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Storing Concertina When Not Playing


Sean M
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Many years ago I started with a cheap red sparkly 20b concertina. Quickly realized it was not a good instrument and ended up buying a Rochelle. While the Rochelle was still more playable I got frustrated at the time because I didn't have the money to upgrade but after playing a hybrid concertina I felt like the Rochelle was holding me back. Since then I switch instruments, sold the Rochelle and started playing the button accordion.

 

A few months back I ended up playing with the red sparkle concertina again and now being more comfortable financially decided to buy a Morse Ceili concertina which just arrived yesterday! When the concertina is just sitting there the bellows will expand a tiny bit. I don't see it as an issue but I was wondering if the bellows just need to be broken into. When I'm not playing my accordion I have it sit on a shelf so that it's easy to pick up and play when I have time. The button accordion when in resting position is on it's side and the weight of it keeps the bellows closed. The concertina however rests so that the bellows are parallel to the shelf. Is it better to leave the concertina in it's hard case when not being played? Should I at least do that until the bellows don't expand when sitting or should I do this always? Maybe I'm just being paranoid but I figured it was best to ask now while the instrument is still new.

 

Anyway, I'm happy to finally have a concertina that doesn't feel like it's holding me back or making me work to play it.

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I have a Morse Beaumont.  I made a wrap around strap out of soft webbing about 1" wide with velcro at the ends.  I wrap it around the closed concertina and fasten the velcro ends together to stop the concertina opening up.  It also makes it easier to get the concertina in and out of its case - I just lift it by the strap.

 

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I'm new to concertina, so please take it easy on me....

 

>> When the concertina is just sitting there the bellows will expand a tiny bit.

 

I don't think this will hurt the concertina. The only thing I'm concerned about the concertina's bellows is that in transit, if the ends of the concertina are not blocked, the bellows keep moving in and out as if the concertina were being played. That may result in pre-mature wearing of the bellows.

 

Most of the hard-shell cases have the ends of the concertina blocked. So moving the concertina in its case is not a problem.

 

>> The button accordion when in resting position is on it's side and the weight of it keeps the bellows closed.

 

I'm not sure what kind of accordion you were referring to, but I play CBA. What recommended to me by the people who know much more than I do is that the accordion, especially one with a tone chamber, should be stored in the "playing position." This is to prevent the pre-mature sagging of the valves.

 

All of my CBAs, except for the Roland V-Accordions what have no valves, are stored upright in the playing position.

Edited by pentaprism
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>> Should I at least do that until the bellows don't expand when sitting....

 

I have a Morse Céilí that was made in March 2016. Its bellows are still “expanding when sitting.”

 

Also, I keep the concertina in “playing position” (horizontal). I think standing it on end is bad for the valves.

 
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Sean, good question.

 

It is best to keep the concertina lightly compressed when not using it. If you do not do this then the bellows will become less willing to close fully. This can be an issue when you need that last little bit of air on the push. I have seen one Morse Ceili (no reflection on Morse Ceilis, terrific instruments, most concertinas will act the same) which was unable to close the last 1” (25mm) without increasing pressure to compensate for the open resting position that had come about because the owner had never put it back in the case.

 

After a number of years of being constantly held closed the bellows will give up and stay closed. If your case does not have blocks to hold the bellows closed, then fit them. 

 

If you want to keep the concertina out ready to play (I do) I endorse the idea of a velcro ended strip to hold the bellows closed, or make a wooden frame to pop the concertina into (I did) which keeps the concertina on show and means it just needs to be picked up to be played. 

 

The valves on accordions are not on the same angle as concertina valves, depending on the accordion, and may not be as affected by the accordion sitting vertically.

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Button Box advised me on my new Morse to keep it compressed in the case (rather tight) as part of break in.  As Chris says, above.

1 hour ago, Chris Ghent said:

If you do not do this then the bellows will become less willing to close fully.

 

But I also made a velcro strap to use in between times to make it handier to get at for a quick play.

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Thanks for the advice! Looks like keeping it in the case is the best idea and if I don't I should use one of these velcro straps. Would anyone mind sharing a picture of one so that I know what I need to acquire?

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Interesting velcro idea...  I used to think I needed to keep the concertina out to encourage my playing it.  But now I find I will gravitate to its case as well.   I have pets and many humans in my house so one of my concerns was hair and dust.  The case sits on my desk in my living room out of direct sunlight and away from forced air or heating vents.  It is easy to grab on a whim, even though my favorite spot to play is my kitchen. 

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I have heard (probably here) that anglo bellows should be stiffer than english bellows. The reason I recall was that the stiffness made them more bouncy and able to change directions smoothly. The english system on the other hand did best with more flexible bellows for better timing.  I wonder if that is true and if so, do the the two systems have different blocking requirements? While I keep my english in a blocked case when left out it does not appear to expand over time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Inspired by this thread I decided to make a 'bellows tight strap' myself for my Wolverton C/G so that

 

1. It could safely sit around home  just waiting temptingly to be picked up and played

 

and 

 

2. Would more readily fit between the blocks in it's case and be easily lifted out.

 

I used soft webbing with 50mm long Velcro pieces glued and stitched (by my wife Marj') into place per photos.

 

No way a match for that terrific frame shown earlier, but still useful.

 

Rob

 

PS The Wolverton is just fantastic, love it. (well over two years old now and better than ever)

 

 

IMG_0123.thumb.jpg.6729cda1a4b17202c953b612f74c8e9d.jpg

IMG_0125.thumb.jpg.2c02e995dc3a61ab47e6c15ad6af7aa6.jpg

 

IMG_0128.jpg

Edited by Robin Tims
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