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Chinese Concertina Are That Bad ?

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#1 papawemba

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 04:45 AM

Hello everyone,

 

On this forum, I always read “stay away from Chinese concertina”…

Then I stumble upon this video https://www.youtube....h?v=XXJBuYxvZmU , I like it a lot !

And I have a Lachenal (which is said better) but I cannot play that tune, running out of air :huh:  

Look how long the below is on that Chinese concertina  :)

 

The sound is also pretty good for this style of music.

My conclusion is that Chinese model can be a good choice… All depend on what you want to do !

I agree Irish tune won’t do it, but slow tune like this one above sound pretty nice with that warm and fuzzy sound.

Some Chinese concertina might be better than other (Sunrise, Scarlatti, Steinbach…), I have no idea.

 

So I say Chinese concertina does have some advantage  B)

 

That’s it ! J

Nicolas



#2 m3838

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 12:28 AM

Here's the deal.

Chinese made concertinas typically don't play out of the box. Some rare exceptions.

They come with a bucket of problems:

1. valves are not glued and fall off after several minutes (or seconds) of playing

2. out of tune

3. buttons stick

4. bellows are not sealed and are very stiff.

5. reed plates are poorly waxed and can fall out after some playing

6. wax is poured on the reeds

7. screws holding the ends are sloppily screwed in and the wood is trashed.

 

After fiddling with Chinese made concertina and upon fixing all of the abovementioned problems one finds it has very pleasant tone and bellows capacity. "True" concertinas usually have  nasal tone that may not sound good in harmony. Chinese concertinas have accordion reeds and construction, leading to accordionish sound, especially good for chordal playing.

You will also find that chinese reeds don't start well and you can't play faster tunes or quick notes.

In addition I may note that your Lachenal is either low end or not in it's top condition. If you fiddle with it and airtighten the bellows, check valves, set the reeds - I'm sure even the entry level Lachenal will far outdo that chinese exemplare.



#3 d.elliott

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 10:41 AM

Looking at the video,my first reaction is that this is not a Chinese concertina, but more likely an Italian instrument.

 

M3838,

 

from my perspective i think it unreasonable to label all Chinese instruments as so wholly unreliable, and as unplayable as you suggest. I have seen plenty that are OK out of the box. 

 

Yes the Q.C. on these cut-price instruments could be better, and yes there can be problems but nothing like common as you suggest. Personally I would rather see someone having a go on a Jack or Jackie then upgrading later, than reaching for a guitar of the same price.

 

Dave



#4 m3838

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 06:49 PM

Well, I didn't say "all" are bad, I guess you were more lucky then me. But one thing is true ( I think): If one is not familiar with the fixing of the concertina, one is better stay away from those "italian" instruments. Way back, when top of my head was protected by the thicket, I fixed two or three East German concertinas and was rather happy with them. Chinese have bettered their bellows quality a bit. But to answer original question: from my personal experience - yes, they are this bad. I have never held brand new 20 button "Hohner" that didn't have some or all of the listed problems.

Wouldn't recommend to a beginner.



#5 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 07:45 PM

maybe more differentiation would be appropriate / with the 20b "Hohners" with the wooden finish easily being the worst...

#6 papawemba

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 04:06 AM

Thank you for your reaction :-)

 

@M3838, that is a strong point I was not aware off. So I would say only buy a chinese concertina from someone you know ;-)

Ok you got me and I won't buy one without trying....I was going to !

You are right, my Lachenal is a low end with 5 fold but very well restored ! I persevered and finally could get the tune down, so happy :-)

I did need to do some changes like instead of playing 2 notes on one direction, I play 1 note in the other. Just to keep the tune flowing.

 

@d.elliott: The sunrise concertina is made in china ;-) You are probably right too but I won't a chance to buy a bad one ;-)

 

I still like the sound of that chinese concertina ! :-)



#7 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 04:12 AM

Five folds are well enough if the Lachenal is reasonably airtight (even if the reeds shouldn't be responding too well) - all the more as long as you're playing just one note at the time.

