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Crankygal

Anyone Else With Scholer Tales?

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OK, I've wanted to play concertina ever since I heard/saw one at the local Yankee Pedler festival in Canal Fulton, Ohio. So I bought something economical off of ebay... "...a charming vintage Scholer..." What did I know? Now, after a month of ownership (and the discovery of the concertina.net, etc), I see that perhaps opting for 'inexpensive first instrument' may not have been wise. Anyway, 'greedy accordian reeds' aside, I'm finding my biggest hurdle when trying to play the songs out of the beginners' songbook is when I run into a string of all push notes or all pull notes and I need to refill or dump the bellows rapidly. The thing acts like it is strangling for air. So, (hey, it's only a Scholer), I took screwdriver to it and opened the end. The air vent is miniscule! Can anyone tell me why I can't take my Dremmel hand tool and enlarge that? I can find balsawood at a hobby shop, glue on some chamois and fashion a larger valve cover for it. Doesn't look like it would be that hard of a job. Any suggestions? Warnings? I figure, this is the one to experiment on. And why do my reeds look like someone has glued a couple of harminicas to a soundboard? The inside of the Scholer doesn't look like anything else I've seen posted on this site or elsewhere... Thanks all! ;)

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My rebadged Scholer had the harmonica-esque reeds clipped to the insides, which was just as well as someone had put one set in back to front. Once I'd sorted that I played it for around a month before I just had to get something better, and upgraded to a 30 button C/G Norman (the first better instrument that I stumbled across).

 

I don't see why you shouldn't do a little DIY improvements, especially as you sound quite handy, but if the thing stops playing altogether are you going to get withdrawal symptoms?

 

Another solution to your air problem might be to work out alternative fingerings so that a run isn't all push or all pull. Or you could partially depress the air button when playing the shorter runs of notes to even up the air flow (long run on the pull, couple of notes on the push with air button part depressed, you'll have to work the bellows a little harder on the push to get the volume to even up).

 

Anyway, it's enough to get you hooked. Isnt' it :rolleyes: ?

 

Samantha

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If you like fixin' stuff, you are a natural for the fixer-upper Italian that unca is currently advertising. It is all part of the initiation (the Italian-fixing stage. Ever own a Fiat?). :P

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Ever own a Fiat?).  :P

 

 

Owned several Scholers in my childhood (you can guess why).

 

Fiat...my morning was going very well until I came across that name. I bought one in my early 20's. Oh what handling and such a funky little car. Well, they break as often a a scholer and you end up with parts cars to scavange from.

 

My neighbors were not into my yard sculpture at all. I put "Fix It Again Tony" behind me long ago, but now and again I see this 124 Sport in beautiful shape around the neighborhood and I get that same longing that Scholer Red Pearloid gives me. Doesn't make any sense, but there it is.

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My rebadged Scholer had the harmonica-esque reeds clipped to the insides, which was just as well as someone had put one set in back to front. Once I'd sorted that I played it for around a month before I just had to get something better, and upgraded to a 30 button C/G Norman (the first better instrument that I stumbled across).

 

I don't see why you shouldn't do a little DIY improvements, especially as you sound quite handy, but if the thing stops playing altogether are you going to get withdrawal symptoms?

 

Another solution to your air problem might be to work out alternative fingerings so that a run isn't all push or all pull. Or you could partially depress the air button when playing the shorter runs of notes to even up the air flow (long run on the pull, couple of notes on the push with air button part depressed, you'll have to work the bellows a little harder on the push to get the volume to even up).

 

Anyway, it's enough to get you hooked. Isnt' it  :rolleyes: ?

 

Samantha

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Samantha,

 

Yes, totally 'hooked'. I've played keyboard and recorder, but the whole concertina thing is just plain darn fun. And while I was ever so careful with this thing when I first got it, all my reading up (on Scholers) has made me a tad more 'adventurous' with regard to, um, spontaneous modifications. I'm off in search of balsawood this weekend. Thanks for your encouragement!

:D

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Mark,

 

No, but I have a 2000 GOLF (one of the first assembled in Argentina). In the shop 4 mos the first year. And things have been falling off of it ever since. So I can relate..... :lol:

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Enlarging the air valve can be done. I did it once for a friend who had a cheap anglo. It made quite a bit of difference.

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Hey. the one I'm parting with at least with SOUND like something when you get it up to snuff..

 

I've often wondered about a shot of compressed air into the bellows when the button is pushed instead of pulling the buggers open.. wouldn't THAT make a loverly Darth Vader sound..

 

there was somebody on here years back who CALLED his little box Darth Vader as I remember.

 

anyway.. If you want sometinbg you can actually CAN fix let me know.. I barely get enuf time to try to PLAY much lesss work n these guys.

 

Unc.

 

 

http://www.concertina.net/buysell_detail.html?rec_id=866

 

 

If you like fixin' stuff, you are a natural for the fixer-upper Italian that unca is currently advertising.  It is all part of the initiation (the Italian-fixing stage.  Ever own a Fiat?).  :P

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Think BONDO

 

Unc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samantha,

 

Yes, totally 'hooked'.  I've played keyboard and recorder, but the whole concertina thing is just plain darn fun.  And while I was ever so careful with this thing when I first got it, all my reading up (on Scholers) has made me a tad more 'adventurous' with regard to, um, spontaneous modifications.  I'm off in search of balsawood this weekend.  Thanks for your encouragement!

:D

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Can anyone tell me why I can't take my Dremmel hand tool and enlarge that?

Yes, go for it. It's not like it's a valuable or rare box. And the chances of making it better are much higher than making it worse! And if you should wreck it, that'll be just the reason to get a better one!

 

Semi-seriously though, before you take an axe to it, you might try playing WITH the air button.... Most players constantly use the air button as they play. We depress it WHEN playing notes going the direction in which air we WILL need in the next bar or two. You can also add an additional note to make a chord to "grab more air" too.

 

A good example would be Scotland the Brave. It has only 2 brief pull notes out of the first 14.... One those two you'd use the air button WHILE playing those notes (as well as possibly a harmony note). When playing the first 3 notes of the 3rd bar (pull notes) you'd use the air button as well to try to make up as much bellows as possible for another string of push notes.

 

SoB's a great tune to work on this technique as it's a "slow" tune, easy, and so directional. You can get a copy of it here.

You needn't play it anywhere near as fast as the midi file presents it....

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Great news. Any hints? Comments? Warnings? pics? instructional videos? ;) I'd love to hear how you went about doing this.

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Enlarging the air valve can be done. I did it once for a friend who had a cheap anglo. It made quite a bit of difference.

 

Brian,

This is good news! Any tips? Hints? Comments? Warnings? pics? instructional videos? ;)

Seriously, any input before I try and do this would be VERY WELCOME.

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Crankygal,

 

I carried out that procedure about 20 years ago, after I had graduated from my own "Italian-fixing stage" but before some of my friends had. I don't remember the specifics now.

 

Your ideas for fashioning a new pad, if needed, sound quite reasonable. However, I would think about using something other than chamois; it may not make as tight a seal as a smoother leather.

 

A change to one part of the mechanism may have effects on the whole mechanism. For example, depending on how your air button links to the valve, the thickness of the pad that you make may affect the height of the air button or some aspect of its function. If, as you proceed, you are careful to check how the parts are working together, you will probably get good results.

 

Don't be hesitant to try your skill. As Rich said, go for it!

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... I'm finding my biggest hurdle when trying to play the songs out of the beginners' songbook is when I run into a string of all push notes or all pull notes and I need to refill or dump the bellows rapidly.  The thing acts like it is strangling for air.

You could look on it as great training in bellows control ? ;)

 

(Ideally you should use the wind key to keep the bellows half-open all the time, and not be having to take big gulps of air.)

 

 

I can find balsawood at a hobby shop, glue on some chamois and fashion a larger valve cover for it.  ...  Any suggestions?  Warnings?

You might have problems with balsa wood being too soft, especially if you make the hole too large, but you might get away with it. Something harder (maybe spruce or plywood, even thick cardboard ?) would be better. Chamois leather should work, especially with a solid backing (it was good enough for George Jones ... ).

 

 

... why do my reeds look like someone has glued a couple of harminicas to a soundboard?  The inside of the Scholer doesn't look like anything else I've seen posted on this site or elsewhere...

What you are looking at is standard Geman construction, very similar to what you would see in the earliest concertinas made in that country beginning in the 1830's, and made in Klingenthal (where Scholers came from) since 1853.

 

It isn't so much a cheap version of the Anglo, but more an ancestor of it.

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Crankygal,

 

"A change to one part of the mechanism may have effects on the whole mechanism. For example, depending on how your air button links to the valve, the thickness of the pad that you make may affect the height of the air button or some aspect of its function. If, as you proceed, you are careful to check how the parts are working together, you will probably get good results. "

 

Brian, thanks. Yes, I was figuring that what I was going to end up with for a valve cover was going to have to be thicker at one end to offset the angle of the piece when the button was pushed (there is only so much clearance between the valve and the end piece). And after an attempt I DID find out that balsa is too soft. I will get some spruce or maybe poplar.

 

Now, another question. The glue currently used is clearly visible and resembles sap or resin. It seperated easily when I gently pried the wind button loose and did not affect the 2 pieces of wood it joined. I'm afraid to use standard wood glue for this repair. Wood glue will permanently seal the 2 pieces and would not seperate as easily if I needed to modify/repair in the future. Any suggestions as to the kind of glue I should use?

 

Thanks everyone for being so helpful. I'm taking pics along the way and will document the whole process for anyone interested in this experiement ! :blink:

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