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Stagi Bellows


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Concertina Connection make great bellows. Bob Tedrow does too.

 

 

thanks Marcus I called the concertina connection and had a good discussion with Williiam who was extremely helpful.

 

His news was not encouraging. He does not make bellows for Stagis because the finer english style bellows are too tight. According to William,the Stagi leaks because of poor construction and so only develops about 75% of its pressure whereas the english style produce 95% of there predicted pressure. If one were to install a better bellows the lower reeds will collapse with the higher pressure and not function, He told me that the stagi company is not a great source for bellows because the concertina division has low priority. The companies main division is coffin makers and second is piano benches. The concertina comes in last. THe bellows are made from continuous card stock not with canvas gussets and inexpensive leather. He suggested I look on E bay for a used instrument.

 

Given this news I may just keep patching it for now. It has had hard use but I still like the clear sound compared to my lachenal which has the typical underwater sound.

I am ofcourse open to other suggestions - I will keep my eye out for other accordian reed instruments

 

thanks

Bertram

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The Button Box lists a Wheatstone Mayfair on its Instruments In Stock page--I believe that, like the Stagi, it has accordion reeds mounted in reed blocks and, I'd expect, better bellows (others no doubt could tell you much more about Mayfairs than I can).

 

Joshua

 

thanks Joshua I will follow that up. YOu heard my stagi at the workshop and concert - I really like the sound and it is in ok condition but after a hard tour including a dance in winston Salem, the bellows are starting to feel more fragile.

 

By the way thanks again for the ride to Amherst. Hope you got a lot out of the workshop Have you tried any of the tunes?

 

Bertram

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By the way thanks again for the ride to Amherst. Hope you got a lot out of the workshop Have you tried any of the tunes?

 

Bertram

 

You're most welcome. I'm still adjusting my practice routine, such as it is, to the presence of a baby in the house, so I've had little opportunity to implement what I learned in the workshop and what awaits me in your book. The direction in which it all pointed looks very promising indeed, though, and I expect great things.

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Bertram,

 

A couple ot things occur to me..

 

You could get English style bellows and not play so hard.

 

Collapsing reeds is not a technical term, more a tabloid headline. More pressure might choke low reeds set for less, and this is adjustable.

 

I wonder if you ran into a general reluctance to spend time on an inferior concertina? I presume with your experience your choice of instrument is not a casual one, and there is something about the Stagi that works for you. It might be worthwhile shopping around to find someone willing to give it new bellows. You could advertise here for someone...

 

Best wishes

 

Chris

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Bertram,

 

A couple ot things occur to me..

 

You could get English style bellows and not play so hard.

 

Collapsing reeds is not a technical term, more a tabloid headline. More pressure might choke low reeds set for less, and this is adjustable.

 

I wonder if you ran into a general reluctance to spend time on an inferior concertina? I presume with your experience your choice of instrument is not a casual one, and there is something about the Stagi that works for you. It might be worthwhile shopping around to find someone willing to give it new bellows. You could advertise here for someone...

 

Best wishes

 

Chris

 

Hi Chris

 

You are correct - the proper term is choking and I have had reeds in other instruments adjusted in the past. I am not sure that is possible with the Stagi for a variety of reasons but I am not willing to spend 450 dollars as an experiment. THe Concertina Connection seemed very knowledgeable. Not to say there isn't an alternative but I think most bellows makers would be offended if I asked them to make a leaky set of bellows. As to playing hard - With cheap instruments you often have to play hard to even out the sound - (check out my video of flowers of edinburgh.)

 

As to why I play the Stagi, its all about sound. I have some very impressive concertinas and recently divested of an amazing 8 sided dipper and C/G jeffries. My 5 1/2 inch dipper is a dream to play - like driving a Porsche and can be played pianissimo to forte with no distortion. I play Brazilian choro music regularly and use my dipper. If I were to play a contradance I would use my DIpper. But in American fiddle music the sound overpowers the rest of the instrument similar to a pedal steel guitar. Southern American fiddle music is more about rhythm than tone and the other musicians prefer to hear the Stagi (as do I) It has that 1920's 78 sound. I do find the bellows limited like wearing a pair of pants that are too tight at the waist but its the sound that is more important. Also I prefer to throw my Stagi in the car on a trip to play while waiting for the ferry.

 

I only had a Rochelle in my hands briefly but I need to test drive that instrument some time. In the meantime I will keep reglueing the cardboards inside. My repairman Michael J Arralde of Kent is also looking for a set of italian bellows. He is a genius in free reeds (3 generations of repairman) and he may come up with a solution.

 

Bertram

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I received an Email from John who had a set of Wakker bellows made for his Stagi with great success. As a result I went back to william Wakker and discussed it with him. I gather that his initial reluctance was based on the fact that the bellows are worth more than the instrument. This is true in one way but if I learned anything from Rodolfo Daluisio professor of bandoneon in Buenos Aires.it is that the music is in the bellows not the buttons. I will send my instrument to the Concertina Connection on monday after my concert in Portland this weekend. Thanks to the concertina net and those who responded for providing a forum for me to get my question answered

 

 

Bertram

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I gather that his initial reluctance was based on the fact that the bellows are worth more than the instrument. This is true in one way but if I learned anything from Rodolfo Daluisio professor of bandoneon in Buenos Aires.it is that the music is in the bellows not the buttons.

