I took the Anglo over to Hobgoblin last Friday to show it to Neil. He was very
He did think the d2 drone was too low in pitch; I tend to agree with this - it
is a lovely growly sound but it won't carry very well. Is it possible to
change this easily to reeds an octave higher?
He particularly liked the look and action of the instrument as well as its
sound. A small point but he also liked the delrin buttons.
Neil did say he would be getting in touch with you.
I have been trying to assess the sound. It certainly doesn't sound the same as
my Dipper but I can't honestly say I prefer one to the other - they are just
different. I do think, however, that it sounds better than my Norman (also a
G/D). There is a lot of snobbery, at least in this country, regarding
concertina reeds versus accordion reeds. I believe you have tweaked the reeds
to sound good in their own right.
Could you email me a valuation of the Anglo for insurance purposes please.
I am now beginning to think about a C/G twin for the D/G - possibly an
identical instrument but with amboyna ends. What do you think?
I thought you might be interested in comments made about my Tedrow Concertina at the recent five-day Noel Hill session held just south of Portland, Oregon. In addition I’m going to include some thoughts and interpretations of my own. I tend to be wordy and run long, but I hope that in the body of this you’ll find something of interest.
To refresh your memory, I recently purchased it (delivered the first part of July) and I believe you said it was #57 in your line of production. It is a six-sided 30 button C/G Anglo design constructed with mahogany ends attached with black cap screws, and utilizing black bellows including black papers (with a slight hint of gold).
In the course of the week, Noel tried all the concertinas and both he and the students made comments, not as a part of a structured session but rather an informal almost spontaneous comparison between concertinas present. In addition, several of the students tried one another’s concertina on a casual basis during the course of the week. Often this occurred in the setting of a practice session with only two or three people present.
There were about 22 students at the session and several concertina makers represented, ranging from Wheatstone, Jefferies and Dipper to Stagi. At least one fellow had a concertina that I understood to be a "Marcus" copy of the Jefferies that Noel was playing, and at least one other Jefferies was present as well as at least one Dipper. On the other end, there were multiple Herrington and Edgley concertinas present, as well as a few ‘Button Box’ Morse instruments. Noel tended to do comparisons between similar price range concertinas, trying a Marcus copy beside his own, rather than comparing a Jefferies to a Morse.
I thought it interesting that Noel commented he had to be cautious with some of the inexpensive concertinas, and even some of the old ones because in his playing he sometimes stabbed the keys so violently when doing triplets that he’d "pull the lever right off the pad" after just a few minutes of playing.
Now, getting down to the substance of my e-mail:
I appeared to have the only Tedrow Concertina at this gathering.
Three people commented to me that they’d recently seen one or more of your concertina’s ‘on-tour.’ A couple of them said that one among a group of their friends received a ‘tour’ concertina and then other interested individuals went over to the recipient’s house to look at it and try it out. Of the three people that commented they’d seen and tried one of your ‘tour’ concertinas, each said (individually and at separate times over the course of the week) that they liked the look of mine much more. My impression is that they found the ‘tour’ concertina they’d seen and tried to be too brightly colored/decorated for their tastes. I think perhaps people playing the Irish style like the very plain simple understated look. By the way, several people commented that they really liked the look of the black cap screws on my concertina, and also that they liked the subtle look of the gold in the black bellows papers.
Among my instructional group (beginners in the Irish style) there were two Edgley and a Herrington concertinas, as well a Morse instrument. I believe there was also one Marcus concertina. With the exception of the Marcus, all had been purchased within the last year so were essentially new. The holder of the Morse concertina didn’t comment, but both the Edgley and Herrington owners said they like the sound and general tone of my Tedrow concertina better than their own.
It was a bit difficult to assess Noel’s reaction to my Tedrow, he didn’t make any direct comment as to like or dislike, but after trying my concertina for a couple of minutes he looked closely at the bellows and then studied the endplate (you may have a different name for this part, but I’m referring to the outer end where all the buttons are located). He made the comment that "it is very open on the end, I think perhaps the tone might be improved if the size of the opening were reduced." Noel also noted that the bellows on my Tedrow had considerable expansion available and that they moved very easily. The Edgley owners in my group both noted that their bellows were quite stiff and much harder to work while the bellows on my Tedrow were ‘effortless.’
