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[] Concertina FAQ

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Archive-Name: music/squeezebox/concertina-faq
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-Modified: 2002/10/02
Version: 1.19
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See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
                CONCERTINA FAQ

            VERSION     :   1.19

            AUTHOR      :   CHRIS TIMSON
            DATE        :   6 October 2002


         1 ................................... Introduction

         2 ................................... History

         3 ................................... Types of Concertina 

         4 ................................... Buying Advice

         5 ................................... Tutors and Other Books

         6 ................................... Repair Techniques

         7 ................................... Miking Concertinas

         8 ................................... Makers and Repairers

         9 ................................... Shops and Dealers

        10 ................................... Clubs and Organisations

        11 ................................... Magazines

        12 ................................... The Internet
        Appendix 1:  Wheatstone and Lachenal Dates of Manufacture

    "Concertina ... the result of an accident between two moving vehicles"
                                                 English - Thai dictionary


This document is a brief introduction to the concertina. It attempts to
answer some of the questions I have seen in
plus others which would have been helpful to me when I first picked up
this fascinating, frustrating and delightful instrument. It is not a
true FAQ in that it is not in question-and-answer format, but I have
never found that a conducive form in which to write.

As I am a UK player this document will unavoidably have a British bias.
I would welcome any information from players elsewhere in the world that
I can incorporate into later versions. Please e-mail me with any
corrections, additions and comments. I myself play the anglo concertina.
My partner in crime, Anne Gregson, plays the English.

Thanks are due to various people who reviewed this document, and in
particular Colin Dipper of C & R Dipper Concertinas who made many helpful
suggestions, and Phoebe Sengers who produced the hypertext version. All
opinions not directly credited are, however, my own.


The concertina belongs to a class of instruments known as Free Reed
instruments, which also includes accordions and harmonicas. It was
developed in 1829 and 1830 by Sir Charles Wheatstone of Wheatstone
bridge fame after several years of building prototypes, a few of which
still exist (in 1829 he patented its direct predecessor, the Symphonium,
but he did not actually patent the concertina itself until 1844). The
already-existing family musical instrument firm of Wheatstone & Co
switched over to manufacturing concertinas, each one expensively hand-made
by highly skilled craftsmen, and at first the concertina was very much an
instrument of the middle and upper class drawing room. Its fully chromatic
range was suited to classical pieces, with its fast action lending it to
"party pieces" such as The Flight of the Bumble Bee. In due course other
firms such as Lachenal and Jeffries were founded (several by ex-Wheatstone
employees) the cost of concertinas lowered, and the instrument moved out
of the drawing room and into the world of popular music.

It became popular with music hall performers, several of whom, such as
Percy Honri (who billed himself as "A concert-in-a turn") and "Professor"
J. H. MacCann, were musicians of the highest virtuosity. The Salvation
Army liked it for its portability and strident tone. Concertina bands
were formed, playing marches and other popular pieces (and commemorated
to this day by the Concertina Brewery, who brew in the cellar of the old
Mexborough Concertina Band Club in South Yorkshire). It also became a
favourite of traditional musicians throughout the British Isles.

In the 20th Century the instrument gradually fell out of favour, and one
by one the makers closed or went out of business. Wheatstone's themselves
(by this time owned by Boosey & Hawkes) closed in 1968, the last survivor
being Crabbe & Co of Islington who closed in the late '80s.

What saved the instrument from gradually dwindling away into obscurity,
as far as the UK was concerned, was the Folk Revival from the '60s
onward. Performers looking for a different sound from the ubiquitous
guitar were drawn to the concertina for all its old virtues of
versatility and flexibility combined with portability. In addition the
concertina permitted song accompaniments that were free of the rhythmic
straitjacket that the guitar in unskilled hands tends to impose upon
everything. For folk and morris dance the anglo concertina and its
accordion cousin the melodeon proved ideal. People started making
concertinas again, many of a quality to equal anything made by the old


There are several distinct types of concertina, all sharing the same
basic design of folding bellows with buttons at each end, and anything
from 6 to 12 sides in cross-section. Where they vary is in the layout
and function of the keys. The variation is so great between the types
as to effectively render them different types of instruments - the player
of one type or "system" will almost certainly not be able to pick up a
concertina of a different system and play it without starting almost
from scratch to learn it.

Concertinas come in various sizes which govern the range of notes they
can play. The most common are treble concertinas. The range of a standard
48 key English concertina is from G below middle C to C 3 octaves above
middle C (i.e. the same as a violin). Below them are baritone concertinas
which play one full octave below the treble, and the bass which plays one
octave lower again. Also fairly common are tenor-trebles which cross the
range of the treble and baritone. VERY occasionally you find piccolo
concertinas which play one octave above the treble.

The main types are the English, the Anglo and the various systems of
Duet concertina.


This is the original concertina as invented by Wheatstone. You can
recognise one by the 4 parallel rows of buttons and by the supports
for thumb and little finger on each end. (There is quite a good picture
in Microsoft's Encarta encyclopaedia, except that it is upside down!).
The larger baritone and bass English concertinas frequently have wrist
straps as well, to help with the greater weight of the instrument. 

The two centre rows on each side are in the key of C, the accidentals
are distributed between the outside rows. Playing a scale involves
alternating between the left and right hands. The layout of buttons is
very logical and fully chromatic, and permits very high speeds to be
achieved when playing melody (e.g. the Flight of the Bumble Bee mentioned
above), but is more restrictive if you want to play melody with low
accompaniment, e.g. ragtime.

Normally the English concertina has 48 keys, but some models had 56. The
extra 8 keys are at the high end of the scale and are thus not so useful
on the treble, but they can be helpful in tenor-trebles and baritones.


The anglo concertina (or to give it its original name, the Anglo-German
concertina) was developed soon after the English, using as a model the
diatonic German instruments which were also the ancestors of the
melodeon and harmonica. It can have two or three curved rows of buttons
on each side and a wrist strap for support. Some of the duet systems
described below can look a bit like an anglo, but the firm diagnostic
test is "if I press a button, do I get the same note when I close the
bellows as when I open them". If the answer is "no, I get different
notes" then it is an anglo. Only the anglo of all the main types of
concertina plays different notes on the push and on the pull.

(It has been pointed out to me that occasionally English and duet
concertinas can be so horrendously out of tune as to play very different
notes on the pull from the push, and thus fool the unwary into thinking
that they are anglos. This is, fortunately, very rare).

On two-row anglos each row is in a different key, so the instrument is
capable of playing in two keys only. The three row is the same, except
that the third outside row is a collection of assorted accidentals that
enable the skilled player to play in other keys. Anglos are referred to
by the 2 keys. The most common is the C/G anglo, where the outside row
(or middle row on a three row) plays the key of C and the inside row
plays the key of G. Also fairly common are G/D instruments, mainly used
for folk dance music. Occasionally you find C/C#, which are chromatic
between the two main rows, and a whole variety of odd tunings made to
the request of the purchaser.

Anglos are also referred to by the number of keys (here meaning buttons!)
they have:- a 20-key is a two-row, a 30-key is a three row, a 40-key is
also a three row but with additional buttons dotted around to make playing
in different keys or more smoothly a little bit easier. You can play good
music on a 20-key instrument, but it is limiting - you have to fudge any
accidentals you encounter. 30-key concertinas are fine for all normal use.
When you get into the expert bracket look for a 40-key.

