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Terence

Beginner Question : Vintage Or Cheap Hybrid ?

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Theres no c# on a 20b C/G as it is nor part of the C nor of the G row. So a simple modulation using a secondary dominant (and not sticking to the modal parallels, as f.i. with Apley House) would only be possible for the key of Cmaj (Cmaj - Dmaj7 - Gmaj - Gmaj7 - Cmaj, there and back).

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Hi,

so be it : it will be a rosewood Lachenal 26 key in C/G, made by Lachenal & Co for Murdoch (serial 121878). I should have it in about a week or two from Barleycorn.

Many thanks to all of you who gave here their thoughts, helped me to think about it, and eventually make a choice.

Terence

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I think you’ll be much happier with this than with a 20-button vintage concertina or a cheap hybrid. Congratulations.

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Hello, and happy new year !

Thanks for these replies. I would love to have a 30 key traditional anglo, but it seems to be simply out of budget. An old Bastari / Stagi, why not ? But where to find : I guess on ebay or similar sites ? I would be afraid to not to be able to "detect" if it's a "chinese" one instead of an italian.

I think that I would be able to try the Rochelle or any Concertina Connection model, as well as modern Stagi, because I live about 2 hours of car away from Lyon where there is this shop : http://www.accordetmusique.fr/concertinas/rochelle.html. However, wanting a minimum quality and with a low budget, the Rochelle would be the only possible choice in the "try before you buy" way.

I can't imagine how to try vintage Lachenal such as those found on Barleycorn (except going to UK but the price of travel would exceed the one of the instrument :-) )

The idea of a Hayden Duet or any "unisound" type wouldn't suit me I think. I'm used to the "push-pull" playing style and don't want to lose it :-)

 

Well, for now your posts all tell that the Rochelle is a good instrument. I'm so afraid of the size and the dynamics, especially for the air hole diameter ! You're right : try before to buy.

Hi, Terence. I would urge you to stay away from 20 button vintage instruments. Apart from the limited scale, they were usually cheaply made. In my 35 year experience repairing and making concertinas, they are usually a disappointment. Stay away from Lachenal concertinas. A few are OK, but you are taking a risk. I don't accept them for repair anymore because they are usually more trouble to repair once you get into them. A well made hybrid will last for decades and they rarely need repair. Some sound better than others, but most have a good tone. Like most everything, you get what you pay for. I taught concertina at the Goderich Celtic Summer for 15 years. One year, a student came into class with a brand new Chinese made instrument. Within 15 minutes there was a stuck button. During break time, I took the end screws out and removed the body from the bellows. I could not access the button mechanism because the access was glued shut. It was fit for nothing more than a shelf decoration!

Frank Edgley

Frank Edgley Concertinas Ltd.

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A well made hybrid will last for decades and they rarely need repair.

 

 

A trueism if ever there was one. The same cane be said of any well made anything at all.

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As I had no idea what a 1/4 comma meantone was I looked it up. (Wikipedia) And the construction of same. I’m none the wiser now!

Best stick to just learning the dots and practising me thinks.

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Hi Frank, Peter and Craftydab.
Thanks for the advice. I'm now a happy owner of the Lachenal - Murdoch 26 button shown above (bought from Chris at Barleycorn).
I know it would perhaps need some "repair" or so in next years whereas a "well-made" hybrid such as yours would not.

But I am so confident now to have stuck with vintage instead of hybrid, because of the sound. I am playing a very good (tipo a mano reeds) Castagnari melodeon, and I am very very happy to start playing a "real concertina reeds" instrument in parallel. I know, even Wheastone used accordion reeds during the 20th century, and accordion reeds concertinas are not "low end" or "not real" concertinas. But I personnaly needed an instrument with different reeds for my ears and heart. Something very personal. And since last week when I started playing, the house and the family members find the sound I emit rather nice to hear :-) I'm personnaly loving the sound of this vintage concertina.

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I have encountered very lovely, fast and well made Lachenals, both two and three row ones. Hot rodded ones as well. Mediocre ones too. Hybrids, meh, not my cup of tea but it takes all sorts. The trick is in making informed purchases and getting yourself whatever makes you happy. .

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A well made hybrid will last for decades and they rarely need repair.

 

 

A trueism if ever there was one. The same cane be said of any well made anything at all.

 

Trust me, a well made chocolate cake will not last ten minutes in our house, never mind decades.

 

I have played several Lachenals. The best 4 of them were lovely to play. I play my 20 almost every day, despite owning 2 "far better" boxes.

 

Sure, a Lachenal is not in the same quality bracket as a Jeffries, and a 100 year old box will be more likely to develop faults than a new one of comparable quality, and a 20 is less versatile than a 30, but t's not fair to "write off" either Lachenal as a manufacturer or 20b as an option. Everyone has gout and all that.

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Dear Terence,

 

I bet you will enjoy your new rosewood Lachenal 26 key in C/G. Tough decision, but it looks like what you finally settled on is a beauty! Wishing you the best of play with it.

