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Jack, Jackie And Rochelle [and Elise!]


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#1 Pete Dunk

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 01:56 PM

Hereís a new thread dedicated to the troubleshooting, repair and tweaking of the Jack/Jackie/Rochelle/Elise series of concertinas from Concertina Connection. I hope others will make contributions for the benefit of the many owners of these fine starter concertinas.

The first problem I encountered was reeds that were slow to speak. Rather than return the concertina to The Music Room I sought the advice of Concertina Connection via email and received a helpful reply from Wim Wakker a couple of days later. No instructions were given for opening up the concertina so Iíll describe that now for those with no past experience. First of all use a methodical approach, keep things laid out in order and the same way up to avoid confusion when putting it back together, thereís not a lot to dismantle so there shouldnít be a problem. There are only five main sections to this type of concertina Ė the bellows, two action/reed boards and two fretted ends.

Before you start make a list of the notes you need to work on and whether the problem is with push, pull or both. I put a thick towel on the kitchen table to protect the instrument and prevent it from skidding about and put the concertina on end with the top (thumb straps) away from me. Six screws fix the end onto the concertina, these are wood screws that screw into the timber of the bellows frame rather than the more usual end-bolts that screw into brass inserts. The wood screws just nick the edge of the action board on the inside before going into the bellows frame. A no.2 Phillips screwdriver is needed here, donít use a Pozidrive because they donít fit properly and may damage the screw head. If you donít know the difference between the two or think it doesnít matter, stop now, send the concertina to a repairman and buy a tin whistle to keep you amused while itís away. :P

Slacken the six screws, thereís no need to remove them completely, just spin them with your fingers until thereís no resistance then carefully lift the end from the concertina and set it aside. This way all of the screws remain in the same position, it may be a little over cautious but thatís the way I like to work. You are now faced with the action board, a thin piece of plywood with a piece of MDF glued to it. The levers and buttons are mounted on the MDF. What you canít see at this stage is that the reed banks are mounted on the back of this board projecting down into the bellows. Carefully lift the action board straight up away from the bellows, because Iím me I pencilled a small arrow on the top of the action board and a similar mark inside the bellows frame to avoid silly mistakes when reassembling. The first thing youíll notice is that the buttons are much harder to identify now that the end has gone and theyíve flopped all over the place! If only Iíd thought to write Ď2nd row third from leftí instead of ĎAí! The following paragraph is a direct quote from the email.

Locate the aluminium plate that corresponds with the button. Youíll see a steel reed and a foil valve on each plate. The visible steel reed is for Ďpushí, and the reed underneath the valve is for Ďpullí.
You can adjust the gap at the tip of the reed a little to prevent it from choking. If the problem is with the Ďpushí reed, pull the tip of the visible reed up a little (ca. 0.5mm) if it is a Ďpullí reed push the tip (with a small screwdriver) of the reed behind the valve down a little. Repeat until corrected.


The points I would add to this are:

Be careful lifting the Ďfoilí valves, itís a plastic foil and looks as if it may kink easily, lift it, donít fold it back!

The reeds are spring steel and require a little more force than you may think to adjust. Move the reed tip gently and examine the position, if thereís no visible difference repeat using slightly more force and check it again. When you are satisfied that a slight adjustment has been made move on to the next reed, when they have all been adjusted reassemble the concertina and test it. Note any remaining problems and repeat the whole process until all is well.

Be patient!

Do not over-tighten the end-screws, I tighten them with my fingertips on the shank of the screwdriver rather than gripping the handle, no more than a quarter of a turn after all slack has been taken up. Tighten the screws sequentially in diagonal opposites, rather like cylinder head bolts.

My final point is that Iím no expert at this and will be happy if someone with more experience steps in to correct any mistakes Iíve made. :)

edited to include the recently released Elise Hayden Duet to the top of the post (cheers ragtimer!)

Edited by tallship, 27 July 2009 - 12:57 PM.


#2 Pete Dunk

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 06:08 PM

My second problem happened last week, a sticking key on the Jack. It popped back out when I gave it a tap so it wasnít a broken spring. I played on for a few minutes and it stuck again, after that it was sticking more often than not. I took the end off for a look around but there was nothing obvious, the only thing that seemed odd about the key setup was the spring position relative to the lever pivot. Most of the springs were positioned with the coil more or less level with the rivet but this one was set nearer the pad end of the lever and was under more tension at rest than the others. Could this have something to do with it?

I didnít want to interfere with the spring unless I was forced to and it was in the back of my mind that the key was somehow fouling in the hole through the end, perhaps something had moved, the key certainly looked slightly tilted to one side compared to the rest as if the guide hole in the action board wasnít quite in line with end. With this in mind I decide that the tiniest smear of liquid soap around the body of the button wouldnít do any harm and might prove the point if not cure the problem. It made not the slightest bit of difference.

With the end back on I paid close attention to the key height and it seemed to me that perhaps the key in question went in a fraction further when pressed; could it be going in too far and catching the edge of the hole at the back? Perhaps the bushing under the key had become compressed from me being too heavy handed. With no spare bushes to hand I used a paper punch on some stiff card and drilled a hole in the resulting 5mm disc to make a packing piece to go behind the existing bush. I was quite pleased with my ingenuity but sadly that didnít make any difference either so I was on the wrong track again.

