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Swapping buttons around on a Wheatstone English

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Hi All,


I have a 64 button Wheatstone Aeola TT with raised amboyna ends. She's a pretty thing and has a lovely voice. According to the ledgers she was born in the 1950s.


My problem is that the buttons around middle C are corroding from overuse and after playing for a while they turn my fingertips black.  The buttons were like that when I bought her, so I have been wiping the buttons after each playing session before putting her back in the case.  


My idea is to move the corroding buttons up to the top of the instrument & move the more pristine buttons at the top down to the middle C area.


I've never messed with the buttons on my concertina and have no idea if this adjustment is even possible.


Has anyone here done something similar? 


Is this something best left to professionals?


Can the buttons just be swapped around without too much ado?


Thank you for enlightening me!



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I cannot see any great problem in doing this  as the buttons  should all be the same  size.  The number of  felt washers  on the bottom  of each buttom might differ  dependant on location  but  you can take that into account.  However,   this is a delicate operation  as these  1950's  buttons will have  plastic  cores  which  are  probably not as  robust  as  the old  wooden  versions.


That these buttons  turn your fingertips  black  says something  about the metal  but perhaps  also about your skin secretions  .  The  buttons on an Amboyna  Aeola  should  originally  be gold plated  so  I assume  this has worn  away  and  you are  into  the  nickel silver  ( or perhaps brass)  layer. 

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It may not be the case with this 'tina since I'd expect the buttons to be fairly uniform in dimensions, but on some 'tinas the buttons are different lengths, with the cross hole at non-uniform locations.

This may have come about with variation in production and the use of out-workers to make buttons.

In this case when moving buttons, it's necessary to adjust not only the number of felt washers to regulate the travel of the buttons, but also in order to ensure the buttons are all the same height, the brass action levers may need to be adjusted.  This is also the case when replacing worn pads.

Edited by SteveS
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