The low notes on all anglos are on the left hand side, and the high notes
on the right, which brings us on to the last type of concertina...


In fact there are several systems of duet concertina, each as separate
from each other as an anglo is from an English, but all set out to cure
the same perceived problem: how to give an accompaniment to a melody
without going schizoid. The answer is the same in all cases: put the low
notes on the left hand side, and the high notes on the right hand side.
The player can then play the melody on the right hand, with an
accompaniment on the left, thus the name of "Duet".

The main duet systems are:

    MacCann: the key layout looks fairly illogical, but it was apparently
    designed for speed rather than logic and there are certainly some
    very fine players around! Fairly easy to get one. Sometimes can be
    huge instruments with up to 80 buttons and the range of a piano!
    Crane: also known as Triumph by the Salvation Army who used it a
    lot. Much more logical system, I'm told, and again some very good
    players around. Fairly easy to obtain one.

    Jeffries: designed for anglo players to convert to. Has a "home key"
    such as G and is apparently difficult to play chromatically, thus
    players tend not to stray far from the home key. Somewhat rarer
    than the first two.

    Hayden: a modern system. Much the most logical, easy to learn and
    straightforward duet system, with some ingenious characteristics
    that make key transposition easy, but quite hard to get because it's 
    modern. I once asked Brian Hayden how many Hayden duets there were 
    in the world, and after some thought he said "Oh, about 60". However 
    this situation is changing markedly for the better, as Stagi have 
    started making accordion-reeded Haydens, a Russian bayan maker has 
    made prototypes and intends to go into production with a potentially 
    excellent instrument (the fabled Haydenovskaya), and now that The 
    Button Box (see section 8) have started making anglos and Englishes 
    they intend to return to their long-held plan to makeHaydens. Other-
    wise the only option is to get one built to order by C & R Dipper or
    Steve Dickinson.


These should be included in that, even though they have a totally
different evolution to Charles Wheatstone's invention, their players
refer to them as concertinas. Indeed many of them have the word
"Concertina" designed into the fretwork on the ends in very large
letters! In fact the Chemnitzer concertina was invented in 1834 in
Chemnitz in Germany by Carl Friedrich Uhlig. He called his new
instrument the "Conzertina".

It is related to the bandoneon, being approximately the same size and
shape, square or slightly rectangular; the treble end of a Chemnitzer
concertina usually has three rows, and in layout is not unlike an anglo.
The bandoneon however has several different layouts, both chromatic and
diatonic; the treble end probably has five or six rows. I know of only
one player in the UK, though there are many more in North and South
America. The construction appears to be accordion like, as is the sound.
The Chemnitzer concertina is particularly popular among players of polka
music originating in Poland.

Steve Litwin's Home Page (see section 12) has lots of additional
information about this instrument.
There are probably other systems around - concertina makers and players
of the 19th century were a very inventive lot.


In theory, before buying a concertina you would consider what you want it
for and decide which type you need from the list above. For instance here
are a few guidelines you may hear on the uses to which you might put the
various types of concertina:-

    If you want to play in groups or ensembles of concertinas, go for an

    For folk or morris dance the in-out pattern of the anglo scale gives
    a "lift" to the music. It is also a good band instrument.

    For song accompaniment or for solo instrumentals duets are ideal.

    For fast flowing melody lines the key layout of an English gives it
    an edge.
    If you intend to play from music or to compose music for the
    instrument, choose an English or a duet.

    If you intend to learn to play by ear the anglo is significantly
    easier to learn than the other two, and in fact is surprisingly easy
    to get started with.

Unfortunately life is never that simple. The English is widely used for
song accompaniment. Alistair Anderson has shown how successful the English
can be for dance music and band work. I, like quite a few other people use
the anglo for song accompaniment. The anglo is the concertina of choice
for many Irish musicians, who get round its inherent "bouncyness" by
dexterous cross-fingering between the rows. At the end of the day all
you can do is try the various systems as far as possible and see which
suits you best. If you can, talk to other players about why they chose
their instruments and listen to what they play.

When buying a concertina you have two choices: buy new or buy used. If
stress that too strongly. You will likely be buying an instrument that
is 60 or more years old. There is nothing wrong with that per se - many
of the finest instruments around are of that age or older (we have a
beautiful baritone that is 100 years old), but an old concertina may
have faults not immediately apparent that will be expensive to fix. In
particular check that it is in concert pitch and not "old" pitch if you
intend to play with other musicians. Retuning a concertina is a specialist
job, and expensive to boot.

If you are seriously considering a particular concertina don't be afraid
to ask the dealer to take the ends off and let you look inside. After all,
you may find anything up to and including woodworm. It is only fair to
state that some dealers disagree with people doing this!

Old concertinas come with steel reeds most commonly, or brass reeds.
Brass reeds have greater sweetness of tone than steel reeds, and
brass reeded instruments tend to be cheaper, but if played forcefully
(e.g. in band or outdoor work) they can go out of tune more quickly.

The "best" name in second-hand English concertinas is undoubtedly
Wheatstone. (Be aware though that instruments made after they were taken
over by Boosey & Hawkes in the 1950s are generally regarded as being of
poorer quality than before). Other good makers include Jones, Crabb and
also Lachenal, who made instruments ranging from the cheap-and-cheerful
to the excellent. Their Edeophone range (distinctive for having 12 sides
and rolling off tables if you aren't careful) matched the very best
Wheatstone Aeolas.

The leading name in anglos was Jeffries. Again Lachenal also made a wide
range of instruments. It is quite common for players to start with a
mid-range Lachenal, graduating when time, expertise (and money!) allow
to a Jeffries. Crabb also made many fine instruments, as did Wheatstone
with their Linota range.

With concertinas, you get what you pay for. There are few bargains
around, but you have the consolation that if you have an instrument of
reasonable quality or better it will hold its value and you will have no
trouble selling it if you decide it is not for you.

Up until recently the market for English and anglo concertinas was
fairly similar, with Wheatstone Englishes and Jeffries anglos, for
instance, fetching similar prices. Unfortunately for some reason the
prices of good anglos, especially 30-button C/Gs as used in Irish music
- and in particular anything bearing the magic imprint of Jeffries - has
gone through the roof! I have heard of people offering to pay over
UKP3000 for a Jeffries SIGHT UNSEEN! This is plain silly in my opinion,
and biases the market heavily against the new or poorer player.
Fortunately there are now makers who are producing new anglos based on
accordion reeds but still very playable at a more reasonable price (see

For a first class treble Wheatstone English in excellent condition
expect to pay from UKP1500, US$3000. A mid-range Lachenal may cost
you UKP700, US$1000. Duets and the larger sizes of English and anglo
tend to be cheaper. It is a quite reasonable strategy to buy a cheaper
concertina that needs some work and then get it renovated.

If you are offered a modern mass-produced instrument such as a Stagi
(formerly Bastari) second hand check it very carefully. The method of
construction owes much more to accordions than concertinas and as such
they tend to degenerate with time in a way that true concertinas do not.
(Note that I am not disparaging accordions here. Concertinas are small
and the interior is cramped compared to accordions, and each has its
appropriate construction techniques).

