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I bought a concertina! It's an antique (roughly 1880s) 48-key English Lachenal Inimitable. According to the eBay seller it's playable as-is but could do with a fair bit of TLC to bring it up to a decent standard. Also the original pierced rosewood end covers have been replaced with plain aluminium plates.





Here's a photo of a different one to show what the end covers should look like:

I'm very excited by the challenges of restoring and learning to play it (though much more confident of success in the former task!).


Congratulations on your new baby! I love the fact it's so old.

I'm so looking forward to seeing (and hearing) it :) When will it arrive?
Hopefully in a few days. :)

It seems the dating is quite rough for these instruments because they were made for decades with few design changes, and most of the production records were lost (deliberately burned when the company was bought out by their main competitor!). It's probably somewhere between the late 1870s and early 1890s though.
It's called an English concertina because of the arrangement of the keys. Each key will play the same note whether you are pushing or pulling on the bellows. (An Anglo concertina has a different note in each direction)

I'll be interested to see how you get on with it.

If you need a fingering chart for the keys, it shouldn't be hard to find one - the layouts tend to be fairly standardised. http://www.concertina.info/tina.faq/images/finger6.htm

You play a scale by alternating the two hands.

Thanks! There seem to be at least as many differing opinions about which style of concertina to choose as there are concertina players. To me, the Anglo thing of playing different notes on push and pull sounded potentially quite confusing. I understand it might be trickier to play melody and accompaniment at the same time on an English. I'm a complete novice so at least I don't have any old habits to un-learn first!

I've bought the Roger Watson book which includes fingering charts and so forth:
I take the easy method and don't bother trying to play any accompaniment!
I expect I will be doing the same! What sort of concertina do you play?
Mine's an Anglo. I expected the direction chance thing to be difficult, but in fact after a day or two, I found it no trouble at all.
Ooh, cool. Love a good concertina (not that I can play one). Looking forward to your tales of restoration.
There's actually a book on concertina restoration and maintenance -- easy to come by, not expensive.

Not entirely sure how you are going to tune it but please do not make your first attempts at filing on your actual concertina reeds.
Yes, I have the concertina restoration book.