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#1 Creegan

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 04:09 PM

Right now I am attempting to make a final discision on which concertina i ought to purchase. I will primarily be usint 5this instrument for my own private use and enjoyment and as my main instrument at the Irish sessions which I attend regularly. As for the style, I have no doubt as to what I need and have settled on purchasing an Anglo. However, my dilima comes in as I try to select a particular model. As this instrument will be used on a casual basis and not in the recording studios I don't need anything like a top of the line Jeffries. However, niether am I interested in a simple beginners modle that becomes insufficiant once that title is no longer applicable. What I am looking for is a good mid-range or intermediate level instrument. As I began my search I orriginally thaought about a Stagi W15-LN from the Button Box, however, as I kept on reading and talking to my fellow musicians I began to have some second thoughts. What i want is an instrument that will suit my needs without needing to be replaced or upgraded down the road. I play the Great Highland Bagpipes on a professional level and so I realixe that it is nessasary to spend a little more money to get a good mid-range that will provide years of enjoyment. My second shoice turned out to be the Morse Ceili, also from The Button Box. The questions I would like answered are:

Am I on the right track or have I underestimated the Stagi?

If so am I making a good choice with the Ceili. Or is there a better use for my money. The Morse Ceili runs $1750 which is about all I could see myself being willing to spend.

Lastly if I do end up with the Ceili what layout should I choose Jeffries or Wheatstone/Lachenal? I will be using the Mad for Trad tutor with Nail Vallaly if that makes any differance.

In summation I just don't want to make a mistake and am looking for as much advice as I can get. I can't hardly wait to get started on this incredible instrument and hope to be ordering in the next week or so! All oppinions will be very appritiated!
Thanks ahead of time!!

#2 Samantha

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 06:31 PM

As far as I know you have not underestimated the Stagi. I can't answer your other questions but congratulations on your sensible approach and welcome to c.net!
Samantha

#3 Lars

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 07:51 PM

Hi Creegan,
I have that exact model of Stagi and got it from the Button Box. I got it because of the waiting time for my instrument from Frank Edgley and I wanted something a little better than the cheap Chinese box I started on.
I can't compare really but I'll tell you that at first the Stagi was way better but now after having it for 2 months I find that it just can't 'go fast'. Button Box did a great job, mechanically it's great and doesn't have any problems but as I progress on familiar tunes I'm playing faster than it can respond. I compensate by playing very light which almost seems to work out.
I'd say you're on the right track with the Ceili or an Edgley, Tedrow, etc. for what your musical needs are, I think you'll be pulling your hair out in frustration eventually with a Stagi.

Lars

(Frank, is it ready yet? :blink: )

#4 Creegan

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 10:00 PM

Hi Creegan,
I have that exact model of Stagi and got it from the Button Box. I got it because of the waiting time for my instrument from Frank Edgley and I wanted something a little better than the cheap Chinese box I started on.
I can't compare really but I'll tell you that at first the Stagi was way better but now after having it for 2 months I find that it just can't 'go fast'. Button Box did a great job, mechanically it's great and doesn't have any problems but as I progress on familiar tunes I'm playing faster than it can respond. I compensate by playing very light which almost seems to work out.
I'd say you're on the right track with the Ceili or an Edgley, Tedrow, etc. for what your musical needs are, I think you'll be pulling your hair out in frustration eventually with a Stagi.

Lars

(Frank, is it ready yet? :blink: )



Thanks Lars,
I appritiate your ready answer to my questions! I knew that the Button Box put quite a bit of work into getting the Stagis into workable condition but I was still unsure of the general quality of the instrument itself. Your response has confirmed one of my fears; namely that the action might in itself bring difficutly and disapointment by putting a limitting factor on playing style and thus detract from the overall enjoyment of the instrument. It sounds as though the tendancy when beginning is to get an inexspensive model at the start and then upgrade as one's skill progresses. I would probably follow that example if it weren't for the fact that I don't have the income that this would require in the long run, and so I plan on buying the final instrument right from the start. Because I am only going to have one chance at this your advice is invaluable!

