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Everything posted by d.elliott

  1. I had had forgotten Bernard's instrument, it is a long time since I played it, it was a chat after a gig at Worrall. So I did not gat a chance to look inside it. I have put a meter on this clip and the lowest note is F1, albeit somewhat sharp. Dave
  2. I would support Theo in this debate, If the bellows are dry and are cracking, then they are already beyond repair, if they are not quite that bad then playing them may help but their 'life' is expired. If you use leather oils and waxes then they will spoil your clothing, and the carrier medium will soak into the leather and weaken glue joints. Even if you do not get glue failure then the contamination will mean that any future bellows repair work may be prejudiced because the new glue will not take. The only medium I would use is a dab of shoe cream applied as and where Frank suggests, but with extreme caution.
  3. Steve, I suggest you include a system of counterweights and pulleys to operate the bellows!
  4. The lowest note on the Bass clef is G, to be more precise G2 (just under 98Hz). The G bass is the lowest instrument of the range of English Concertinas, two octaves bellow the treble instrument. As with all English systems it is possible to tune the G# down to the F natural below, although on big reed instruments this is not always successful. This down tune would be to F2 (87.3hz), you would need a full octave lower to get to F1. (43.65hz). I have heard of contrabass concertinas but never seen one, just bigger Bass concertinas yielding more power and improved tone. There are two ranges of Bass concertina, the C Bass which only goes as far down as the low 'C' on the Left hand side, and the 'G' Bass which goes down to the full two octave compass below the treble. Some people seem to refer to the 'G' bass as a contrabass. Given the size of the 'G' reed and the amount of air to power it, I doubt that anything over an octave lower than the 'G' bass would be practicable. You are into Harmonium ranges at F1. Bass instruments are more usually single action to reduce weight and eliminate valve issues, they are often less than 48 keys to ensure that the size remains manageable. I shudder to think what the weight of an instrument going down to F1 would be. I hope I am wrong, or you have your octave numbers mixed up, but I do doubt if you are going to successful.
  5. There is a very good reason to not keep the concertina in a bag. It is 'bellows compression'. The box is set up not only to provide protection but to keep the bellows firmly compressed when it is not in use. This compression ensures that you can get the full stoke of the bellows with little or no change in bellows resistance which aids phrasing. For the same reason it is is advisable to press in a couple of keys or the air release and fully extend the bellows, I mean fully extend them. The gig bag may well be proof against bangs and bumps but will not give bellows compression for long term storage, Ok for trips out but that is it. They also tend to encourage holding the concertina on it's end which ruins the valves. A new square style box can also be a problem in that they give better protection, but, unless they 'blocked out' to hold the instrument properly the bellows will not be compressed and the concertina can rattle around like a pea in a drum. Dave
  6. I find that flat topped keys are less comfortable to play than the rounded ended keys. However I would be loathe to switch a set of keys on a 'vintage' instrument Whilst I have no doubt that Greg is a top class craftsman and has extensive knowledge, there are a lot of variables on a set of keys, and in between keys within a single set. Don't forget that keys were not made with a CNC controller. within a single set you get differences in diameters, guide peg length, distance between the foot of the key and the centre line of the cross drilling. Even the cross drilling being off centre. Recently I had to sort out an instrument that had a 'new' set of keys fitted, they were not a bad substitute, but many kept sticking due to odd misalignment issues and the fact that the clearance between the guide peg and the guide peg hole, combined with the clearance between the fingerplate bushing and the key bushings dis not allow for a free movement along the full length of the key stroke. There is the also the thought that you are significantly taking the concertina off the original manufacturing standard debasing it into some form of mixed oddity. For some this is a lesser consideration, but it is never-the-less important. once the replacement keys are fitted, it may not be an easy job the revert to the originals. Dave
  7. What I know as Cranked Arm Syndrome, as stated before, occurring on non-linear arms where they are not a riveted pivot design. Lachenal instruments often have this feature and Edeophones have it in multiplicity. The arm and the pivot post aperture both wear, resulting in the lifting action being on a slant. i.e. the pad does not lift vertically. the key is often leaning a little as well and the key height is often a little lower than those other keys around it. Initially I tried removing the pivot post and turning it round which put the worn part of the arm against unworn areas of the aperture, halving the problem, a quick way of improving a less than happy situation, but it buys time. The only way (for those who are not blessed with a machine shop) is to get a reclaimed pivot post and a long arm from a scrapper. measuring from the cusp of the pivot swan neck, form a new arm using the old as a pattern. I was once asked by a famous concertina restorer and now manufacturer of traditional concertinas: which would I choose (technically), Lachenal or Wheatstone and why. I chose Wheatstone for this very reason. He nodded and walked away. Gail, you know how to contact me, give me a call and lets see what can be done