I used to say that buying new means either buying a mass-produced
concertina from Stagi and others, or commissioning a hand-made
concertina from the likes of Steve Dickinson or C & R Dipper. For anglo
players, there is a further option in the shape of Harold Herrington,
The Button Box, Homewood, A.C Norman and Marcus Music. 

In the UK Bastari/Stagi apparently rarely sold their better instruments
in the past, and mass-produced concertinas in general are sometimes
quite hard work to play with a fairly coarse tone. I have been told
that Stagi have a significantly better name in the States. Hohner
concertinas are, I believe, badge-engineered Stagis. If funds allow you
may prefer a mid-range second-hand instrument. Note that (especially in
the UK) you can rarely resell a mass-produced instrument once you have
outgrown it. However it may be the only option open to you if funds are
low or you have no access to second-hand instruments - and you could
always give it away and spread the addiction when you upgrade. (Pete
McClelland of Hobgoblin (see section 9, Shops and Dealers) has since
emailed me to say that they are "very keen to buy secondhand Bastaris,
Stagis, Gremlins & Hohners", which may help UK players).

Buying a hand-made instrument from the quality makers (Dipper,
Dickinson, Suttner and others) means being prepared to wait years and
pay well in excess of UKP1500. For that, though, you will receive a
concertina that is made precisely to your requirements and probably
among the finest concertinas ever made.

Harold Herrington, Bob Tedrow (Homewood Music) and The Button Box in the
US, and A. C. Norman and Marcus Music in the UK have all recently
started making 30-button anglos using Italian accordion reeds, but
otherwise following normal concertina construction techniques fairly
closely (e.g. mounting the reeds in a reed pan for a more authentic
sound than, say Stagis achieve). This has enabled them to produce very
playable instruments at a reasonable price (of the order of UKP850,
US1400). I think these new instruments are ideal for beginners, and for
more experienced players too, in that they will look good and last well
and not hold them back the way mass-produced instruments can. I only
wish there was something similar for English and Duet players(in this
regard, keep an eye on Button Box! - nudge nudge).


Here is a list of tutors and other books that have been published for
the concertina. It is not exhaustive and I would welcome further
information for this list. The number of available tutors for the
concertina has been increasing by leaps and bounds recently, however
some of the older books may now be out of print. 


    Concertina Workshop                         Now out of print but
    Tutor for the English Concertina            excellent if you can
    by Alistair Anderson                        get it. Folk oriented.
    Topic Records Ltd                           Accompanying record
    50 Stroud Green Road                        used to be available, but
    London N4 3EF                               not necessary. (Authorised)
    England                                     photocopies available from
                                                Andy's Front Hall,
                                                Voorheesville, NY
    The Concertina: A handbook and              I do not have an address,
    tutor for beginners on the                  but it should be obtainable
    English concertina                          from Hobgoblin. Classically
    by Frank Butler                             oriented. Recommended
    Oak Publications                            by those who've seen it.

    The Concise English Concertina              A new tutor with a folk 
    by Dick Miles                               emphasis (and some amazing
    Cooragurteen                                photographs) by a man with
    Ballydehob                                  a long history as a performer.
    Co. Cork                                    Well produced, very clear
    Eire                                        and with a section on song

    Conquering the Concertina                   Another new tutor, this time 
    by Les Branchett                            with a much more mainstream
    Sherborne House Publications                approach to music. Also well
    25 Spa Road                                 produced and clear, would 
    Gloucester GL1 1UY                          suit people with wide musical
    England                                     horizons.
    Handbook for English Concertina             Specifically aimed at
    by Roger Watson                             the Hohner concertina,
    Wise Publications                           but applicable to other
    Distrib. by Music Sales Ltd                 makes. Rather perfunctory
    8/9 Frith Street                            but covers the essentials.
    London W1V 5TZ

    The Anglo Concertina Demystified            This is still in print,
    by Bertram Levy                             and is excellent. Comes
    Front Hall Enterprises, Inc                 with two cassettes.
    Voorheesville, New York
    Distributed in UK by
    C & R Dipper
    West End House
    High Street
    Warminster BA12 0EA

    The Anglo Concertina                        Subtitled A Handbook of 
    by Frank Edgley                             Tunes and Methods for Irish
    2346 Meldrum                                Traditional Music, this 
    Windsor                                     tutor is accompanied by a CD
    Ontario N8W 4E4                             of the tunes, and is written
    Canada                                      by a man who can both play
    Phone (519) 948-9149                        and build anglos very well.

    The Irish Concertina                        Published this year (1996),
    by Mick Bramich                             an excellent tutor for the
    ISBN 1 899512 25 X                          C/G Anglo in the Irish
    Dave Mallinson Publication                  style. Optional cassette
    3 East View                                 of tunes.
    West Yorkshire BD19 6LD
    Phone 01274 876388
    Handbook for Anglo-Chromatic Concertina     Specifically aimed at
    by Roger Watson                             the Hohner concertina,
    Wise Publications                           but applicable to other
    Distrib. by Music Sales Ltd                 makes. A bit perfunctory
    8/9 Frith Street                            but covers the essentials.
    London W1V 5TZ                              Good chord list.

    First Steps Concertina Anglo-Chromatic      Still in print, but in
    International Music Publications            attitude seems from an
    Southend Road                               earlier age. Classically
    Woodford Green                              oriented.
    Essex IG8 8HN


    Salvation Army Tutor for                     This is no longer avail-
        Triumph (Crane) Duet Concertina          able from T & J Pearson.
                                                 If anyone knows of
                                                 another source please
                                                 let me know.  


    Concertina Maintenance Manual               Very useful repair manual, 
    SRFN                                        especially for concertinas
    24 Chapel Street                            of "English" construction.
    Mosborough S20 5BT                          Cost UKP8.00 (UKP9.00
    England                                     overseas), cheque payable
                                                to SRFN.
    Marches 4 Concertinas                       20 marches arranged in four
    arr. Clifford Bevan                         parts for concertina group
    Piccolo Press                               The tunes range from easy 
    E-mail                   to intermediate in standard.
                                                It is based on Cliff Bevan's
                                                well-known Marches 4 Brass.
The following books are available from House of Musical Traditions (see
section 9) and are almost certainly available elsewhere. I have not seen
them myself and would be grateful for feedback on them. I quote from HMT:

    Best Concertina Method Yet - Bob Kal, for 20 button Anglo $8.95
    Concertina & How to Play It - Paul DeVille, 79 pp, 264 tunes for
        20 button Anglo $6.95
    Concertina Book - Frank Converse, 52 pp, 49 tunes
    English Concertina & an Introduction to Music - Oliver Heatwole,
        63 pp, includes useful fingering charts and reed diagrams for
        48 key Italian made instruments in treble, tenor, and baritone
        ranges $4.00
    Handbook of the Concertina - Fred Quann, 75 pp, repair book for all
        concertinas $13.95

In parentheses, if you are in Holland and play the English concertina,
you might like to know that the instrument is taught in three music
schools. FFI contact Wim Wakker of The Concertina Connection.


