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Terry McGee

Concertina Condition Checklist?

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I suddenly find myself in the position of needing to evaluate a couple of concertinas to see what work they need. It made me wonder if anyone has produced (or could be tricked into producing) a checklist of issues as a guide to assessing the condition of a concertina. Some things of course jump out - notes that don't play, pads that don't seal, etc. Others you pick up in playing, for example on one instrument the buttons protrude too far, wobble badly in the out position, dip too far and require far too much pressure when pressed. Some need investigating to find, like end screws with only a turn or two of useable thread or action cover sides held in place only by the screws, as the glue joints have come apart.

 

Hmmm, if I go on like this for much longer, I won't need a checklist. But if anyone has one....

 

Terry

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Hmmm, if I go on like this for much longer, I won't need a checklist.

 

Seems like you've already made a good start on providing us with one. ;)

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Dave Elliott has quite a comprehensive checklist in his concertina maintenance manual - see 3.3 Examination for Purchase

 

Chas

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Look also for warps in the pallet boards and reedpans whch can cause air leakage between chambers. A tell tale for this is seen on the Chamois gaskets on top of the chamber walls... the chamois should be clean and if there has been much air leakage across then old concertinas will show sooty stains on the chamois. somtimes this can also be seen on the face of the pallet boards as dark trace lines..

 

Check also that the Reedpans fit nice and firmly in the Bellows frames.. any sloppiness will cause air leaks between the reedpan and bellows Inside walls. Packing out the Chamois gaskets or replacing them might be necessary.

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Terry,

 

I have a spread sheet with 109 line items each with a material and labour cost against them, which admittedly includes shipping packing and other not so specific to repair items. I would be most surprised if other repairers do not have something similar. There is a difference in examination for repair and examination for purchase. Examination for repair has to be more comprehensive, it is part of the value adding process of the overall 'repair service' and your customer satisfaction often stems from the thoroughness of this examination, and the resultant recommendations that you as a repairer make.

 

In industry there was always confusion between inspection and examination (or assessment if you prefer it). the term 'Inspection' being used widely for quality control and is applied after work to prove compliance to contract and as such is a management check, thus not what a customer is paying for. Examination applied at the start of a repair cycle as part of the service the customer is paying for to ascertain condition and scope of repairs needed.

 

Dave

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Look also for warps in the pallet boards and reedpans whch can cause air leakage between chambers. A tell tale for this is seen on the Chamois gaskets on top of the chamber walls... the chamois should be clean and if there has been much air leakage across then old concertinas will show sooty stains on the chamois. somtimes this can also be seen on the face of the pallet boards as dark trace lines..

 

Check also that the Reedpans fit nice and firmly in the Bellows frames.. any sloppiness will cause air leaks between the reedpan and bellows Inside walls. Packing out the Chamois gaskets or replacing them might be necessary.

 

Yes, I've seen those soot lines, Geoff, and wondered at them. What does it tell us about our atmosphere, or perhaps the atmosphere in the time these concertinas were played? Is it smoke from the cosy fireside besides which one played, or from the cigarettes or pipe one smoked? Or was it smog from gasworks and industrial processes before the clean-air acts? Art imitates life they say. Is the concertina an analog for lung cancer?

 

I did an assessment last year of a carillon in Bathurst, Australia on behalf of their council who would like to refurbish the instrument. One of the odd things we found was soot everywhere. It was a war memorial instrument and there was a gaslit "eternal flame" in the entrance vestibule. There's your soot generator.

 

Terry

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Terry,

 

I have a spread sheet with 109 line items each with a material and labour cost against them, which admittedly includes shipping packing and other not so specific to repair items. I would be most surprised if other repairers do not have something similar. There is a difference in examination for repair and examination for purchase. Examination for repair has to be more comprehensive, it is part of the value adding process of the overall 'repair service' and your customer satisfaction often stems from the thoroughness of this examination, and the resultant recommendations that you as a repairer make.

 

In industry there was always confusion between inspection and examination (or assessment if you prefer it). the term 'Inspection' being used widely for quality control and is applied after work to prove compliance to contract and as such is a management check, thus not what a customer is paying for. Examination applied at the start of a repair cycle as part of the service the customer is paying for to ascertain condition and scope of repairs needed.

 

Dave

 

This highlights two extreme approaches to servicing. In one approach, you look at the complaint, e.g. "F# is not working", fix F# and send it back to the customer. In the other, you note all the other things that are wrong with the instrument, apprise the sometimes-surprised customer, and, when given the go-ahead, really sort it out. I tend to the latter approach myself (with flutes), as flutes are not an efficient instrument, and a little loss here and there is all that is needed to make a good flute into a bear. There is the risk of being accused of "over-servicing", but I'd rather risk that than having the instrument returned with a note that "it still doesn't play well". 109 lines sounds like a pretty thorough going over!

 

Terry

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Terry,

 

I have a spread sheet with 109 line items each with a material and labour cost against them, which admittedly includes shipping packing and other not so specific to repair items. I would be most surprised if other repairers do not have something similar. There is a difference in examination for repair and examination for purchase. Examination for repair has to be more comprehensive, it is part of the value adding process of the overall 'repair service' and your customer satisfaction often stems from the thoroughness of this examination, and the resultant recommendations that you as a repairer make.

 

In industry there was always confusion between inspection and examination (or assessment if you prefer it). the term 'Inspection' being used widely for quality control and is applied after work to prove compliance to contract and as such is a management check, thus not what a customer is paying for. Examination applied at the start of a repair cycle as part of the service the customer is paying for to ascertain condition and scope of repairs needed.

 

Dave

 

This highlights two extreme approaches to servicing. In one approach, you look at the complaint, e.g. "F# is not working", fix F# and send it back to the customer. In the other, you note all the other things that are wrong with the instrument, apprise the sometimes -surprised customer, and, when given the go-ahead, really sort it out. I tend to the latter approach myself (with flutes), as flutes are not an efficient instrument, and a little loss here and there is all that is needed to make a good flute into a bear. There is the risk of being accused of "over-servicing", but I'd rather risk that than having the instrument returned with a note that "it still doesn't play well". 109 lines sounds like a pretty thorough going over!

 

Terry

That is the diference between a simple repair, a hole in the bellows, so patch it; versus the service question: what condition are these bellows in? Then the next step of: what do I, based on my observations and experience, recommend?

 

As there is no manufacturer's service manuals with change-out intervals, and such like, I usually like to caregorise my recomendations along the lines of

 

1. If it were my instrument i would do............. Costing ££££

2. However you only need to do............... To make it functional. Costing £££

3. There again the instrument could benefit from. ?......... This is guilding the lilly and would cost a further ........£££

 

It is about options and giving the player control, with a gentle nudge if needed. Also about declining a job if the scope of work is inadequate to protect your own reputation.

 

Dave

Edited by d.elliott

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