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Advice For A Newbie On A Budget


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#1 LDT

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 09:03 AM

I've decided I want to play a squeezbox of some kind..and I love the look of the concertina's. But I've no idea which one to go for. I've never played one before and I have a pretty megre buget so I don't want to pay out lots of money at first.
Is there anywhere that's good to go to get a chance to try before buying?

Any advice would be welcome. (sorry I suppose you here these questions a lot)

#2 wntrmute

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 02:15 PM

The best bargain brands are the Rochelle, Jack, and Jackie from Concertina Connection. The Rochelle is an Anglo (different notes on push or pull, very much like a harmonica), the Jack and Jackie are English (same note in either direction, the scale goes back and forth from one hand to the other).
Stagi and Hohner aren't as good in my opinion.
If you get an Anglo get 30 buttons. 20 buttons are too limited.
The ones I listed are advertised on the Music Room's website at 270 pounds. I'd suggest just finding a shop that has Englishes and Anglos to figure out which kind you like better, and order one of those online.

I got confused between this post and another, it seems, so I had put this answer in another thread where it may not have belonged so well.

#3 Richard Morse

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 02:17 PM

Depends mostly upon what you mean by "lots of money" and what type of music you'd like to play on the box (as some types of concertinas are easier to play certain genres of music over other types of concertinas). There are a number of places in the UK you an go to try out boxes and to get advice. Unfortunately I'm in the US and have little idea of the closest concertina selling stores and festivals over your way.

One thing I *can* suggest: consider borrowing or renting a concertina at first. That would be a very inexpensive way to get to try out several types of concertinas to see which is best for you - before spending considerable dough on one that doesn't work well and/or is hard to play the type of music you'd like to play.

So - what would you like to play on it and what sort of budget do you have?

-- Rich --

#4 groeswenphil

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 02:26 PM

Have you heard one being played? That might help you make your mind up.

Basically, there are three types of concertina. Anglo.......which usually makes a very rhythmical sound. English, can sound rhythmic but can also sound very lyrical and duet.....of which there are many variants.....hard to come buy, hard to find anybody who can teach you, probably expensive but sound absolutely gorgeous in the right hands....bit like a church organ.

If I were you, I'd get along to your local folk music club, or try to find your local Morris dance side....I'm sure they'd put you right.

Trust me on this though.........if you buy a cheap concertina you will either give up quickly or you'll end up buying another one very quickly.

You might consider buying an English button melodeon instead? They look like a piano accordian but with buttons instead of piano keys.
They actually work in pretty much the same way as an Anglo concertina.

You can get a Hohner Pokerwork melodeon for just under 400
http://www.themusicr...products_id/641

Mine must be about 25 years old now and is still going strong.

Keep in touch,
Phil

#5 LDT

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 02:27 PM

One thing I *can* suggest: consider borrowing or renting a concertina at first. That would be a very inexpensive way to get to try out several types of concertinas to see which is best for you - before spending considerable dough on one that doesn't work well and/or is hard to play the type of music you'd like to play.

So - what would you like to play on it and what sort of budget do you have?

-- Rich --


Well budget wise I'm putting aside I've got about 120 to spend at the monet but I'm putting aside a little money each week. So the longer I spend deciding the bigger my budget. :)

I'd be greatful if I can play anything..something you can dance/tap your foot to (I just want something portable I can play on my own).

If I were you, I'd get along to your local folk music club,

is there a site I can go to to find my local one?

Edited by LDT, 10 August 2008 - 02:35 PM.


#6 Richard Morse

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 03:17 PM

Well budget wise I'm putting aside I've got about 120 to spend

About the only type of concertina you'll get for that amount will be a reeeeeeaaally terrible quality Chinese made one. They are so bad - and take so much work just to fix them to be marginally playable - that we can't/won't sell them in our store. OTOH, you can rent a far better concertina (anglo, English or duet) for about 13 per month... if you were in the US. I assume that you can rent them for a similar amount in the UK. That way you can continue to save up to get a decent box - and know which type to get too.