I would be interested on any ones comparason between the Ceili and its compitition, such as those mentioned above, (Edgley, Tedrow, etc).

Once again, Thanks a million,
Creegan

As far as I know you have not underestimated the Stagi. I can't answer your other questions but congratulations on your sensible approach and welcome to c.net!
Samantha



Thanks for responding Samantha,
In my position I value all the advice I can get! I am glad to have the resource and suport that is provided here on this site!

#5 david_boveri

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 10:31 PM

i have never tried a ceili. i have a stagi. i love my concertina but i would not recommend it. i outgrew it quickly and it holds me back. i cannot play it with the neagh i would like without it bottoming out. i dont find the action too slow (i used to, but i just worked harder at it). the action IS too slow, but i worked at it so hard that it doesnt hold me back. its the bellows and the depth the keys go in, as well as the reeds not working if i change directions too fast. it works well for practicing and everything, but not for getting some good craic out of the instrument. i'm thinking of still learning tunes and everything while i wait for my egley, but i wont push it as far as i can because it doesnt like it when i do, and i want to still have it to lend out to people so that they can learn and decide if they want to play concertina.

that being said, the egley and the tedrow are both very good concertinas. the response on both of them is like a dream. the sound is very good as well. it looks like maybe tedrow has updated his models, but the two i tried didnt fit my hands. i have pretty small hands for a guy, but i found the keys to be too compact. it played well, sounded well, and was a very well crafted instrument as far as i could tell, but i didnt like the feel of it.

the edgley concertina has less subtlety of dynamics and tone than the other concertinas of twice the price, but it will never hold you back or respond too slowly. the only reason you would need a nicer instrument was if you wanted a nicer sound or more expression for recording or performing, and even then an edgley would fit for that as well. if i was not getting my carroll, and only my edgley, i would not feel the least bit cheated.

Edited by david_boveri, 06 January 2006 - 11:11 PM.


#6 Richard Morse

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 01:07 PM

It sounds as though the tendancy when beginning is to get an inexspensive model at the start and then upgrade as one's skill progresses. I would probably follow that example if it weren't for the fact that I don't have the income that this would require in the long run, and so I plan on buying the final instrument right from the start.

While starting with an inexpensive concertina and moving up to better ones is common, buying the "final" one at the start is near impossible to do. Why? Because most people don't know what they want at the start. Sure we want a superb sounding, highly responsive box in great condition - but of what type, range, sound characteristics...?

Most people don't know/understand attributes like that until they become reasonably seasoned players. And not only does everyone have differing tastes, but people's tastes change over time. I started out on English and wound up with Hayden duet. You might think that anlgo is the only way to go now and decide next year that English really suits you better. Or maybe a brighter sound that is typically had with a metal-ended instrument, or a deeper range, or a lighter box....

I suggest that you purchase one of the hybrid types (as mentioned in this thread - others are available too) in the system you think suits you best, and seems to have the qualities you think you like (at least right now). Then consider price - this range of makers runs from about $1400 to about $2200 for their basic models (beware that some charge extra for the case) and more for "options". Get everything "standard" and give more serious consideration to the lower priced ones as the chance of you moving on is very great. And I don't mean that you'll be getting a MORE expensive concertina next time around - it's just that spending more that you need to *now* might not be the best move for you right now.

I would be interested on any ones comparason between the Ceili and its compitition, such as those mentioned above, (Edgley, Tedrow, etc).

Unfortunately there hasn't been an reasonable comparison between this range of makes. You can go to places like NESI and try out several yourself (and get a lot of feedback from players), but that's about it. I would love to have someone take on such a review, and several attempts have been started - and fizzled out. Even here on concertina.net people have been shy and overly sensitive to comparing boxes, saying that such considerations are too "personal" to be meaningful measure.

At the very least I wish someone could compile the "non-personal" aspects: size, weight, wood species, end materials, number of bellows folds and subtlety, action throw and evenness of pressure, etc. Even things like response time and sound volume are measurable. A "Consumer Reports" type of thing... and then get into some personal impressions if they dare. I've personally played and taken apart to inspect at least two of every makers instruments in this range.... but being a maker myself am "exempt" from being a reviewer.

