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Stagi Question


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Hello All,

I have a few questions about the Stagi and Bastari concertinas. Currenting I am looking for a 30 key C/G anglo, but I am a poor college student, so squeezeboxes in the three figure range are a bit out of my league right now. So it seems my choices seem to be narrowed to the Italian concertinas. Am I right in thinking this? Do I have any other options?

 

Also here are some other questions I have about Stagi and Bastari:

 

1) Is newer better? On ebay recently there have been some older Bastari for sale and also newer Stagis. Is there a difference? Should one assume that the older ones (or the newer ones for that matter) are out of tune? Ideally I'd like to use this instrument to play w/ others.

 

2) What fingering should I expect from a Stagi or Bastari?

 

3) Does Bob Tedrow still sell upgraded Stagi? I only find mention of the supped up Stagi on concertina.net, I couldn't find anything about them on Tedrow's website.

 

thanks.

Patrick

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Hi,

 

When I visited Mr. Tedrow during the summer, I talked to him about the supped up Stagi's. He said that he dosn't realy do much of the upgrading but more of the custom bulding!! But don't take my word that he won't do it. Its best to hear his response!

 

-sean

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As I recall, Bob never had the "Turbo-Stagis" for sale, but he would do the job if you provided the Stagi (or Bastari). I doubt you would have found the total price within your stated budget ("squeezeboxes in the three figure range are a bit out of my league").

 

There are, obviously, no new Bastaris. Stagi took them over about a decade ago. The instruments don't wear well, so an old well-played one might not have much life left in it. I have a Bastari from about 20 years ago that is still reasonably playable, although both the bellows and the wood veneer are visual messes. I must admit, it doesn't get much play these days, as I got a Wheatstone in 1994 that has pretty much replaced it.

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You don't say what type of music you are looking to play.

 

You may want to consider a 20 button vintage instrument over a 30 button Stagi (since the price ranges are close or equivalent).

 

I did a quick search on The Session, and found 1683 Irish tunes that are in C Major, A Minor, D Dorian, G Major, E Minor, or A Dorian, all (or almost all, I didn't go through looking for ranges) of which can be played on a 20 button C/G instrument.

 

If you go with a 20 button G/D vintage (which is what I did), you lose the ability to take advantage of many workshops or books, but can play a tremendous number of tunes, as G Major, E Minor, D Major, and E Dorian make up a huge catalog of Irish tunes.

 

However, depending on what sort of music you want to play, your mileage may vary.

 

--Dave

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I've been playing a 30-button C/G Hohner for the best part of 5 years. It is an adequate instrument for learning. They are available for about £250 or £280. I heard that they are Stagi instruments. They tend to become worn so I would only buy a new one.

 

Playing this instrument has helped me learn the fingering and I can produce music to a pretty good standard. I look forward to the day that I can afford a better instrument, but in view of the exorbitant prices of the really good quality stuff that day may be long delayed.

 

If I had known about the prices at the outset I wouldn't have bothered with the concertina, I would have taken up the melodeon instead. You get a lot more for your money that way and the instrument is easier to play. (I know because I recently bought one.)

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1) Is newer better? On ebay recently there have been some older Bastari for sale and also newer Stagis. Is there a difference? Should one assume that the older ones (or the newer ones for that matter) are out of tune? Ideally I'd like to use this instrument to play w/ others.

 

2) What fingering should I expect from a Stagi or Bastari?

Regarding new vs. old, I'd echo what everyone else has said - the instruments don't seem very durable, so I'd definitely get a new one. I learnt on one and found that the bellows were starting to suffer even after just 6 months of (admittedly pretty solid) punishment. But I couldn't fault it as a starter instrument.

 

As far as fingering goes, the one I had was a hybrid between Jeffries and Wheatstone style layout - the accidentals were Wheatstone-style, whereas the bottom note of the G-row was B/A rather than B/D. I don't know whether "pure-breed" Wheatstone or Jeffries type layouts are available from Stagi.

 

Hope this helps

Stuart

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I don't know whether "pure-breed" Wheatstone or Jeffries type layouts are available from Stagi.

 

Since "impure" layouts were made on demand by both Wheatstone and Jeffries, and since various folks (including myself) have indicated that relearning when you get a new "main squeeze" is unlikely to be difficult, I would think that ordering a custom (by their standards) layout from Stagi would be more trouble than it's worth.

 

But if you really want to, don't let me stop you.

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A new vs used Stagi? While the chances of a used one being in good shape is quite low, so are the chances of a new one being in good shape quite low too.

 

We have to tune every new Stagi we import (some come in 25 or 30 cents out of pitch!), patch leaks, realign pads, etc. before we would even consider selling it. Frequently they come through with many wrong reeds installed. Some may be just reversed though some are a completely different notes entirely.

