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The Trouble With Anglo Concertina Availability


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#37 PeterT

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 11:46 AM

Boys (I notice that the girls are being much more restrained with their comments!), I have two comments to make:

(1) Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion, and in a Forum we should encourage healthy debate, but let's keep civil.

(2) I hope that you all put as much passion into your playing.

Regards,
Peter.

#38 Leo

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 11:47 AM

I'm not following this subject too clearly. Could you clarify please. Is your lament against the manufacturers because their ability to supply is not meeting your "wants", or are you complaining that there are too many other people with the ability to meet their "wants" is greater than yours. Or are you deciding for me that my "wants" are inferior to yours because your needs are superior to mine, regardless of the reason. Could you narrow it down for me a little. By the way I think it a good suggestion to consider manufacturing them yourself. It would be a relief to the many other musicians waiting years for a good instrument.

Thanks
Leo

Edited by Leo, 27 October 2006 - 11:55 AM.


#39 dpmccabe

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 11:54 AM

I'm not following this subject too clearly. Could you clarify please. Is your lament against the manufacturers because their ability to supply is not meeting your "wants", or are you complaining that there are too many other people with the ability to meet their "wants" is greater than yours. Or are you deciding for me that my "wants" are inferior to yours because your needs are superior to mine, regardless of the reason. Could you narrow it down for me a little.

Thanks
Leo

It's all in that original post, but in a super-condensed notetaking-friendly format:
1. Casual fans of the concertina often buy expensive, top-of-the line instruments.
a. Beginner or mid-level instruments would be more than sufficient for these peoples' needs.
b. They want these instruments simply because they want the best, not because lower instruments aren't
sufficent for their needs.
c. Often, these concertinas go unused.
2. This demand creates extremely long waits for current makers and low availability in vintage models.
3. Professional musicians are thus unable to find top-of-the-line instruments, having a significant negative effect on their careers.

Note that I didn't mention price. High demand makes higher prices, but there's nothing wrong with paying a lot of money for a superb instrument. It's the unavailability of the instruments in the first place that is truly problematic for some.

#40 CaryK

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 12:01 PM

[. Many beginners, especially adults who were not already musicians, probably do not understand that they'll never be a top player worthy of a Jeffries. That takes an unbelievable amount of practice, dedication from an early age, and some genetic luck. And what about the instruments that aren't sold once they're essentially discarded? There are far too many of these and it's not easy to find them.


The more you write, the more you display your elitist nature. I'll likely never own a Jeffries, but it won't be because I wasn't "worthy." What gall you have. Who discards a Jeffries anyway? If you know of so many of these, why don't you contact the unworthy owners and make them an offer?

#41 chainyanker

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 12:12 PM

im sure their are a lot others better able to comment, not a pro are nothing close. and dont rekon ill ever be, but i do play mine probley 10 hours aweek. started with a homer, to a 22 button Lachenal, now a 30 button Lachenal. i would hate to think that when i wanted to up grade again, i would see ifn im worthy. i have checked with a local maker of hybreds if he will let me hang around and see whats into making them so i would know, and we should start getting together in a couple weeks. you see im doing what i can, beeing a preacher ill probley never have enough cash for much better than what i have. but im not going to whin about it, im going to try my best to do something about it. any way i noticed your form Wisconsin, so you shouldnt have no trouble in finding some cheese to go along with all that whin. sorry about that, i had to add the last. dont worrie what cha dont have, be greatfull what cha do. life is too short to try and keep up with the jones. jmho

#42 DavidFR

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 12:13 PM

Where to begin.

I agree with your assertion that there is a shortage in top-quality instruments. Too many people want them, not enough people can get them.

First, I don't think this is as dreadful as it sounds, because it means that love and appreciation of the instrument is spreading, it keeps current makers and repairers/restorers in business, and quite a few new makers are coming out of the woodwork (Kensington, Carroll, and Thomas just to name a few more recent arrivals).

