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English Concertina Question

DebC 31 Dec 08 - 11:42 AM
TheSnail 31 Dec 08 - 11:49 AM
Jeri 31 Dec 08 - 11:55 AM
Jeri 31 Dec 08 - 11:56 AM
Jeri 31 Dec 08 - 12:00 PM
DebC 31 Dec 08 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 31 Dec 08 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 31 Dec 08 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 31 Dec 08 - 12:16 PM
DebC 31 Dec 08 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 31 Dec 08 - 12:32 PM
DebC 31 Dec 08 - 12:49 PM
The Sandman 31 Dec 08 - 01:03 PM
DebC 31 Dec 08 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 31 Dec 08 - 01:37 PM
The Sandman 31 Dec 08 - 05:58 PM
DebC 31 Dec 08 - 10:40 PM
treewind 01 Jan 09 - 08:40 AM
DebC 01 Jan 09 - 10:19 AM
Ptarmigan 01 Jan 09 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 01 Jan 09 - 10:46 AM
EBarnacle 02 Jan 09 - 10:34 AM
The Sandman 02 Jan 09 - 12:45 PM
EBarnacle 02 Jan 09 - 10:39 PM
Seamus Kennedy 03 Jan 09 - 12:31 PM
DebC 08 Jun 09 - 12:49 PM
The Sandman 08 Jun 09 - 01:17 PM
curmudgeon 08 Jun 09 - 02:00 PM
DebC 08 Jun 09 - 03:59 PM
Ross Campbell 08 Jun 09 - 08:47 PM
DebC 08 Jun 09 - 08:59 PM
The Sandman 09 Jun 09 - 04:44 AM
DebC 09 Jun 09 - 10:14 AM
The Sandman 09 Jun 09 - 10:18 AM
DebC 09 Jun 09 - 10:31 AM
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Subject: English Concertina Question
From: DebC
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 11:42 AM

I have a question about trouble-shooting on my English concertina. I have a 48 key 1870 Wheatstone that is a wonderful instrument. I had it completely overhauled a year and a half ago and it was working great. Lately, however, my low D is not making a tone on the pull, but I am getting a tone on the push.

I am not familiar with the inner workings of the instrument, though I did take one of the ends off to have a peek.

Any guidance out there (and it would be great to hear from you, Dick Miles) would be greatly appreciated. If this subject has been dealt with here on the Mudcat, please point me to the thread or anpther resource so that I can try to solve this.

Happy New Year,
Debra Cowan


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 11:49 AM

Have a look at the International Concertina Association web site http://www.concertina.org/.
Click Useful Info then scroll down and find Repair Techniques. Your problem is in there. It's terrifying at first but I've done it many times.


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: Jeri
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 11:55 AM

Hi Deb. I've only had mine since April, so almost anyone with a concertina knows more than I do. Could be a piece of something stuck in there, but you'd likely be able to see it. My high D sometimes is finicky on the blow, but the suck is fine.

If you don't know about Concertina.net yet, it's a great place to go for help and there are many knowledgeable members and past discussions of problems.

I need to play mine more.


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: Jeri
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 11:56 AM

Most of them are also faster than I am.

OOH- must buy your new CD!


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: Jeri
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 12:00 PM

Oops - concertina.org is not concertina.net. Even more 'tinage!


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: DebC
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 12:06 PM

I am a member of Concertina.net and took a search of the site, but it was a bit overwhelming. I am assuming this is a common problem and thus thought that there might be an easy way to fix the problem.

The concertina.org page has a nice wee trouble-shooting section. I'll try that and see what happens.

Jeri (and anyone else): you can go HERE to purchase my new CD "Fond Desire Farewell"

Thanks for your help.

Debra Cowan


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 12:09 PM

Although a Duet player the principles are the same.
There is almost certainly something stuck in the reed frame (probably a splinter!).
This happens a lot. and the cure is pretty simple.
Unscrew the offending end separate the key mechanism from the bellows and you will reveal the reed pan.
This should have a hole in the middle to lift it out.
Locate the offending reed (They sometimes have the note stamped onto the reed frame. otherwise press the offending button and you'll see which valve opens)
The Reed frame should slide out of the pan quite easily, then get a cigarette paper and gently slide it between the reed and the frame. Do not take the reed out of the frame...that way madness lies!!

Probably best to do the reeds on both sides of the reed pan whilst you've got the end off. Also might be useul to use a soft brush (Unused pastry brush!) to gently clean out all the other reed too, in case there are other slivers of would lurking!
You might as well seeing as you've dismantled it already!!

This works 100% of the time for me. but be very gentle.

