Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Mike Franch

How Long Have You Played Your Concertina?

Recommended Posts

Since the mid-1990s after years of failing to gain adequate command of the banjo, guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, and various other folk instruments. I began with a rented Bastari English (ugh), bought a mid-range Lachenal from Paul Groff, then a unique metal ended 12-sided Crabb made in the early 1960s with a wonderful bellows and large rounded buttons, and finally a fifty button Amboyna Aeola circa 1928 with original bellows from the Button Box. The Aeola is almost mint and beautiful but the sound is too harsh for my solitary playing and singing. The Crabb is too heavy. And the old Lachenal still has the most pleasing sound of all. I still have not found the instrument that is perfect but I think it would be a pin-hole Aeola or Lachenal New Model like the one recently advertised by David Robertson but which I lost on Ebay because the final bidding at my time zone was 2AM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still have not found the instrument that is perfect but I think it would be a pin-hole Aeola or Lachenal New Model like the one recently advertised by David Robertson but which I lost on Ebay because the final bidding at my time zone was 2AM.

 

Have you tried an "Excelsior" (or, maybe, a Nonpareil)? Since I play one I can tell you that it is sounding quite different to any other instrument I've heard or played - a pure, slightly nasal and at times even cutting tone which nevertheless isn't too loud.

 

A number of fellow players seemed to like it as well...

 

It might be usefull to point out that albeit being an "Old Model" Lachenal it seems to date back to only 1927 (they have been built or at least delivered in parallel to the production of "New Model" and Edeo concertinas...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i think jody's comment highlights and important point: the amount of time played in each year is very important, in addition to how it is being played. i only play one concertina on a daily basis, i know there have been times when i was playing 3-5 hours a day for weeks or months on end. my 5 hours is a HARD five hours... when my instrument was new, i remember a few times getting back from playing in loud sessions (everyone but me mic'ed) and realizing i had noticeably broken in the reeds in the course of 3 hours. additionally, i once ripped my handstraps in half in the middle of a tune (got thicker leather since then) and even broke the air-valve's pad in the course of a few days (to be fair i knew that was going to happen based on what i was doing).

 

with all that being said, i still expect my instrument to outlast me. at first, i thought i would have to refinish it in a few decades. however, now i'm thinking that'll last the abuse as well. also i baby the bellows, so i can't imagine that they would need to be replaced in my lifetime, even though i'm young. i think on any instruments the pads, valves, and straps will need replacement at some point, though many people can play with the same set of straps for decades (i can't). i've had mine about 4 years by now, but my 4 years is probably about 20 years of abuse by someone else. although i'm being facetious with that last point, we can't escape that jody seems to treat his bellows like i treat my hand straps, :lol:.

The antique instruments esp. are prone to sudden failure. I remember playing a dance a few years ago when the right hand strap gave out and I had to suddenly improvise a repair. I had some thick waxed thread on hand thankfully and was able to stitch a solution together and save the day. Better to anticipate this kind of problem and fix it before disaster happens, but that takes a special kind of forethought that rarely takes action in my case. Since then I've repaired a few of these old hand straps, so I should be good for awhile.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

i think jody's comment highlights and important point: the amount of time played in each year is very important, in addition to how it is being played. i only play one concertina on a daily basis, i know there have been times when i was playing 3-5 hours a day for weeks or months on end. my 5 hours is a HARD five hours... when my instrument was new, i remember a few times getting back from playing in loud sessions (everyone but me mic'ed) and realizing i had noticeably broken in the reeds in the course of 3 hours. additionally, i once ripped my handstraps in half in the middle of a tune (got thicker leather since then) and even broke the air-valve's pad in the course of a few days (to be fair i knew that was going to happen based on what i was doing).

 

with all that being said, i still expect my instrument to outlast me. at first, i thought i would have to refinish it in a few decades. however, now i'm thinking that'll last the abuse as well. also i baby the bellows, so i can't imagine that they would need to be replaced in my lifetime, even though i'm young. i think on any instruments the pads, valves, and straps will need replacement at some point, though many people can play with the same set of straps for decades (i can't). i've had mine about 4 years by now, but my 4 years is probably about 20 years of abuse by someone else. although i'm being facetious with that last point, we can't escape that jody seems to treat his bellows like i treat my hand straps, :lol:.

The antique instruments esp. are prone to sudden failure. I remember playing a dance a few years ago when the right hand strap gave out and I had to suddenly improvise a repair. I had some thick waxed thread on hand thankfully and was able to stitch a solution together and save the day. Better to anticipate this kind of problem and fix it before disaster happens, but that takes a special kind of forethought that rarely takes action in my case. Since then I've repaired a few of these old hand straps, so I should be good for awhile.

 

Thats why I always carry duct tape.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It might be usefull to point out that albeit being an "Old Model" Lachenal it seems to date back to only 1927 (they have been built or at least delivered in parallel to the production of "New Model" and Edeo concertinas...

The Excelsior was listed in this 1890 price list which also lists the 'New Model'

 

(I am guessing that Steve Jobs was not the Product Manager for Lachenal)!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

It might be usefull to point out that albeit being an "Old Model" Lachenal it seems to date back to only 1927 (they have been built or at least delivered in parallel to the production of "New Model" and Edeo concertinas...

The Excelsior was listed in this 1890 price list which also lists the 'New Model'

 

It had been listed even as late as 1930! Maybe there had just too many remained in stock, or people used to like the "Victorian" design, or even the sort of special sound?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have only a Höhner D40/9m and I am playing it for five years.