I'd be greatful if I can play anything..something you can dance/tap your foot to (I just want something portable I can play on my own).

Like Cajun music? French quadrilles? Riverdance? Classical? Ragtime? Morris.... ? And do you expect/hope to learn and play from books and other concertina players (then the keys your concertina plays in, and that it should be in concert pitch, would be important)?

I know this may sound like a lot of extraneous info-gathering, but the three systems of concertinas are quite different from each other, and with such a limited budget it really makes sense to get the box which will allow you to play what you want to most easily.

-- Rich --

#7 m3838

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 03:27 PM

By a "squeezebox" what do you mean?
And why did you decide on a squeezebox? Have you heard a sound and liked it?
If so, it probably was an accordion of some sort.
In general there are about 13 types of "squeezeboxes", each for it's own type of music, but intersecting a lot.
If you are in UK, the chances are you heard, in probability
1. Piano accordion - easy to find, rent, find a teacher. There are smaller ones. If you really want portability, get one with 24 basses, but have thirds removed in chords.
2. 2 row D/G Melodeon
3. 2 row B/C Melodeon
4. Shand Accordion
2-4 are like harmonica, push/pulling produces different sound, but they are smaller, portable, more expensive (much more expensive than used small Piano Accordion) and less versatile. So if you like squeezebox, and want versatility, small PA would do nicely. If you into some particular music, like Irish, English, Scottish, I'd go with button box, they look better, smaller, punchier, more danceable. If the money is an issue, and musical appetites are not so great, you can go with one row Hohner Pokerwork, they are cheaper, but very good, esp. for punchy danceable folk tunes. And they are very small.
If you are set on strange ridiculous 6 sided Concertina, you need to decide on whether you like the sound.
Mind you, concertina is not an accordion, it sounds very different, and may not suite the music of your liking.
Other than that, Rochelle/Jackie will be the only reasonable choice.

#8 LDT

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 03:34 PM

About the only type of concertina you'll get for that amount will be a reeeeeeaaally terrible quality Chinese made one. They are so bad - and take so much work just to fix them to be marginally playable

so is not worth getting a cheap one that I can learn the principals of playing on then before investing in something more expensive?


OTOH, you can rent a far better concertina (anglo, English or duet) for about 13 per month... if you were in the US. I assume that you can rent them for a similar amount in the UK. That way you can continue to save up to get a decent box - and know which type to get too.

I didn't know you could rent them....I'll have to google that.


Like Cajun music? French quadrilles? Riverdance? Classical? Ragtime? Morris.... ? And do you expect/hope to learn and play from books and other concertina players (then the keys your concertina plays in, and that it should be in concert pitch, would be important)?

erm folky stuff...jigs, hornpies maybe I'm not really fussed. I like the sound of the instrument. :) And I'll learn however I can probably be from a book unless there's a DVD I could learn from?


By a "squeezebox" what do you mean?


oh I just read somewhere that was a collective tern for these kinda instruments. Maybe I misunderstood.

1. Piano accordion - easy to find, rent, find a teacher. There are smaller ones. If you really want portability, get one with 24 basses, but have thirds removed in chords.
2. 2 row D/G Melodeon
3. 2 row B/C Melodeon
4. Shand Accordion
2-4 are like harmonica, push/pulling produces different sound, but they are smaller, portable, more expensive (much more expensive than used small Piano Accordion) and less versatile. So if you like squeezebox, and want versatility, small PA would do nicely. If you into some particular music, like Irish, English, Scottish, I'd go with button box, they look better, smaller, punchier, more danceable. If the money is an issue, and musical appetites are not so great, you can go with one row Hohner Pokerwork, they are cheaper, but very good, esp. for punchy danceable folk tunes. And they are very small.
If you are set on strange ridiculous 6 sided Concertina, you need to decide on whether you like the sound.
Mind you, concertina is not an accordion, it sounds very different, and may not suite the music of your liking.
Other than that, Rochelle/Jackie will be the only reasonable choice.

this is all so compilcated. lol! A lot to take in. never knew there was so much choice.

Edited by LDT, 10 August 2008 - 03:38 PM.


