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Bastari Hayden Duet Bandoneon!


ragtimer
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I'm feeling really stupid about missing NESI, but as of this afternoon I'm having my own private Concertina Fest right here. The postman just delivered my new (but vintage 1980-something) Bastari Hayden Bandoneon, which arrived in fine shape from England.

 

It has 67 keys, goes down to low F (just under Bass Clef) on the LH but only Middle C on the RH. Same as the Bastari concertina version. It's square, 7-5/8" per side, with a center frame piece in the bellows. Both sides have octave reeds for M+H effect, no register switches.

 

It looks much like any Stagi model -- natural mahogany finish. Buttons are felt bushed and the action is very light and easy. The button spacing is much closer than on my Stagi Hayden, and is taking some getting used to, as I overshoot the rows on the RH side. But the closer, smaller buttons are in keeping with the high quality Haydens I've seen, so good for me learn. Should be easier to play once I adapt.

 

All sharp and flat buttons are black, while the naturals are white; looks like the back of a skunk ;) Some Cranes were made this way too. This makes it a little easier to figure out your finger positions when starting a piece, since some rows have 8 buttons. Yes, lots of Flats and redundant accidentals. I can play an Ab major of F minor scale as God (well, Brian) intended!

 

The hand straps are more rugged than on the Stagi, and one's entire hand goes thru them -- the thumbs rest on a notch cout out of the hand rests. An improvement, I think.

 

Since this instrument was made in the 1980s and never out of the box till now, the bellows are a bit stiff (especially in the gussets), and the reeds need a bit of pressure to speak, especially the octave voices. I trust these will "play in" with time. Also the upper two rows of the RH are weak compared to the lower rows, but again, give it some time and exercise.

 

As Rich Morse noted earlier, the tone is actually softer than the single-reeded Stagi and others. But that octave Bandoneone sound is really welcome in the LH.

 

I'll keep posting with further impressions, and maybe some photos. Especially if/when I unscrew the ends and look at the reeds and action.

 

Yes screws, not side pins as on the Stagi Hayden. But no protection for setting it down on a less than pristine surface -- may have to stick on some self-adhesive feet as I did on my Stagi. Also no straps to fasten the bellows closed, but I can live without those.

 

I'd love to be at NESI, passing this around the clustered Haydenites right about now. I promise to make the Workshop next spring! --Mike K.

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As Rich Morse noted earlier, the tone is actually softer than the single-reeded Stagi and others. But that octave Bandoneone sound is really welcome in the LH.

 

As I am expecting to complete the same deal with the same seller for the same type instrument, please keep posting.

I think that may be you can plug very low reeds in the LH, so the balance will be better. I know that some bandoneons come with MM dry tuned in the left and MH in the right.

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As Rich Morse noted earlier, the tone is actually softer than the single-reeded Stagi and others. But that octave Bandoneone sound is really welcome in the LH.

 

As I am expecting to complete the same deal with the same seller for the same type instrument, please keep posting.

I think that may be you can plug very low reeds in the LH, so the balance will be better. I know that some bandoneons come with MM dry tuned in the left and MH in the right.

OK, good luck on your dealings. Mine was sent plain old Post and incurred no customs duties. Very well wrapped and packed, took from Monday to Friday less than two weeks later.

 

Actually I would not want to give up the octave tuning on the LH. It makes for very responsive bass runs and lively chords (I read somewhere that the octave reeds help to start their deeper brothers when a pad is opened).

 

In the RH, the octave setup is fine for the first two rows, but after that it just sounds weak and squeaky. I'd rather have two MM, maybe "wet" tuned, maybe just one big fat M reed.

Also, one some notes the octave reeds speak first, and fool me into thinking I've missed the right button one or two rows high.

 

Yes, it's quite a re-learning experience to adapt to the tighter button spacing, after 3 years of Stagi 46.

 

Reed replacement may indeed be possible. I took one end off and the reeds (individual pairs) are screwed (not waxed) into banks. The banks are screwed, not glued or clamped, to the action board. They are varnished inside and out. This is quality construction!

 

This AM a note stuck on, so I had an "excuse" to dig in deeper and view the action. As Rich Morse had warned, the levers are long and hte pads crowded together, some two were rubbing. Some tweaking with pliers, then several tries to get all the buttons back thru their bushed holes (you don't do this for fun!), and it's playing fine again.

 

The action is on three levels -- aluminum levers pivoted on a steel wire thru a wooden pivot bar. Actually, three pivot bars. Each button's push rod is riveted to its end of its lever -- can almost claim "riveted action" :P As in the Stagi, working on the lower levels of levers and pads can be tricky, but all pads are at the same action board level. I shot some photos, will try to upload later. Anyone know how to insert the photos in the post, and not jsut attach for download?