Finally, I might mention that I tried a Morse concertina as well as one of the Edgleys. I liked the Morse in that it was very lightweight, the buttons had a very soft touch and were flatter (less rounded) on the top than the buttons on mine. It also had a nice tone and played with very little bellows pressure. Although I didn’t exercise it to the limits of its abilities, I had the impression that it did not have the range of volume and quality of tone that my Tedrow has. I had considered a Morse concertina before I purchased from you. One thing that I’d counted against it when looking at their website was that it seemed to have a fairly strong red/plastic-like appearance. I was pleased to see that the color of the unit was much softer than I’d thought. I was unmoved by the Edgley concertina, and took no special note of it. While I would have enjoyed the opportunity to explore the Morse concertina for several minutes longer than I did, after trying the Edgley concertina for just a minute I was more than willing to return it to its owner.
Overall, I can’t say that my Tedrow got much exposure to the more experienced players in that once we were divided into working groups, our cross group contact was somewhat limited. Still, it was all people from the experienced group that commented they’d seen the ‘tour’ concertinas and like mine much better. While the fellow with the Marcus didn’t comment, both the Edgley and Herrington owners liked my Tedrow better than their own, and I didn’t take Noels comment on reducing the size of the end openings to be negative, rather I thought it was just an observation on possible improvement.
I’m still very pleased with my purchase of a Tedrow concertina and I’m confident that I wouldn’t have been as happy with a Morse, Edgley or Herrington. My comment regarding the buttons comes from the fact that I was spending about nine hours a day practicing while in Oregon and the tip of my left index finger eventually became quite sore and then numb. It’s still somewhat numb (four days after the school ended). As to the cause, aside from the obvious amount of time I spent with the instrument, I think it was a combination of the shorter button movement (I recently converted from a Stagi where the buttons fully depressed), the more rounded (sharper in a sense) button tops on my Tedrow and likely the biggest factor, poor technique on my part. I think I tended to balance too much of the bellows pressure on the fingertips of my left hand when playing while closing the bellows.
It wouldn’t be right to close this without commenting on the ‘school.’ Noel is a fantastic player, a good instructor and a very nice fellow. He’s also very unassuming, and forgiving (at least with his beginner’s group). The setting in Oregon is relaxed, Noel is very accessible and approachable and I’m going to sign up for the class with him next year as well.
Thanks for your time, and I hope you’ve found my comments to be of interest.
Sorry for the delay. Both exhausted and busy since I arrived home.
Here's my reaction to your new concertina. It's unfortunately not as
detailed as I think it should be, since aside from competing with others
to try it out, I was busy meeting lots of new people during an evening
that was much shorter than I would have wished. E.g., we never did open
the instrument while I was there, so I can't comment on details of
Appearance: Beautiful and elegant, though I'm not sure everyone would
choose those colors. Is it available in other woods or bellows colors?
Sound: I liked the sound, but I can't go into much detail. I didn't
really try to compare it in detail with other instruments' sound, in part
because there was pretty constant background noise from other instruments.
(I think there were at least a dozen people in one room, and more
instruments.) Also, I don't consider any particular sound to be superior
to all others, though I may prefer the sound of particular instruments for
particular pieces. (E.g., I prefer my tortoise-shell Aeola to my ebony
one for playing Bach.) I found the sound to be good for all of Irish
(straight melody), Morris (with chords), and song accompaniment.
Feel: Here's where I had some trouble. I felt that the action and
the response were a bit sluggish. This surprised me, since others were
commenting on how fast the action and response were. So I tried to go
into more detail: When I was playing individual notes it seemed quite
fast, but when I tried to play tunes and arrangements it felt sluggish.
I thought, "Maybe it's me?" So I tried a little harder to figure out
was wrong. I found that I was uncomfortable with the feel of the buttons.
I think they're of larger diameter than most instruments, yes? (I really
should have done a comparative measurement. My fault for rushing.)
Unlike Göran Rahm, I find this to be a negative factor. I want space
*between* my buttons. But I may be in the minority on this, at least
among anglo players (I think more English players agree with me). So take
it for what it's worth, in the context of others' opinions.
My general impression is quite positive, and I wouldn't mind owning one...
except that I already have Jeffries, Lachenal, Jones, and Ceili, and I
don't anticipate buying another in the near future.