 

So I would suggest you get it rather fixed than tuned down (or both of course, if you can afford it).

 

Best wishes - Wolf



#8 papawemba

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 04:27 AM

Thank you Wolf, my concertina has been professionally restored and has a very good airtight ! 

On the tune above, she is playing double notes all along (which sound so nice to my hear), and some are are very looooong. That takes lots of air....

But yes I could manage to have it down with the double note on my 5 fold concertina. Very fun to play ;-)  (Just 1 or 2 changes with 1 note on other below direction)



#9 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 05:09 AM

Oh, I  see -you're right, it's very well possible that you will not be able to play her arrangement or anything similar without any more reversals (I guess with my own - not so airtight - Lachenal it wouldn't be realistic; just the Wheatstone - with better reeds and 7-fold bellows - might be capable of that). But then again, I wouldn't be so sure that the average "Chinese" concertina would do so much better. However, you might be so lucky to find a specimen that qualifies here...

 

And you're right as to the sweetness of the tone - it is, as mentioned by someone else earlier, the accordion-sound that seems to make it for you in this regard.


Edited by Wolf Molkentin, 01 December 2017 - 05:09 AM.


#10 d.elliott

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 02:33 PM

Thank you for your reaction :-)

 

@M3838, that is a strong point I was not aware off. So I would say only buy a chinese concertina from someone you know ;-)

Ok you got me and I won't buy one without trying....I was going to !

You are right, my Lachenal is a low end with 5 fold but very well restored ! I persevered and finally could get the tune down, so happy :-)

I did need to do some changes like instead of playing 2 notes on one direction, I play 1 note in the other. Just to keep the tune flowing.

 

@d.elliott: The sunrise concertina is made in china ;-) You are probably right too but I won't a chance to buy a bad one ;-)

 

I still like the sound of that chinese concertina ! :-)

 

Not with your sunrise concertina comment, I don't see the 'Sunrise' markinking on the action box.

 

Dave



#11 papawemba

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 03:48 AM

If you other youtube video of her, you will see "Sunrise" marking on the box ;-)



#12 d.elliott

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 03:57 AM

In that case it's a Chinese instrument 



#13 JimmyM

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 05:36 AM

ahhh its the perennial topic

 

I started on a Booringwood (?) 30 button c/g anglo. It cost me around £200 maybe a little more I think, new from Ebay.

 

I'd never held a concertina let alone played one. I'd done a little reading around the subject on the interweb but obviously didnt know what i was doing. I played that box everyday for around a year or so, went to wccp events, slow music sessions and hung out with some very patient musicians

 

Of course, eventually i bought a much better box costing nearly 10x as much and i very rarely play my old box -though i still own it. However my point is those Chinese boxes are many peoples introduction to concertina because they come in at a price that makes the box affordable. No, the production quality is not always very good but I see little alternative for anyone that would like to 'give it a go' but doesnt have a £1k+ to invest in an instrument that they may not take to.

 

I may rarely play it and i have become very aware of its many faults but i have an affection :wub:  for that little box and how it introduced me to the anglo :P



#14 Bubo

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 02:13 PM

I also began with a really cheap squeeze-box (but mine had only 20 buttons) which I played poorly for a year and a half before buying something better. But it really did get me interested in the anglo concertina! But I still don't like to count that year and a half in the time I've been learning to play :)



#15 m3838

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 05:47 PM

The real point is when you get this type of entry level into entry level, it's a good idea to bring it to the shop and fix it up. So for  50% extra it may become what it claims.



#16 papawemba

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 04:06 AM

Hey m3838, I though it wasn't possible to fix chinese concertina lol

But that's good then, 50% of a cheap price is still cheap at the end.



#17 m3838

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 01:30 PM

Well, it is possible to fix them up to a playable level. It's not going to be anything special. Their purpose is to either be a starter instrument to learn the keyboard to be able to test a good one later on, or be an instrument of choice for an advanced player if that player wants the sound. And I personally prefer that sound, it has lots of character.

But you need to get good at fixing them. 






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