 

I'm hoping that my brain will adapt to he new spacing soon, and that the upper octave of RH will "play in" and start to sound better. Meanwhile it's gratifiying ot hear those deep bass chords, bass riffs, and play in the key of Ab just for fun. More later -- Mike K.

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I didn't realize until reading this thread just now that this was an instrument I was familiar with. I had been thrown by the word "Bandoneon," (in Mike's posts in other threads) which I never saw associated with the 67 key Bastari Hayden before, but I had a chance to play with one years ago. Moshe Braner in Vermont owned it at the time. I found it unwieldy and difficult to play because of its size. Grant Levy had it for a while, and then Jack Woehr, who liked it very much and found it enjoyable to play.

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I didn't realize until reading this thread just now that this was an instrument I was familiar with. I had been thrown by the word "Bandoneon," (in Mike's posts in other threads) which I never saw associated with the 67 key Bastari Hayden before, but I had a chance to play with one years ago. Moshe Braner in Vermont owned it at the time. I found it unwieldy and difficult to play because of its size. Grant Levy had it for a while, and then Jack Woehr, who liked it very much and found it enjoyable to play.

Hi David. I think we're talking about two different instruments with the same button setup, but different shsapes and tone.

 

You could have probably picked this one up and played it right off, being used to the smaller button spacing. It arrived at my door about two hours after I would have left for NESI, had I gone.

 

I believe that Bastari made some 67-key octagonal concertinas, as well as about a dozen of these square-ended bandoneons. Yes, the seller called it a bandoneon. The button layout is the same.

 

I don't mind the large size, except that when fully squeezed the two ends are still pretty far apart. So you have less usable squeeze range. They could have omitted the center frame and saved a couple cm.

 

My main complaint so far is that the RH sounds gets prety weak in the second octave. The first octave (first two rows) has a nice Bandoneon "bite", but the upper octave is hard to hear and takes some hard squeezing. I'm hoping the reeds will play in and improve, or maybe Button Box can replace the RH reeds.

 

The octave-reeding is a real hoot in the LH -- makes oom-pah sound really fine, but also brings out bass runs and countermelodies.

 

I'd liek to try one of the 67-key octagonals (if I'm right in assuming they exist).

--Mike K.

Edited by ragtimer
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the upper octave is hard to hear and takes some hard squeezing

 

'How to play your bandoneon' websites recommend supporting each end of the bellows on a knee, then opening and closing the bellows by moving the knees apart and together. Don't know if you've tried this, it does slightly improve the Bastari's volume and tone for that upper octave, also eases the load on yer arms.

 

Joy

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the upper octave is hard to hear and takes some hard squeezing

 

'How to play your bandoneon' websites recommend supporting each end of the bellows on a knee, then opening and closing the bellows by moving the knees apart and together. Don't know if you've tried this, it does slightly improve the Bastari's volume and tone for that upper octave, also eases the load on yer arms.

Joy

Thanks, Joy. I have been more or less resting one end on each knee, and probably my knees have been moving with the ends. I don't see how the knees could really push on the ends, but they do bear the weight and you don't get friction off the bellows rubbing on your clothes.

 

I do find that I seem to fan the bellows open toward the top, so that the ends are clunking together on the push, while there's still plenty of squeeze room left at the top.

 

I've found that I get more bellows force and better high notes on the draw -- another bandoneon tradition, so I hear -- Argentines learn to play mostly on draw.

 

There's an ongoing thread on bellows versus knees in the Ergonomics area.

Thanks, Mike K.

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Hi David. I think we're talking about two different instruments with the same button setup, but different shsapes and tone.

 

...

 

I believe that Bastari made some 67-key octagonal concertinas, as well as about a dozen of these square-ended bandoneons. Yes, the seller called it a bandoneon. The button layout is the same.

That's the one. As far as I know, there was never an octagonal one. The one Moshe had was square (or rectangular). 67 keys in octaves with something odd about the lowest one (I don't remember, exactly, something like an F# where you'd expect an F).
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the upper octave is hard to hear and takes some hard squeezing

 

'How to play your bandoneon' websites recommend supporting each end of the bellows on a knee, then opening and closing the bellows by moving the knees apart and together. Don't know if you've tried this, it does slightly improve the Bastari's volume and tone for that upper octave, also eases the load on yer arms.

 

Joy

Thanks, Joy. I've been more or less doing that, I noticed today.

I also notice I get more volume on the draw -- another Bandoneon tradition.

 

I had typed a longer reply, but C.Net hiccupped and lost it.

(Edited to say that no, the original reply did get posted, and is better than this one!)

--Mike K.

Edited by ragtimer
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Hi David. I think we're talking about two different instruments with the same button setup, but different shsapes and tone.

...

I believe that Bastari made some 67-key octagonal concertinas, as well as about a dozen of these square-ended bandoneons. Yes, the seller called it a bandoneon. The button layout is the same.

