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 Post subject: EMG Mark Xb ('Export') serial 657 in Australia - new member
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 3:33 am 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2015 7:00 am
Posts: 35
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Well after 47 years of being accompanied through my life by a very large gramophone - presented to me by my then girlfriend on the occasion of my 21st birthday, I have now got curious and identified it as an EMG Mark Xb ('Export' model). It looks good and plays beautifully and may be viewed at http://metastudies.net/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=OtherObjects.1932EMGGramophone. Considering my earlier view that it was an interesting curiosity, compared to my current understanding of its rarity and importance, it is remarkable how well it has managed to preserve itself as it has moved with me from the parental home through student digs and across state borders to its current place at my home in Melbourne.

In support of the identification the machine is a dead double of the same model shown on page 71 of "The EMG Story" by Francis James. It has a Collaro D30 motor, suggesting (I am told) that it is an early Xb - perhaps then from 1932. Indeed it is possible that it is the machine referred to by Francis James (on page 57) which after many years as "Queen of the Ballroom" at the Imperial Hotel in Torquay made its way to Australia, its sound quality impeded by a teddy bear found stuffed down its horn. But there is no sign of a teddy bear in my machine, if it ever was there!

One oddity is that the diaphragm of the EMG 4 spring soundbox which seems to be the original is constructed of mica, rather than the more common aluminium. Why that should be so (unless the owner wanted it to play the older acoustic records) is unclear to me. The needle holder is circular and it seems for steel needles - not fibre ones, which may or may not be surprising. Certainly I would welcome any information I can get on this rather wonderful and imposing gramophone which I have suddenly noticed taking up an unusual amount of space in the corner of my living room.

All help gratefully received!

Image


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 Post subject: Re: EMG Mark Xb ('Export') serial 657 in Australia - new mem
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 6:15 am 
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Victor I
Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:28 pm
Posts: 152
Location: Scotland
Any chance of an introduction to your then girlfriend?


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 Post subject: Re: EMG Mark Xb ('Export') serial 657 in Australia - new mem
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 6:34 am 
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Victor V
His epigrams are all his own, the man's an epigramophone!
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:21 pm
Posts: 2712
Location: The Somerset Levels, UK.
neilmack wrote:
Any chance of an introduction to your then girlfriend?


Seconded, and welcome to the Forum!

I shall be visiting Frank James later this week and will see what he has to say about your machine, so watch this space......

Roger.


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 Post subject: Re: EMG Mark Xb ('Export') serial 657 in Australia - new mem
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 8:22 am 
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Victor III
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Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:57 am
Posts: 598
Location: Hampshire, England.
A warm welcome to the TMF ! What a wonderful way to start a Sunday with the “discovery” of a really splendid Xb EMG is such perfect condition---very many thanks for posting details.

I am sure, by now, you will have seen the many discussions on this forum in relation to EMG/Expert gramophones. Your example has particularly wonderful and appealing finishing paperwork in addition to a fine case---a real credit to you and former owners. As you say, a surprising survivor through the vicissitudes of life. Superb and well done.

I think it may well be pretty rare and I have only seen one other which was sold at Bonhams a few years ago. Its hyper-rare (unique ?) bigger brother is owned by Ian Maxted and can be seen here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J80jNyNS004

This video shows the Oversize Export horn which, with a final bell mouth diameter of 33 ½ inches, is 4 inches larger than your own. The effect of this is to increase bass response from say 100Hz to approximately 75 Hz. There are thought to be only about a dozen original Oversize instruments left on the planet apart from a few examples with new horns which incorporate other original parts.

As far as dating is concerned, the whole area is rather uncertain but you may find the following link will throw a little light on the subject:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=15383

Your case has the lateral strengthening gussets on the lid to arrest incipient outward-bending inclinations experienced on earlier cases which had pegs to try to achieve a similar result. You also have the later single side hinges, as opposed to the earlier single full width piano hinge.

Your questions regarding the soundbox are interesting and it is certainly extremely unusual to find the use of a mica diaphragm in such a late soundbox. Similarly, in general terms, a circular needle holder was long since superceded by the early nineteen-thirties in my experience---the majority had triangular holes enabling the use of all types of needles---steel, bamboo or thorn. Maybe you have a hybrid (factory or subsequent enthusiast ?) for the reasons you suggest and it would be fascinating to compare the sound generated by yours and an aluminium equivalent. Perhaps you have already done this ?

Your musings as to provenance prompt a story of my own Expert Senior which was found by the previous owner over 50 years ago in a Wigan (Lancashire) junk shop, bought for £5 and transported home in the back of an open two-seater sports car !

In any event, you are the owner of one of the most highly regarded acoustic gramophones ever constructed and have clearly demonstrated you are absolutely the right man to possess such a thing.

