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Posts posted by Johanna

  1. If you've decided you want to go with the English concertina, I'd encourage you to give the Jackie another look. If cost is an important factor for you, the Jackie really does give you quite a lot for the price. They can be somewhat awkward with very fast tunes, but it sounds like most of the things you want to play are not very fast anyway.


    But if you want to play music with a lot of chords, you'll really want an instrument that is perfectly in tune, at least with itself. If you buy a Jackie, you can be pretty sure that it will be in tune. (At least, I've played several different Jackies and haven't noticed any tuning problems with any of them.) If you buy a vintage instrument, you don't know - unless you pay to have it tuned or buy it from someone who's just tuned it, both of which can be expensive.


    And if you decide later that you want to upgrade to a vintage instrument, knowing your way around a Jackie will put you in a much better position to decide if a particular vintage concertina is right for you, because you'll be able to play it yourself.

  2. I'm in the process of fixing up a Lachenal tutor EC that I bought off eBay. So far, I've replaced about half the valves (the ones that were stiffest or most curled), replaced one pad (that was misaligned to begin with and wasn't sealing at all), patched a few small holes in the bellows, and reglued one of the pillars that had come loose. I've been doing all this a bit at a time, which means I've removed and replaced the ends several times. The chamois gasket was worn very thin when I got it, and doesn't seem like it will last much longer. It still seems to be making a reasonably good seal, but I don't know how much more "roughing up" it can take. So I suppose I'll need to replace it at some point. I've been following Dave Elliott's maintenance manual, but this doesn't seem to be covered in there. And so I have questions.


    1. I gather from other threads here that any old chamois will work, but thicker is better? Any particular thickness I should be aiming for?


    2. How exactly do I do this? How do I figure out what size and shape to cut, how do I fit it into place, what kind of glue should I use, etc.? I've been looking around for instructions, but haven't found any. I guess it might be easy to figure out, but I don't want to take the old gasket off only to realize that I have no idea what I'm doing.


    3. The chamois strips along the partitions between the reed chambers seem to be in good condition, but it looks like if I replace the worn-out outer gasket with something thicker, the inner strips will no longer be high enough to make a good seal. Is that a reasonable suspicion? What do I do if that happens?


    4. Anything else I need to be careful about?


    Thanks in advance for your help. :)

  3. Hello concertina world,


    I'm having the same problem as the original poster here. But in my case, punching more holes in the strap won't do any good. Even when I pull the strap as tight as I can, the triangle formed by the strap, the face of the instrument, and the rigid part that comes out perpendicular to the face is much larger than my thumb. It's probably at least twice as large. What do I do?


    Some background information, in case any of this is relevant:


    - The instrument in question is a Jack, which I bought used from the Button Box.


    - The Jack/Jackie tutor book says "Adjust the straps so that the thumbs cannot slide all the way through the strap. The straps should feel firm, not tight, around the thumbs." I'm nowhere close to being able to meet either of those conditions.


    - My hands and fingers aren't particularly small. Probably about average for a woman.


    - Prior to getting the Jack, I've been playing a Stagi 18-button mini for about three months. So I'm not totally a newbie, and I have some idea of how things are supposed to feel.


    - I've played around a bit with a Jackie and a 30-button Stagi at the House of Musical Traditions (fortunately only a few miles from where I live) and didn't have this problem with either of those instruments. I plan to take my Jack in to the store to compare it side by side with the Jackie to see what's different, but I won't have a chance to do that for a few days at least.


    - I've tried Mike Franch's suggestion of inserting things into the straps. This works for a quick fix, and may end up being my permanent fix, but it seems to me that it's a sign that something is wrong that I can't tighten the straps anywhere close to enough on their own.

  4. On the issue of range: I'm learning on an 18-button Stagi mini (whose range is even smaller than the Jackie's), and I've worked out how to play chords to a couple of simple melodies. So I'm sure that there's plenty you can do on the Jackie.

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