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Purchased this English Concertia and Thoughts


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#1 StephenTx

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 09:25 AM

I originally posted this under General discussion but now Im thinking I should have posted it here....being a newbie I am reposting here.
you to you all. I am a new member although I have been visiting the site a great deal over the past couple of months and have learned a great deal from all of you. From what I learned here YouTube, Ebay and Google searches I decided to get an English 48 key Concertina primarily to use ultimately as accompaniment for myself a tenor. I am 65 and have always wanted a concertina. My family tree history said that a Great great grandfather played the Concertina in Italy. So hopefully it is in my genes> ;-)
I won the bid this week on an English 48 key Lachenal Concertina Serial #14450. It looked to be in reasonable condition and the seller, an antique dealer in London selling for a friend said all of the keys worked and the bellows looked good. From the information I found on this site based on the serial # it was manufactured in the 1860's. I was told it was owned by a gentleman whose Great Uncle use to play it in a Salvation Army band outside of the Pubs in London. I am working on getting more history on it. So I bidded never dreaming I would win it as I could not afford the thousand plus dollars I have seen others go for. But lord and behold I did win it for $580.00. I realize she will need some restoration but I figured this was a great deal for the concertina. I am sure I will alway keep here and once I have learned to play well she will come back to life albeit doing something quite different than playing outside of pubs. I am a tenor and will primarily sing folk, musical and classical opera music. Can anyone tell me if she is a tenor, treble or baritone? I would be very interested in any thoughts you might all have.

Now knowing this Grand ole lady will need some fixing up I want to get another that would be in the correct range for me singing wise (???tenor or baritone) to learn how to play with. I have been communicating with a gentleman who has a Stagi for $370 picture also attached. He says the lowest know is C. From looking would any of you be able to tell me whether it is a tenor etc.

Thank you all so much I really have valued your wisdom and will be making a donation to the site. My email address is stephenknoll@yahoo.co I live in Tyler Texas.
Stephen Knoll

Attached Thumbnails

  • stagi-concertina.jpg
  • With Picture of keys.jpg
  • KEYS WITH SERIAL 14450.jpg
  • BELLOWS.jpg
  • Concertina H Solomon & Com. London Lachenal.jpg


#2 Theo

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 09:47 AM

Your Lachenal is a treble as shown by the note names marked on the buttons going down to G below middle C on the left side. If the Stagi goes down to C then it probably goes lower than the Lachenal down to the C an octave below middle C, though it is just about possible that it is middle C. Are you confident your information about the Stagi is correct?

#3 spindizzy

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 10:13 AM

I originally posted this under General discussion but now Im thinking I should have posted it here....being a newbie I am reposting here.
you to you all. I am a new member although I have been visiting the site a great deal over the past couple of months and have learned a great deal from all of you. From what I learned here YouTube, Ebay and Google searches I decided to get an English 48 key Concertina primarily to use ultimately as accompaniment for myself a tenor. I am 65 and have always wanted a concertina. My family tree history said that a Great great grandfather played the Concertina in Italy. So hopefully it is in my genes> ;-)
I won the bid this week on an English 48 key Lachenal Concertina Serial #14450. It looked to be in reasonable condition and the seller, an antique dealer in London selling for a friend said all of the keys worked and the bellows looked good. From the information I found on this site based on the serial # it was manufactured in the 1860's. I was told it was owned by a gentleman whose Great Uncle use to play it in a Salvation Army band outside of the Pubs in London. I am working on getting more history on it. So I bidded never dreaming I would win it as I could not afford the thousand plus dollars I have seen others go for. But lord and behold I did win it for $580.00. I realize she will need some restoration but I figured this was a great deal for the concertina. I am sure I will alway keep here and once I have learned to play well she will come back to life albeit doing something quite different than playing outside of pubs. I am a tenor and will primarily sing folk, musical and classical opera music. Can anyone tell me if she is a tenor, treble or baritone? I would be very interested in any thoughts you might all have.


She's a treble, a "student model" with a bottom note G below middle C (you can see it marked on the lowest button on the LHS).
These models have the C's in red and the white and black notes as for a piano keyboard, ie the black buttons are your accidentals, so the black button next to the red C will be a C#. I started on a concertina very like this and found the colours helpful right at the start (it doesn't take long at all though to find your way round and learn the notes by position and not by looking at your hands!)
From the dating charts this is more likey to be 1870s than 60s (there is a different numbering scheme for the English - you may have read the column for the Anglo system ones. At this date it's likely that your concertina has brass reeds rather than steel which may make it quieter creature.

