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Terence

Beginner Question : Vintage Or Cheap Hybrid ?

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Not all brass reeds are low powered. This clip of The Keelers has Pete Wood playing a brass reeded Wheatstone Aeola. It has four *very* powerful singers to share the stage with and is not found wanting. I tune this concertina for Pete a few years back and couldn't believe my eyes when I opened it and found the reeds to be brass.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSx88AquGvc

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Glad to be helpful, and Don is providing a link to a seductive instrument, but you have a tough choice. I also entered the world of concertinas via anglo, facing the same set of dilemmas. To put it simply, I just knew that 20b wouldn't do it for me. Not a complete instrument, sorry but it's the truth....I went with a cheap Chinese one, 30b and never regretted it.

 

On e separate note, Artie was right, you get more notes per $, if you go with English, and its a better system, anyway! (Oops;)

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That is a super sounding instrument Don, and played rather nicely too of course.

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Mike, “harpomatic”, My brief message posted earlier today appears to have caused a little confusion for which I should apologise. I can now see how that came about.

 

I am very grateful to you for taking so much trouble to produce such a thorough and fascinating reply. Just what I had been hoping for.

 

My total experience has been restricted entirely to a steel reeded instrument with which I have always been entirely happy, but I had always been just a little curious to know how it might have behaved, and how well I might have been any happier, if at all, were it to have been originally fitted with brass reeds.

 

I had got the impression that steel reeds were probably preferred by those who were anxious to generate greater volume, but I do not inhabit that sort of world. I have no wish whatsoever to ‘ perform’. I only ever wish to play the instrument solo for my own pleasure and satisfaction and I have no problems falling well and truly into the category which you so delightfully describe as ‘ whisper level, which can be satisfactorily played next to someone sleeping without waking them up.’ No problem whatsoever with my steel reeded instrument !

 

All the best, Rod

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Posted (edited)

Rod, I do believe you got my up to date impression of two instruments, and reed behavior in its entirety, including the bit of replacement steel reeds, which is both fascinating and illuminating. I want to point out that, outside of the box, while I was testing all the reeds, the difference between the steel ones and its neighbors was loud and clear, pun intended. I was sure that I would be able to spot it, once the box was assembled... Not so. In general, having these two provides tons of insights onto reccurent topics here. I recently re-read all the pages of this forum (I can get obsessive like that, plus it reads like a book, not such a monumental task, and I avoid asking questions to which answers were already provided). Well, comparing my Chinese anglo, or german konzertina to one of these englishes would be immensely fruitful and insightful, but comparing 1860 Lachenal to its grandchild generation Wheatston Aeola is simply fascinating. Debates about reed shoe material, reeds, woods, baffles, number of bellows folds, button material, range, weight, shape, bushings, action, tuning temperaments, role of doubled enharmonics - all are instantly settled for me, given these, somewhat typical representatives of the same species, given all the differences + one commonality of equal air tightness. It really is like comparing apples to apples, for a change. (Comparing oranges to oranges, meaning anglo to simply "german", one seems to make any sense only if you really cannot temporarily lift an extra few pounds of weight, maybe due to some muscular fatigue, often associated with excessive exercising at the local gym)

Ps. To me the quality of a given instrument was always about how quite it can be played with full range of expression, as the louder end can be taken care of with both, mutual understanding between playing partners and magic of modern amplification. Meaning to say here, that I do see my brass Lach as a viable performance monster, with plenty of honk to it. As Theo apptly pointed out....Though I am entirely with you, Rod - first and foremost I do it for my own pleasure, if it isn't happening, there's no point in taking it out on other people. Not even animals....

P.p.s I am watching Tonny Bennett, and clearly, there are times (the entire concert, for instance), that "you", as a band of 100 players, and 50 more backing singers, collectively bunched together under a "role" of an accompaniment - you really do not want to overpower one Tony Bennett. Hey, he's an elderly gentlemen, after all. And thank God, due to the same mutual understanding and magic of modern amplification, Tony rides on top, the way it should be.

Edited by harpomatic

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Hello,

Thanks again to all for all your messages. I read other posts about 20 b vs. 26 or 30b (on thesession.org, or melodeon.net, etc..). I also contacted one shop about the 20 buttons in stock, and was eventually a bit afraid to miss C# too soon or learn "bad" fingerings.

After a detailed discussion with family, we could probably (asking other members, etc...) afford up to 1000€ for my anglo.

 

Therefore, I can think about buying the following for example. A "Mayfair" (https://mcneelamusic.com/wheatstone-mayfair-concertina-2/) What do you think of it ? Are there "bad" aluminium reeds ?

