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vic44

Renelli Italian Concertina

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I am new to concertinas so know absolutely nothing about them. I recently acquired one that I believe to be in great shape from an estate. I am interested in finding out more about the instrument that I have and what it may be worth for insurance purposes, etc. Any information would be greatly appreciated!post-11224-0-64027900-1402000863_thumb.jpgpost-11224-0-06528900-1402000865_thumb.jpgpost-11224-0-61074100-1402000866_thumb.jpgpost-11224-0-94271100-1402000867_thumb.jpg

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I have two Italian 20 buttons models like this, a red celluloid Renelli and a mahogany Stagi like this one, both with double reeds. Most of these were made in the same factory in Italy over much of the last half century or more. If they are working well and in tune (neither condition is common), I've seen them go for $75-$150. It would never occur to me to insure mine....(in contrast with some other instruments I own). Play it, have fun, and no need to worry about it - best kind of musical instrument!

 

Ken

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You'll see pretty much (maybe identical) designs sold under the names "Bastari", "Stagi", "Silvertone", and other house-brand names. Generally all Italian-made, post-WWII and made in largely this design up to the present. I've bought them blind as low as $40 (though occasionally got stuck with a lemon), and agree they're worth vaguely $100ish in decent playing shape.

 

EDIT: In contrast with Coles, of the dozen-or so such instruments I've owned, only one of turned out to be double-reeded, the rest all single-reed. The distinction is whether a given note has two little vibrating reeds singing together per note, or just one. You can tell the double-reed ones because the reeds are tuned just slightly apart, giving a bit of a warbly chorus sort of effect. From my limited experience I don't recall any external visual indication as to whether mine was single or double-reeded. I actually accidentally sent my one double-reed to a friend who wanted a single-reed because I visually confused them when boxing them up.

 

 

Do you play any other musical instruments? If you want to see how in-tune your concertina is, you can use any electronic tuner, including ones that cost 99c or so that operate on your smartphone. That'd be an easy way to see how the reed are doing.

 

That aside, a very common issue with these over time is that the hinging of where each button joins its arm (which raises a pad, allowing air to flow to a reed) were made of rubber as a simplifying measure, and this rubber gets old/stiff/cracked over time and stops working, causing the buttons to come loose. Fortunately this is easily fixed with 30 minutes or less of very low-skill work and $3 or so in materials. We have an article here about it: http://www.concertina.net/gs_stagirepair.html . And we have other threads in the Repair section which update and build on the article (many with better photos of how to do the fix).

 

If the reeds are in-tune and sounding smoothly, and the buttons are operating smoothly (before or after replacing the rubber), there's not much left to worry about other than making sure there are no air-leaks, either from damage to the bellows or leaks in the joint between ends and bellows (either from missing padding, or from screwing the ends back on wrong/tilted leaving a gap for air to leak out). That's largely it for condition, though I have had a few old ones where the leather hand-straps were dried out and stiff.

 

 

Are you interested in learning to play the Anglo concertina, or just grabbed this for kicks? The 20b Anglo is pretty intuitive and easy to learn, great for accompanying folk-songs and the like, and in certain traditions great for playing dance-tunes. A lot of modern Anglo stuff (especially Irish music) is arranged for the 30-button Anglo currently trendy, but the 20 has its simplicity. One of our members here just compiled a full book of American Civil War tunes for the 20-button Anglo: http://www.amazon.com/Civil-War-Concertina-Gary-Coover/dp/1499128053

Edited by MatthewVanitas

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