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wim wakker

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  1. Thanks everyone. I noticed that some people think that our move will make our instruments/restorations more expensive for european customers….This is NOT true. In fact, for most European countries it can be cheaper to buy an instrument from outside the EC than from within... I won’t go into the ‘fascinating’ details, but it has to do with European national VAT rates, import fees, possible tax deductions and the exchange rate. We’ll take care of the import/export paperwork for customers outside the USA…. Wim Wakker Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  2. As of February 15, the Concertina Connection is relocating to the USA. After a long, time consuming process, we’re just about ready to move back to the USA. It will be our 4th and last time in 22 years that we cross the Atlantic… For the people on our waiting lists, there will be no financial negative effect. We’ll pick up the extra cost caused by our move. If you have any further questions, just email me. As of January 1st, all our prices have been converted to US$, with the exception of the concertina parts and music publications. These will be converted later (Paypal problems..). We will be closed during most of February and will open again for restorations only on March 1st. At this moment our schedule is pretty open…If you have an instrument in need of work, and don’t want to wait a long time.. this is your chance. We’ve made 77 Wakker concertinas in the Netherlands. The last one with the ‘Helmond, Netherlands’ label is a metal ended W-A1, going to…the USA. No. 0878 will be the first one with the Valleyford, WA label. See our site for our new address. Wim Wakker Concertina Connection (v.o.f.)
  3. Terrier: There is nothing the dealer can do about the rattling/buzzing you hear sometimes in a new Rochelle/Jackie or Jack. Actually, our dealer in Oakland has a lot of experienced with accordion reeded instruments. There are 2 different ‘rattles’ that can occur in these instruments. The good news is that both rattles will disappear all by themselves when the instrument is played in. The first one is caused by the tip of the reed touching the side of the aluminum frame, which is quite common in free reed instruments. This is cause by tension in the reed frame/ reed block, which can push the reed slightly out of alignment. Common causes are humidity and temperature changes (transport, seasonal changes, etc.). The wax/resin mixture used to mount the reeds functions as a buffer for this, but is not always able to completely absorb the tension. The rattle disappears when the tension is reduced (when the instrument adjusts to the local humidity) and the reed is centered again, or when the (steel) reed just ‘removes’ the part of aluminum that is in its way… The other rattle that you can hear sometimes is resonance in the action. Although these instruments have riveted actions, the lever/key connection is not bushed. The reed blocks are mounted directly on the opposite side of the action board. The reeds (especially the lower ones) can generate so much vibration, that the keys ‘bounce’ on the levers. For some reason this rattle also seems to disappear all by itself over time. If you want to, you could install bushings in the action. The key hole/lever clearance is 0.1mm/ 0.004 inch. If you would increase this to 1.5mm (0.06”) you could install 1mm bushing felt. As always, if you have any problems or questions about your Rochelle/Jackie/Jack, please contact us or the dealer you bought it from before ‘fixing’ the problem yourself. So far I have never encountered a problem with these instruments that was not fixable with email instructions and the RJJ toolbox: 1 screw driver, 1 paring knife and 1 lighter.. Wim Wakker Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  4. I think Harry Geuns would be the right person to ask... There are not many bandoneon makers around who can design and make such an instrument. wim
  5. Foil valves will always lay flat on the frame. They don’t droop. Not after 2 weeks, 2 months or after 2 years… that’s another advantage of foil valves. They are not affected by gravity or any other outside influence, unless they are damaged. Valve calibration is permanent. Once bent, they will never lay flat again. Gurgling foil valves should be reglued (any PVA glue will do). The plopping noise is common with these valves because of the distance they open. They can open up to 1-1.5 cm from the frame. They are no obstruction at all for the air flow, which results it the maximum reed performance. When you put a spring on a valve you won’t hear the plop anymore because it will open only a few millimetres and cause a major air flow obstruction. Result: slow speaking reeds, low volume, dull sound. But, you won’t hear a plop…. Your "monstrosity" looks quite interesting…I guess it all depends on what kind of playability your expect to achieve. A few problems you might want to solve before putting any money in it: What do you want to do about the direct and indirect air flow and chamber pressure. If they are to sound in octaves, you should at least make sure these factors are identical. An other one: under what angle are you planning to install the reeds. Amplifonic would guarantee acceptable swing cycle performance, but is impossible because of the shape of your instrument… I am just an outsider, but I would order an instrument from a professional bandoneon maker…I bet it would be a lot cheaper and better sounding. Wim Wakker Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  6. All our Jackie/Jack and Rochelle models have foil valves. There are no leather parts. The advantage is multiple: no hanging valves due to humidity, age, etc., and the valves can be air flow calibrated. In fact, the valves we use on these instruments are made in Germany and are pretty ‘high tech’. Depending on air flow requirement, different materials/thicknesses are used and combined. If you look at the larger foil valves on the lower reeds, you can see that each material has a different length, adding up to a certain resistance. Creasing any of these layers increases the valve resistance and will most likely result in slower speaking reeds. Again, never fiddle with the valves.. It took me a long time to calibrate these instruments…. Wim Wakker Concertina Connection v.o.f. P.S. foil valves can only be used with accordion reeded concertinas, not traditionally made instruments.
