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  1. Today I had the opportunity to assess a 1 year old and fairly well played in Sherwood C-G 30k Anglo 'Marion' Model concertina. As sold by Hobgoblin in the UK The accidental row being the Lachenal configuration. I 'client' brought the instrument in to me because she was finding the instrument 'rattley' and uncomfortable to hold. The rattle was nothing more than the resonance on some of the bigger reeds once they started to wind down after key release. The comfort factor was simply the very poor wrist straps on her very small hands. Wrist straps changed and comfort re-gained. She also had the straps too tight. The original straps that were fitted appeared to be synthetic leather with a synthetic inner, all very slippery. Whilst the instrument was here I was asked to check it over, so I had the opportunity to have a poke around inside. Cosmetically, a pretty instrument with light wood ends and fretting. The fretting being a pleasingly complex design. The casing is nice and compact and about the same as any traditionally built instruments. The keys are domed black nylon, and bushed through the end plates in red fabric, again pretty and very smooth running. Overall a light(ish) weight, light coloured pretty and effective The bellows are folded card based, and I found them air tight but relatively unyielding; stiff compared with a traditionally built instrument of a similar grade. The reeds are accordion pairs mounted onto aluminium blocks, then waxed into place, like a Morse, and therefore not as maintainable as some other hybrids. I have never been a fan of this form of accordion reed block mounting, preferring clamped or screwed reed blocks. Better still a traditional reed assembly. The instrument tuning is accurate with the odd wobble, at worse no more than 3 cents from nominal. The sound is clear and bright especially for a wooden ended instrument. The action is interesting. The lever end grommets are clear plastic beads, I think a soft plastic, threaded onto the end of the arm and then encapsulated by glue onto the pad backing card. The pads are grimly awful: squares of hard card with some form of thin facing fabric, no felt padding or leather involved. Very airtight but percussive. The keys have no guide pegs, but are set into a clearance holes of the same basic diameter as the keys' bodies (like on a Mayfair) the cross hole in each key is parallel but with another soft plastic bead pressed into it to accept the key end of the lever arm. Unusual but effective. The lever arms are pivoted in round slotted brass posts with pins through to make the fulcrum, very positive and with non of the potential for the Lachenal style wear issue. Again most satisfactory. In summary, this Sherwood model is let down in terms of potential playability by it's stiff bellows , poor wrist straps and the pad design, each of which are clearly cost inspired. Having said this, the concertina is an excellent starter instrument. Robust and well presented. A very good starter hybrid and capable of being upgraded with different pads, new wrist straps and replacement bellows. The waxed reed blocks will generally be no problem unless something untoward happens. I hope that this brief review will be of help to anyone looking at buying one of the plethora of reproduction Anglo concertinas as a starter/ improver instrument, or a main squeeze.
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