Corbin Collins Posted March 23, 2022 Share Posted March 23, 2022 Hi everybody. I've been haunting the forums here for the past month and just now joined up -- or reactivated, since I was actually a member back in 2006. That time feels like a different life now. Back then I was trying to figure out a Stagi 30b anglo and had contacted Frank Edgeley about building me a much fancier box. I soon had to back out of that deal when my wife found out how much I was planning to spend. Needless to say, she is no longer my wife. For the past 16 years I have been playing bass guitar in rock bands and tenor guitar/uke/lyre/tenor banjo at home here in Indiana. A few weeks ago I remembered my concertina obsession and immediately caught the bug again. I soon won an online auction for an old Frontalini 20b. Then I quickly bought a Rochelle -- but right away I wasn't thrilled by the stiffness of the bellows, and some of the buttons weren't eager to speak. The more I read the forums, the more I became entranced by the Hayden duet system, so I traded in the Rochelle for an Elise. But that too frustrated me rather quickly for the same reasons. Comparing them to the bellows movement and the action and responsiveness on my cheap $40 Italian instrument, there was no comparison. I reach for the Frontalini every time when I want to practice. So I bit the bullet and got on the shop list for a CC Troubadour (after clearing it with my wife -- different wife, a much better one). The Troubadour should be in my hot little hands in about 6 weeks. In the meantime I'm playing the Frontalini. I play that because it's fun. I'm learning sea shanties and some jigs, folk tunes, old time, etc. But I want the Troubadour as a long-term way to keep exploring music theory and song accompaniment, as I do with my stringed instruments. While I have your attention, I do have two questions: 1. Has anybody ever tried to build a concertina using harmonica reeds? It seems like cost and space issues are major impediments to affordable quality concertinas. Harmonica reeds must be tiny, yet they are obviously loud, cheap, and seemingly plentiful. There must be a good reason you don't see harmonica-reeded concertinas. 2. I love my Frontalini, but the thing is, it doesn't offer easy access to get inside and fix stuff. It has big single blocks instead of two-part ends (see photo). In other words, you can't just unscrew the ends and take off the frame and pull out the reed pan without contacting the bellows. I did it once. The only way to get in is to literally cut through the cardboard/glue that fastens the bellows directly to the wood. Then I accessed the pan, tried to clean up the insides of the box, put in new netting, cleared all the reeds, and got a few of the buttons that weren't working when I bought it to work again. Then I reglued the bellows onto the ends and added a thin bead of silicone sealant all around. The bellows are actually more airtight than when I bought it. But now I've noticed that some of the lower notes on the LH sound pretty woolly -- distorted, buzzy. I think they were always like this but now they bother me. I don't want to cut off the bellows again, so maybe I need to find a concertina that's more repairable. Or I could send it to Greg Jowaisas (in neighboring Kentucky) and get it fixed properly. (Does he still do that? Is it okay to just message him out of the blue?) 3. (Related to 2.) Is there a better system I could employ for fastening the ends to the bellows than directly with glue/silicone? I am so happy this site is still open and lively and full of such interesting, inspiring, and helpful folks! I've learned an immense amount from you all. Thanks for welcoming me back. Corbin Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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