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eBay find: Stradi smaller "Big Square German" 39b concertina for $375, looks pretty clean, could be cool


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I've messed with a couple of the "Big Square German" concertinas owned by fellow musicians, and this one on eBay reminds me of a similar Italian-made jobbie my buddy had that was pretty awesome. It's going for $375, looks pretty clean, seller claims it's "tested, works" (fwiw), and from my limited experience this seems like the kind of decent basic quality Italian dealie that's generally decent stuff, especially at that price. So if anyone has been looking for a BSG, and at 39b this seems handier than most (a common size is 52b, but for this one seller neglected to provide measurements), this could potentially be a good way to get into a BSG. Unclear which fingering system it is, though it's almost assuredly bisonoric and I doubt the nuances of exactly which system matter to most of us here.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-STRADI-BUTTON-CONCERTINA-WITH-CASE/133641593562?hash=item1f1da8e2da%3Ag%3AnMgAAOSwf~9gBdaf&LH_ItemCondition=3000|7000|10

 

 

 

By way of inspiration, here's a YouTube clip of the song that inspired my buddy to pick up an affordable/decent Italian BSG similar to this one:

 

16 Horsepower (alt-country band), "American Wheeze" with member leading on Chemnitzer:

 

StradiConcertina.jpg

Edited by TapTheForwardAssist
band name, concertina image
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There are 100's maybe 1000's of old melodeons, concertinas and accordions going cheap on ebay.   Most are being sold after being found in clearing granny's house by sellers who, quite understandably, don't know much about the instrument.   In many of those examples the instrument is likely to need work to get it playing.  As a minimum it will need tuning, maybe other work too.    Renovation costs can be high, easily into several £100 and there is no way to tell from pictures of the outside of the instrument.  I do repairs for a living and one of the hardest things I have to do is to tell callers who have just bought a "bargain" accordion for £150 that it could cost another £400 to put it into good playing order, and that even after the work it's still worth no more than they paid for it.  I've had two such enquiries just in the last week. 

 

In the example you quoted where the seller says it's "tested, works" you need to ask more questions eg Who tested it?   Are they a player?  Is it in concert pitch?  When was it last tuned or serviced?   Who tuned/serviced it?  That way you can get a better idea of the likelihood of it being usable.  

 

I often buy off ebay, but I *always* assume a full renovation will be needed.  Occasionally I still get caught out and buy a lemon, but it's always only a cheap lemon.

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@TheoYou know far more about 'boxes than I ever will, fully recognize. And I do appreciate your patience with my enthusiastic eccentricity here and at Melodeon.net so I'll try to keep myself measured so I don't vex you and wear out my welcome on these platforms.

 

There's clearly a ton of lost-cause projects on eBay that are tore up from the floor up, but in my (far lesser than yours) experience, this particular one looks promising just at the sniff check. It's a little pricier than I'd like to see for a pig in a poke, but on a dozen+ occasions on eBay I've sweet-talked sellers into giving me a phone call and playing a box I wanted over the phone for me so I could assess function and tuning, even whistling the core note into my phone tuner to establish pitch for melodeons. And this critter resembles 1960s-1970s Italian jobs that tend to be solid; looks a lot like my buddy's Italian-made Chemnitzer (or Carlsfelder or whatever, I don't know BGC system nuances) which was a total beast and about 90% decent when he bought it for around $300.

 

If I were someone considering this box, I'd be messaging the seller on eBay and stating I'd be interested in bidding if they'd do a demo over the phone or post a clip on YouTube of running through each button. And optimally knock about $75 off the price, if it overall checks out. Your gut is far more finely tuned than mine, but with my lesser skills this box still jumped out at me as potentially promising for a buyer looking for such a thing and willing to press the seller for some solid evidence.

 

I won't go nuts cluttering your sub with eBay finds, just I was up late and frosty and this one intrigued me, but I'll dial it back slightly in posting so as not to get on anyone's nerves.

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I'd never assume to be an authority but this appears to be a small Chemnitzer-type box, given the 3-row layout shown in the picture.  For the same price or little more you can get an actual Chemnitzer or Bandoneon of good German lineage.

