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Converting To Standard English Note Layout

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We found out that the interestingly priced English concertinas sold by "microscopecity" on Ebay don't have the standard note layout. The high F and F# are interchanged, as wel as the low B and Bb. I gathered my courage to screw open my newly sold instrument, and found a way to change it to standard note layout.


I will describe how I did it here, but I can give no guarantee if you do the same on yours! :-)

But, it is actually quite easy. The tools needed are screwdrivers (cross and flat) and a hobby knife.


1. Screw open the right hand end of the concertina. Remember which screws come from which holes to screw it in later exact in the same way.


2. Carefully remove the top. Examine the butoon mechanisms and identify which holes produce the low B and Bb notes.


3. Take out the hexagonal part with the buttons. The reed pans appear on the backside of it. Identify the B and Bb reeds. These have to be switched.


4. The reeds are mounted on the wooden underground with some kindof wax. Cut through this layer of wax along the edges of the metal reed holders of the B and Bb notes with the hobby knife.


5. Shift the flat screwdriver or knife under the metal reed holders to flip them off.


6. Place the metal reed holders in their right position and push them firmly into place.


7. Using the flat screwdriver, hobby knife and/or your finger, make the seams airproof again. With the deformable wax this is possible, believe me.


8. Close that part of the concertina in exactly the same way it was before.


9. Repeat the steps 1-8 for the left hand side, concerning the high F and F# notes.


Good luck!


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Mine had the same note problems. Thank you for your detailed instructions! On mine, switching the B and Bb may give me some future problems as the rectangular "window" for one of them was cut a little too generously. The reed assembly just barely met the outside edge. I'm going to order some wax and re-do it soon as I don't expect it to hold up with what little extra wax I was able to get from a couple of drips. I took the opportunity to sand the inside of a couple of the button holes too as some of them had whiskers and weren't letting the keys operate smoothly. I'm understanding the price better!


Thanks for giving me the confidence to tackle this. I still would never attempt such a thing on a handcrafted instrument, though I would really love to see the inside of one.

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