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Unable To Access Action


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Hi there. I'm posting here as a newbie, not only to this forum, but to the concertina. My observation of other forums is that newbies can sometimes talk too much and tell you his or her life story, so I'll cut to the chase: I do not know how to access the action on my concertina.

It is an English concertina, bought from Craigslist, unmarked, maker unknown (to me, anyway). I've never had a concertina before and, within the hour of taking it out of the box, I did a stupid thing: I removed the pinkie rests. (I won't bore you with why, unless you ask.) Bear in mind: everything was fine until I did that. Immediately after, I noticed a small rattle in the action and realized that there must have been tiny washers and even nuts holding the very small screws in place that held the rests and they have now fallen into the action. (Washers/nuts seem to be the case, because the screws can now be simply pushed back into their holes and don't need to be screwed in at all, and no longer tightly secure the rests in place.)

I've read that you should remove the larger screw in the thumb strap and middle screw in the rests in order to get to the action in some English concertinas, but mine will not be accessed in that manner. There is no larger middle screw in the thumb strap, only three tiny screws, similar to those on the rests. I'm afraid if I remove those strap screws, I'll have even more small washers and/nuts floating around in the action.

I had someone hold the concertina parts while I took photos with my phone, so I apologize for the poor quality. (The first pic is from the seller's Craigslist ad.) The last photo is just to indicate that there are smaller screws visible under the lining, but I haven't touched them. If anyone knows the maker of this concertina, I'd be interested in knowing that, as well, but the question of the day is, "How do I access the action?"

Thank you for your patience and for any assistance.

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Hi!

 

When you rotate it, the stacked reeds can unhinge and fold out. The problem is they reveal the lower level of reeds beneath, but that level seems embedded to the "floor" of the assembly and doesn't also lift up. The last pic shows the only screws I can see once it's unfolded (those tiny ones under the lining).

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It looks a bit like a Concertina Connection box like a Jack or a Jackie but with a lot more reeds.

 

On the CC boxes there are two tiny screws like the one in the last picture, the other screw should be on the opposite vertice. If you remove these two screws and very carefully peel back the gasket material then you might be able to pull out the wooden plate with the action on the other side. It might be a bit tight to remove but be careful and hopefully it will come out without damage.

 

You will have to figure out what you need to fix, but expect to have a tricky time getting it back together again because it might be hard to align the buttons with the holes. Be very patient and you should be able to do it.

 

If you do get it apart then please take pictures of the action and post them here.

 

Good luck.

 

Don.

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Oh, thank you so much; I'll do this in the morning when I'm a bit more alert, and I'll post the pics. I knew this wasn't a Stagi, since it wasn't marked but I was surprised that the Stagi on an online store (I don't know if we can post links, so I'm just attaching the pic of it) has the same identical face pattern as mine. So I'm guessing that you can't go by the pattern to identify a concertina?

 

 

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It doesn't, unfortunately. I did try a gentle shake, just in case, but you can tell by the sound, that it's just behind the black casing (strap side). I'm a bit surprised by this box, because the casing (which is how I'm referring to the outside "face" with the pattern) that I need to remove the action from appears to be plastic and whatever I was expecting in a concertina, it certainly wasn't plastic!

Edited by IAmGrammy
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I think that your concertina is Chinese made. If you search Alibaba.com then you might find it there - or maybe not.

 

Maybe the Chinese maker coped the end pattern off a Stagi. They probably copied the action and the reed block layout from a Stagi too.

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If that's true, I can only comfort myself with the knowledge that I gave practically nothing (compared to real concertina money) for it, ha! Well... then if I can become good on this one, when I graduate to a "real" one, I'll be great. :D

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Well... thanks, Don, because that was exactly the way to access the action. There were the nuts and washers, exactly where they shouldn't be, so they were retrieved and the finger rests put back as they originally were. I was able to somehow coax the buttons back into the holes but they're very loose so they just kept falling off the rods, but after a great deal of patience, I got the boxes back intact and attached to the bellows. Only, now, the bellows push together without pushing any buttons and ... well, you can sort of hear all the notes at once and it's quite breathy. So I'm guessing it's no longer air tight and this is why this is happening?

 

I'm adding the additional photos you asked for. Seriously, on the last couple... doesn't that look exactly like strips of wall paneling? This thing looks homemade. :huh:

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A tip for getting the buttons back - hold the action upside down so that the buttons hang downwards, any that stick at an angle should fall into line with a gentle prod, then lower the buttons into the end plate. It doesn't work first time every time, but it is a lot easier than trying to get all the buttons to stand up.

 

Air leaks - check that the action board is firmly located all the way into the end plate frame, remember to replace the two tiny screws. then make sure that the complete end is pushed firmly onto the bellows frame. If you can hear notes playing all the time the problem is not with the seal, rather something is preventing some of the buttons from returning to their "un-pressed" positions. On this design notes can only sound if some of the pads are open, so check that all the buttons are moving freely.

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Is there a short length of rubber tubing at the base of each button? I can't be sure from the photos but on Stagis the tubing is black, on yours it looks white - if it is there at all.

 

Anyway, if there is tubing in place then that is what keeps the buttons from flopping over. When the rubber perishes then the buttons stick inside the end. Check that the rubber tubings are in decent shape and if not then plan on replacing them with something better. Folks have used surgical tubing, model airplane engine fuel tubing and even the tubing inside soap dispensers! This is a common problem with Stagi type actions and is fixable although it is a fiddly job.

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There's something there but I'd stop short at calling it tubing and lean more toward a very thin soft lining at the bottom, so, if it was once tubing, it's almost worn completely away! I've had to put off opening it back up until tomorrow but when I do, I'll take a tight close up pic of one of the buttons. When the action is removed, if you so much as breathe at a button it falls off the rod. I can't think that's as it should be. Thanks!

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I have a Gremlin 30 button Anglo, which is basically a Stagi W15S.

 

Here's a link to two pictures on FLICKR photo sharing site

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/33443085@N05/shares/6xpA7q

 

The first shows the buttons in position with the rubber tubing.

The second is a button on its own with the rubber in place, showing the slot which fits over the lever.

The rubber needs to be compressed to slide the button on and off.

 

As THEO says; to get the end back on invert the carcase and offer the end from underneath - best done with two people perhaps.

 

Jake

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Thanks, Jake, that clears it up for me. Is this what people are talking about when they speak of bushing the buttons? I saw a video recently of "burling the felt" when buttons stick, but "bushing" the buttons was something in an online article (without pics) and I had no visual in order to understand what was meant. I believe that those are two different procedures done for different reasons (and, apparently, not all buttons have felt) but I'm not even sure I'm right about that. :)

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