This section only describes repairs on a conventional concertina.
Bastari/Stagi type concertinas that are derived from accordions
require different techniques that are described in the accordion FAQ
(see section 12). Don Nichols Home Page (also section 12) has much
useful information.

The South Riding Folk Network have (as of December 1997) published the
Concertina Maintenance Manual, written by Dave Elliott. Well produced,
clearly laid out and nicely illustrated, there is, so far as I know,
nothing else like this book around at present time. It should be widely
purchased, especially by those not in reach of one of the established
repairers. However, it does contain a few errors and should carry a
large health warning: unless you have the requisite skills to carry out
some of the tasks described you could end up doing some damage to your
concertina. Send a cheque for UKP8.00 (UKP9.00 overseas) payable to
SRFN, to 24 Chapel Street, Mosborough S20 5BT, England.
First, a couple of dos and don'ts.
Don't try and tune a concertina unless you are *absolutely* certain
of what you are doing. It is very easy to ruin a reed. It is very
much a specialist job.

Don't touch the two screws that hold a reed in place in its metal

Don't leave a concertina dismantled overnight. The screws keep the
wood clamped into shape. If left too long the wood can warp and the
repair will be expensive.

Work on one end at a time and reassemble it before starting work on
the other end. There are an awful lot of screws in a concertina,
sometimes hand-turned, so keep careful track of where they come from.
If you have a concertina with leather baffles fitted to sweeten the
tone think very carefully before removing them. The spacers inside
the end of the concertina sometimes assume their presence and you
can cause the wood to distort when you reassemble it. Personally I
prefer to fit baffles in our concertinas - I like the sweetness for
song accompaniment and it is an easy job with double-sided tape!

Many of the makers in section 8 will supply spare parts such as pads,
valves and springs if requested.

If you remove the screws round the endplate of the concertina you can
remove the end containing the action (i.e. the buttons, levers  and
pads which control the air flow). This exposes the reed pan which is
held in the end of the bellows. Remove the screws one at a time from
opposite sides of the endplate so as to distribute the strain, and
replace them the same way when you are reassembling the instrument
(do not overtighten as you may cause the ends or reed pans to warp).

The reed pan has reeds on both sides as a reed is only designed to
play in one direction. Reeds on the inside play when the concertina
is being pushed or closed, and reeds on the outside play when the
concertina is being pulled or opened. Small leather flap valves on
the opposite side of the pan from their corresponding reeds control
the air flow. If you look on the inside of the end then you will see
the holes through which air passes as you play. Press on a button
and you will see the corresponding pad lift to allow air through.

If you are having a problem with a reed then to identify it press 
the button on the end corresponding to the note of the problem reed.
This will show the hole for that reed, which you can then tie up
with the reed pan. Sometimes the reed has the note it plays stamped
on its frame.

The pan is not normally screwed in and can be removed by careful
pulling with one finger hooked through the centre hole. Make sure
before you remove it that you know which way round it must be to go
back in! (Frequently matching numbers are stamped into the reed pan
and frame to help with this).

There are two repairs that can be carried out easily on reeds:-
silent reeds and buzzing reeds. Silent reeds are frequently due to a
small piece of dirt or fluff lodged in the reed, and can be cleared
by gently twanging the reed with a Stanley (US X-acto) knife, or by
gently sliding a piece of thin, clean, stiffish paper under the reed
and over the frame to dislodge the offending object. A buzzing reed
can be due to the reed having shifted slightly in its frame. You
should be able to see or feel the reed snagging on the frame. Gently
ease it straight with your knife or a thin steel shim

A note sounding when not being played in one direction only may be due
to a flap valve getting stuck out of position. This can sometimes also
prevent a note from playing (again in one direction only). Ease the valve
back and all may be well.
Reed frames can come loose within the pan. This sometimes manifests
itself as a sort of mournful mooing sound. Remove the reed frame, cut
a thin, short piece of masking tape and wrap it round the top and
side of the frame before easing the frame back into the reed pan.
Don't force it - if you have to force it you have put on too much
tape and you may cause the reed to jam in its frame. Try removing
some tape from the side of the reed frame.
If the spring breaks on a button or a pad gets dislodged causing a
note to sound continuously in both directions you have to get inside
the end to expose the action. The way you do this differs for English
and anglo concertinas. For an English there are normally two screws
that need to be removed, one in the middle of the thumb strap and one
in the middle of the little finger support. Remove these and the whole
faceplate should come off the end, exposing the action.

On an anglo there is normally a screw on the inside of the end which
you can remove. There may be additional screws in the centre of the
outside on some instruments which will also need to be removed.

The action looks quite complex but is quite logical in its layout and
you should be able to work out the required repair by comparing the
action for the broken button with a working one. You may need a new
pad or replacement spring from one of the makers or repairers in
section 8, however I have heard of cut-down safety pins being used in
an emergency!

7   MIKING CONCERTINAS frankly a bit of a bugger. The problem is of course that sound
comes from both ends of the instrument, and those ends move around.
Usually sound men aim a mike somewhere at the middle of the bellows
and hope for the best. A little better is to use two mikes, one for
each end, but this feels limiting somehow to the player though the
sound is much improved. In the studio life is much easier as you
don't have to cope with ambient sound and can thus use an omni-
directional mike some way back from the instrument. Use the best
mikes you can lay your hands on - the timbre of a concertina will
defeat cheap mikes. I have used an AKG C1000S mike with some success.

There are manufacturers who make a living from devising mikes for
awkward instruments - some are listed in section 8. As an example we
use Microvox kit. Their system consists of two close mikes which you
attach one to each end of the concertina using Velcro. Each mike has
a lead which runs into a small box you clip on your belt. From this
one single lead runs to the DI box. The advantage is that since both
mikes are held in proximity to the concertina you can move freely,
and the sound quality is quite good too.

It is worth considering in any situation whether you can get away
without miking at all. The tone of a concertina is quite penetrating
and sometimes in smaller venues where PA is in use we have used
mikes for our voices but not for our concertinas.

I asked the concertina maker Colin Dipper whether it would be
possible to fit mikes permanently within the body of a concertina,
but he advised that this would probably have a detrimental effect on
the overall sound of the instrument. Having said that, Howard Jones
has fitted internal mikes to his anglo concertina, apparently without
harmful effects, and has put instructions up on the net at:-

If sending your concertina through the post for repair or tuning
(e.g. from the US to one of the UK repairers) PLEASE make sure it
is properly packed first. Please contact the repairer in question
before dispatch - they may have moved!
This list is not exhaustive and I would welcome further information.
I have only expressed opinions where I am familiar with the

    Accusound                       Make specialist microphones for
    19 Bitteswell Road              miking awkward instruments -
    Lutterworth                     including concertinas. Probably
    LE17 4EL                        have the edge on Microvox for
    England                         quality, but Microvox are cheaper!
    Phone 01455 552306

    Mike Acott                      Repairs. Recommended by Colin Cater.
    33 Kelvin Road
    IP1 5EH
    Phone 01473 743080
    The Button Box                  Repairs and their own very good 
    9 East Pleasant Street          accordion-reed based anglos  
    Amherst MA 01002                (also see sec 9). Also organise 
    USA                             the Northeast Squeeze-In in 
    Phone (413) 549 0171            Massachusetts every September.
    E-mail    WWW pages at:-
    Steve Chambers/                 Jason O'Rourke says "As far as I know
    Micheal O Raghallaigh           they're the most widely used in 
    MacNeill Music                  Ireland...The only problem with them
    140 Capel St                    is that they tend to be very busy,
    Dublin                          and as a result can be slow with 
    Phone 01-8722159                repairs."  

