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Sal79

Why Was This Concertina Made This Way?

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I recently bought a "new" concertina at an antique store to upgrade my existing box. I currently play an economy box from the 50-60's that is a little weazy and cranky. My needs are limited. I play folk songs, Christmas carols and Woodie Guthrie using the hand held harmonica with bass approach.

The "new" box has aluminium ends with heavy maroon textured paint. It says "BREVETTATA MADE IN ITALY". It had no straps but I tested it in the store by holding one end between my knees. All the buttons work and the bellows are tight. It has a clean bright sound and seems in tune to my inexpert ears.

Here's the problem. The left hand side is upside down ie. the low notes are on top. I thought it might be reversible but upon taking off the end plate there seems no way in and I didn't want to use force and risk breakage. I will mention I've had a few accordions apart and done some repairs. Everything was always self evident. Not so this time.

So why was it made this way? Is this a weird variant or was it customized? Someone played it a lot. You can see by the wear on the finish.

Thanks in advance for any insight you can give.

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On the anglo that I play the C row is:

push/pull C/G G/B C/D E/F G/A

I believe that is standard.The new box is:

push/pull G/A E/F C/D G/B C/G

 

Sal

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I wonder if the reeds are on reed plates, 5 pairs per plate and that the plate has been removed and turned over when it was replaced.

 

Return it if you can, but if you cannot then you don't have much to lose by getting a bit brutal with it.

 

Unless it has been glued together by some imbecile then it should be possible to get it apart. Remove every screw you can find but keep note of where each one came from. Including the hand strap screws. Use something thin, stiff and flat to try to pry it apart once every screw is out. Something like a paint scraper, not your craft knife - if that breaks while you are prying with it then you might get hurt.

 

Some Italian concertinas use pins instead of screws in the middle of the flat edges. If so, then you should be able to pull these out with a pair of pliers.

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Sal,

where upstate do you live? I am willing to look at is if there is some degree of proximity between us. Let me know, take care,

Don

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Thanks for your replies.

Re: Don #1 I took the end cover off again. There are no fasteners left on that side. I tried prying if it was a friction fit. I tried a sharp edge tapped in if it were hide glue. Nothing. I am convinced I can only do damage at this point. I know the dealer pretty well, I expect he'll give me a credit.

Re: Don#2 I live about ten miles south of Syracuse.

 

Sal

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To return to the original question, is it possible that the concertina was modified (or originally constructed) to be a "Squash Box" for use in South Africa? Maybe Dan Worrall or Ben could chime in here?

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"Re: Don#2 I live about ten miles south of Syracuse."

 

Hi Sal, oh, you are in Salt Potato Country! Yeah, I am quite a bit away, in Sullivan County, at least 2.5 hrs....my daughter went to college in Casenovia for a while!(2 yrs!) Good luck with that, and take care,

Don Smith

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I wouldn't give up on it yet. It's very cute and you say it has a bright sound. I have a 20 button i just love.

I don't see the typical pins used on italian makes but there is the screw near the hand rest and is it possible that the strap screws might be long and pull the bottom to the top? You say the inside facing the bellows is completely void of any screws or metal, correct? Maybe post a pic of that side too. I'm sure someone on here will be able to unlock the puzzle.

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Meant to add that I agree with previous comment that someone in the past has turned the reed block 'end for end' in sawmill lingo. On purpose or in error who knows.

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Meant to add that I agree with previous comment that someone in the past has turned the reed block 'end for end' in sawmill lingo. On purpose or in error who knows.

 

It's a serious (but easy) mistake for somebody on the production line to make - I once got a "sample" from a Chinese manufacturer like that! :rolleyes:

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I am an inveterate tinkerer and I don't have so much invested that I wouldn't take a gamble. It is a nice sturdy box with better sound and smoother action than my old unit. Short of sawing the end off, does anyone have a suggestion.

I hope you can see from the photos that two screws hold on the end cap. The are screwed into the wood between the white band (wood, not plastic) and the aluminum wrapped plywood that hold the button mechanism. Seems like what the end is screwed to must be permanently attached to the bellows. Therefore the break must be on the inside face of the aluminum.

Any thoughts?

 

Sal

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Ps. There are some tiny holes filled with wax maybe 2mm. Could there be very tiny screws buried in there. Since the holes are partially covered around the perimeter I dismissed that notion.

 

Sal

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I've got it! Those folds of aluminum around the linkage plate were clips. They came off easy. Only a light pry to remove the plate.

It all looks original inside. Is it possible I could reverse the reed plates and re wax them? Best method?

 

Sal

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OH EXPLATIVE ! I've been down this road before, like when I thought I could repair my Fiero's transmission, pulled it and found it needed to much peripheral work. Oops, wrong forum.

In short, if I reverse the manifold blocks I'll also reverse my C and G rows. Furthermore if I try to reset the individual reeds there won't be enough room for the base reeds on the treble end, even if I make new manifolds. A new plate and linkages would do the trick but that gets into the realm of insanity, much like my late Fiero.

I'm stymied. Sometimes the best thing is to know when to give up. So I'm back to the question, "Why did they make this concertina this way?"

 

Sal

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I'm curious. I can see that the high notes are on the left of your playing hand. Are they also reversed, for suck and blow?

If so, then you can just flip the entire wooden block, and all should play ok. Just break it out of it's wax seal, and flip it over and reseal it.

If the notes are not reversed for suck and blow, then you'd have to take the reeds out, reverse the wooden plate, and refit the reeds in the correct places.

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I would also take the right side apart to see the orientation of the reed holding plate. Would it be as simple as flipping the entire plate? Your pic shows the reed blocks facing up but maybe you did that for the shot. They normally face inwards towards the bellows, as this is made accordion style.

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I would also take the right side apart to see the orientation of the reed holding plate. Would it be as simple as flipping the entire plate? Your pic shows the reed blocks facing up but maybe you did that for the shot. They normally face inwards towards the bellows, as this is made accordion style.I

I was assuming that the buttons and action were all on the same plate as the reeds. So the action is outside, and the reeds are inside, so it would be impossible to flip it that way. Unless there are two plates.

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