That's the one. As far as I know, there was never an octagonal one. The one Moshe had was square (or rectangular). 67 keys in octaves with something odd about the lowest one (I don't remember, exactly, something like an F# where you'd expect an F).

OK David, I stand correctd. So the only Bastari 67s were in "Bandoneon" square shape, with octave reeds? And there were only about 12 made.

 

I could swear that the old review (need link here) of the then-new Stagi 46, stated that the Bastari 67 had the infamous rubber-sleeve button action. That, I definitely do not have -- the action is pretty nice, though using common pivot rails.

 

The odd button is the lowest-left LH one -- to left of the (normal) low F, should be Eb, plays F#. This fills in the bottom octave chromatically (there a NO gaps in either hand, top or bottom), but is of limited usefulness -- hard to make an F# major or minor chord with it, or an F#-A-C diminished (which would sound like the proverbial "chorus of sea lions" down there anyway).

 

I must be making some progress in learning to play the closer rows of buttons -- because when I go to playmy old Stagi, I don't reach far enough now! So I'm sort of between boxes at the moment, tho I still find the Stagi much easier to play -- big stiff buttons and all. Plus I can hear my playing! I trust things will change with practice.

 

Sorry I didn't get to see you and the others at the NESI. --Mike K.

Edited by ragtimer
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As far as I know, there was never an octagonal one.
Actually, they did make an octagonal Hayden - and I've played it. It was just a prototype for me to examine though all the input back to Stagi seems to have fallen on deaf ears. I'm pretty sure the venture was canned. That was several years ago....

 

-- Rich --

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As far as I know, there was never an octagonal one.
Actually, they did make an octagonal Hayden - and I've played it. It was just a prototype for me to examine though all the input back to Stagi seems to have fallen on deaf ears. I'm pretty sure the venture was canned. That was several years ago....

-- Rich --

Interesting. Wonder if it used the same reed layout and action as the bandoneon?

Or did it have the rubber-sleeved buttons? How was the sound?

ISTR your saying that The Button Box offered the bandoneons for a while.

 

I can say for certain that the reed banks in my bando take up most of the square space, so drawing an octagon shape around them would give you a really BIG tina. Well, bigger across the flats than the bando, which is just a little wider (7-5/8") than the Stagi Hayden.

 

Rich, is it practical to consider installing gutsier reeds in the RH upper octave (the reeds are easy to access) , or should I just "play them in"? And listen to your advice next time ;) --Mike K.

 

Edited to add: It seems that the top notes of my Stagi 46 have really improved with time.

Edited by ragtimer
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OK David, I stand correctd. So the only Bastari 67s were in "Bandoneon" square shape, with octave reeds? And there were only about 12 made.
As far as I know, except that I never heard the word "bandoneon" used to refer to them, and I'm not going to start using it now. I don't know much about bandoneons or their definition, but I wouldn't call this one.
I could swear that the old review (need link here) of the then-new Stagi 46, stated that the Bastari 67 had the infamous rubber-sleeve button action. That, I definitely do not have -- the action is pretty nice, though using common pivot rails.
If you mean the one that starts 1/3 of the way down this page, I wrote it. There is no mention of the 67.
As far as I know, there was never an octagonal one.
Actually, they did make an octagonal Hayden - and I've played it. It was just a prototype for me to examine though all the input back to Stagi seems to have fallen on deaf ears. I'm pretty sure the venture was canned. That was several years ago....
Are you sure you're not talking about Stagi? I was talking about Bastari.
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P.S. Regards resting a concertina on both knees and moving them out and in as you play; thats the way I have been playing my larger duet for years to the amusement of many onlookers. This method is not reccomended to ladies or kilt wearing Scotsmen.

Inventor.

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As far as I know, there was never an octagonal one.
Actually, they did make an octagonal Hayden - and I've played it. It was just a prototype for me to examine though all the input back to Stagi seems to have fallen on deaf ears. I'm pretty sure the venture was canned. That was several years ago....
Are you sure you're not talking about Stagi? I was talking about Bastari.
It's a Stagi. Though I tend to think of Bastari and Stagi as the same outfit as the only thing that really changed upon the change of ownership was the ownership. The factory kept putting out the usuals.

 

-- Rich --

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...I tend to think of Bastari and Stagi as the same outfit as the only thing that really changed upon the change of ownership was the ownership. The factory kept putting out the usuals.

Sorry to be stepping on your toes today, Rich (I just finished posting this), but while that may be true with EC's and anglos, it certainly isn't with Haydens. The Bastari 46 Hayden (I have one) and the Stagi 46 Hayden (I played several this past weekend) couldn't be more different.

 

But Brian has settled the question. Apparently there was a hexagonal Bastari 67, although from his post it looks like there was only one and it was barely playable.

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