    Malcolm Clapp                   Malcolm used to do repairs and had a
    NSW                             good reputation. However he has closed
    Australia                       his workshop for the time being while
                                    he does some travelling.

    Concertina Connection           A company dedicated to the reintroduction
    5709 AM Helmond                 of the concertina into classical music.
    The Netherlands                 Repair/restoration of vintage concertinas
    Phone +31 492 513611            and makers of the new Geuns-Wakker
    Email                           concertinas in cooperation with bandoneon   maker Harry Geuns (see below). Publishers 
                                    of new and original Victorian repertoire
                                    for the concertina. Give lecture recitals,
                                    workshops etc. Has WWW page at:-

    Connor Concertinas              Repairs and makers of new 
    30 Eastbury Avenue              concertinas.
    Essex SS4 1SF
    Phone 01702 546745
    C & R Dipper Concertinas        Repairs and makers of 
    West End House                  concertinas of all systems.  
    High Street                     Make outstanding anglos -
    Heytesbury                      I have just got a baritone
    Warminster BA12 0EA             anglo made by them. It is a
    England                         miraculous instrument.
    Phone 01985 840516

    Frank Edgley                    Something of a concertina Renaissance
    Complete Concertina Repair      Man, Frank has always had an excellent 
    2346 Meldrum                    reputation for repairs and retuning.
    Windsor                         Now he makes very well-regarded anglos
    Ontario N8W 4E4                 using accordion reeds, has produced an
    Canada                          anglo tutor and has a CD of nice Irish
    Phone (519) 948-9149            music with his son. Has web page at:-

    Richard Evans                   Recommended by Bob McKay, who says 
    Lot 5                           "anglo maker and general free reed
    Sandham Rd                      repairer (and also all-round nice guy)".
    Bell                            Former editor of the late and excellent 
    NSW                             Concertina Magazine of the 1980s, he 
    Australia                       makes the well-regarded Kookaburra

    Geuns-Wakker Concertinas        The Dutch maker Harry Geuns (previously
                                    known for his bandoneons) is now making 
                                    English and anglo concertinas in 
                                    conjunction with Concertina Connection
                                    (see above) using accordion reeds.
                                    I have not met one of these yet, but
                                    there is a full WWW page at:-
    Paul Groff                      Recommended by Greg Bullough, who says:
    14 Cushing Street               "He's a very good reed fixer and restorer
    Cambridge, MA 02138             for both concertinas and accordions",
    USA                             and John Gunnell, who says: "A person
    Phone (617) 499-9928            of great ability and integrity".
                                    WWW page at

    Christy Hengel                  Maker of reputedly very high quality
    403 N Minnesota St              Chemnitzer concertinas. Has a long
    New Ulm, MN  56073              waiting list.
    Phone (507) 354-6525

    Harold Herrington               Makes 30-button anglos. Based on 
    1004 Paintbrush St              accordion reeds, but with a very
    Mesquite, Texas 75149           fine and playable action. Hexagonal
    Phone (972) 288-7007            and (unusually) square designs with
    E-mail        German silver ends. I have just
                                    acquired a fine square G/D and I am
                                    very happy with it. Nice web site with
                                    great URL:-
    Holmwood Concertinas            Makers of English tenor treble 
    (Hamish R Bayne),               concertinas to their own design.
    134 Pitt Street                 One owner (Don Nichols) says "It
    Edinburgh EH6 4DD               is a visual work of art, as well
    U.K.                            as being wonderful to play".
    Phone 0131 554-6663
    Homewood Musical Instrument Co  Does a lot of repair work, and
    3027 Central Avenue             Bob Tedrow's web site has some nice 
    Birmingham                      pictures of some of his practices -
    Alabama                         indeed the web site goes from   
    USA                             strength to strength. Now makes his 
    Phone (205) 879-4868            own anglos! (initial reaction to these
    E-mail            has been very good). WWW page at:-

    House of Musical Traditions     Repairs (also see section 9).
    7040 Carroll Ave                Have recently been joined by a
    Takoma Park MD 20912            concertina repair specialist
    USA                             called Clifton Hoyt.
    Phone (301) 270-9090            

    David Leese                     Will tune and do most repairs.       
    "Foty'r Mynach"                 Does a lot of work for Chris Algar.
    Llanaber Road
    LL42 1RF
    Phone 01341 280092

    A.C. Norman & Co.               Maker and repairer. Has been making
    "Old Stables"                   30-button C/G and G/D anglos since  
    Nursery Lane                    1980, using hand-tuned Italian reeds. 
    Nutley                          WWW page at:-
    Sussex  TN22 3NR
    Phone 01825 713551

    Jurgen Suttner Concertinas      Maker of English and anglo
    Albert-Noll-Str. 78             concertinas. I recently had the
    D-57078 Siegen                  chance to play a Suttner anglo (a
    Germany                         Jeffries copy) and found it a very
    Phone  +49-271 8706939          nice instrument. WWW page at:-

    Marcus Music                    Recently started making 30-button
    Tredegar House                  anglos based on Antonelli reeds.
    Newport                         Well worth searching out if you are 
    Gwent                           on a budget. Also deals in concertinas
    Wales                           (see section 9). 
    Phone 01633 815612              WWW pages at:-
    Microvox                        Make specialist microphones for
    Westfield Music                 miking awkward instruments -
    Westfield Villa                 including concertinas. We use
    Belgrave Mount                  them ourselves. WWW pages at:-
    WF1 3SB
    Phone 01924 361550

    Stagi                           Brunner Musica make Stagi (formerly
    Brunner Musica S.R.L.           Bastari) concertinas, easily the
    Zona Ind.le Squartabue          most widely sold in the world.
    I-62019 Recanati (MC)           WWW pages at:-
    Phone 0039-071-7506077

    Star Concertina & Accordion     Make the "Star Beauty Quadruple
    5808 West 35th St               Reed Concertina", which is a
    Cicero                          Chemnitzer concertina. Will
    Illinois 60650                  also repair Chemnitzers.
    Phone (708) 656-8884

    Nigel Sture                     Concertina repairer recommended
    Church Gate House               by Ron Marks of West Country
    Higher Town                     Concertina Players.
    TQ7 3RW
    Phone 01548 561975
    West Country Cases              Maker of instrument cases,
    Barry Wallace                   but specialises in cases
    18 Whitebrook Terrace           for concertinas.
    Holcombe Rogus
    Somerset TA21 0PY
    Phone 01823 673021
    C Wheatstone & Co Ltd           Repairs and makers of concertinas of
    (Steve Dickinson),              all systems. Excellent instruments,
    21 Bridge Street                I would hate to have to choose
    Stowmarket                      between Dickinson and Dipper for
    Suffolk                         quality! WWW pages at:-
    IP14 1BP              
    Phone 01449 615523


This list is not exhaustive and I would welcome further information.

