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If You Can Only Afford A Stagi?


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I realize that this question will earn me the disdain of many contributers to this site. However, I'm a poor but honest (usually) weaver and musician with a kid in college and personal income suffering dreadfully form the state of the economy. Money, however, isn't everything, and I've been obsessed with my anglo concertina lately and feel the need to upgrade to a 30 button model.

 

Here's the question. If I were to buy a Stagi (continue reading after the retching ends) would I do better by buying one from a dealer who specializes in squeeze boxes, and who checks out and tunes these instruments to concert pitch, or from a dealer who sells them as he gets them, even if there is a price difference of a couple hundred dollars?

 

If I bought the cheaper one and sent it to a firm who tunes the little boogers, would that eat up all of my $200?

 

And finally, how badly in tune are these things likely to be. I've been a semi-professional musician, and a piano tuner/technician for 30 years or so, so tuning does matter to me, although I don't forsee palying with a bunch of other musicians for a while. I live in Montana, see, and sessions are far between.

 

I realize some of you folks have concertina building and retail operations, and that these questions tread on delicate nerves, but I would apprecialte all of the input you can, in good conscience, provide. I promise, if I ever reach the level where I can justify doing so, I will buy a concertina from one of you--or at least get you to repair a vintage gem.

 

My sincere thanks for your advice.

 

Jim

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WHERE ANGLES FEAR TO TREAD!

Here we go:

Jim,

Since you mention upgrade to a 30b, one assumes you have experience with the excentricities of the instrument.

Especially the need for repairs. ( I have not known of a player that at some time or other, didn't have to effect some sort of repair(s), usually during a session.)

So, how about a 30b Bastari? They come up from time to time on eBay, from $75 to $150.

The most common need for repair are the rubber sleeves holding the buttons on the valve levers. Replacing the rubber with model airplane fuel tubing is cheap & easy.

Next, are leaks from the cotton wicking material where the bellows attaches to the ends. Using closed cell foam weatherstripping instead of the wicking is the solution. ( Kudos to Richard Morse for that suggestion)

Bellows leaks, usually at the corners, can be repaired using liquid electrician's tape on the inside. Unless the bellows are really "blown out".

Valve pads can be replaced if needed. Bob Tedrow will sell you ones that fit, if you don't feel comfortable with making your own. Which is probably not cost effective anyhow.

The original handstraps of the Bastaris are miserable, but once again, replacements from one of the dealers or repairers are not that expensive.

Tuning: In my experience, the early Bastaris were reasonably in tune, but tuning is a subject of individual taste. I frankly do not recommend one attempt tuning. And I have no idea what tuning by a professional would cost.

So there you are!

Cheers,

Geo

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If I were to buy a Stagi... would I do better by buying one from a dealer who specializes in squeeze boxes, and who checks out and tunes these instruments to concert pitch, or from a dealer who sells them as he gets them, even if there is a price difference of a couple hundred dollars?

You will get a "better" (condition and in-tune) box from the conscientious dealer and may get a "better" price from the latter dealer.

 

If I bought the cheaper one and sent it to a firm who tunes the little boogers, would that eat up all of my $200? 

Most likely and then some. It depends greatly upon the design and condition of the box. If you're bent on getting one of these fixed up at least get a recent model one in "decent" condition. Often the cost to fix up similar condition boxes will be similar but due to design differences the more poorly designed box will always be a bear to play, not sound as good, and degrade faster.

 

And finally, how badly in tune are these things likely to be.

Bad but not terrible. Their factory-fresh boxes have reeds that test out with a fairly even distribution of pitches from about 5 cents flat to about 10 cents sharp with only a few much sharper than that. Occasionally a reed or two will be installed flipped (so that the push/pull are reversed) and sometimes a reed or two will be just plain wrong.

 

Depending on the reed set-up, it can be near impossible to make the box perfectly "in pitch". Their boxes with thick rubber (or foam) reed gaskets are the worst as the pitch of a reed will change depending on how hard you screw it down.

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