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accordian

making a concertina

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hello I was thinking about it the other day and

was thinking about how these instruments are just

disapearing; there are still makers about but they arent

available like accordions where you just go up to a shop

and buy one brand new unless an accordion shop just

happens to have one. anyway I was thinking about this

and thought "I could learn how to make these instruments

to keep them going". is there anyone here that would know anything about making one?

thanks!

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There seem to be quite a few builders sustaining the art and craft of building quality concertinas across the world. You can look at the web sites of these builders and  get some perspective about the build process. It seems to me there are two paths to follow: obtain examples of quality instruments, disassemble them and learn from that how they are constructed. Or apprentice with an experienced builder. One of the manufacturers at one time sold a kit for building your own concertina, but I thought it was discontinued. Here's a link to a retailer that shows the kit: http://hmi.homewood.net/cloverkit/. The same site has some online resources for builders like this one: http://hmi.homewood.net/bellows/

I have often thought it would be fun to build my own musical instrument. I play a variety of fretted stringed instruments in addition to concertina, and in years past have considered building a guitar or mandolin. But then I think about how much time and effort I would need to invest in developing the skills and I always conclude that I would rather invest that time into practicing and playing a quality instrument rather than building many 'clunkers' that would inevitably result until my skills had risen to the level that I was able to build a decent instrument that would satisfy me. The reeds seem to me to be one of the most challenging aspects of building a concertina from scratch. Though soup to nuts the whole thing looks like a lot of work. It would be quite an accomplishment if you manage to climb that mountain of effort and are able to make a quality instrument that satisfies a skilled player!

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As far as I know, you have never been able to walk into a music store and find decent quality concertinas, although you may have been able to find cheap instruments, little better than toys. There are probably more makers than there have been in history, although some do not make many on a yearly basis. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Crabb family, a very well-known maker, averaged less than 20 per year over their 100 year existence. Now there are makers in England, Canada (me), USA, Germany, Australia, and Ireland. Some use Italian-style reeds and some English-style, and one or two make both types.

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In the rare instance that one lives in western MA and can wander into Button Box, true, can buy an "accordion", a melodeon and even some decent concertinas right off the shelf.  There are a few other places like that, but very few.  But making a concertina, like making any musical instrument, my friend, with respect, you will need to make at least 5 of them before you make a decent one... maybe 10.  Even the newer, quality makers have often discounted their early instruments, as they "learned".  Luk has it right.  Take a look at Holden concertina site and see what commitment looks like (!)

Edited by Devils' Dream
clarity
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35 minutes ago, Devils' Dream said:

Take a look at Holden concertina site and see what commitment looks like

 

exactly, you beat me to it!

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An obsession:

 

The satisfaction of making something, and everything for that something, from scratch! 

The thinking through and constructing jigs; then deconstructing and making better ones. 

The constant wonderings if some little aspect can be improved, and it always can -- perfection rests in the mind, not the product.

The intrigue of countless theories as to why things are as they are; most being wrong, or on reflection downright asinine -- but at the time seeming golden lights on the road to enlightenment.

The experimentation with different materials, techniques and design

The people met on the way, builders and players.

The final instrument on the shelf (in my case 12, and growing).

The ability to compare the first instrument with the last: OH what a difference experience makes.

 

Pursuit of Craftsmanship is a perfection in itself -- joy arising from both the journey and the product.

 

Build one, it does not matter if it is not perfect, the next one will be, or just possibly the one after that ...... .

 

David

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