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Ends askew.


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I'm going to examine an EC today that has one end turned a "notch" ( 1/6th  rotation ) away from alignment with the other side.  I'd assume it was a hasty mistake in assembly  but the owner insists all notes sound although he's not a player.  The bellows are well worn so I don't expect the whole end assy. to be turned.  He says it was his son's instrument from a band In NYC.  Would the chambers line up with the pads in this situation ( not in the proper order of course )?  It has occurred to me that the reed pan may have been turned as well but for what purpose?  Has anyone seen this sort of modification?  Perhaps it would be helpful for playing in a standing position or from a stool/guitar chair with one leg up and one down.

Edited by wunks
clarity
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Sounds like a cock-up, with reed pans aligned to a misaligned action box, or the reverse. I can think of no practical purpose, other than a physical issue on the part of a previous player??.

 

I assume that the thumb straps & finger slides  are also out of kilter? Do you yet know which end is a flat out of position?

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If all the notes sound, it almost has to be that the reed pan is turned commensurate with the action box. Could it have been done by mistake by someone who took it apart and put it back together wrong?

 

6 hours ago, d.elliott said:

Do you yet know which end is a flat out of position?

 

How could that be determined? There’s nothing in the bellows that says which end should be up.

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Posted (edited)

I've just come in the house with it as the new owner.  The action box and reed pan are indeed aligned correctly.  Thumb straps, finger slides and wrist straps are all askew as well.  It's #31844 showing 1928 in the ledger. 

Edited by wunks
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3 hours ago, wunks said:

The action box and reed pan are indeed aligned correctly.  Thumb straps, finger slides and wrist straps are all askew as well.  It's #31844 showing 1928 in the ledger. 

 

#31844 is listed as a model No. 4 in the ledger, in which case the reed-pan will be of uniform depth all around and it could have been put into the bellows frames 'a "notch" ( 1/6th  rotation ) away from alignment with the other side.' You can determine the correct alignment by ensuring that the R or L markings on both reed-pans and bellows frames are lined up with each other.

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I've made an exploratory intrusion at each end removing the end piece and action board as a whole.  Each end has received new valves ( old ones are in an envelope in the case ) and apparently, chamber gasketing.  Peering through the fretwork reveals new pads as well.  The quality of the work is remarkable.  everything inside appears almost as new, even the wood of the reed pans.  I find it hard to believe such a skilled and meticulous craftsman would finish such a job without realizing the error.  Perhaps that's a clue to what happened here.  The R and the L are indeed a "notch" apart but the chamois gasket ends where they overlap the bellows frame are well squashed and seated with no signs of them ever being elsewhere.  Perhaps the rotation occurred at the bellows /frame joint?  The bellows have been worked on but the work looks crude compared with the rest.  A new thumb strap was fitted but only fastened by the thumb screw at the edge.  It looks like two different fettlers of vastly different skills worked on this instrument with the latter ( and lesser ) giving up after realising they'd glued it together wrong.....😗

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I'm sure that the unusual assembly was not done "by accident", though mis-assembled accordions seem to be quite a common sight on eBay  🙂

 

I have modified two English concertinas in this manner, both quite a long time ago. I cannot recall models, though I think they were both Wheatstones. One was for a "local" player; the other was a commission from a music shop, so I have no details as to who actually owned that instrument.  Both modifications were to enable players with arthritic wrist issues.

 

It seems unlikely that the concertina in question was one that I worked on, but I'm sure other repairers may have had similar modification requests from players with disabilities, though I've not actually heard of any others....till now.

 

Edited by malcolm clapp
typo
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7 hours ago, David Barnert said:

 

Glued??!! :o

Referring to the bellows to bellows frame joint.  I assume there's some sort of adhesive involved.  Apologies for my lack of experience with the details....😏

 

20 hours ago, d.elliott said:

Sounds like a cock-up, with reed pans aligned to a misaligned action box, or the reverse. I can think of no practical purpose, other than a physical issue on the part of a previous player??.

 

I assume that the thumb straps & finger slides  are also out of kilter? Do you yet know which end is a flat out of position?

No indication of which end was swapped as yet. There are some pencil markings on the reed pan but just random numbers  and letters as far as I can tell. 

 

Thank you for your post concerning the detached thumb strap by the way.   This box exhibits the exact same condition.  I was able to spot the tiniest edge of the center hole in the dowel post showing through the screw hole and levered it into position.  

7 hours ago, malcolm clapp said:

I'm sure that the unusual assembly was not done "by accident", though mis-assembled accordions seem to be quite a common sight on eBay  🙂

 

I have modified two English concertinas in this manner, both quite a long time ago. I cannot recall models, though I think they were both Wheatstones. One was for a "local" player; the other was a commission from a music shop, so I have no details as to who actually owned that instrument.  Both modifications were to enable players with arthritic wrist issues.

 

It seems unlikely that the concertina in question was one that I worked on, but I'm sure other repairers may have had similar modification requests from players with disabilities, though I've not actually heard of any others....till now.

 

Comparing some pictures of internals on line as well as my own other Wheatstone, I think the gasketing may be original dark grey material, it's pristine condition making me think it was fresh.  Your comments and my ( amateur ) instincts have me thinking this was an original custom modification.

 

I'll pop out the reed pans later today and check for markings.  There are a few stuck reeds and a couple loose shoes I'll gingerly try to address but I'm going to leave it as is otherwise until someone with superior skills looks it over.  From the comments( thanx all ) it should be easy to orient the reed pans in the normal position.

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10 hours ago, David Barnert said:

 

Glued??!! :o

I have a concertina in my resto pile with glued-in reed pans.  The fact I haven't repaired it yet is because I don't relish the task of working out which glue has been used (not any natural reversible glue as I recall), and unsticking them without damaging the reed pans.

Edited by SteveS
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