Jump to content

Replacing crummy label with something more fitting

Recommended Posts

Hi there, this is my first post, so nice to 'meet' you all!


I recently got my hands on a second-hand Swan (as sold by McNeela). I was just looking for something to knock around on, and see if I took to the instrument. I managed to pick it up for a real snip so I hope to get the most out of it, including tinkering around inside it to learn without worrying too much. I consider myself a little bit handy with tools so I might even have a go at 'improving' it further in the future.


Honestly I have huge amounts to learn about the good construction of concertinas, and I know that you count some extraordinarily talented makers amongst your members here. Having said that, on peeking inside whilst it's clear that it's been built 'to a cost', there looks like there has been some care afforded in putting it together.


So far so good, and I've been enjoying the instrument and learning some new tunes. I have played piano accordion since I was a youngun and was worried that learning something diatonic would mess with my head too much. To be honest, it really did frustrate me at first, but I'm glad to say it *is* possible to overcome and it's feeling more natural with each day.


One thing that stuck out like a sore thumb to me was the cr*ppy labels it's supplied with. I thought this was a bit of a shame as even the infamous Wren has a really nice looking badge on it.





To this end I decided my first tinkering would be something aesthetic, not something I could mess up mechanically. I set about designing a simple label from scratch, taking inspiration from his Phoenix and Wren labels but keeping it simple.



I printed the labels on heavy paper I had lying around designed for pastel drawings.




I applied a couple of coats of matt sealant - there was a small amount of bleeding despite the care I took but I was happy enough with the results.


The original labels were applied to a protrusion of the laser-cut 'bushing board'. I removed this lump as carefully as I could, and used a wood chisel to remove the remains of the old label.


I then stuck the 'new' labels onto these lumps, using a bright light behind to get them as straight as possible. After drying, I trimmed them up.




I stuck them back on to the bushing board (for now), and used a thin piece of birch (lolly stick 😉) to reinforce.




Here is the after result. Perfect? No. Professional? Certainly not. Better? I think so!!


You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear, but you can put lipstick on a pig! What do you think?


All the best



Edited by JimmyG
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

From what I've seen on Wish and Banggood, these instruments have traditional riveted action and flat mounted reeds, which is surprising for a low end instrument, although do correct me if I'm wrong. It'd be interesting to know where it sits in terms of playability and quality on the scale between cheapo beginner hybrid and high end professional hybrid, as it seems to be a mix of the two... 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all your replies.

- It does have a riveted action, and leather bellows.

- Playability wise I haven't anything to compare it to; hopefully when the world opens up I'll have an opportunity to try others' and let others try mine. All I can say is I find it satisfying and responsive.

- Re: photos of the guts, I'll find an excuse to mess around under the bonnet soon enough, and since a few of you are interested I'll document the insides. Stay tuned!


Edited by JimmyG
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Don Taylor said:

The Wren (2) is McNeela's low end instrument, the Swan is a step up and is priced at around 1,000 euros when it is not on sale.





Love the title of the clip in the middle of the page: "Scatter the Mud on Concertina."

[Don't try this at home, folks! 😎 ]


Seriously, good to have more models available.



  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Label replacement -- I've done it on several of mine. There's a local engraving shop that does trophies, sports medals and the like. I give them dimensions, I give them a pdf of the piece, having decided on typeface and correct serial number, send it to them and for about $25, they make me a brass-coloured plate [plaque, if you will] that is easy to glue onto the fretwork. Looks nice. I can send small schematic with dimensions to anyone who wants [haven't yet succeeded in attaching a photo to a message for Cnet] Send me a pm.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was shopping for a hybrid a couple years back, I figured I'd asked the folks at mcneela for some shots of the internals so I could make up my mind about whether I'd opt for a swan or something else. 


I knew they were made in China and was concerned they'd have stamped metal action like a stagi or something of that ilk, but surprisingly they are riveted. The pads seem glued on and the reeds appear to be waxed. I preferred bolted on reeds for ease of serviceability and ultimately passed, but its a nice box all the same. 


Just for a bit of on topic, I love the OP's logo job. I think its brilliant and its a massive improvement over the original boring typeface. I appreciate added artistic detail.



  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...