I can also say that a review of this sort won't be as conclusive as one might imagine as most makers make theirs as one-offs, mostly in response to players wishes, meaning that their concertinas wiill differ slightly one from the next. Plus all makers are getting better all the time with some improving so greatly that using a 2-year old model would be most unfair. Still, the overall design/construction from each maker remains fairly constant and would be a good thing to know as it makes a significant difference in the character of each maker's concertinas.

#7 Michael Reid

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 05:02 PM

I've had my Morse Ceili for 2 years and remain immensely happy with it. I haven't come across another concertina in its price range that I like as much as my Morse. I've tried many other concertinas at the Northeast Squeeze-In, the Catskills Irish Arts Week, and Noel Hill's classes.

Regarding Jeffries vs. Wheatstone/Lachenal layout: I chose Jeffries because I wanted to have the C# (the one that's one octave plus a half-step above middle C) available in either direction. I think this arrangement works well for Irish traditional music, which has a lot of tunes in D. Plus, I figured someday I might get lucky and have a genuine Jeffries fall into my hands, in which case I'd be prepared. ;)

#8 Creegan

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 07:30 PM

It sounds as though the tendancy when beginning is to get an inexspensive model at the start and then upgrade as one's skill progresses. I would probably follow that example if it weren't for the fact that I don't have the income that this would require in the long run, and so I plan on buying the final instrument right from the start.

While starting with an inexpensive concertina and moving up to better ones is common, buying the "final" one at the start is near impossible to do. Why? Because most people don't know what they want at the start. Sure we want a superb sounding, highly responsive box in great condition - but of what type, range, sound characteristics...?

Most people don't know/understand attributes like that until they become reasonably seasoned players. And not only does everyone have differing tastes, but people's tastes change over time. I started out on English and wound up with Hayden duet. You might think that anlgo is the only way to go now and decide next year that English really suits you better. Or maybe a brighter sound that is typically had with a metal-ended instrument, or a deeper range, or a lighter box....

I suggest that you purchase one of the hybrid types (as mentioned in this thread - others are available too) in the system you think suits you best, and seems to have the qualities you think you like (at least right now). Then consider price - this range of makers runs from about $1400 to about $2200 for their basic models (beware that some charge extra for the case) and more for "options". Get everything "standard" and give more serious consideration to the lower priced ones as the chance of you moving on is very great. And I don't mean that you'll be getting a MORE expensive concertina next time around - it's just that spending more that you need to *now* might not be the best move for you right now.

I would be interested on any ones comparason between the Ceili and its compitition, such as those mentioned above, (Edgley, Tedrow, etc).

Unfortunately there hasn't been an reasonable comparison between this range of makes. You can go to places like NESI and try out several yourself (and get a lot of feedback from players), but that's about it. I would love to have someone take on such a review, and several attempts have been started - and fizzled out. Even here on concertina.net people have been shy and overly sensitive to comparing boxes, saying that such considerations are too "personal" to be meaningful measure.

At the very least I wish someone could compile the "non-personal" aspects: size, weight, wood species, end materials, number of bellows folds and subtlety, action throw and evenness of pressure, etc. Even things like response time and sound volume are measurable. A "Consumer Reports" type of thing... and then get into some personal impressions if they dare. I've personally played and taken apart to inspect at least two of every makers instruments in this range.... but being a maker myself am "exempt" from being a reviewer.

I can also say that a review of this sort won't be as conclusive as one might imagine as most makers make theirs as one-offs, mostly in response to players wishes, meaning that their concertinas wiill differ slightly one from the next. Plus all makers are getting better all the time with some improving so greatly that using a 2-year old model would be most unfair. Still, the overall design/construction from each maker remains fairly constant and would be a good thing to know as it makes a significant difference in the character of each maker's concertinas.