Now knowing this Grand ole lady will need some fixing up I want to get another that would be in the correct range for me singing wise (???tenor or baritone) to learn how to play with. I have been communicating with a gentleman who has a Stagi for $370 picture also attached. He says the lowest know is C. From looking would any of you be able to tell me whether it is a tenor etc.


On the outside, I can see that the thumb straps have been replaced with some non-standard bits of leather, and the pinkie rests need recovering - both quite simple DIY operations ... it's the inside that usually needs the professional TLC, and you won't know what is needed until you can open it up or at least push the buttons and find out what comes out. At least you realise that you may need to put in some work and/or money.

I don't know what range the Stagi is, it seems to have the standard 48 buttons, so if the lowest note is really C it may be a tenor. Is there a model number on it anywhere, or perhaps the mewsurements of the size would help. I haven't seen any Stagi's to compare for size, but I'm sure someone here can help.

Chris

Edited by spindizzy, 21 July 2011 - 11:45 AM.


#4 chris

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 10:44 AM

Hi
you say that it was played by someone in the Salvation Army - this may mean that it is not in 'standard' tuning. The Salvation Army tended to have their instruments tuned to Bb rather than C- as in brass bands. If you're lucky- someone may have had it tuned to concert pitch - if not it wouldn't be a problem for accompanying voice - only if you wanted to play with a concert tuned instrument.

It is not essential that you have a 'tenor' concertina because you are tenor vocally.

It may be useful for you to obtain a copy of 'The Concertina Maintenance Manual' by Dave Elliott - very good for understanding the innards of your concertina.

Have a look at www.concertina.com for history on Lachenal - Stephen Chambers has a couple of papers on Lachenal
most important - have fun
chris

#5 StephenTx

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 12:03 PM

Hi
you say that it was played by someone in the Salvation Army - this may mean that it is not in 'standard' tuning. The Salvation Army tended to have their instruments tuned to Bb rather than C- as in brass bands. If you're lucky- someone may have had it tuned to concert pitch - if not it wouldn't be a problem for accompanying voice - only if you wanted to play with a concert tuned instrument.

It is not essential that you have a 'tenor' concertina because you are tenor vocally.

It may be useful for you to obtain a copy of 'The Concertina Maintenance Manual' by Dave Elliott - very good for understanding the innards of your concertina.

Have a look at www.concertina.com for history on Lachenal - Stephen Chambers has a couple of papers on Lachenal
most important - have fun
chris

da
Thank you this is so helpful. Your comment regarding it not being essential for me to have a tenor in-so-far as me being a tenor. I really like the sound of the baritone concertinas as they seem less strident or are more of a full sound. Would this be suited to a tenor? What about playing music with a baritone ...isnt most of the music written in the treble cleft? Your advice is greatly appreciated. thank you too for the reference information. Oh, I have another question...how many folds in the bellows should I really be looking for? Thank you Stephen

#6 chris

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 02:10 AM

Hi
A Baritone concertina is tuned an octave below a treble. The fingering is the same and the position of the buttons in relation to thumb straps and finger plates is generally similar. I think the Tenor concertina may be slightly different - I haven't got a 'Tenor' concertina myself so comment by a 'Tenor' owner may be useful.

You can play 'tunes' on a Baritone - however the note response is often a bit slower than a Treble-unless you pay lots of money for a good 'steel reeded one. Brass reeded Baritones are great for singing with but can be slow.

Baritones often have more folds than Trebles -they need a bit more air than Trebles to move the lower pitched reeds.

The number of bellows folds will affect how you phrase your music - but 4 folds can be adequate - it's all down to phrasing
chris

#7 John Wild

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 07:58 PM

I think the Tenor concertina may be slightly different - I haven't got a 'Tenor' concertina myself so comment by a 'Tenor' owner may be useful.
chris


The tenor-treble has the range of the treble plus an extra half-octave at the lower end of the range, i.e. down to the C below middle C.
this is a 56-button instrument. sometimes these are known as tenor instruments without the combination treble.

However, I have a 48-button tenor instrument. This has the same extra notes at the lower end of the range as the tenor-treble, but loses an equivalent number of notes at the top end of the range.

Each row has one extra note at the lower end. You have to identify a different starting point, e.g. middle C is the second button on its row, compared to the first button on a treble. However, once you identify the different starting point, the finger pattern is the same as the treble.

regards

John

Edited by John Wild, 22 July 2011 - 07:59 PM.