  7. Here are simple solutions for problems that might occur with the Jackie/Jack and Rochelle models. The only tools you’ll ever need to repair one of these instruments is a screw driver, paring knife and a lighter. PLEASE, before doing anything to these instruments, contact the dealer you bought it from, or send us an email… With over 1500 of these instruments around the world, they have proven to be pretty reliable. The ‘failure’ rate is only about 2%, including the failures caused by ‘owner repairs’ which still outnumbers transport damage... In this price class such a low failure rate is very rare. However, we do our best to get it as close to 0% as possible. Rattling noises: - pressure on the aluminum frames (especially after transport) due to temperature/humidity changes play the instrument for a few weeks and give it time to adjust to its new environment. - poor reed alignment center the reed with a small paring knife. Insert the tip of the knife between the reed and frame close to the tip of the reed. Gently push against the reed and try. Repeat until you get a clear sound. If the rattling gets worse, push the reed in the opposite direction… - damaged valve When a valve is damaged, it can resonate on the air flow. Valves should be flat against the frame. NEVER crease a valve. - action resonance Especially on lower notes (e.g. Jack, Rochelle left hand notes) action parts (key/lever) can resonate, causing a rattling noise. It seems that almost all of these rattles disappear after a few months, when the reeds produce a different harmonic spectrum. - Reed frame resonance sometimes extreme temperature changes during transport can cause the resin component in the reed wax to shrink a little. When this happens the reed frame is not held by the wax anymore. Heat up a screw driver with a lighter and hold it against the wax ABOVE the frame. As soon as the wax melts remove your screw driver. Sticking keys: - Sometimes a key can be out of alignment due to transport or a player that pushes against the side of the key rather than straight down. Look at the side of the key from different angles. Check if it is leaning over a little. If it does, just push it in the opposite direction. Thumb pressure should suffice. - The second reason for a sticking key can be a tight rivet. A tight rivet might work fine for a long time. That’s why it can ‘slip’ our triple quality control. just put a little drop of lubricating oil on the rivet. Please keep in mind that every free reed instrument, including these entry lever models, need to be played in. They’ve traveled around the world through different temperature and humidity zones. Experience has shown that they will adjust to almost any climate, ranging from Scandinavia to south America if you only give them time. Again, when you have problems with your instrument, first contact your dealer or send us an email.. Please don’t result to home cures unless you really know what you are doing. Wim Wakker Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  8. sold Wim Wakker Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  9. We’ve been asked to sell a Stagi 46 key Hayden for a German customer who just took delivery of his W-H1. The instrument is in new condition. A well known German bandoneon maker recently installed key bushings and re-tuned the instrument. Asking price 385 Euro (ca. $570.00). Shipping within Europe: 24 euro. Shipping to the USA: $47.00. Payment can be sent to our bank accounts in the Netherlands or USA. Wim Wakker Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  10. Anyone who has completed the free reed history introduction courses at freshman level can tell you the different types of construction/techniques used in these aerophone families. It is not complicated… First of all, the term hybrid has been used in free reed instruments construction since the early 20th century. It is not something made up recently. The term is used when 2 different free reed family groups are combined, which was quite common in those days. Producers would make anything they could sell using the techniques and knowledge they had available at the time. They were always trying to expand their market. During the first 70 years of the european free reed ‘story’, the different reed technologies were geographically determined. For example, the German makers used a different technique than makers in Italy, Russia or France etc.. We generally refer to these techniques by the names of the instruments they produced: Harmonikabau (bandonions, etc.)– Germany, accordion technique- Italian, harmonium technique -France, and the english concertina technique. There is a distinct difference between these techniques. Hybrid instruments come into existence when makers using one free reed technique produce instruments normally using a different technique. For instance, concertinas with accordion reeds, Bandonions with accordion reeds, harmonicas with accordion reeds, accordions with concertina reeds (Lachenal) etc.