Jump to content


Photo

Is "low End" Lachenal A Good Buy For Beginner ?

beginner Lachenal Wren

  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 papawemba

papawemba

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 07 August 2017 - 02:49 AM

Hello everyone !

I am completely new to concertina and like to buy one ! (Not new to guitar and a very small experience with diatonic accordion).

I was going for the "Wren 2" concertina which seem like the perfect beginner concertina: Italian reed, 30 buttons, 6 fold and 3 year of warranty.

The sound is a little harsh to my hear but apparently it get sweeter with time...

 

Then I found a "low end" restored Lachenal (20 buttons, mahogany, bone button, 5 fold), picture in attachment (what a beautiful instrument). I like the sound of every Lachenal I can hear on youtube.

My problem is that for both concertina, I can't try it or hear how it sound, action etc...(only 1 video for the Wren).

For the Lachinal, I am afraid about the action (hearing the click when pressing button, heard this happen on Lachinal).

My mind goes to The Wren but my heart to the Lachinal...

I have very little  time to learn the instrument so I think 20 buttons is more than enough for the moment, I prefer a pleasant sound ;-)

But is the Lachenal a sure buy ? (kind of expensive for a blind buy :-)

 

Thank you for your input and help !

 

Nicolas

Attached Thumbnails

  • Lachenal.jpg

Edited by papawemba, 08 August 2017 - 07:21 AM.


#2 Mikefule

Mikefule

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 645 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lincolnshire, UK

Posted 07 August 2017 - 05:53 AM

I own 3 Anglos: a Jeffries 38 with metal ends, a Dipper 30 with wooden ends, and a Lachenal 20 with wooden ends.

 

There is no doubt that the Lachenal is a Ford between two Bentleys in this line up, but there is nothing wrong with a Ford.  it is still a lovely instrument to play and I play it as often as the other two.  Mine is C/G, bone buttons, 5 fold bellows, wooden ends (with ore elaborate fretwork than the one shown) and steel reeds.

 

I am aware of two different designs of fretwork and the one shown in the photo is the more basic of the two and this may be reflected in other aspects of the instrument.  I have played at least two with those ends: a G/D and D/A.  The G/D was the nicest 20 button I've played - nicer than my own - and the D/A was pretty awful.

 

When I chose my 20 button, I tried out 5 or possibly 6 on the same day and they were noticeably different.  I quickly knew which one I preferred.

 

The main difference, apart from condition (valves, setting of reeds, condition of bellows) is that the G/D I played had steel reeds and the D/A only had brass reeds.

 

The clickiness is part of the charm of a vintage and budget instrument.  Seriously, you'll get used to it and forget it once you enjoy playing the little thing.  There is a joy in squeezing happy music out of something that was made to be "cheap and cheerful" over a hundred years ago.

 

I think the answer is therefore, try before you buy, if you can.  Failing that, £100 or so should get you some tuning and adjustment to bring the instrument up to scratch.  There plenty of 20s around and as most people appear to go for 30 or more buttons, you can still pick them up for £250 to £500.

 

There is no doubt that a 30 button is more versatile, especially if you want to play chordal accompaniments, but there is a hell of a lot you can do on a 20.  If you buy a C/G, you can do quite elaborate accompaniments across the rows in G.  The 20 button layout encourages you to find your way around the instrument more thoughfully instead of relying on the extra notes of a 30.  t makes you a better player.

 

I have played various "el cheapo" modern boxes including Hohner, Scarlatti, etc.  Every one of them I have played has been horribly unmusical.  Even now, with 10-15 years of experience, I would struggle to get nice music out of some of them.  Old good quality is better than new cheap and shiny.

 

The received wisdom for a first budget modern Anglo is the Rochelle.  That's how I started.  30 buttons, C/G.  A workmanlike box, not beautiful, but it doesn't fight you and you can play it at proper dance speed.



#3 papawemba

papawemba

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 07 August 2017 - 09:58 AM

Thanks a lot Heavyweight Boxer ! 

 

I couldn't stand the pressure to lose this one opportunity to buy a restored Lachenal so I decide to go for it :-) Clearly a blind buy. 

 

I live in Belgium and there is like next to nowhere to buy or try concertina :-(  Trying before buying is of course the way to go but unfortunately not possible for me.

 

But I am pretty sure a vintage concertina will have more soul than a cheaper concertina and your message make me think I did the right choice.

 

Yes, I forgot to mention that is has steel reed, so again great to read your experience between the A/D with brass reed and G/D with steel...Since I never touched a “real” concertina (just tried a Stagi C3 which I didn’t like), I guess I won’t be able to say if it is awful.or not… It was sold by thereedlounge which I decide to trust seeing other high level concertina he is selling !!

 

Funny your remark concerning clickiness :-) Now I have no choice anyway since I clicked the buy button before putting my finger on those 20 bone buttons ;-)


Edited by papawemba, 08 August 2017 - 07:21 AM.


#4 Mike Franch

Mike Franch

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 465 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Baltimore Md. USA

Posted 07 August 2017 - 10:18 AM

I think you are going to love this concertina. You might eventually upgrade to something better,you might sell this to help finance the purchase of something else, but this instrument will always have a special place in your heart.

#5 alex_holden

alex_holden

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 580 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lancashire

Posted 07 August 2017 - 10:49 AM

If the buttons prove too noisy for you, there are things a competent restorer can do to improve it.

#6 Anglogeezertoo

Anglogeezertoo

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 68 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Beverley, East Yorkshire.

Posted 07 August 2017 - 02:39 PM

Welcome papawemba to concertina.net. Plenty of tips, hints & friendly advice here, just ask.

 

Do let us know how you progress.

 

For those wondering where the Reed Lounge is; it's near York, UK.  here :- https://thereedlounge.com

 

Jake

 

 



#7 Mikefule

Mikefule

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 645 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lincolnshire, UK

Posted 07 August 2017 - 02:57 PM

Well done for buying it.  If it is a decent instrument, hang onto it, even if/when you get a better one.  Each instrument has its own feel, its own voice, and fits certain tunes and moods better than another instrument.  I take every opportunity I can to play every Anglo I can, and it is not always the "best" ones that fall just right under my fingers.

 

I recommend that as a new Anglo player with a 20 button, become very familiar with BOTH keys, exploring to find the numerous ways you can cross the rows.

 

On a C/G, you can go further up the scale in C than in G, but you can go down a lot further with a continuous run of notes in G.

 

Practise playing every cross row scale you can find, and then do them in parallel octaves.  Learn your way around the instrument until it's intuitive.  Really, a good 20 button is a wonderful instrument if you treat it with respect.  I love mine.

 

But most of all, have fun.

 

Here's a couple of my 20 button videos to give you some ideas:

 

https://youtu.be/hYfte-gRcI0

 

https://youtu.be/GUkAHuTzqIc



#8 papawemba

papawemba

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 08 August 2017 - 02:41 AM

Thank you everyone for your help ! It comfort me in my choice and I'll probably let you know what I think after a few try...

Unfortunately I don't have much time (full day job and second job with children at home), but I really want to learn it (I'll go for OIAM to learn first tune with charming Edel Fox ;-)

Yes I see what you mean Heavyweight Boxer ! Same thing for guitar, a "trashy" guitar can play wonderful blues ! Each guitar gives a different feeling and offer a different style of playing...I guess it is the same with Concertina, except much more $$$ for a collection ;-)

Good advice learning the scale ! I'll check the Teaching and learning forum to find a good source (let me know if you got one ;-)

Wow you can play very well !! Complex tune !! Bravo :-)  I see that I have years and years of learning curve with a 20 buttons :-)

 

Nicolas



#9 Dana Johnson

Dana Johnson

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 663 posts

Posted 08 August 2017 - 06:54 AM

I'd be surprised if the buttons are ivory, not bone like all the others I've seen. Others here probably know if Lachenal made any like that, but I would call them 'bone' in any case. Traveling with any ivory can require documentation which I doubt came with the instrument. If anyone try's to confiscate it, take the buttons out on the spot and give them those. You can get new buttons. It is no longer legal in the US for instance to sell anything made from ivory across state lines. In any case, " ivory " should no longer be a selling point.
Dana

#10 papawemba

papawemba

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 08 August 2017 - 07:21 AM

Yes you are 100% right, it is bone and not Ivory.

My mistake ! Sorry about that. I will edit my post.

And I am happy it is not Ivory !!!



#11 Mikefule

Mikefule

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 645 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lincolnshire, UK

Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:26 AM

 

 

Yes I see what you mean Heavyweight Boxer ! 

 

Wow you can play very well !! Complex tune !! Bravo :-)  I see that I have years and years of learning curve with a 20 buttons :-)

 

Nicolas

 

Nicolas,

 

Just so you know how the forum works, my name isn't Heavyweight Boxer".  The forum gives you a title like "New member" or "Advanced Player" or "Heavyweight Boxer" according to some rule about how long you've been a member, or how many posts you've made.  The individual forum member's name is written in blue to the left of the top of their post.  I'm Mikefule (real name Mike Wilkinson).

 

Thank you for your kind comments.  I work hard at playing, but don't consider myself a great expert.  


Edited by Mikefule, 10 August 2017 - 12:18 AM.


#12 papawemba

papawemba

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 09 August 2017 - 02:58 AM

Mikefule, very sorry about that. I have to confess, I really laughed reading this  :D  Of course this was not done on purpose.

I can easily imagine you worked hard to get there ! I can never imagine getting to that level (I know from experience with a diatonic accordion, it quickly become very hard...). I see that the concertina in your video has 5 folds, so it is possible to work out complex tune out of it (probably a good push/pull managment :blink: ). I guess slow air gets much harder.

 

Nicolas



#13 hielandman

hielandman

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 169 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Upper Delaware River Highlands of NY

Posted 09 August 2017 - 06:42 PM

Hello Nicholas, 

welcome to the concertina world, and congratulations on you Lachenal 20 purchase, you will not be dis-appointed!  Everything Mike said is true, and Mike, if you are reading this, thank you for your kind words regarding 20 button concertinas!  I have quite a few of them, most of them Lachenals,  in various keys, though most are in C/G.  You will like it, you really will.  Again, congratulations, and good luck with it, take care, 

Don Smith



#14 papawemba

papawemba

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 10 August 2017 - 07:52 AM

Thank you Don ! Reading your post, I can't wait to put my hand on it even more.

Unfortunately, I am going on holiday now so I'll have to wait a little longer...patience patience.

 

best



#15 Willum

Willum

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:N.Cornwall

Posted 14 August 2017 - 08:52 AM

Hello Papawemba (Le Voyageur is my favourite track!)   Mikefule has given you really good advice I agree with everything said there, especially the bit about spending a little extra to get it serviced by an expert as that can make a big difference to playability and your enjoyment.

 

Phil



#16 papawemba

papawemba

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 23 August 2017 - 03:58 AM

I finally had time to try it  :)

What a great instrument !!! I am already addict.

I really like the small size/loudness ratio. With a warm sound coming out, a real pleasure.

I can see how higher model can improve the thing, but I am very happy with this student model.

Comparing to diatonic accordion (which I tried), I think concertina is somehow more expressive.

I have a booklet written by a French diatonic accordion player (in French only) named Gilles Poutoux.

He decide to not use the left Chord bass button anymore because you need to fit the right hand melody to the bass rhythm and this kind of kill the expression you can inject (like “uneven” playing, short/long/…). I though he was 100% right. And concertina bring just that ! I love it. I confess I did try a simple waltz rhythm on left hand and melody on right hand…that sound great on concertina, very “cute” :wub:  Nice to eventually do both. I had a Castagnary Giordy once which sound close to a concertina but I much prefer this warm sounding Lachenal.

I did try some beginner Irish tune (Maggie in the woods and Sporting paddy), a great enjoyment  :P 

Can’t wait to learn it by heart, I just don’t have much time :unsure:  For my next step, I’ll probably go with "Frank Edgley’s How to Play the Anglo Concertina" DVD which I heard was a very good resource for beginner.

@ Phil: Thank you, I agree with you ! What is Le voyageur ?

 

Nicolas


Edited by papawemba, 23 August 2017 - 03:59 AM.


#17 Mikefule

Mikefule

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 645 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lincolnshire, UK

Posted 23 August 2017 - 12:50 PM

Excellent!  Have fun. :)






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users