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Everything posted by KCMetroGnome

  1. I'm leaving tomorrow to go camping. Normally I would take my concertina with me. However, it is supposed to get into the 90s F (30s C, I think). Obviously this is not good for an instrument, but how bad is it? I'm dealing with an Elise and I've already ordered a Beaumont, so it's not a huge monetary issue. But I still don't want to ruin my instrument. Am I okay to bring the Elise for three days, or should she stay at home?
  2. Thanks so much for all of this feedback! It has been most helpful!
  3. All - I had some great help from this forum almost 6 years ago when I purchased my Elise Duet concertina. I have enjoyed it over the years and I feel I'm finally in a spot financially where I can afford an upgrade. My main instrument is a 120 bass accordion, and I expect that to continue to be my main instrument, so as nice as a Wakker instrument would be, I don't feel I can justify the cost over a Peacock or a Beaumont. Just looking at layouts and ranges it appears the Beaumont is the direction I would want to go (specifically because I would love to have that RH C#, D# and, to a lesser degree, Bb). However, I wanted to get some feedback from the forum of what I should be evaluating in addition to just the layout. I live in Kansas City, so the odds are pretty low that I would be able to get somewhere to actually try both instruments (though I would be happy for someone to tell me of somewhere in the KC area that I could try them). I'd also love to hear recordings of each if you can point me to them. I don't want to cause any sort of rift, as I'm sure this forums has loyalists to each maker and possibly even the makers themselves. So I won't be offended if people want to skip on answering this post. I'm just hoping to get as much information as possible before I take the plunge on either instrument. Thanks! Rob
  4. Very nice! I'm particularly fond of "Evergreen"! Thanks for posting!
  5. I can speak to this somewhat. I consider myself a "very good" piano accordionist and I added a Hayden Duet to my collection several years ago to have something small that I could sit on the floor with my newborn daughter and play. I would not say that the systems are similar in general. But there are some similarities. The biggest plus of the Hayden system is the logic behind it. So, if you are used to the logic behind the stradella bass system in the LH of the accordion, you will not have trouble finding the logic and the patterns in the Hayden system. And, once you understand the logic and are used to the chords, the same patterns can be done in any key over the range of the instrument. In that way, it is much like the LH of the accordion. I would actually not make a significant comparison to the piano side of the accordion. The Hayden system is much more logical and consistent than a piano keyboard. Note that this doesn't make it "better", especially if you've spent years perfecting your piano arpeggios and scales. But it is more logical. The Duet systems, in general, are also similar to the accordion (or piano, or other keyboard instrument) in that they allow easy playing of accompaniment in the left hand with melody in the right hand, or counterpoints between the hands, etc. So, while I would not say the systems are particularly similar, I will say that my background with piano and theory transferred very nicely. It was very easy for me to spend 3-5 days with the Tutor that came with the Elise Hayden Duet and feel that I was then confident to pick up most any basic folk or children's song and play melody and chords with my kids. In full disclosure, lest I risk setting expectations wrong, I have a music degree from the university. So when I say that I have a "background with piano and theory", that's where I'm coming from. If you've played piano accordion for years, I would expect you'll pick up the Hayden quickly. If you've played piano accordion for 1 year, your experience might not fit the "3-5 days spent with the Tutor" that I described.
  6. Hey Kevin! I came from a similar background, in that I'm a competent musician on other instruments (french horn and accordion) and wanted to pick up a concertina. Largely I was looking for something to play children's songs on with my kids, meaning it was intended mostly to accompany vocals and to play simple melodic lines. First off, I will reiterate what others have said. Everyone has different tastes, and what works for me may not work for you. But I will say that, based on what you've described, I think a duet may be what you're looking for. I have VERY limited experience with the English, but even a short glance at a fingering chart makes it obvious that it is very well suited for playing melodic lines, and not so great for playing chords and accompaniments. A duet will make it much easier to play chords, arpeggios, boom-chucks, or whatever accompaniment you like while a singer or instrumentalist plays above your accompaniment. I've also found that I have no trouble playing melodies on my duet, though I'm sure I could do fancier ones on an English. I purchased my starter (an Elise Hayden Duet) from the Button Box almost 4 years ago. At the time they had a "rent to own" sort of program. You could rent an instrument for a block of time (3 months, if I recall). If you wanted, you could mail the instrument back and rent another one. When you selected one to purchase, they would apply part of the rent you'd paid (half of it, if I remember right) towards the purchase price. I found this to be a very non-threatening way to sample the instruments. I ordered the Elise duet first, and I never returned it. Good luck in your search!