…. The german Konzertinas produced for the GB market were actually German accordions made according to the german ‘Harmonikabau’ technique, using zinc plates etc. ‘wrapped’ in a hexagonal box (to imitate the english concertina). The reason for this was pure economical. The instrument was aimed at the english working class who could not afford a real english concertina….a perfect example of German marketing. So, when referring to the ‘concertina principle or technique’, or the german word ‘Harmonikabau’, we’re referring to a certain free reed technique. No one cares if there are buttons on the outside or frames in the bellows. To use the engine example one more time, when comparing diesel with gasoline engines, no one cares if the car is a truck or sports sedan…. Wim Wakker Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  11. The term hybrid refers to the fact that the reeds are originally developed for a different type of hand driven free reed instrument (accordion), with completely different specifications and tonal objectives. I notice that the makers of these hybrid concertinas find the word condescending for some reason, and refer to all kinds of facts that are supposed to prove that these instruments are not of lesser quality than instruments with ‘real’ concertina reeds.. As the only maker of instruments with both traditional hand made ‘real’ concertina reeds and instruments with accordion type reeds (outsourced), I have no problem with the term hybrid, because it describes exactly what it is: a concertina with non concertina type reeds. It does not say anything about speed, sound quality, etc. In order to understand why these reeds are not the same as traditional concertina reeds, you need to have a basic understanding of the different type of free reeds used in bellows driven musical instruments. When comparing traditional concertina reeds with accordion type reeds, every aspect of the reeds, such as the design and construction of the reed and frame, reed swing cycle objective and dynamics, reed resistance, - curve and –spectrum, air flow dynamics, harmonic objective and chamber interference is different. It is like comparing a gasoline engine with a diesel engine. It has nothing to do with reed quality. The best quality accordion reeds have nothing in common with a concertina reed. In fact, from a technical point of view, most accordion type reeds (including the ones we use in the Rochelle and Jackie concertinas) are of a higher quality than many vintage concertina reeds, simply because the tools and techniques available today produce better fitting reeds with more consistent steel quality. A concertina is more than a hexagonal box with buttons and reeds… it is a specific way free reeds are activated by manipulation of a long air column in combination with a short activation of a metal free reed, of which the harmonics are determined by reed shape, reed curve and frame slot. The closest relative is the harmonium, which uses partly the same principle. Accordions have steel reeds (ca. 48R hardness), activated by a short high, non specified air flow, without column modification, with a long slot activation. Harmonics are determined by reed curve only. The term hybrid concertina describes the instrument perfectly: shape, lay out, etc. of a traditional concertina, but without the concertina reeds and reed technique. I personally see it as a positive thing.. the hybrid concertina has allowed more people to play and enjoy the instrument than ever before. Another positive side effect is that hybrid concertinas play very well. The reason is that it is almost impossible to prevent an accordion reed from performing well. They play in any setting, unlike traditional concertina reeds which are much more finicky and temperamental. Wim Wakker Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  12. Well… I am willing to see if it would be feasible to offer a limited number of G/D Rochelles. Besides technical, there are also financial and logistic obstacles. Because of the way our production system is set up, we need to do a minimum of 60 instruments. If we get 60 orders for a G/D Rochelles, I am willing to see what I can do. Any one interested in a G/D Rochelle, let us know: info@concertinaconnection.com Wim Wakker Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  13. The english model will have 40+ keys. It depends on the reduced frame sizes I can get. At this moment I favour size over the top notes as long as it is more than 40. We plan to offer both C/G and G/D anglos as well as treble and baritone englishes. Wim
