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DickT

Has The Market Bombed For Ec

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Since the Bb/F Jefferies was advertised by skinsegan last October there have been 11 Anglos, 4 English (including the latest one on this forum) and two Duets offered for sale. The prices also seem lower than they would have been a couple of years ago. I have a Lachenal New Model to sell and cannot price it as so little seems to be moving to gauge against. So, has the market bombed, are they still selling somewhere, have they become the Cinderella of the concertina world?

 

Dick.

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You would think that anglos would struggle more, given that I get the impression that there are far more brand new quality anglos being sold than new Englishes. Or have I got that wrong?

 

But if the demand for Englishes was as strong, then you would think the current makers would be keen to supply it.

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I am guessing that the peak period boxes still fetch a tidy sum. I think that the new model lachenal you have, for example, would likely find a buyer. I see that the button box has a couple of new model lachenals for sale at the moment, including a baritone and a 56 key. I don't know if that helps for your price point.

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Whilst the Anglo has a strong following in the Irish Trad and English Folk genres with enough demand for fine instruments to keep several high end makers busy, interest in the EC does not have that same foundation of cultural background.

 

Perhaps many of the 'would-be' EC players get as far as the starter models like the 'Jackie' and are satisfied or realise it is not for them and move on.

 

When I lived in Co.Clare I often found people on my doorstep with a concertina in need of a small repair. These were typically mum or dad with a child of 8 or so, already having at least a Lachenal, perhaps even a Jeffries ! I don't see , and have never seen this sort of commitment to the EC.

 

If we look at what has happened in the last 40 years to the Anglo playing in Irish Traditional Music we will see a development both in ways of playing and teaching. The virtuoso performances of the modern players has spurred others to take up the instrument... it looks like fun ! Whereas the best performances , for the most part, on the English Concertina were done in our grandparents generation and before.

 

Whilst there is quite a population of EC players in the UK it would appear that there are enough good instruments to go around. Many of those players are probably in my age group and started playing at a time when all one could get was a Wheatstone or Lachenal. They have their instruments, many of them have several.

 

There will always be a market for the very high end instrument, a demand coming from those who wish to get a better model but perhaps many EC players are coming up to retirement age, are being cautious and the entry level market is satisfied by the hybrid models.

 

A similar situation, but on a much grander scale, is happening in France where the Accordion was King but the old players have passed away and it is a buyer's market for Grandma and Grandpa's prized squeeze.

 

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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I don't do a lot of buying and selling, but in general, I think prices for English concertinas have been flat for the few years I've been playing. There is no increase in demand nor any significant degree of inflation to drive up the prices. One good player showing up at sessions or a music festival however raises interest. Rachel Hall is one of the principals of Juniata Folk College and her playing there inspired several of us to acquire English concertinas.

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Geoff, a very interesting take on the current market; I fit the demographic perfectly.

Thanks all for the replies.

 

Dick.

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Solid vintage Wheatstone and Lachenal ECs -- not the upper-tier Aeolas etc, but solid well-playing instruments -- tend to be in the same price range as new hybrid ECs. Many buyers prefer to go for the equivalently-priced vintage instrument given that choice, which (a) is possible for many buyers to do because there are more vintage ECs in supply than there is demand; and ( b ) means that there's not much incentive for makers to put out new ECs. R.Morse & Co (Albion, Geordie) and Concertina Connection (Rose) do, but most other makers -- particularly mid-range hybrid makers -- I'm aware of focus on anglos, where the market demand is.

 

Offhand, I can think of two people under 40 years old who play an English Concertina beyond a Jack/Jackie/Stagi level of quality. I could probably name five dozen pro/semipro under-40 anglo and duet players in under five minutes without a lot of thinking.

 

Will

Edited by wayman

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there's not much incentive for makers to put out new ECs. R.Morse & Co (Albion, Geordie) and Concertina Connection (Rose) do, but most other makers -- particularly mid-range hybrid makers -- I'm aware of focus on anglos, where the market demand is.

 

 

I remember asking the late Rich Morse, at a "maker's forum" we had at the northeast Squeeze-In over a decade ago, how he decided to start making hybrid ECs. He guessed what I was thinking and said, yes, he was surprised that there was a demand for new mid-price ECs when the supply of vintage instruments was better than for anglos. But customers urged him on for some time, and ButtonBox went ahead, and they sell EC models to this day. There is at least a modest demand.

 

I do run into singers and other musicians who take up concertina (commonly EC) as a second or third instrument - they do not frequent this forum as much as some other groups.

