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Everything posted by Fumblefingers

  1. For sale simply because it's not being played and needs a new home. Paragon model, rosewood ends, metal keys, steel reeds; in excellent condition and well tuned at concert pitch. The very clean interior would suggest that this instrument has not had a lot of use since it was made, probably around 1914, but Lachenals are not straightforward to date. Tuned and re-valved by Andrew Norman. Comes with original rosewood box, but don't keep it in this as it holds the instrument the wrong way up! Therefore, also comes with a modern hard case. A sweet instrument - looking for £1100. Photos are available by e-mail but too large to post here!
  2. 1: Forget thumb straps and single shoulder straps. Put a pair of accordion straps on it - that solves the aches and pains. The alleged traditionalists may blacklist you, but let them have the deformities! 2: Learn how to use the bass buttons - it's a long process and involves playing across the rows to get the thing travelling in the right direction for the chord you want. 3: learn to play across the rows - you get nice smooth, quick runs that way, especially if you're playing French tunes. With lumpy English tunes the blow-suck just adds punch. 4: Experiment with "wrong" combinations of bass and chord. There's a whole new world in there. 5: With a 2 1/2 row 12 bass, you can have the accidentals and chords set up any way you like - Google John Spiers tunings to see what I mean. It amounts to a lot of practice which, if you enjoy playing, will be very rewarding. There are (despite the pontifications above) no rules. It's all about making music. You may have gathered that I love the instrument, and I'm by no means an expert, but that's where I'm at so far. Buy the best you can afford - a good 2nd hand Saltarelle has become my main instrument, but don't run away with the idea that an expensive box will necessarily make you a better musician. There are a lot of people out there with very expensive boxes who have made that mistake...it takes a lot of thoughtful practice. And yes, the humble one row can be an amazing instrument in the right hands. All I have to do now is come to terms with my anglo, which is why I joined this site. And if anyone wants a Dino Bafetti Black Pearl three voice, PM me - I've got one for sale.
  3. I do quite a bit of leather work, belts, knife sheaths, concertina straps, pouches and the like, and recently made a very comfortable set for my anglo. Just a few thoughts:- Good quality leather is expensive and hard to come by in small quantities. 2mm harness quality should be available as pre-cut straps in various widths, from which you could cut straps to pattern; Making a comfortable, quality strap is not difficult, but by the time you've bought the tools to groove, bevel and smooth the edges, a decent punch to make consistent holes and something with which to cut the leather, you're getting into a bit of expense; Which brings us to knives. Now I wouldn't dream of suggesting that any of you are naturally clumsy or simple, but I collect cutlery, and I have to say that the one piece of cutlery that I have an almost paranoid respect for is the saddler's round knife. Do not mess with this. Properly sharpened it will cut 4mm harness leather with ease in a single pass. I took an antique one to a cutler recently to have it re-set - he nearly removed the end of his finger. Most saddlers will tell you that it's the most potentially dangerous piece of kit they have on the bench. Best keep your finger ends for playing the concertina and get a friendly saddler to cut a set of straps for you. If you really wish to have a pop at making these things, Google bowstock.co.uk or Le Prevo leathers and have a look at what's on offer by way of hide and tools, but for really nice quality leather in small quantities, a sympathetic saddler is really your best bet.
  4. If you suspect extremes of humidity there is a digital hygrometer, one of which lives in my fiddle case, on Amazon for small money, which has a memory so that you can track what's happening to your precious box in terms of both humidity and temperature. Otherwise, let's consider that our concertinas have, since the 1800's, been left in all sorts of damp and disgusting places, attics, mantle shelves, box rooms and junk shops, and survived. The only reason I have one in my fiddle case is that the fiddle was recently built for me, and I want it to settle down with all the advantages in life. After that, it's on its own... That said, it is worth a few quid to monitor the environment of your instruments.
  5. Going right back to the beginning: why would you want to do this? The reed plate is not a wearing surface, so how is it changing its dimensions? I have no experience of working with reeds, but as a clockmaker, I regularly find pivot holes (the bearing surfaces in clock plates, which are wearing surfaces) closed up by a series of punch marks around the hole, which is then broached back to a good fit to avoid having to rebush the plate (which is the correct solution to wear). It is generally recognised as a form of vandalism! I can't work out why anyone would want to do this, but I may well have missed something.
  6. Thanks Stephen - I guessed it would be a BA thread from the 1960's, and Geoff has confirmed 8BA. This box isn't in too bad a way with itself, but I'm hoping to do a decent restoration to as near original as possible.
  7. I have a Crabb anglo - 1960s vintage - which has an odd countersunk machine screw in place of one end bolt. Needless to say, it's not feeling too good when I tighten it, hopefully because it's too small a diameter. I may have to replace the nut if the thread has been damaged. Any ideas on supplies/diameters/threads welcome. The instrument is presently air-tight, but the end needs to come off to re-fix the woodwork securing the strap, and I'm reluctant to do it before sorting the end bolt problem.
  8. Now the proud owner of the above - needs a little more work to one sticky key, one end bolt to replace (with a proper one, not a countersunk head screw...) and some cosmetic attention. New bridle leather straps made. Sounds great, even with me driving it. Thanks for the background Geoff - I went to the shop once in the sixties. I only wish I'd been able to buy one then!
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