet the McCaan only has 46 buttons and no air hole. I don't know enough about the english to know its range, maybe its overall range is higher thus allowing smaller reeds?

Edited by Hooves

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Remember they don't have the crossover between hands with duplicated reeds that we have. Presumably they have a few more titchy little reeds at the top to make up numbers, so there are fewer middle reeds and more smaller ones, thus gaining some room. Also they are evenly split between each side, not all the big reeds on one end. That probably helps with the packing too.

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Remember they don't have the crossover between hands with duplicated reeds that we have. Presumably they have a few more titchy little reeds at the top to make up numbers, so there are fewer middle reeds and more smaller ones, thus gaining some room. Also they are evenly split between each side, not all the big reeds on one end. That probably helps with the packing too.

 

 

Ah yes, good point, bass on one side. That makes perfect sense, should have thought of that.

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So a 48 key English can be found in the standard 6.25" size, and will sometimes have an air-button as well, yet the McCaan only has 46 buttons and no air hole. I don't know enough about the english to know its range, maybe its overall range is higher thus allowing smaller reeds?

Concertinas can vary in size and weight for many reasons.

 

I have a 48-button Crane Bros. mahogany Crane duet and a 55-button Lachenal New Model "ebony" Crane/Triumph, which are identical in size and weight. But I've had a 55-button Edeophone "ebony" Triumph which was noticeably both larger and heavier. And my 59-button Jeffries metal-ended Crane is larger and heavier still. In fact, with only 4 more buttons, it weighs nearly 60% more than the New Model.

 

Note also that a 55-button duet -- whether it be Maccann or Crane -- has the same lowest note and almost the same number of buttons as a standard 56-button tenor-treble English. I've yet to see one of those in the 6-1/4" size.

 

Remember they don't have the crossover between hands with duplicated reeds that we have. Presumably they have a few more titchy little reeds at the top to make up numbers, so there are fewer middle reeds and more smaller ones, thus gaining some room. Also they are evenly split between each side, not all the big reeds on one end. That probably helps with the packing too.

Well, the English has duplication, but two notes per octave, rather than all in the middle of the range. Also, the duet has the lower/bigger reeds all on one end, but it also has fewer buttons/reeds on that end. On a 55-button duet there are normally 25 buttons in the left hand and 30 in the right.

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I have a ---- 55-button Lachenal New Model "ebony" Crane/Triumph

 

It may be the same model I have. Is it 6.5 inch and does it have raised ends? On mine, the right hand reed pan is very crowded so I guess that is why it had to be slightly larger than a 6.25" concertina size. Maybe related is that many Crane models by Wheatstone have 28 buttons on the right hand side in stead of 30 (missing the highest 2 accidentals), perhaps it all fitted in a 6.25 inch then, but I am not sure, I never had such a wheatstone in my hands.

 

Marien.

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