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  1. Just came across this thread… Lots  of great comments!  

    Concertinas are all good so nothing there but I am restoring some old leather cases if I can find the missing latch parts to finish them.  

    Pretty boring stuff but I am practicing the chromatic scale on the EC daily (a New Years resolution) and am working on some classical pieces (Bach and Clementi).

  2. That’s funny, I’m working on an old Salvationist instrument right now with a black painted bellows.  Perfect ends, zero warping and am starting to think that they may be amboyna but the entire instrument has been painted black.  Pleasing God is important and hopefully that was case.  He did give us sunsets, snow capped rocky mountains, stars at night and amboyna to enjoy so I may just have to strip that paint off :)

  3. Bellows conditioning seems to be a very controversial subject…

    Lanolin and shoe polish is my choice for an old unused bellows that is stiff from hardened leather.


    I personally use Connolly Hide Care on the gussets and hinges, etc. inside and out.  I’ll take both ends off and stretch out the bellows and apply it with a small brush or my fingers trying to keep it off the cardboard and paper surfaces as much as possible.  After it has sat for an hour or so, I’ll clean off any excess, put it back together and “play in” the instrument for a week.  If needed, I’ll then do it again.  After all the old leather has softened up, I’ll finish off a solid black or solid green bellows by shoe polishing the outside.  If the bellows has decorative papers, I’ll usually only apply Connolly to the inside to avoid staining.

    i’ve never had a glue joint fail or problem in any way in over 6 years conditioning over 10 bellows, everything from 1852 to 1942 Lachenals and Wheatstones and using them for years afterwards.  I’ve later added patches, etc. with no adhesion problems.


    On the other hand, I’ve seen the damage that occurs to hinges, top runs and especially gussets if the instrument is played with stiff dry old leather that hasn’t been conditioned after sitting for many years.  It’s amazing what Connolly’s will do!  Leather is amazing if taken care of well.


    The other option is just to replace the bellows with a new one but why not rescue the old one if possible and save a lot of time and money.


    Lanolin and shoe polish is my choice.

  4. Thank you for the heads up Robert.  I guess I had better start buying Lotto tickets!  Probably too rich for my blood but put my name on the baritone-bass.  Would this be equivalent to a 56B tenor-treble but one octave lower?  This should cover most or all of my low frequency needs.  I am sure that the worse of what you have exceeds the best of my humble collection and would love them all but I have to live with and be thankful for what has come to me over the years.  I would love to get your entire collection but I’m trying to keep things as simple as possible and again be thankful for what I have and concentrate on being a musician first.  I do need a baritone or baritone-bass, that’s all for now. Thanks again.  Keep me posted.

  5. Baritone Treble English wanted to buy.


    Please help.  I promise to love and play your unused baritone treble if you are willing to part with it.


    I am searching for a model 14 56 button baritone treble English concertina. Low G to High G. I would also consider a mod 15 (62B Low G to high C) or a model 16 (64B Low F to high C).  Prefer wooden ends but would consider metal.


    I am also very open to a 56 button extended downward baritone-bass (one octave below a tenor treble) but understand that these are quite rare.  


    I would first prefer a top period 31xxx Wheatstone Aeola but beggars can’t be choosers so will consider any instrument in any restorable condition.  Prefer tuning to be A=440 but it can be in old high pitch and I will do the tuning and valves myself.

    I am located in Western Canada but will gladly get the right instrument shipped to myself from anywhere in the World.


    I am not a frequent buyer so any tips on where to look are welcome.  I would prefer to buy directly from the owner if possible versus dealers or auction houses, etc.  The history and pedigree of the instrument is always of great interest to me.

  6. You will have to look inside.  Remove an end and pull out one if the reed pans.  Be careful not to mix up the end bolts.  There will be a paper maker’s label on the inside surface of the reed pan.  It will most likely say Lachenal or Wheatstone on it although sometimes I’ve seen the Lachenal scraped off to make it look like a Wheatstone.  You then have to go by the serial number. Serial number is usually stamped into every individual part.  It looks like a standard 48 button treble English…. Probably 1850 to 1870 or so.  Box looks like a Wheatstone.  I’ve seen this brown felt used with 1860s Wheatstones.