There was no point leaving the packing piece in there so the end came off again; I was feeling pretty low by now. I took the key out and was in the middle of removing the card disc when I noticed that the lever was horizontal and the pad well up from the board Ė the pivot was sticking! Several operations of the lever without the button in place proved the point. I grabbed a bit of kitchen towel and twisted one corner to a point, nipped out to the garage and sprayed a tiny amount of WD40 onto the tip; I rubbed the barely damp paper around the pivot and the problem was solved.

I wouldnít normally put WD40 anywhere near wood but it was such a tiny amount that was applied directly to the steel pivot that I canít see it affecting anything. Iím not sure why the problem developed, perhaps there was a little rust caused by poor storage conditions somewhere as it travelled around the world but if thatís the case why did it show up after several weeks of being played? Anyway itís alright now which is the main thing.

Edited to add:
The use of WD40 penetrating oil wasn't a good one, I was lucky to get away with it and would never do that again. If you have seized mechanical parts buy a small bottle of graphite powder from a locksmith or good hardware shop. To get it into tight places mix a small amount with a drop of meths and apply with an artist's paint brush, the meths will carry the graphite into the joint and then evaporate leaving the dry lubricant in place. :)

Edited by tallship, 16 July 2009 - 01:47 PM.


#3 m3838

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 02:29 PM

OK, here's the question:
My Jackie has few notes giving me barely audible "frrrrr" kind of sound, accompanying the note. I think it's 3 or 4 notes.
What would be the problem? Valves, wax?
Also, bellows' pleats show signs of wear. The black plastic shows white creases.
Is there a way to rejuvenile this? It's not worn through, no air leakage. Yet.
I'm about to sell it, but would like to fix it before sending.
I bought it used.
Thanks.

#4 Pete Dunk

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 12:47 PM

I made a small box to allow me to work on the action/reed board without the risk of damage to the components on the other side. I've taken the opportunity to take a few pics of the Jackie's innards including close ups of the action.

tina_box.jpg

The box also provides a safe stand to open the concertina

tina___box.jpg

The action board sits in allowing access to one side or the other without fear of damage

buttons.jpg
reeds.jpg

The action board

action.jpg
rivets_and_buttons.jpg

The reeds

reeds_close.jpg

#5 peelypost

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 10:00 AM

I thought that I would add a little bit here, to help any other Jackie owners.

This was my first time at open-heart surgery on a concertina and so the previous posts here were invaluable (and thanks to Tallship for his fantastic advice!).

First of all, I didn't go to the lengths of making a wooden box for supporting the instrument, but made one from a sturdy cardboard box instead. This seemed to do the job nicely and I think that it is worth the effort.

My problem was that the middle Bb was not sounding on the pull. This is a bit annoying as that means it was the inside reed which needed sorting out. The only access is to gently pull back the valve foils to get access. Following advice from Tallship, I used a couple of bbq bamboo skewers to push the reed to try to increase the gap between the reed and surround. You will notice in the first post in this thread an extract from Wim Wakker stating:

if it is a ‘pull’ reed push the tip (with a small screwdriver) of the reed behind the valve down a little. Repeat until corrected.


I used a small screwdriver at first but this marked the reed; BBQ skewers don't have this problem. Take note of the phrase "Repeat until corrected". It took me about 5 times, opening and re-assembling the instrument to get it right, as I certainly did not want to bend the reed too far. I felt that I had to push on it quite firmly to fix it in the end.

I eventually found that you can do an intermediate test of the reed by placing the wooden end in place on the bellows (without screwing it in place) and pressing the key whilst pulling and pushing. Despite a lot of air leakage, this allows for the reed to be tested.

I also cleaned the reeds on the "push" side using paper (see photo).
Jackie___push_reeds_with_paper_inserted_for_cleaning.JPG

Make sure that the buttons are all basically in line when you put on the end during reassembly and it goes on quite easily ready for re-screwing together.

The only other problem I had was one of the buttons coming off the lever (see photo) and this needed a bit of manipulation to get back in place but was quite easy.
Jackie___out_of_place_button.JPG

So, I now have it all working well again.

Neil.

Edited by peelypost, 10 January 2008 - 10:02 AM.


#6 Pete Dunk

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 04:36 PM

*BUMP!*

Just bringing this back to the top for the benefit of recent posters having a minor spot of bother with a Jackie and a Rochelle.