Edited by Jody Kruskal

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I personnaly needed an instrument with different reeds for my ears and heart. Something very personal. And since last week when I started playing, the house and the family members find the sound I emit rather nice to hear :-) I'm personnaly loving the sound of this vintage concertina.

 

And that's what it's all about. I've said many times, the best concertina is not the one that you need to make an effort to pick up, but the one that's a struggle to put down.

 

The concertina reeds/accordion reeds thing is purely a matter of personal taste, although in some cases, the result of a "purist" attitude. Just as a guitar may have nylon strings or steel, a concertina may have one type of reeds or another. The activity of playing the instrument is pretty much the same, but the sound it makes is different. IDifferent is not necessarily better or worse. t's like a French banquet: horses for courses.

 

I have owned 5 concertinas and still own 3 of them. In order of favouriteness (if that's a word), Dipper 30b wooden ended, Jeffries 38b metal ended, Lachenal 20b, Marcus 30b, Rochelle. Strangely, the 30b Dipper wins out over the louder, crisper sounding and more versatile Jeffries, and the old and limited 20b wins over the Marcus. But that's just me.

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Hi everyone,
thanks Jody, Peter and Mike for your messages.

I'm indeed happy to play this concertina ; I even started to upload some beginner videos on Youtube, mainly for family relatives who were curious to hear my recent gift.

I put the link here only for those who wish to hear it, please forgive my beginner playing (with already some errors in the middle...).
https://youtu.be/zbXjsJyPjPw

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I'm a beginner and also learning this tune. Your playing sounds to me like you've made a pretty good fist of it already.

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Hi everyone,

thanks Jody, Peter and Mike for your messages.

I'm indeed happy to play this concertina ; I even started to upload some beginner videos on Youtube, mainly for family relatives who were curious to hear my recent gift.

I put the link here only for those who wish to hear it, please forgive my beginner playing (with already some errors in the middle...).

https://youtu.be/zbXjsJyPjPw

Nice box, nice tune, nice playing.

 

Get into the habit of taking your finger off the button and putting it back on again if you play two or more consecutive notes on the same button - even if one note is in and the other one is out. It gives a crisper attack to the start of each note. It only needs to be a small movement, but it makes a big difference to the sound. What happens is the bellows build up a tiny bit of pressure and then this is released by the pressing of the button and the note starts at a definite moment. It's easier to do than to describe.

 

P.S. I liked the way you ended with a simple harmony.

Edited by Mikefule

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...Stay away from Lachenal concertinas. A few are OK, but you are taking a risk...

 

I think that is a very extreme and very unfair generalisation. Not everyone can afford top-end hybrids or

modern 'real' concertinas. Not everyone wants one. Some (like me) get real pleasure from owning and

playing a 'genuine antique'. A moderately priced vintage instrument to get started on is a not unreasonable

investment. It's quite likely that it will be a Lachenal on offer ?

 

I have several Lachenals (since starting three years ago, I've become a bit of a collector, I'm afraid).

 

Three in particular are extremely nice:

 

1) My original 20-button C/G - refurbished before purchase by an experienced fettler - restricted because of the 20

buttons, but not paralysingly so. In fact it's surprisingly versatile even in the hands of a musical klutz like me, and it

sounds good.

It's a vintage Lachenal...

2) 30-button Bb/F semi-miniature bought from a c.netter. I took a punt and got a lovely instrument - probably my favourite.

It's a vintage Lachenal...

3) 26-button G/D for t'Morris - bought from an experienced fettler who restored it before selling it - it's good - it doesn't

drown out t'Melodeon player like the Marcus hybrid.

It's a vintage Lachenal...

 

Sure, there are some turkeys, but that's not a good reason to stay away from Lachenal concertinas wholesale - just 'gae

canny', as they say north of the border.

 

I see the OP has bought a vintage - nice one - good luck!

 

Roger

Edited by lachenal74693

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Mike, I understand ; thanks for detailed explanation. I totally agree : I have to improve this, among many other things.

 

By the way, I have difficulties to play on the left hand the middle finger for E/F (fourth button in Gary Coover tab system) at the same time with the ring finger for B/C (ninth button).
Does anyone have some advice ? I guess it would help me to have handrests higher than the default ones ; I have quite long fingers. Didier Jaffrédo in his tutor tells one can adapt tubular pipe insulation material on handrests if I remember well.

 

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Mike, I understand ; thanks for detailed explanation. I totally agree : I have to improve this, among many other things.

 

By the way, I have difficulties to play on the left hand the middle finger for E/F (fourth button in Gary Coover tab system) at the same time with the ring finger for B/C (ninth button).

Does anyone have some advice ? I guess it would help me to have handrests higher than the default ones ; I have quite long fingers. Didier Jaffrédo in his tutor tells one can adapt tubular pipe insulation material on handrests if I remember well.

 

I'm highly suspicious of "systems" that allocate particular fingers to particular buttons. I play cross row and use all or most of the possible ways of making a scale, depending on the requirements of the tune: what has just happened, what comes next, and what harmonies work. There is nearly always a way to walk your fingers if you know several ways through the maze. I would generally say that practice is better than modifications, otherwise you may discover that you can only play a modified/adapted box.

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