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CjD

Commited The Sin Of Ebay Now-what?

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Folks:

I'm totally new to the world of Concertinas and have tried to educate myself a little via the InterNet. Against all advice shown on websites like ConcertinaNet, I haphazardly jumped into buying a concertina listed for sale on eBay. The purchase arrived today and I guess I shouldn't be surprised to find that it is more a project than a musical instrument. I know little about how to proceed, but I hope that someone can advise me.

 

The advert on eBay provided no details and only a blurry photo... so it was basically a blind purchase... "let the buyer beware." After unpacking it, what I bought is a Lachenal Anglo 20 button (well really a 21 button) with the number 93052. From what I can estimate that would put it at around 1873-1899. It also appears to have Steel reeds from a stamp in the wood... but here comes the problems:

 

It appears to have been stored in an damp attic for some number of years with a distinct smell of mildew and perhaps whitishness mildew on the bellows, but no stains. The bellows appear to be relatively intact, with some minor (my guess) holes along two or three seams. Not all of the bone-button keys depress, but they are all present and appear to be in good state, several are stuck. When moved the concertina clearly has internal pieces that move around inside. There appears to be no woodworm problems, but in order to open the instrument some of the screws will have to be replaced... owing to rust, so I don't want to open it... knowing I wont be able to close it. The leather straps are in poor and broken condition. The storage box is useless and will have to be thrown away. Apart from this description if anyone would like to see pictures just let me know.

My questions would be:

--Given the fact that I paid 120 pounds (about $200 or 175 Euros) for it, is it worth keeping and repairing?

--How much would this roughly cost assuming the worse case and what would this repair bring the value to?

--Can someone you recommend provide repairs and overhaul in Europe or better in The Netherlands?

 

Now I don't know how to play the concertina .. but from advice I read... buying an older concertina is better than a student model new one and my thought was I'd pick up something cheep (but playable) on the InterNet... teach myself and sell it on if I didn't like it. Can someone give me some idea of the kinds of repairs that might be needed, costs and whether I should forging ahead with getting it repaired.

 

Thank you for any advice and any help you can provide.

:o post-956-1104849318_thumb.jpg

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Hi Cid

 

The price you paid seems appropriate. Your Lachenal seem like a good project if you have the time and interest.

 

You could consider CONCERTINA CONNECTION right there in Holland. They restore old concertinas and make new hybrid ones too. I would reccoment them. From what I have seen and experienced a decent or good working 20 button Lachenal could cost $500-$800. So you can consider that when deciding to pay to restore yours. I purchased a very nice 20 button Lachenal on e bay from one of the foremost reputable dealers for about $700 and I am satisfied. It is one of the nicer fancy cut rosewood end models. Your mahagony ended instrument probably would be a bit less.

 

Good Luck,

 

Richard

Edited by richard

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You're in luck, as there is indeed a good repairer in the Netherlands. His name is Wim Wakker of The Concertina Connection. His contact details are all in The Concertina FAQ in the Makers & Repairers section. There does sound to be a fair bit wrong with your concertina, but you do need someone like Wim, who can look at it with a repairer's eyes, to tell you whether it is worth saving or not. Whether it is or isn't, I should warn you that you are now trapped, and will not be able easily to escape concertina addiction. Welcome to the club, and to the forum!

 

Cheers,

 

Chris

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I'm totally new to the world of Concertinas and have tried to educate myself a little via the InterNet....  ...--Can someone you recommend provide repairs and overhaul in Europe or better in The Netherlands?

CjD

You already have got some advice, so I can only say "Welkom bij de club" (I assume you are Dutch).

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Thanks Richard and Chris for the replys... I will contact Concertina Connect and hope they can help me. Should I decide that the repairs are too costly any idea how I should proceed? Would it be fair to sell this one on and could I expect to recover my costs... is there a "used parts market" out there where this one could end up? I haven't given up.. just thought you might have some thoughts.