  14. Actually…. We’re just about to start the production of the ‘Clover’, which is a new hybrid 30 key anglo. The Clover is comparable to the other hybrid instruments available, and has hand made Antonelli reeds, low resistance valves, high quality woods (no multiplex, MDF or HDF), traditional brass fittings and metal domed keys (nylon core with metal sleeve). The instrument will have our double guided brass action (as used in our MIDI models). Design, size and weight are all comparable to our Phoenix anglo which is a copy of the Wheatstone Linota. The difference is: Phoenix = vintage concertina reeds, Clover = accordion reeds Just to avoid wrong assumptions/misunderstandings: I will NOT be making this instrument myself. The Clover will be hand made at “our new shop” in China which is especially set up for this instrument, and its english counterpart (available 2008). I am responsible for the instrument’s design (own the exclusive rights), and the necessary manufacturing instruction/tools, etc., but the shop will be run by my Chinese partner. The small team of workers are all professionals, recruited from the accordion industry. The key parts of the instrument will be exported from Europe. The Clover will of course be part of our trade in program. Regarding the price…it will be very, very reasonable ... Finally, about ‘our’ Rochelle, There is quite a lot of difference between the cheap clones and the Rochelle. The Rochelle is a European concertina (designed and owned by me), made exclusively for us in China, to my specifications/standards, using some European parts. We even have our own quality controller in the factory, which by the way, is not the same as the Clover shop. The Rochelle/Jackie/Jack are the only European concertinas that are made in China. The other concertinas are Chinese instruments; designed/copied, developed, made and marketed by Chinese companies. When in doubt if you have a Rochelle or clone, just open the instrument and compare the action, reeds, valves, etc… Wim Wakker Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  15. I think, and this is just my speculation, that links in a Hayden Duet could be done with both buttons each operating their own separate lever and pivot, with the two levers meeting at the single pad. One lever would hold the pad, the other lever would fit under the first lever end and lift it and the pad with it. However, the link button would be lifting two levers and their springs, so would have to feel twice the key pressure. Not good. EDITED to add: Wait! Only the "primary" lever would have a spring -- the linked button's lever would just lift the primary lever (at the pad) and its single spring; the link lever would have no spring of its own, just its own pivot point. So -- key pressure would be the same on both buttons, and this is a workable scheme! And thanks for giving us a professional maker's view of the problems. --Mike K. As they say, one picture says more than a thousand words… There are a few problems to solve: 1 the obvious problem: space. This drawing shows the right side of our H-1. try to reach the second location following these rules: A: maximum lever lengh 6 cm (longer requires heavier levers to provide enough stability) B: preferably in a straight line, with room for the pivot. The more you bend a lever, the more side pressure it creates. You won’t notice this when an instrument is new, but in time, it will cause action noise…we expect our instruments to last at least 100 years…… C: You can not change the order of the pads. The size of the reed chambers (underneath the pads) vary too much to be able to move them around. The instrument is completely ‘full’, with no space to spare. D: because of the way our action is balanced, there is not enough room underneath the shorter levers for an other lever to pass. Especially if it has to be wider to provide enough stability. 2 key travel. Each pad has to open a certain amount to provide the necessary air flow. If a pad opens too far too fast, you will/can hear the ‘turbo’ effect of the reed: the pitch will be raised slightly due to the extra burst of air ( reed amplitude too high at the beginning of the swing cycle). We don’t like this, certainly not in a duet… If you have 2 levers with different lengths meeting at one pad, you’ll need to adjust the pivot point of the longer one in order not to get the turbo effect. The ‘pad height’ of the long lever has to be exactly the same as the short lever. 3 because of the difference in lever length, you’ll need springs on both levers. Especially when moving the pivot point forward (lever weight, unbalanced lever, friction of the second lever) Good luck! Let me know if you can figure it out…. Wim P.S. In order to protect my design, I "added" 6 mistakes....enough to prevent a copy to work...sorry
