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Concertina found in Brighton UK all the way from California, 1990

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I love collecting old instruments, which I then actively use in my music. I was lucky enough to come across an Anglo concertina in a local flea market a couple of years ago. All the keys worked, and sounded almost perfectly in tune. It cost 35 pounds. It has no indication of brand. I recently opened it to let it air a bit and inspect the reeds (one had dropped a little due to some tarnishing), and I found this written in pencil inside:

"Repaired by P.A. Groff, Berkeley CA July 1990"

I was curious if I could locate P.A. Groff, and so I found this forum where presumably with the same P.A. Groff as a member. I thought it would be cool to show it and I would love to get some idea of the possible origins of the concertina, just for my curiosity.






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Hi Dino Dini.


Paul Groff here. I started playing the concertina in 1985, when I was living in Wales for a year of my grad school. When I went back to the US (Berkeley California) I met a lot of other concertina players in the area and was convinced to started repairing concertinas, to the best of my ability and to fill the need.  At that time there was no internet and there were few repair resources, and the accordion shops were often expensive if they would even work on conceertinas.


I don't remember your concertina specifically but I did minor repairs on many of that type - inexpensive instruments made in Italy and with various labels including Bastari, Stagi, Silvagni, etc. I would have written my name inside not to brag about any magical repair accomplishment but to document that I'd worked on it so that I could verify at a later date if it was still under my 1 year repair warranty and thus eligible for free touch up work. For instruments in that range of price/quality it usually made sense to me to "get them working" cheaply for local owners, with the promise that I would also take care of any further problems arising in the next year. Sometimes a year of playing on an instrument like that was enough to convince a beginner to invest in a better quality instrument. 


As a personal note, in July 1990 I probably could only have worked for an hour a day at most on that instrument because I was down with systemic lyme disease for most of that year. I wasn't playing at that point or able to do much other work.  Fortunately I recovered fully. :)


Thanks for posting the photo and I hope you have a lot of fun with that concertina!




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Maybe the player moved to Brighton from CA thinking it was the closest thing in the UK😆


When I was living in Bournemouth I found out that the Arts college in Bournemouth was advertised as the California of the UK to prospective students in China ... they got that a bit wrong somehow. 

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