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Are English Concertina buttons supposed to be loose


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#19 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 06:33 AM

Forgive me, but bushing previously unbushed ends is not quite that straightforward. The essential step you have ignored is reaming out the holes to make them big enough!

Perhaps these holes are already big enough?!

#20 malcolmbebb

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 06:35 AM

If there is sufficient clearance under the end plate, and the buttons long enough, there may be scope to use a wooden bushing plate underneath the end plate. The bushes are not then particularly visible. Or, like the Stagi Anglos I've seen, a thick piece of stiff felt.
Both reversible, but seen on metal ended instruments, so maybe not enough clearance on this one. Bushing, without tightening up the button action, will make it harder to get the ends back on without a jig.

Reaming the holes out would immediately void the warranty.

#21 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 06:43 AM

This is IMHO a MILO......

I don't know if anyone here has used this abrieviation or a similar one but they are quite common on other forums I think.

MILO meaning "musical instrument-like object".


If The Button Box is not dealing with Stagi anymore surely that should have been a warning to you Troy ?

I do feel sorry for the problems you are having and perhaps we on this site should be a little more vociferous in advising people that a 'correct' instrument is not a waste of money, even for a begining player, because a good instrument has a value, it is an investment that can be liquidated at any time if needs be.

It should also be remembered that at the period when the classic Concertinas, that some of us are lucky to own, were made, people who could buy one were mostly having to save up for years to afford the purchase. It would have been normal that a person had one really nice thing. These days we have anything and everything and this has been made possible by "mass production, machinery,computer control , sythetic materials etc etc... Even the current crop of very fine concertina makers are needing to keep the prices down by utilising some modern production methods. They need to keep prices down because WE are used to buying everything else at rock bottom ( you can have everything you ever wanted) prices.

Many of us are playing concertinas that are 100 years old, or more, and the quality of the original manufacture was so high that these instruments, with a little care and maintainance are still playing incredibly well and often being pushed to perform proffesionally, to their limits, day in day out.These are musical instruments,tools of the musician...

The MILO are toys and look-a-likes!

End of tirade. Sorry :(

Edited by Geoff Wooff, 27 December 2012 - 08:01 AM.


#22 Don Taylor

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 09:59 AM

Troy:


You can buy the bushing material from Concertina Spares in the UK (link). It would probably be a very fiddly job to bush (is that the correct term?) all of the buttons, but I don't think that it would require any special skills apart from steady hands and an incredible supply of patience. I am sure others will correct me if I am wrong about this.


Don.


Forgive me, but bushing previously unbushed ends is not quite that straightforward. The essential step you have ignored is reaming out the holes to make them big enough!


You are probably right, but I would not recommend 'reaming' out the holes. If the existing holes are not already big enough then I would overdrill using a newly sharpened drill bit. However, I am pretty adept mechanically and have good tools - including a drill press with a micro adjustable holding vice. You could use one of these:Stepped drill bits.

However, I like the suggestion of adding a secondary bushing plate or felt pad inside the ends.

Don.

Edited by bufflehead, 27 December 2012 - 10:14 AM.


#23 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:33 AM

However, I like the suggestion of adding a secondary bushing plate or felt pad inside the ends.

...but this might increase the difficulties getting the buttons back through the (then) two plates up to the bizarrest (every time you'll have to remove one of the end plates subsequently!) considering the common Stagi action, as mentioned above by Theo, I'd guess.

Edited by blue eyed sailor, 27 December 2012 - 11:35 AM.


#24 Troy

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 01:26 PM

Forgive me, but bushing previously unbushed ends is not quite that straightforward. The essential step you have ignored is reaming out the holes to make them big enough!

Perhaps these holes are already big enough?!


This is what I thought of the first time I checked why the buttons are so wobbly. They look as if Stagi designed these buttons to be bushed and then decided to cut down their budget by cutting down on bushing material. When I nudge a couple of buttons completely to one side, there is easily a 1mm gap and maybe more for a thin bushing to fit in. These gaps are especially visible in my YouTube of the right end plate of the concertina.

Troy

#25 Daniel Hersh

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 01:30 PM

This is IMHO a MILO......

I don't know if anyone here has used this abrieviation or a similar one but they are quite common on other forums I think.

MILO meaning "musical instrument-like object".

If The Button Box is not dealing with Stagi anymore surely that should have been a warning to you Troy ?