    Barleycorn Concertinas          Carries a very good range of second 
    Chris Algar                     hand concertinas, and also sells 
    67 Little Chell Lane            new Button Box and other concertinas.
    Tunstall                        Has a reputation second to none.
    Stoke on Trent                  WWW pages at:-
    ST6 6LZ               
    Phone 01782 851449
    The Button Box                  Dealers in new and
    9 East Pleasant Street          second-hand instruments.
    Amherst MA 01002                Particular interest in duets.
    USA                             Good people. (Also see section 8).
    Phone (413) 549-0171            WWW pages at:-
    Concertina Connection           Probably the only dealer in the 
    Wim Wakker                      Netherlands. Also publish many reprints 
    Jan de Withof 15                from the Victorian repertoire, do
    5709 AM Helmond                 repair work and are involved in
    Netherlands                     education and many other pies. See
    Phone +31 492 513611            section 10 for more details.
    Hobgoblin Music                 Probably the biggest dealer in new
    17 The Parade                   and second-hand concertinas in the
    Northgate                       UK. Own brand Gremlin concertinas 
    Crawley                         mostly contain Stagi-made reed-pans,
    West Sussex RH10 2DT            though some anglos are made by A. C. 
    England                         Norman using Antonelli accordion 
    Phone 01293 515858              reeds, and are significantly better.
    E-mail     Also has several shops across England
                                    and in Minnesota in the US. WWW for
                                    both UK and US at:-
    Homewood Musical Instrument Co  Sells a good range of concertinas,
    3027 Central Avenue             including Stagi concertinas and a 
    Birmingham                      surprising number of fine English-
    Alabama                         made instruments. The Stagis are   
    USA                             frequently substantially rebuilt and   
    Phone (205) 879-4868            improved. Bob Tedrow who owns the 
    E-mail            store teaches concertina and has
                                    his own WWW page at:-
    House of Musical Traditions     As well as buying and selling, they
    7040 Carroll Ave                also teach concertina.
    Takoma Park MD 20912            WWW page with some excellent info and
    USA                             concertina buying advice at:-
    Phone (301) 270-9090  
    Lark In The Morning             Dealers in new and second-hand
    PO Box 1176                     instruments. Has WWW page at:-
    California 95460
    Phone (707) 964-5569            

    Marcus Music                    Usually has a good range of second-
    Tredegar House                  hand instruments. Sometimes has a
    Newport                         stand at UK folk festivals. Also
    Gwent                           makes anglos (see section 8). 
    Wales                           WWW pages at:-
    Phone 01633 815612    

    The Music Room                  Formerly Dave Mallinson Music. 
    35 Bradford Road                Specialises in folk instruments 
    Cleckheaton                     and usually have a good stock of 
    West Yorksire                   new and second-hand concertinas 
    BD19 3JN                        Sometimes has a stand at UK folk 
    England                         festivals. WWW pages at:-
    Phone 01274 879768    
    SqueezinArt                     Produce T-shirts, mugs and all sorts of
    P.O. Box 2001                   things related to squeezeboxes, including
    Rockville, MD  20847-2001       concertinas.
    Phone  (301) 279 8716

    Windband                        Specialise in woodwind, brass and folk 
    9 Greyfriars Road               instruments. Say that they usually 
    Shrewsbury                      have 15 - 20 concertinas in stock and
    SY3 7EN                         the proprietor Mike Dutton plays the
    England                         English concertina. WWW page at:-
    Phone 01743 367482 

This list is not exhaustive and I would welcome further information.

The Horniman Museum in London has purchased Neil Wayne's concertina
collection, and apparently intends to make it the centrepiece of a
display devoted to the concertina. Watch this space for more info.
    Alabama Concertina Support      Described as "a support group for
      Group                         southern players". Has WWW page at:-
    315 Laplaya Place     
    Alabama 35209

    Association Francaise pour      Now has upwards of 30 members,
        le Concertina               and a newsletter entitled
    Contact Gilbert Carrere at      L'Hexagone. 
    183, rue Championnet                
    75018 Paris
    Phone 01 42 28 42 41
    Bay Area Concertina Players     Describe themselves as: "Not a
    Email Daniel Hersh at           formal organization, but more of             a mailing list of all the local
                                    players we can find." Have
                                    occasional informal gatherings.

    Center for the Study of         CSFRI is "a resource for scholarly
        Free Reed Instruments       research on all aspects...of all
    Graduate Center/CUNY            free-reed instruments". The Director
    365 Fifth Avenue                is Allan Atlas, author of The
    New York NY 10016-4309          Wheatstone Concertina in Victorian
    Phone (212) 817-8590            England.
    Chiltern Concertina Group       Meets once a month at Maulden
    Contact Jon McNamara on         Church Hall in Bedfordshire on 
    01279 656664                    Sundays. Has as many as 30 attendees.

    Concertinas Anonymous           Meets once a month at 8pm on Mondays.
    The Lewes Arms                  Also an irregular series of workshops,
    Mount Street                    such as the all day one on 14th October
    Lewes                           2000 with Andy Turner on playing Anglo
    England                         for dance. Has WWW page at:-
    Phone 01273 474389

    Concertina Contact Germany      Organises an annual meeting for
    Mario Kliemann                  concertina players (English and
    Am Bach 17                      anglo) on the second weekend in
    D-33602 Bielefeld               May in Bielefeld.
    Phone +49521 170536

    Concertinas at Witney           Witney is in Oxfordshire UK.
    J Cox                           C@W is an intensive weekend 
    26 Hill Grove                   course for concertina players 
    Bristol                         held annually with tutors of 
    BS9 4RJ                         the calibre of John Kirkpatrick
    England                         and Simon Thoumire. Next course
    Phone 0117 9629931              29 - 30 September 2001.
                                    Has WWW page at:-

    International Concertina        Has been around since 1953. 
        Association                 Has an extensive library of 
    1A Virginia Road                music. Newly revitalised and
    Gillingham                      useful newsletter. Subscriptions:
    Kent ME7 1PB                      UK                UKP13
    England                           Europe            UKP14
    Phone 01634 855738                Rest of the world UKP15
                                    (or UKP1 less by standing order)
                                    Has WWW page at:-

    Konzertinanetz                  South German concertina club that
    Jochen Riemer                   meets twice a year in spring and 
    Wiesenweg 2                     autumn, all systems are welcome.
    83561 Reitberg                  Their web site has a (German)
    Germany                         mailing list, URL:-
    Phone 08039 908463    

    Midland Concertina Group
    A & R Davies
    42 Patricia Drive
    Nottinghamshire NG5 8EH

    Noel Hill Irish Concertina      An anuual event which this year
        School                      (1999) has a new home. An intensive
    Putnam Valley NY                1 week course in playing Irish music
    USA                             on the anglo, led by Noel Hill and
    E-mail         intended for all skill levels from
                                    beginner to expert. Runs from
                                    August 8 to 13 1999 and costs $425
                                    for tuition and meals. WWW page at:-
    North East Concertina Players   Restarted having found a new home:
    Alan Alden                      monthly on the 2nd Sunday 2 - 5 p.m.
    2 Church Street Mews            at Ceddesfield Community Centre (opp.
    Guisborough                     parish church), Sedgefield.
    TS14 6HG