 

In the future, I expect toy get a new concertina (but I don't now what model), and I expect cotinue playing contertina, of course, because... I love it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a 38 button jeffries which I got from hobgoblins in 1978,I sold my 5 string banjo to fund this.

and have played this since this time,It had a rebuild and new bellows in 1980 by John Holeman and has had no problems

since that time its played every day and has been played in many of the EU country's

I also have a 1905 wheatstone 40 button anglo which I have owned for about 15 years nice concertina,layout a different to the jeffries.

but what would we do without them?

all the best

c player

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In 1975 I lived in Newcastle for a while. One night I heard Alistair Anderson play with the ranters at the high-level-folk-club. The next day I put an advert in the cronicle and bought my first Lachenal rosewood. A short time later I was lucky to aquire a lovely Boyd-Wheatstone ( 110 Pound! ) in Sunderland, which was and still is a joy to play. 1978 I bought a 31.xxx EE 48-key Aeola of Steve Chambers ( still in London ).

I adjusted the springs on those two boxes for lighter action and in the end the EE Aeola became my favourite. The two of us just grew together. I must have had well over 100 concertinas, almost half of them Aeolas including torts and amboynas, double-bass to piccolo. However I would always choose this particular box, if I was allowed only one;-) It was a good instrument in the first place and many years of regular playing have improved it even further. I have never played a box that I would swap for my Tina;-)

And I am positive that she will survive me...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After playing (fumbling really) on a couple of cheapies (Hohner, Fontalini(?) and Stagi) I took the leap onto a Morse Ceili 4 or 5 years ago. I played it an awful lot, as I was working after the 1000-hours principle. I bought a lovely Jeffries 38 from Chris Algar 2 1/2 years ago, and at last my Suttner 38 was collected in February. The Jeffries is temporarily going away for a full restoration (hopefully this year) so I think I am all good for the decades to come :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Dipper C/G was made for me in 1978 and the D/G in 1980. Both have served be really well over the years and have been played regularly for the Morris, ceilidhs and sessions. I have had them back to Colin for tuning every other year and apart from the odd pad replacement have needed no maintenance....the best maintenance is playing!!! I have no plans to change either of these beautiful tinas...they are part of the family.

 

Graham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like blue eyed sailor my regular box is a Lachenal Excellsior EC (from 1880s I think) - I have had this for nearly 20 years - although there was a playing gap of perhaps 10 years until I picked it up again about two years ago. The intervening time spent on guitar and dulcimer seemed to have improved my musical ability. For my purpose (mainly song accompaniment) the Excellsior has an ideal tone and volume. I have a 1920s Wheatsone EC 48 model 6 which certainly has a more responsive action and is more airtight - but although a joy to play it is a little too loud for my immediate needs.

 

Perhaps one day Santa might bring me an Aeola TT/Edeophone TT with brass reeds to tempt me away from my Excellsior, but until then we are likely to remain together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I started playing concertina is 2003 until approx 2008 when life took me in other directions. I have recently come back to it (and this forum :)

 

I started on a Stagi, moving onto a Norman l picked up in Cork the same year on my first big OS trip :). My current concertina is a 1927 Lachanel Anglo l bought from Andy's Norman in 2005 and l love it. :)

 

(Side note: attending the Arran Concertina Event in 2005 was definitely a highlight. Anyone still here that attended? :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How long I have been playing my concertina, well I have been playing my concertina for hours...

Over the last four years I exchanged cheaper instruments for better ones.

I will stick to my current play list of concertinas - wheatstone (anglo), lachenal and crab (crane duets) and jeffries (jeffries duet), I'll let them sing until they have to be fine tuned and serviced again.

 

Marien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

i think jody's comment highlights and important point: the amount of time played in each year is very important, in addition to how it is being played. i only play one concertina on a daily basis, i know there have been times when i was playing 3-5 hours a day for weeks or months on end. my 5 hours is a HARD five hours... when my instrument was new, i remember a few times getting back from playing in loud sessions (everyone but me mic'ed) and realizing i had noticeably broken in the reeds in the course of 3 hours. additionally, i once ripped my handstraps in half in the middle of a tune (got thicker leather since then) and even broke the air-valve's pad in the course of a few days (to be fair i knew that was going to happen based on what i was doing).

 

with all that being said, i still expect my instrument to outlast me. at first, i thought i would have to refinish it in a few decades. however, now i'm thinking that'll last the abuse as well. also i baby the bellows, so i can't imagine that they would need to be replaced in my lifetime, even though i'm young. i think on any instruments the pads, valves, and straps will need replacement at some point, though many people can play with the same set of straps for decades (i can't). i've had mine about 4 years by now, but my 4 years is probably about 20 years of abuse by someone else. although i'm being facetious with that last point, we can't escape that jody seems to treat his bellows like i treat my hand straps, :lol:.

The antique instruments esp. are prone to sudden failure. I remember playing a dance a few years ago when the right hand strap gave out and I had to suddenly improvise a repair. I had some thick waxed thread on hand thankfully and was able to stitch a solution together and save the day. Better to anticipate this kind of problem and fix it before disaster happens, but that takes a special kind of forethought that rarely takes action in my case. Since then I've repaired a few of these old hand straps, so I should be good for awhile.

 

True what Jody sais, old concertinas may have surprises and it is not funny on stage, but these old instruments (I think) mostly have more character than new instruments. Mostly it is an organic part (holes in torn bellows, hand straps, valves, pads) but it may also be a pivot post or pad that starts leaving his position while playing. I think these surprises can be minimised by having it checked and serviced regularly...

Share this post


Link to post
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.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...