Jump to content

A plug for the Clover kit


Recommended Posts

I thought members might be interested to know that over the course of the last two weeks I've been staying up to the wee hours putting together one of the Clover kits being marketed by Wim and Karen Wakker of the Concertina Connection, and that today I managed to get it into airtight shape and play a few tunes on it. For someone who grew up in a household that didn't own a screw driver and who was psychologically scarred by the dripping sarcasm ladled out by a series of vicious woodwork teachers, this was no small achievement. The process of putting the kit together was very enjoyable thanks to the wonderfully lucid instructions that came with the thousands of fiddly little parts in the box. The manual guides you through the construction sometimes with very precise rules and sometimes with vague generalizations that challenge you to judge when you've done it right (e.g. don't make the lever post too tight or too loose!) That is to say it manages to communicate well what has to be done without treating you like an idiot.

Putting the instrument together had its dull moments. At one point while sanding the frame for what seemed like an age, I stopped to complain to my wife that parts of this project were not exactly mentally stimulating. Her response? "Now you understand why the people we know who make musical instruments smoke so much dope."

The components are all well made and fit together well. For me, having large hands that I inherited from my farmer-grandfather, getting all the springs and buttons to fit on the action board was a bit of a challenge but persistence paid off. I came close to causing permanent damage on one or two occasions, but never fell over the edge. The most frustrating part was getting the damn bushings to stay inside the buttons. In the process I learned a new word - apparently bushings have to be reamed. So now I'm both a reamer and a skiver. The bellows, like the other components, seem very well made. I'm amazed I managed to glue them on without spilling the pot of glue.

The fretwork is very handsome although in a moment of poor judgment a "K" was scrolled into the clover on the ends to show that this is in fact a kit rather than a professionally constructed instrument (In my case there are one or two other indicators) Wim tells me that that the K has been discontinued. Good taste prevails.

I've never played an accordion reeded instrument before, and I know it means that the purists out there will ban me from their social register, but I find the sound quite pleasing.

Summing up the Pros and Cons:

Pros: Nicely made parts that do actually fit together; very well written manual; a good looking instrument that produces very pleasant sounds; an opportunity to commune with the concertina gods over a long period without playing one; immense self satisfaction with having participated in the construction of your own instrument.

Cons: it's not an English, which as we all know is the superior instrument.

Assessment: Highly Recommended! ( Thanks again Wakkers)

Next year I get a sabbatical. I'm now thinking of heading out to the concertina making capitals of the world (Birmingham Alabama, Orkney, Shrewsbury, Siegen, Pretoria and other thriving locales) and offering my services as an apprentice .

post-1127-1275446001368_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is brilliant, the price you pay for the kit is excellent for what you seem to get out of it at the end, makes me wonder if I should have gone for that instead of my hybrid.

 

I would imageon people dont have to bother with a waiting list when you buy a kit? Is this so? If so that would be a big plus for a lot of people.

 

well done sir!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is brilliant, the price you pay for the kit is excellent for what you seem to get out of it at the end, makes me wonder if I should have gone for that instead of my hybrid.

 

I would imageon people dont have to bother with a waiting list when you buy a kit? Is this so? If so that would be a big plus for a lot of people.

 

well done sir!

 

The kit is a hybrid isn't it? It has accordion reeds?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

This is brilliant, the price you pay for the kit is excellent for what you seem to get out of it at the end, makes me wonder if I should have gone for that instead of my hybrid.

 

I would imageon people dont have to bother with a waiting list when you buy a kit? Is this so? If so that would be a big plus for a lot of people.

 

well done sir!

 

The kit is a hybrid isn't it? It has accordion reeds?

 

 

yeah the clovers a hybrid, I just ment its cheaper than the hybrid I went for :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

a good looking instrument that produces very pleasant sound

 

Donald,

 

Thanks for sharing your experience. I am curious about the sound once it was assembled. I understand the reeds arrive pretty much in tune. Was any fine tuning needed once everthing was assembled?

 

Dick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should have both a Clover and a Clover kit in the shop next week.

 

 

Bob

 

Bob,

 

Could you please share you impressions about the Clover and Clover kit once you have then in hand. I'd like to know what you think, as I'm sure others would, too.

 

Dick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

a good looking instrument that produces very pleasant sound

 

Donald,

 

Thanks for sharing your experience. I am curious about the sound once it was assembled. I understand the reeds arrive pretty much in tune. Was any fine tuning needed once everthing was assembled?

 

Dick

 

Dick: Let me preface my answer by saying that my "pitch discrimination" is not as refined as my "whisky discrimination". I have no plans to fine tune my instrument because to my ear, it sounds fine. I should also say that I've given it a once over with my small Korg electronic tuner, When calibrated to A=440 it shows a green light when the reed is in tune. For out of tune reeds you can change the pitch of A to maintain the green light. Using this method, the furthest I have to go from 440 to get a green light is 442 except for one reed: For the low C I have to go to 443. But that said, in my opinion the low C produces a very satisfying sound. So the total divergence amongst the reeds is 440-443. I'm not sure what others would say with these numbers, but for me it'll do.

Donald

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So how does it sound, Donald? Post us a sample. Congratulations on your accomplishment. As a lefty, screwdrivers and scissors are things I learned to avoid growing up. Now they make tools for lefties, but I fear it's too late, the damage has been done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...

and who was psychologically scarred by the dripping sarcasm ladled out by a series of vicious woodwork teachers, this was no small achievement.

...

Go kick your woodwork teachers!

...

Her response? "Now you understand why the people we know who make musical instruments smoke so much dope."

...

It's a special brand of dope - it is called patience and as you know now, it works!

/Henrik

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I wonder if it would be possible to offer a cheap kit - a Rochelle kit or a Jack/Jackie type kit - this would give people who are interested in learning to make a concertina a chance to practice on something for a few hundred dollars. Then when attempting a Clover kit, they would have some experience!

 

Just an idea...I know that putting together a whole set of instructions is probably an intense and tiresome task. But I'll bet a lot of concertina players might enjoy the learning experience of putting together a kit without the financial commitment of a Clover.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 11 years later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...