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Symphonetta


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What do you know about this unusual instrument?  It's called a symphonetta and it's set up somewhat like a table-top chemnitzer.  It was made by Star Concertina in Chicago.  It has 61 buttons left and right.  It is in terrific condition; all parts present, solid wood inside/out, beautiful decoration, fine reeds, good bellows.  The one problem is that all of the white buttons are cracked (and yet none of the red buttons are).  Have you seen one like this before?  Does anyone know more about its history?  Any idea on the worth of this unique instrument?  Thank you for any information you can provide.  (Insert image didn't seem to work.  Sorry.)

 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DACoTDWsxLE2xN4yWD0Bmips_MUVWZNr/view?usp=sharing

 

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Tried one of these once. Right hand keyboard was a continental chromatic accordion fingering; can't remember if it was a B or C system. The left hand keyboard wouldn't work because the bellows folds were all stuck together (think it had got wet at some point). I declined the owner's kind offer to sell it to me for some ridiculous price ending in lots of noughts IIRC  :-)

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Having repaired an example in the past, if memory serves me correctly:

It is built like a bandoneon type instrument that is basically split in half, the left and right sections, each, complete with an independent bellows, being mounted on a board with the keyboards orientated upwards. Each bellows is provide with a large internal spring, (like an old fashioned bed spring) which when restraining clips are released causes each bellows to expand. Because the instrument is ‘single action’ (notes only sound when the bellows are compressed) one way flap valves are incorporated to allow air to enter the bellows to allow full expansion.

The single action negates the need for a hand strap, effort only being required to compress the bellows during playing.

A separate button mounted behind the hand rest and operated by the heel of the each hand opens a wind pad to allow each bellows to be compressed, without sounding any notes, and clipped shut for transporting.

 

A strong pair of knees/legs are a requirement to support models without a stand/table.

 

Geoff

 

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