Boosey & Hawkes Elizabethan Vibraphone For Sale (Job#1599)


Here is another vibraphone that I have for sale, but a different beast completely.  Whereas the Premier 751 is practically immaculate, this vibe needs some TLC.

As you will have seen from the video, there are a few issues to be resolved, the main one being the pedal mechanism. If it were my instrument I would just make a new frame with a whole new pedal system. “Just” says the man who does this for a living!

The note beds were rebuilt a few years ago.  The horrible paint was stripped off to reveal the lovely English Oak beneath which I then varnished.  Instruments just aren’t made with this timber anymore, probably due to its rarity and cost.  Basically we should blame the landed gentry for whom us plebeians have been working for in penury for centuries, they stripped our beautiful country of all its majestic trees and were too tight, lazy or ignorant to have the foresight to plant some replacements.  Nothing changes.  So from that perspective, this instrument is a valuable rarity.

It is a while ago now, so my memory of what I actually did is vague, but I think that I had to do some modifications to the high end to hold the motor more securely or make is removable, or something along those lines. Whilst mentioning the motor, I won’t do any work to that, it would be condemned, so I strongly advise that is not be used.

What I really like are the note cord tensioners. So easy to use and very effective.  Also the little plates to protect the wood from the cord are a really nice feature seen on a lot of these old instruments.  The bushes that the fan shafts rotate through are also nice, being made in two halves for ease of access and with an oiling hole that can be seen in the photo below.

At the time I rebuilt the note bed I also did some work to the damping mechanism, but really it requires new components made or replaced which was outside of my remit.  My feelings are that the mechanism is a bit too complicated and certainly the spring is too powerful.

Along with all of the above work the notes were also tuned to bring it up to current pitch.  The range is not standard which may or may not be is an issue, but the quality of the bars is great and tonality is great having that vintage sound.

I guess I made my feelings clear in the video about my dislike of these vintage frames. However they are really well made just not very practical for modern use and like all instruments from this era, they were built for dwarfs. But just look below to see how small everything packs up!

If you are interested in buying this instrument please send me an email and we can discuss the next stage.

4 comments on “Boosey & Hawkes Elizabethan Vibraphone For Sale (Job#1599)

  1. George Crowe

    Hi Paul, I am rebuilding a Hawkes Elizabethan Vibraphone for a winter project in Norwich where I live. This instrument unlike yours has complete keys down to F. So, I assume it is preceded by the model that you have for sale and that Boosey separated from Hawkes some time before my model was made? I plan to modify my motor to 12 volts and would appreciate any advice for sourcing those small but special materials for acoustically insulating and holding the keys correctly and final tuning.

  2. andy anderson

    I have received a gift from a friend —a Vibraphone Ajax—–made in England—Boosey & Hawkes with a Carrard 6C induction motor ac current—-also made in England. The motor does not work but everything seems to be order. Is this a very old instrument of any value? I would appreciate hearing from you. Most interesting video ,of your assembling a new instrument. Have a nice day. Andy

    • pauljefferies

      Hi Andy,

      It is very difficult to give a value on vintage vibraphones without inspecting the instrument in detail. There is always interest in vibraphones in any condition, however musicians generally require everything to be operational.



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