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Lachenal Worth It?


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I have another of those questions about a sight-unseen instrument. It is a 26 button lachenal in the following condition.

 

The bellows are intact with no leaks. The corners show some wear.

-- The buttons are all intact and the spring lever mechanism for each works

fine.

-- The leather for the left hand strap needs to be replaced: the one on the

right is in good shape, the top strap button just needs to be refitted as

its original screw hole has been stripped.

-- The surface veneer on both wood ends has light hairline cracking all

across the face due to the wood drying out but is intact.

-- The reeds and internal baffle leathers are all in good condition.

-- The ends appear to be rosewood.

 

This brings us to the real issue: The small metal pins which hold the reed

plates on either side in place have collapsed, so that the plates have

sunken down into the end casings. As a result, half the notes on both sides

will not sound.

 

I haven't yet been able to get back with the seller about just what the metal pin collapse means. The price is $600 for an instrument with a serial number in the 66000 range. So, does this sound like more trouble than it would be worth?

I look forward to hearing your advice. Thanks

David

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The price is $600 for an instrument with a serial number in the 66000 range. So, does this sound like more trouble than it would be worth?

As you've described it, I would say yes.

 

Now some questions and elaboration:

...a sight-unseen instrument...

I'm assuming that you mean "unseen" by us, but that you have seen it. Otherwise, I would be wary of the description.

 

-- The buttons are all intact and the spring lever mechanism for each works fine.

Have you exposed the mechanism, to examine its condition?

When you say "works fine", what exactly do you mean? How does it compare to other concertinas you've tried? Is it quick and smooth, with rapid return?

 

-- The reeds and internal baffle leathers are all in good condition.

You don't tell us whether the reeds are steel or brass, or whether they have any corrosion, or whether the instrument is in tune with itself, or what keys it's in, or whether it's tuned to A440. All these thing have a bearing on the value.

 

The small metal pins which hold the reedplates on either side in place have collapsed, so that the plates havesunken down into the end casings.

Metal pins? Should be small wooden blocks. If the blocks came loose at some time in the past and somebody replaced them with metal pins, then 1) this suggests the instrument has an uncertain history, and 2) I would wonder about what other nonstandard repairs might have been attempted.

 

As a result, half the notes on both sideswill not sound.

That doesn't sound right to me. If the reed pans have sunk down into the ends, I would expect much leakage over the tops of the chamber partitions, and several notes sounding at once, not silence.

 

All of which are side issues, in my opinion. My first statement holds. Even if all the uncertainties worked out on the favorable side, I think the quoted price is high, considering the work that will need to be done.

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The reed pans sinking is usually due to the little triangular blocks unsticking.I agree with you Jim that some sound should come out of it.From the description it would be something I would take a chance on if the price was right.

Al

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David,

 

I don't know how much you know about concertinas. If you can do the necessary repairs, it may be worth buying. If not, you need to price in the cost of having the work done by someone else. Once done, it could make a nice instrument. Anglos with more than 20 buttons do tend to have a high price these days. The rosewood end ones tend to be better made than the mahogany end ones. If it is only a support block issue, this is not a big deal. You need to get it clear what the real problem is. You should also find out if it needs retuning as this can be costly. Can you get photos?

 

Good luck.

Edited by Paul Read
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I have seen photos of the concertina, the action and the reed pans. The reeds look like there is no rust at all. It does look as though the support has slipped a little.

I am leaning to buying it and giving a whirl.

If I can, I will try to attach the photos as soon as I learn how.

David

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Just another thing to be aware of: Most Lachenals I've seen have warped reed pans. If the reed pan has not been held in place it could be a bit worse. Warped reed pans create a situation where the individual reed chambers are not completely airtight, resulting in double notes and weak sounding reeds. This can be very troublesome to overcome satisfactorily.

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