  8. This was done regularly at one time, but thankfully I think the practise has stopped.
  9. Valves do tend to want to stand off the woodwork slightly, but that sort of gap is unlikely to result in any intrusive valve noise, or result in valve actuation issues. If you are having problems with a valve being sucked into the reed pan vent and jamming, then the valve is wither too thin, and or too small to surround the vent adequately. Some Anglos need a heavier leather than an English treble because of the way they tend to be played, even though the note value may be the same. I have rejected batches of valves that were too hard, too soft, or cut from the wrong orientation on the skin. It is not so much a balancing act as attention detail, coupled with experience. I buy valves in batches of 200 to 300 per size and I always end up with a very small percentage of valves which I set aside to be used in more specific circumstances, or other purposes. Life gets even more entertaining when you are looking at double action big reed instruments, the bottom ends of some Duets, or English Baritones and Bass Instruments. Jeffries used square cut heavier valves than their tapered Lachenal/ Wheatstone counter parts. The square cut may have been just cheaper and because chambers were rectangular rather than segmental. You are in the UK, phone me if you want to discuss any of this further.
  10. You are right to ask the question about how long before the problem returns. You need to ask yourself how the problem occurred in the first place. Usually it is about how the concertina is stored. If it is in a hexagonal box or in a gig bag where the concertina is effectively stood on its end, then that is your problem. Your new valves will not last very long. Another issue can be the valve fitting. If the valve that has the problem is the only one, then it may be that the valve has been fitted too close to the adjacent chamber wall and it is catching and being held partially open. Some chamber walls distort with time causing them to lean inwards and over the valve position. The valve may look clear when it is closed, but the clearance is gone by the time the valve is fully open. if the problem is only apparent when the concertina is played on bellows compress then odds are that you have a valve(s) catching a chamber wall Or the valves may be of an inappropriate leather, old or perhaps a valve is starting to twist. The accordion reed helpers fitted to a concertina reed valve may well make it unresponsive as well as make the reed flatten as per Chris's comment above. I certainly would not fit plastic helpers to a non accordion reed design
  11. Whilst looking through some earlier posts, I came across this one. From the picture of the action, and the shape of the pivot posts this concertina could be either a Case or a Jones. given which side of the post that the lever arm is mounted I would think that its a Jones.
  12. I echo Stephens comments, and I use the action pivot design as my first indicator of a specific manufacturer, this coupled with some other features like fretwork, and maybe the reed frame design, can give what is then only an educated guess.
  13. I can see three different action designs, so the concertina has been seriously messed about with. Given the fretting etc. I would ask if this is a viable instrument for repair
  14. On Traditional concertinas, the very high reeds were often not valved, this could leave them breathy and weak sounding. The reason for not valving was that the reed would not start sounding as the valve choked air flow instead of opening. The solution was to clip the tip of the related valve to permit initial air flow when starting the reed. Yet there would be enough of the vent covered, on bellows reversal, to prevent breathiness or dual note sounding. You might wish to consider this for an experiment.