Edited by Richard Morse
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I spent a great deal of time with stagi concertinas in the past. I had the same problems with new instruments as described by Richard in the above (below?) post.

 

I did develop a button system that replaced the little rubber band articulation with a brass "push rod" system that worked in a different manner. It had its own problems as well. Mainly that of an inappropriate amount of machining and installation time.

 

What pushed me over the edge was the Stagi decision to wax rather than screw in the reeds on the reed bank. Too messy to remove...yuch.

 

I found the bellows to be less than adequate when compared to other instruments, I was unable to address that with out replacing them, clearly out of line.

 

That being said....I thank heaven for my first "good" concertina, a d/a Bastari with a treble tenor set up.

 

I wore that instrument slap out. The original reeds now reside in the concertina I built for my daughter http://hmi.homewood.net/alexcon . On a side note, there is a pronounced difference in the timbre/volume of the bastari reeds when mounted in a concertina like the ones I build when compared to the same reeds in a stock Bastari. I know of no one else who has done this, why on God's earth would one unless awfully curious and pestered by a 10 year old girl.

 

Bob Tedrow

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I am interested in this topic also, as I still have the Bastari in my possession that I wrote the "discovery" story about.

Italian story

OK, maybe it is not a "gem," but it is in much better shape than the average used bastari and has screwed in rather than waxed reeds. It needs tuning, which I can do after a lot of practice this summer, but the buttons are always an issue. After seeing a set of Tedrow-style brass buttons fitted to a Stagi by Len Rheaume, I figured I would try it to. So I am interested to know that Bob says

I did develop a button system that replaced the little rubber band articulation with a brass "push rod" system that worked in a different manner. It had its own problems as well. Mainly that of an inappropriate amount of machining and installation time.

 

If the only objection is that it is just too much work, maybe I will tackle it anyway. We concertinists aren't known for being realistic! I may doctor the bellows too. And after spending too much time fixing it? Probably sell it! (Don't write me about that yet; that day is quite a ways off!) :lol:

 

Anyway, an old Bastari like this one might be worth it, but you won't know on ebay what you're getting, you need to see it in person (good idea for any used purchase).

 

Ken

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Bob Tedrow said:

I thank heaven for my first "good" concertina, a d/a Bastari with a treble tenor set up

 

JIM says: Now I'm *really* confused! I would expect "a d/a" to be an anglo in the keys of D and A, but a "treble tenor" to be an Engliah. On top of that, Bob calls the Bastari "good" (admittedly, the quotes are his) after saying what's wrong with Stagi, making it appear that he's contrasing them. Yet I thought Bastari was just the prior name for what is now the Stagi.

 

Bob, I desire demystification. (From you, not from Bertram. :) )

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JIM says: Now I'm *really* confused! I would expect "a d/a" to be an anglo in the keys of D and A, but a "treble tenor" to be an Engliah. On top of that, Bob calls the Bastari "good" (admittedly, the quotes are his) after saying what's wrong with Stagi, making it appear that he's contrasing them. Yet I thought Bastari was just the prior name for what is now the Stagi.

 

Bob, I desire demystification. (From you, not from Bertram. )

*********************************************************************

OK,

 

The Bastari, my first 30 button was purchased around 92. Heretofore I had been playing a 20 button chinese. "Good" of course is a relative term "Damn site better" may have been more to the point.

 

I knew nothing of pitches etc. and at the time did not know there was an "Irish Concertina" genre to be concerned about. I play banjo, fiddle and guitar in D so I ordered a D/A concertina. It seemed to make sense at the time.

 

The D row on the Bastari I purchased is one whole step above the standard C row on a C/G concertina. That makes good sense.

 

The A row however and for whatever reason I cannot fathom is one Octave below plus one whole step above the G row on a standard C?G. Maybe Dr Bastari thought it would be too screechy with a higher octave.

 

With me so far? For lack of a better description I have take the term tenor/treble from the English.

 

Knowing no better, I forced my will upon this concertina and spent several years playing it. I knew no other players, and had yet to meet one. Truly, I thought I was the only player in the world and was singlehandedly saving the concertina from total extinction....hey, it's Alabama outside here.

 

I met another player at Merlefest in North Carolina who had a concertina in tow. He let me play his where I pronounced anathema upon his instrument for it's "wrong" bottom row.

 

A few seconds later I realized I had spent many years playing a rather unusual system.

 

Of course I love it and will never change to C/G. I even make my wife and daughter play the same system.

 

It allows me to play crossfingered D and A scales in both dierctions. C and G are easy as well.

 

 

May I point out that I only build "standard" system concertinas for the general public.

Edited by Bob Tedrow
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It might be interesting to conduct a history of the Bastari-Stagi instruments.