Best regards, J
Hi Bob. Please excuse me for not replying sooner. My wife had me painting
the rec room.
I was thrilled to get the instrument. Your workmanship seemed to me to be
quite good indeed, especially the bellows. I was particularly impressed by
the rounded corners on the folds. I've tried (am trying) to make bellows
myself, and so I noticed with interest and awe their tightness.
Overall, the most surprising thing for me was how LOUD your machine was!
Easily it was half again as loud as my Lachenal (wooden-ended). I found I
was able to modulate the volume easily with a little practice. The delrin
buttons were really nice looking, too. I think I prefer flat-ended buttons,
and would probably request those on a concertina if I had you make one for
me--I found my fingers slipping off quite a bit. I suppose one would get
used to that, too, in time. But I liked particularly the black color with
the black of the bellows.
I never did open the ends up to take a gander at the insides--I tried, but
the bellows seemed stuck to the ends, and I didn't want to hurt it by
forcing the issue. I did notice the action, however, which I found to be
particularly quick and sharp. Do you have to fabricate those arms yourself?
I thought the action was first-rate indeed--my Lachenal's action doesn't
even compare. I SHOULD really change my springs, but even so, yours was much
I was surprised as well at how close the sound of the reeds was to the
"honk" of concertina reeds. It doesn't sound exactly the same, but
pretty darn close. I think you've done a fabulous job. The concertina world
is lucky to have you interested in making instruments of this caliber.
Thanks again for the chance to review this instrument. I wish I could have
kept it longer! But if I had, perhaps letting it go would have been even
First, I really want to thank Bob Tedrow and Homewood music for the opportunity to inspect and place a wonderful instrument.
I found the fit and finish to be superior to the Ceili. It appears that solid woods are used rather that plywood. This does make it heavier, but much more durable. I found it much heavier than the Ceili. I didn’t weigh either one. (A certain Swedish player may find fault with the accuracy of this). I think it is about the same weight as the Suttner I had the chance to play once. I don’t think that I ever noticed the weight difference when I was paying it though. Either I was "getting into" the tunes or when it’s resting on your knee, it doesn’t matter.
Button travel or button throw? The distance the button moves from closed to fully open. This is only an eyeball estimate but the Ceili is about 3/16" (5mm) and the Tedrow about 1/8"(3mm).
I don’t know if this affects the playability or speed. I sure didn’t notice it.
I have heard that the Ceili is one of the fastest actions around. I don’t think I can reach the maximum speed of either instrument. But I could play either one flat out as fast as I could and was not limited by the tina.
I have the optional C#/C# button on my Ceili, and if I ever wondered if I would miss not having it, the answer is YES. Because of the Irish style that I play, I use the C# in both directions all the time. The Tedrow came to me as a "stock" unit. So when I played in D maj. I had to be careful to push only on the C#. That slowed my playing somewhat, but that was my fault not the tina’s.
Spring tension is heavier in the Tedrow. I think this gives a good positive feel to the buttons. I think this gives a better seal to the bellows. This box is really airtight. Bob says it takes over four minutes to drop to fully open. My Ceili is about thirty seconds. An unfair comparison I know. I do have to day that I am not at all "easy" on my instrument. It is played hard and in places where the air is not exactly clear. This will certainly loosen up any instrument.
The bellows…I can’t tell you how many compliments I received about the bellows and the fancy papers. I’m thinking about retro fitting them on mine.
The bellows, when fully stretched, are about1 ½" longer than the Ceili. Just an another detail that doesn’t really affect anything, because the Tedrow is so tight that you never see the fully opened bellows. The bellows on the Ceili seem to have a padded or thicker look at the ends where they join the wood. I think that looks nicer. I also noticed that Bob’s bellows have the seam on the bottom on the flat portion. The Ceili hides the seam on a corner and it is virtually undetectable.
The Tedrow uses hex head screws to hold the ends on instead of the traditional brass screws.
I think it looks cool, is more durable.
The two screws that are adjacent to the thumbs protrude just enough to rub on the base of my thumbs. If they were countersunk that would eliminate that minor complaint. The tone is a little lower (only measured by my wife’s ear). I find it very pleasant and a bit lower tonally, although I checked both instruments on a digital tuner and they were identically tuned at A=440. The notes are crisp and even the low notes are without any fuzziness.