I do feel sorry for the problems you are having and perhaps we on this site should be a little more vociferous in advising people that a 'correct' instrument is not a waste of money, even for a begining player, because a good instrument has a value, it is an investment that can be liquidated at any time if needs be.

It should also be remembered that at the period when the classic Concertinas, that some of us are lucky to own, were made, people who could buy one were mostly having to save up for years to afford the purchase. It would have been normal that a person had one really nice thing. These days we have anything and everything and this has been made possible by "mass production, machinery,computer control , sythetic materials etc etc... Even the current crop of very fine concertina makers are needing to keep the prices down by utilising some modern production methods. They need to keep prices down because WE are used to buying everything else at rock bottom ( you can have everything you ever wanted) prices.

Many of us are playing concertinas that are 100 years old, or more, and the quality of the original manufacture was so high that these instruments, with a little care and maintainance are still playing incredibly well and often being pushed to perform proffesionally, to their limits, day in day out.These are musical instruments,tools of the musician...

The MILO are toys and look-a-likes!

End of tirade. Sorry :(

Yes, a tirade. I am one of many players here who started quite successfully on a Bastari and played it for several years. I know a number of players who play Bastari or Stagi concertinas now and are reasonably content with them. They are not toys, "IMLOs", or "Concertina-Shaped Objects" (the term that used to be used here by players with your perspective/attitude on this issue) - they are real concertinas, though not great ones. Not everyone is able to raise the funds for a vintage 56-button concertina. Yes, there is a hierarchy of concertina quality that more or less corresponds to a hierarchy of price, but that doesn't mean that the concertinas at the bottom are garbage. There are generic Chinese-made.concertinas that are cheaper and worse than the Stagi/Bastaris, but there are players here (not many, but a few) who have found even those instruments to be satisfactory for a starting player. Geoff, you are entitled to your perspective, but please don't present it as the only valid point of view. Many of us see things differently.

Edited by Daniel Hersh, 27 December 2012 - 01:32 PM.


#26 Theo

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 01:40 PM

[quote name='Troy' timestamp='1356632760' post='142635']
[quote name='blue eyed sailor' timestamp='1356608011' post='142624']
[quote name='david robertson' timestamp='1356605313' post='142623']Forgive me, but bushing previously unbushed ends is not quite that straightforward. The essential step you have ignored is reaming out the holes to make them big enough!
[/quote]
Perhaps these holes are already big enough?!
[/quote]

This is what I thought of the first time I checked why the buttons are so wobbly. They look as if Stagi designed these buttons to be bushed and then decided to cut down their budget by cutting down on bushing material. When I nudge a couple of buttons completely to one side, there is easily a 1mm gap and maybe more for a thin bushing to fit in. These gaps are especially visible in my YouTube of the right end plate of the concertina.

Troy
[/quote]


The thinnest felt I use for bushings is 0.8mm, and you need a small clearance if you don't want tight buttons, so I do think you will still need to enlarge the holes to fit bushings.

[quotename='bufflehead']but I would not recommend 'reaming' out the holes.[/quote]

We'll have to disagree there. A hand held reamer with a very slow taper is a very controllable way of enlarging the holes, avoids the problem of centring a drill to an existing hole, and a sharp hand reamer gives a smoother finish than is possible with a sharp drill. Suitable reamers are not easily available though and can be expensive. I've had good results with a violin/viola size peg reamer.

#27 Troy

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 01:52 PM

If The Button Box is not dealing with Stagi anymore surely that should have been a warning to you Troy ?


Margaret at Stagi said they are discontinuing their Stagi line because of the enhancements they have to do to them are getting to be too much. After the enhancement work has been put in, the Stagis are good enough for beginners and even intermediate amateur players like me. When I was putting my order in through Castiglione Accordions, they promised me the same Stagi enhancements. Heck, they were probably ready to promise me the moon and the stars to get my money. They might have delivered on that promise too, but this I do not know for sure. The reeds do sound in-tune to my ears. And like I pointed out before: the Stagi enhancements done by Button Box does not include bushing the buttons to make them steady/stable (They might be replacing some of them with their own keys, but this I do not know for sure as well <amongst other things>).

