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Everything posted by catswhiskers

  1. I once had a German anglo made by Scholer which had a similar problem. Some of the buttons were constantly getting jammed in the holes. I think it's a design fault with this type of concertina that the buttons are quite short and they are easily pushed too far into the hole. I solved the problem by gluing a thin layer of foam directly under the buttons, which gave them an extra bit of spring and stopped them going too far down into the hole. It played much better after that and allowed me to get a good feel for anglo playing without spending a fortune. However mine had wooden buttons and you say yours are metal so perhaps it is a different mechanism and my suggestion might not be possible. All that being said, these instruments are okay when working properly but a bit limiting if you want to progress your playing. I subsequently bought an old Lachenal which needed a bit of restoration and with the help of The Concertina Maintenance Manual by your previous correspondent Dave Elliot I ended up with a decent box. But be careful. Anglo playing can be addictive and you may find yourself hankering after a top quality instrument. Goodbye bank balance!
  2. I had a Scholer 20 key anglo in G/D which predated yours, being made in pre-partition Germany. Cosmetically it looked a bit different but the basic construction appears the same. I had to do quite a bit of work to make it playable, but once it was up and running it was quite good - as you say, definitely superior to the Chinese boxes. It had wooden buttons like yours and a wooden action, but one problem was sticking buttons - the button would go too far into the hole and stick. I solved this problem very simply by gluing a thin strip of foam under the lever arms just below the buttons. This stopped them going so deep into the holes and also gave them a bit of extra spring. I never had a sticking button after that and the playability improved a lot. It may not have been the greatest instrument ever but it was my entry into Anglo playing until I could afford to move up to a Lachenal. I sold it on Ebay for slightly more than I paid but rather regret doing so now. John
  3. Nigel I am not an expert but I have done some repairs on a few vintage Anglos. In each case there were no valves at all on the very highest reeds and it looked as though they were made that way. I am sure some more knowledgeable members will chip in and explain why. John
  4. Totani. If you want sweeter sounding harmony then quarter comma meantone is probably the way to go. If yours is a vintage instrument the variation from equal temperament you mentioned may mean that it was originally tuned to some form of meantone. I have a 20 key Jones anglo which had considerable variation from ET. The closest tuning seemed to be quarter comma, so I went for that and wasn't disappointed. It sounds very sweet, particularly when playing chords. Having said that, I don't play with other musicians. If you do then maybe ET is better. John
  5. Thanks Dave. Would that be what the original makers used?
  6. Hi all. I'm planning to put new bellows papers on a Lachenal 20 key anglo and I'm wondering if some of the experienced restorers here could advise which would be best glue to use. I'm thinking likely candidates would be PVA craft glue, wallpaper glue or even simple flour and water glue. I'm aware that repairs to vintage instuments should ideally be reversible. Can anybody advise which of these glues is best for the job, or if there is a better alternative. Thanks in advance. John
  7. Ed I agree with the other answers above. Rest one end on your knee while pumping from the other end, whichever way round suits you best. If you play sitting and don't do this you're likely to rest on the bellows which is unstable and causes unnecessary wear to the bellows. I can't see any reason to play standing unless you're performing and It doesn't sound as though you're at that stage yet! Like you I'm 71. I started learning a few years ago but haven't been able to practice enough to become a really good player, but I find if I keep at it my playing is still improving. Even at our great age we can still learn and improve! Good luck with your learning and I hope it gives you as much pleasure as it's given me. John
  8. Never wise to keep an Aussie in the house! 😄
  9. Ha ha - no pun intended. The friend who lent me the concertina is a gentle and talented banjo player and anything but a fiend. But his kindness certainly led to a fiendish obsession! John
  10. I first had a try of a concertina nearly 50 years ago when a fiend of mine lent me one for a few days. I knew nothing about them and all I remember was that it looked beautiful and made a glorious buttery sound which I can still hear to this day. I think he told me it was a Crabb tuned to "English pitch" which meant very little to me at the time. I taught myself one tune, "A Begging I Will Go" before I had to give it back. Ever since then I had an idea that one day I would get myself a concertina. 40 years later my wife finally put me out of my misery and bought me a 20 key Schoeler on Ebay. Needless to say it didn't quite match that mythical sound in my memory, but it set me on the on the road to learning a wonderful instrument. I soon traded up to a succession of Lachenals and more recently to a fully restored rosewood Lachenal with a lovely set of reeds which truly approaches that sound I hankered after. I realise now that the instrument I tried 50 years ago was actually an English, but I'm very happy to have discovered the joys of the anglo.
  11. Thanks to all for your many helpful suggestions on cleaning my bone buttons, not to mention the interesting discussions of poisoning in the post-Trump era. (Though thankfully we didn't actually have a Trump era here in Wales!) I'm pleased to report my discoloured bone button problem has been solved by the kindness of a Cnet member who has sent me some replacement buttons. Now I have nothing to lose, I might experiment on the discarded buttons with some of the (less poisonous) suggestions and report back any success or failure.
  12. Hi all. I am trying to clean the bone buttons on a 20 key Lachenal. In the past I've successfully removed general brownish grime with fairy liquid and/or toothpaste, but two of the buttons on this instrument are very discoloured, a sort of greyish colour which seems to be deeply ingrained in the bone. I've searched all the very informative threads here, but could find none that specifically addresses this problem Any ideas? Thanks in advance. John.
