Jump to content

Lachenal Excelsior 48 key Treble English concertina made around 1890


Don Taylor
 Share

Recommended Posts

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lovely-Lachenal-Excelsior-English-Concertina-with-Glass-Buttons-/251140980144?pt=UK_MusicalInstr_Keyboard_RL&hash=item3a792b3db0

 

Chris has listed this concertina on eBay with a starting bid of 1000 pounds

 

I am tempted by this concertina - if the bidding does not go stratospheric.

 

I would be interested in opinions on this model of concertina and of concertinas this old.

 

In the description of another 1840 concertina that he listed earlier Chris remarked that very early concertinas were not as playable as later models. By later, I am guessing he means early C20? Where do instruments from 1890 fit in to the spectrum between museum piece and good, playable instruments?

 

He does mention that it has a more 'gentle' tone than other concertinas. I am guessing that means that it is not loud - which would be fine by me and the other animals in our house.

 

I was saving up for a Morse Geordie. How would you compare/rate these two concertinas?

 

Thx. Don.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 41
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I would be interested in opinions on this model of concertina and of concertinas this old.

I can't contribute to your second question, as the instrument that I have the luck to play has rather been made in the early 1920s.

 

But OTOH it appears to be just the same Excelsior model, except for the glass keys (it has got domed metal keys instead). Same fretwork, gilt tooling, German silver inserts...

 

I am very happy with it. It is really responsive, light enough for playing it free-handed and has a quite profound and sweet tone, not as "nasal" as the sound of an Aeola (which I equally like), but in its own way very appropiate for both single tone melody playing (ITM a.s.f.) and accompaniment/melody with some added chording.

 

Thus I would recommend buying it so long as the bids won't go crazy... Good luck!

 

P.S. (edit): My instrument can be played quite loud and piercing, but not necessarily. There is a wide range...

Edited by blue eyed sailor
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The early concertinas (1840 - onwards) were not so playable in comparison to those from the 1890's onwards because they started life without the cross walls in the reed chambers. These cross walls make the chambers smaller and thus the reeds will start more quickly when the chambers are presurised by opening the pad. This also has an effect on the tone. I have come across old instruments where someone has tried to make the chambers smaller by jambing pieces of Cork between the side walls to increase the speed of start up of the reeds.

These Lachenals from the 1890's , and especially one of their up-market models will probably have the 'cross walls' in all the chambers but it is a question you could put to Chris, or ask for a photo of the reed pans.

 

How this one would play in comparison to a Geordie is anyone's guess... but me.. I would not know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have an extended treble [upwards] version of this instrument, although steel/nickel keys, not glass.

 

I would echo the comments of Blue Eyed Sailor above - a good responsive instrument with a rounded sweet tone. Works well for me to accompany my singing. I have had mine 17 years and it has given me no problems and have played it on a fairly regular basis. The action is perhaps ever so slightly slower than that of a comparable Wheatstone, but not noticeably so, and that would cost perhaps double the price of this instrument.

 

Can't comment on its comparison with the Geordie, unfortunately.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about glass buttons?

 

From a playing perspective.

In my experience, about the same as metal or metal capped buttons of the same size and contour. Whether glass or metal, I believe the Excelsior has flat-topped buttons, while an Edeophone's buttons would have domed tops. That characteristic matters to some people more than to others.

 

But glass buttons are inert, while metal buttons can react with sweat to leave a bitter taste on one's fingers or even noticeable corrosion in the long term. On the negative side, glass buttons are much harder to replace if one is so unlucky as to break or lose one.

Edited by JimLucas
Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about glass buttons?

From a playing perspective.

In my experience, about the same as metal or metal capped buttons of the size and contour.

This would have been my (pure) guess, too. :D

 

 

Whether glass or metal, I believe the Excelsior has flat-topped buttons, while an Edeophone's buttons would have domed tops.

I can't confirm this, from my experience: Mine has, as said before, domed metal buttons, which I find very comfortable.

 

 

But glass buttons are inert, while metal buttons can react with sweat to leave a bitter taste on one's fingers or even noticeable corrosion in the long term.

The metal buttons of my "Excelsior" have German Silver tops, thus I have never noticed any chemical reaction (let alone corrosion)... B)

 

 

Anyway, glass buttons will be fine, not only in terms of aesthetics...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whether glass or metal, I believe the Excelsior has flat-topped buttons, while an Edeophone's buttons would have domed tops.

I can't confirm this, from my experience: Mine has, as said before, domed metal buttons, which I find very comfortable.

Oops! I had overlooked that detail in your post, so I guess I was wrong on that.

 

How round are your button tops? On the couple of glass-button Edeophones and one New Model Maccann that I've tried the button tops were very rounded, though maybe not actually hemispherical. And in the photos of the Excelsior for sale it looks to me as if the glass buttons are flat or nearly so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How round are your button tops? On the couple of glass-button Edeophones and one New Model Maccann that I've tried the button tops were very rounded, though maybe not actually hemispherical.

Difficult to describe, at least for me. They are far from being rounded hemispherical. It's just the last millimeter which is rounded in perfect circular segment shape...

 

And in the photos of the Excelsior for sale it looks to me as if the glass buttons are flat or nearly so.

Yes, I'd guess them to be by all means flatter than mine...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The metal buttons on my Excelsior (which is an early model) are flat topped and capped with German Silver - although with time and over a century of playing they have become a little rounded through wear. The relatively light springs make this no less comfortable to play than my Wheatstone which has rounded metal button tops.

 

I have read or heard that glass buttons usually have rounded tops because flat topped ones are prone to chipping leaving a sharp edge that would render the key practically unplayable. Probably best to drop Chris and email via Ebay to double check if this matters to you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The early concertinas (1840 - onwards) were not so playable in comparison to those from the 1890's onwards because they started life without the cross walls in the reed chambers. These cross walls make the chambers smaller and thus the reeds will start more quickly when the chambers are presurised by opening the pad. This also has an effect on the tone.

 

Chris says that there are walls 'only in the top sections of the reedpan'.

 

How would this effect the instrument?

 

Thx. Don.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cross walls for the top few notes only .. is the way most of the early Englishes were made. This was,I guess, to increase pressure to get the smallest reeds to speak well. Without the Cross walls for the other notes the sound will be more mellow and the reeds marginally slower to start up.

 

The only real way to find out if it suits you is to try it..

Edited by Geoff Wooff
Link to comment
Share on other sites

With regard to your original question, the Geordie is an excellent light weight instrument that is much less likely to give you trouble than an old Lachenal. Those old instruments can be quite 'fiddly' at times. I would go for the Geordie.

Aren't we comparing apples and bananas here? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the Geordie was a 45k tenor instrument with accordion reeds - a far cry from a 48k treble of traditional construction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With regard to your original question, the Geordie is an excellent light weight instrument that is much less likely to give you trouble than an old Lachenal. Those old instruments can be quite 'fiddly' at times. I would go for the Geordie.

Aren't we comparing apples and bananas here? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the Geordie was a 45k tenor instrument with accordion reeds - a far cry from a 48k treble of traditional construction.

 

The original poster asked for the comparison. My point is that Morse hybrid concertinas (tenor or treble matters not)are likely to give much less trouble than an old lachenal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

The original poster asked for the comparison. My point is that Morse hybrid concertinas (tenor or treble matters not)are likely to give much less trouble than an old lachenal.

 

I wouldn't agree with that one. Concertinas are tough. A basically sound vintage instrument will give very little trouble unless abused. You surely aren't going to guarantee that new Morses and the like never need adjusting?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


Make a Donation


×
×
  • Create New...