#9 wntrmute

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 03:44 PM

I don't see the attraction of a button accordion, myself. They aren't any cheaper than a Rochelle, and have (from what I've seen anyways) a more limited range. They do have that accordion sound, if you like that kind of thing, but I don't find it that appealing personally. The concertina's woodwind-like sound is more attractive to me, but then I was once a woodwind player so it would be.
The button box has a $20 toy accordion for the very cost-conscious consumer. It'll handle the classics: Mary and her Stupid Lamb and the like.

ETA: No, DO NOT get the cheap one. Alll you will learn is how frustrating frustration can actually get. It's wasted money. You get more enjoyment, and learn more, by chucking the money you'd spend on one in a bonfire.

Edited by wntrmute, 10 August 2008 - 03:47 PM.


#10 LDT

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 03:47 PM

The button box has a $20 toy accordion for the very cost-conscious consumer. It'll handle the classics: Mary and her Stupid Lamb and the like.

I hear Mary's lamb go blue tounge and had to be put down ;)

#11 Pete Dunk

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 04:38 PM

*Gleaned from elsewhere* LDT is a Spiers and Boden/Bellowhead fan so raunchy English style trad is what rocks the boat. Anglo or English concertinas probably fit the bill (but probably hasn't noticed that John Boden (rarely) plays a pretty mean MacCann duet).

LDT: Keep saving, you'll need double + your existing funds to buy a decent starter instrument in the UK. Anything less will put you off forever believe me.

Welcome to the wacky (and expensive :unsure: ) world of concertina playing.

Pete.

#12 Richard Morse

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 05:52 PM

About the only type of concertina you'll get for that amount will be a reeeeeeaaally terrible quality Chinese made one. They are so bad - and take so much work just to fix them to be marginally playable

so is not worth getting a cheap one that I can learn the principals of playing on then before investing in something more expensive?

Not worth it. Most of those cheap ones don't work right out of the box: notes severely out of tune, buttons that stick down, bellows leaks.... You wind up spending half the time fussing with it to get it playable and then the other half trying to manage the uneven button travel and pressure while fighting stiff bellows. Finally you give up and get a better concertina - or are so put off that you go for another type of instrument entirely.

Look at the options: Spend 40 on a Chinese disaster and a lot of fixit time and you might get half that back if you manage to sell it (not counting the time/effort you put into dealing with it)... or rent a better box for 4 months (actually trading them in so that you can try all three types!) which is easier to play and have no problems. If you value your time.... which is the better deal? At the end of 4 months you either have a box you really can't stand, has hampered your learning, and you have no clue as to what the other types are like to play... or be much further along learning to play the thing and know which type of concertina to upgrade to.

erm folky stuff...jigs, hornpies maybe I'm not really fussed. I like the sound of the instrument. :) And I'll learn however I can probably be from a book unless there's a DVD I could learn from?


Sounds like English style traditional dance tunes. There are lots of books and some DVD's to learn from. Going to festivals, events, and gatherings to learn from players first hand is even better.

Who have you heard play concertina that you like the sound of? Knowing what type of concertina s/he plays will help figure out which type may be most suitable for you. At the moment it's sounding like you'll be happiest with a G/D anglo or an English concertina.

-- Rich --

#13 MichaelB

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 05:55 PM

Try selling your wife/husband/children/soul into slavery, and buy the best box there is.
Otherwise (trust me) you'll spend the rest of your life trawling this site to find what you really want...Jeffries/Crabb/Wheatstone/English/Anglo/Duet/whatever.

Sorry - you're hooked...

MB

:rolleyes:

#14 LDT

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 03:01 AM

Try selling your wife/husband/children/soul into slavery

unfortunately I have none of the above to sell ;)

*Gleaned from elsewhere* LDT is a Spiers and Boden/Bellowhead fan so raunchy English style trad is what rocks the boat. Anglo or English concertinas probably fit the bill (but probably hasn't noticed that John Boden (rarely) plays a pretty mean MacCann duet).

oooh...is there a clip on youtube anywhere of that?