Second, I take exception to your classification of professional vs hobbyist. Some people make (or attempt to make) their living through music. My sister is in this category. Some people forever tinker around, picking it up once in a while to play a few tunes but never put serious time and effort into the instrument. A third group of people are serious non-professional players. I would put myself into this category. We've been playing in most cases a very long time (8 or 9 years in my case and I'm only 24), play almost every day, and try to increase our abilities and knowledge as best we can in the time outside work and other commitments. For them, concertina-playing is a true passion if not a vocation, and many of them are quite good.

I hope he doesn't mind being used as an example, but Tom Kruskal (Jody's brother) is one of the foremost players of traditional English music on the Anglo concertina. In his professional life he makes fantastic jewelry which is sold in jewelry stores and jewelry departments around the world. Is he therefore not entitled to the three outstanding Anglos in his possession (G/D, C/G, Bb/F)?

Third, as is alluded to in a number of posts, better concertinas are easier to play. This is an unfortunate fact of the instrument which you don't necessarily find with other types. Better instruments are easier to play and hence easier to improve upon. I think the vast majority of rank beginners start off with a beginner's instrument, be it a Stagi/Rochelle/junk Lachenal. They don't want to invest the money before they are ready to commit to the instrument. When they are ready to commit, however, why shouldn't they buy what they can afford? I think most players are able to accurately assess their level of commitment and buy appropriately, ie if it's just a casual hobby people are unlikely to go through the bother of a 4+ year waiting list for a top quality instrument.

Fourth, I think your assessment of why there are so few top-quality vintage concertinas available is mistaken. You place excess blame on the "American collector." Do Americans exist who own one or more excellent instruments and don't play them as much as they deserve? I'm sure. But I think they're a minority.

I suspect that the strongest demand for concertinas is in Ireland, and that in total numbers, more top-quality instruments, vintage or otherwise, will be found in Ireland than in any other country. Is this justified? The concertina was invented in England and most were built there. Shouldn't there be more in England? The Anglo concertina was derived from a German invention. Shouldn't they have more concertinas than anywhere else? Or what about the United States. We have more people than Ireland, England or Germany, are experiencing a strong Irish music and Morris/traditional dance revival. We assuredly have fewer concertinas per person than Ireland or England, why don't the Irish ship a few over here to address that imbalance?

My point is simply that you can create any specious argument you like to redistribute existing concertinas among the interested population and find some sort of justification for it.

I don't think you can justify an argument based on someone's skill level. Some people will fall in love with the concertina, scrimp and save to get that Jeffries or Dipper, practice every day and still not be very good. I don't think you can quantify the enjoyment that person will get from playing that box, or justify reducing it by apportioning them a lesser concertina. Part of their enjoyment is a result of the time, effort, and yes - money - they put into getting it.

You can, I think, make an argument based on how often an instrument is played. Some people do amass more concertinas than they ever could or do play; some people put down the money and then decide later it isn't really for them after all. These people, and I don't know who they are, do have a responsibility in my mind to regularly assess what they've got and ask "Am I playing this instrument regularly? Does it fulfill a particular need for me (ie different keys for anglo)? Does it have any sentimental or historical value that warrants keeping it?" If the answer to all these is no, then I think there is a certain amount of responsibility to return that instrument to the pool. Maybe even in a private sale to an aspiring student who is, as you mention, trying to put together his or her first CD.

And I meant to keep this short. Oh well.

-David

#43 dpmccabe

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 12:14 PM

[. Many beginners, especially adults who were not already musicians, probably do not understand that they'll never be a top player worthy of a Jeffries. That takes an unbelievable amount of practice, dedication from an early age, and some genetic luck. And what about the instruments that aren't sold once they're essentially discarded? There are far too many of these and it's not easy to find them.