 

I'm also going to ask again to shops a selection with this new budget.

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Wasn't the Mayfair a cheapo with accordion reeds introduced by Wheatstone in its dying days?

 

"Wheatstones' final production, developed by their manager Harry Minting upon the resumption of concertina making at the firm after the second world war was the 'May Fair' concertina, a budget range of English and Anglo concertinas aimed at the growing market for concertinas in the British folk dance fraternity. It was a most inferior production, and used imported piano accordion reeds,thin aluminium end plates and plastic buttons. Having none of the quality of Wheatstone's pre-war output, it was not a success." - Neil Wayne

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Posted (edited)

The Mayfair would be worth a look if the price is within your range. It's kind of a fore-runner to the modern hybrids like Morse & Edgley. I had a chance to try one that wasn't maybe as in good condition as the one at Mcneela, and it wasn't too bad. Not as nice as a Morse, but very playable. I would rate it well ahead of a Rochelle (which I began on) for instance. It appeared to have a traditional type of action. Certainly in the attached video Caitlin gets a nice tune out of it. The alumnium reed blocks are normal for accordion reeds.

Edited by Bill N

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One of my concertinas is a May Fair and I agree that they're good concertinas for the price.

 

Caitlin does make it sound very good, but bear in mind that she's one the best Anglo players anywhere and could probably make anything sound good.

 

The Mayfair would be worth a look if the price is within your range. It's kind of a fore-runner to the modern hybrids like Morse & Edgley. I had a chance to try one that wasn't maybe as in good condition as the one at Mcneela, and it wasn't too bad. Not as nice as a Morse, but very playable. I would rate it well ahead of a Rochelle (which I began on) for instance. It appeared to have a traditional type of action. Certainly in the attached video Caitlin gets a nice tune out of it. The alumnium reed blocks are normal for accordion reeds.

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I'd surely try a Wheatstone hybrid before any other, they surely knew a thing or two about making these things....

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Posted (edited)

Hmm okay about the Mayfair. I'll think of it, thanks for your advices.

 

I'm also looking on 26 key (Lachenal or Jones). I can't find anywhere a layout of keyboard (in C/G). Are the accidentals the same as Wheatstone 30 key layout ? If it's the case, for which buttons exactly ?

Edited by Terence

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Lachenal accidentals are likely to be the same as the Wheatstone ones for buttons that are in the same position on a 30-button. Jones vary from instrument to instrument.

 

Hmm okay about the Mayfair. I'll think of it, thanks for your advices.

 

I'm also looking on 26 key (Lachenal or Jones). I can't find anywhere a layout of keyboard (in C/G). Are the accidentals the same as Wheatstone 30 key layout ? If it's the case, for which buttons exactly ?

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Hmm okay about the Mayfair. I'll think of it, thanks for your advices.

 

I'm also looking on 26 key (Lachenal or Jones). I can't find anywhere a layout of keyboard (in C/G). Are the accidentals the same as Wheatstone 30 key layout ? If it's the case, for which buttons exactly ?

Chris Algar has a 26 button Jones available for less than 800 euros.

http://www.concertina.co.uk/stock-selection/?concertina=3029

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Posted (edited)

 

Lachenal accidentals are likely to be the same as the Wheatstone ones for buttons that are in the same position on a 30-button. Jones vary from instrument to instrument.

Hmm, but I guess there would be at least the C# so useful for D key, even on the Jones ?

Edited by Terence

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Lachenal accidentals are likely to be the same as the Wheatstone ones for buttons that are in the same position on a 30-button. Jones vary from instrument to instrument.

Hmm, but I guess there would be at least the C# so useful for D key, even on the Jones ?

 

I wouldn't assume that. Knowledgeable sellers (such as Chris Algar) should be able to tell you which accidentals are where on the instruments they have available.

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Thanks Daniel. Indeed, after verification made by Chris, this instrument has same accidentals as another Lachenal model, whereas other Jones could be different.

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Do you get a c# on the 20 button? I think the accidental row is what is missing if I am correct. If not that will really restrict you on the number of tunes you can play. Perhaps a 26 button would do the trick. In Chicago most sets in sessions require key changes. I have noticed in other locations that is not the case. Every now and then I suggest playing a couple of tunes and someone says, "Those are both in G, lets stick ____ in the middle." And I obligingly say, "Go for it." If you are playing just for yourself or to see if you like the concertina maybe 20 would be ok, but you will be limited in the number of keys you can play in.

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