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March Hare

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About March Hare

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    New Member

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  • Interests
    Folk songs, tunes, concertinas
  • Location
    W Midlands
  1. March Hare

    26 buttons oncertina?

    Looks like a very nice concertina - and could be a great player. Looking at the Lachenal pricelist from c1920, it appears to be: Newly Improved ….rosewood…five-fold….in mahogany box….. The 20-key cost £4-7-0, 26-key £5-13-6. The 30 plus-key models have 6-fold bellows. May I say that those 20- and 26-key anglos were (and are) good quality instruments made with fine materials - finely-fretted rosewood ends, good steel reeds etc and are not budget solutions in place of instruments with more keys. A player may choose a fine 20 or 26 key deliberately. There are some fabulous 26-key Jeffries and Crabb anglos around, as well as 20-key Jeffries and Wheatstones. I know of a couple of beautiful Lachenals (26-key anglo and 35-key English) that have have large scale reeds which could not be accommodated if there were more buttons/reeds, so there may be technical reasons why less is better. Best wishes
  2. Agreed - enough is sufficient is apt here. I won’t pretend that the 20-key will cope easily with lots of modulations, bass runs etc. I just want us to celebrate what this simply wonderful instrument will do, and that is: play thousands of joyful tunes and songs for dancing, singing, playing, listening. No apologies or reservations. William Kimber is our best example - I wish there were more good players and hope there soon will be. (I only know of one recorded tune where WK uses a top-row button, but I can’t deny that he played a 30-key Jeffries, not a 20-key. I like to think that wasn’t his choice, or it just didn’t matter to him, but I am very grateful that we have recordings of a lot of his tunes.) Cheers, Steve
  3. Yes - such brilliant examples: fixed-wheel bike, early piano, Ford Ka, etc. Also the classical guitar, which changed from a smaller, lighter, more resonant instrument in the early 1800s, to a bigger and heavier box for big concert halls. Guitarists are going back to the earlier guitars because the pieces by Sor, Aguado, Carulli, Giuliani etc sound right. Same for the 20-key anglo which, for decades did all that the player wanted to make music. Like John K with the Hohner one-row and two-row melodeons, Oscar Woods and his Hohners, and the great William Kimber, who played the 30-key as if it was a 20-key, ignoring the extra buttons. So perhaps that is why there was never a need for high end 20-key anglos. Less is more.
  4. That’s a really good question. The 20 key anglo is such a great instrument in its own right, not just to learn on, or play while we save for a 30 key. I think the comparison with the one-row melodeon is spot on, and shows that instruments are not necessarily better if they are more complicated, with more notes, buttons and reeds. I have a decent Lachenal mahogany-ended anglo, and the Lachenal rosewood-ended models can be wonderful - I had a lovely one that was loud, fast and bright. Only let it go as a trade-in for a better 20-key, but I still miss it. Trouble is, while there are lots of decent 20-keys, and plenty of good ones, there are very few of top-quality. For example, I only know of one of Wheatstone’s best: a 20-key Linota made in the 1920s, and a few basic Jeffries. Any more? So (sadly) I’m a bit short of evidence for why less is more, and why the 20-key is so special, and isn’t just a poor person’s 30 key. Lighter, punchier, more responsive, more space for bigger reeds…..? It could be, but I need more proof. Where is the brilliant player to demonstrate that the 20-key anglo can be the supreme concertina? Then there will be a waiting list for 20-key Dippers. I live in hope. Best wishes, Steve
  5. March Hare

    expanded: button layout options on 20b vs. 30b Anglo

    Always great to see posts on the 20 key anglo. It is a wonderful and joyous instrument, and under-rated so cruelly. I think that we need a fine musician to show what can be done with the 20 key, a bit like the maestro John K has stunned us for years with superb tunes and songs with the basic Hohner Pokerwork and one-row melodeon. It is a great instrument, not just for learners and novelty stuff. BTW can I add that I find the pull C (LH little finger on the inner row) very useful: lovely chord change on the G row LH buttons 6 8 10 from pull to push (nice wide Am to G maj in first inversion). Also good for the root of a pull C chord. And it works ok at the bottom of the D7 chord when a tune moves into G. After all, Lachenal made many tens of thousands of 20 key anglos in this standard layout. Perhaps it is time for the humble 20 key to have a higher profile. Best wishes to all, Steve