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Would it be unethical.......


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Most of all, I'm not sure why you would really want to. There are plenty of anglos about as it is. I can't imagine you'd get a better concertina for your money this way.

 

I'm not sure ethics come into the question, but there are relatively few duets about. It would seem a shame to cannibalise a serviceable duet when there are people who want to play them.

Edited by Little John
Grammar!
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I agree. There are enough old derelict Lachenal anglos out there to rejuvinate....instruments best put out of their misery or, at least, reincarnate with new reedpans, and bellows. In my experience, most of them had warped reedpans, which made them difficult to get them to play well. Just make sure you do justice to the reeds, and bring forth a new "life" into the world!

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I'll admit that I did exactly this last year.  I was "gifted" a very run down 39 key Lachenal MacCann duet with beaten up fretwork but reasonable reeds and reed pans and I converted this into a GD Anglo.

 

It has to be said that this was not a trivial conversion as the action had to be totally reconfigured, (and I took the opportunity to make a better action than a Lachenal "gate" mechanism), I had to make new bellows, the ends had to be completely remade, the reed pans had to be adapted and I had to make a few new reeds - about 13 as I recall.

 

What I've now ended up with is a very nice looking instrument which plays fairly well and doesn't have a tremendous amount of inherent value so that I can take it sailing with me and not risk a more valuable instrument.  A new 39 key anglo with concertina reeds and a slick action would have cost me what - over £2,000? And how long would I have had to wait?

 

The donor instrument was worth very little even if restored; the cost of restoration as a playable duet could have been significant; how many players - even beginners - want a 39key Lachenal MacCann?

 

I did think about the ethics, but I'm confident I wasn't taking an instrument out of the stock of playable, worthwhile prospects.  However, if someone asked me to do it again, or wanted my advice on how to do it, I'd question their sanity!

 

Alex West

Completed LHS.jpeg

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I must admit that I was asking the question from the view point that IF you'd already decided that you wanted to build yourself a, say 40 Key anglo, concertina, then something like a pretty knackered 40+ key duet (or I guess English) could be a cheap souce of real concertina reeds for the project. The attraction of the duet or English is that, looking at the market place, a 40+ key model is typically 20% of the cost of a similar grade 40 key anglo.

 

If you could pick something with say 90 reeds (45 key) up for £3-400 then a complete reed assembly would be less than a fiver each, and you'd also get buttons & bellows frames into the bargain.

 

It's not something I'm actively considering*, it's just that I saw a Lachenal duet going pretty cheap, and thought "it's got to be worth that for the reeds alone".

 

I'm with some of the above sentiments that it would be a shame to take anything half decent out of circulation, hence my original question.

 

* Mind you, retirement is looming, so who knows. I have a 36 key in G/C which is a slightly odd ball (but basically Jeffries) layout, and I'd love to have a D/G with the same 36 keys plus a few extras. Not something I'd ever find ready made.

 

Edited by Clive Thorne
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25 years ago I took an old Wheatstone McCann and converted it to a Hayden back when that was pretty much the only way to get one.  Don’t regret it at all. Not a small job though. These days it is almost less work to start from scratch.  
Dana

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these instruments will live longer than us individually, so I wonder whether the penchant for anglos is permanent, or whether at some point in the future duets will become the more sought after system, so we'll end up converting them back. I believe quite a few Jeffries duets have been converted to anglos.

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As Paul says, if the current ever runs the other way people can change them back.
 

The reeds define a concertina and the biggest drawback of using the reeds from a Lachenal duet is they are very unlikely to be very good. After a lot of work you will have a poor anglo. 

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14 hours ago, Chris Ghent said:

As Paul says, if the current ever runs the other way people can change them back.
 

The reeds define a concertina and the biggest drawback of using the reeds from a Lachenal duet is they are very unlikely to be very good. After a lot of work you will have a poor anglo. 

I converted an old 39 lachenal McCann and it is very true that it is only as good as its reeds which were rather average.post-536-0-63031400-1442008222_thumb.jpg

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Interesting points above.

 

When it comes to "Not particularly good reeds" would that be mostly in the tongue itself, or would the shoe also play a significant part, or just poor adjustment beteen the two?

 

Would reworking a Lachenal tongue and shoe assembly be a viable route, given the alternatives  (buying new traditional reed assemblies (very expensive I guess, and would any one sell full sets anyway?), buying accordian reeds and reworking those to be "Slot in/taper fit".)?

 

Going back my the original question: I would not consider to stripping a Jeffries or top quality Wheatstone for parts unless they'd been run over by a car or similar, so the option of harvesting reeds would (for me) only apply to cheaper models, and even then seriously compromised ones. I would not consider using a player as a donor.

 

 

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On 1/30/2021 at 12:23 AM, Chris Ghent said:

After a lot of work you will have a poor anglo. 

Chris

Of course you're right - it's impossible to turn a poor Lachenal reed into a sparkling Jeffries, Wheatstone (or Dipper or...) reed, but not all Lachenal reeds are bad and it is possible to improve even a poor Lachenal reed.  But only with even more work...!🙂

 

Alex West

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@Clive Thorne

 

The frames in a Lachenal are good, and the steel may be. The usual issue is the clearance between the frame and tongue is excessive. I have heard of people cutting the tip off and pushing the reed further into the window; this reduces the side clearance because the reed is tapered. The reed would then need tuning. 
 

@Alex West

Alex, you might be right about there being some good Lachenal reeds but I haven’t seen any great ones. This may be because my focus is on Irish music and Lachenal anglos were not their best instruments; they lack the speed and power needed for today’s music, but none of the ECs I have seen have really been great either.  It may be some are good for purpose, the Lachenal tone can be very pretty. You have probably seen a lot more of them than I have. 

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While talking reeds:  I see in another thread that someone metioned "DIX" reeds which from the photgraph look like Taper fit brass shoe but with a riveted tongue. Does anyone have experience of these? How would they compare to , say, a typical Lachenal assembly?

 

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2 hours ago, Clive Thorne said:

While talking reeds:  I see in another thread that someone metioned "DIX" reeds which from the photgraph look like Taper fit brass shoe but with a riveted tongue. Does anyone have experience of these? How would they compare to , say, a typical Lachenal assembly?

 

As far as I recall reading at one point, the DIX reeds have a different profile when compared to vintage reeds (though I would assume those old companies also had their differences in profile as well?) So they aren't interchangeable with old reed pans. That is to say, if you remove lachenal reeds from a lachenal reedpan and attempt to install DIX, they won't quite fit or won't fit well. I could very well be wrong, but I do recall reading this at one point. 

 

I believe the solution to that issue is to build your own reedpan designed around using DIX concertina reeds. I think a couple concertina makers these days offer such concertinas with DIX reeds. I can think of two at least. 

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