Hi Rich,
Wow! Thanks so much for your detailed response to my questions! It has been amazing to me how willing everybody has been to help me out with their suggestions. I really value your conservative approach and I hope that I can benifit from the wisdom you have shared. When I stated that I planned on purchasing a "final" instrument it was not my intention to completely block out the possibility that I could end up looking in another direction once I became better aquainted with playing the concertina and started to find my personal taste and style. What I am trying to avoid is getting stuck with one that I could not be happy with or that wasn't of good enough quality to last me some time. I want one that is fully capable of making good Irish music and does not come with a lot of built-in limitations. Basically I need a good quality instument on which to get started and that would be of a quality that I could be satified with for years if it happened to fit my desires. I do have some experience with the anglo through some friends who I play Irish music with and that is probably the reason that I have leaned in that direction. However, like you said, I can never be completely sure untill I have had some personal experience.
The type of setting I will be playing in will be almost completely instrumental. So the general type of sound I desire is one that has enough volume to be heard but without drowning out all the softer instruments. From listening to the music played on concertinas I believe my preference would be a tone somewhere in the middle. Some of the brighter ones sound somewhat harsh but if one goes too mellow it seems to get a little lost. If I had to guess, I would probably choose one that was slightly on the bright side.
Thanks so much for your time, it has really served to point me in some very thought provoking direction and will, I believe, help me to make a more confident discision.

I've had my Morse Ceili for 2 years and remain immensely happy with it. I haven't come across another concertina in its price range that I like as much as my Morse. I've tried many other concertinas at the Northeast Squeeze-In, the Catskills Irish Arts Week, and Noel Hill's classes.

Regarding Jeffries vs. Wheatstone/Lachenal layout: I chose Jeffries because I wanted to have the C# (the one that's one octave plus a half-step above middle C) available in either direction. I think this arrangement works well for Irish traditional music, which has a lot of tunes in D. Plus, I figured someday I might get lucky and have a genuine Jeffries fall into my hands, in which case I'd be prepared. ;)


Thanks for taking the time to write in response to my query. Your comments regarding the layout of accidentals has proved quite helpful. Because of the type of music I play on a regular basis I would definitely want to have a C# in both octaves and will therefore make sure I satisfy myself as to its availability. I have found upon reading that some makers do provide this in a modified Wheatstone layout but apparently it is not always so.

i have never tried a ceili. i have a stagi. i love my concertina but i would not recommend it. i outgrew it quickly and it holds me back. i cannot play it with the neagh i would like without it bottoming out. i dont find the action too slow (i used to, but i just worked harder at it). the action IS too slow, but i worked at it so hard that it doesnt hold me back. its the bellows and the depth the keys go in, as well as the reeds not working if i change directions too fast. it works well for practicing and everything, but not for getting some good craic out of the instrument. i'm thinking of still learning tunes and everything while i wait for my egley, but i wont push it as far as i can because it doesnt like it when i do, and i want to still have it to lend out to people so that they can learn and decide if they want to play concertina.

that being said, the egley and the tedrow are both very good concertinas. the response on both of them is like a dream. the sound is very good as well. it looks like maybe tedrow has updated his models, but the two i tried didnt fit my hands. i have pretty small hands for a guy, but i found the keys to be too compact. it played well, sounded well, and was a very well crafted instrument as far as i could tell, but i didnt like the feel of it.

the edgley concertina has less subtlety of dynamics and tone than the other concertinas of twice the price, but it will never hold you back or respond too slowly. the only reason you would need a nicer instrument was if you wanted a nicer sound or more expression for recording or performing, and even then an edgley would fit for that as well. if i was not getting my carroll, and only my edgley, i would not feel the least bit cheated.


David,
Your exsperience with the Stagi is just what I am trying to avoid, so thanks for the heads up. I have now checked into both the edgley and tedrow concertinas and have been impressessed with what I saw. However, unlike you my hands are somewhat on the large side and I would probably opt for the one that had a little more finger room.

#9 Michael Reid

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 02:33 PM

Your comments regarding the layout of accidentals has proved quite helpful. Because of the type of music I play on a regular basis I would definitely want to have a C# in both octaves and will therefore make sure I satisfy myself as to its availability. I have found upon reading that some makers do provide this in a modified Wheatstone layout but apparently it is not always so.