Add your two penn'orth or five cents worth here. :)

#7 MandolinRefugee

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 10:52 PM

Here's a tip that I figured out recently... Aligning all of those buttons when trying to put the end back on can be a bit frustrating, so I take the whole action board and point the button side to the floor. Gravity does the work to get the buttons straight, and then I can slide the end on lickety split. :) (Don't do this if your buttons tend to fall off, though)

#8 miikae

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 03:52 PM

Salutations to you all , i have been popping in to this forum for a couple of years now and gleening wee bits of info , i have had a Jack for a couple of years now and had only one problem with a pad coming adrift a week ago , a quick fix , i have just aquired a Rochelle from a member on here , had a little problem with one spring (G/F button ) moving/swinging to one side on compression and staying there , a quick adjustment to the spring arm solved this problem .
I also have an 48key Lachenal which i am still in the process of rebuilding slowly i might add , plus a Stagi Anglo 30 key to compare the Rochelle to and guess what the Rochelle i prefere as it fits my hands better due to me having piano player fingers .

Mike

#9 Pete Dunk

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 06:31 PM

Another *Bump*!

#10 ragtimer

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 11:59 AM

Another *Bump*!

Not just a bump, but to get "Elise" into the keyword mix, in case anyone with the Elise Hayden is looking for help. It's the latest addition to the Jackie/Rochelle family.

I haven't opened my Elise up yet, but may soon, to work on some rubbing friciton in the buttons. Other than that, she plays great. --Mike K.

#11 Pete Dunk

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 01:02 PM

Hello Mike,

I've edited the first post in this thread to include the Elise and posted an appeal for a moderator to edit the thread title, thanks for pointing this out. I should have thought of this myself but I guess you have a vested interest eh? :lol:

Pete. :D

#12 Jim Albea

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 04:18 PM

I found the height of the handle to be too low on the Elise. So I added a 1/2" dowel to the top. But that caused another problem. The strap was then unsecured next the the higher handle. So I added a very stylish copper guide to hold the strap snug against the handle.

Here's a link with several photos.

http://www.pbase.com...ncertina_handle

A disassembly tip: put a little bit of tape on the bellows and endcaps so that you can match them up again.

elise_handle.jpg elise_handle2.jpg

Edited by Jim Albea, 28 July 2009 - 04:40 PM.


#13 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 05:44 PM

A disassembly tip: put a little bit of tape on the bellows and endcaps so that you can match them up again.

I got the tip early on never to remove both ends of the concertina from the bellows at the same time!

Cheers,
John

#14 ragtimer

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 10:47 PM

I found the height of the handle to be too low on the Elise. So I added a 1/2" dowel to the top. But that caused another problem. The strap was then unsecured next the the higher handle. So I added a very stylish copper guide to hold the strap snug against the handle.

A disassembly tip: put a little bit of tape on the bellows and endcaps so that you can match them up again.

I think you're on to something there, Jim (not to be confused with being on something :lol: ). As soonas I red your posting, I grabbed my Elise and sure enough, I realized that the loose strap (really needs another hole in it) is really the fact that the handrest bar is too low. I feel that my fingers could reach farther and feel better if more elevated.

I measured my Stagi Hayden bar's height at 25 mm, but the Elise's only 20 or less.

I may try shimming the bar up with a flat piece of MDF underneath it, rather than a half-dowel on top (tho you sure did a neat job there). That would take care of the strap issue too.

Re dis- and re-assembly: I've always been careful not to take both ends off at the same time, and use one end to align the other. But jsut in case, I've made some magic marker marks inside the bellows end and hte end pieces.

Gee, now we have to discus palm bar height options with Bob Tedrow? :o
--Mike K.

#15 Ken_Coles

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 06:50 AM

As soon as I got my Elise I raised the handle with a set of my foam-pipe-insulation pads (article on static side of C.net, see the home page/ergonomics). Most anglo (and duet?) handles are too low for me.

Ken

#16 tzirtzi

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 08:09 AM

Hi all :)

I've been playing my Jackie for a bit under a year now (I also play another EC, a George Case, but am currently on a term-long exchange at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and discovered that I wouldn't be able to insure an antique instrument for travel - so I've only got my Jackie with me). I've had basically no problems with the Jackie until now, and have never had to open it up.

However, a couple of weeks ago the LH F# started to play constantly, and the button became very loose - a broken spring, I assume. I thought I would open it up and check my diagnosis before looking into getting a new spring, but when I tried to open her up, I couldn't manage it. All of the screws holding the end on have become very tight, and one in particular so much so that I haven't been able to turn it at all. It seemed that I was going to wreck the screwhead, screwdriver or both if I kept trying.

Could anyone advise me on what should my next step be?

Thanks,
tzirtzi

#17 Bill N

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 09:13 AM

Hi all :)

Could anyone advise me on what should my next step be?

Thanks,
tzirtzi


I had the same problem when opening my Rochelle. I found the choice of screwdriver was the key. A good quality Philip's head screwdriver with sharply defined edges on the "cross", and a precise fit to the screw did the trick. A sloppy fitting screwdriver just turned without getting traction, and chewed up the screwhead (I had to replace several screws when I reassembled it)

The symptom I was fixing was similar, but was caused by one lever interferring with the one next to it. I gently bent things back in place, and it's been fine since.

Edited by Bill N, 21 October 2009 - 09:18 AM.


#18 tzirtzi

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 09:49 AM

Thanks for the suggestion! I'll go out some point this weekend and see if I can find some better quality screwdrivers.

Edited by tzirtzi, 21 October 2009 - 09:51 AM.





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