  7. Post a quick sound sample if possible.  Most phones can do decent recordings these days.


    Interesting discussion…. I use to completely disregard these older 6-sided instruments until I got one previously owned by Lady Bulteel (Revelstoke) whom studied under Mr. Blagrove.  The instrument was probably played by Regondi.  It is a very plain looking instrument in-spite of being at the highest end of the ledger price range at the time.  I found out why… It plays just as well as any high end newer Aeola!  That’s when I realized it’s all about the quality of the reeds.  It is also extremely clean with no warpage so it was stored very well.  That makes a difference.  I’ve yet to hear anyone play like Regondi and the other early masters and these are the instruments they used.  It’s all in the quality of the reeds.  Exotic woods and gold plating is nice for an antique I’m sure adds a few extra few percents but it’s the insides that make it a musician’s instrument.

    They made bellows different back then.  The cards were much deeper with the first fold being offset so the instrument opened up a lot more and was protected better.  I like my newer (80 year old) Aeola with it’s original factory 8-fold bellows but never run out of air with my 160 year old 4-fold Bulteel Treble.  I actually find that less folds gives more control and therefore more expression in my music.


    As said, if you do take an end off, please don’t mix up any of the bolts.  Bolts were somewhat individually custom made back then so lengths and threads may not always be the same.

  8. Hi Paula from Finland!  Great to see you here.  Perfect question.


    Unfortunately, your concertina is in the missing Wheatstone ledger so no detailed records are available:



    I would say it’s circa 1893 based on these two close serial numbers:

    21509 - 19 June 1893

    21571 - 30 March 1893




    Besides rare higher end exotic antique collectable features, the value of a concertina as an instrument in my humble opinion is in the original quality of the reeds and then how well it was stored and taken care of over it’s life. For example, moisture can warp and crack reed pans and rust reeds, crack and rot the bellows...  Worse yet, moths and termites destroy!  You’ll have to look inside for a complete evaluation.  Steel reeds have the best volume and dynamics, etc. while brass and nickel-silver although sounding sweet are considered more entry level.  

    It has the felt bushings around the keys so it’s not a complete bottom of the line, entry level instrument.  Leather is still there on the pinky rests with no apparent cracks in the fret work so it has a lot of potential.  Original leather baffles are there.  It appears to be a clean tutor instrument probably untouched in old high pitch (about half a note higher than modern A440 tuning).


    I am always interested in instruments like these as they are perfect to fix up to get the younger generation interested.  Message me if you want to part with it.  I am fixing up a very similar one right now I just picked up locally with no warpage but cracked reed pans and a few cracked reed tongues and two broken end bolts but beautiful amboyna ends in spite of the nickel silver reeds and coloured bone buttons.  It will never be a really great instrument but I’m going to do my best to give it some life again and pass it on.

    As a side…. There’s never any profit to be made on these instruments unless very pristine unfortunately… especially compared to the higher end instruments… so to restore one of these tutors is truly a labour of love.  With a bit of patience, an Aeola in similar condition can be picked up for maybe $1500 for example and then restored and sold for $4000 to $5000 to possibly even make a profit or at least earn a decent hourly wage.  Your instrument is worth maybe 300 to 500 max (Canadian $) if decent inside and then it would be a tough sell at $1500 no matter how much work one puts in to it.  Like I said, fixing up these instruments is a labour of love.


    I’m not on here much but have been doing some reed tongue material research lately so you caught me at the right time.  Great question.  Hope this helps you out and I also hope the regulars don’t jump on me too much.  Just my humble opinion as already stated.