  16. There are 2 different ways to connect buttons in an accordion: the stradella bass mechanism, which uses a selective rod system, which is not usable in a concertina, and the parallel link between 2 buttons as found in early/simple free bass mechanisms and right hand 4,5 and 6 row flat and stepped button keyboards. The maximum distance between the two connected buttons is never more than about 6 cm. One of the reasons for this is stability. In most better quality instruments the connector is a flat (5-2mm) piece of dur-aluminum which is double riveted to the button mechanisms. The keyboard pressure in these instruments is normally around 120-150 grams. Because of the length of the levers and distance between the buttons and "heavy duty" pivot point (about 10cm), linked buttons work quite well in accordions. The action in a concertina is far too light to handle the amount of side pressure created by a link, which has to be much longer than 6 cm. the distance between the button and pivot point for these buttons in a concertina is about 1-2 cm. To create enough stability for the mechanism to function smoothly without noise and vibration using the same material we do now ( MS58 Brass), the levers and connectors need to be at least 1.5/2-3mm. even if you ‘fine tune’ the lever pivot point, you still need 90+ grams of key pressure. Our normal keyboards pressure is between 60-70 grams, which means that the linked buttons will feel much heavier. The end result is a keyboard that feels like a cheap Lachenal (lot of pressure differences between the buttons). Wim Wakker Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  17. Just an example of what I mean. The first reed is a ‘full size’ low F reed for a Wakker A3 F-C anglo I am finishing this week. It just short of 6 cm ( 5.94 cm to be exact). The middle reed is a C reed for the same instrument, measuring about 4.5cm. The reed in the back is from a vintage concertina with the same pitch as the middle reed ©, but it only measures 3.4cm. I don’t think it is difficult to see why the weight interferes with the inner swing cycles…. Wim Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  18. First of all, you can not compare accordion reed technology with concertina reeds. It is not a matter of quality difference (accordion reed certainly are not of lesser quality), but it is like comparing two different types of engines. Accordion reeds have a much larger amplitude and a completely different inner reed energy, because the air flow activates the full length of the reed. Due to the way these reeds are designed, they need a stronger air flow to maintain their swing cycle. You can compare it to a car that needs more fuel to maintain a certain speed because of more friction. Because of the higher air flow needed to maintain the swing cycle, the weight at the end does not have any/much affect on the reed performance and harmonics. As long as the needed energy increase caused by the weight is less than the energy supplied by the air flow, the weight does not affect the performance of the reed. On the other hand, the amplitude of a concertina reed is lower. The reed’s swing cycle is activated much more aggressively, but less air flow is needed to maintain this cycle. The amount of stationary swing cycle/air flow is determined by the angle and width of the frame vent. A weight at the end of a reed does not always affect the reed performance because of the aggressive swing cycle attack (the air flow is aimed at the tip of the reed, and increased by the slot in the reed pan). Thicker reedpans, (e.g. Jeffries anglos) create a stronger air flow and will create more amplitude right from the start. Think of it as some sort of turbo charge. They will even start reeds with weights on the tips. Only when there is a poor reed/frame fit, the reeds will become slow because of the extreme loss of energy. If reeds have relatively low resistance ( e.g. strong curve= thin body), you can hear the ‘over pull’ of the reed. This over pull happens when the reed is pulled way past its normal amplitude because of the strong initial air flow. Most anglo players associate this with the typical Jeffries sound or Jeffries attack. The ‘speed’ of a reed with tip weight is also partly determined by the flexibility of the reed: the higher the weight at the tip, the stronger the reed has to be to return to the ‘first cycle position’. The only real problem with these reeds is that the weight affects the harmonic spectrum. Normal reeds have smaller inner movements that create the harmonics (octave, fifth, etc.). The weight obstructs these smaller inner swing movements, and creates a dominant principle swing cycle which produces the tonic frequency.. Simply put, the reed sounds dull, almost without any harmonics. Regarding the harmoniums, the slowness is often caused by the long route the air has to follow to reach the reeds. French harmoniums are of a much higher quality. They don’t have this delay. Wim Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  19. Unlike in concertinas with accordion reeds, in instruments with traditional concertina reeds the size of the instrument is mostly determined by the size of the reed frames and chambers. When using uncompromised reed scaling (having the pitch of the reed determine the length of the tongue, rather than ‘pinching’ the lower reeds) the lowest reed frames would be over 3”. Add to that the optimum chamber dimensions in order to give the reed the same swing cycle start and harmonic spectrum as the higher reeds, the chambers will be around 4”. If you want to make the instrument as small