The more you write, the more you display your elitist nature. I'll likely never own a Jeffries, but it won't be because I wasn't "worthy." What gall you have. Who discards a Jeffries anyway? If you know of so many of these, why don't you contact the unworthy owners and make them an offer?

Why don't you offer some counter-arguments or address my points on an individual basis? I have outlined a common practice among some players today and described the resulting problems. Please explain how that practice is justified and why those resulting problems are not actually problems.

Instruments are commonly bought and not played, if played at all. People who see the pursuit as just any other hobby are less likely to play a concertina regularly and to its full potential. An too often, the concertina ends up sitting in its case.

#44 dpmccabe

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 12:30 PM

Second, I take exception to your classification of professional vs hobbyist. Some people make (or attempt to make) their living through music. My sister is in this category. Some people forever tinker around, picking it up once in a while to play a few tunes but never put serious time and effort into the instrument. A third group of people are serious non-professional players. I would put myself into this category. We've been playing in most cases a very long time (8 or 9 years in my case and I'm only 24), play almost every day, and try to increase our abilities and knowledge as best we can in the time outside work and other commitments. For them, concertina-playing is a true passion if not a vocation, and many of them are quite good.

It's a sliding scale and my goal isn't to marginalize people. In short, one should have an instrument demanded by one's level of playing. To have more is extravagant.

I hope he doesn't mind being used as an example, but Tom Kruskal (Jody's brother) is one of the foremost players of traditional English music on the Anglo concertina. In his professional life he makes fantastic jewelry which is sold in jewelry stores and jewelry departments around the world. Is he therefore not entitled to the three outstanding Anglos in his possession (G/D, C/G, Bb/F)?

Well I don't know his playing, but if he needs outstanding concertinas to suit his outstanding playing, there's no problem, is there? Having concertinas in alternate keys (Bb/F) doesn't really affect people needed a primary instrument (C/G for most), either. Having a C/G Jeffries, Dipper and Suttner is going to be a problem, though.

My point is simply that you can create any specious argument you like to redistribute existing concertinas among the interested population and find some sort of justification for it.

I've written quite a bit of reasoning behind my argument and would like to know how you find it specious.

I don't think you can justify an argument based on someone's skill level. Some people will fall in love with the concertina, scrimp and save to get that Jeffries or Dipper, practice every day and still not be very good. I don't think you can quantify the enjoyment that person will get from playing that box, or justify reducing it by apportioning them a lesser concertina. Part of their enjoyment is a result of the time, effort, and yes - money - they put into getting it.

Does this hypothetical person need the Jeffries? Would they still be able to play the way they do on a budget model? If the answer is yes, then his/her choice of the Jeffries was superfluous. Would a lesser box really not make them happy while a Jeffries would? And this argument doesn't cover the many people who don't even practice often and have bought a concertina just for the sake of having one.

You can, I think, make an argument based on how often an instrument is played. Some people do amass more concertinas than they ever could or do play; some people put down the money and then decide later it isn't really for them after all. These people, and I don't know who they are, do have a responsibility in my mind to regularly assess what they've got and ask "Am I playing this instrument regularly? Does it fulfill a particular need for me (ie different keys for anglo)? Does it have any sentimental or historical value that warrants keeping it?" If the answer to all these is no, then I think there is a certain amount of responsibility to return that instrument to the pool. Maybe even in a private sale to an aspiring student who is, as you mention, trying to put together his or her first CD.

Thank you, this is really the crux of my argument, albeit a bit more restricted in scope.

#45 Leo

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 01:23 PM

dpmccabe

I understand now. My neighbor has the same complaint as you. My lawnmower/snowblower (pick your tool) is in my garage doing nothing therefore he keeps reminding me his yard/driveway is bigger than mine therefore I should give him my implements because his needs are better than mine. He won't allow anybody in his pool because he is afraid of the possibility of lawsuit (I don't have one). I told him that since I am retired and his pool is doing nothing while he is working, I should have the right to use it. After all he isn't. A trade is out of the question. A lopsided fruitless argument that hasn't worked since the Pilgrims tried it at Plymouth rock, and Marx suggested it in his writings, to the detriment of lots of people. His quote is "To each according to their needs", and the State decides.

