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Carreg Las Concertinas And Other Cheaper Makes

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Hi all. I'm relative beginner and currently own two 20 key anglos, a vintage Rossetti Rambler and an antique (not in a good way!) Lachenal, both of which I bought cheap and restored to a degree of playability. However they both have their faults. The Rosetti has a robust sound but is heavy and unwieldy with a number of squeaky notes and the Lachenal sounds nice but suffers from a severe shortage of breath and sticky keys. So have decided to buy a cheap new or newish box to keep improving my playing skills until I can justify spending an arm and a leg on a quality restored vintage instrument. Everybody in these forums seems to say the Rochelle is the best reasonably priced alternative, and to avoid the rest. One cheaper make I have seen advertised, but not mentioned here is Carreg Las. Does anyone know if these are any good or should they be avoided. I would appreciate any advice on this and any other tips on a good practice instrument. John

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The look very much like Stagi/Brunner concertinas to my eyes...

 

Best wishes - Wolf

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You could also check with a repairer or two to see if your Lachenal can be brought up to good shape for the amount you would spend on a Rochelle - it is worth asking.

 

Ken

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You could also check with a repairer or two to see if your Lachenal can be brought up to good shape for the amount you would spend on a Rochelle - it is worth asking.

 

Ken

Pretty good and reasonable advice!

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Hi all. I'm relative beginner and currently own two 20 key anglos, a vintage Rossetti Rambler and an antique (not in a good way!) Lachenal, both of which I bought cheap and restored to a degree of playability. However they both have their faults. The Rosetti has a robust sound but is heavy and unwieldy with a number of squeaky notes and the Lachenal sounds nice but suffers from a severe shortage of breath and sticky keys. So have decided to buy a cheap new or newish box to keep improving my playing skills until I can justify spending an arm and a leg on a quality restored vintage instrument. Everybody in these forums seems to say the Rochelle is the best reasonably priced alternative, and to avoid the rest. One cheaper make I have seen advertised, but not mentioned here is Carreg Las. Does anyone know if these are any good or should they be avoided. I would appreciate any advice on this and any other tips on a good practice instrument. John

 

Get the Lachenal fixed. It probably won't cost much more than a Rochelle, and will play and sound much better.

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You are close enough To people who can do the job and do it well. A Rochelle is a step up from a Stagi as far as quality goes, but a big step down from even a poor Lachenal if it isn't full of leaks or bad valves. Lachenals are fundamentally good instruments. The main issues that seperate good ones from bad seems to be the quality of Reed fit. Some have way too much clearance, but if that is corrected ( often someone sill swap out bad reeds for better fitting ones scavenged from junkers.) you can go a long way on them and they usually gave a very pleasing tone even if they aren't fast instruments. I think decent repairers should be able to make replacement reed tongues. It really isn't that hard.. Making really good reeds is an art, but a learnable one. It doesn't take fancy equipment, just a little steel and a little time. The profiles of the poorly fit Lachenal reeds are decent, it is just the width that is off. It is not hard to copy them, (remembering that the final tuning starts from the rough profile.)

My very first reeds were actually indistinguishable in sound and playability from the Wheatstone reeds they kept company with. All I had was a drill, a jewlers saw a file and shears. ( brass sheet for the shoe and a bit of blue shim steel.)

Dana

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I agree with everyone who recommends getting the Lachenal repaired, especially if you're ok with a 20 button concertina. I would add that that I suspect that the Carreg Las concertinas are "cheap Chinese", which is a significant step down from a Brunner/Stagi.

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Thanks to everyone for your advice, which I have taken, but not in quite the ways suggested. To be honest I love my little Lachenal, even though it's old and crotchety. I've already put a lot of blood sweat and tears into bringing it from a virtual write-off to a sweet-sounding, meantone-tuned, if rather frail instrument, which can actually play a nice tune with a bit of elbow-grease applied. So for sentimental reasons I'd rather like to carry on nursing it back to health myself.

 

Thanks to Dana for the interesting advice about the reed fit. It's not something I was really aware of, so now I'll take a closer look at the reeds. And the project will be ongoing.

 

Meanwhile I want something I can play properly, so following everyone's advice and my own heart, I've ditched any thoughts of Stagi and Rochelle and have just bought another Lachenal 20 key, not restored, but in better condition than my other one - and I'm confident that with the help of the restoration experience I've gained so far, I should be able to bring it up to scratch.

 

Once again, thanks to you all for helping me back onto the straight and narrow path!

 

John

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I own a Carreg Las. I has taken a lot of work to deal with sticking buttons and poor voicing. But now it plays.

 

The reeds are very thick, so the response is slow and breathy, even after voicing. That makes it very hard work to play.

 

I do not recommend it.

 

I have a Stagi G/D -- recent model with steel buttons and black lacquer finish. It plays very well. I expect that the C/G version should also be ok.

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Thanks Stephen. That definitely puts the lid on the Carreg Las debate. As you see from above I have now invested in another Lachenal 20 key, but am still on the lookout for a reasonably priced 30 button for learning on, so maybe Stagi could be an option.

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