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Internal pics of a Riccordi hybrid concertina from Italy


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I picked up this instrument used, and it was listed as "some buttons stick." Exactly as I expected, as soon as I picked it up I heard the tell-tale rattle of bits of decayed rubber grommet linkage shifting around in the box. Opened it up and it's all crusty dried-out rubber, and I've got two different diameters of silicone tubing coming in the mail to try out on it.

 

I got a partial refund from the seller because the item in its case arrived with some smell of mildew. I'm not seeing any signs of corrosion on any of the metal, and no leather rot on straps or valves, so it seems the case did its job and took the brunt of the hit (all exposed metal on the case is heavily corroded). So I tore out the "shelf paper" in the case as a lost cause, cleaned it up with bathroom scrubber and am leaving it in a window-sill to sterilize. I can't do that with the box itself, but based on online advice about musty accordion bellows I'm going to carefully spritz the leather  with a mix of vinegar and rubbing alcohol and wipe it right down.

 

The box actually has really solid tone, I'm looking forward to seeing how it comes out, and I love the Art Deco-ish metal ends. This one I'll also put up for sale on this forum for someone wanting an Irish starter, and will price it competitively in comparison to a Rochelle or Wren and hold it for someone seriously short on cash. I'm not trying to make money flipping these, but I'll take a little profit when I can so I can subsidize other boxes for noobs, or make up for the one in ten that's just a write-off. Hope folks are finding these "dissections" of old Italian hybrids to be interesting!

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Edited by MatthewVanitas
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2 hours ago, Stephen Chambers said:

This one is clearly a "rebadged" Bastari/Stagi instrument, made for an importer or dealer (possibly Sears?), and their least-expensive 30-key model.

 

Got it, thanks! What are the cues that I should watch for to positively identify a Stagi?

 

Is it notably of worse quality than other Stagis, or is just least-expensive because the stamped metal ends require less labor? Or are bellows, reeds, etc. of cheaper quality?

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17 minutes ago, MatthewVanitas said:

Got it, thanks! What are the cues that I should watch for to positively identify a Stagi?

 

Is it notably of worse quality than other Stagis, or is just least-expensive because the stamped metal ends require less labor? Or are bellows, reeds, etc. of cheaper quality?

 

For the past half century, or more, the only concertina-making firm in Italy has been the one that's been variously called Bastari, Stagi, Brunner, though they've made plenty of badge-engineered instruments for other people. Whilst their concertinas have been much-copied in China

 

The reeds are the same in all the 30-key Stagis, and the mechanisms in almost all, but the ends are fancier/more open on the dearer ones. The bellows on older versions of this model (like the one in your photos) were quite nicely made, but later versions look absolutely dreadful.

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3 hours ago, Stephen Chambers said:

For the past half century, or more, the only concertina-making firm in Italy has been the one that's been variously called Bastari, Stagi, Brunner, though they've made plenty of badge-engineered instruments for other people. Whilst their concertinas have been much-copied in China

 

The reeds are the same in all the 30-key Stagis, and the mechanisms in almost all, but the ends are fancier/more open on the dearer ones. The bellows on older versions of this model (like the one in your photos) were quite nicely made, but later versions look absolutely dreadful.

 

I think that this was likely Bastari's first 30-key model, now called the W-15 - see the image below.  It's been around since at least the late 1970's, since I bought a used one (my first 30-key concertina) at that time.  Some people like this model better than the more expensive ones.

 

 product_28a8e4f3.jpg

Edited by Daniel Hersh
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I am not an Anglo guy, though I play Duet and I also have a little experience with diatonic melodeons, so on the average I sorta understand the Anglo a smidge. I'm looking forward to getting this up and running now, since so far it feels nicer than I expected it to be, though it's a little hard to tell until I get these grommets replaced. Got two different diameters of Du-Bro blue silicone tubing arriving any day now, so can take a whack at it with some razor blades and trim the little bits down to suit.

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19 hours ago, Daniel Hersh said:

I think that this was likely Bastari's first 30-key model, now called the W-15 - see the image below.  It's been around since at least the late 1970's, since I bought a used one (my first 30-key concertina) at that time.  

 

Bastari officially started out in 1952 (or 1949 if we're to accept what Dr. Marcello Bastari said in an interview), but their early production was of 20-key models.

 

The early versions of the W-15 were altogether more complicated inside, with individual brass levers and the reeds laid flat, like Ken's early one; https://www.concertina.net/kc_bastari.html; or the "Wizard Anglo" ones that were sold in South Africa:

 

P1010001-1.jpg

 

d420_1.jpg

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22 minutes ago, Stephen Chambers said:

 

Bastari officially started out in 1952 (or 1949 if we're to accept what Dr. Marcello Bastari said in an interview), but their early production was of 20-key models.

 

The early versions of the W-15 were altogether more complicated inside, with individual brass levers and the reeds laid flat, like Ken's early one; https://www.concertina.net/kc_bastari.html; or the "Wizard Anglo" ones that were sold in South Africa:

 

P1010001-1.jpg

 

 

 

Yes, it is amazing how the outside looks the same as later W-15s but the inside is completely different. That old article of mine was part of the newbies like me (I was one once!) rediscovering what the long-timers knew or remembered. Did the demand for this better design just not justify the expense of manufacture, leading to the internal design we saw in later years (and still see), I wonder?

 

Ken

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  • 1 month later...
On 5/6/2020 at 12:55 PM, Ken_Coles said:

 

Yes, it is amazing how the outside looks the same as later W-15s but the inside is completely different. That old article of mine was part of the newbies like me (I was one once!) rediscovering what the long-timers knew or remembered. Did the demand for this better design just not justify the expense of manufacture, leading to the internal design we saw in later years (and still see), I wonder?

 

Ken

On 5/6/2020 at 12:22 PM, Stephen Chambers said:

 

Bastari officially started out in 1952 (or 1949 if we're to accept what Dr. Marcello Bastari said in an interview), but their early production was of 20-key models.

 

The early versions of the W-15 were altogether more complicated inside, with individual brass levers and the reeds laid flat, like Ken's early one; https://www.concertina.net/kc_bastari.html; or the "Wizard Anglo" ones that were sold in South Africa:

 

 

And now there's one on eBay that has flat-mounted reeds (see pic below) but the standard action: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Anglo-Concertina-30-button-For-restoration/164245072881 .

 

s-l1600.jpg

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  • 1 year later...

I just discovered an old Frontalini concertina that I played with as a child in the 60s. Is there anyone that I can visit with about it? It rattles some and does not make sound with all the buttons. I would love to fix it up and learn how to play it instead of playing with it! Thanks. 

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I have one probably identical to Matthew's with the vertical reed banks.  It was bought as a Bastari and has long been unplayable.  If anybody would want it for parts or otherwise, I would send it to you for postage.   

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I still have the Bastari that I was given (New, bought from Walton's in Dublin) around 1978/79 (I think!) I remember addding a "tubing" fix quite soon thereafter.... It is still quite playable!! The bellows are still airtight although some of the corners are getting quite worn, it's still in tune (at least not seriously out of tune!) It had been kept in a very airtight flightcase for most of its life, coming out every few years as the mood took me... I have a Crabb, 2 Lachenals and two George Jones now so other than just the other day, when I had a play just out of curiosity, I don't play it anymore... (If anyone in Glasgow (or reasonably near), is thinking about starting to play the concertina and wants to try one out to see if they "get on" with a concertina before taking the plunge and spending money, they're welcome to take it away for a while and have a play....)

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