Would you be willing to become the standard that everyone is measured, and what criterion would you use, and by whose definition? (There will always be someone else wanting what you have and telling you the same thing). I've seen a lot of supposed professionals that I wouldn't want to trust my life to just because they were trying to make a living at it (read airline pilots), and a lot of amateurs that I would look up to because their talents and abilities are fantastic and deserve recognition and reward. Just because someone is being paid to do a job is no measure of ability. The market should decide.

If I had my way, under your system, I think you should stick with the fiddle, after all changing instruments shouldn't be allowed, nor should playing multiple instruments. Also I shouldn't be able to learn a musical instrument, because I decided at the tender young age of 55 to begin??? When I did then I should have settled on a cheap Chinese box because I don't deserve anything better???

Good luck trying to convince someone of your points, because I suspect they are falling on deaf ears, and will continue to do so unless you have earned the reputation of the peers that you seek. I will never come up to the ability of most of the people here, nor do I expect to ever get paid to play. That's not why I took up music. My talents lie elsewhere and I've retired from that career.

Most of the replies (40+) in this thread IMHO have been trying to tell you that "IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN" no matter how hard you try. But it would be OK to try to convince you that it might be more fruitful to expend that effort in another direction.

Thanks
Leo

#46 Dave Prebble

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 01:45 PM

Sorry, again referring to instruments that just sit in a closet and are rarely, if ever played. These need to get out in the open and to the people who will play and maintain them.


It is a good job they did all sit in closets and attics for donkeys years after the concertina had 'fallen out of fashion' or there would be virtually none left for us to squabble over today !
Very few instruments have been in regular use since they were first made.

I am currently restoring a top grade instrument thay has not been played since 1936 and up to yet, it 'owes me' about 120 hours work and is still some way off completion. I shall chose who to sell it to when the time comes for us to part company and I require no direction from others in making this choice.

When I got my first Jeffries nearly 30 years ago it cost me about 6 weeks salary at a time when I was very much a beginner. To borrow that much money was a very serious commitment indeed. I had been struggling along for some while with a fairly low grade unrestored Lachenal and progress was slow. I bought my new instrumant from a renowned dealer who made it quite clear that I did not deserve to have it. He was quite honest and straight, saying that the only reason he was selling it to me, and reluctantly at that, was that he was a bit short of cash to make some new purchases.

The step up in quality gave me such a jolt in enthusiasm that progress grew exponentially and within 3 months I was playing solo spots at clubs and concerts. The quality concertina was simply so much easier to play and offered much greater rewards.
That concertina is still my main instrument and, aside from my family, is the only thing on this earth that I would kill a man to protect. When I met up with the seller a few months later he was amazed at my playing, 'took back' his previous comments and stumped up for the beers.

By 'McCabe' reasoning, It would seem that I should not have been allowed to buy it in the first place.... ?

Regards

Dave

#47 DavidFR

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 01:46 PM

Tom Kruskal

Well I don't know his playing, but if he needs outstanding concertinas to suit his outstanding playing, there's no problem, is there?

I use him as an example since in your first post you speak specifically about a professional as someone who plays concertina as a living. You can hear Tom playing the C/G Jeffries on "Over the Water," available from the Button Box. He may also appear in another upcoming recording, but I'll post that on concertina.net if it actually happens.

My point is simply that you can create any specious argument you like to redistribute existing concertinas among the interested population and find some sort of justification for it.

I've written quite a bit of reasoning behind my argument and would like to know how you find it specious.

