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Ron Wilson

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Everything posted by Ron Wilson

  1. Oh, dear! Will this lead to legions of German factory concertinas with Wheatstone labels marching to market alongside the ranks of German factory fiddles with Stradivarius labels?
  2. There are numerous photos of the famous inventor Charles Wheatstone, there's a dandy pic of Charlie Jeffries, photos of members of the Crabb family, as well as images of great concertinists like Regondi and Blagrove and the generations of Matusewitches. There are several photos of Louis Lachenal's daughter Marie, who was married to Edwin Debenham, a portrait photographer whose studio was well established before the death of Louis Lachenal. Yet I've never seen a photo of Louis Lachenal, whose concertinas gave Wheatstone's a run for their money. As a great fan of his wonderful Edeophones, I wonder if I've somehow overlooked it . . . so what's the story? Does anyone here know if a photo of Louis Lachenal exists?
  3. Oh, I'm told it is a great aid when importing a concertina from abroad into the US to describe it as a "small accordion" on the waybill, rather than just calling it a concertina. Apparently, everyone knows what an accordion is, but this is not so for concertinas. IMHO, the world would be a better place if everyone knew what a concertina is.
  4. I've bought several instruments recently from Great Britain, and shipped them to the US. Just because a law doesn't properly apply to your antique instrument, don't count on the law being interpreted correctly by customs officials. You might have no problem at all, or a customs official may question the materials and age of the instrument you are importing. I had a concertina held briefly as a violation of the Lacey Act which prohibits certain logging and restricts trade in protected wood species. With some quick explaining, the issue was dropped, but the customs official briefly threatened to disassemble the instrument to ensure no protected woods were incorporated in it! How's that to make your hair stand on end? If you use a freight company such as DHL, they will handle the import duties and taxes. I'd imagine they could give you an idea of these costs before you purchase. A high end concertina just cost me $400 USD in duties and taxes to import from Great Britain.
  5. He's selling it "for parts or not working" so there must be more repairs needed than just the cosmetic ones. Some fabulously wealthy concertina angel should buy her up and put things right. Terrible shame to let such a gem deteriorate into rubbish for want of a caring owner -- but what a financial commitment. Does 64 buttons imply a tenor-extended treble? Must have been an awesome instrument in her day, and still breathtaking to look at even in her neglected condition.
  6. So elsewhere in the forums, it's suggested that K.V.W.S. stands for "Key Valve & Wrist Strap". I know what wrist straps are, but what is a key valve? Is it a "bowing valve" / air relief button?
  7. Hmmm. Gpanda123 again. Check out the comments on this auction. Gpanda123 won't reveal the serial number of the concertina he wants us to pay $7000-$8000 for, because the serial number is the property of the owner, whatever that means. Gpanda won't post more pics of the concertina, but doesn't understand why anyone would want to see any. If I were a betting man, I'd bet he doesn't have access to the concertina, and so can't learn the serial number or take any more pics. Also, IMHO his demeanor online veers between nasty and batty. Every concertina auction of his that I've ever seen goes about the same way. Just sayin'.
  8. I've sent you a PM regarding the instrument. I may be interested. Thanks, Ron
  9. I messaged the seller on ebay and asked about the two extra buttons. He replied that they are indeed novelty buttons, the "duck" sound and the "whizzy" sound. Ron
  10. From my experience, novelty buttons are very rare, and I suppose were most common on professional instruments for use in vaudeville performances or such. Is there any evidence for how they were used in an act? Also, everybody here is very well acquainted with how the concertina's reeds produce a musical note. How do the novelty buttons produce the baby cries and bird calls? Has anybody heard of any other novelty buttons besides the baby and bird, which seem to be the most common? I'd personally like a button that produced an authoritative lion roar, but I guess that's asking a lot, eh?
  11. Oh, and to weigh in on the idea proposed above, IMHO it would necessarily be a sacrilige to subject such a concertina to replacement ends/veneers. As pointed out above, this would not bring back the tortoise in question, but would do irreparable harm to a fascinating historic object. That being said, I prefer my tortoise shell on the tortoise if possible, and applaud CITES for protecting endangered creatures.
