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Squeezebox Of Delights

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    I play the piano, piano accordion, concertina, melodeon, and soon the cinema organ too. I like to collect and try to fix old broken musical instruments.
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    Lincoln, England

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  1. Hi Adam, For a start, that's a beautiful instrument - but it's not a concertina! It's a melodeon, otherwise known as a diatonic button accordion. Yours looks was almost certainly built in Germany, probably Klingenthal, somewhere between the late 1800s and mid 1900s. I'd maybe put it around the 1920s-30s? I'm not an expert though. Usually these instruments aren't worth a vast amount, but they're good fun to play, and pretty attractive objects. Yours isn't a design I'm familiar with. Those pressed metal faces seem rather unusual. The people on here tend to be pretty knowledgeable regarding all sorts of free-reed instruments, but if you want more information your best bet is probably to ask the people on melodeon.net. They specialise in this sort of thing! Oskar
  2. While doing some research for a Product Design project, I happened upon a Hong-Kong-based person - Alize Lam - who makes kits for wooden toys and musical instruments, including several designs of toy piano and two concertina-shaped-objects. There is a square (octagonal if you're really picky) one and a hexagonal one, and they make use of laser cut plywood, wine box wood and simple folded bellows. Interestingly, they play more like a flutina, with the notes reversed on the push and pull. The 5 keys open sliding valves travelling parallel to the body, which I guess technically makes them accordions, but in reality I think I can get away with saying that they are concertinas. The reeds are actually a small harmonica, built into one of the ends. I particularly like the encaustic-tile-style printed pattern on the hexagonal model. They're obviously not designed to be 'proper' musical instruments, but they seem like quite fun little things, and I thought the good people of concertina.net might like to take a look. They sell them through a website called Pinkoi; I've never heard of it, but it seems to be a bit like Etsy. I don't know if anyone's seen these little instruments before - I certainly hadn't - but here you go anyway. It looks so simple, I'm tempted to try building one myself! Here's the hexagonal one: https://en.pinkoi.com/product/sLpT4PPt And the squareish one: https://en.pinkoi.com/product/PNXjyMCy And their respective YouTube videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XoSHSyjYto https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWsM05FI_TA
  3. I've never had animals that interacted with the concertina, but my grandparents' cat has learnt to recognise the sound of the electric organ, and she will jump up on the stool while I'm playing and generally get in the way. My guinea pigs also seemed to enjoy going to sleep to the sound of my wheezy, out-of-tune melodeon, which was definitely surprising!
  4. Here's an oddity I just discovered on eBay. It appears to be a fairly standard Lachenal Maccann duet that has been modified to make the ends unusually long, for music-hall performance. I imagine it's a one-off; I've certainly never seen anything like it, and I thought the good people of concertina.net might be interested. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/325259378720?hash=item4bbaf84020:g:A~4AAOSwxGlixx66
  5. I don't have any experience with the Rochelle, but I will say that the action on my Wren is pretty stiff, so it might not be too comfortable for small hands. You get used to it after a while, but it doesn't get any more comfortable.
  6. Reminds me of this image I found on the internet a while back...
  7. I recognise that concertina from an older thread on here: It's almost certainly the same one. The original thread generated quite a bit of interest, but I don't think anyone came to a solid conclusion about its origins...
  8. There's this one on eBay: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/303981363253?hash=item46c6b38035:g:2uYAAOSwlWRgbxsm
  9. Maybe you could have two 'rows' of buttons on each side, to stop it from being so wide? Kind of like the rows on a 20 button Anglo, but in the same key, chromatically and unisonorically tuned, and one octave apart. That might be an interesting prospect... Oskar
  10. Hello all, So I was just trawling through old melodeon.net articles, and I came across a post about a Swiss company that makes several sorts of free reed instruments. As well as doing ready-made instruments, they also sell a range of DIY kits; such as a couple of accordions, a harmonium, and most importantly, three Anglo concertinas - a 10 button, a 6 button and what appears to be a 2 button. The most complete of these - the 10 button model - has one row of 5 buttons on each side, and is in the key of C. The kit costs 300 Swiss Francs, which is currently equivalent to £235.94 or $324.25, which seems like quite a reasonable price for people who want the experience of building (and then being able to play) a working instrument. It's not particularly orthodox in build, having 12 sides, 4 fold bellows, accordion reeds and an action like that of an old melodeon, but it certainly does the job. The other, smaller concertinas are a bit cheaper, but I feel like people would be more interested in the larger one, and there are no videos of the smaller ones. I just thought I'd put this here in case anyone was interested, because I certainly am! http://akkordeonwerkstatt.ch/eigenbau.html
  11. I was just checking The Saleroom for fun, and I came across this. I was quite intrigued, and decided to put it here in case anyone else was interested or knew anything about it. It appears to be a homemade anglo concertina, but it is very unusual in the construction, strap design and number of buttons, sides and bellows folds. There is only one photo, and the auctioneer's estimate is very low, suggesting they don't have much experience in concertinas. Any ideas as to what it is? https://www.the-saleroom.com/en-gb/auction-catalogues/peter-francis/catalogue-id-peter-10231/lot-ea107157-36e3-4d2d-b998-acd801098c43 Thanks, Oskar
  12. Well, technically speaking, if you can play the piano then you can play half a PA. Then you just need to get familiar with the left hand, which is fairly simple once you get the hang of it. While buying second hand is much more economically friendly than buying new, what I wouldn't advise is getting a PA cheap on eBay. Generally (from my experience) these are instruments that have been kept in an aged relative's cupboard, cellar or attic for upwards of thirty years and have been rediscovered while clearing out the house. They are often leaky and/or out of tune, and would cost an awful lot of money to repair. Also, steer clear at all costs of the vintage German-made instruments with faux-Italian names like 'Milani', 'Pietro' and 'Paolo Antonio' (pictures below). These are comparable to the German-made 'imitation anglo' concertinas, e.g. poorly made, trying to impersonate better instruments and almost always in terrible condition. They are not worth restoring, and are only really good for decoration. Luckily, like German anglo concertinas, they all look very similar and can be easily identified from photos, and therefore avoided.
  13. I’ve played PA for about 7 years now, and began learning the AC two years ago, and I don’t have any bother with bellows direction etc. etc. I think it may be something to do with how different they are to hold and play. It might seem confusing at first, but as Pentaprism and JimmyG have said, your brain should be able to adapt to different instruments. The only thing you should be worried about is being ravaged by hardcore concertinists for turning to the dark side!
  14. From what I've seen on Wish and Banggood, these instruments have traditional riveted action and flat mounted reeds, which is surprising for a low end instrument, although do correct me if I'm wrong. It'd be interesting to know where it sits in terms of playability and quality on the scale between cheapo beginner hybrid and high end professional hybrid, as it seems to be a mix of the two...
  15. Just to say, I wasn't talking about the grommeted holes, I was referencing the holes underneath the handle. It just looks rather like bare metal on the inside edges of the holes, and on the insides of the button holes too
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