#8 apprenticeOF

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 01:28 PM

Congratulations on the Solomon. I have a somewhat later one (sold by Dawkins) with wood baffles and brass reeds (most likely in yours).

Opinions about concertinas vary by skill levels and tastes, but I really like this type of concertina despite its limitations/advantages. Bear in mind I am fairly new to concertinas. These have a quiet mellow sound that I find is really nice for moody/bluesy songs (500 miles, Amazing Grace, Over the Rainbow etc.). The quiet sound is also nice for practice when you prefer not to disturb the neighbors. Faster music can be played on this type (although with comparable difficulty) but I find for faster/brighter tunes that a steel reeded instrument is more responsive/much brighter. Even though I caught "the disease" and have other concertinas to play (beware the disease) I still play the "Dawkins" the most.

The bellows on mine fell apart and I built a 6 fold bellows. I don't recommend building your own bellows. Anyway, it does benefit from the additional air available from a 6 fold bellows - especially for a new player like me (I'm sure the expert players could happily play a 4 fold). David Leese sells them at a reasonable price.

If you want to get another concertina - be sure to get a steel reeded one (assuming yours is brass reeds). I bought one with accordion reeds and for me, that was a mistake. It gathers dust (and loses value) in the corner while I play the brass reed Dawkins and a later Lachenal steel reed. Both needed repair when I purchased them - be patient and wait for repairs on a vintage (I know - it's hard). The vintage instruments DO hold their value (if looked after and PROPERLY). Thus you don't need or necessarily want a top flite instrument, a Lachenal is good starting point. I find that my wife's Wheatstone Aeola (repaired/tuned/voiced by Concertina Connection) tends to overpower my limited skills. The steel reeded Lachenal I play is, however not a base model - it has bushed keys (that does make a difference). Bear in mind that repairs can be expensive, so even though they go for more money you might want to hold out until a restored one is in your price range. Having a steel reed plus the Solomon will give you options to explore and if you stick to vintage you can change your mind.

By the way, I find David Elliott's "The Concertina Maintenance Manual" to be a good purchase. It has been very useful and kept me out of trouble.

#9 StephenTx

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 09:02 PM

Congratulations on the Solomon. I have a somewhat later one (sold by Dawkins) with wood baffles and brass reeds (most likely in yours).

Opinions about concertinas vary by skill levels and tastes, but I really like this type of concertina despite its limitations/advantages. Bear in mind I am fairly new to concertinas. These have a quiet mellow sound that I find is really nice for moody/bluesy songs (500 miles, Amazing Grace, Over the Rainbow etc.). The quiet sound is also nice for practice when you prefer not to disturb the neighbors. Faster music can be played on this type (although with comparable difficulty) but I find for faster/brighter tunes that a steel reeded instrument is more responsive/much brighter. Even though I caught "the disease" and have other concertinas to play (beware the disease) I still play the "Dawkins" the most.

The bellows on mine fell apart and I built a 6 fold bellows. I don't recommend building your own bellows. Anyway, it does benefit from the additional air available from a 6 fold bellows - especially for a new player like me (I'm sure the expert players could happily play a 4 fold). David Leese sells them at a reasonable price.

If you want to get another concertina - be sure to get a steel reeded one (assuming yours is brass reeds). I bought one with accordion reeds and for me, that was a mistake. It gathers dust (and loses value) in the corner while I play the brass reed Dawkins and a later Lachenal steel reed. Both needed repair when I purchased them - be patient and wait for repairs on a vintage (I know - it's hard). The vintage instruments DO hold their value (if looked after and PROPERLY). Thus you don't need or necessarily want a top flite instrument, a Lachenal is good starting point. I find that my wife's Wheatstone Aeola (repaired/tuned/voiced by Concertina Connection) tends to overpower my limited skills. The steel reeded Lachenal I play is, however not a base model - it has bushed keys (that does make a difference). Bear in mind that repairs can be expensive, so even though they go for more money you might want to hold out until a restored one is in your price range. Having a steel reed plus the Solomon will give you options to explore and if you stick to vintage you can change your mind.

By the way, I find David Elliott's "The Concertina Maintenance Manual" to be a good purchase. It has been very useful and kept me out of trouble.

