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Emergency English Concertina Repair

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So... I have an important gig tomorrow and my concertina has decided to play up and I'm not sure how to fix it.
Normally, I would be able to do these things myself but I can't figure out the problem and my copy of David Elliott's book has conveniently disappeared...

The problem is that when you play the G# on the push, and then stop pressing the key, it still sounds quietly until you change the direction of the bellows.

My main questions are:
1) What is wrong?

2) Is it fixable by my?
3) How do I fix it?!

It would be great if someone could get back to me ASAP!

Thank you!


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Quickly before heading to bed I would say that the pad is not fully closing and that this might be due to a disfunctional return spring, possibly a cracked spring which works but not fully. Or perhaps the spring is getting weak, or is 'hung up' slightly in its travel path, rubbing against something ???


Another thought then is that there is some friction which is inhibiting movement, either at the lever or the button, which is stopping the pad from fully shutting untill suction by change of bellows direction pulls the pad closed.


I'll sleep on it,

hope you find a solution,


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I had a similar problem on my EC some months ago with a B note on the left-hand side. I opened up the offending end to look at the pads and found that the pad for this note that was continuously sounding, was jammed open by a small square piece of leather, used as a 'nut' on the inside to secure a thumbstrap screw, in metal-ended concertinas. I first thought it must have worked loose from one of the two screws that use them but when I looked at the two screws, none was missing. Then I remembered that I had had new thumbstraps fitted several weeks earlier. When the repair was done, new leather nuts were fitted and an old one must have gotten left inside, rattled around, and eventually got caught when this pad was lifted, stuck to the underside of the pad and thus prevented it from closing fully. Once removed, the problem was solved!



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If it's a spring, you might try borrowing one from a button you wont use. Alternatively, I've heard (possibily on this forum) of people making a tempory spirng by cutting the head off a safety pin and bending the remainder into a workable spring.

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It might be a spring, but I think it's more likely that the pad is rubbing against an adjacent pad and not seating fully until the air pressure associated with the change in bellows direction presses it into place. Having a look should sort it all out.


If it is the spring and you swap one from a note don't need (assuming you need the G#), don't forget to tape over THAT hole. And make sure you can tell the difference between a right-handed spring and a left-handed spring (there are only two shapes, but you have to use the correct one).


Good luck.


Let us know what happens.

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Hi! Thanks for all the responses, looks like Alistair is going to lend me his for today because I don't want to mess anything up.

I'm going to talk to Theo Gibb tonight to try and get it sorted, because I'm not sure it's the spring that is the problem and I can't see anything wrong with the pad...

I was going to swap the G# spring for another one, but it seems to be the only one where the hook is going that direction?

Thank you for all your helpful replies!

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  • 1 year later...

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