I had a ball with this thing, and other than the screws and the C# button, Man, I wish I had one!
I believe I have given a fair evaluation and hope that the rest of the tour goes as well as my three days did. I’m sure that everyone appreciates the risks that Bob is taking in trusting over 50 strangers with something as dear to him as this must be. Please keep the tour going.
I would not hesitate in recommending a Homewood Concertina to anyone.
The next stop on the tour is Redlands California, so just before I box it up I think I’ll give it the ol’ "Off to California" hornpipe.
19 June, 2003
I've enjoyed trying out the Tedrow #54, so much so that I will be acquiring
my very own.
First impression - What a case! Industrial strength! After opening I see a real sharp
looking 'tina. Upon picking it up, I just noted how "right" it feels in your hands.
It is a little heavier than my Morse Ceili, but the little added weight gives it a feeling of
substantialness. It just seems to feel right.
Squeezing a couple of time, with just air, it feels "right" in this regard too.
Air valve open, you get a lot of air, shut and it is air tight. Really precise. The
bellows and airtightness impress me. The buttons are what I'm used to, no problems
there. Nice action, even heights.
It sounds a bit "lighter" than the Morse, not quite as honky. (Morse has no fabric
I took it to a session of fiddlers
I have really enjoyed having the opportunity to play the concertina. I
have put 8 hours in playing on the concertina over this holiday weekend.
It has a very sweet mellow voice that is much to my liking. The buttons
were a little close together but just great in relationship to my short
stubby fingers. I really likes the row angle as it made it easier to
play for me. Your workmanship on the concertina is far better than the
Herrington that I have. Your tina is twice as air tight as my
Herrington. I can feel the notes better through the wooden ends as they
vibrate with the notes resonation. Your bellows allow me to play with
more control, much smoother. The air button is so much more responsive
than the Herrington, 3 times as fast, I would need more time to get used
to this in order to control it when getting air while at the same time
playing the tina. I found with full open air button it gives no air for
the notes, I would need to learn more control of the air button. When at
the fraise getting air did not slow me down, the Herringtons air button
causes me to have a knowticeable brake because it is so slow and noisy.
I really liked the color of the concertina, it is just beautiful. I
would replace the hand straps with thicker leather as I like them that
way. I replaced them on my Herrington as he had cut the leather the
young way to the grain and they would stretch 3/8 on an inch in the
length of the strap. I opened the tina up and looked at it. Your action
is superb, it is tight and very responsive. The Herrington is a Lachenal
hook kind of action and is loose and causes most of the air leaks that
cause his to be so different from yours. If I had been able to try your
Tina and the Herrington side by side yours would have been my choice.
Thank you so much for sending this concertina around for people to try,
your the best. Thank you DCA
The concertina arrived safely yesterday, and I’ve had the opportunity to play it most of the evening. Today, I’m meeting with Kevin Gow and sharing it with him. Monday, there is an impromptu concertina gathering at Kevin’s and I’ll hand it off to Neil then.
Some notes and observations:
First thing I noticed was the high quality fit and finish. It is a beautiful instrument, and I particularly like the fact that the fretwork is solid wood and not veneered. I appreciate that you use threaded inserts in the wood. The bellows is nicely done, color not withstanding.
Upon playing it, I marveled at what a "tight" box it is. My own concertina is an old Lachenal, and a bit wheezy. The action is also very quick and clean. I tend to be a bit heavy handed on actions, and I seem to make every thing I play click and clack, even the high end instruments. Most of the noise I heard from your box came from the left hand, which is par for my playing. The button throw, spring tension, and end radii were all quite comfortable.
If I may be bold enough to suggest some personal preferences:
I would prefer heavier leather for the hand straps. I find that although initially less comfortable, after they "break in" to the shape of the players hands, heavier straps give a more solid and confident grasp of the instrument. I would suggest that the straps could twice the thickness of the current design.
The "upside down" Wheatstone style strap attachment, really needs to be attached from under the thumb plate. That way the corner of the palm block doesn’t gnaw away at your thumb, because you have a full radius leather "sling" for your thumb to ride in. Generally, I like the Wheatstone grip, but done more authentically.
The biggest problem I had was with the button spacing. I have large hands and the spacing was just too close for comfort. As I recall, you constructed this box for your daughter, so presumably the spacing was to accommodate her hand size.
