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Found 9 results

  1. I'm planning a trip to Italy this fall for a couple of months of eating delicious food, meeting cool people, and making a few videos. On this trip, I'm planning to spend some time in Castlefidario, where there are a few accordion makers still in business. I have brought my concertina along on previous trips, and it's been a bit of a conversation starter. While the word would appear to have an italian origin, the instrument is mostly unknown. I'd really like to find the Stagi or Bastari factory and shoot some video there. I assumed it was made near Castlefidario but no one in the neighborhood that I have spoke with has any idea about Stagi. Does anyone know where they are located? Thanks, david
  2. Okay, so I've moved into student accommodation in a totally different town to where I was before. I'm half an hours walk from any place I could busk, but I have a bike. Where I was living before, I got a bus into the biggest town and walked two minutes to my pitch, but I'm IN town now. Would it be demented to buy a softbag to carry it while on a bike - only a nine minute travel time - or would that damage it? I have a Tina Swift model... (And I'm guessing it would be even worse to try and strap it to the back in the hardcase?)
  3. I have finally got the opportunity to buy a concertina, I will ship it to a family member that will them bring it to my country. I will be buying a Wren 2 Concertina. I have told him that the instrument comes with a hard case but it would be good if he could put it inside a hard case suitcase and in the middle, sorrounded by clothes. He will not be carrying the instrument with him, it will be in the cargo compartment. Should I take any action like telling him to put a tape in the AIR button so the concertina can breathe in and out the air as the pressure changes?. Has anyone had a similar experience? if so, has the concertina worked properly? Should I take any other measures or will the instrument be fine?
  4. A few years back, after spending most of a year with an Elise duet concertina in Afghanistan, I posted a thread here pondering about a durable concertina for travel in tough climates. In some other threads here we've discussed the "campaign concertinas" made for India service and the like, which in some cases had metal-reinforced corners, special (or treated?) woods, and special reed finishes to resist corrosion. At the time the general consensus of the board was that concertinas are pretty reasonably hardy as-is, but the idea of a travel-inclined concertina stuck with me. For a number of years after Afghanistan it didn't matter since I was working desk jobs in Washington DC, but within months of buying a nice Morse Beaumont duet concertina, I joined a buddy's startup consulting firm, moved to Colombia, bounced around Europe, and now working in West Africa. The climate here in Monrovia has very little temperature change (between 70-85F throughout the year) but has a torrential rainy season and baking dry season, plus most of the population lives near the sea; my house is only 200 yards from the ocean. So this climate is tough on a lot of gear: we're constantly dealing with corrosion and gunk on our car, and our leather belts and shoes will literally grow an even coat of fuzzy grey mold if left alone on the shelf a few weeks. And in another few months it'll be dry season, precipitation will drop to near-nil and everything that's been soggy and swollen for months will desiccate and contract, and indoor climate control is largely absent here. I'm having a used $75 plastic-body Stagi Anglo off eBay sent out here to tide me over for the moment, but we're about to start coming into decent cash as this startup finally gains ground, so I'm in conversations with Cnet member Alex Holden, proprietor of the nascent Holden Concertinas, to build me a concertina with all feasible features and tweaks to survive climate extremes and rough handling. Alex has a strong grounding in traditional handicrafts but is also open to working with innovative materials, so we thought we'd put our heads together, and also see if the Cnet community has any input. Here are some of our initial ideas: The base inspiration is the Wheatstone "Duett", an early duet concertina made in rectangular form with 12 buttons per side, about 6" long by 4.5" wide. The square shape should simplify most stages of production and perhaps make it a little more durable. The Duett was in a proto-Maccann system (one chromatic octave per side) but since I do folk music and am used to very limited chromaticity, I'm inclined to use my 12 buttons per side for an octave and three notes, plus one chromatic per side, something like that. I've been simulating this by playing on the Duettina smartphone app and using only C-scale notes and the F#, and I'm getting by fine with that. The ends are a fragile point due to being a large single piece of wood, and of course the fretting. We looked at a few different options and the one we're leaning to right now is anodized aluminum ends as being corrosion resistant, slim, light, and breakage resistant. For fretwork we've considered some Deco-influenced rays kind of like the old Bastari metal-ended, since those leave few weak points of thin metal, and also provide an interesting contrast to the more common/anachronistic Victorian motifs still used. Alternately, we could go fretless or do side-fretting, as Bob Tedrow has done on some instruments, in which case we could have some pattern or line image etched into the aluminum ends prior to anodizing. For the frame, I could use some advice about materials. To one degree plywood is more resistant to climate, but still subject to rot and in some cases perhaps delamination? I know some hardwoods are brittle or risk swelling, but if we choose a hardwood with good climate