    Northeast Squeeze-In            A major annual weekend event for all 
    Bucksteep Manor                 free-reed players in the States, but 
    Washington MASS                 always has a large contingent of
    USA                             concertina players. Reviews I have
    For info/tickets contact        read make it sound a great weekend.
    The Button Box                  1997 dates 19 - 21 September. 
    9 East Pleasant Street          Has WWW page at:-
    Amherst MA 01002      
    Phone (413) 549-0171               

    North Western Concertina        Monthly meetings (second Saturday
        Players                     afternoon) at The Ship & Mitre,
    Bob Dawson                      Dale Street, Liverpool
        Phone 0151 726 0110
    Brian Leach

    South German Concertina Weekends  Held every 6 months. Martin Doering
    Wasserburg                      writes "All kinds of instruments are 
    Bavaria, Germany                welcome. It is a smaller meeting -
    Jochen Riemer                   last time around 10 people. We like to
    Phone 08039 908463              play and sing together and exchange
                                    experiences of any kind".
    Swedish Concertina Society      Or in Swedish Svenska Concertina
    (Secretary Goran Rahm)          Sallskapet. Established in 1983 they
    Bruksvagen 11 b                 currently have about 20 members.
    S-752 41 Uppsala
    Phone 46(18)557103 and (05)

    West Country Concertinas        A flourishing group. They have a
    Ron Marks                       series of workshops during Sidmouth
    48 Brantwood Drive              Festival week which is inspirational:
    Paignton                        hundreds of concertina players! The 
    Devon                           next Annual Concertina Weekend is in
    TQ4 5HY                         March 2002 at Kilve Court, Somerset.
    England                         Tutors include John Kirkpatrick
    Phone 01803 529497              and Alistair Anderson.
    Yorkshire Concertina Players
    J Edwards
    63 Wrenbeck Drive
    West Yorkshire LS21 2BD

Currently the only specialist magazine, Concertina & Squeezebox, seems
to be in abeyance.

The Center for the Study of Free Reed Instruments (see Section 10) will
be producing The Free Reed Journal. Vol. 1 contained several articles on
concertina-related subjects (e.g. an article on Louis Lachenal, one on
concertina and accordion in African folk traditions and a review of
reprints of Victorian concertina repertoire). This level of commitment
is promised to continue and vol.2 is due out soon. The cost will be $20
in USA, $25 elsewhere. Contact Pendragon Press, 41 Ferry Road,
Stuyvesant, NY 12173 USA.

The International Concertina Association has a quarterly newsletter for
members which I find both interesting and informative.


This list is not exhaustive and I would welcome further information.

The International Concertina Association has an active mailing list, but
this is restricted to its members only. 

has an Internet mailing list 

    Anglo Concertina                Excellent page produced by Dave Glenn.
                                    Good info (and one or two inaccuracies)
                                    and diagrams and some very useful hints
                                    on how to finger various keys on the anglo.

    Boermusiek Konsertina           Some very interesting pages about the
                                    concertina as played by the Boer community of
                                    South Africa, maintained by Sean Minnie. Well
                                    worth a read.

    Chemnitzer FAQ                  Created by Ted Kloba, this site is a good
                                    starting point for people interested in
                                    the Chemnitzer concertina.                  New name (formerly Anglo Concertina Resources)
                                    and new address for a fine site. Good photos,
                                    info, links and interviews with Herrington and
                                    Suttner, and a message board. What more could
                                    you want?
    Chords                          This page is given over to an
                                    explanation of chord symbols. The
                                    author, Gavin Atkin, is a Jeffries
                                    duet player, and has devised the
                                    page for other duet players.

    Concertina                      Descriptions of three anglo concertinas owned by
                                    Bob DeVellis - A Jeffries, a Lachenal and a
                                    Dipper. Beautifully photograped and written, I
                                    like to look in on this since this particular
                                    Lachenal was the first concertina I ever owned.
    Concertina History              An article written by Neil Wayne for the Galpin
                                    Society and profusely illustrated. A *must* for
                                    the budding concertina guru. Maintained by the
                                    UK Anglo player Howard Mitchell.
    Concertina!                     Maintained by Toby Koosman, contains
                                    links to many sites of direct and
                                    peripheral interest to concertina

    Concertina FAQ                  This FAQ in HTML format with
                                    Bob Tedrow maintains a US mirror
                A site dedicated to the Chemnitzer
                                    concertina, with many resources for
                                    this instrument and stacks of free
                                    sheet music notated for the Chemnitzer.
    Concertina Spotters Guide       Maintained by Nick Robertshaw, a
                                    larger-than-life individual who plays
                                    Jeffries Duet. This site has a fine
                                    collection of photos of the different
                                    types of concertinas.
    Die Deutsche Konzertina         A site devised by Martin Doering and
                                    dedicated to the anglo concertina.
                                    The site used to be solely in German,
                                    but has now acquired some English

    Don Nichols Home Page           Very knowledgeable gentleman when it
                                    comes to the interiors of concertinas,
                                    his home page has some fascinating
                                    info and diagrams. Also carries the
                                    text of Neil Wayne's magnificent
                                    article on the history of the

    Duet Concertina Fingering       This site has well set-out fingering
    Charts                          charts for all the main Duet systems:
                                    MacCann, Crane(Triumph) and Hayden.
                                    Maintained by Marc Lamb, it fills a
                                    real need.

    Hayden Duet Concertina Page     As its name says, a site created by
                                    Jack J Wohr particularly for this
                                    most rational of duet concertinas.

    Hayden Concertina mailing List  Also maintained by Jack Wohr, this 
                                    mailing list is intended specifically
                                    for players of the Hayden concertina.
                                    To subscribe send a blank email to
    Le concertina anglo Irish en France
                                    A very comprehensive site in French
                                    dedicated to playing the anglo for
                                    Irish music.

    Le concertina en France         A personal site created by Gilbert 
                                    Carrère, president of the Association
                                    Française pour le Concertina.

    The MacCann Duet Concertina     A comprehensive guide to the MacCann
                                    duet concertina, ostensibly written
                                    by the Good (and long dead) Professor
                                    MacCann himself. Other interesting
                                    info includes pdf's of all the
                                    important concertina patents. Well
                                    worth visiting.

    Squeezebox mailing list         Formerly the Accordion mailing list.
                                    Has a 2-way gateway with the squeezebox
                                    news group (see below). To  subscribe,
                                    send an email to
                                    or online at
                          Also formerly the Accordion mailing
                                    list! Covers all aspects of free reed
                                    instruments including the concertina.
                                    A very friendly, helpful and welcoming
                                    community of players. 
    Steve Litwin's Home Page        Steve is the polka editor of the
                                    Polish American Journal, and
                                    Chemnitzer concertina player. He has
                                    assembled some good stuff about this

    Virtual Wheatstone Concertina   This Flash demo takes a few seconds
                                    to load on a modem, but once it
                                    arrives it shows a very elegant
                                    Victorian Wheatstone English
                                    concertina which you can play with
                                    your mouse. No, really!

