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I have been playing McNeela Wren for a couple of years and it is no longer working for me. Slow action, sticking valves and leaking. I am ready to upgrade and trying to decide between three concertinas. I lean toward purchase from Concertina Connection since I am located in the Northwest, as they are. I am too far away to travel and try different concertina. I want an Anglo C/G. Does anyone have experience with the Minstrel, the Minstrel with Wakker bellows, and the Clover?
I found that the LHS of my recently acquired Peacock is too loud, so loud that if I hold a drone note then it alone masks the melody notes on the LHS. Never mind playing a chord on the LHS. I know of at least one other Peacock that has the same problem so I suspect that all Peacocks sound this way. Maybe all of Concertina Connection mid-level concertinas (Clovers and Roses) as I believe that they are all made in a similar fashion. Anyway, I made a (removable) baffle and it seems to have helped a lot so I thought I would document it here. First, I made a paper template from 3"x5" cards glues together. I marked the locations of the button holes with the template in place and used some punches to punch 1/4" holes in the template: I have some scrap leather offcuts that I bought years ago from a junk shop, I have no idea what their original purpose was but the leather is quite stiff even though it is only a little over 1mm thick. I had to join two leather scraps together to make a piece big enough and I used some 'basting' tape from my wife's sewing supplies to stick the two pieces together. Basting tape is very thin double-sided tape. I thought that I would have to sew the pieces of leather together, but the heavy duty basting tape (from Sailrite.com) did the job on its own. I cut the leather so that it fitted snugly inside the end of the concertina - I tried not to leave any gaps at the edges. Using the template, I punched 1/4" holes in the leather for the buttons. I used thin strips (~1/4") of sticky backed Velcro tape to attach the baffle to the inside of the concertina end. All the way round both the baffle and inside edge of the end with no gaps. I also used a strip of the Velcro backing material to make a pull tag on one side so that I can pull the baffle off and out of the end. Once the baffle is in place with Velcro all the way around then it is quite difficult to get it out again without a pull tag. When I put it altogether some of the buttons no longer snapped back up when released. The holes in the leather were too small/inaccurately placed and they fouled some of the buttons. Enlarging the holes to 5/16" solved that problem. Results: A definite reduction in volume on the LHS, I can now hear a melody when playing a drone or even a full chord. There is also a change in the tone of the LHS reeds, I am guessing that some of the higher harmonics are being filtered out. It is not a huge difference, but it is noticeable if you alternate between middle Cs on the LHS and RHS. I can live with it for the benefit I get from quieting down the LHS. I might try a wooden baffle to see if that affects the tone/volume as much. I cannot detect any difference in bellows pressure required as a result of blocking most of the airways on the LHS. Looks OK too: (Ignore the piece of black Velcro showing - I will trim that off the next time I open it up). Don.