I noticed that other log entries mention difficulty trying to play quietly with the box. This is also not one of my forte’s (pun intended), since I usually am struggling to be heard in a noisy pub session. But to be objective, I did try to play as softly as possible, and noticed that it does take a bit more pressure to sound the reeds than in the higher end, concertina reeded, instruments. My Lachenal is metal ended, and I have always admired the "woody" sound of the rosewood Lachenals, but generally lamented their lack of volume. You certainly seem to have solved that problem!
A couple of last notes on fit and finish:
As I mentioned earlier, the box is beautiful. I did notice however, that changes in humidity, etc. have caused the mating surfaces of the box frame and the grill frame to mismatch slightly. Might I suggest a relief groove, to camouflage the joint? My Lachenal has this and a second hairline grove next to it, to create a "bead" effect. I does make the old box look better than it really fits. I have used the single grove myself to hide the joint in breadboarded table tops with good result.
I also appreciate the Allen head steel screws holding the box together, but I don’t much care for how they protrude from the ogee’d radius of the corner. Perhaps if they were counter bored to about a third of their height they would be less offensive. Or maybe set back more, from the edge radius. Perhaps both?
One last item that would perhaps improve the general impression of the instrument would be if you could manage to polish the ends of the buttons to a high gloss. It’s a small detail, but I think that the quality of the woodwork deserves the attention to the buttons.
Well, there you have it. I hope I haven’t been too critical. I feel rather impertinent criticizing work that I’m unable to do myself. I look forward to playing another one of your concertinas some time. Thank you for the opportunity to try this one on for size (literally).
If you would like to send a box to the Noel Hill Irish Concertina School west campus, class starts Monday, August 11. I would need the box by the preceding Saturday.
At 03:37 PM 6/28/03 -0400, you wrote:
I sent the concertina along to Connecticut yesterday. I was impressed by
the instrument. The action is very quick. It is certainly plenty fast
enough for Irish music. The bellows are tight and the papers nice
looking. I found the the instrument was very loud. It has lots of
volune. There should be no problem being heard. I also found the sound
mellow as nice combination with volume. I did not seem to be too piercing
but very powerful. I think that this could be a very good concertina for
singing. I have already recomended the Tedrow brand to a player who is
looking for a moderately priced instrument. I think that it is superior
to the Morse instruments.
It measured up favorably to the Dipper's that I have owned for some time.
Althought the Dipper's are more present that the Tedrow. I think the
Dipper's are the best concertinas ever made, but yours is not very far
behind. It sounded most similar to a Lachenal New Model that I play a
lot. The Tedrow's action is far surerior however.
I found some negatives. The ends did not look completely finished. I
thinf that the filagree work should be cut much more exactly. It also
needs to be filed and finished more carefully. The bellows seam is tight
but unsightly. The buttons were loud. They made an annoying clicking
sound. Some of the other musicians I played with noticed this sound. I
perfer metal buttons but I guess that you will provide these upon request.
Over all I like the instrument. I think that with a little more atteition
to detail you can create a concertina that compares with the best now
Thanks for the great opportunity to try your concertina. I’ve left a more general summary in the log.
Presently, I play a several-years old Suttner C/G metal-ended Jeffries copy. I play mostly Irish, and have been to Noel Hill’s concertina school for three years. I am, however, more known locally as a flute player. I also am presently trying to learn to play a 1938 Wheatstone 72-button MacCann duet which is proving to be a difficult endeavor. All this greatly influences my preference in the sound and performance of an instrument.
First things first – when I saw the case, I thought this had to be the SUV of all concertinas. Luckily, it wasn’t. Is this your standard case or was it due to frequent shipping? Seems a bit overkill.
Excellent. The whole box is very tight. The design and cutting of the fretwork are done very well. As Tom Scott pointed out, the seam between the endplate and the reedpan older in other concertinas is disguised by an etched design (I don’t know how to say this in woodworking terms).
First CT I’ve seen in mid- to high- price range where seam in bellows is visible. Esthetically, this bothers me as this is what I consider the high end of moderately-priced concertinas.
Red is not my color. Along with green motif papers, this specific concertina makes me think of Scandinavian accordion players at Christmas time. Color, luckily, would be options to buyers.