 

Ken

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A very nice looking metal ended tenor treble from Geoff's favourite period 31000ish has just sold on eBay to Chris algar for a mere £2351........it was on there for a week so had plenty of 'market exposure'.

That's sounds pretty low to me? More of a crash than a drop?

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My own personal issues are financial.

I bought my Jackie back in late 2011, and I have not had the money to upgrade even to a learner model Wheatstone or Lachenal with 48 buttons.

 

Ideally, I'd love an Edeophone, and even a Crane duet, but my resources simply aren't there.

 

Still, it's on my list for "some day one day".

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A very nice looking metal ended tenor treble from Geoff's favourite period 31000ish has just sold on eBay to Chris algar for a mere £2351........it was on there for a week so had plenty of 'market exposure'.

That's sounds pretty low to me? More of a crash than a drop?

 

Actually this is a fair price for a dealer purchase, I did not see the instrument but add 25% auction tax, say £300 for servicing, cleaning,tuning etc. to make it fully playable and be reliable for a dealer to sell, add a mark up suitable for a dealer to live off and you will be seeing this on sale for £3.8 to £4+k or there-about. possibly more. If it needs bellows you are looking at maybe an additional £400 of risk. As with all auctions it depends who is watching and who has the money and who is prepared to take the risk.

 

Dave

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I do think Button Box's vintage EC prices are high for current market. Not doubly high or anything, but they are pushing it, particularly since the discerning browser will note the item listings don't say, "freshly fine-tuned and re-conditioned by Button Box," and the instruments by and large are not going anywhere. By and large, most of the ECs they have listed have been sitting there for a long time.

 

It's unfortunate the incentive is not there for makers to develop, design, and engineer new-generation premium ECs. A peeve of mine with the vintage EC boxes is that exquisite as many of them are, they often have a more refined tone that does not have the lung power, and timbre-wise is not as "fat" and robust for dance-derived, instrumental world folk genres as that of Anglo. While obviously unisonoric concertinas as they've been designed and engineered to the present, have a different default tendency in that department from bisonoric, creative engineering could certainly come up with ways to compensate or augment, and give ECs a more robust quality for the dance hall as opposed to the English parlor. But as the interest doesn't seem to be there out in the market, the incentive is not there for that creative innovator maker. I've seen commenters note a couple times on other threads that they were getting that "fatter" folk-dance voice more from accordion-reeded ECs than from concertina-reeded, and I have to agree. I wonder if this is why Morse found a market out there . . . ?

 

I would like my Morse Geordie tenor to be another 25-30% louder, but its actual voice personality or character is great for folk music. People comment at its tone. My Morse Geordie baritone EC has a big, fat, rich voice, and if it was somewhat faster would probably become my only concertina. I am crazy about the voice personality of that instrument. As it is, response-wise it is amazingly fast for a baritone, it will do everything but the ride-like-the-wind super-fast dance speeds. Mind, both these Morses have upgraded TAM reeds, which in addition to responding somewhat faster than "super durall," also have a brighter, squawkier (and, crucial for a baritone, clearer,) tone that really helps make an EC into a dandy-sounding folk box.

Edited by ceemonster

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I guess I'm thinking the market hasn't so much "bombed" for EC as, it inflated there for a while. The Anglo market only got sky-high because of the Irish craze. That craze isn't there for EC, and the inflated prices aren't floating now. There was a similar, though lesser, puff-up a few years ago for duets that has really fizzled back down the last couple years as well.

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I do think Button Box's vintage EC prices are high for current market. Not doubly high or anything, but they are pushing it, particularly since the discerning browser will note the item listings don't say, "freshly fine-tuned and re-conditioned by Button Box," and the instruments by and large are not going anywhere. By and large, most of the ECs they have listed have been sitting there for a long time.

 

It's unfortunate the incentive is not there for makers to develop, design, and engineer new-generation premium ECs. A peeve of mine with the vintage EC boxes is that exquisite as many of them are, they often have a more refined tone that does not have the lung power, and timbre-wise is not as "fat" and robust for dance-derived, instrumental world folk genres as that of Anglo. While obviously unisonoric concertinas as they've been designed and engineered to the present, have a different default tendency in that department from bisonoric, creative engineering could certainly come up with ways to compensate or augment, and give ECs a more robust quality for the dance hall as opposed to the English parlor. But as the interest doesn't seem to be there out in the market, the incentive is not there for that creative innovator maker. I've seen commenters note a couple times on other threads that they were getting that "fatter" folk-dance voice more from accordion-reeded ECs than from concertina-reeded, and I have to agree. I wonder if this is why Morse found a market out there . . . ?

