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Hierarchy Of Concertinas?


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The fact that it's become not so much a price differential as a price deferential?  

Er, sorry pardon? :blink:

Sorry, Chris, some puns just aren't worth explaining.

... (And yes, I know that also has a double meaning, and you're welcome to take either or both. ;) )

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One of the wonderful things about a Noel Hill camp, or a Squeeze In or a gathering such as at the Royal is the chance to hear many concertinas and players in one place at one time. Morganna, I hear from Malcolm Clapp that the National Folk Festival in March can also see a flock? of concertinas.


My first Noel Hill Camp left an indelible ringing and honking in my ears. At his farewell session Noel honored Mark Slayton's request and held forth with "Steam Packet" on no less than a dozen concertinas. He played two Jeffries, a Ball & Beavon, a Crabb, three Dippers, a Suttner and his own Linota. Every concertina sounded wonderful but different. In that room, at that time, with that tune played by that person, I was very impressed by one Jeffries and one wooden end Dipper. Surprisingly, right there with the elite was the sound of a Rosewood Lachenal that Paul Groff had rebuilt. Given another place, time, tune and player perhaps the impressions would be different.


At that camp i was quite impressed with the sound of a metal ended Lachenal.

When I had an opportunity to play it, I was less pleased with the way it sounded in my lap. Only recently, I learned that the wood end Dipper that so impressed me was a complete turn off for another camper.


Difference of opinion does make horse races. Perhaps if we can prevail on Noel to present a similar sampler at this year's Midwest we could pass out ballot/evaluation sheets. The results would no doubt be interesting.


Regards, Greg

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I have recently received a session tape from James Besser and on it he is playing a converted Lachenal by Paul Groff.I have Emailed Paul to say what an impressive sound it has.Like you Greg,I was impressed,many Lachenals have passed through my hands but never sounding like these rebuilds.Well done Paul.


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Thanks for the kind words. When I am able to get the right concertinas for restoration, I do have some ideas about how to make them as good as they can be. Most of the playability of these "upgraded" Lachenals is due, however, to the basic design of a good Lachenal, which can be better than many realize, and to the work of some of your fellow countrymen who have been willing to help me. I am not a concertina maker so the bellows and riveted actions on these were made by skilled, craftsman makers. Jim's instrument has bellows and action by C. and R. Dipper, and I believe the instrument Greg heard has bellows and action made a few years ago, at my request, by John Connor. A good Lachenal anglo can sound more solid, and can give more rapid-fire response on certain types of ornaments executed with the buttons, when given a well-made, riveted action. I also have my own ideas about reedwork, based on my personal preferences (for tone, tuning, and response), and usually do this myself, including replacing any reeds that are not up to standard. Then there are a few other tricks ... The resulting instruments would not please everyone, I'm sure (neither would some more famous ones), but will be very good value for tone, playability, and reliability, even if costing much more than typically "restored" Lachenals. I call them "hotrods;" like hotrod cars, they can work better than than the stock models when new.


By contrast, many "restored" Lachenals being played today (especially those that were hastily retuned, maybe in the days when they sold for a tenth of today's price) seem to sound and play much worse than they probably did when new. Caveat emptor!



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