  13. Thanks very much for your advice. I'm pleased to say I've found what I want from a Concertina.net member.
  14. Hi all. I am based in the UK and looking for a 30 key vintage anglo that I can restore for my own use. I currently play 20b and would like to progress to a decent 30b, but can't run to the cost of a restored instrument. If anyone has a neglected 30b or 26b and no time or inclination to restore it, I would be interested in buying it. I don't mind if it needs work, as long as it has all its bits, reasonable bellows and the action board is not warped. Hoping someone out there can help. Thanks. John
  15. I'm posting here now because I was wondering about the date of my recently acquired 20 button George Jones anglo. The serial number is 27782 and from what I can glean from various sources this must make it quite a late one. Can anyone out there give me an accurate date based on the serial number? Thanks in advance
  16. Thanks Ted. It's interesting to know that this configuration was used on other Jones instruments. Maybe this was intended to allow easier chord making, as you suggest. But I think I agree with you that the low A on the draw is more valuable than the D, which is available in the C row anyway. I am also used to a B on the push, but don't mind the G so much. I think I will certainly look to changing the D to A if I can get hold of a suitable reed. Thanks for your advice. John.
  17. I have just bought a nice 20 button George Jones anglo. Apart from a few minor holes in the bellows, now fixed, it's in pretty good shape, with very sweet sounding brass reeds, more or less in tune to old philharmonic pitch, possibly combined with some variety of meantone. But on checking the tuning I discovered that the bottom button of the lower G row does not play the standard B/A but instead plays G/D. Has anyone else come across this variation, and can anybody tell me whether it has any advantages? I think I would miss the low A for tunes played in the lower C register, but possibly there is some advantage in this layout for the G chords? I wonder if any of the musicians on this forum could advise me?
  18. Thanks very much to Alex Holden and Inventor whose contributions have. for me at least, really got to the crux of this question of how Pythagoras was able to formulate a sophisticated system of tuning without the aid of a smart app. Their examples of the monochord and organ pipes measured in feet has brought home to me the precise but essentially simple mathematical relationship between length and pitch. That is, double the length of the pipe or string and drop an octave. Halve it and raise an octave. This means that note intervals can be readily quantified by physical measurement and calculations of relative pitch and temperament can be made based on length values, without needing to know the Hz values of the notes. This makes the whole thing possible a couple of thousand years before the electronic tuner. Then, as Anglo Irishman pointed out, all that was needed was for everyone to agree which philosopher's foot should be used to calibrate the tape measure!
  19. Thanks to all for the many interesting replies, some of which have gone far beyond my original, essentially practical question, and some, I have to admit, a little above my head! Nonetheless all fascinating stuff and I for one have learned a lot. I think my original question as to how tuning was done in the nineteenth century has been pretty well answered. But not the question of how the tuning aids they used were originally callibrated. Or going back a bit further, how for example did Pythagoras measure the precise frequencies of notes in order to calculate the complex mathematical relationships within music? Unless I've missed something I think those questions still remain unanswered - but I'm sure someone out there knows..... John
  20. In our computerised age even those with limited talent can achieve what was once the preserve of specialists and craftsmen. I'm fairly musically illiterate yet I have successfully tuned two anglos, one to ET A440, another to Society of Arts pitch, quarter comma meantone - with the aid of a tuning app on my smartphone! What intrigues me is how the same or greater degree of accuracy and complexity was achieved by tuners working in the nineteenth century or earlier. How did they do it? How did they measure the small variations in vibrations between notes in different pitches and temperaments? Did they have super-accurate pitch recognition? Or did they rely on an extensive range of tuning forks or pitch pipes, and if so, how were these calibrated in the first place? I would be very interested to hear if anybody has any knowledge of this subject. Thanks. John
  21. Thanks Stephen. That definitely puts the lid on the Carreg Las debate. As you see from above I have now invested in another Lachenal 20 key, but am still on the lookout for a reasonably priced 30 button for learning on, so maybe Stagi could be an option.
  22. Thanks to everyone for your advice, which I have taken, but not in quite the ways suggested. To be honest I love my little Lachenal, even though it's old and crotchety. I've already put a lot of blood sweat and tears into bringing it from a virtual write-off to a sweet-sounding, meantone-tuned, if rather frail instrument, which can actually play a nice tune with a bit of elbow-grease applied. So for sentimental reasons I'd rather like to carry on nursing it back to health myself. Thanks to Dana for the interesting advice about the reed fit. It's not something I was really aware of, so now I'll take a closer look at the reeds. And the project will be ongoing. Meanwhile I want something I can play properly, so following everyone's advice and my own heart, I've ditched any thoughts of Stagi and Rochelle and have just bought another Lachenal 20 key, not restored, but in better condition than my other one - and I'm confident that with the help of the restoration experience I've gained so far, I should be able to bring it up to scratch. Once again, thanks to you all for helping me back onto the straight and narrow path! John
  23. Hi all. I'm relative beginner and currently own two 20 key anglos, a vintage Rossetti Rambler and an antique (not in a good way!) Lachenal, both of which I bought cheap and restored to a degree of playability. However they both have their faults. The Rosetti has a robust sound but is heavy and unwieldy with a number of squeaky notes and the Lachenal sounds nice but suffers from a severe shortage of breath and sticky keys. So have decided to buy a cheap new or newish box to keep improving my playing skills until I can justify spending an arm and a leg on a quality restored vintage instrument. Everybody in these forums seems to say the Rochelle is the best reasonably priced alternative, and to avoid the rest. One cheaper make I have seen advertised, but not mentioned here is Carreg Las. Does anyone know if these are any good or should they be avoided. I would appreciate any advice on this and any other tips on a good practice instrument. John
  24. Thanks Dana and Geoff for your helpful advice. You have given me the confidence to go ahead with using G as the root for both keys. I have now completed tuning the bottom C row and it sounds really nice with lovely sweet chords. Just the top C row to go. Looking forward to improving my very modest playing. If I ever get good enough to play with others I guess I'll have to retune to 440 - or better still, get another box!
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