I have a 30b C/G Bastari ca. 1978 that has the flat aluminum button levers shown on the 20b of Ken Coles article. The buttons have the rubber sleeve. The valve pads are circular and the reeds are screw mounted on the pan. I later got a 40b C/G Bastari ca. 1982, where the mechanism was the same as Ken's Stagi. At that time I think that the instruments were available only in C/G. The original 30b bellows held up pretty good, especially if one reinforced the outer corners with electrician's liquid tape. The problem being that the bellows are the same size as the ends. Those reeds, 'tho accordian, were not too bad, especially compared to a 20b single reed Scholer that I had. Bob must think so too, if he uses them in one of his boxes.

Cheers,

Geo.

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and has screwed in rather than waxed reeds.

 

I am right now trying to decide between getting a new 40-button Anglo Stagi or a used 40-button Bastari. If the used Bastari one is old enough to have screwed in reeds rather than waxed ones, then I am buying the used one.

 

So, does anyone know when they switched from screws to wax?

 

Why a Stagi/Bastari? I want a 40-button, but for under $2000, and all of the other 40-button Anglos I've seen are about $4000 on up.

 

- Alex

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I am right now trying to decide between getting a new 40-button Anglo Stagi or a used 40-button Bastari.  If the used Bastari one is old enough to have screwed in reeds rather than waxed ones, then I am buying the used one.

Screwed-in reeds are not necessarily better than waxed-in reeds, especially when it comes to Stagi/Bastari concertinas. Their screwed-down reeds use/used a medium density foam gasket which absorbs a lot of the vibration making those instruments considerably softer sounding. Also depending on how hard you tighten the screws, the pitch of the reed changes a bit making them extremely difficult to tune.

 

There are also many other much more important (to me, anyways) reasons for choosing one model of Stagi/Bastari over another despite being new/used. The quality of their action and bellows differed incredibly. How the reeds are installed pales with the difference in playability due to the action and bellows.

So, does anyone know when they switched from screws to wax?

They still use both for various models.

Why a Stagi/Bastari?  I want a 40-button, but for under $2000, and all of the other 40-button Anglos I've seen are about $4000 on up.

So why a 40-button? Most of the pro's I know use 30-button models and there are lots of vastly higher quality 30-button anglos out there for under 2 grand. Also - Stagi/Bastari's 40-button model doesn't sound as bright as some of their 30-button models.

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So why a 40-button?

 

I currently play a 30-button, and I like to play chords with my left hand while playing melody on the right, but I've run into problems when playing outside the keys of C ang G (and their relative minors).

 

For example:I cannot play the high D on the right hand while playing a D-major or D-minor chord on the left, because the F and F# on the left hand are only available on the draw, while the high D is only available on the push. Also, there are certain chords you cannot play on left hand of a 30-button, like F#m or G#m.

 

The 40-buttons give you few extra keys on the left hand allowing a few more chords in the different directions, plus a bunch more to play around with on the right.

 

Maybe the way I play is better for a duet, so I am also buying the least expensive Lachenal 55-key MacCann Duet to compare.

 

- Alex

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So why a 40-button?

 

I currently play a 30-button, and I like to play chords with my left hand while playing melody on the right, but I've run into problems when playing outside the keys of C ang G (and their relative minors).

It sounds like you play English style rather than Irish style. Have you considered getting a G/D instead of a C/G? Not only would the G/D have the right hand more in the range of the tunes you play (so you don't have to cross over to the left so much), but those "home" keys fit more traditional dance tunes (played in the English manner) better than the C/G.

 

Maybe this would be a good topic for an English style anglo player to chime in on? Chris? Some of you Morris types?

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Have you considered getting a G/D instead of a C/G?

Well, actually, the used 40-button Bastari I am buying is a G/D, so I'm applying both solutions.

 

I did have a Norman 30-button Anglo in G/D, but some of the notes were slow to start after changing bellows direction. I had the repair guy at Italo-American work on it, but the problem never went away, so I sold it. Also, it was not as nice on my fingers as my Tedrow-Modified-Stagi.

 

It sounds like you play English style rather than Irish style.

 

As far as style goes, I just go through books of songs that have melody written out and chord names written above, and try to play them on the concertina, and try to make them sound nice. I want it to replace my guitar as a means of accompanying voice.

 

 

Maybe this would be a good topic for an English style anglo player to chime in on? Chris? Some of you Morris types?

 

This is getting a little off topic, so maybe we can start a new thread about English style playing and playing for Morris dancing. I would find the topic interesting and educational (since I know nothing about it yet), maybe others would too. I would like to know about recordings of this, folks that perform this and folks who might teach it (especially in the mid-western US).

 

- Alex

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