I am not a professional musician, though I play a few instruments mainly for personal enjoyment and for family and friends. I never see myself playing the concertina professionally either so I decided not to buy one of the higher end concertinas. It would be a pity to see one of them end up with me and not get enough play time they deserve. Another reason why I did not get a Wheatstone or Lachenal is that 56-key tenor/treble of these makers are rarely sold (and higher priced as well), and I cannot bring myself to buy a 48-key one because I feel it is too short a range (compared to something with 56 keys or more).

Now that I've said that, I bet you there's going to be a whole bunch of 56-key/64-key EC that will crop out of eBay (just so the dealers can prove me wrong).

Troy

#28 Don Taylor

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 02:08 PM

Theo: When you first mentioned 'reaming' I had visions of someone taking a screwdriver and gouging away at the holes.

On another tack: maybe the springs are not tensioned enough to return/hold the buttons in their resting position?

#29 Troy

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 02:10 PM

This is IMHO a MILO......
The MILO are toys and look-a-likes!
End of tirade. Sorry :(

Yes, a tirade. I am one of many players here who started quite successfully on a Bastari and played it for several years. I know a number of players who play Bastari or Stagi concertinas now and are reasonably content with them. They are not toys, "IMLOs", or "Concertina-Shaped Objects" (the term that used to be used here by players with your perspective/attitude on this issue) - they are real concertinas, though not great ones. Not everyone is able to raise the funds for a vintage 56-button concertina. Yes, there is a hierarchy of concertina quality that more or less corresponds to a hierarchy of price, but that doesn't mean that the concertinas at the bottom are garbage. There are generic Chinese-made.concertinas that are cheaper and worse than the Stagi/Bastaris, but there are players here (not many, but a few) who have found even those instruments to be satisfactory for a starting player. Geoff, you are entitled to your perspective, but please don't present it as the only valid point of view. Many of us see things differently.


I remember when I was a young boy, a little more than 20 years ago, I was able to get my parents to buy me a harmonica. But we were not well-to-do even during those times (my father was a insurance clerk and my mother taught at three different schools to make ends meet), so what I got was a Hero (re-branded Swan) Chinese harmonica. I did not even know at the time that it was a diatonic unisonoric tremolo harmonica, and the note that each hole make - I have to figure out by ear using the piano at my school.

Well, that harmonica, I've dropped a few times, I've submerged in water a few times, and my uncle played it a few times in between cigarette drags (I remember, he was blowing smoke through the harmonica!) And guess what, that harmonica is still alive and well, and it can still play. I brought it with me when we moved to Canada from our old country. A small memento of my childhood.

Troy

#30 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 02:27 PM

Another reason why I did not get a Wheatstone or Lachenal is that 56-key tenor/treble of these makers are rarely sold (and higher priced as well), and I cannot bring myself to buy a 48-key one because I feel it is too short a range (compared to something with 56 keys or more).

Not knowing what kind of music you have in mind for playing your concertina, I am nevertheless somewhat staggered by this "opening" statement. The range of 3 1/2 octaves means quite a lot, and I personally never ran out of space with it.

Sure, I'd like to have a TT (or tenor) as well, because of the surplus of low reeds, just for playing chords. But OTOH, every limitation is challenging in its own way. So why not give a basic treble a try?

#31 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 03:18 PM

OK Daniel, if my tirade was unhelpfull then I am sorry but it remains my opinion that cheap starter instruments are not necessarily an encouragement to beginers. So, let me try to be positive about Troy's problem.

As I recall the Bastari key/lever system it would not be stabilised by adding a 'bushing' to the buttons... unless Stagi have redesigned the action, because there was no lower guide pin on the buttons... so a bushing would cut down on movement and rattle but would not keep the buttons straight ( vertical) at all times because at the button pivot point (on the lever ) it is free to float about with only its rubber collar to suppress this movement.

There is ,on an EC keyboard a far greater need (or posibility) to press a button using a steeply angled finger movement than on an Anglo where the fingers sit ,for the most part, directly over the buttons. This angular touch occurs when playing notes at each end of the EC keyboard and especially when that keyboard is of an extended type (56). I find that I am often pressing buttons at an angle closer to the plane of the ends than the centre line of those buttons... so almost sideways. This happens particularly when playing extended chords, adding a bass line to a melody being played further up the scale or when suddenly needing a note a long way from where the rest of a piece is being played.

What I am trying to say is that the security of perpendicularity of the buttons of an EC keyboard makes a huge difference to the playability.