Many congratulations !


Last edited by emgcr on Sun Aug 30, 2015 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: EMG Mark Xb ('Export') serial 657 in Australia - new mem
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 8:45 am 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2015 7:00 am
Posts: 35
Location: Melbourne, Australia
What a wonderful welcome to the TMF!! Thanks to you all for your kind remarks and for sharing my pleasure at the identification of what I have come to understand (in an amateur way) to be a rare and very wonderful device. As for my former girlfriend, I think she may be less forthcoming with such things this time round 8-) but I am sure she will appreciate the thought!!!

I have not yet tried the machine with an aluminium diaphragm, being much too scared to tackle the diaphragm which the soundbox houses. What I have in mind is to see if I can get hold of a Meltrope 3 (as suggested by Chunny with whom I have been lucky enough to correspond and who I now realise is a frequent correspondent here), or of course a 'spare' 4 spring EMG (but I think I would face stiff competition in the search and bidding for that should it surface!).

Well thanks again. I am delighted to get such expert feedback so blindingly fast. And I am delighted by the suggestion that this will be drawn to the attention of Francis James, whose book I have found so interesting and informative. I certainly look forward to any feedback he feels motivated to give.

Warm good wishes to you all. It has been a delight to hear from you, and I feel very welcomed and happy to be part of the TMF community!


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 Post subject: Re: EMG Mark Xb ('Export') serial 657 in Australia - new mem
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 11:06 am 
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Victor IV
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:40 pm
Posts: 1587
Location: Holy Loch in Argyll and Bute
Welcome aboard!

It's great to see another EMG rarity appear any day. Thanks for posting the details of your machine.

I think you'll soon discover that there are quite a few of us here who know Frank James personally and as well as being the world's authority on EMG machines, he's also a real gentleman and good friend.

Is Frank a member here? I thought he was at one point? Maybe Roger might persuade him to (re)join us if he hasn't already.

I have an Expert Senior (Special pedestal model) which I bought from Frank 8 years ago.

We hopefully look forward to seeing and hearing more from you.


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 Post subject: Re: EMG Mark Xb ('Export') serial 657 in Australia - new mem
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 11:58 am 
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Victor III
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Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:57 am
Posts: 598
Location: Hampshire, England.
Yes indeed, Frank is the world expert and it would be a very good thing if he were to be enticed onto this forum.

Here are photos of the only other "Export" horns I have in my files. The first shows a Mk IX horn on a Mk X base, the second appears to be a Xa (thin knuckle), the third a Xb (thick knuckle), the fourth and fifth a resurrection of a Mk IX horn but again on a Mk X base and the sixth another Xb. It is not really possible to be certain whether either of the Xbs are Oversize or not just from the photos.


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 Post subject: Re: EMG Mark Xb ('Export') serial 657 in Australia - new mem
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 12:40 pm 
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Victor IV
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:40 pm
Posts: 1587
Location: Holy Loch in Argyll and Bute
Many thanks for the wonderful pictures, Graham. I thought I'd probably seen it all until my eyes spotted a Mark 9 Export horn. Whatever next?! You wouldn't think a Mark 9 horn was significantly large enough to justify being made in two separate halves for transportation. That must be a serious rarity.


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 Post subject: Re: EMG Mark Xb ('Export') serial 657 in Australia - new mem
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:47 pm 
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Victor III
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Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:57 am
Posts: 598
Location: Hampshire, England.
Yes Steve, I agree. I am a little suspicious about the Mk IXs being totally original "Export" items. I cannot quite remember the stories surrounding the photos except to say that, in both cases, much reconstruction has taken place. It is just possible that the original horns may have been in such a parlous state that the "Export" design became the rebuilding solution !


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 Post subject: Re: EMG Mark Xb ('Export') serial 657 in Australia - new mem
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 6:03 pm 
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Victor III
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Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:57 am
Posts: 598
Location: Hampshire, England.
Hello Jim and I hope you will forgive the familiarity ? I too am approaching three score years and ten !

I have been looking at your EMG in greater detail and wonder if it might, in fact, be a Xa ? Here is a link to EMG horn sizes:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=13525

We have usually (but not exclusively) found that horns with a thin "knuckle" (join) half way up the casting are Xa---ie like yours. I am wondering if I could ask you to measure the final horn diameter both vertically and horizontally to confirm please ? The purpose of the double measurement is because there may inevitably be some element of distortion over the years and the average of the two distances will probably establish the original size. You will see from the link that the Mk Xb measures 29 ½" whereas the Xa is 28 ⅝".

It would also be particularly helpful to have close-up photos of the deckboard and the outside of the case. There are certain details which can be helpful in dating.

Many thanks, Graham.


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