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malcolm clapp

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    Concertina, melodeon & accordion enthusiast and repairer. Retired from repairing recently after 30 odd years, but still do the odd fix for friends.
    I play anglo and English, but not at the same time!
    My style on both is akin to a frustrated duet player. (Also have a Crane aeola).
    Happy to assist with concertina problems and give, hopefully, helpful advice.
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    Woolgoolga, NSW Australia

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  1. Gunmanbob, the lack of valves on all but the lowest (largest) reeds of the right hand side is quite normal. Adding them is unnecessary as they will reduce response speed and volume, and only minuscule air saving will be achieved.
  2. Or possibly the late John Holman who was around the Dorset area for a while. An excellent craftsman as I remember.
  3. Go along with that then. But if the next notes down sound a bit weak, try them without valves. The reason I mentioned it was that I have seen lots of accordions and concertinas where some one in the past has opened up the instrument and has seen reeds without valves; their automatic reaction was to think they had fallen off, so they slap valves on them and wonder why they can't get them to sound properly. (No reflection implied on your experience or knowledge, but a common trap which some owners fall into when attempting their own repairs... 🙂 )
  4. Not knowing the exact range of your instrument makes it impossible to advise more than a guess for the cut off point for different types of valve (or not valved). And of course, it will be at a different physical position on each set of reeds with dry octave tuning. Nothing wrong with mylar (plastic) valves for anything above middle C or thereabouts, and for the next 2 octaves. Anything higher than that, do not use valves on these as the benefit of air saving will usually be negated by the reeds being slower to respond. Depending upon how good the reeds are, you might find that even A and B and their near accidentals are a bit unresponsive, so maybe unvalve these as well. Mylar may be problematic below middle C, so go with leather, and with helper springs on the larger valves. If ordering leather valves, you will need accordion valves, not concertina valves for this type of instrument as the two have very different properties. Just saying, though you probably already knew that.... Have fun replacing the broken reeds; it can be a pig of a job. Just be careful you don't distort the body of the plate when tightening the rivets....
  5. In short, mount and tune only one long plate set at a time. (You probably should replace the flap valves prior to attempting to tune the reeds as I doubt the originals will be terribly effective after 90 years or so.) Remove the plate not being tuned and replace it with a thin, rigid piece of ply/aluminium/whatever, cut to a similar shape to the removed plate. Tune the mounted plate of reeds, then remove it and repeat with the other plate. Try this with just a couple of reeds first before tuning the entire set, and test the resulting pitch; you may find them it little sharp (or flat?) throughout, so you might need to adjust the targeted pitch a little below (or above) concert, assuming that is your intention. There may well be a better way....but I've tuned a few instruments with long "gang-mounted" reeds using this method; total accuracy might be a bit elusive, so may need a little spot tuning "by ear" on completion. I have also tried tuning by plucking the reeds rather than air blowing, but have found this less accurate, and a greater risk of breaking very old reeds. Hope this helps. Good luck with the project 🙂
  6. Only about 4 inches off topic, but can anyone please explain the variation of the G row button furthest to the right of the right hand side of a C/G layout? Many Jeffries anglos have a push F, while other makers seem to have the more logical push B. Is this an ITM thing too? Seems unlikely. To be fair, I rarely, if ever, need to play a B note up that high, and neither do most players I know; but I've often been asked about this and can offer no answer except to joke about upsetting the neighbours' dogs at 100 yards distance. I guess it's easier to make an F reed than a B reed of such a high pitch, so maybe the reason is as simple as that; a slight cost saving on making a reed that no one plays...or is that too cynical a view???
  7. Yes, John, that's where I first heard of it too, though I think it was just a trouser leg rather than the entire garment. I have suggested it to several players, at least one of whom took up the idea, but abandoned it when her hearing began to deteriorate in later years.
  8. I reckon it's a still from one of those TV ads which include an irrelevant feature to introduce a "wtf" reaction from viewers which is probably more memorable than the crap they're peddling. Supermarket ALDI (or their advertising agency) in Australia is very fond of this idea, and they are not alone. In Oz, we have a TV panel show called The Gruen Transfer, which examines, critically and humorously, product advertising, and this sort of campaign is featured regularly. Well worth a look on GooTube to see the latest (and the oldest) marketing tricks.
  9. I don't think the current owners of the Bastari/Stagi business have done themself any favours by their condemnation of the concertina in question as being a Chinese knock-off. I've repaired quite a few of these over the years. their main fault being poor quality bellows binding material for top runs (easily replaced with leather before the wear gets too advanced). However, I did hear a rumour (from a usually reliable source) that the bellows were manufactured in China.... The ingenious reed mounting design works well and the response and sound produced is imho quite reasonable, if not quite what one would expect from "real" concertina reeds. No doubt in my mind that the instrument in the OP's photos is a product of the Bastari/Stagi factory, and a cut above any other concertina model that I've seen out of Italy, even allowing for the bellows manufacture perhaps having been outsourced.
  10. I have only ever seen daisy wheel papers on Wheatstones, (I own one such), so they, or the entire bellows, may have been replaced as I can see little evidence of this concertina being of Wheatstone origin, though riveted reeds were a feature of some late C19th Wheatstone models. Brass bound corners (campaign wear, as the auctioneers call it) seem to perhaps indicate use by a member of the military, or at least of some profession where a fair amount of overseas travel in potentially hostile environments may have been involved (missionary work in tropical climes perhaps?) (All just random speculation for which I will happily stand corrected....)
  11. Tuned to A:443, or maybe A:439 (Just wondering what as in the coffee, John?)
  12. I can't recall seeing a printed disc (with or without the "misprint") on anything other than 48 button English models. But you never know what might turn up inside a concertina, which has been part of their fascination for me over the years....
  13. Yes, I just noticed it was abridged and was about to delete/amend my post 🙂 The author, Dan Worrall, is a subscriber to this site, so it might be worth a pm. Good luck.
  14. Can't help with a print version, but available here, downloadable as a .pdf https://web.archive.org/web/20160507183128/http://angloconcertina.org/files/Kimber_for_website.pdf
  15. Another fine rendition from the late Andrew Blakeney-Edwards, recorded in Nairobi only a few weeks prior to his untimely passing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLgP5w8hhDo
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