Good Luck and Happy New year!

Ralph Jordan


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 12:12 PM

Curses spelling!!
Should read...
clean out all the other reeds too, in case there are other slivers of wood!! lurking. Sorry!


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 12:16 PM

Note to Jeri.
because the tolerances between the reed and its frame are so small, sometimes it's actually impossible to see any foreign object. hence the cigarette paper...don't use tissue, as it could leave more crap than it gets rid of!!
Oh and no liquid cleaners....No No No !!!!
Regards Ralphie
(It's a real bugger in the middle of a gig!)


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: DebC
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 12:18 PM

Thanks, Ralphie!!!

I knew that folks on the MC would come to the rescue.

Deb Cowan


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 12:32 PM

Debs.
Only too pleased to help.
It's worth doing the brush out of the reed pans every year or so. After all you do have a venerable old lady in your hands!!
Good luck. Kind regards Ralphie


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: DebC
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 12:49 PM

I do and she really is a beaut!! I played her on "Fond Desire Farewell" You can hear her, along with Joyce Anderson's fiddle on my version of Steve Tilston's "The Night Owl Homeward Turns".

There's a music player on my website and "Night Owl..." is the first song.

Debra Cowan


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 01:03 PM

it is important never to blow on the reed,breath particles can cause rust.
Ralph is spot on,use a piece of paper,slip it between the reed and the reed shoe,I often find beard hairs are the problem.
when unscrewing the concertina,it is a good ideato put the screws carefully on the table, marked as to which hole they came from .
sorry, I was late arriving,HAQPPY NEW YEAR Deb C.


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: DebC
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 01:05 PM

Dick Miles said, "I often find beard hairs are the problem."

I'm not the one in my house that has a beard....

And a very happy new year to you as well, Dick. I do hope to see you at some point in 2009.

Deb


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 01:37 PM

Will go a searching in the the morn.
Have a happy and peaceful New Year.
Ralphie..x


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 05:58 PM

Well done DEB.[NightOwl]next time, more concertina.


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: DebC
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 10:40 PM

I gotta admit, Dave (Mattacks, my producer) insisted that I play concertina on this CD and I didn't want to disappoint him. It was on "The Rainbow" that the low D went silent on the pull and I really had to readjust my playing so that I could do the track.

Glad you like it, Dick. Your opinion means a lot to me.

Deb


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: treewind
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 08:40 AM

Apart from a stuck reed, another possibility is a stuck valve. That'll be obvious when you open the instrument up. The valve is the little leather flap that should rest against the slot on the opposite side from the reed and should open effortlessly as soon as any air passes though to make the reed sound. Just make sure the free end of the valve lifts cleanly away from the slot. If it's stuck only a little force should be required to unstick it and it will be fine after that.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: DebC
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 10:19 AM

Thanks, Anahata. Hope to see you and Mary on one of my UK trips.

Great advice from all. Thanks so much.

Happy New Year!!

Deb


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: Ptarmigan
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 10:36 AM

I've had a beard for 40 years!

I've only been playing Concertina for 30!

So the beards stays! :-)

Happy New Year!
Dick

Scottish Concertina Forum


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 10:46 AM

Oh Anahata....trust you to mention valves!!!
Happy New Year to you and Mary.
See you somewhere down the road.
Now back to the maintenance bit!
R xxx


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: EBarnacle
Date: 02 Jan 09 - 10:34 AM

The glue holding the valve pad to the actuating arm also sometimes lets go. This will result either in the note sounding all the time or not at all. Should this happen, carefully open the valve cover and not which valve is inoperative. Generally a spot of Elmers white glue will heal the damage.

Do not reassemble for a day or so. This allows the glue to fully set before you attempt to move things.

The last repair of this sort I had to do was more than 30 years ago.


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Jan 09 - 12:45 PM

e barnacle,
dont you mean the pad.PVA GLUE is more popular these days.


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: EBarnacle
Date: 02 Jan 09 - 10:39 PM

Yes, I meant the joint between the arm and the valve pad.


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 03 Jan 09 - 12:31 PM

Sometimes one of flee-rods goes out of skew on t' treadle...

no wait, sorry...that's from Monty Python.

Never mind.

All the best Deb, Dick, et al.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question-Update
From: DebC
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 12:49 PM

Update-huge thanks to Ralphie, Dick and Anglo (who last Saturday indirectly reminded me that I really needed to take care of this) and giving me some hints.

I took off the rosewood end and found the reed. Unfortunately, the reed pan is in the frame permanently so I had to do the "surgery" with it attached. The D reed seemed to be flush with the little bed it rests in, instead of the end slightly bent up like the others.

