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Interesting Jones Anglo

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Anybody here know the history of bird calls and sound effects buttons?

Just that many concertinas -- though hardly the majority -- had them. Things like "baby cry", "bird whistle", "siren", "dog bark"... probably others, too.


I've had a few concertinas with such buttons, myself, both anglos and duets. (I've never seen an English with "novelty" buttons, but that doesn't mean none were ever made.) An interesting -- though hardly earth-shaking -- observation is that every concertina I've ever seen with such novelty buttons had exactly two of them, regardless of what they did. Has anybody seen an instrument with more... or with only one?

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I have a Lachenal with sound effects. One button top left, the other bottom right. On the left is a cry that is only working in one direction. The right is wheezy sort of stuffed animal squeeky noise. Weirdness from another time. How many times are you going to say "Hey, listen to this"? Are you supposed to work it into a goofy stage act? "What's that concertina, you're not feeling well?" "Not that tune?, Oh okay". Does anyone have a belch button? I'm picturing a Salvation Army group making their concertinas cry when passersby don't donate or cheerful whistles when they do.

I sure would like to try out that Jones anyway.


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Aside from the novelty buttons and what is apparently a double drone (what notes, I wonder?), there are a couple of other anomalies:

... The third row in the left hand looks normal, but in the right hand it appears to be offset in the opposite direction from the usual. That plus the double drone makes me wonder if it has an unusual note layout. It's not the layout Jones patented in 1884 (that's 42 buttons, with 3 rows of 7 buttons in each hand), but what might it be?

... The right-hand air button appears to open three separate holes in the action board, while the corresponding chamber in the reed pan has one large hole which appears to be closed on the underside by a spring-loaded, hinged flap. Does it only work on the pull?? (The sellers comment suggests that it works both ways. How?)

... And I wonder what all those little marks are on the under side of the action boards.


Interesting, that's for sure!

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Excellent observations! Your comments plus the superb photos provided by the seller allow us to discuss what are actually some very common features of Jones concertinas.


The offset accidental row on the right side is typical of very many (not all) Jones 3 row anglos.


In fact it is interesting to compare typical 26 and 28 key Lachenal, Jones, and Jeffries anglos.

As you have noted elsewhere, the 26 (or 28) key Lachenal arrangement (typically) has on each side the same 3 (or 4) third-row buttons one would expect to find on a 30 key, with the same notes and in the same positions. The Jones 26 arrangement (often carried through to anglos with 28, 30, and more keys) has the right hand side third row buttons offset, but not the left side. The Jeffries 26 and 28 key instruments tend to have the third row buttons offset on both left and right sides. There are exceptions to these generalizations, especially among Jones' instruments, which show a lot a variations.


Re: your observation about the air (RH thumb) button. In this concertina, as in many (but not all) Jones anglos, the air button is somewhat similar to that found in pre-WWII german 20-keys, where the key pushes down against the surface of a pallet that is sprung upward. In the case of Jones instruments with this type air valve, the pallet is hinged and sprung to the undersurface of the reedpan. The hinge is just a continuation of the leather facing of the wooden pallet. The key itself typically has a metal extension that runs through a hole in the soundboard and (when the instrument is together) pushes down on the middle of the pallet, against the large springs. I think all these components are shown in the photos. The three holes in the soundboard let air in and out of the reedpan chamber that is opened or shut from below. I have to say that while I can always get these working, I think the more typical air button design (found in other London makes and also in some Jones) is less prone to maladjustment.


I think the spots on the underside of the soundboard or pad board (I use the term "action board" to refer to the smaller plate that actually has the action on it) are where the lever posts have gone through before being sanded flush, or where the wood has been compressed when these posts were pressed in.


This 34 key layout with two drones and two novelty keys was a standard Jones type. I have seen quite a few in rosewood and have a lovely metal-top Bb/F in the shop now (#15741) with almost identical layout and construction. The drones are usually tuned C/C and d/d (the ds an octave higher) for a C/G, or Bb/Bb and c/c on the Bb/F. The fretwork and reeds are always very nice on these, but the large size and the button and handrail locations make them somewhat awkward, slow players. This one would probably suit a singer much better than a player of Irish dance music or other fast styles. If still in original pitch and temperament, I would appreciate corresponding with the new owner after the auction to see if some information can be taken from it before it is repitched, as I expect it probably will be. Of course, I may bid on it . :)



Edited by Paul Groff
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