Thanks,

Chris (in The Netherlands)

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I'm totally new to the world of Concertinas and have tried to educate myself a little via the InterNet....   ...--Can someone you recommend provide repairs and overhaul in Europe or better in The Netherlands?

CjD

You already have got some advice, so I can only say "Welkom bij de club" (I assume you are Dutch).

 

Henk...

 

Actually I'm not Dutch by birth..but do have some ancestors to come from Texel, I live in The Hague... if I get this repair thing sorted out.. perhaps you can point me in the direction of a teacher that might live near me? Unfortunately he/she would need to be English speaking...

 

thanks much,

 

Chris

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Hi,

 

That instrument looks exactly like the Lachenal 20 I picked up in a second hand shop here, a week before Xmas for $NZ150.

 

One thing about the number, mine seems to be #94811 on the end label, but inside it is stamped #194811 which puts it around 1924-26, I think. You might like to check inside yours.

 

I've ordered new pads and hand straps, plus a reed and a spring from Dave Leese - hopefully this will reduce the considerable air leaks (the bellows are fine).

Apart from that, it is Concert Pitch (mostly) and lots of fun to play!

 

I've also ordered Alans CD; meanwhile I'm just going through my songbooks working out how to play anything I come across - from sea songs, to cajun, calypso to country, trad to contemporary to blues (-ish) as well as all sorts of (mostly European) country dance tunes.

 

I'm quite amazed at how versatile a simple 20 button can be - I'm even working out pretty full sounding song accompaniments in D ( as well as C, G, Dm, Am and Em.) I'd got the impression, from net researches, that a C# key or two is essential to play in D - it might be if you want to play Irish diddely tunes ( I don't) but for songs it doesn't seem to matter at all!

 

Cheers,

 

Bill Worsfold

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"One thing about the number, mine seems to be #94811 on the end label, but inside it is stamped #194811 which puts it around 1924-26, I think. You might like to check inside yours.

...Bill Worsfold"

 

Bill:

Thanks for the advice about the label number... if I can get someone qualified to open it I will have them check for an inside stamp. The paper label on the outside seemed a little strange in terms of the quality of workmanship I'd have expected based on the age suggested by the outside label. I understand that all the serial number manufacturing records for Lachenal are lost and I've read that someone has tried to reconstruct date estimates based on production numbers per year. This information might be interesting for them to have since it will cast doubts on accurately dating the age of Lachenal's based on outside serial number labels.

 

Enjoy your instrument.

 

Chris

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if I can get someone qualified to open it I will have them check for an inside stamp.

Please don't be afraid to open it up. Even when it's fully repaired and working, occasionally problems will come up that will require you to have a look inside. It's mostly just common sense. For further information look at the Repair Techniques section of the FAQ, and consider buying Dave Elliot's excellent book.

 

Chris

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Hi Bill and CjD,

 

The instruments you're discussing are, I believe, low end Lachenals. They suffered a lot with warping, cracking and shrinkage of the reed pans and action boards. This is probably one of the main causes of the leaks. It is worth addressing these as it will make the instrument infinitely more playable. It is, howver a painstaking task and it may be worth getting someone experienced in this to do it for you, although this can be expensive relative to the value of the instrument.

 

With regard to the number label, these often did look quite amateur to modern eyes, being printed (stamped) on a small piece of paper, cut out and then glued to the baffle. I've yet to find one that did not match the inside stamps. Obviously, the stamped number on the inside is a safer bet although there can be contradictions here too.

 

With respect to opening it up, you don't have much to lose at this stage unless the end bolts are seized. In this case you definitely need prfessional advice or help. I would suggest calling Concertina Connection for their advice and estimated costs.

 

Good Luck

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Hi,

 

In my case, I don't think the number on the end paper is wrong - it's just a little bit too long for all of it to show through the little hole in the fretwork. If I look at an angle I can sort of see a '1' that I had overlooked.