Why do you say congratulations on the “Solomon” ---where does the name Solomon for this concertina originate from. I am really happy to hear you say positive thing about it ….and I am looking forward to getting it. I think I have caught the “disease” early as in addition to the treble I wanted a baritone as I liked the richness of the sound. After much searching, as I was not able to afford a vintage at this point (I am sure I will sometime down the road), I purchase a new Stagi Baritone from the Button Box here in the United States. They do a complete check and tuning etc.and from what I have read from others takes care of some of the problems seen with the Stagi. So I am set and now just awaiting them may decide to increase my folds on the Solomon as you referred to her.
Honestly, I am not sure if the Lachneal is a brass or steel reed and I am sort of assuming the Stagi Baritone will be steel….but hey like I said I do not know for sure.

Thank you for your time and advice…I look forward to hearing more from you …and will bet “The Concertina Maintenance Manual”

#10 apprenticeOF

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 11:42 AM


Congratulations on the Solomon. I have a somewhat later one (sold by Dawkins) with wood baffles and brass reeds (most likely in yours).

Opinions about concertinas vary by skill levels and tastes, but I really like this type of concertina despite its limitations/advantages. Bear in mind I am fairly new to concertinas. These have a quiet mellow sound that I find is really nice for moody/bluesy songs (500 miles, Amazing Grace, Over the Rainbow etc.). The quiet sound is also nice for practice when you prefer not to disturb the neighbors. Faster music can be played on this type (although with comparable difficulty) but I find for faster/brighter tunes that a steel reeded instrument is more responsive/much brighter. Even though I caught "the disease" and have other concertinas to play (beware the disease) I still play the "Dawkins" the most.

The bellows on mine fell apart and I built a 6 fold bellows. I don't recommend building your own bellows. Anyway, it does benefit from the additional air available from a 6 fold bellows - especially for a new player like me (I'm sure the expert players could happily play a 4 fold). David Leese sells them at a reasonable price.

If you want to get another concertina - be sure to get a steel reeded one (assuming yours is brass reeds). I bought one with accordion reeds and for me, that was a mistake. It gathers dust (and loses value) in the corner while I play the brass reed Dawkins and a later Lachenal steel reed. Both needed repair when I purchased them - be patient and wait for repairs on a vintage (I know - it's hard). The vintage instruments DO hold their value (if looked after and PROPERLY). Thus you don't need or necessarily want a top flite instrument, a Lachenal is good starting point. I find that my wife's Wheatstone Aeola (repaired/tuned/voiced by Concertina Connection) tends to overpower my limited skills. The steel reeded Lachenal I play is, however not a base model - it has bushed keys (that does make a difference). Bear in mind that repairs can be expensive, so even though they go for more money you might want to hold out until a restored one is in your price range. Having a steel reed plus the Solomon will give you options to explore and if you stick to vintage you can change your mind.

By the way, I find David Elliott's "The Concertina Maintenance Manual" to be a good purchase. It has been very useful and kept me out of trouble.

Why do you say congratulations on the “Solomon” ---where does the name Solomon for this concertina originate from. I am really happy to hear you say positive thing about it ….and I am looking forward to getting it. I think I have caught the “disease” early as in addition to the treble I wanted a baritone as I liked the richness of the sound. After much searching, as I was not able to afford a vintage at this point (I am sure I will sometime down the road), I purchase a new Stagi Baritone from the Button Box here in the United States. They do a complete check and tuning etc.and from what I have read from others takes care of some of the problems seen with the Stagi. So I am set and now just awaiting them may decide to increase my folds on the Solomon as you referred to her.
Honestly, I am not sure if the Lachneal is a brass or steel reed and I am sort of assuming the Stagi Baritone will be steel….but hey like I said I do not know for sure.

Thank you for your time and advice…I look forward to hearing more from you …and will bet “The Concertina Maintenance Manual”


"Solomon" comes from the label. H. Solomon & Co. were among the many dealers who rebadged concertinas from others for sale. At least they were a little more honest than "Thomas Dawkins Manufacturer" - which is how mine was labeled (underneath that label was a Lachenal label). It is an interesting little bit of the history of these instruments. Sorry if it threw you off, but it just seems natural to me to give an instrument you like a nickname, I refer to mine as "The Dawkins". (eccentric?)

I would suggest that you don't automatically replace the bellows. I only replaced mine as they crumbled to dust when I tried to repair them. Yours appear to be in better condition, and could be repairable. If they are repairable, then in my opinion it would be preferable to keep the instrument as original as possible, especially when considering it is 150 years old. As I noted before an expert player would likely not get as much benefit from the additional air. Plus in my case the reeds and shoes were badly corroded (green with significant salt deposits) and I did my own reed work which may or may not have an impact on the responsiveness (it isn't bad, but I plan to revisit next winter). So you may wish to wait on the bellows decision until you have played it for a while.