  9. Can’t we just keep this about the instrument and it’s history?  I am trying to be positive. They did tell me how a guy from Texas offered $2500, then $1500, then wanted free shipping, then wanted no tax, etc. etc.  One of the many stories.  It was all quite embarrassing to me as I’ve worked hard to promote the concertina in my area.  I’ve learned a lot of lessons through all this.  I really don’t want to talk about all the negative parts of this sale.  Believe me, I’ve had countless negative experiences with the concertina as a commodity.  I’m really surprised I made it sometimes when I was used so badly when new to it all.  I lost a lot.  It’s why I now fix up old low end instruments and give them away.


    I hope they called me because they could see how passionate I am about the instrument.  They know they could of got a lot more online.


    I’m done... It’s time to go play Beeswing and few other happy other up beat tunes on my new old gem.  Have to fix that one slightly leaking pad still.  I would rather discuss Sailor and the Mermaid by the Gothard Sisters.  I love the variations in this piece.  Wonderful!



  10. Everyone of my concertinas has their stories...  This is probably going to be really boring to most so beware...


    I completely let this one go as their original $3500 asking price was way too high and my original assessment of the instrument was that it was really poor with multiple notes sounding, etc. and I couldn't see inside and the war era, etc.  I felt that I’ve seen all this before so said forget it.  I made them what I thought was a fair offer based on c.net comments, etc. and that was the end of it.


    Then a few weeks later there was all the sudden c.net interest so I went back last Saturday to volunteer to do some minor work on it in hopes of getting it working better and to take some photos of the inside to post.  I brought in my own instrument and took the end off to show them the process but they wouldn’t even let me see it again so went home disappointed and that was the end of it again.  I was a bit upset at their response and some comments they made but just let it go.


    Monday afternoon I then get a few very low resolution photos of the inside from them with no comments.  They were obviously brave enough to take it apart themselves after my demonstration.  Good thing I explained how the screws shouldn’t be mixed up, etc.  I saw the reeds had brass shoes so that was one question answered.


    Then... late Tuesday after 9:00 PM I get a short text accepting my original offer.  “The concertina is yours”.  At first I didn’t even know who it was and sent a quick text back but got no response.  Then I saw the email so phoned even though it was late.  


    When I went in the next day after work they said they were getting multiple offers that never went anywhere so were done with it and all the games and just wanted a quick and simple cash sale.  They obviously had some negative experiences.  I took one end off to check it out and saw how clean it was so that was good enough for me.  It had a number of fouled reeds still so I couldn’t play it but no notes were continually sounding this time to my surprise.  I gave them the cash, put it in the trunk, then was off to the Salvation Army thrift store across before they closed to keep my wife happy.


    All they would tell me about it's history was that it was purchased from a gentlemen in his early 60s who said it had always been in their family since new.


    I paid really low for it but don’t want to say here in case I ever sell it again. After the events last week, I am sure that it will come back and bite me if I do.  Should I feel guilty especially after discovering it is in factory A440 modern pitch with untouched reeds?  The question I’ve thought about is what did the original owner get? I will most likely will never know but I’m sure the store made a good profit.


    i spent all day yesterday working on it.  I’m not an expert but have a techie background and have done maybe 10 concertinas now over 7 years with no terrible results.  I know my limits but am comfortable with bringing them back to life, conditioning bellows, minor repairs, etc.  I don’t tune yet.  I rescue the strays even if no interest to me so I can fix them up with the intent to give them away (or at the most break even) to increase concertina awareness and  interest in my area.  I think I may just have to keep this one especially with it’s nearly perfect 8 fold bellows and clean inside with no warping and especially because I just love playing it with it’s superb dynamics and tone.


    I am still curios to know more about the Wheatstone switch over to A440 and if it was actually 1939 and what was happening with them during the war if anyone has any info about this.


    Photo attached of repaired air button with new bone guide pin.