What I mean is that the basis of your whole argument - that many casual players buy expensive concertinas and then don't play them - is not borne out by any evidence you have so far presented, therefore my theoretical propositions are just as valid. I know/have heard of some people who have more concertinas than they can play on a regular basis, but as far as I know they had good reasons for originally acquiring those instruments and are very good players. I don't know of anyone who has a functioning Jeffries/Suttner/Wheatstone etc who doesn't play it regularly.

If you know of anyone, let alone a large quantity of people who engage in this practice, I'd love to know. It would provide a more substantial basis for discussion.

Does this hypothetical person need the Jeffries? Would they still be able to play the way they do on a budget model? If the answer is yes, then his/her choice of the Jeffries was superfluous. Would a lesser box really not make them happy while a Jeffries would? And this argument doesn't cover the many people who don't even practice often and have bought a concertina just for the sake of having one.

Who buys a concertina just for the sake of having one? The people who lay out $5,000-$10,000 and wait years for something they never even use must be a substantial minority. A concertina is hardly a status symbol for anyone who can't play the thing.

And I do think a lesser box might not be as satisfying even if you aren't Noel Hill. If you fell in love with the concertina and more specifically that Jeffries sound (or Linota, or Carroll, insert appropriate favorite make here), and were willing to wait and make sacrifices to get it; I see no reason why you should be barred from doing so. I think the hypothetical person would receive much satisfaction from having been patient and having worked hard and long towards a goal.

Look, I bemoan the lack of Anglo availability as much as the next person. I wish that I, too, had multiple top-level boxes due to my purchasing power or long tenure as a player. But I don't, and I don't begrudge them their instruments (except for the occasional snob who likes to rub it in your face, but they pop up in every walk of life and are thankfully few and far between). These players and enthusiasts have all contributed to the survival and revival of the concertina. They kept it alive between WWII and the recent revival, and are the sole reason there is any kind of market for concertina recordings.

Let's just be thankful that the concertina continues to be popular and that a substantial group of people are making them.

#48 Alan Day

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 02:33 PM

It was mentioned earlier on in this discussion about Intermediate players sitting in with Noel Hill.The reason for this is that just one tip from a player can be enough to kickstart a whole new progression in your playing.
I sat in with Jody Kruskal at his Workshop recently at Warwick and he sat in my workshop for absolute beginers.I am not sure if he learnt anything from me, but I learnt a lot from him.
I do not think that you will learn anything from this discussion dpmccabe as you are dismissing any argument which disagrees with your initial remarks.Would you have posted it, I wonder, if a few years earlier had you walked past a junk shop with a Jeffries in the window and bought it for a song,I doubt it, niether would you have said "I will leave it there just in case a professional concertina player wants it".
You mention lack of good quality Instruments for sale yet down a bit is a Linota Anglo for sale ,one of the finest Anglos ever made.OK it is not in concert pitch,so what ,get a restorer to tune it for you.That would be my approach if I wanted a class instrument at this very moment.
I am enjoying this argument and by the postings so are many others on this site,but instead of moaning about your lot get your finger out !
Al

Edited by Alan Day, 27 October 2006 - 02:35 PM.


#49 Rhomylly

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 02:41 PM

It's all in that original post, but in a super-condensed notetaking-friendly format:
1. Casual fans of the concertina often buy expensive, top-of-the line instruments.
a. Beginner or mid-level instruments would be more than sufficient for these peoples' needs.
b. They want these instruments simply because they want the best, not because lower instruments aren't
sufficent for their needs.
c. Often, these concertinas go unused.


And who exactly the bloody hell are you to be making these pronouncements?

You know nothing about me, my playing ability, or my playing potential. No one knows how well I may be playing in 5 years, in 20 years. Including me. Yet you lump me in the category of "unworthy" because I will probably never earn my living playing concertina.

I would say that you probably know none of this about my fellow respondents, either.

Yet you sit in judgement of us all.

Must be nice to be God. :P

Edited by Rhomylly, 27 October 2006 - 02:50 PM.


