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Concertina care

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On 11/4/2018 at 8:25 PM, d.elliott said:

The bottom line is that you have a concertina to play, if you want to play 'out' in a pub, a hall or out doors where ever you you are located the instrument will suck in air at what ever humidity, temperature or contamination, saline, sulphur or what ever.

I have seen concertinas that are black inside - I realised that this must have been soot, sucked into a concertina when playing in rooms heated by a coal fires, lit by oil and gas lamps,as well as pipe and cigarette smoke, and maybe the general grime prevalent in heavily industrialised towns.

Edited by SteveS
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Getting back to the original poster's question.  I have a question of my own.  Do you have a friend you can trust who has played violin for quite some time?  If their house is humidified properly to keep the violin alive perhaps they could baby sit your concertina.  The issues are different as mentioned above by Greg J..  A violin responds to in case humidfiers, as well as room humidity, but even those need refilling weekly. So most violinists have at least one room with a room humidifier.   With winter in Maine and the possibility of frozen pipes keeping you from turning your thermostat waaaayyy down your whole house could drop to 10% or less.  it could be a struggle even with a concertina in a plastic bag.    If you go the bag route make sure it is a zip lock or taped firmly shut and keep it away from any heat source or direct sunlight.   Make note of where the sun tracks in your house during this season.  You don't want to have it getting a direct shot of sun.  This changes seasonally as the sun dips lower in the winter and higher in the summer.  So pay attention to how it is going the week before you leave..  Good luck to you.   I live in an urban area and most of us with instruments get a neighbor who understands the issues to come in and fill our humidifiers every few days.

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On 11/3/2018 at 4:14 PM, Geoff Wooff said:

Just this last week  there was an interesting  Wheatstone English  for auction  on ebay france.  Interesting because it was a model  7  ( which is a flat  ended Hex.  56 key  Tennor Treble)  which is quite  a usefull  budget  model.  Also of interest was  the address  of the seller  ,    the town of Guérande on the coast of  Brittany,  a place famous  for  its  salt industry and  sandwiched  between  the sea and  a large wetland area.


I was encouraged  by the  low bids  to look hard at  the photos  but every  steel external part  had  sure signs of rust. Short of detailed internal pictures  I decided it  might be  too much of a gamble,  with the distinct  possibility  of  rusty reeds.  I hope that  whoever   the winner is  finds a good set of reeds   !

Even though all the rest of the parts are fairly corroded on the outside,  the reeds are surprisingly OK! Small bits of rust but I have come across a lot worse. Maybe it didnt live there for long. Or was never played once arriving there. Everything is in very good shape apart from the steel parts on the outside. 


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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/2/2018 at 8:24 PM, Christian Husmann said:

I was worrying once about the dry air in my flat during the winter. A friend of mine said this to me: „your instrument is 100 years old, survived two world wars, has been played in the winter and summer, pups and all different places. And you think it won’t survive the next  winter?“

that helped me to relax. 

Ha.  With modern central heating  humidity seems to drop more.  In smaller pre- WWII houses heated by coal or wood the temperatures were seldom as warm as we expect now with modern radiators or  forced air central heating. Humidity was also added with the constant stream of moisture from cooking three meals a day in a small kitchen, not to mention the sheer number of bodies exhaling, and laundry air drying in the basement or kitchen.  My parents built a 25 x 25 foot story and a half house with three bedrooms in 1939.  They truly expected to raise 5 to 10 kids in there.   And even the wealthy with more room to spare would seldom have their heat up to what we expect as normal today. Conditions have changed in the past 60 years. :)

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With regard to playing a concertina close to the sea, here's where my experience differs. 


My main squeeze is a Jeffries G/D which I got nearly 10 years ago.  I live quite close to the Firth of Clyde (within 500 metres) and we occasionally get salt storms which are bad enough to take the tender shoots off plants and turn the leaves of the trees brown.  We sail during the summer and I always take a concertina on the boat with me for up to 3 months at a time.  It's usually the Jeffries although one year it stayed home while I tried a less valuable instrument - but the joy of playing disappeared so I haven't tried that again.  I don't play in the rain or when the waves are crashing over the sides but I do play outdoors.


On reviewing the correspondence here, I thought I ought to take a look inside at least to check the reeds - not a sign of rust or tarnishing.


Maybe I've been lucky but I don't think it always has to be the case that playing concertinas close to the sea necessarily involves replacing the reeds frequently


Alex West

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I agree Alex, the issue is one of condensation rather than being coastal, if there is condensation and if that condensation has contaminants in it, then you get trouble, coastal, industrial or whatever. But if you are managing your instrument by playing regularly, letting it breath and come to temperature before putting it away then no condensation and no corrosion.



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