  15. I follow Frank in this. I tend to leave the bulk of the old gasket in place and use the reed pan as described, just to space the bellows frame sections out better around the reed pan 'jig'. I then replace all the gasketing before fitting the bellows, I also use card as a shim under the new gasket if needed, The glue I use to repair the woodwork is PVA it works well with old animal glue traces. Then a light glue, gum Arabic, as I have it to hand, to attach the gasket chamois. This facilitates the removal of the gasket for access to plate nuts or re-packing by subsequent and future craftsmen. I recently had to deal with an instrument where someone had replaced the plate nuts leaving the replacement top face of the nut and countersunk screws proud of the end face bellows frame wood, needless to say, the 'tina was not overly air efficient!. Whilst the bellows frame is in bits, and naked it is worthwhile checking the condition of the plate nuts and their seating ensures that they are not proud of the bellows frame mating surface. Dave
  16. On the English Bass, to save weight and improve responsiveness, the majority were single action. The reeds were big enough, and there was space to screw the reeds to the underside of an enclosed chamber section, there being no reed pan as such. The padboard formed one side of the chamber section, and the reeds being screwed onto the other. On some of the really big bass instruments a manifold block was fixed where a reed might be expected, this lead to a bigger chamber pipe which was mounted above the top of the other surface mounted reeds. These instruments are responsive, the constraint being the large and sometimes weighted reed tongue excitement. The screwing down of the reed is secure, adjustable to twist and eliminates the effect of wood movement on the long reed frame flanks. Think how thick the reedpan base would have to be to sink in a big reed, one per side. Dave
  17. Mayfair's are good instruments and a lot more maintainable than many accordion reeded instruments. I tend to feel that the price is a tad on the high side, it would need to have been serviced, all the tuning tweeked as needed etc to justify that sort of money
  18. Well done Ciaran, nice site, easy to navigate and enough information on each instrument to give the prospective buyer a good idea about what they are choosing
  19. There was usually a series of card shims between the top of the spacing pillar and the underside of the action box cover, often these get lost or omitted. It has nothing to do with any baffles as the material has to be incompressible to be effective. Baffles are nit dust filters, or screens. Their purpose is to attenuate or mute as necessary. Where gauze is fitted then it is intended to stop fibres, hair, even insect ingress. The number of pads and amount of felt work that I have seen that has been attacked by moth larvae is staggering. I agree that the action box screws sticking out under the pad board is common place. Often you can see where they have been nipped off and the ends filed flat. It is better than taking the end off, putting it down on a highly polished table top and leaving a nice long scratch. MILSEY mentions red leather horse shoe baffles on an Anglo, from what he says I guess that would have been the reddish paper/ fabric material shaped and used behind the fretting apertures as a trim which may have been replaced with leather at some time. Often the 'paper' is cut into several bits just to be behind the fretting.
  20. I cannot say that I have ever seen baffles as such being fitted to an Anglo. Lachenal used to fit a sort of fabric paper as a dark cherry red trim, and some sort of gauze could be fitted as a dust barrier. Baffles were fitted to English systems to modify tonality, and in some cases horseshoe shaped baffles, sometime spruce some times leather, I think sheepskin was popular to balance the sound energy of the deep notes against the upper end squeakers. So why do you want to fit baffles to your Anglo? Dave
  21. A well respected Dutch Concertina player and Teacher is Paulina de Snoo, google her and try and make contact, she has done a lot to help concertina beginners, and will have a good handle on what is around.
  22. A couple of thoughts: 1. how do you define a 'tutor' instrument? 2. there are variances between two instruments of the same model, in tone, responsiveness, and feel comparisons between models can only be general and need to be built up over a number of examples 3. I think that comparisons should be more about features and their broad brush characteristics, then it's up to each individual machine on it's merits. Often the Wheatstone cat. numbers defined the 'grade' of instrument rather than it's playing qualities. Like a car's go-faster stripes and leather seats.
  23. Valves can have an extraordinary effect on tuning and playability. They can mute notes, slow notes and flatten notes. but they tend not to click as much as 'plop' as they close on reversal of bellows. if they click I would probably think more about a loose reed that has not started to rattle yet.
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