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Age Of Lange Bandoneon

Bandoneon

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#1 David Colpitts

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 10:21 AM

I have just purchased a beautiful (probably quite) old Bandoneon and am trying to learn more.

It is about 55 buttons, and is (from the inside) "#1865" from F Lange, formerly Uhlig, in Chemnitz. It has the coolest veneer with fine metal wire inlay design and "art nouveau" looking hardware all in great shape. I took it apart this morning to dust/clean, and it is quite tidy inside, save some curling valve leathers. The bellows are tight, and the papers affixed are a beautiful blue with gold stars/accents. It has musty smell, but not nearly as bad as some old accordions I have known, and it has penciled in it the name of the firm in Milwaukee that I've read repaired lots of these types of devices. I am not with the box now, but I think it was "Forster" or similar name.

Any clues about age? I don't care now about value, since it was cheap and I want to play it. I can get two octaves in one key with pretty easy action, and can make not much sense of all the other buttons. I sounds sweet, but who knows what key? It seems like a flat A, but I haven't spent time with a tuner to try to pin it down. It does sound in tune with itself, so fun to play, at least solo.

Any suggestions to proceed?

Thanks, and regards,

David

#2 Jim Besser

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 01:11 PM

I have just purchased a beautiful (probably quite) old Bandoneon and am trying to learn more.

It is about 55 buttons, and is (from the inside) "#1865" from F Lange, formerly Uhlig, in Chemnitz. It has the coolest veneer with fine metal wire inlay design and "art nouveau" looking hardware all in great shape. I took it apart this morning to dust/clean, and it is quite tidy inside, save some curling valve leathers. The bellows are tight, and the papers affixed are a beautiful blue with gold stars/accents. It has musty smell, but not nearly as bad as some old accordions I have known, and it has penciled in it the name of the firm in Milwaukee that I've read repaired lots of these types of devices. I am not with the box now, but I think it was "Forster" or similar name.

Any clues about age? I don't care now about value, since it was cheap and I want to play it. I can get two octaves in one key with pretty easy action, and can make not much sense of all the other buttons. I sounds sweet, but who knows what key? It seems like a flat A, but I haven't spent time with a tuner to try to pin it down. It does sound in tune with itself, so fun to play, at least solo.

Any suggestions to proceed?

Thanks, and regards,

David

 

 

Sounds familiar!   :)



#3 David Colpitts

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 01:55 PM

Yes, indeed, Jim....Do you happen to know any more about it? I am quite happy it isn't trashed inside, and the busted button it came with is an easy repair job. And most importantly, to me, I spent about 20 minutes noodling and got the rest of the two octave "main" range, so my session mates better beware! Not quite like a standard anglo, but most of one is hidden in there. So, maybe some valves, and probably no tuning. Just whatever it was, until I get to know it better. I am imagining it is well before 1900 vintage, but need more work to find out.

Thanks, and regards,

David

Edited by David Colpitts, 27 September 2017 - 02:09 PM.


#4 Jim Besser

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 02:59 PM

Yes, indeed, Jim....Do you happen to know any more about it? I am quite happy it isn't trashed inside, and the busted button it came with is an easy repair job. And most importantly, to me, I spent about 20 minutes noodling and got the rest of the two octave "main" range, so my session mates better beware! Not quite like a standard anglo, but most of one is hidden in there. So, maybe some valves, and probably no tuning. Just whatever it was, until I get to know it better. I am imagining it is well before 1900 vintage, but need more work to find out.

Thanks, and regards,

David

 

No, no real information. A friend bought it about 30 years ago, intending to learn to play it, but he never did. Gave it me to find a new home.



#5 Chris Ghent

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 10:10 PM

If anyone wants a Lange Bandoneon I am selling one on behalf of the wife of a friend who died last year. I suspect it is of the sort known as a Chemnitzer, as that is where they were made. He also had two regular bandoneons, an Arnold and a Gem Deluxe, both of which are much bigger.

#6 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 02:18 PM

David,

The keys of the three central rows - which are so reminiscent of the Anglo - should be G, A and E. At least, they are on mine, which Harry Geuns dated to about 1900 - 1910. And the middle row sounds like "a flat A" because it's probably in the old German concert pitch of A=435Hz, like mine is.

 

The Bandoneon is great for an Anglo player - you can play a lot of your Anglo repertoire on the A and E rows, and you can explore the cross-row possibilities of G/A, which may surprise you. And you can explore the surrounding buttons at leisure, and find out neat things, like entire octaves in one bellows direction, or lots of alternate fingerings to match chords to melodies.

 

And then you've got that powerful, mellow sound!

 

Have fun!

 

Cheers,

John



#7 David Colpitts

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 07:24 PM

Thanks, John. That makes me feel like I spent my money well, if only for the "powerful, mellow sound." It is unique, as my wife will attest. And the tuning makes sense; so it is actually right about where it started, more than a century ago. I will try to redo some of the leathers (valves, mostly, but a pad or two for the "phantom" note that plays when it shouldn't) and it is just very cool, all 'round. I have seen you mention yours in old threads; do you play it regularly?

Regards,

David

#8 Stephen Selby

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 10:15 PM

I have one too by E. L Arnold. The main production of these instruments was 1925 -1935. There was a later surge of production for the South America market; but it doesn't sound as if you have one of those. Mine was also in A (the standard for the instrument) but had been 'accidentally' tuned to G. So I have a great G/D instrument.

 

Because of the size of the instrument, it doesn't work well with Anglo-German concertina technique, although the button placements are similar at the centre. I suggest that you quickly change to fingering whole phrases on the pull or push. I seems difficult at first but it's worth the effort. The materials from Peter M Haas (www.petermhaas.de) works for your instrument. 







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