  7. I was in your shoes a few years ago and had similarly narrowed it down to duet or English. There is also no concertina culture here in Kansas city, so I was left with the Internet. I found that Button Box has a rental program. If you don't like the instrument you return it and if you like it they apply part of the rental cost to the purchase. That way you could try a few things with less up front commitment. I certainly think that what you've described calls for a duet concertina. I ended up going with the Elise, but it's also not my main instrument (I pull out my accordion when I want to play harder things). The Elise works fine much of the time for traditional tunes and kids songs, but at least once or twice a session I'm stymied on a song I'd like to play. As soon as I can save up and justify the expense it is my intent to upgrade to a more expensive instrument. I'm afraid I can't speak to benefits and drawbacks of other duet systems, as I've only tried the Hayden. All said, contact the Button Box to try an English (I think you'll find it isn't what you're looking for) or an Elise. I think you'd find the Elise to be fine for learning on, but you'd want to upgrade before long. The good news is that there is a trade up offer for the concertina connection instruments.
  8. Hello all! Though my budget won't allow it for a while yet, I'm beginning to look at what I'd like to buy when I upgrade my Elise duet. I was able to find video of the Beaumont on their website, but I'm not finding any videos of the Peacock or the higher end W-1/2 and H-1/2. Am I simply overlooking them? Could someone point me in the right direction? Thanks!
  9. Concertina is not my primary instrument. But in piano, accordion and in what concertina playing I've done, I've found that it not only varies from person to person but even song to song. The accompaniment method that works great in one song can be a total flop in another. I think your approach sounds fine! You just have to force yourself to practice it that way. Eventually, faster than you think, if you are consistent in forcing yourself to practice that way, you'll be able to quickly identify when a tune calls for lighter accompaniment and then be able to do it. Best of luck! It will be frustrating for a while, but you'll be a more versatile player when you're done!
  10. TMBG, of course! I'm so familiar with them that I wasn't thinking of them as indie rock. And I'll definitely have to have a listen to some of those other groups. Thanks!
  11. I've noticed something that seems interesting to me here and in another forum I follow: many people who are taking up the concertina or smallish accordions seem to be doing so to play in punk or indie rock bands. I'm having trouble mentally hearing this. Does anyone know of a source where I can hear such a band playing with an accordion or concertina? I'm interested in YouTube, but I have no problem paying to buy a song or two on iTunes if needed to get a feel for this style.
  12. If you have the tutor book that comes with the instrument, it's worth going through. If not, contact concertina connection or button box to see if you can get one.
  13. Hey all, I have been gigging for quite some time. It is not my day job, but I do consider myself an accomplished player (mostly of accordion, but excusable on concertina. It's irrelevant for my question anyway). I am curious: what do others charge when they play gigs? I feel like I ask for a reasonable price, but I don't really have anything to compare it to. Rob
  14. I don't know that I have anything new to add, but I'll chime in. I can't say a lot about the anglo, as the bisonoric concept is totally foreign to me. I've studied music for many years and at the university, and so my brain was not wired to the anglo system. That doesn't make it bad, but I think it is a harder switch for someone used to other instruments. Perhaps for someone just learning their first instrument it would not be an issue. The Hayden duet, on the other hand, is brilliantly laid out (as has been stated before). I went through a similar search to yours about a year ago after our daughter was born. I consider myself an accordion player (and still do, as it's quite versatile) but I wanted something that I could sit on the floor with my daughter and play. After much research I ordered the Elise from the Button Box. They and Concertina Connection were both quite helpful as I tried to identify what instrument I wanted to try, and both offered to let me sample several with me only being out of pocket for shipping as we tried various instruments until I found the one I wanted to keep. I started with the Elise and I never returned it. I was concerned about the missing notes. For my purposes it hasn't been an issue. At some point I will probably want to move beyond playing tunes on the floor with my daughter and I'll need to step up. If you want to play in an ensemble you'll also run into problems. But if you're playing on your own and starting with simple tunes you can put them in a key that works even with the missing notes. Either way, you're going to be glad your getting into the concertina! It has been a delight since the day I got it on my doorstep!