    • Like 1
  11. I purchased this concertina after a lot of back and forth and then a sudden advertised price drop and a late night phone call to me accepting my initial offer.  A local one family instrument which doesn’t come up often in my area so I’m glad it worked out.  Very clean, no rust, no warping, air tight 8-fold bellows, wrist straps, air button, red baffles, nickel plated ends.  Case is pristine except for broken leather hinge.  There is no signs that it has ever been repaired or touched inside.  It came with a small spare parts kit including 4 each of those long pinky rest and thumb strap screws I can never find. Oh the little things that make me happy! 🤔  I was surprised to find it in factory A440 concert pitch.  It has pristine brass shoe, steel reeds... metal capped, plastic buttons and with an interesting hook action that is not like any Lachenal I’ve ever come across.  It is already coming to life with almost perfect tuning and amazing loud/soft dynamics.  Very expressive.


    I let this one go but it came back to me and I’ m glad it did.


    it would be interesting to know more about Wheatstone from 1939 to 1945 during the war years and also the transition to A440 concert pitch.  This is definitely a high quality superior instrument probably the best I’ve ever played and it is not even fully played in yet after sitting for decades.  


    Journal lists it as a model 17 nickel ended 48 key English Aeola dated June 30, 1942.  35407 on the same page has the interesting note: “old tuning strument”


  12. Button is now fixed.  I didn’t notice it at first.  I’ll continue to tweak things as they come up.  A few pads may need changing too but I’m hoping they wii seat in again and some curled valves and a few sticky end plate bushings but I’ll just play it as is for now to see how it continues to wake up.  I’ve been doing full range chromatic scales up and down on push and pull to get all the reeds working again.  So far, really impressed at its expression with its tone and superior dynamic range.  Not what I expected from my first initial impression. My musician wife was smiling away last night admiring my playing which doesn’t always happen. 😞   It’s finally getting the love it deserves after many years of neglect. :)


    • Like 2
  13. I ended up buying this concertina after the store called me late at night a few days ago with a very low offer.  So bizarre!  I let it go but it came back to me.  I opened it up at the store to see what type of reeds, etc. and it was absolutely spotless with zero rust and it played much better than at my first visit with no notes sounding, just stuck reeds.  


    Brought it home... after a little bit of Connolly hide care and cleaning out a bunch of debris that had caused the pads to stick open and to clog reeds, it now plays really well.  One squeaky reed left to tweak and a slightly leaking pad still but it’s a real winner.  And to my complete surprise it is in factory modern A440 concert pitch!  An unmolested Wheatstone Aeola with factory tuned modern pitch reeds!  What s find.  I guess the multiple notes sounding threw off my tuner when I first checked it.  With some research, it appears wheatstone changed over to A440 in 1939.  I will have to go through the ledgers to see if there are any notes on the old / new pitch change over.  It was really out of tune with itself at first but after only two days it is almost perfect.


    I’m still breaking it in again but it is really coming to life.  Loud and responsive, not shrill at all. Very pleasant tone and balance.  A winner!  Very smooth yet very responsive in only two days playing after all the neglect.  Best loud/soft dynamic control of any concertina I’ve ever played... so much expression and control!  Bellows is really loosening up with Connolly.  It has always been in one family since new so I guess I’m the second owner.  The store doesn’t count :).  Steel reeds with brass shoes.  Some curled valves but no big deal.  Bonus 8 fold bellows with no leaks or wear.  Wow!  Mid wartime 1942 was a good year for concertinas after all.  I would like to know more about this Wheatstone era.


    All is well that ends well!  Thanks for all the comments and all the help.  A few photos of the inside attached below.  I will also attach a few photos of the outside once it’s polished up a bit better.





  14. After calling last night, I just dropped by the store and showed the owners a playable unrestored concertina I recently purchased for $300.


    I was sure there would never be a sale between us however I was still curious to see if it had brass or aluminum reeds and what type of chambers, etc. I wanted to help answer the questions here and felt sorry for this neglected 80 year old instrument sitting in its case for maybe 50 years and the unconditioned bellows being played and maybe cracking.  Instruments need to be loved!


    i was willing to make a high as possible offer myself if everything checked out but we never got to that point.  I had let it go already but all the interest on c.net made me curious again.


    The concertina is a difficult instrument when it comes to buying and selling and even getting parts and working with restorers because even though not that popular, the supply is quite low and many are very old and appeal to collector enthusiasts with the money who are hoarding them as antiques.  I was once sent a photo of a full book case displaying their one of each tortoise and amboyna collection. All I could think about was those poor lonely instruments and the musicians struggling to get something decent including myself at that time.  In the 50s and 60s you couldn’t give concertinas away (like an old upright piano today) and they were being given a quick tuning with a dremel destroying the reeds but now it’s unbelievably hard as a player to get a decent unmolested instrument at a good price.  I’ve been a musician for 40 years and am often surprised I made it with the concertina because of all my initial hassles and expensive mistakes.  Buyer beware!  I feel really discouraged today!


    In the end, i think it is better just to buy from a private individual for an unrestored instrument or just bite the bullet and get a fully restored concertina once you know the concertina is for you.  Just let one come to you.  Be patient.  I am starting to ask myself if these rescue missions are worth it and just have to let them go.


    Sorry, no photos of the inside.


    • Like 1
  15. I looked at it in person.  It was in unrestored condition.  I have described the tone above.  It was priced as if fully restored and as much as I get excited when I see an EC for sale, I painfully had to reject this one.  Chris Algar has fully restored and tuned ones available for much less.  The value is 60 to 70% top period as discussed above.  I could look at it again and ask the owner to let me open it up and take a few photos.  I’ve been trying to stay away from it though as I know how I am... I hate to see instruments sit around like this unrestored and so may have mercy on it.  Over the years I’ve lost a lot of money this way.

  16. Thanks Geoff.  It is an untouched original even with the baffles still in place and really no visible playing wear so somewhat interesting to me.  I don’t think it will sell too soon as the shop is asking full price as if it were restored.  If I don’t purchase it then I hope it goes to a home that will appreciate and play it.  It may not be the instrument for me as I already have a top end tenor-treble fully restored but you don’t see these come available in my area very often.  It would be interesting to see inside.  Maybe quickly glue in place the loose pads so I can play a tune on it.  I wasn’t overly impressed with the tone although it may just need to be played for a while to bring it back to life.  The dynamic range was extremely impressive so it could be an instrument with a lot of expression.

  17. I viewed a 1942 48 button Wheatstone Aeola today in a pawn shop.  It has very little playing wear but is unrestored.  It had been stored for maybe 60 years.  Pads are loose, notes are sounding, it fails hang test miserably.  It has 8 folds which seems a bit unusual. I wasn’t able to open it up. Tone is decent, medium loud, baffles are still there.  It has exceptionally good dynamics.


    My question is on it’s worth.  What would be a reasonable offer for a war time Aeola with little playing wear but completely unrestored?





  18. Concertina Spares is the only place that I know of as a major source to get those old vintage bits and pieces.  Thankfully these instruments were built by hand with simple machines which made them so good and long lasting.  So any of the parts including buttons, levers, reeds, etc (except maybe a glass button) can be built in a small shop with the simplest of equipment and tools.  The good old days!!!  Has there yet come along anything better than leather!  A carbon fibre Concertina with ceramic reeds and plastic bellows anyone?


    I hope everything is ok with Mark and as I said, he did apologize and I am hoping again to soon get my parts.  I just picked up a late c.1895 Lachenal baritone with two missing button tops which got me thinking about all this again and so asked him to add these to the order as well.


    To answer a comment... I am sure I could make these parts myself with a small lathe, some nickel tubing... soldering some silver discs to the tops.  I have the skill set but I don’t have a small lathe or the material and it’s really not worth it to get one as I restore maybe one concertina every 2 or 3 years for my personal use.


    Maybe someone can start an online database where everyone can list all their spare bits and pieces.  I know I have a bunch that I could share.


    I put my name on Wim Walker’s wait list over two years ago to get a new EC built in 2022 so hopefully my woes will come to an end with a lifelong instrument but the vintage ones really do have something special about them.  I really do need the help of someone like Mark at Concertina Spares to keep me going with the concertina in the mean time so hopefully things will work out.

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