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Frank Edgley

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Everything posted by Frank Edgley

  1. I cannot stress this enough: Do not put a humidifier in your case! I have seen reeds virtually destroyed by doing this. Rusted, not just with surface rust, but with deep pitted rust. If you are concerned, buy a Storm Case by Pelican and keep your instrument in it when not playing it. They are 100% airtight! I have been playing concertina for over 40 years: 20 years as a repairer/player and 20+ years as a maker/player. I had a Dipper for 20 years and kept it on the mantle. I keep the Heritage instrument I made for myself on the mantle, as well. No problem! the instruments I saw most problems were antique instruments like Lachenal Anglos and Jones Anglos. The quality of wood used made the most difference. I never saw a Lachenal Anglo without warped reed pans, but I never saw a Jeffires so inflicted! The choice of wood by the maker and its preparation made (makes) all the difference. BTW, I don't have a functioning humidifier on my gas furnace.
  2. The comments about "expensive woods" driving up the price of a concertina is not really accurate. There is comparatively little wood used in the body of any Anglo , or any other type on hexagonal concertina. Many people would be able to make a lower-priced concertina, if they used second-hand reeds, and taped up a bellows. This would be an interesting project. But would it make a concertina that would be around in 50 or 100 years? When I used to repair / re-tune antique instruments, some of them were very old. The ones that were made with quality materials and parts could be restored much more successfully than other instruments that had inferior designs and materials. These are the instruments, like Jeffries Anglos which, even today are in much demand. Other Anglos, like Lachenals usually had warped reedpans, and inconsistent reeds. Warped reedpans make it much more difficult to have a consistent sound as it was very difficult to have airtight reed chambers. Some reeds lacked the consistent temper of steel so that some reeds were softer than others, giving an unbalanced sound. Within one instrument, SOME of the reeds had tight tolerances and others you could "drive a truck through." Yes, it would be an interesting and challenging project. One factor that was not mentioned was TIME. To make a quality instrument it takes time, as well as a good design. That is the biggest factor in the expense of a concertina. Yes, if you are doing this as a hobby-like project, time is really not a factor, but if anyone were to try to create a business selling instruments like this, it would not do concertinas, as a respected instrument, any good. It's kind of like making ukuleles out of cigar boxes, which some people do, but, while "cute" does nothing to add to the respect of ukuleles as a musical instrument. For a while I thought ukuleles were a bit of a joke, until I saw some and heard quality ones and saw George Formby play one.
  3. When cutting valves it is important to note that leather can have a grain. You can't usually cut the leather for valves any direction. If you cut in one direction you will get springiness, but not if you cut in another direction. Check this out with a small piece before cutting valves. At least this has been my experience. This is not to say all leather types of leather are appropriate for valves.
  4. The thickness of the leather is important. If you use leather that is thicker the than the original there will be less clearance between the pad and the action board. This will affect the volume of the instrument. You don't want to have to bend the arms because the pads are not opening enough. Very few concertinas have fulcrums that are adjustable in height. Personally, I use the thinner pad material. This does not create noise. There is enough padding the mute that.
  5. Carefully trace the holes in the bushing board onto a piece of 1/8 inch plywood.. Drill them out using a lipped brad point drill just slightly larger diameter than the buttons. For example 1/4 inch buttons need 17/64ths of an inch hole. Doesn't have to be fancy, just accurate. Outside shape can be a rectangle or whatever, but not too large as to interfere with you work..This should hold the buttons up as if the end is on. Then when the end is replaced, it should line up.
  6. This sounds like my first concertina.....an East German make that I got around 45 years ago. After a month or two one of the reeds broke. The local accordion shop tried but could not repair it. All the reed tongues were mounted on one frame for all reeds on each side. Not knowing where to get another concertina, at the time, I had to give up playing for a few years until I found a Bastari at Elderly Instruments in Lansing. It was not a great instrument, but much better than the East German one. I now use the East German one bellows for one of my tuning jigs. So good luck to you on this project.
  7. Difficult to say without hearing it. Or playing it. if it is a problem it may be the set of the reeds, or air-tightness of the chambers of the reedpan. If it is "mellower on both sides, it would be surprising if it were a defect, but still possible.
  8. There are several reasons a button could stick, so it's difficult to say what the solution might be. Also, there are different types of mechanisms, which makes analysis tricky. If you were to take the end off so as to expose the mechanism, and send a photo, it might help.
  9. There are probably buttons available from old scrapped instruments.
  10. If the reeds are steel, it might be useful as a source of reeds. However, even that may be a risk. Some Lachenals had reeds which were fairly good and some, in my experience, you could "drive a truck though." If the instrument was not a mahogany or rosewood model, but was made of ebony it might have a chance to have better reeds.
  11. What do the reeds look like? Are they screwed down?
  12. This is an Edgley Professional Model. Please check out the Edgley Concertinas blog at http://edgleyconcertinas.blogspot.com .
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. If you were referring to my post, I did not mention a maker, but Voci is the one.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
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