 

I would like my Morse Geordie tenor to be another 25-30% louder, but its actual voice personality or character is great for folk music. People comment at its tone. My Morse Geordie baritone EC has a big, fat, rich voice, and if it was somewhat faster would probably become my only concertina. I am crazy about the voice personality of that instrument. As it is, response-wise it is amazingly fast for a baritone, it will do everything but the ride-like-the-wind super-fast dance speeds. Mind, both these Morses have upgraded TAM reeds, which in addition to responding somewhat faster than "super durall," also have a brighter, squawkier (and, crucial for a baritone, clearer,) tone that really helps make an EC into a dandy-sounding folk box.

 

Please remember that many of us are not interested in playing loud dance music, dance derived music is not everyone's thing. Some of us get quite frustrated in sessions where the keys are set by having to to 'make allowances' for the Melodion and Anglo key restrictions.Concertina systems are used in various folk idioms (including dance where the metal ended instruments like mine excel), as well as for playing for singing and Concertina Band. 4#'s 4b's can be the name of the game, church music 5#'s. As you may have guessed, personally I prefer flexibility and subtitle tones. So at the end of the day, its about personal taste, and application. I have a wooden ended treble that complements my metal ended instrument in certain circumstances. As to Baritones, my steel reeded Lachenal 'Band' grade instrument at full throttle is far too loud to sing to, and is quick to respond.

 

In my view a new reproduction top grade English or Duet Concertina must first sound like a concertina, and play like a concertina, otherwise it is not a concertina. Squeeze more out of the dynamics by all means, but don't forget the the slow laments, and those pianissimo passages. It needs the full range of dynamics that the original instruments had soft to loud, and only then softer or louder as an addition.

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[[[Please remember that many of us are not interested in playing loud dance music, dance derived music is not everyone's thing]]]

 

I've read and re-read my post, and for the life of me, I don't see any position taken that all ECs should have the tone/timbre capability I would love to see developed. The last I checked, your EC tone preferences were in no danger of being scorned in any way--quite the contrary. It is your preferences that are honored by the vast majority of ECs out there. There's no need to be a begrudger about the tastes of others. No one is depriving you of anything. No one is taking anything away from you.

Edited by ceemonster

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Ceemonster,

 

from following your interesting posts - and complaint - over many years now there's just one point (or actually two of them) I don't seem to get. As I can, as surely many, confirm that there are lots of good (f.i. Aeola) and not so good EC specimens around that won't meet your specifiations, there is a fair amount of those who do (mostly metal-ended, f.i. Wheatstone models 22 and 24, which don't really strike me as "parlour" instruments).

 

OTOH you seem to have developed a faible for accordion reeds which I would find understandable if it were for the sweetness of the tone, esp. harmony. But if the tone is meant to be "big & fat", there's to my ears nothing that compares to a good concertina reed, and I'm very happy to now have an EC which, if not really equaling a good Jeffries, though is willing to produce a similar tone (an can be approached much more silently as well).

 

So you leave me wondering if you would really be happy with a Jeffries-style EC, or in fact are demanding a much different beast.

 

Best wishes - Wolf

Edited by Wolf Molkentin

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[[[Please remember that many of us are not interested in playing loud dance music, dance derived music is not everyone's thing]]]

 

I've read and re-read my post, and for the life of me, I don't see any position taken that all ECs should have the tone/timbre capability I would love to see developed. The last I checked, your EC tone preferences were in no danger of being scorned in any way--quite the contrary. It is your preferences that are honored by the vast majority of ECs out there. There's no need to be a begrudger about the tastes of others. No one is depriving you of anything. No one is taking anything away from you.

 

 

As I read your post, your point was that traditional English system instruments did not have the volume to play folk music which is dance derived. You wanted new developments to have a harder dynamic range and tone. So I asked that you remember that not everyone wants to play that sort of music and in my roundabout way I said that a new development reproduction concertina should have the same tonality and the ability to play as quietly as a traditional instrument.

 

So please do not accuse me of denigrating outer peoples tastes, that is what I felt you were doing, or at least sidling them. Remember also that people are buying repro instruments because they are lighter in weight, often cheaper and more replaceable. New developments can add dynamic range, but not at the expense of tonality and softer play.

 

Dave

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