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Rearranging notes

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This question may seem very basic to those of you in this forum, but I've never opened up a concertina before, so I am curious. Is it possible to rearrange the notes played by the buttons on one or both hands of a concertina without basically rebuilding it? This is not what I have in mind, but by way of example: If I had a Hayden duet and wanted to rearrange the reeds so that the buttons played a Maccann-style layout, is this possible?


Please note - at this time I am not asking if this is advisable. That's a question for later. I am just wondering if it is even possible and, if so, how difficult it is.



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There are many problems associated with doing something like this ,so much so that it would most likely be unpractical.


I have one concertina where one note has been changed to provide a low F where there was a low G#... now this is not a large change of pitch but the result is a low F that plays ok but the tone is not wonderfull. I am trying to decide if this lack of tone is due to the quality of the replacement reeds or, the more likely cause, that the reed chamber is not ideal for that new pitch.


Each reed in a traditional concertina is fitted 'perfectly' in its slot and often no other reed will fit that slot 'perfectly' without adjustment.


Now multiply the problem I have with just one note to the problems that could arise by changing the whole layout. Then think about the difficulties you might have in playing a Maccann layout on a Hayden keyboard.


How difficult ? Very.

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In reply to the question is it possible, the simple answer is yes.

Is it easy, that depends on the type of reeds used in the concertina.

If the concertina has accordion reeds then anyone with a few basic woodwork skills might sucessfully do it.

If the instrument is fitted with concertina reeds this is much more difficult. this is best left to Concertina makers, or very experienced concertina repairers.


Many smaller Jeffries Duets have been turned into Anglo-concertinas, where the increase in demand of such an instrument may increase the value by a good 3 times. In this case the button layout stays the same.


This is not true of changing from one type of Duet to another where the button layout is different, and requires a lot more work. I have seen several Maccan Duets changed to Crane system, which I think this was done by Crabbs. I know of two Maccan Duets that have been sucessfully changed to Hayden Duets one by the late Neville Crabb, and the other by Dana Williams.


Changing a Hayden Duet to a Maccan Duet while possible would be extremely cost ineffective.



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