Just in case there's any confusion, the advantage I perceive in the Jeffries system is in having one C# (the one that's an-octave-plus-one-half-step above middle C) available on both press and draw. It's not a matter of one system or the other lacking a C# in any octave -- both Jeffries and Wheatstone systems have C# in three octaves. On a typical Wheatstone layout the middle of the three C#'s is available only on the press. See the keyboard layouts on Juergen Suttner's website (at bottom of page).

Also, you might want to look at Ken Coles's article on choosing a layout for the chromatic row.

#10 bill_mchale

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 11:45 AM

Creegan,
I can second almost everything said in this thread. I will throw in just a couple of extra thoughts..

1. Wheatstone versus Jefferies. Jefferies is slightly preferred for Irish Music, but it is by no means a deal breaker. I have concertinas with both layouts and other than a few minutes of awkwardness when switching between them, its no big deal. You can be pretty confident that most Irish Tunes learned on one will not take long (minutes usually) to relearn on the other system.

2. Of the North American Makers, the big three are Tedrow, Edgley, and Morse. I have an Edgley and am well pleased with it. I agree with Richard Morse in regards to lack of objective comparisons of these and some of the other instruments in the mid priced range. I think part of the problem is that all three of the makers, Bob, Frank and Richard are all active members of the forums. All three are real gentlemen, make good instruments and have knowledge that is valued highly by others on this forum. As a result most of us are reluctant to say anything about the instruments that might be construed as criticism. I would love at some point to be able to do an objective comparison of the instruments... but having only a little over a year's experience playing, feel I could not properly get the most out of these instruments (even if I am rather pleased with my progress).

That being said, there are several factors that can be listed to help make your decision.

1. Edgley is the only one of the three that offers metal ends. Some people perfer them, but after having them for a few months, I can tell you that you spend a fair bit of time polishing them :).
2. Morse is the lightest. This is important for some people as even an extra few ounces can make the difference between comfortable playing and playing in pain. That being said, if you don't have those problems, I see little reason to prefer an instrument on weight alone (But then again, I also play 8-14 lb button accordions :)).
3. Morse affixes the reeds to the reed pan with wax as opposed to screws like Tedrow and Edgley. This has pluses and minuses. On the plus side local accordion repair people might be more comfortable working on it. On the negative side, it might make it harder for the individuals to remove the reeds if they want to adjust them.
4. Both the Morse and the Edgley are fast, very fast. In my extremely limited experience with the Morse, I think the Edgley responds with a little less pressure than the Morse, though in practice either will be find for Irish Music.
5. My impression is that the Ceili has a fairly short wait list (measured in weeks). Frank seems to have a fair backlog on orders so it can take 6 months or so to receive your instrument (I think it was worth the wait). I believe Tedrow often has instruments available for sale on fairly short notice as well.
6. Frank offers a 24 button Concertina which I believe is modeled after the one that Jacqueline McCarthy plays. It may not be quite as flexible as a 30 button, but it should have all the notes needed for Irish Music and I do believe it costs somewhat less than the 30 button instruments.

--
Bill

#11 m3838

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 02:31 PM

Of all the concertinas I held in my hands Ceili sounded the best and felt the best, and was fiinished the best (meaning less of the shiny sheen and more like a working man's instrument, soft to the feel).
Out of mp3 files looks like Edgley may have fuller sound.
Tedrow in C/G sounded a bit tinny to me.
Geuns-Wakker sounded a bit on/off and in the harsh side.
If I am to order a new modern instrument - I'd go with either G/D Ceili or C/G Edgley in 24 button layout.
My personal opinion, that, as we used to say in old USSR, I don't support and disapprove.


I meant "disaprove of"

#12 Creegan

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 08:01 PM

Just in case there's any confusion, the advantage I perceive in the Jeffries system is in having one C# (the one that's an-octave-plus-one-half-step above middle C) available on both press and draw. It's not a matter of one system or the other lacking a C# in any octave -- both Jeffries and Wheatstone systems have C# in three octaves. On a typical Wheatstone layout the middle of the three C#'s is available only on the press. See the keyboard layouts on Juergen Suttner's website (at bottom of page).