 

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@saguaro_squeezerI have limited knowledge of BSGs, so didn't know that a German one could be had that affordably. Do you have any writeup or article you'd recommend on shopping for starter Chemnitzers, should someone be into such things?

 

I take it a "true German" would have zinc plates and long reeds or whatnot, while one of these Italians would take more cues from accordion construction? Analogous to the situation with "True" vs. "Hybrid" concertinas of the British tradition?

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I also asked on r/Concertina on Reddit, and turns out one of our members owns this exact same model. He said it's pretty decent, nothing amazing. He paid $300 for his and got it in pristine condition and with a hard case, so a better deal than the seller is asking (and we don't have clear info from seller on condition).

 

Here's Reddit's Chris_Concertina playing "Drunken Sailor" on the Stradi 39b Chemnitzer:

 

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Okay, Chris_Concertina on Reddit has been a massive help running this issue down.

 

Chris owns the exact same instrument, but his is unbadged, and he's pretty sure it's a Stagi for various reasons of build. So taking that cue, I did some basic searching and am finding an identical instrument being sold new under the name "Castiglione", which iirc is the current name of what was prior Bastari/Stagi? (edit: Apparently I'm wrong)

 

https://www.libertybellows.com/shop/Concertinas/Chemnitzer-Concertinas/p/NEW-Red-Castiglione-Chemnitzer-Concertina-Key-of-C-A-on-5-Push-M-23-16-x53576446.htm

 

So it seems this is a pretty long-standing Stagi model, [EDIT: Okay, it's a "something"] sold under various (or no) names, and for whatever biz reason at some point a "Stradi" badge was slapped onto this model and that's what the seller on eBay has.

 

I messaged the seller about getting them to upload a quick demo video of condition to increase their odds of making a sale (price is a bit higher than market, afaik though). Honestly just doing all this for kicks on a slow week, because I'm interested in squeezeboxes, and partially because I like seeing things done right and it's a mild annoyance when I see someone who could be marketing better with five minutes of effort, so sometimes I reach out to offer tips (and sometimes they even take my advice and business picks up).

 

I'm kinda a weirdo, but I like to think occasionally a helpful weirdo.

Edited by TapTheForwardAssist
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9 hours ago, TapTheForwardAssist said:

Okay, Chris_Concertina on Reddit has been a massive help running this issue down.

 

Chris owns the exact same instrument, but his is unbadged, and he's pretty sure it's a Stagi for various reasons of build. So taking that cue, I did some basic searching and am finding an identical instrument being sold new under the name "Castiglione", which iirc is the current name of what was prior Bastari/Stagi?

 

https://www.libertybellows.com/shop/Concertinas/Chemnitzer-Concertinas/p/NEW-Red-Castiglione-Chemnitzer-Concertina-Key-of-C-A-on-5-Push-M-23-16-x53576446.htm

 

So it seems this is a pretty long-standing Stagi model, sold under various (or no) names, and for whatever biz reason at some point a "Stradi" badge was slapped onto this model and that's what the seller on eBay has.

 

I messaged the seller about getting them to upload a quick demo video of condition to increase their odds of making a sale (price is a bit higher than market, afaik though). Honestly just doing all this for kicks on a slow week, because I'm interested in squeezeboxes, and partially because I like seeing things done right and it's a mild annoyance when I see someone who could be marketing better with five minutes of effort, so sometimes I reach out to offer tips (and sometimes they even take my advice and business picks up).

 

I'm kinda a weirdo, but I like to think occasionally a helpful weirdo.

 

Bastari/Stagi concertinas have been sold under many names over the years.

 

Bastari/Stagi did make a Chemnitzer model at one time, though their successor firm https://www.fabbricaconcertine.com/ don't seem to currently show one on their website.

 

Castiglione is an accordion dealer in Michigan who also sell some concertinas.  They used to sell some concertinas under their name that were made by the now-defunct German manufacturer Silvetta/BGK , and it seems that they may be doing this again with concertinas from a German successor manufacturer Weltmeister/Harmona (a well-known accordion firm) as was discussed in another thread.  Castiglione is not "the current name of what was prior Bastari/Stagi".