 

Re the leaks, you may be right, Paul, about the reed pans and action boards, though mine look OK. My main problem was that as I played it, pads fell off and had to be reglued. Since they had indentations molded to fit the holes and these weren't lined up when I replaced them that created gaps. I thought about maybe steaming them so they would remold to the new position but (wisely?) decided to order new pads instead.

 

I also noticed that the air valve had two springs instead of one - a large left hand one as well as a normal sized right hand one. The big one was broken so it had only half the normal pressure on it (and I can see the gap around the pad on it) - so I ordered another spring, too.

 

I also roughed up the chamois where the reed pans fit. If it still leaks after fitting new pads and spring, I guess I'll then have to look further. Thanks for the tip.

 

I did notice a small amount of crushing on a bit of the honeycomb stuff on the reed pans, where it goes against the wooden surface of the action board, which would create a leak between compartments. Is this a problem and is it easily remedied? I've not noticed any notes sounding simultaneously, as I would have expected.

 

Thanks,

 

Bill

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If you don't have two notes sounding, there is probably not a problem where the chamber walls have crushed. I would wonder why that has happened. Has someone raised the support blocks to try and get a better seal? If so, it may be worth checking for warp in the reed pan and action board by laying a ruler acroos each. A lot of warping is flattened out when the end bolts are tightened so it is a question of carefully tracking by ear and by feeling for air leaks. I think you did the right thing replacing the pads. You will find it gets tighter as the pads bed into place over time.

 

I hope this helps.

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.. perhaps you can point me in the direction of a teacher that might live near me?  Unfortunately he/she would need to be English speaking...

Chris

As far as I know there is not a professional teacher for Anglo concertina in The Netherlands. Depending on your musical experience and the style(s) you would like to play on your anglo, I could give you some tips.

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Bill,I cannot remember your request for a tutor.If you have not received one please send me your address again.

Regards

Al

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If you are in the Netherlands you should contact Wim Wakker, The Concertina Connection. He is the only one in the Netherlands that knows about concertina building and repair. He has an internet site www.concertinaconnection.com. Just try there! Groetjes Hermann Strack

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As an endnote to this story... I took everyone's advice and sent my newly acquired Lachenal Anglo 21 button concertina to Wim Wakker at Concertina Connections. Very nice and helpful. His prognosis was that it needed the following: all new endbolts, replacing of pads, valves, springs, bushings, regulating the action, voicing + tuning of the reeds... also the bellows were completely ruined and needed replacement. Basically the works.. hardly worth doing considering how much I already paid for it on eBay add to what it would cost to repair meant that it wouldn't be worth the money and effort. Sad... but a lesson learned the hard way, which hopefully someone reading this can learn from without making the same mistake.

 

If you find a good deal on eBay make sure you can return it with full refund for what ever reason you might have... Blurry eBay photos and optimistic descriptions wont cover your losses. On the up-side.. I have been very excited to find that there is such a nice and helpful community of folks out there willing to offer advice on concertinas. Thanks everyone.. maybe one day I'll find a nice vintage concertina that I can afford and can begin to learn to play. Chris (in The Netherlands)

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If you find a good deal on eBay make sure you can return it with full refund for what ever reason you might have... Blurry eBay photos and optimistic descriptions wont cover your losses.

 

Its unlikely that you will find many ebay sellers willing to do this.

 

Another strategy, which I have used successfully in buying instruments including concertinas, off ebay, is to always assume the worst, and set your highest bid to allow for the cost of a full restoration. Of course many bids will be unsuccessful, but thats auctions for you. You also have to do some research to find out beforehand what restoration work might cost.

 

The only exception I'd make would be if I were bidding on an item listed by a well known dealer, who clearly describes the instrument as having been fully restored, or ready to play, retuned to concert pitch etc.

 

I bought a few lemons before I developed a proper bidding strategy.

 

Theo

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