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Replace Jackie/Rochelle/Elise buttons with higher quality?


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I have a Concertina Connection Elise, and overall pretty happy with it. I can't help but think, however, that it'd be nicer with better-quality buttons.

 

Would it be at all practical to buy a bag of buttons (assuming they're some semi-standardised side, or that there's some other similar object from some other application which happens to be the same size/shape), and install them myself? Either metal, or something of a more durable form of plastic?

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I don't think you will ever wear out those buttons. If you want to be way happier with your Elise, spend a little money getting the reeds set and tuned. All of those chinese made instruments are surprisingly good quality for the price but all of them benefit tremendously from reed setting and tuning. I have a Jackie which was actually fairly well set up but, even so, tuning it and setting the reeds made and enormous difference in how good it sounded and how well it played.

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I am actually looking into replacing the reeds with a better set; the button thing was just a sideline improvement I was thinking of. I figured if I jazz up the insides (the important part), that if I could spend $50-100 on some nicer metal or ivoroid buttons it might be a further nice way to distinguish my instrument.

 

Anyone know how standardised the buttons might be? If it's just a matter of popping them off the end of the action wire and popping another button on, that wouldn't be bad at all. Just need to find out if there's any off-shelf substitute.

 

Michael, mind if I ask who did your tuning/settup, or did you do it yourself? I lack any reedsmithing ability, so not sure if it'd be economical to have these reeds tweaked vice just having it re-reeded entirely.

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I am actually looking into replacing the reeds with a better set; the button thing was just a sideline improvement I was thinking of. I figured if I jazz up the insides (the important part), that if I could spend $50-100 on some nicer metal or ivoroid buttons it might be a further nice way to distinguish my instrument.

 

Anyone know how standardised the buttons might be? If it's just a matter of popping them off the end of the action wire and popping another button on, that wouldn't be bad at all. Just need to find out if there's any off-shelf substitute.

 

Michael, mind if I ask who did your tuning/settup, or did you do it yourself? I lack any reedsmithing ability, so not sure if it'd be economical to have these reeds tweaked vice just having it re-reeded entirely.

 

I did the tuning myself and I realize that the availability of tuners is an issue and I'm not sure what it would cost. The way I would present it to you from my own experience is that 90% of the improvement you would get from a complete new set of TAM reeds you would also get from simply tuning and setting the machine reeds that are already in your instrument. The increased responsiveness you get from a TAM reed compared to a machine reed is very marginal compared to what you get from a good set up and tuning (which of course should come with a new set of TAM reeds). There are others who will disagree I'm sure, but I think many who have done much tuning would agree with me. It's just astounding how much difference a good tune up can make.

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I agree with Michaels advice.

 

The trouble with spending money on improving a cheap concertina (even a decent quality one like the CC range) is that improving the reeds wil just show up the limitations of the belows and action, and the relativly large size and weight. Getting a set of TAM reeds and having them carefully installed and set and tuned could cost nearly as much again as the new price of a Rochelle/Jackie. Much better to save your money to put towards a better quality instrument.

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I agree with all that has been said about Replacing/retuning and voicing the reeds. However with regard to replacing the buttons: why not ? I use 6mm flat top buttons on my concertina, it doesn't half make a difference to the playability of the instrument. Two finger reitterations are so much easier; as is double pegging (one finger playing two buttons at the same time) to play fourths or fifths. You could also enlarge the holes and bush them properly, and felt the join to the action levers at the same time. In an earlier thread Wim Wakker pointed out that if he had this done as standard it would considerably up the very reasonable price of these instruments, but if you do it yourself for your own instrument that wouldn't be a consideration.

Charlie Marshall (CGM Musical services) does all sorts of buttons for Accordion basses, perhaps you might modify some to suit yourself.

Inventor.

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