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MatthewVanitas

Might Be Taking A Concertina To Cartagena, Colombia

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I'm not 100% until I have the embassy visa letter in my hot little paw, but it looks like my new job may be sending me down to Cartagena for the rest of the year. Colombian port/naval/holiday town on the Caribbean.

 

I'm fixing to take a concertina, but leery of taking a $3800 Morse Beaumont with, so I was thinking instead my Elise. Not a bad box, just a bit bulky, buttons a little mushy; lacks many chromatics but for a folkie that doesn't vex much. However, I just recently bought a small Lachenal Crane Duet from another Cnet'er, and it's not much more expensive than the Elise, nice and compact, plays pretty well (just a few reeds a bit slow/stuffy), decent action. I didn't know Crane layout at all, but finding it passing intuitive, though very spoiled by Hayden duet's scale-agnosticism.

 

I pulled up a couple older Cnet posts about coastal towns, and consensus seems that rust is only particular danger to your steel reeds if you hang out right near the beach/docks, and the sea is frothy enough the wind is catching salt. So for either playing in my apartment, or a public square a few blocks inland, or maybe a balcony a few stories up and a few hundred metres from the sea, that shouldn't have undue corrosion risk?

 

Elise advantages: maybe I could find an accordion repairman who could do some modifications/hot-rodding of it, of the sort that would be too labor-costly in the US/UK but cheap down there. Also I know Hayden system very well, though the key-changing advantage of Hayden is much diminished on a 34-button. And I wouldn't be risking a vintage. And I doubt anyone in that nation is qualified to clean/tune true concertina reeds.

 

In the Lachenal's favor, it'd be a "true" concertina, and if in the end I find Crane layout to be perfectly easy to play despite being non-isomorphic, I can buy a really good Crane for less than half (maybe 1/3) of what I'll pay for a Hayden once I reach the top of Wim's waitlist in 2017. And though clearly I won't be negligent with it (and no disrespect meant to the previous Cnet owner), if disaster strikes, it's a small student Lachenal, not a dinosaur egg or Stradivarius.

 

 

I'm just musing out loud, so not demanding anyone decide my life or anything, but if you have opinions my ears are open. I hope to do just some casual jamming down there with a local guitarist or vocalist. By hook or by crook I must have an instrument, and I do dig playing concertina. Overall stoked about new job, Colombia is absolutely gorgeous and so are colombianas.

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Cartagena is a wonderfully vibrant place and extremely humid. At least when I was there in January. Not sure of the reed corrosion issue, but you might want to take along some bags of dessicant to keep in your concertina case. You can find dessicant pouches through the internet and this is a useful link as well.

 

http://musicsorbonline.com/product/

 

Best wishes to you in Colombia.

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Before retirement from industry we did some work on corrosion, and the marine atmosphere, the salt in the air can persist for some 3 to 5 kilometres in land, subject to wind direction, wind speed and atmospheric conditions. I suggest that you would be amazed at how many square miles are are affected around the UK. This does not stop people playing and enjoying their instruments around our coastal towns, and cities.

 

Condensation is the reed killer and I can often see it's effects on old instruments that have been poorly stored, and seldom played. Instruments that are being regularly played are being ventilated and the reeds brought up to ambient temperature, even if this is below dew point, then odds are the next playing will move and condensate.

 

As a thought, you can see quite high relative humidities in crowded pubs and clubs, I suggest that reed issues may not be a problem over such a short period, unless you are going into extremes of humidity and temperature variations..

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I spend five months of every year on the coast of Maine where the humidity never goes lower than 60 per sent and often reaches nearly ninety. I have taken my medium level Lachenal every year without a hint of a problem and then I return to Davis CA where there is negligible humidity at all. I have never seen any effect in these transitions except a possible slight mellowing of the sound in Maine. Nothing like a rusty reed. So I tend to think that worries about climate change are somewhat mythical. But that is just my experience.

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Here's my take....You should have access to both machines (Crane and Elise) and send me the Beaumont for safekeeping/exercise/climate control....

 

Seriously, it sounds like a dream opp., and my tax dollar at work. Take the two!

 

Regards,

 

David

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. . . you might want to take along some bags of dessicant to keep in your concertina case.

 

Plus, you'd have the fun of taking the little bags of dessicant through security.

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Plus, you'd have the fun of taking the little bags of dessicant through security.

 

Going to Colombia? A little coals-to-Newcastle, don't you think? I don't personally indulge (ex-mil), but from what I've been told street price for a gram is $60 in New York, $5 in Bogota.