as possible, you’ll need to change (compromise) the reed scaling, especially of the lower notes. Personally, I think that both sound quality and action performance (= key travel, weight with the smallest possible variation between the keys) should be more important than instrument size. Even when done right, reed scaling is always a compromise.. This goes for both reed and string instruments. Just compare the sound quality of a 9’ concert grand with a 4’ baby grand… examples of “good” reed scaling in vintage concertinas are the late Victorian englishes from both Wheatstone and Lachenal and the linota anglo which also has compromised scaling… The ‘long scale reeds’ found in aeolas and edeo’s and harmoniums (which use the same reed technique and are the closest free reed relative to the concertina) are actually based on uncompromised reed dimensions. We use these also in most of our anglo and english models. I developed (calculated) a slightly different reed scaling for our Hayden 46 key, in order to fit the reeds in the given reedpan, and to obtain a slightly ‘flatter’ equilibrium. In the 65 key I start ‘pinching’ the lower reeds later down the scale, keeping most of the reeds at perfect dimensions.. Extreme small instrument dimensions can only be obtained with brutal scaling methods like adding weights to the lower reeds, something I refuse to do…. I rather add a ¼ or ½ inch and have an instrument with a uniform spectrum and reed characteristics….. Wim Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  20. Since I don’t play Hayden duet myself, I followed Brian Hayden’s suggestions to the letter. Certainly at this point I feel it is not up to me to change the layout or number of buttons. Brian was kind enough to sent me information on keyboard dimensions etc. and approved my layout. I thought of offering a ‘marked’ button, for instance the “A”. Since the instrument has standard flat buttons, the marked ones (1 or 2 per side) can be domed, or flat with a domed keyboard. I read all the articles dealing with Hayden lay outs. Between these and the emails I got from different players I ended up with so many variations that I decided to stick with the 2 that Brian suggested: 46 and 65. By the way, the D#3/F3 button on the 65 key can be one of the two notes, both or just an air button. If there is a 55 key layout that can be considered standard, I am willing to add this to our gamma. Another reason for the 46 and 65 key models is the cost. I realize that they are not cheap, but they are much more complex to make than a simple 30 key anglo and take much longer...It took me 1500-2000 hours to design and test the instrument, and I have been doing this professionally for many years…. Wim Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  21. You’re right. Long scale reeds produce a better/more even equilibrium and need less air to start the swing cycle.. we use them in our anglo and english models, except for the Eir anglo and E-4 english, which both have a different scaling. The reason our Haydens have a shorter scaling is because of the limited space in the instrument. With the ‘Hayden’ scaling I tempered the lower notes to get a ‘flatter’ amplitude curve. Most vintage concertinas have short scale reeds (including the linota). The only exceptions are the edeo’s and aeolas. Wim Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  22. For anyone interested: I just uploaded the first photos of the W-H1 model. We offer 2 models: H1= 46 keys, H2= 65 keys. For more info visit our site. Wim Wakker Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  23. One reason for replacing the action in a concertina is to improve the way it plays, not necessarily because the action is worn... A replacement action allows me to recalculate the best position and height of the pivot point, in order to get the maximum air flow to the reeds and at the same time get the best possible key pressure and key travel. I’ve done maybe 50 or so instruments over the last 10 years and was able to achieve a considerable improvement in just about all of them. When you improve the airflow to the reed, the reeds amplitude and harmonics will improve. The instrument will have a richer tone, better dynamics, better swing cycle start (faster) and will sound better balanced over the whole range. By adjusting the position and height of the pivot point (I use 3 different heights in replacement actions), it is possible to reduce the key travel with 1+ mm and still generate the maximum airflow. The last advantage is the more even key pressure. Depending on the instrument, I usually can get the key pressure at 62/65 grams, with a maximum deviation of ca. 5 grams. In general, concertina actions have a lot of room for improvement, not just Lachenal actions.. Personally I see a replacement action more as optimising the instrument, which is a common practice for many musical instruments. Many pianists replace their action with a Renner action…. Wim Wakker Concertina Connection v.o.f.