resistance would that cancel out disadvantages? I have a particular fondness for mesquite since I've lived in Texas, and it's a sustainable wood (practically a weed) and very stable, to the point that smallpipe makers in the US use it for instruments. But since Alex is in the UK we're also open to any UK woods that resist climate well, and/or any composites like bamboo ply, etc. For reedblocks, Van Wyck has already set a precedent with making perspex/plexiglass reedblocks for his concertinas in South Africa, so that's one option; other ideas? You can see in the above pic that a Duett reedpan (all equal-size chambers?) is very simply constructed, so we could just epoxy together some cuts of sheet, or since Alex has access to a CNC mill could mill it out of a solid block easily. Soundboard: I understand some North American makers use plywood due to the US having a harsher climate, but would it be too crazy to take it a step further and use carbon fiber? It's already got some popularity for the soundboards of guitars and the like, though I realize "soundboard" has somewhat different meanings in these cases. But it is appealing to diminish risks of cracking by replacing that large piece of wood. Bellows: this is a sticky one, is there anything at all practical to use that's more durable than leather and card? I'm not a rigid stickler so if using different materials would necessitate a more accordion-influenced bellow I'm fine with that, so long as it functions and is durable, or is leather simply unavoidable here? Reeds: anything to be done to make them more corrosion-resistant, or would modern reeds be of sturdier metals than traditional reeds were anyway? These are some of our initial thoughts. Anyone have any red flags to raise, points of note, or clever ideas we should consider? Is anyone else in the market for a "near-bulletproof" travel concertina (in any fingering system) so that we can make the design versatile enough to be applied to several different builds? Right now I'm getting by with a PVC tinwhistle, synthetic Irish flute, polymer Swedish bagpipes, and a micro-MIDI keyboard, and those have all been outstanding packable and durable travel instruments, so I'm looking forward to adding a concertina to that vagabond collection so I can keep up my concertina skills wherever I go.
  5. Hello I am in the UK and travelling to Europe soon on a holiday and am considering insuring my concertina for the duration of the holiday. Has anyone in the UK had any experience with this? Could someone possibly recommend an insurance company? Best wishes, Jake
  6. For any of those here I've corresponded with and are amused by my misadventures, we're wrapping up our main project in West Africa, and I'm back in DC where I'm packing up all my gear to move to my home in Austin which I'll make my permanent base for the next few years of (lesser and briefer) travel. Exactly as feared, the roof in my apartment leaked while I was gone (none of my stuff damaged thankfully) so I feel very wise for having a 'cellist friend babysit my Morse Beaumont while I was gone! Glad to have it back and get reacquainted, spent the morning playing some R&B pop covers and some Irish airs. That aside I have the following concertina things going on in my life: - have a cheapie Italian English I got for under $100 on eBay, and this afternoon am having coffee with a State Dept. friend who wants to borrow it for a while and see if English is for him - got a plastic-bodied Stagi 20b Anglo in Austin (never managed to get it to Africa...) so that can be my beater for taking to the park. - know a budding concertina builder in Europe who's planning to build me a tiny Hayden modeled after the old Wheatstone Duett; might take a while for that to happen, but I'm patient - I still own a Lachenal 35b Crane Duet down in Bogotá; I left it there thinking I'd be back before too long but it's been over a year. A mathematician friend (who is also a CBA player) is babysitting it and will send it back either to me or to a member here who may buy it so I can upgrade. - I'm on Wim's waitlist for the last two years for a custom 46b Hayden; there's a member here in Texas who I've met before so now that I'm moving to Austin I'll finally have my chance to compare the Beaumont side-by-side with the Wakker and decide if I'm ready to commit the funds now that the startup is paying off - I plan to try playing concertina in the park more, maybe do some light busking and donate the money to charity, just whatever to expose more people to concertina. Might see if any local venues need someone to just sit in the corner and riff on Duet during events, just to keep my busy and out there. - I'm carefully watching the discussion about MIDI concertinas; if anyone comes up with a decently marketable prototype I'd be thrilled to buy one so I can take it traveling, practice silently in hotels and not fret about thousands of dollars rusting and mildewing in the tropical heat Separate from all the above, I'm considering making a little "instrument lending library" at my house in Austin. I could put up a blog listing cheap and replaceable weird instruments I have, and offer folks to borrow them if they put down a cash deposit, fully returnable after their month is up. So an Austin musician who wants to play with an Anglo, an autoharp, or whatever would just have to deposit the money, play for a month, and get all their money back. That way they can try new things without permanently committing funds, and I'm still covered if they flake and fail to return it. Folly, or a fun way to get more music ideas out there? If I do start it up, and the concertinas prove popular, I'll post a WTB ad here asking for anyone who has a beater Stagi (English or Anglo) sitting around who wants to sell it to me and I'll keep it in circulation! So that's me and my life with concertinas at this point!