 

Re dessicant in general, I grasp the idea, but if the ambient is so humid, would it no be better for the instrument to just stay humid, rather than drying out in the dessicated box, getting humid for a few hours or play, and back in the dessicated box? Or am I looking at it wrong?

 

 

 

 

Seriously, it sounds like a dream opp., and my tax dollar at work. Take the two!

 

Unlike previous jaunts of mine to iffy places (like Kabul where I first learned to play concertina), I'm private-sector now, so this one is funded by the Colombian government.

 

 

I've pondered it more, and the little 35b Crane is playing smoother and smoother the more I play it, so I'm fixing to take that one for its sound/smooth/small. My time is getting short so I'm not inclined to mail it off nor press Greg Jowaisas for a rushed turnaround, but might there be anyone in the DC or Austin area whom I could drop by and give a good bottle of whiskey to for them to do a quick clean of the few reeds that are muffled or buzzy?

 

 

EDIT: Greg has been most kind and is willing to make an exception on turnaround, so I'll be taking a smooth-running box down!

Edited by MatthewVanitas

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Matthew:

 

I have one of these:

http://www.amazon.com/STORM-IM2075-00001-2075-Case-Black/dp/B007YEL5PE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407272319&sr=8-1&keywords=storm+case+im+2075

 

If your Crane will fit inside this case then I highly recommend one for where you are going.

 

Very tough and seals hermitically if you close the latches which should help with the humidity and salt air.

 

Don.

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Plus, you'd have the fun of taking the little bags of dessicant through security.

 

Going to Colombia? A little coals-to-Newcastle, don't you think? I don't personally indulge (ex-mil), but from what I've been told street price for a gram is $60 in New York, $5 in Bogota.

 

Actually, I was thinking of before you got to Columbia. Like at Dulles or wherever you get your plane.

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Slight change in that I'm going to be in Bogota for a while first, or even primarily. While slightly let down not to be spending time on the beach, Bogota is way, way larger (Cartagena is well under a million, Bogota metro area is 8 million) and should have a great arts scene. For contrast, in the whole US the only larger urban metro areas are New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, and San Francisco.

 

I'm still a little torn on getting the Pelican IM2075 hard weatherproof case several members have recommended. To one degree, I'm not venturing off into the bush or anything, and I've never felt the lack of such a case in the wilds of DC or New York (and in Afghanistan just has the soft gig-bag for my Elise). Then again, it's not that much larger than the BB-standard case I have, and smaller than the Beaumont or huge Elise cases. Bogota avoids the saltwater issue (at least until work pops up down in Cartagena or Baranquilla), and the temperature is ridiculously moderate, like 45F-65F almost all year. But Bogota rains constantly, really high humidity. So maybe a weatherproof case would be good in case I'm caught carrying it in a drizzle/fog, and I could maybe chuck a dessicant in there. This one looks awesome and has good reviews, and doesn't have the cobalt chloride that supposedly is a cancer risk in other dessicants, plus it's semi-indefinitely reusable and $9: Hydrosorbent

 

I'm also debating getting one of those little widgets that slips inside a case or backpack and interfaces with your phone, alerting you if the case strays far from you, or telling you where it's gone to. Not that I plan to lose this, but if the device is cheap enough it'd be a novelty and some peace of mind, if I can get it to interface with whatever cellular phone or wifi settup I have down there.

 

I'm picking up my restored Crane (thanks to Greg Jowaisas) this afternoon, and I'll measure the case and suss out how much larger the Pelican/Storm would be. I know folks don't like the foam stuff for blocking because it can react with the wood. Is there any expedient way to wrap cotton cloth around the foam blocking just to use it without marring the wood in the meantime? Any other details I'm missing?

 

The Pelican come in yellow too; might get that as a contrast to my usual black cases, and make it very easy to see. Not getting olive drab lest it be mistaken for military gear while traveling. Likewise would put hard thought into whatever stickers I put on it to avoid anything remotely controversial while traveling. The Colombians are skittish about Ireland ever since some "former IRA" gents happened to be in rural Colombia at the same time as the FARC suddenly arrived at some clever new ways to build bombs, so going to avoid any wearin' o' the green on this one. Likewise any sticker which has a "Free [nation/area]!" on it.

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I know folks don't like the foam stuff for blocking because it can react with the wood.

What is the issue here? I have been using a Storm case with foam for about 18 months, and I also used some closed cell foam insulating pipe wrap as blocks in a case that did not have blocks installed. I have not seen any interaction between the wood and the foam.

 

I can imagine some soft/sticky foams left in contact and untouched for years might degrade and stick to the wood, but if the concertina is in daily use then the foam seems to behave very well.

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