#11 StephenTx

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 09:03 PM



Congratulations on the Solomon. I have a somewhat later one (sold by Dawkins) with wood baffles and brass reeds (most likely in yours).

Opinions about concertinas vary by skill levels and tastes, but I really like this type of concertina despite its limitations/advantages. Bear in mind I am fairly new to concertinas. These have a quiet mellow sound that I find is really nice for moody/bluesy songs (500 miles, Amazing Grace, Over the Rainbow etc.). The quiet sound is also nice for practice when you prefer not to disturb the neighbors. Faster music can be played on this type (although with comparable difficulty) but I find for faster/brighter tunes that a steel reeded instrument is more responsive/much brighter. Even though I caught "the disease" and have other concertinas to play (beware the disease) I still play the "Dawkins" the most.

The bellows on mine fell apart and I built a 6 fold bellows. I don't recommend building your own bellows. Anyway, it does benefit from the additional air available from a 6 fold bellows - especially for a new player like me (I'm sure the expert players could happily play a 4 fold). David Leese sells them at a reasonable price.

If you want to get another concertina - be sure to get a steel reeded one (assuming yours is brass reeds). I bought one with accordion reeds and for me, that was a mistake. It gathers dust (and loses value) in the corner while I play the brass reed Dawkins and a later Lachenal steel reed. Both needed repair when I purchased them - be patient and wait for repairs on a vintage (I know - it's hard). The vintage instruments DO hold their value (if looked after and PROPERLY). Thus you don't need or necessarily want a top flite instrument, a Lachenal is good starting point. I find that my wife's Wheatstone Aeola (repaired/tuned/voiced by Concertina Connection) tends to overpower my limited skills. The steel reeded Lachenal I play is, however not a base model - it has bushed keys (that does make a difference). Bear in mind that repairs can be expensive, so even though they go for more money you might want to hold out until a restored one is in your price range. Having a steel reed plus the Solomon will give you options to explore and if you stick to vintage you can change your mind.

By the way, I find David Elliott's "The Concertina Maintenance Manual" to be a good purchase. It has been very useful and kept me out of trouble.

Why do you say congratulations on the “Solomon” ---where does the name Solomon for this concertina originate from. I am really happy to hear you say positive thing about it ….and I am looking forward to getting it. I think I have caught the “disease” early as in addition to the treble I wanted a baritone as I liked the richness of the sound. After much searching, as I was not able to afford a vintage at this point (I am sure I will sometime down the road), I purchase a new Stagi Baritone from the Button Box here in the United States. They do a complete check and tuning etc.and from what I have read from others takes care of some of the problems seen with the Stagi. So I am set and now just awaiting them may decide to increase my folds on the Solomon as you referred to her.
Honestly, I am not sure if the Lachneal is a brass or steel reed and I am sort of assuming the Stagi Baritone will be steel….but hey like I said I do not know for sure.

Thank you for your time and advice…I look forward to hearing more from you …and will bet “The Concertina Maintenance Manual”


"Solomon" comes from the label. H. Solomon & Co. were among the many dealers who rebadged concertinas from others for sale. At least they were a little more honest than "Thomas Dawkins Manufacturer" - which is how mine was labeled (underneath that label was a Lachenal label). It is an interesting little bit of the history of these instruments. Sorry if it threw you off, but it just seems natural to me to give an instrument you like a nickname, I refer to mine as "The Dawkins". (eccentric?)

I would suggest that you don't automatically replace the bellows. I only replaced mine as they crumbled to dust when I tried to repair them. Yours appear to be in better condition, and could be repairable. If they are repairable, then in my opinion it would be preferable to keep the instrument as original as possible, especially when considering it is 150 years old. As I noted before an expert player would likely not get as much benefit from the additional air. Plus in my case the reeds and shoes were badly corroded (green with significant salt deposits) and I did my own reed work which may or may not have an impact on the responsiveness (it isn't bad, but I plan to revisit next winter). So you may wish to wait on the bellows decision until you have played it for a while.

You helped me name mine...from now on he is Solomon. He is off being all restored by Greg Jowaisas who has has been wonderful and very helpful. He has given me the same advice as you. He feels every EC player should have a brass reed one for exactly the reasons you mentioned, a steel reed once again for the same reasons and a baritone to be mellow with and sing along.






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