Hex screws on end plates is a good idea. I’d like to see them countersunk more so they don’t protrude.
I like the idea of the long strap adjustment screws, but I like the traditional location of the screws on top of the concertina. Can’t have it both ways, though. I didn’t have problems with the other screws rubbing on the thumbs some of the others seemed to have. The straps were not as substantial as what I’m used to. I don’t have an opinion on them other than their long-term durability.
I really missed having a double C#, something easily changed as an option.
Performance & Sound–
The action was very fast and precise due to shorter throw on buttons. See comparative chart below. I like the action as well as on my Suttner.
Good sound despite accordion reeds. Closest concertina sound than other brands I’ve tried. The accordion timbre bothers me greatly when playing with another (traditionally-made) concertina since the difference in timbre was greatly exaggerated. Otherwise, the sound doesn’t tend to bother me.
The reeds seemed to respond more slowly than what I’m used to. It was like the difference between a trumpet and a French horn. It seems to take more time to get the air started through the reed. Interestingly, Laura (the spouse) said that she could visually see the bellows move, then the sound come later. I find that hard to believe, but then again, she’s my wife.
The sound is surprising loud, especially considering this being wooden-ended. The concertina was somewhat difficult to play at a moderately loud level. It was quite difficult to play at a low level due to the amount of air needed to get the reeds going. For me, this point is very, very important. While the ability to play loud is good, the concertina has a much sweeter, pleasing sound when played moderately soft. Airs are much more expressive when volume is varied from the very softest.
Additionally, there was some valve buzz in the lowest Gs and C, something I believe is easily remedied.
The sound (volume) is very even between sides. This is rare in concertinas. My MacCann has baffles installed in the left side to even out the sound.
Button layout appears small due to relatively wider buttons. This makes it easier to hit the buttons – great for playing staccato where I lift the fingers away from the buttons and hit them with rapid short strokes. It’s difficult to use two or three fingers in rapid succession on the same button since there’s less room between buttons. The relatively wider buttons gave Tom Scott great difficulty since his fingers are, shall we say, massive?
I did a comparative "hang" test playing an A to see how long it took each concertina to stop sounding, but I realized that this was an unfair test. The Suttner is a much heavier instrument.
Overall, I like the instrument. I certainly would have a different button layout. It’s a good, fast concertina for general playing. I would not use one as my main instrument as the timbre is not specifically my preference. This may be psychological since I didn’t mind the sound when playing the instrument alone. As mentioned before, it greatly disturbed my ear when two concertinas were playing together and the difference in timbres was exaggerated. Also, the inability to play softly easily limits certain aspects of my style of playing. I would certainly recommend this instrument for beginners and intermediates.
On this chart, I left everything in 64ths of an inch so it would be easy to visually compare everything.
2 lb 12 oz
3 lb 3 oz
2 lb 6 oz
3rd row distance, rt
2 – 39/64 inches
2 – 42/64 inches
2 – 48/64 inches
C-row distance, rt
2 – 39/64 inches
2 – 50/64 inches
2 – 48/64 inches
G-row distance, rt
2 – 39/64 inches
2 – 44/64 inches
2 – 50/64 inches
6 – 12/64 inches
6 – 4/64 inches
6 – 8/64 inches
5 – 6/64 inches
5 – 38/64 inches
5 – 48/64 inches
13 – 48/64 inches
14 – 0/64 inches
11 – 0/64 inches
I also have been able to spend a little time with your concertina. Executive Summary -- This is all the concertina most people will ever need. The reeds respond quickly. Not, perhaps, as quick as the Jeffries, but I am not convinced that it may just be that I am used to the Jeffries and not quite as familiar with the Tedrow. Sound-wise it seems to me that the middle notes, say G/A (left first finger C row) to A/G (right first finger G row) are the most clear and responsive. This is the "meat of the order" (baseball term) so this is a good thing. It is plenty loud enough for playing in a group, although I haven't done that. The only downside is that the keys are a little noisy. Looks-wise it is great! Like I said, this is really all the concertina most folks would ever need. Myself included. Yes, if you do an A/B comparison with the Jeffries, you can hear and feel the differences. But that is not really fair. We are talking 3-4 times the price for a Jeffries, right? Good job, Bob. I remember when we talked years ago about building a reasonably priced domestic concertina. You did it! Congrats.