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Frank Edgley

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Everything posted by Frank Edgley

  1. I have a similar story. My mother bought me a Scholer concertina 40+ years ago after I decided to give piping a rest. In those days there was no internet or books on the subject or anyone that I knew of who played concertina. While I was looking for a better instrument I went to an estate auction and bid on an old Lachenal. I worked on it for months and got it playing, only to discover that it was a duet, which I had no idea how to play. I used what I had learned from the experience and started repairing and tuning for Elderly Instruments, in Lansing Michigan. People then started sending me concertinas from around the US and Canada, as there were very few others who would do the work. That was 40 years ago. I repaired concertinas exclusively for 20+ years until I started, with the help and encouragement of Harold Herrington (of Dallas Texas) to make them. Again there was a learning curve, and my first few, although they were much better than the Scholer left room for improvement. I am now very proud of the 570 or 580 instruments I have made, as my goal has always been to make the very best instruments possible. So keep on learning, and repairing. There is always room for people who know what they are dong with concertinas,.... the World's best-kepy musical secret.
  2. What band did you play with. Fifty years ago I played with St. Andrews Detroit. Then I was pipe major of Scottish Society of Windsor and most recently the Border Cities of Windsor/Detroit.
  3. I compare concertina straps to learning to ride a bicycle. You start off with training wheels, and eventually get rid of them. When you first pick up a concertina, you feel you need to have the straps tight for control. but that's not right. Looser is better so you can move your fingers around to reach the buttons, especially to G row buttons. There needs to be some space between your palms and the handles. Resting the left hand side of the body of your concertina (not the bellows) on your knee will give you control, even with the looser straps. It will get some getting used to, but too tight is not the answer to control, quite the opposite.
  4. His later instruments definitely had a much simpler design. Harold was a very smart guy, and a good friend. This had to be one of his earlier instruments...one that I have never seen. Before I made my first concertina, Harold sold one of his early six-sided instruments to the Windsor/Detroit Comhaltas branch. I don't remember what the mechanism was like, except it used coil springs. Comhaltas sent it back to Harold and he changed the type of action. It may have been just like the one shown above. I don't remember as I was just getting into it, in those days. I seem to remember at the very first "Squeeze-In" (where I met Harold) that the Button Box was in the process of designing their anglo and experimented with coil springs. Generally speaking, simpler is best, as long as it does the job well.
  5. Depending on who made it, it may be a bellows not using leather, at all. Then softener would probably not do anything to help in any case. An equally important factor may be the depth of the folds. very shallow folds mean that the bellows have to be pulled out more to achieve the same effect. For example, two bellows...one with shallow fold bellows and one with deeper folds. To pull them out to the same amount, let's say 8 inches, the angle that the folds of the bellows makes with the shallow folds may be 60 degrees, but the deeper fold bellows may only need to be pulled out to 30 degrees. Just a hypothetical as far as numbers are concerned, but you get the idea. A shallow bellows may never be as easy to play as a bellows with deeper folds.
  6. Probably not a good idea to use this pattern as it is too similar to another pattern, which would give the wrong impression of the person who would have it on their concertina. At least I hope no one would deliberately put it on their instrument.
  7. I recently received one of those South African- made anglos with Wheatstone logo. The tongues were crimped in place instead of clamped or riveted. Very poor response.
  8. Another factor in a good bellows is the depth of the folds. Shallow bellows may have seven or eight folds, but never reach good playability because the folds are too shallow. It's simple geometry.
  9. If the leather is that old, there is a likelihood that the leather is very dry. If that is the case, the leather would crack and if the bellows previously appeared sound, it would quickly degrade if played, even a little bit. With all respect to others who may have a differing opinion, I would use a small artists brush and apply a small amount to the gussets and corners, wiping off any excess. Stay away from any glued joints. It may be that the bellows cannot be saved, but there are repair persons who make very fine replacement bellows, in any case.
  10. If you were referring to my post, I did not mention a maker, but Voci is the one.
  11. There is a difference between A Mano and Tipo a Mano reeds in the way they are made, although I am of the opinion that who the reedmaker is makes the makes the biggest difference. With the maker I get reeds from both types are excellent, in tone and response, although I make 95% of my hybrid instruments with A Mano. Tipo a Mano is supposed to mean "hand finished" and A Mano is supposed to mean "hand-Made., according to what I have been led to believe. I don't think the model of accordion reed will get you closer to the "concertina sound," whatever that is. Different concertinas made by different makers, over time, sound differently. An Eglish system instrument sounds quite a bit differently compared to an anglo. A Jeffries anglo sounds different that a Wheatstone or Lachenal. As for quality, again this depends on the maker. I have seen Lachenal anglos with tolerances so wide you could drive a truck through, and some (usually the better models) with very good reeds. Modern Italian and Czech reeds are made as well or better than the reeds of most high end antique instruments. The sound of the various concertinas depends partly on the reeds, but also the design of the reed pans etc. etc.