LDT: Keep saving, you'll need double + your existing funds to buy a decent starter instrument in the UK. Anything less will put you off forever believe me.

240? It will be the most i've ever invested in an instrument. :) I'd better get saving....or ask for contributions from family.

*puts tin marked concertina fund on desk* I may threaten them with playing the recorder if they don't pay up. ;)


Welcome to the wacky (and expensive unsure.gif ) world of concertina playing.

Thank you for the welcome :)
Posted Image

Edited by LDT, 11 August 2008 - 03:41 AM.


#15 Steve_freereeder

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 06:44 AM

LDT - here some examples of different concertinas and playing styles on YouTube:
These are some of my favourites - no doubt other folks may think differently!

Anglo Concertina (plays different notes on the push and pull; higher notes are on the RH side, lower notes are on the LH side)

Brian Peters - anglo concertina played in so-called 'English style'. Probably the very best exponent of this style in my opinion!
http://uk.youtube.co...h?v=blZeRHg6RUM

Liam (can't remember his 2nd name) playing a morris tune on anglo concertina also in so-called 'English style'
http://uk.youtube.co...feature=related

Noel Hill playing Irish traditional music on anglo concertina - some would say the he is the very best in this style.
http://uk.youtube.co...feature=related

Edel Fox - a fine young player of Irish traditional music on anglo concertina
http://uk.youtube.co...feature=related

English Concertina (plays the same note on push and pull; the notes of the scales alternate from side to side).

Pauline de Snoo playing English concertina in 'classical style'
http://uk.youtube.co...feature=related

Simon Thoumire playing fast dance tunes on English concertina
http://uk.youtube.co...h?v=LiSnLR6Ojuk

Duet concertina - (various types, but all play the same note on push and pull; the higher notes are on the RH side, the lower notes on the LH side)

Robert Dawson playing a very fine Crane Duet:
http://uk.youtube.co...h?v=IGkolUwGA9o

JeffLeff playing a Hayden Duet concertina
http://uk.youtube.co...feature=related

Edited by Steve_freereeder, 11 August 2008 - 06:52 AM.


#16 m3838

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 01:30 PM

this is all so compilcated. lol! A lot to take in. never knew there was so much choice.

Don't be put off, when it comes to real choice, it's not so complicated at all. Try to figure what guitar tuning you
'd prefer - that's the choice!
Or worse, the world of harmonicas. Unless you are dead centered on Blues the way Hawling Wolf played it, you are swimming the the vast ocean of different tunings, systems, all of which look identical.
But first of all:
Where have you heard the sound, and what this sound was: thin, thick, with our without accompaniment?
Have you seen anyone play a squeezebox? Which was it, square, 6-sided, small or large? Did it have piano keys or all buttons?

#17 Pete Dunk

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 04:31 PM

*Gleaned from elsewhere* LDT is a Spiers and Boden/Bellowhead fan so raunchy English style trad is what rocks the boat. Anglo or English concertinas probably fit the bill (but probably hasn't noticed that John Boden (rarely) plays a pretty mean MacCann duet).

oooh...is there a clip on youtube anywhere of that?

Not that I'm aware of, if you delve around the Spiers and Boden website long enough you'll find reference to the MacCann. We went to see Eliza Carthy backed by S&B a while ago and the MacCann got an airing that night, I was pretty impressed with his playing.

240? It will be the most i've ever invested in an instrument. :) I'd better get saving....or ask for contributions from family.

Current price for the Jack/Jackie/Rochelle at The Music Room is 269.99! In March 2007 when I got a Jack and a Jackie the Jackie was about 199 and the Jack and Rochelle 210

#18 Richard Morse

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 05:55 PM

Current price for the Jack/Jackie/Rochelle at The Music Room is 269.99! In March 2007 when I got a Jack and a Jackie the Jackie was about 199 and the Jack and Rochelle 210

The Button Box sells both models for the same price 178 (we even have a used one at the moment for 155) . I don't know how much shipping and UK tax would be though it seems that there might be some savings by taking advantage of our weak dollar :P

-- Rich --




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