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"Sticking buttons"

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Alastair Macdonald ( alastair.macdonald31@gmail.com ) said:

I am basically a guitar player but a number of years ago I bought a Gremlin (Anglo)

concertina.  For the last decade the concertina has not been played ( it was "stored" in a dry 

small room ) Most of the notes are completely functional and clear in sound.


However three of the notes get variably stuck in the small "tunnels" which 

support/stabilise the metal button.  I am tempted to use some kind of oil to 

lubricate the tunnel which guides the "Buttons" but on reflection I know this type of 

amateur intervention is likely to damage my concertina.


Any advice from anyone out there?


Kind regards


Alastair Macdonald

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There are several reasons a button could stick, so it's difficult to say what the solution might be. Also, there are different types of mechanisms, which makes analysis tricky. If you were to take the end off so as to expose the mechanism, and send a photo, it might help.

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I agree with Frank, photos will help. These instruments were designed to be played 'dry' of lubricants. I would start by looking at friction issues that should not be there and any minor misalignments that might add to friction forces. I think that the buttons pass through a plywood end plate. I would consider a gentle clean out of the holes to ensure there is no raised end-grain on the various layers of wood, use a drill bit of the same diameter as the hole or fine sandpaper on a dowel. Spin by hand, not in an aggressive power tool!


I am equipped with tapered and parallel hand reamers but the work arounds mentioned are effective.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I once had a German anglo made by Scholer which had a similar problem.  Some of the buttons were constantly getting jammed in the holes.  I think it's a design fault with this type of concertina that the buttons are quite short and they are easily pushed too far into the hole.  I solved the problem by gluing a thin layer of foam directly under the buttons, which gave them an extra bit of spring and stopped them going too far down into the hole.  It played much better after that and allowed me to get a good feel for anglo playing without spending a fortune.  However mine had wooden buttons and you say yours are metal so perhaps it is a different mechanism and my suggestion might not be possible. All that being said, these instruments are okay when working properly but a bit limiting if you want to progress your playing.  I subsequently bought an old Lachenal which needed a bit of restoration and with the help of The Concertina Maintenance Manual by your previous correspondent Dave Elliot I ended up with a decent box.   But be careful.  Anglo playing can be addictive and you may find yourself hankering after a top quality instrument.  Goodbye bank balance!

Edited by catswhiskers
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Just read the article of jamming buttons on your concertina; for a short time I experienced similar problem on my ( Hiohner) branded Anglo. With mine, at first, the button, lever, movement was stiff.

I learned how to improve it myself after a time; personally I used a small amount of a Silicone type lubricant ( that you get in a can with fine applicator ) I put tiny amount of the lube onto a fine artist brush first, and then used this to VERY CAREFULLY brush just into the mechanism, ensuring that not too much was applied than was needed.

Ever since for years now .. no sticking buttons, and smooth movement overall!  

Just a hint; but not sure if will work with your make.. so be cautious first.

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