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Need To Replace Bellows?


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Hello

 

I'm new to concertinas and have been reading up on things a little bit with a view to buying an affordable English. What are the chances of a 'vintage' concertina which doesn't appear to have been reconditioned not needing it's bellows replaced to be playable - or is it a dead cert that if it hasn't been done already it will need it?

 

Many thanks in anticipation - there's so much to learn from this forum!

 

Cheers,

 

Supergran

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Hello

 

I'm new to concertinas and have been reading up on things a little bit with a view to buying an affordable English.  What are the chances of a 'vintage' concertina which doesn't appear to have been reconditioned not needing it's bellows replaced to be playable - or is it a dead cert that if it hasn't been done already it will need it?

 

Many thanks in anticipation - there's so much to learn from this forum!

 

Cheers,

 

Supergran

 

Welcome aboard.

 

I'll try reading between the lines of your question...If you mean, "Do the old, unrestored English concertinas sold on ebay need new bellows?" I would say, "Some do, some don't." Commonly, however, they need tuning and new valves at a minimum, and sometimes pads or other repairs. If you pay a professional to do this it can easily be as much or more as you paid for the concertina.

 

I'm one of the fuddy duddies here who encourages those brand new to the concertina

1) try playing or even borrow one locally if possible (where do you live? Worth putting in your profile)

2) rent from a dealer (money well spent)

3) buy from a dealer (ditto. Based on what I've heard I'd suggest a Jackie over unrestored vintage for you right now, for example)

 

If you change your own oil, fix toasters, radios, and other equipment with alacrity, and do your own home carpentry, then learning to fix your first concertina may not be difficult. But I know a lot of folks who never get around to restoring the first one they bought and eventually buy a second they can play.

 

But my good friends here will have many other opinions for you. Ladies and Gentlemen?

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I'm new to concertinas and have been reading up on things a little bit with a view to buying an affordable English.  What are the chances of a 'vintage' concertina which doesn't appear to have been reconditioned not needing it's bellows replaced to be playable - or is it a dead cert that if it hasn't been done already it will need it?

I'm one of the fuddy duddies here who encourages those brand new to the concertina

Aren't we all? Well, here are some comments on Ken's comments.

 

I'll try reading between the lines of your question...If you mean, "Do the old, unrestored English concertinas sold on ebay need new bellows?" I would say, "Some do, some don't."  Commonly, however, they need tuning and new valves at a minimum, and sometimes pads or other repairs.  If you pay a professional to do this it can easily be as much or more as you paid for the concertina.

In fact, the less you pay, the more the necessary restoration is likely to cost, and what you paid for the instrument plus the cost of even a minimal restoration is likely to be more than the full price of a restored instrument from a reputable dealer.

 

But why do you ask only about bellows? If you were buying a used car, would you investigate the brakes, but not the engine or transmission? As Ken notes, other things are as likely -- or even more likely -- to need repair.

 

Well, maybe you're not looking on eBay. What if someone you know is offering you an old instrument, and you're asking about the bellows, because you can feel that the instrument seems to leak? Returning to the above, at least some of the leakage is more often than not internal... pads, valves, reed pan shrinkage, possibly weak springs. You'd be well advised to get a professional evaluation. And by that, I don't mean asking someone at your local music shop, who has never seen a concertina, but may have heard about them. On the other hand, if it is an instrument you have access to, posting pictures here will likely get you lots of opinions and advice. :)

 

A note about eBay: There are plenty of concertina experts watching the eBay auctions. If you manage to outbid the experts, you will almost certainly have paid more than they thought it was worth. So unless you're very lucky (getting something much better than the description and photos indicated) you would be paying more than it is worth. If your goal is playing the concertina, rather than gambling... or learning the trade of restoring concertinas, you're best off following Ken's good advice:

1) try playing or even borrow one locally if possible (where do you live? Worth putting in your profile)

2) rent from a dealer (money well spent)

3) buy from a dealer (ditto.  Based on what I've heard I'd suggest a Jackie over unrestored vintage for you right now, for example)

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Hello again

 

Thanks very much indeed for your thoughts, you've answered a lot of the things I was pondering on just from reading between the lines!

 

Yes, from what you've said with my lack of knowledge about concertinas at the moment I should probably steer clear of ebay or similar press listings - I had been kind of considering the ebay route because my budget is very limited for a starter instrument and I would have been willing to have a go at some of the repairs, although I wouldn't have been audacious enough to consider many of the other repairs that might be required. So as you say, in more than one respect it's not a good option for me. (And at my current level I wouldn't even know about many of the things that might need done! :unsure: )

 

So it'll be one of the other routes you've kindly suggested for me :D

 

As I can't afford a restored vintage, the Jackie sounds like an interesting option - has anyone played one, and what did they think about it as a starter instrument?

 

But the suggestion of renting from a dealer also sounds interesting - I'm based in London, UK (thanks Ken, I've amended my profile), does anyone know of a dealer in my neck of the woods who rents out concertinas?

 

Well thanks again, your advice is really valuabe to me and I'm really looking forward to getting started!

 

Cheers,

 

Supergran

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Two suggestions, supergran. First, while Jim will happily retype his opinion of the Jackie for you (he is absolutely tireless ^_^ ), you can already read it by going to the English Buyer's Guide page. In fact, you might read the entire Buyer's guide. Also, if you search the Forum here, there are some old threads that compare the two options for the Jackie that are now available. The Jackie comes from Wim Wakker in the Netherlands.

 

Second, for inquiring about rentals you could contact Hobgoblin music. They have a shop in London, but I have the impression the concertina-wonks are at their Crawley shop. For current contact info I'll refer you to Chris Timson's Concertina FAQ, another web site worth reading thoroughly. Cheers.

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Thanks very much Ken, and apologies for going over old ground - I'll get busy reading  :) 

 

All the best,

 

Supergran

You could also try going to a few Folk Festivals-go to Froots.then netrooting then Festivals in Britain if you dont know of any

You could also have a word with Andrew Norman in Sussex who is making a very pleasant English and would no doubt be pleased to spend some time with you.Best of luck and welcome

Old Nic

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As I can't afford a restored vintage, the Jackie sounds like an interesting option - has anyone played one, and what did they think about it as a starter instrument?

 

Well, I'm still playing no a Jackie (though I am a total beginner!) and I am impressed with it's build quality, and I do like it's sound, though I haven't tons of experience to compare it to. Mr. Wakker is very easy to work with, and they do offer the full price back if you trade up through their company later on....one of the reasons I bought mine is that a used (but well-maintained) Jackie seems to cost the same as a new one. A low-risk, reasonably low-investment solution to my budgetary issues!

 

Greg

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Thanks for all the suggestions guys, it's really helped me make my mind up and hopefully I'll make it to some of those festivals sometime, there are certainly plenty going on which is great!

 

So thanks again everyone,

 

Alison

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