 

Bertram,

 

I see the mathematics of it this way: The replacement bellows did cost as much as the whole instrument did originally, but on the other hand, it's now twice as good as it was, in tone, playability and above all expressiveness. Twice the instrument for twice the price is fair!

 

So I definitely agree with your good professor that the music in in the bellows.

 

It's interesting that you cling to your Stagi because of its tone. My group plays a few nice, classically arranged Carolan pieces on violin, concertina, guitar and bowed double bass. I usually carry the melody with my Stagi Anglo. When I had got my Lachenal Crane and worked up the Carolan melodies on it, I took it along to practice, intending to improve the sound of the ensemble. But my mates immediately ordered me to revert to the Stagi, because it blended better with the other instruments!

 

Cheers,

John

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It's interesting that you cling to your Stagi because of its tone. My group plays a few nice, classically arranged Carolan pieces on violin, concertina, guitar and bowed double bass. I usually carry the melody with my Stagi Anglo. When I had got my Lachenal Crane and worked up the Carolan melodies on it, I took it along to practice, intending to improve the sound of the ensemble. But my mates immediately ordered me to revert to the Stagi, because it blended better with the other instruments!

 

That is interesting - with my group (6-part vocal harmony plus guitars, banjo, mandolin or ukulele, bass, and concertina) I've just recently switched from my Stagi (18-button mini English) to my Wheatstone, and I've gotten comments from a couple of people saying they prefer the Stagi. So far I've been ignoring them, figuring they just need to get used to the Wheatstone, but maybe I should pay attention to them after all?

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It might be interesting to replace the Stagi reeds with a higher standard of reeds, Binci or Antonelli, and see if the tone sticks but the ease of playing improves.

 

I suppose if you did and it was successful you would start looking sideways at the action..!

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It might be interesting to replace the Stagi reeds with a higher standard of reeds, Binci or Antonelli, and see if the tone sticks but the ease of playing improves.

 

I suppose if you did and it was successful you would start looking sideways at the action..!

 

I'd suggest just adjusting the height of the reed tongues, as it makes all the difference in the response of the reeds. It's much easier than most accordion servicemen would have you believe, and I'd say it's easy enough for just about anyone to do it. What you need practice for is doing it quickly enough for it to be financially viable. (My first block of accordion reeds I went through required long hours and several attempts before I got them right - my hourly pay for a fixed-price repair would have been next to nothing.)

 

I have a used concert-size Excelsior chromatic button accordion with top quality hand made reeds and faultless workmanship throughout, the price tag for a new equivalent model being around $10000. I also have a junk Soviet box I got for almost nothing at a local auction. After re-gasketing the Soviet box and going through every reed one at a time, looking at the Excelsior reeds for guidance, setting them to the same height and alignment as in the Excelsior, there's not much difference at all in the reed response. It's all about the finishing touches!

 

My suggestion: get a junk accordion off a local sale, try out the response of the reeds, note which reeds respond well and which don't (some are bound to respond well!), then try to bend the bad ones to the height of the good ones until you get the feel how to do it right. Then repeat it on your Stagi. Your Stagi has just a fraction of the reeds in your everyday accordion, so you can really take the time to get everything just perfect. Or you could phone your nearest accordion service shop and ask how much they'd charge for doing it. Remember, compared to just about any accordion, there are (fortunately!) so very few reeds in a concertina!

 

Cheers,

Jori

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It might be interesting to replace the Stagi reeds with a higher standard of reeds, Binci or Antonelli, and see if the tone sticks but the ease of playing improves.

I suppose if you did and it was successful you would start looking sideways at the action..!

 

Chris,

I don't quite get the point of your posting. It seems that various people's fellow musicians prefer playing with the Stagi sound - so why change that?

 

If anything on the Stagi needs improving, it's the action, but different reeds are not gong to help in that quarter. I personally have no complaints about the playability of my Stagi - but perhaps that's because I've had the action apart a few times and know its little faibles, and compensate for them.

My Stagi reeds do not hamper my playing by being slow to start or anything of that kind.

 

What I have often wondered is whether the modern hybrids with traditonal English action but accordion reeds sound more like a Stagi or more like a Lachenal. If the the former, this would be the way to go for a less aggresssive, more strings-compatible timbre paired with better playability.

 

Cheers,

John

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  • 1 month later...

Just received my Stagi with a new set of bellows by Karen and William Wakker. They came out very well - the construction looks quite good and they are supple and ready to use. - the instrument sound much more even and the concern with choking in the lower notes did not occur. Because of the arrangement of the reeds in the stagi, the bellow folds are much shallower than my higher end instruments. For this reason I am glad I ordered 7 folds. I can recommend the Wakker bellows

 

Bertram

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