That the Concertina Connection "cheap starter range" of instruments use a much more sophisticated key/lever set up.. as do the offereings from the Morse range....all speak volumes, as they say.

Edited by Geoff Wooff, 27 December 2012 - 03:25 PM.


#32 d.elliott

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 03:37 PM

Hi Troy,

I tried the photo site but as soon as I looked at the privacy policy it filled my screen with porn, so I guess it's been hacked. So I'm afraid I won't be having any more to do with it.

Cheers,

Malcolm


I am sorry to hear that. I tried to download from the links myself and only got a couple of pop-ups to try some kind of online game, but no porn.
Anyway, I've uploaded the video clips on YouTube, to give you and others an idea of how wobbly the buttons are on my concertina.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=Xaq_A4kPt_8 (left end buttons)
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=czuz9X1-WCQ (right end buttons)

Maybe I'm just over-thinking this? Maybe this kind of wobbliness is ordinary for concertinas?
Let me know if I'm over-reacting to this wobbliness?

Troy


I have looked at these videos, the earlier links were contaminated by pornography.

The amount of play in these buttons is totally unacceptable. This instrument is not 'fit for purpose' and not of 'merchantable quality' using the UK terminology. Send it back, and the sooner the better, certainly get your complaint registered in writing as soon as possible.

If you try to modify the concertina you will invalidate any warranties, and to bush the keyboard you will have to ream the key holes from the inside of the action cover to the bushing diameter, and then countersink the inner face of the action cover to reduce the friction area between the key and the felt.. This is not fiddly but a more than amateur technical operation. I tend to agree with Theo, hand made reeds are not an issue, but playability always is.

Get your money back and buy either the best traditional concertina you can get your hands on or reasonable reproduction concertina like the Morse or equivalent, some second hand ones are around now.

regards

Dave




#33 Daniel Hersh

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 03:52 PM

OK Daniel, if my tirade was unhelpfull then I am sorry but it remains my opinion that cheap starter instruments are not necessarily an encouragement to beginers. So, let me try to be positive about Troy's problem.

As I recall the Bastari key/lever system it would not be stabilised by adding a 'bushing' to the buttons... unless Stagi have redesigned the action, because there was no lower guide pin on the buttons... so a bushing would cut down on movement and rattle but would not keep the buttons straight ( vertical) at all times because at the button pivot point (on the lever ) it is free to float about with only its rubber collar to suppress this movement.

Agreed. Replacing the rubber collar can help quite a bit if the original one has deteriorated. However, this might not be the problem on a new concertina. I believe that Stagi also uses a newer action that avoids the rubber collar, but I haven't seen any of those so I don't know the details.

That the Concertina Connection "cheap starter range" of instruments use a much more sophisticated key/lever set up.. as do the offereings from the Morse range....all speak volumes, as they say.

I agree with that too, and I generally recommend the Concertina Connection starter instruments over a Stagi (especially given the price difference on new instruments) but I know that some players like a Stagi better, and of course the Concertina Connection Jackie and Jack have 30 buttons, not 56.

#34 Troy

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 06:24 PM

Reaming the holes out would immediately void the warranty.


I remember a TV news report warning us Canadians about buying stuff willy-nilly from the USA, a few days before this past Black Friday. They said that some merchandise lose their warranty the moment they cross the US-Canada border. So my Stagi have probably lost its warranty already. I'm going to have to check the papers it came with when I get home tonight.

I just looked around the Castiglione Accordions website. There's nowhere there will you find their return and refund policy, but they do have a small statement there that they have an exchange policy. I also noticed that their Concertina page has been revamped - some Stagi concertina descriptions now have pictures of higher-end concertinas beside them instead of the actual Stagi concertinas being described. I smell something fishy about Castiglione Accordions' selling tactics...

Troy

#35 Theo

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 06:56 PM

Theo: When you first mentioned 'reaming' I had visions of someone taking a screwdriver and gouging away at the holes.


What!!!:angry: . I had to wait till I'd calmed down before composing this reply. Are you really qualified to offer advice on concertina improvement? When I mentioned reaming that is exactly what I meant. Puts your claim of" I am pretty adept mechanically and have good tools" in a fresh perspective.:lol:

#36 Don Taylor

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 07:22 PM

Theo:

I am sorry, I had no intention of insulting you.

Don.

Edited by bufflehead, 27 December 2012 - 07:43 PM.





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