  12. It may be that the felt button bushing a causing this...... friction! Remove the end of the instrument. Push a suitably-sized pencil into the hole with a twisting motion, Also using a soft lead pencil rub the lead onto the inner surface of the felt bushing, reducing the friction. Let me know how this works for you.
  13. I agree. There are enough old derelict Lachenal anglos out there to rejuvinate....instruments best put out of their misery or, at least, reincarnate with new reedpans, and bellows. In my experience, most of them had warped reedpans, which made them difficult to get them to play well. Just make sure you do justice to the reeds, and bring forth a new "life" into the world!
  14. I'm pretty sure this is from leather drying out, cracking and splitting.
  15. If you have to take the pieces apart, it will be a challenge to get everything back to the exact size and shape. Even a few hundredths out of the original hex shape with the bellows frames will make the fit of the reedpans very difficult. Of course you will have to remove the bellows gaskets before you re glue. When re gluing and reassembling the bellows frames try using the reed pans within the frames to keep the original shape. i.e. glue parts together, and put reedpan into the assembled bellows frame before the glue dries, and hold using large elastic band(s). Make sure bellows frames are in the correct order and reedpan is oriented as it was originally. None of the original parts were probably exact in size, shape etc.
  16. If Mike's offer doesn't work out, you can get brass rod from a hobby shop. Instead of relying on just a solder joint, you may be able to cut away some of the corroded arm and use the appropriate diameter of brass rod linked together to what is left of the arm using a short length of brass tubing with a drop of solder so it does not come apart .
  17. I have, in my possession an ebony Edgley Concertina, in new condition. It was not really played by the owner and is up for sale. This is a rare opportunity to get what is essentially a new instrument without the wait for it to be made, as it can be shipped very quickly. Please se my blog http://edgleyconcertinas.blogspot.com
  18. The problem I found with the vast majority of Lachenal reed pans is that almost were warped. This resulted in weak tone, and double notes.
  19. My first concertina was a Scholer. I played around with it for a month or two. Then one of the reed tongues broke. No one, not even the accordion dealer, here, in the city could repair it. It was a few years until I found a Bastari. The Scholer was a very poor instrument, but I guess if you lived in communist east Germany you played with whatever you could get. I now use it as the bellows on my tuning table.
  20. If not the ceiling fan, then I suspect those two notes are a bit loose and vibrating at their seat. If it occurs only when expanding the bellows it suggests that the negative air pressure which occurs when expanding the bellows would tend to pull the reed(s) away from their seat on the reedpan, and cause a very slight vibration. I am not familiar with the Weltmeister, but I suspect there reeds are waxed in. Examine the wax around those two reed plates. There may be a very fine spacing or crack around the reedplate, which may or may not be visible. If that is the case, it should not be difficult to put it right.
  21. Baltic birch aircraft grade plywood would work for your Lachenal. It won't warp or split...ever.
  22. This technique will flatten the reed in question. Put a razor blade under the tongue. attach a heat sink to the reed by clipping it just behind the area you will apply the sloder. The reed sink is made of aluminium and is a clip device which looks like a tiny pair of scissors. Apply a VERY small amount of flux to the tip with a toothpick. Then apply the solder. Make sure you don't get flux on the edges of the tongue or the solder will get on the edge and prevent the reed from sounding. If that happens, it's not the end of the world, but you will have to carefully file it off. You will probably have made the reed too flat. That's when you start to remove the solder carefully with a small narrow bladed file. Keep checking the pitch. It's easy to go too far. Then you will have to add solder and start again. Personally, I'm not in favour of removing the D# by flattening it. There are many beautiful melodies that need the D# as an accidental.....some O'Carolan tunes, Airs and Northumbrian tunes to start with.
  23. Tooling leather is used. It is a tough cow hide. It will need to be dyed and a finish applied. Thicker leather certainly last longer, but is stiff and not comfortable. Thinner leather is much more comfortable, and lasts long enough. I have been playing my Heritage concertina for 5 or 6 years and have years to go before they are worn out, and they are very comfortable, allowing for easy movement of the hands. If you want to get a bit fancier, there are tools you can get from Tandy leather which will allow you to customise your leather. Just dampen the leather before tooling and let dry before dying and finishing. Another thing..... you must determine the grain of the leather. One direction stretches more than the other. If you cut the leather going the wrong direction your straps will stretch.
  24. What other instruments? It wouldn't work well if playing with equal tempered instruments. Good with fiddle.
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