  12. Oh, this was terribly cruel. I didn't note the original posting's date, and read through the whole thing thinking this treasure was available for sale now, not realizing this was just an inquiry on a sale that had taken place years ago. There were precious few minis ever made. I'll bet all the tortoise shell minis in the world are countable on one or two hands. I've never even seen a reference to one before. Perhaps if I put my metal ended mini in a dark box with my tortoise tenor-treble, they will reproduce and I'll get a litter of tortoise minis!?! I trust Mr. Wayne didn't re-veneer this box with a more politically acceptable material .
  13. Condolences on the loss of your friend. What a lovely looking instrument. Is it safe to assume that, absent any comment on the instrument's key, it is a C/G box? What are the novelty sounds? I've seen birds and baby cries before, but who knows what things might be possible.
  14. After my civil war era fiddle was stolen from my locked car (gone in five minutes), I asked my fiddle teacher what precautions to take in future. His shocked response: "Don't EVER leave any instrument in your car! Don't leave it backstage at a gig. Don't ever leave it unattended anywhere outside of your home! I even take my violin along with me to the restroom at the symphony hall. If your instrument is small enough for a thief to walk away with, then it's small enough for you to carry with you so it's safe." The authorities almost never recover stolen items, and with a great antique concertina you'll wait years to happen on a similar instrument for sale. Still kicking myself when I think of that fiddle. You can't be too careful!
  15. I bought a 12 Button Mini Wheatstone just like this a few years ago. It is a delightful piece of work, and always attracts attention! It has a compass just a little over one octave, and is by far the loudest concertina I own! The trick is finding tunes that will fit within its range. Also, because of its small cross-sectional area, the bellows "travel" is surprisingly large. Takes a bit of getting used to. This one presently on ebay seems to have an original box in great shape - mine was a bit battered. Since it has no thumb straps, you have to get used to holding it by pinching between thumb and pinky, which can get tiring after a bit. The funniest thing was having to overcome the urge to place the left end on my knee as I do with my tenor-treble! It don't work that way!
  16. Oops, missed this one too! I've been following eBay, but not eBay.co.uk. I've been watching for a bass EC ever since playing one at an area festival. I was aware of the "Bass" when I started looking. Then I learned of the "Bass-Baritone" when I missed bidding on one that sold thru this site. Now I've learned there is also a "Contra-Bass", which I've also missed bidding on. What is the difference between a "Bass" and a "Contra-Bass"? I am becoming quite edu-ma-cated on these concertinas that I'm obviously not meant to own. Geez. Thanks for any help! Ron
  17. The miniature midget is back on ebay today with a (slightly) lower price. GBP2,950 http://cgi.ebay.com/Miniature-Midget-Wheatstone-English-Concertina-1927-/250673238987?cmd=ViewItem&pt=UK_MusicalInstr_Keyboard_RL&hash=item3a5d4a13cb
  18. I own a Wheatstone "shell" tenor-treble (from the same period, and looks nearly like this one) that I had refurbed by Wim Wakker a year or so ago. His opinion was mine (and likely most of) these are not real tortoise shell, perhaps made of horn or some such. In fact, almost every time I see one of these beauties, someone suggests it's probably not real tortoise shell. Yet the Wheatstone ledgers refer to these boxes as "shell". Of course there are minimally destructive tests that antique dealers use to identify authentic tortoise shell, but who wants to burn a pin-hole in their favorite concertina?!? In any case, these are top-of-the-line instruments. Any opinions - real tortoise shell or Victorian switcheroo?
  19. Ah, of course (whacking forehead). Terminology working just like "tenor-treble". Thanks for the info, and why didn't I figure this out myself? Guess that's the porpoise of the forums, eh .
  20. So what's the difference between a "bass-baritone" that for the same fingering sounds "just as a standard baritone", and a standard baritone?!? I own a baritone and have been looking out for a bass since I played one at a local festival. But the bass I played certainly didn't produce the notes of a standard baritone -- it was an octave lower. Any help? Ron
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