I didn't have a cigarette paper, so I tried just a piece of regular writing paper. I couldn't get a purchase on the end of the reed so I tried a thicker piece and that seemed to do it. I was able to get under the reed and gently slid the paper underneath and then did a slow back and forth. I then went 'round the entire frame and did that with all the reeds, all the while being very gentle.

Put the entire thing back together (Dick M-thanks for the hint about keeping track of which screws went where) and HOORAY!!! My loe D note works on the push AND pull.

So thank you, thank you thank you all!

Debra


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 01:17 PM

glad it is sorted.


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: curmudgeon
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 02:00 PM

"Unfortunately, the reed pan is in the frame permanently..." - not a good sign, especially if a reed on the other side has a problem.

If you're concerned about how much force to use to take it out, talk to Ken Sweeney; he really know his way around concertinas.

Good luck, and keep us posted - Tom


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: DebC
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 03:59 PM

It was Ken that totally overhauled my concertina a couple of years ago, so he knows the instrument literally inside and out :-)

Maybe I still am not sure what the reed pan is. Maybe next time I see you, Tom, I'll bring the concertina with me and you can give me a wee tour.

Deb


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 08:47 PM

If you go to Dave Elliott's website
and click on "Concertina Maintenance Manual", then on "Manual Background and Content", scrolling down the page will reveal a photo of a couple of pages of the book.

The reed pan is the whole hexagonal wooden plate with reeds arranged radially around it, revealed once you have removed the end frame (left hand page shows a section, lower pic showing how the reed blocks may be removed). The reed pan is a tight fit in the bellows frame, but may be removed by inserting a finger in the central hole and carefully easing the pan out. Note there's only one right way to put it back! Usually the manufacturers stamped both the bellows frame and the reed pan with the concertina's number, in an angle of the frame/pan. Match them up when putting everything back together. Or add your own positioning mark before removal if you're unsure.

The individual reed blocks are the brass tapered blocks, each with two screws holding a steel reed. As somebody above suggested, don't mess with those screws unless you intend taking up a career in concertina tuning (or at least devoting more of your life to it than you would want!) With the reed-pan out, the tapered blocks may be removed for closer examination and dust/fluff/beard hair removal (Ouch! Sounds painful). For each note (in an English/Duet concertina) there are two reeds, one topside, the other below.

I'm not sure which bit you think is "permanently fixed". All the parts are designed to provide an airtight fit, so they may appear at first sight to be "fixed", ie glued or some other permanent fixing. But accessibility for repair/tuning demands that everything can be got at without recourse to breaking joints or doing anything unreversable.

I haven't got the book myself, but it looks like it might be worth investigating, even with thirty-odd years of messing about with these instruments behind me!

Ross


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: DebC
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 08:59 PM

Thanks Ross. I thought that might be what the reed pan is. I did try to take it out carefully and it would not budge.

At any rate, all keys are now working properly.

Debra Cowan


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 04:44 AM

I have two copies of the book.
its possible that weather conditions,have made it difficult to remove,if it is a problem,here is a suggestion,this must be done with great care.
open the box up,get a hair dryer,and very carefully aim the most gentle heat[not at the reeds]but at the point where the reed pan touches the outside of the concertina,do it in very short blasts,making sure no hot air gets near the reed.
if you are not confident of being able to do this without damaging the reeds,take it to a repairer.
in the meantime,or until you need to sort this problem,if you need to sort it,make sure your concertina is not stored in damp conditions,but somewhere where the temperature is consistently dry[NOT NEAR A RADIATOR EITHER]that will cause even more damage.
two people on Concertina net, Dave Elliot,and Geoffrey Crabb,are experienced repairers,in the meantime dont worry about it,just play the box.


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: DebC
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 10:14 AM

Thanks, Dick. Hope to see you maybe whilst on my travels in the UK this summer. I'll be at Scarborough Seafest in July.

As for the concertina, the reed-lifting was pretty simple and solved the problem. If I do have any further issues, especially in places were it's a delicate operation, I'd probably have Anglo or Ken Sweeney do the investigating. My Wheatstone is a fine old lady and I would rather trust an expert than have meself go bumbling around rsiking any damage.

She is kept in the same temperature and humidity controlled environment as my guitars and my husband's mandolins.

Debra Cowan


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 10:18 AM

Deb C,I will see you at Seafest.,have fun playing.


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Subject: RE: English Concertina Question
From: DebC
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 10:31 AM

Excellent, Dick! It will be great to see you as well, though I won't have the box with me; too much luggage.

See ya then,
Debra


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