#50 Rhomylly

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 02:43 PM

im sure their are a lot others better able to comment, not a pro are nothing close. and dont rekon ill ever be, but i do play mine probley 10 hours aweek. started with a homer, to a 22 button Lachenal, now a 30 button Lachenal. i would hate to think that when i wanted to up grade again, i would see ifn im worthy. i have checked with a local maker of hybreds if he will let me hang around and see whats into making them so i would know, and we should start getting together in a couple weeks. you see im doing what i can, beeing a preacher ill probley never have enough cash for much better than what i have. but im not going to whin about it, im going to try my best to do something about it. any way i noticed your form Wisconsin, so you shouldnt have no trouble in finding some cheese to go along with all that whin. sorry about that, i had to add the last. dont worrie what cha dont have, be greatfull what cha do. life is too short to try and keep up with the jones. jmho


well said, chainyanker, my friend!!!!

#51 dpmccabe

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 02:56 PM

When I got my first Jeffries nearly 30 years ago it cost me about 6 weeks salary at a time when I was very much a beginner. To borrow that much money was a very serious commitment indeed. I had been struggling along for some while with a fairly low grade unrestored Lachenal and progress was slow. I bought my new instrumant from a renowned dealer who made it quite clear that I did not deserve to have it. He was quite honest and straight, saying that the only reason he was selling it to me, and reluctantly at that, was that he was a bit short of cash to make some new purchases.

The step up in quality gave me such a jolt in enthusiasm that progress grew exponentially and within 3 months I was playing solo spots at clubs and concerts. The quality concertina was simply so much easier to play and offered much greater rewards.
That concertina is still my main instrument and, aside from my family, is the only thing on this earth that I would kill a man to protect. When I met up with the seller a few months later he was amazed at my playing, 'took back' his previous comments and stumped up for the beers.

By 'McCabe' reasoning, It would seem that I should not have been allowed to buy it in the first place....?

See, it's great that you grew into the instrument and that you were eventually able to play it at the level that it deserved, but what about those who don't reach that point? Or what if you never had?

I wasn't expecting much support on this, partly because many of you might fall into the camp I've described. Let's imagine some scenarios instead.

First, take your typical adult beginner. He plays the concertina as a hobby apart from his full-time job. Although he's been playing for around 10 years, he only practices for a few hours a week and does it just for fun. He's had plenty of time to wait for a Dipper and once received it becomes his instrument of choice. His midrange Lachenal was fine for him, but he wanted to have the nicest instrument he could get and could afford it with no problem. The concertina had always just been a hobby for him and he's since moved on to other pursuits. The Dipper sits in its case most of the time now.

Now, take a player who's only in his teens but has been playing for 6 or 7 years, regularly takes lessons from a top Irish player down at the Comhaltas branch and plays in sessions every week. He's become quite a good player and places well at the local Fleadh. Right now, he has a decent Wheatstone but is having trouble playing up-to-speed at the session. He listens to musicians like Tim Collins and concludes his instrument just won't let him play the notes and ornamentation as quickly and precisely as the musician with the Jeffries. And he's probably right. He knows that if he wants to become a player of that level, he needs to get an instrument like that but he has no luck in finding one. He could order one today and it would get there in about 5 years, but he knows he'll never be able to keep up with his fellow musicians who are playing flute or fiddle. When he goes to sessions and workshops around the country, he sees lots of players with nice instruments, but few of them are using them to their full potentials. He doesn't make much progress for a few years and decides that maybe a career playing concertina isn't very practical.

The problem is that there are plenty of both type. Concertinas sitting in cases 99% of the time and musicians who need them as that final step in making a career work. Should that first person have never bought it in the first place? Well, if a cheaper concertina suited their purposes and it's rarely played, is it really so blasphemous to think so? That's the practical view, I think.

#52 geoffwright

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 02:59 PM

I have never heard anything so daft - DPM professes to be a fiddler of a decent standard but doesn't seem to feel the need to own a Stradivarius. If he can get by on a not top-of-the-range fiddle, why cannot he manage with a not T-O-T-R concertina?