    Writings - John Kirkpatrick     John Kirkpatrick ("The Guv'nor") has
                                    within his site three articles on how
                                    to play the anglo. Links to them are
                                    on this page. Look at the rest of the
                                    site while you're there.

APPENDIX 1  Wheatstone and Lachenal Dates of Manufacture

Wes Williams has written an excellent article on this subject which, if
you have access to the Internet, can be read at:-

His article is particularly helpful if you have a non-Wheatstone
concertina, and is probably rather more accurate on Lachenals than the
information I present below.

A major project has been started to try and create some sort of master
list of Lachenal dates, by Chris Algar, Bob Gaskins, Randy Merris and
Wes Williams. If you own a Lachenal concertina you can help! Send Chris
Algar of Barleycorn Concertinas (see section 9) a note or an email giving
a brief description of your Lachenal concertina and its number. If you
still have the original bill of sale or any other way of dating its
purchase with certainty so much the better!

If you have a Wheatstone concertina and you can identify the serial
number (it is normally on one end) then this list will tell you the year
of manufacture. Sometimes, if the label has been lost from the baffle in
the older instruments, it can also be found stamped inside the bellows
frame, in the treble-most slots of the reed pan, and on the reed-pan side
of the action-box.

      Serial no      Year            Serial no       Year

        1 -   499   1830/42         23500 - 23999   1904/06
      500 -   999   1842/45         24000 - 24499   1906/08
     1000 -  1499   1845/48         24500 - 24999   1908/10
     1500 -  1999   1848/49         25000 - 25499   1910/12
     2000 -  2499   1849/50         25500 - 25999   1912/13
     2500 -  3499   1850/51         26000 - 26499   1913/14
     3500 -  3999   1851/52         26500 - 26999   1914/16
     4000 -  4999   1852/53         27000 - 27499   1916/17
     5000 -  6999   1853/54         27500 - 27999   1917/19
     7000 -  7999   1854/55         28000 - 28499   1919/20
     8000 -  8999   1855/56         28500 - 28999   1920/21
     9000 -  9999   1856/57         29000 - 29499   1921/22
    10000 - 10999   1857/59         29500 - 29999   1922/24
    11000 - 11999   1859/63         30000 - 30499   1924/25
    12000 - 12999   1863/65         30500 - 30999   1925/26
    13000 - 13999   1865/67         31000 - 31499   1926/27
    14000 - 18499   1867/70         31500 - 31999   1927/29
    18500 - 18999   1870/73         32000 - 32499   1929/30
    19000 - 19499   1873/77         32500 - 32999   1930/33
    19500 - 19999   1877/82         33000 - 33499   1933/35
    20000 - 20499   1882/86         33500 - 33999   1935/36
    20500 - 20999   1886/89         34000 - 34499   1936/37
    21000 - 21499   1889/92         34500 - 34999   1937/38
    21500 - 21999   1892/95         35000 - 35499   1938/45
    22000 - 22499   1895/98         35500 - 35540   1945/51
    22500 - 22999   1898/01         35541 - 36400   1951/57
    23000 - 23499   1901/04         36401 - 36680   1957

This list was originally prepared by Nigel Pickles and published in
Concertina & Squeezebox, and is reproduced by permission of Joel Cowan,
editor of Concertina & Squeezebox.

Until recently I believed that Wheatstone concertinas with numbers in
the 50,000+ range were very late poor quality instruments. Not so. Bob
Gaskins has done much research in this area, and he summarises his
conclusions as follows:- 

    In a nutshell: it seems that between 1938 and 1974 Wheatstone & Co.
    manufactured concertinas in two parallel series of serial numbers;
    Englishes and Duets were given numbers #3XXXX, and Anglos were given
    numbers #5XXXX. During these 37 years Wheatstone manufactured about
    2,129 Englishes and Duets, with serial numbers from about #34955 
    through #37083, and some 9,498 Anglos, with serial numbers from
    #50001 through #59498. Yet, for unknown reasons, this vast population
    of late Wheatstone Anglos with #50000+ numbers are not seen nearly as
    often as one would expect. 

If you have access to the Internet, you can read the full article at:-
Dating Lachenal concertinas is unfortunately very hit and miss. I have
been told that when Wheatstone took Lachenal over they burnt all their
records - an act of real vandalism when seen from a modern perspective.
However, an attempt has been made to derive formulae (based on known
production figures over the life of Lachenal & Co) giving the year of
manufacture as follows:-

    For the English system: (serial number divided by 769) + 1850

    For the Anglo system:   (serial number divided by 4176) + 1850

    For the Duet system:    (serial number divided by 111 ) + 1873

These formulae were devised by Geoff Wooff and originally published by
the Concertina Magazine (an Australian publication which in its time
produced some excellent material) in their Spring 1983 edition. Nowadays
I consider these formulae to be flawed to the point of unusability, but
see Wes Williams' article for greater accuracy.


    v1.0    11 Feb 1995       Initial release

    v1.1    3 March 1995      Various amendments and updates following
                              feedback on v1.0

    v1.2    8 April 1995      Minor amendments, additions and updates

    v1.3    6 May 1995        Quote at head of introduction added: found
                              by Alan Clarke of Manchester Morris and
                              quoted in Concertina World, the ICA
                              newsletter. Other minor amendments and
    v1.4    1 July 1995       New Internet section. Address for Frank
                              Edgley (at last!). Substantial rewrite of
                              text on Chemnitzer concertinas.

    v1.5    28 October 1995   Minor amendments, additions and updates.
                              Another rewrite for Chemnitzers (I promise
                              I'll get it right one day). Wheatstone dates
                              of manufacture added in an appendix as it is
                              of minority interest.

    v1.6    28 December 1995  Record change of accordion mailing list to
                     One other
                              minor tweak. (1.6a new URL for Bob Tedrow).

    v1.7    1 April 1996      Minor amendments, additions and updates. A
                              few corrections of historical fact in sec. 2.

    v1.8 - v1.12 (June 1996 - February 1997) Further minor amendments,
                              additions and updates.
    v1.13   25 January 1998   Addition of Lachenal dating formulae.
                              Addition of Concertina Maintenance Manual
                              details. Other assorted amendments.

    v1.14   30 May 1998       Major rewrite of Buying Advice section.

    v1.15   29 August 1999    *Lots* of minor amendments, plus the new
                              Button Box concertina.

    v1.16   12 April 2000     8 months since the last version, many
                              minor amendments.

    v1.17   18 February 2001  10 months this time, many minor amendments
                              and some re-organisation.

    v1.18   1 November 2001   Some significant additions to clubs, makers
                              and Internet sections. New home on the web
    v1.19   6 October 2002    Lots of minor amendments.

    The text in this document is copyright (c) 1995 - 2002 Chris Timson. This
    document may be freely distributed. You may even add things provided
    you make clear which text is your addition. Please do not delete
    anything, however. You may quote from it as extensively as you wish,
    but please give credit.

    I have done the best I can to make this document accurate. However
    addresses change, information becomes out of date, and I can accept
    no liability for any problems however caused which may arise from
    this document.

    I welcome updates, comments and advice about this document. I would
    also be interested in knowing where it ends up! You can e-mail me
    --- End of FAQ ---

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM