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Concertina Connection Elise First Impression

Duet Hayden Elise

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#1 papawemba

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 03:49 AM

Hello,

I finally received the duet Elise from concertina connection J

“But he bought an anglo concertina 6 weeks ago !?” Yes that’s true but while I really liked the anglo concertina, I wanted something more versatile.

Have to say, I never looked too much for the duet concertina as I read somewhere it is harder to learn…

Then I saw this video https://www.youtube....h?v=djQCJqOSA-U which make me look again into the Elise !

 

I just play it a couple of hours and I am already impressed !  The overall quality seem very good for the price, even the strap leather does not look cheap.

The  note on the right side sound very sweet, really like it !

The bass note on the left sound much better than expected (It does sound better with a note on the right hand than alone).

It is bigger than the 20 buttons anglo but that’s ok, I can deal with that.

It sound loud. Bellows is stiff, a good sign for a new concertina J

The bellows being stiff, I probably need to push/pull more than necessary…

 

After a few try: I could get quite easily a melody on the right hand, lots of fun. Need to play with the bellows (push/pull) to make the tune more soulful, this is more difficult than I though. While it is automatic on the anglo (you need the note !), I have to think about it on the duet. Again just 2 hours of playing. I tried some easy played slow Irish tune and I can see it is possible to mimic the anglo but probably not with the same result. Also tried a tune with one drone note, also easy as the drone finger does not have to move J  It does take more air of course… 

Also tried a waltz left hand rhythm and melody on right, this is also more difficult than I though ! (coming from an Anglo where I can play the tune “easily”).

Because of button placement I need to get used to. But I could get the tune (with error) after a while.

Also tried some counterpoint tune…just killing J I won’t have time ever for that.

I will stick to right hand tune trying to add soul, Drone tune, some blues and waltz, and other Beirut stuff J.

 

My concern/small issue is the strap length !!  I screwed the pin to make the strap shorter, I have big hand and it is still too large. So of course it was not very comfortable…I guess I have to add more holes in the strap…but then I imagine 90% Elise owner have this problem !?

 

I can already see having both system (Anglo and duet) is not a good idea: Bellows technique, buttons placement, finding notes… So I still have to make a choice between those 2. And I’ll probably choose the Duet for the versatility and easier to improvise as many scales are possible.  Coming from guitar world (first instrument), the possibility for improvisation is essential for me to keep interest. To play fast Irish tune, the anglo is definitively the right choice. 

 

Nicolas


Edited by papawemba, 06 October 2017 - 03:51 AM.


#2 Don Taylor

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 08:53 AM

Maybe Wim (Concertina Connection) should pay Penn (Matthew) a commission for every Elise that video has sold!

 

If you have large hands, and you have access to some basic wood-working tools, then try making a higher wooden base for the handstrap.  Or simply block up the existing base a bit, maybe 3-4 mm.  I found that I could live with the left side hand as it came, but needed to raise the right hand side.

 

The bellows are very stiff when new, but they will work in a bit eventually.  However, the bellows are really the weakest aspect of these boxes and will never approach the feel of proper bellows.

 

Hopefully Wim will make an Elise equivalent to his new Minstrel Anglo.


Edited by Don Taylor, 06 October 2017 - 08:55 AM.


#3 papawemba

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 09:31 AM

Thank you  Don ! Like you the problem is more on the right hand, strange !!

Good idea, I will raise it a bit and see how it work... Else I just make one more hole...

 

Ha ha great idea for the commission, it is true there aren't too much video with the Elise concertina.

Let's hope for the Minstrel equivalent but I think the Duet sale is far behind the Rochelle and Jackie....maybe on day but now I have a few years with the Elise anyway !



#4 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 02:21 PM

I can already see having both system (Anglo and duet) is not a good idea: Bellows technique, buttons placement, finding notes… So I still have to make a choice between those 2. And I’ll probably choose the Duet for the versatility and easier to improvise as many scales are possible.  Coming from guitar world (first instrument), the possibility for improvisation is essential for me to keep interest. To play fast Irish tune, the anglo is definitively the right choice. 

Nicolas,

In my humble opnion, it is a good idea to have two different instruments. Otherwise, why would you take up the concertina when you already play the guitar? :P

 

The Anglo and the Duet (whichever system) really are two different instruments, and when you've become competent with both, you'll probably realise, as I did, that the Duet is not a replacement for the Anglo - just an added set of concertina capabilities. I took up the Crane Duet because I found the Anglo limiting, but now that I've more or less got accustomed to it, I find that there are some pieces that actually work better on the Anglo. As a matter of fact, improvisation is, if anything, easier on the Anglo. The Duet comes into its own when you're forced by circumstances to play in keys that the Anglo doesn't cater for adequately.

 

Time will tell! Get proficient with one system, then set it aside for a while and get proficient with the other. You can then tackle almost any music, within reason.

 

Cheers,

John



#5 rlgph

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 12:15 PM

As a matter of fact, improvisation is, if anything, easier on the Anglo.


I've never tried to play an anglo (or a harmonica for that matter). Just thinking about having to remember not only what button to go to, but also whether to push or pull the bellows gives me a headache. I've now played my Hayden enough that i almost always "know" without thinking where to find the note i have in my head, so for me improvisation is easier on it than most other instruments that i've played.

Why do you say that it's easier on an anglo?

Edited by rlgph, 07 October 2017 - 12:16 PM.


#6 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 03:56 PM

 

As a matter of fact, improvisation is, if anything, easier on the Anglo.


I've never tried to play an anglo (or a harmonica for that matter)....

Why do you say that it's easier on an anglo?

 

Because the harmonies are more or less ready-made, of course! Find the notes for the tune, and you're half-way to an improvised arrangement. Or at least to a basic arrangement that you can improve upon, if necessary.

 

But, like you, I certainly wouldn't find it easy to improvise on any instrument I'd never tried to play.

 

Cheers,

John



#7 papawemba

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 02:53 AM

My second impression: I hear that all buttons are not "equal". Some takes more air (not necessarily the higher or lower) or no sound coming out. I have a feeling the reason might be because it is brand new and reeds need to work themselves out...(hope so !). Angle of bellows might also have something to do with it...(but it is very sensitive then).

I added 2 more holes in the strap, right hand feels tighter/better now. 

Wondering for the duet: Should the push/pull done with the right hand or left hand like a diatonic accordion ? 

 

I find out the tune I was playing that "hurts" my right hand is played in harder part of the layout: the right side of the buttons layout which activate a lot the pinky (Unfortunately not possible in other key, so I leave that tune for the future :-)   On second impression, the number of buttons is more than enough, at least for a beginner. More button would be harder to reach !!

 

Improvisation: I understand what Anglo-Irishman means, on the same row, you take any notes on the push/pull and won't sound out of tune ;-) After a while you can find the right note more easily... I tried both concertina this week end and had a lot of fun with Anglo, you are right completely different instrument. Yes some tune are much easier (and sound better) and the anglo :-) I shouldn't decide between one or the other, but have fun with both :-) Time will tell. 

 

The Hayden is very intuitive for improvisation and also can have longer note….



#8 rebus

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 09:11 AM

The trouble with the Elise, I guess, is that if you someday will think about a better concertina with the same system, you have just a few alternatives (as far as I know).



#9 papawemba

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 09:19 AM

Concerning my question "Wondering for the duet: Should the push/pull done with the right hand or left hand like a diatonic accordion ?", 

Never mind, from the youtube video in initial post, I see the left hand is the chosen one :-) So i'll go with that.

 

You are right rebus ! That is the main problem with the Hayden duet. Eventually the Elise can be tuned up with new buttons, new reeds, new bellow... 



#10 Don Taylor

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 11:05 AM

Concerning my question "Wondering for the duet: Should the push/pull done with the right hand or left hand like a diatonic accordion ?", 
Never mind, from the youtube video in initial post, I see the left hand is the chosen one :-) So i'll go with that.

I do not think there are any rules. I usually rest the left hand end on my left knee and open/close the bellows with the right hand.  If I am standing then I think that I use both hands, but I am not sure as I never think about it.
 

You are right rebus ! That is the main problem with the Hayden duet. Eventually the Elise can be tuned up with new buttons, new reeds, new bellow...


I do not think that it is worth spending significant money on an Elise.  Hopefully, the Concertina Connection will come up with a new Hayden that is priced somewhere between the Elise and the Peacock.



#11 papawemba

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 07:40 AM

Third impression: Really love the Hayden Duet system :-) Also I choose the left hand to work the below, it greatly improve the right hand which is doing more "complex" stuff (spider :-). Also I think this Duet is more relaxing (vs push/pull on Anglo). So I choose the Duet over the Anglo, sorry for Anglo aficionado ;-)

The Elise probably does not have the best sound/action but it still pretty much doing the job and its lots of fun !

Maybe in a few years, we'll find a medium range Hayden system.

 

Nicolas 



#12 papawemba

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 04:46 AM

4th impression :) : I feel I have more fun with the anglo !  The same tune (no ornamentation) on the Elise sound in 2D and 3D on an anglo... 

I guess it is the continuous push/pull that makes the tune so lively on the Anglo.

So yes they are 2 different instruments. 

Anglo: The push/pull creates that dynamics (adding ornamentation is even greater).

Elise:  Adding the left side lower note is necessary (Drone, Polka, Waltz,...) to have fuller sound, but is less dynamic at the end.

 

Both are great, clearly for 2 different style.   



#13 Mjolnir

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 12:24 PM

Just want to say, I'm enjoying your running commentary here. I recently started on the anglo (and absolutely loving it), but I occasionally find myself wondering how the other systems compare. Nice to get the perspective of another relative beginner.



#14 David Colpitts

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 02:56 PM

I am enjoying this thread, probably because I play both the Elise and a much "higher quality" Morse Anglo every day. While I share the notion that the upgrade path for Haydens is limitted to Peacock and Beaumont and Wakker ('cause I don't find the Stagi much upgrade, beyond the improvement in range) I don't worry about it. The Elise is, as they say, what it is. It is in pitch, easy to play (now that it's well broken in), loud enough but can be played more gently, and dollar-for-dollar is, IMHO, a phenomenal bargain. For example, a musical collaborator sings best in key of F, and my modest along-the-rows Anglo skills on a G/D don't make F. Enter the Elise, where F is the easiest (tied with C, maybe) and has the added benefit of simple, flexible chords and drones with the left. While I can improvise perhaps more quickly and better on the Anglo, I can feel muscle-memory arpeggios and fast bits of tunes more and more easily on the Elise. A genius friend (and I mean, way more music in his fingers than I'll ever reach) agrees, and talks of the "round" and "balanced" sound; despite a lifetime of keyboards of all sorts, he much enjoys this 400 dollar contrivance.

Keep up the work, and the conversation.

Regards,

David

#15 David Barnert

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 07:04 PM

I guess it is the continuous push/pull that makes the tune so lively on the Anglo.

 

No reason you can’t do lively bellows work on a Hayden. It’s certainly a technique that’s available.



#16 papawemba

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 03:12 AM

Thank you Mjolnir and David ! I feel less lonely in this thread ha ha

When buying my first concertina, this was the thread I was looking for...So I hope it can help future beginner.

David Colpitts, I completely agree with your Elise description. I would add that the same fingering pattern in different key might also be frustrating as too few variation.

For the Anglo, it is possible to find a different key on push/pull which will give a different feel/color to the tune !

 

Yes David Barnert, you are right ! I mentioned somewhere that it is possible to mimic the anglo with the push pull technique.

But strangely enough, on all the duet videos I saw, nobody does that (of course probably not everyone's taste :-).

Playing just on the right hand, applying this push/pull technique can give good result (and more fun).

But playing on both hand...I don't know ! Probably depend on the style.

 

My personal conclusion is: Both system are great but for 2 different kind of music !

Yes, the Elise is great for the price. And Duet concertina is fun and one can easily find the melody on the right hand. But playing with both hand is getting harder of course (Unless drone but can be a little boring).



#17 wayman

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 06:06 AM

When I've played Haydens (I had a Stagi for many years, and then 'played in' the first thirty or so Beaumonts), I found it very difficult to break away from using the bellows as I would for an anglo playing in a specific given key, and I found that doing this made my playing sound jerky and odd, not actually 'anglo-like' in any positive way. It was only when I got myself completely out of this mindset that the power and benefits of the duet were at my control.

 

I find anglo and duet no more alike than guitar and banjo. Sure, they both look similar-ish, and they've both got strings that resonate at different pitches when you finger different frets ... but that's the end of the similarities. Different arrangements of buttons / strings, different tunings for the buttons / strings, and different playing techniques (nobody really frails on a guitar or strums a banjo with a pick unless they're intentionally doing something very unusual).


Edited by wayman, 23 October 2017 - 07:53 AM.


#18 papawemba

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 07:19 AM

Nice comparaison wayman, it is exactly that :-)






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