  15. I love the C#' and Eb' on the right hand side! Very cool! I guess I'll start saving up
  16. I recently bought an elise as my first concertina and I've been pleased. I play several instruments and was a little worried about the missing notes. I've missed them some, but transposition is so easy on the hayden layout that it's not been too bad. Mostly I play folk tunes and children's songs with our baby and it works very well for that. It could be a problem if you are playing with a group, though, since you can't just transpose into whatever key you want like you can when playing alone.
  17. Contact the Button Box. They will rent you a Concertina Connection line of intro-level concertinas in 3-month increments. If you don't like it, you ship it back after 3 months. If you like it, they apply half the rental fee to the purchase of the instrument. I was in exactly your shoes about 4 months ago, and I'm expecting my purchased instrument on my doorstep this evening.
  18. I'm in a very similar boat. I've played several other instruments over the years and really consider myself an accordionist at this stage in life. When our daughter was born in april I wanted to look into getting a concertina as an instrument I could sit on the floor to play with her. Of course, I also had never played one and, living in kc, didn't know where to try one. In the end, I got in touch with the button box and found that they not only offer the trade up, but a rental as well. I am currently renting an elise for 3 months. If/when I decide to buy it, they offer to apply half the rental price to the purchase. If I had decided to return it, I would have been out about $150 instead of $1000 plus. That was a much more comfortable way for me to try it. You won't want to return it, though.
  19. This question may seem very basic to those of you in this forum, but I've never opened up a concertina before, so I am curious. Is it possible to rearrange the notes played by the buttons on one or both hands of a concertina without basically rebuilding it? This is not what I have in mind, but by way of example: If I had a Hayden duet and wanted to rearrange the reeds so that the buttons played a Maccann-style layout, is this possible? Please note - at this time I am not asking if this is advisable. That's a question for later. I am just wondering if it is even possible and, if so, how difficult it is. Thanks!
  20. One thing that several people have mentioned, and which Dirge mentions frequently in his posts on other threads, is the relative ease of finding a vintage duet, especially a Maccann. I must not be looking in the right places, or I must live in the wrong place, as I can't find any vintage instruments for purchase. Where does one look to purchase a reliable vintage instrument? My searches keep bringing me back to concertina connection and button box, which are fine, but limited on the vintage instruments. Thoughts?
  21. One thing that several people have mentioned, and which Dirge mentions frequently in his posts on other threads, is the relative ease of finding a vintage duet, especially a Maccann. I must not be looking in the right places, or I must live in the wrong place, as I can't find any vintage instruments for purchase. Where does one look to purchase a reliable vintage instrument? My searches keep bringing me back to concertina connection and button box, which are fine, but limited on the vintage instruments. Thoughts?
  22. Thanks again all for the input! I think you've won me over to a duet style over English. It's just a matter of evaluating which layout. Also, for the record, I discovered that I was looking at a key layout for the Elise, which is why notes were missing. Speaking of which, has anyone tried an Elise or concertina connection's Hayden "upgrade", the peacock?
  23. I have a few questions about this. And I am genuinely curious. I am not trying to be a smart alec or come across as confrontational. I have never actually played a concertina. Everything I know is from online reading. I studied music in college, so my brain is very accustomed to working in theory and regular systems and patterns. So here is the thought process that lead me to the English. 1) The ease of having a truly chromatic instrument. I believe that it would frustrate me to no end to have an instrument that was lacking even a few accidentals and couldn't play in every key. 2) To my theory-inclined brain, the layout of the English makes sense. A very short glance at the key layout reveals how melodies work and how the triadic chords are laid out neatly and how major chords and minor chords are played quite similarly. 3) As I looked a duets, I really had only looked at the Hayden layout. It basically appeared like the left hand of my 120 bass accordion, with the familiar circle of fifths layout. At your suggestion I took a look at the Maccann layout, and it baffles me. I can't find any rhyme or reason to it. Not that it isn't necessarily good, I just don't get it from looking at it. So, those are the reasons I specifically asked about the English and not the duet. I would love to hear your responses to those items. Again, I am not trying to be argumentative. I am genuinely curious.
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