  7. I'm up to three concertina cases now, all from reputable sellers, which feature but a single latch to keep the case closed. Am I, a relative concertina novice, just totally missing something here? Is there some great reason that there aren't at least two latches on a given case? I take care to carry my cases with the latch outboard, since I've had at least one or two occasions where an inboard latch bumped my leg and came open. Thankfully it was my cheaper Elsie, and thankfully the case is a good snug fit and it didn't fall out. I vaguely recall a few past threads where a few alternative case makers opined it's daft to have a case design where the handle is on the lid, thus allowing the case to fall open even with the handle held firm. I do wish the "standard" case had a more secure design, but for the moment I've gots what I've gots. That being the case, does anyone have a preferred luggage belt/strap to keep their case closed? Not necessarily a shoulder/hand strap, just a cinchable piece of material that has to be deliberately loosed to allow the case to come open. Either with a sliding buckle, unlocking velcro, knot, velcro, whatever? Not to be too gearheaded, as I'm sure I could just loop a piece of whatever I have laying around the house about the case and it'd suffice, but if anyone has a favorite $5-10 item that looks good, works smooth, etc. I'd be glad to hear of it. I'm vaguely inclined to get something with a sliding buckle rather than one that snaps open, thinking that such a buckle has even less chance of failing than a snap that could somehow be bumped or break a tooth inside. Most hits for "luggage belt" or similar on Amazon, however (such as the pretty little ones from Orb) tend towards the plastic squeeze-buckle, and most are more like 80" long when I reckon 40" or less should work for my concertina cases. I'm probably overthinking this, but am open to any suggestions. And/or people to tell me using a strap is silly, or to endorse that a single latch is a poor idea and a strap is wise insurance.
  8. I'm not 100% until I have the embassy visa letter in my hot little paw, but it looks like my new job may be sending me down to Cartagena for the rest of the year. Colombian port/naval/holiday town on the Caribbean. I'm fixing to take a concertina, but leery of taking a $3800 Morse Beaumont with, so I was thinking instead my Elise. Not a bad box, just a bit bulky, buttons a little mushy; lacks many chromatics but for a folkie that doesn't vex much. However, I just recently bought a small Lachenal Crane Duet from another Cnet'er, and it's not much more expensive than the Elise, nice and compact, plays pretty well (just a few reeds a bit slow/stuffy), decent action. I didn't know Crane layout at all, but finding it passing intuitive, though very spoiled by Hayden duet's scale-agnosticism. I pulled up a couple older Cnet posts about coastal towns, and consensus seems that rust is only particular danger to your steel reeds if you hang out right near the beach/docks, and the sea is frothy enough the wind is catching salt. So for either playing in my apartment, or a public square a few blocks inland, or maybe a balcony a few stories up and a few hundred metres from the sea, that shouldn't have undue corrosion risk? Elise advantages: maybe I could find an accordion repairman who could do some modifications/hot-rodding of it, of the sort that would be too labor-costly in the US/UK but cheap down there. Also I know Hayden system very well, though the key-changing advantage of Hayden is much diminished on a 34-button. And I wouldn't be risking a vintage. And I doubt anyone in that nation is qualified to clean/tune true concertina reeds. In the Lachenal's favor, it'd be a "true" concertina, and if in the end I find Crane layout to be perfectly easy to play despite being non-isomorphic, I can buy a really good Crane for less than half (maybe 1/3) of what I'll pay for a Hayden once I reach the top of Wim's waitlist in 2017. And though clearly I won't be negligent with it (and no disrespect meant to the previous Cnet owner), if disaster strikes, it's a small student Lachenal, not a dinosaur egg or Stradivarius. I'm just musing out loud, so not demanding anyone decide my life or anything, but if you have opinions my ears are open. I hope to do just some casual jamming down there with a local guitarist or vocalist. By hook or by crook I must have an instrument, and I do dig playing concertina. Overall stoked about new job, Colombia is absolutely gorgeous and so are colombianas.
  9. As I'm looking at changing careers, several of the jobs I'm looking at would involve traveling between very different climates. If I do get one of these heavily-traveling jobs, I was thinking to get a small 20 or 22 button hybrid Anglo so I could leave my vintage Anglo safe at home. Maybe not quite a miniature, but perhaps something like the 21b Marcus Traveller [sic] which is 5" across the flats. I recall having read (maybe in one of Dan's books) that some nicer English concertinas were made for customers stationed in tropical British colonies, so the construction choices were made to resist corrosion, swelling, cracking, etc. If one were to order a small hybrid that's durable for travel, not so much in terms of getting knocked around, but in terms of not as inclined to suffer from heat or humidity, or lack thereof, what kind of features could be reasonably included? Any particular woods more resistant to climate? Any type of bellows construction more resistant to getting soggy from the air? Is there anything to be done at all with reed selection to pick the more rust-resistant option? Screwed-in vice waxed-in reeds? Despite assurances of waxes with high melt points. In terms of having fewer small bits to break, maintaining structural integrity and all that, there must be more conservative ways of doing the fretwork rather than the normal intricate twistiness. Either maybe just some separated round holes like some early German concertinas, or maybe even "fretless" ends like Tedrow builds, where the soundholes are instead openings around the side of the flats. (photo, and a prior thread on fretless)
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