DPM forgets how many top-notch concertinas are in Ireland, owned by top-notch players who you will not see at any of Noel Hill's workshops because they already get lessons from him?

Just because you have a box by a top-of-the-range maker, it doesn't mean it is your sort of instrument - everyone wants different things from a box and the first Jeffries that comes your way isn't forced to be the one you will want to play for the next x decades. (I have had 2 in 35 years).

Not wanting to really wind up DPM, but some people actually collect concertinas and have dozens!!!!!! Is he going to come round and confiscate them until an audition has been carried out?
;->

#53 petec

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 03:00 PM

Well, the above sounds suspiciously like a rant. I would advise any learner to get the best instument they can afford as quite simply if it sounds better you will enjoy playing more and make better progress. This applies to every instrument and even ubiquitous guitarists have to save their pennies and pounds for that decent instrument. Are we to feel sorry for a musician who choses an instrument , opts to play it "professionaly" and cant afford a better one, comeon! I've heard african musicians play superb music on a home made box with fence wire strung across it. I say get the best you can, enjoy it and make music out of it. If you don't like the sound you are making do something else!

P s I have only read the first contribution not the replies.

Peter.

#54 Jim Besser

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 03:07 PM

It's all in that original post, but in a super-condensed notetaking-friendly format:
1. Casual fans of the concertina often buy expensive, top-of-the line instruments.
a. Beginner or mid-level instruments would be more than sufficient for these peoples' needs.
b. They want these instruments simply because they want the best, not because lower instruments aren't
sufficent for their needs.
c. Often, these concertinas go unused.
2. This demand creates extremely long waits for current makers and low availability in vintage models.
3. Professional musicians are thus unable to find top-of-the-line instruments, having a significant negative effect on their careers.


This thread starts out with a reasonable premise -- that some people buy more concertina than they need and quickly veers off into the ridiculous -- that they are buying more concertina than they deserve. Devotion to something like the concertina is not just a question of strict practicality; there is an element of passion that you may regard as silly, but it's a major factor for many of us.

I certainly did not deserve my first good vintage instrument on the basis of my skills or talent, but like to think I've grown into it, in part because its enhanced playability contributed to my learning, in part because its wonderful sound made me want to play it all the time. I already had a good hybrid, which was probably all I "needed," but I wanted the vintage box for a complex variety of reasons. You seem to dismiss those reasons as greed, or a desire for status through material possessions.

Sorry, I disagree.

I know a lot of concertina players/buyers, but very few who bought top-quality concertinas and let them go unused. I know a few who have bought such instruments, lost interest -- and sold them, returning them to the pond, so to speak. I'm sure there are some out there, but I've never met a beginner who started by ordering a Dipper or a Suttner.

As for professional musicians who are "unable to find top-of-the-line instruments, having a significant negative impact on their careers," I don't buy that at all. Concertinas are relatively undervalued; if you really need nothing less than a Jeffries, you can usually buy one, and if you're a professional, the $10,000 isn't going to kill you. I know a few players you might deign to regard as professinal, and I don't think any of them are hurting for instruments.

I happen to believe we live in a golden age for concertinas. More interest has resulted in more high-end producers like Dana; Ebay is pulling hundreds of neglected vintage instruements out of attics and sending them off to restorers; the renewed interest is providing a market for skilled players to produce CDs and market them; Concertina.Net has created a genuine, worldwide concertina community, for which we should all be thankful to Paul and Ken. When I first entered the market, my choice was a Stagi -- or a vintage box. Fortunately, Harold Herrington came along about then and I was able start on one of his. Now we have Herrington, Morse, Edgley, Tedrow, Wakker, Marcus and Norman, with more coming.

So life is good.

Edited by Jim Besser, 27 October 2006 - 03:28 PM.





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