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Squeezebox Of Delights

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Posts posted by Squeezebox Of Delights

  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!



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  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:

    And the squareish one:


    And their respective YouTube videos:





  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. 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!





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  5. 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?






  6. 2 hours ago, arti said:

    Any prior learning advantage from piano would not last not least because the PA and piano are so different.

    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. 


    Image result for saxony made accordionImage result for saxony made accordionImage result for saxony made accordion



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  7. 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!

  8. 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... 

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  9. 1 hour ago, TapTheForwardAssist said:


    I believe the metal around the soundhole is a "grommet" and not part of the same substance as the end itself. 

    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

  10. 32 minutes ago, alex_holden said:

    Perhaps it is wood with a celluloid covering (as used on many accordions)

     It might even be painted/celluloid covered aluminium. I seem to remember seeing a similar but different concertina on eBay a while back that had green aluminium ends, and the exposed material around the sound holes does look a little metallic...

  11. On 1/26/2021 at 10:12 AM, Stephen Chambers said:


    Curiously enough (as it happens!) they bear the Trade Mark of the (Klingenthal, Saxony) German concertina and melodeon maker Otto Weidlich. Whilst, in its days, Saxony (and especially Klingenthal for musical instruments) was the equivalent of China today, when it came to manufacturing cheap goods...


    Are you sure these weren't made under the old German Democratic Republic? (The old Weidlich firm was nationalised by the state in the late 1940s.)




    That's very interesting! Who'd have thought that a free reed instrument company would branch off into nose flutes... There's an incredibly informative set of articles about the history of the swan brand nose flute here, if you wanted to have a look: http://nose-flute.blogspot.com/2012/07/about-swan-logo-part-i.html

  12. On 1/24/2021 at 12:50 PM, Ken_Coles said:

    I don't know if this is still true, but some years ago I was told in both the button accordion and violin worlds that Germany has pretty lax labeling laws.

    On a similar note, I have a couple of small, colourful, plastic nose flutes which are marked very visibly on the front as 'Made In Germany', but they are definitely made in China. Then again, they aren't concertinas...




  13. I've emailed him twice, once last January and once last August from a different email address, and never got any response. I was wondering if my emails were somehow sent straight to his spam folder or something. I'm still in need of certain parts though, so I'll probably try again sometime soon. Maybe you have to be ordering something from his website?

  14. 23 minutes ago, Pistachio Dreamer said:

    There were a lot of these cheap imitations made, though I've not seen the slightly smaller size. It makes sense given the reeds on shared plates don't take up a lot of space. Four end screws and the button angle and material are the giveaways, along with the leather tooling in this case too. This will definitely be prettier on the outside. Since the insides are somewhat important for the function as an instrument, in my opinion it's overpriced, and it's likely to be in a strange key and not at concert pitch. 


    Yeah, I have seen a good few pretty little Anglos like this, but no miniature ones. I wonder why? It’s kind of a shame it is so expensive, because no-one in their right mind is going to pay that much for an old German concertina.

  15. Just saw this on eBay, and decided to post it here because it looks quite interesting. It appears to be a very convincing German imitation of an English-built miniature Anglo, of which I have never seen the like. If it wasn’t out of my price range I’d consider getting it just to have a look! Has anyone experienced one of these instruments before? Is it as unusual as it seems, or am I just not very experienced in imitation Anglos?

  16. The Wren is pretty poor in construction; it is basically everything you’d expect from a cheap Chinese-made instrument. I’ve never had a look inside a Phoenix, but I’d expect that it is much better.
    The Wren has  accordion-type reed blocks, which makes it quite long, while the Phoenix seems more traditional in dimensions, making me think it has flat-mounted reeds.

    The Wren also has nasty fabric/paper/plastic bellows with shallow folds and sharp corners, and they have a habit of collapsing in on themselves when you pull them out too hard. The Phoenix however looks to have more traditionally constructed bellows with rounded corners and leather binding.

    The other main difference I can see is in the actions. The Wren has a Stagi-style aluminium action where all the levers are positioned parallel to each other, but, as hjcjones has already mentioned, the Phoenix has a traditional riveted action radiating out from the buttons.

    All in all, the Phoenix is evidently the better instrument, but it all depends on budget! 


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