Intermediate C/g Anglo
Posted 01 October 2017 - 05:17 PM
I am hoping some can help with advice, suggestions and opinions. All welcome. Having played ITM on the concertina some years ago, for about a year after some previous years on a variety of instruments, I would like to take it back up again, and would appreciate thoughts on a new concertina as I no longer have one.
I don't have any great need for sessions so I'm thinking that would preclude the need for volume and possibly responsiveness in the way of speed. From research the best options seem to include the Edgley and Morse makes. I found a thread dating back to 2007 where comparisons were made and at that time Richard Morse seemed to mention that they might be doing some tweaking to make their Morse Ceili more suited to ITM? Has this happened? Would members be so kind as to offer on opinions on which is better or is it fairly equal? I did manage to ask one teacher who admitted to bias in favour of the Morse thinking the Edgley to be 'clunky'??? I see a Connors concertina for sale locally, would that be worth consideration with its genuine concertina reeds? Provided of course all was in good condition. Or would a new concertina be a better investment?
Posted 01 October 2017 - 07:04 PM
Posted 04 October 2017 - 04:28 PM
You might consider a Kensington as well. Not a mid-range instrument by any stretch- beautifully built, traditional concertina reeds, and the equal of many high-end instruments, but you can sometimes find one used in the same price range as a hybrid, or order one new for $3500.
Edited by Bill N, 04 October 2017 - 04:28 PM.
Posted 04 October 2017 - 04:49 PM
You say you're not thinking much of sessions and think that might mean you don't need to worry about volume or responsiveness in terms of speed. I'm going to gently counsel you away from that view given that the concertinas you are considering are already in a high-quality price range. In that bracket, yes, you do want the greatest responsiveness available regardless of whether you ever intend to play super-fast or in sessions.
Quick and easy response is a factor of button action, reed response, and bellows. If you purchase the Morse, I highly recommend making sure you order the reed upgrade they offer to "hand-type" (in Italian, tipo a mano, often abbreviated TAM) reeds. TAM reeds are also known as "hand-finished" grade of reeds---regardless, you want the TAM/hand reeds in an accordion-reeded concertina in this price range. There is indeed a somewhat faster response, and the Morse upgrade is not expensive given the price bracket this concertina already falls in. It does not come standard, it is an option they offer and it must specifically be ordered and documented on your receipt. The Morse button action is very quick.
I believe that TAM reeds are standard on Edgley concertinas, but that can be verified with Mr. Frank Edgley himself. I have never known these concertinas as "clunky," they respond very quickly, and can be ordered with metal ends and snazzy decorations if that floats your boat.
I've heard people say Connor concertinas don't have the most lightning-fast button action in the world, but I have always loved the look and the sound of the metal-ended Connors you see a lot of the young Irish players using on Comhaltas and Youtube clips. A Connor in excellent condition would probably be a great instrument to get going on, as would be Morse, Edgley, Kensington, the Marcus concertinas made in Wales, and the Andrew Norman concertinas made in Sussex. I would check with Marcus and Norman to be sure the reeds are premium TAM/hand-type reeds, but I'm almost sure they are.
Edited by ceemonster, 04 October 2017 - 04:51 PM.
Posted 04 October 2017 - 05:28 PM
Posted 04 October 2017 - 11:30 PM
I have enjoyed a Connor for many years. I recently sent it to Greg Jowais for a tuning, but it has been fine. As someone who has seen lots of concertinas, you might contact him and see if his work on any Conners that have passed through his shop have lead him to an opinion. As for the hybrids: You need to decide on your budget and the sound you want. I know a lot of folks need to start on hybrids due to budget. But you need to remember you will be playing an instrument with accordion reeds. So you will sound like you are playing a small accordion, often a very nice small accordion, but still accordion like. Lots of folks are happy with that. But I was enamored with the true concertina sound. When I first started I got an ebay stagi for a couple of hundred bucks to see if I liked playing the instrument as much as I liked to listen to it, (but it sounds like you are past that stage) and then got in touch with Chris Alger at Barleycorn concertina and bought a Conner, one of his with recycled old reeds. Opinions vary on the Conners, but I got a nice one. It has a true concertina sound. They sometimes have used Conners on Hobgoblin UK. But if you have one in a shop nearby I'd definitely give that a good hard look. I am also hearing great things about the 7mount concertinas. The website has a number of sound samples of instruments in Bb so it throws your ears off for a minute, but there are also samples of C/Gs.Edel Fox and Laim O'brien have played their instruments on for demonstration. I contacted them in the beginning of the summer and he had a 14 month wait list. Edgley is making a heritage model with concertina reeds. One was for sale on this site last year for $2,000. And the Irish Concertina company is making a model called The Vintage also with concertina reeds. I have never touched any of the three mentioned above, but am putting the info out there. Greg Jowais has often put vintage lachenals up for sale in the buy and sell forum on this site. (His instruments will hold their value because of his reputation as an excellent repair person.) If you don't have a need for lightning speed their sound may appeal to you. He knows the value of the various qualities of Lachenals and prices them accordingly. And he is selling instruments he has refurbished well. If you are in love with the true concertina sound and you develop a need for speed you may need to save up some coin. A good maker has a waiting list anyway so it is an opportunity to hide something under the mattress so to speak. Good luck on your search.
Posted 04 October 2017 - 11:49 PM
Ok...I spelled Greg Jowaisas's name incorrectly in my post, twice. Sorry. It does not look like I have an option to edit it, so my apologies to any and all.
Posted 05 October 2017 - 09:55 AM
Thank you everybody for your very helpful comments.
Ceemonster, I think you may be correct in that seeing I am already into a not inexpensive price range then I may try for the best on all fronts. I am wiling to go the extra mile or so for a concertina reeded instrument but finding one is the issue at the moment.I'm in Ireland so the carriage and import duty from the US is sort of restrictive for ordering new for the Morse and was hoping to get one here.However the latest quote for a new standard from the Morse rep here is €2,700 and so am thinking that seeing that this is the price range being discussed it might be a case of going down in price for a second hand Morse if I can find one or going up a few bob to a concertina reeded instrument.I appreciate that I could buy a less playable instrument for more money than a Morse,or similar would cost, but you get my drift.
I think it is just a case of going with the mid range best one I can find, see how I get on and if all is going well, order something like the Kensington from Dana,who's approach seems very worthwhile and to be admired.I will keep an eye out on all the buy and sell avenues and hopefully something will happen and also will check out all those mentioned by Ceemonster
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