  24. Dirge, what I meant was that the price of most vintage/antique musical instruments is close to the actual value of the instrument. The ‘A’ part in my previous post. Instruments are firstly judged by their musical value, not the fact that they are antique. The price of a vintage violin is based on its musical qualities. Not the fact that it is old. In fact, the value of most old musical instruments is lower than that of a new one. Most vintage guitars, pianos, brass instruments, etc. are cheaper than their new counterparts. The concertina is/was an exception because until a few years ago the only concertinas available were vintage ones. This is changing very fast at the moment. At this moment the market price of vintage anglos does not reflect the quality of the instruments. You can buy a beautiful Wheatstone duet or english for less than what you have to pay for an anglo at the moment. When they were new, both duets and englishes were more expensive and often of better quality than the anglos. The reeds Wheatstone used in their top anglos were the same as the ones used in the standard hexagonal english and duet models (short scaled). At this moment vintage anglo prices are determined by what ever the seller decides to ask, which is often not based on any quality facts, but just on how bad the buyer wants an anglo, and the availability of instruments at that moment. There is a big chance that someday (soon), when there are enough new instruments on the market, the balance might tip in favor of the new (concertina reeded) instruments and deflate the vintage prices. As I said, this has happened to several vintage instruments. Wim Wakker
  25. Reading these posts on concertina values worries me enough to add my point of view. Sorry if it is a little long…. I have been a professional classical musician for over 24 years and as such have been involved in instrument collecting, restoration etc. for quite a while. As a concertina maker and restorer, I think I also have a pretty good insight in this market. When you compare other musical instruments markets with ‘our’ concertina world, one difference sticks out right from the start: knowledge of the people involved. For instance, when you go to a violin or piano auction, 99% of the people involved are professionally trained, either as players, restorers, collectors (museums etc.). The all have a lot of knowledge on the subject. The price of a musical instrument offered at auction, etc. concsists of 2 components: A: instrument value (quality, condition, historical/musical importance) and B: trade mark up. In theory this should be around 80/20% for used/antique instruments. The first part (the 80%) usually is the minimum amount on the auction info sheet. The B part is determined not by the quality of the instrument, but on the retail value. An example: As a hobby I collect 19th century concert grands with a ‘history’ (besides concertinas of course). Due to limited space I limit my grand collection to 2 instruments. one of my instruments is a 9 foot grand once made for Chopin, who unfortunately died before the instrument was finished in 1853. I bought it in England from (I think) one of the best restorers in the world. The price I paid was pretty close to the A component. The reason the B component was relatively small, was because nowadays not everyone can place an instrument of this size. For the ‘piano trade’ this instrument was not that interesting. Although the musical and historical value is very high. Because of the small B component in the price, this instrument will keep its value. Another example: my neighbor deals in violins, starting at 100.000 euros ($135.000). He doesn’t play the instrument, but likes the dealing part. He travels all over the world buying and selling these instruments. His profit is the difference in the B component of the price. The A component does not change. Although the amounts are high, at least for me, the fluctuations in price are relatively small because people dealing at that price range know their instruments. They will not over pay. The actual value (A) is always lower than the price paid. This is where the problems with concertinas start…first of all, the concertina market is not a professional market. There are (to my knowledge) very few people involved with any kind of professional free reed education. Names of makers, instead of condition etc. still make up a large part of the price. The A and B component in the concertina prices are out of balance. There always seems to be a lot of emotion involved when it comes to concertina values. Example: We restore ‘rare’ high end concertinas for dealers. The price paid by the customer is often 3-4 times the value of the A component. This happens because the dealers wants to get the highest possible price, and the customer does not have any/enough knowledge about concertinas to know its real value. The problem really starts when this customer wants to sell this instrument again. He will base his price on what he paid for it, and will add something to compensate for inflation. To make things worse, asking exorbitant prices seems to give a certain status to the instrument. Normally in a ‘professional’ world, if this would have been a violin or piano, this instrument will not sell because the buyers have enough knowledge to know it is too expensive. In the concertina world I frequently see these instruments changing hands. The new owner thinks he has a top instrument because of the price he paid… it is not uncommon for concertina prices to consist of A :20% B:80%. This is of course not a problem when you find someone willing to buy it from you, but it is not healthy for the concertina market. I have read prices quoted for a ‘basic’ wheatstone Linota, which was not wheatstones best concertina model, of $10.000… When you look at the instrument from a instrument technical point of view, the A component should be around $2500-3500. a B segment of $7500 is very risky.. and will only be paid by people with little knowledge of the instrument. It is like buying a care only based on make and how much it shines, assuming the higher the price the better the car. There is a tradition with musical instrument makers of keeping the price you charge close to the A component. I do this, and I know Dipper and Suttner do this also. Personally I think Mr. Dipper is the only one that should add a B component to his price because his instruments have proven to be of excellent quality over a long period of time. The $20.000 I read is ridiculous of course, since the cost (A) of making a concertina is between $3000-$4000. I think the inflated prices of concertinas, especially anglos, will come down some day. There are plenty of examples in the musical world of prices that collapsed when new good quality instruments started to come on the market: pianos, dulcitones, brass.. They all went through a period with an “inflated B component. It seems that the market will always correct itself…. Wim Wakker Concertina Connection v.o.f.
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