 

It's somewhat interesting that Liberty Bellows is calling this concertina a Castiglione, but I'm not sure what to make of that.  This model is not marked Castiglione in the photos on the Liberty Bellows website and it does not seem to appear on Castiglione's own website http://www.castiglioneaccordions.com/concertinas.html .

 

Both Liberty Bellows and Castiglione are accordion dealers who have a small side line in concertinas.  I wouldn't count on either of them to be a reliable source of information about concertinas, even the ones they sell.

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1 hour ago, Daniel Hersh said:

Castiglione is not "the current name of what was prior Bastari/Stagi".

 

Ah, got it. I've struck out my misunderstanding in the above.

 

So we've still got somewhat of a mystery. Would it be helpful if I ask Chris_Concertina if he'd be willing to open his up and take some photos of the guts? He seems to have done some basic work on free-reeds in the past, so it's not outside his skill level if he feels like doing it.

 

Speaking of Liberty Bellows, I'm just going to be bold and politely email them asking if they'd be willing to show us the insides of their "German" 20b models so we can get a grasp of how they're similar to or different from cheap China-made or from old German-made. Quite possible they're tell me to pound sand, but if I mention that two different concertina forums online have people curious about it, maybe they'll be willing to address that in hopes of getting some approval that the product seems legit?

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Re pics of the insides of Chris's concertina (and of the Liberty Bellows instruments) I don't know if that would help or not.  As Stephen Chambers said in the other thread, the German action was copied by the Italian makers, then the Chinese makers copied it from the Italian ones.  So I don't know how much we would learn from photos.

 

I also don't think that country of manufacture is necessarily the right thing to focus on.  The Rochelle/Jackie/Elise line is made in China, but they're well-made instruments for the price.  The Scholers were made in Germany but some of them were not well made.  And the Bastari/Stagi concertinas (made in Italy) have often had quality control issues.

 

The key thing, really, is  for someone or several people to (1) have them in hand and try them out and (2) buy them, play them regularly, and see how well they hold up.  There's really no substitute for that.

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26 minutes ago, Daniel Hersh said:

The key thing, really, is  for someone or several people to (1) have them in hand and try them out and (2) buy them, play them regularly, and see how well they hold up.  There's really no substitute for that.

 

Dangit, I was in Philly part of last year, and considered going to Liberty Bellows but refrained because I didn't need anything particular, and it seemed frivolous to go browsing during Covid.

 

Not to natter on and on about it, but $299 20b Anglos, particularly when also sold in D/G, are pretty intriguing if they're even close to the quality of say a Rochelle. They do have a Stagi D/G for $350 which seems reasonable, but I haven't compared one side by side with a Rochelle (I own an Elise I started on before moving to a vintage Maccann).

 

I'm just mucking around trying to find if there are ways to get folks into concertina for under the ~$400ish of a CC box, that aren't a total waste of time and money, and a ~$300ish 20b would suit for some purposes and help capture more of that audience. I feel like "$299" is kind of a good market position for sounding vaguely accessible, and if the "German" boxes are notably better than a $180 Amazon model from China, that's something at least.

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3 hours ago, TapTheForwardAssist said:

@Daniel Hersh

 

I ran across a thread from 16 (!) years ago on this sub of a Bastari Chemnitzer, with the actual Bastari stamp, that appears to be identical to this model in my OP. Reckon these are all much of a muchness?

 

 

 

Yes, probably the same model.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Speaking of 39 button Chemnitzers, I came across this odd thing on Facebook marketplace: https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/1069769106872548

 

I've also pulled links to the pictures used in the listings here, here, and here. It differs most obviously in the button distribution, with 19 and 20 per side rather than 16 and 23. I've messaged the owner, and she seems to have no idea of the provenance.

 

Anyone familiar with this particular variant?

 

Zach

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6 hours ago, lordzedd said:

Speaking of 39 button Chemnitzers, I came across this odd thing on Facebook marketplace: https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/1069769106872548

 

I've also pulled links to the pictures used in the listings here, here, and here. It differs most obviously in the button distribution, with 19 and 20 per side rather than 16 and 23. I've messaged the owner, and she seems to have no idea of the provenance.

 

Anyone familiar with this particular variant?

 

Zach

Seller says it's a bandonion/bandoneon, which seems possible to me. 

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