Also, you might want to look at Ken Coles's article on choosing a layout for the chromatic row.
[/quote]

Thanks for taking the time to clear up my misconceptions and for being patient with a newbie. I checked out the article and website and found them to be quite informative. They gave me the visualizations that I needed to see all the details and have pointed out just what all the differances are.

#13 Creegan

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 08:18 PM

Creegan,
I can second almost everything said in this thread. I will throw in just a couple of extra thoughts..

1. Wheatstone versus Jefferies. Jefferies is slightly preferred for Irish Music, but it is by no means a deal breaker. I have concertinas with both layouts and other than a few minutes of awkwardness when switching between them, its no big deal. You can be pretty confident that most Irish Tunes learned on one will not take long (minutes usually) to relearn on the other system.

2. Of the North American Makers, the big three are Tedrow, Edgley, and Morse. I have an Edgley and am well pleased with it. I agree with Richard Morse in regards to lack of objective comparisons of these and some of the other instruments in the mid priced range. I think part of the problem is that all three of the makers, Bob, Frank and Richard are all active members of the forums. All three are real gentlemen, make good instruments and have knowledge that is valued highly by others on this forum. As a result most of us are reluctant to say anything about the instruments that might be construed as criticism. I would love at some point to be able to do an objective comparison of the instruments... but having only a little over a year's experience playing, feel I could not properly get the most out of these instruments (even if I am rather pleased with my progress).

That being said, there are several factors that can be listed to help make your decision.

1. Edgley is the only one of the three that offers metal ends. Some people perfer them, but after having them for a few months, I can tell you that you spend a fair bit of time polishing them :).
2. Morse is the lightest. This is important for some people as even an extra few ounces can make the difference between comfortable playing and playing in pain. That being said, if you don't have those problems, I see little reason to prefer an instrument on weight alone (But then again, I also play 8-14 lb button accordions :)).
3. Morse affixes the reeds to the reed pan with wax as opposed to screws like Tedrow and Edgley. This has pluses and minuses. On the plus side local accordion repair people might be more comfortable working on it. On the negative side, it might make it harder for the individuals to remove the reeds if they want to adjust them.
4. Both the Morse and the Edgley are fast, very fast. In my extremely limited experience with the Morse, I think the Edgley responds with a little less pressure than the Morse, though in practice either will be find for Irish Music.
5. My impression is that the Ceili has a fairly short wait list (measured in weeks). Frank seems to have a fair backlog on orders so it can take 6 months or so to receive your instrument (I think it was worth the wait). I believe Tedrow often has instruments available for sale on fairly short notice as well.
6. Frank offers a 24 button Concertina which I believe is modeled after the one that Jacqueline McCarthy plays. It may not be quite as flexible as a 30 button, but it should have all the notes needed for Irish Music and I do believe it costs somewhat less than the 30 button instruments.

--
Bill



Bill,
I appriciate the time you have taken to give me such detailed comments, especially as they deal directly with the two makes that I am primaraly concidering. Both sound like supurb instruments and in the end it is probably just a difference of personal preferance. Those factors that you have delt with in the general comparison are exactly what I need. It is such measurable things that I believe will prove most useful to my discision.
Creegan

#14 bill_mchale

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 03:13 PM

Bill,
I appriciate the time you have taken to give me such detailed comments, especially as they deal directly with the two makes that I am primaraly concidering. Both sound like supurb instruments and in the end it is probably just a difference of personal preferance. Those factors that you have delt with in the general comparison are exactly what I need. It is such measurable things that I believe will prove most useful to my discision.
Creegan



Creegan,
You are more than welcome. Just keep in mind that my impression of the Ceili was based off of only playing a few tunes once on it. I did try several samples though, and every sample was very consistent. What I would really like to do is to get a really good player give them both a go. Father Charlie Coen tried my Edgley in the Catskills last summer and seemed to be fairly impressed with it, but I never got a chance to get his impression of the Morse (and I didn't see any Tedrows there). In any case, my guess is this, both the Ceili and the Edgley are designed with Irish Music in mind and seem well suited to playing in sessions. Almost any of the midrange will do ok in a session setting but some (like the English Morse.. or at least the one I own) don't necessarily excel at it; the Edgley and the Morse do.

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Bill




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