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Posts posted by LateToTheGame

  1. On 1/22/2020 at 8:31 AM, John, Wexford said:

    In this recording, Noel Hill is playing an A? / E? concertina, which is the same as saying that he is playing an E? version of a G / D concertina.

    I read this as not A/E but A something or other symbol I don't understand and E something or other symbol I don't understand LOL.  What that does that mean? I am interested.     


    I was told he was playing a Bb/F, which would correspond with an A#/E# if that is what those symbols mean. 

  2. I had a conner for years.  It was very very nice.  Again, who has been playing it and where it has been will make a big difference. If you are buying used make sure you know your seller. And make sure you can return if it you don't like it.  And best, play it in person.  Sometimes Hobgoblin has a Connor.


    Conner's are not hybrids, but rather made on the Wheatstone model by John Connor, now retired.  He was a maker at the  Wheatstone Co. who struck out on on his own.  Some of his concertinas used salvaged concertina reeds, others new I believe.  He initially started out sourcing reeds with Chris Alger's Barleycorn Concertina company if I remember correctly.  I may be wrong on that detail. 


    I think the Wheatstone key layout is what you have on that Rochelle,   But a lot of players moved towards the Jeffries.  The differences are subtle, with 3 or 4 notes in different places on the upper right hand. The most relevant to a new player the C# placement.


    After 20 years of play my Connor appreciated a fresh tuning and adjustment by a pro (Greg J) here in the states.  But the bellows and action were still fine and it certainly remained playable as it was. 



    At your price  you can also go down the hybrid/true concertina reed instrument rabbit hole.  Many people with your budget and your son's experience are very happy with the hybrid concertinas out there.  The plus side is they can be purchased new off the shelf with a warranty from someplace like the Irish Concertina Company or the Button Box in the US and often sound very good.  I have heard Morse  played very well. Hybirds can sometimes sound like small accordions rather than true concertinas.  But not always. And the action can be a mite slower, but hybrid makers have been perfecting their craft for the last 20 years or so and some sound very nice.


    You might want to start another discussion  looking for recommendations on hybrids as well. 

  3. With any antique instrument you would be best to shop through a dealer like Chris Algar at Barleycorn Concertinas, or have a trusted teacher look at the instrument in question. There is a huge variation in playability and sound from most of the  recognized big name older instruments.  Factors like the year it was made play into its quality.  And how well or poorly it was maintained or stored will be huge factors as well.   Barleycorn concertinas goes over every instrument they sell.  


    There are other makers, restorers and shops out there. So continue to ask for recommendations on this forum. 


    If you do buy from a private party I'd recommend you have a trusted teacher look at the instrument both inside and out, before you put that kind of money down. 


    As for the definition of student instrument verses professional instruments---  It is unlikely you will find a "pro" instrument in that price range. But depending on your son's level of interest you will find something levels above his Rochelle that will either be a stepping stone or a lifetime instrument.


    Good luck.  You will find the right instrument out their somewhere.

  4. Dipper often customizes for per the customer's request.  So you may have an outlier or two even if you know the system he was aiming for (Wheatstone or Jeffries).  He may keep a record with a chart if you provide him the number on your concertina, but basically he will likely have a standard layout with a few variations.   If you can print out the chart for the Clare in richard's post, then compare with a tuner, tuner app or piano you may have all the answers at your fingertips.  


    I hope you enjoy the concertina.  You have one of the best instruments out there if you have decided to learn yourself.

  5. HaHa, They are asking about  that little wooden accordion I am playing.   I have also been asked, "Is that a clarinet?" after playing the wooden flute. (Which I am much better at having put in a few more decades.)  There is something attention getting about the concertina though.  I have sat in sessions playing flute well alongside very good players in a crowded bar, only to have the group as a whole more or less ignored. But I've pulled out the concertina and run through a rather dodgy set of Comb Your Hair and Curl It and The Foxhunters played as hop jigs, while my session mates were hitting them as slip jigs only to get everyone to stop dead in their tracks and reward us with a round of applause. 

  6. Yes.  I had my earphones plugged in and didn't notice. HaHa.  This reminded me of an old  Lawrence Welk show my local PBS station aired recently.  It was in their black and white days. The theme was "France" and the fellow who usually plays the accordion was playing a very passable French tune on a 30 button anglo while strolling around the stage. The skill set is not an easy transfer so he put the time in to learn it.   I have no idea why those connected in my head, but it is nice to see.  I am constantly asked, "What's that?"  When I play.

  7. I just noticed a listing on Barleycorn Concertinas for a D/A Lachenal which is temporarily being listed as a D/A as it was originally a D/A instrument.  It is completely restored, but it seems Mr. Alger is testing  the waters for this original tuning.  He goes on to say in the listing if there is  no interest in this instrument in these  keys he will re-tune it to C/G.  So if you are looking for a rare bird, here you go.

  8. I have an older Edgley Heritage concertina which sounds quite lovely and plays with that fluidity you describe.  Mine is an older one made with Rosewood and I find it a bit too heavy for my ancient wrists so I will be moving it on sometime soon.   I do think his later models are lighter.   You could ask him.   I also have a Dipper that I play most of the time and find the action on both instruments is very nice. 


    He has been a great communicator and could answer any question you may have.   


    I hope you post regarding the trials of the Irish Concertina Company instruments after your trip.    I'd love to hear more about them as well.


  9. I had a Wheatstone system Stagi concertina that I learned on and as I up graded to a Conner before hybrids were a thing it was also a Wheatstone system. So I leaned towards them.    I think most of the intermediate hybrids out there are Jeffries system.  So that seems to have ruled the day.  Having that push and pull c# is seen as important to most people, but I don't notice it.  You will get more answers to that question if you start a separate topic.  

  10. The bigger buttons on the less expensive instruments would actually be difficult to manage when playing at speed.  You will not notice the size of a good button on  a well made concertina.  I recently played a hybrid what  had buttons smaller than the buttons you describe on your Chinese concertina, but  felt huge to me after playing my Conner and Dipper.  That may have been a Button Box Morse Ceilli and was a very nice hybrid I borrowed at a session. And what you may think to be tiny buttons on my Dipper are perfectly domed and I don't feel them at all.   That my be due to the precision of the pressure on the Dipper as well as the size of the buttons. I also have a Edgley Concertina that has buttons that appear to be larger than my Dipper's or my (no longer mine) Conner's, but feel very similar under the hand.



    It is tough to pick a concertina.  We don't get to go down to the concertina store and try out a wide range of instruments.  We get to order something and hope for the best.  What your fingers may be noticing could be how well the button is domed (curved) and how hard or softly you need to push to sound the notes.   I have been very curious about the instruments the Irish Concertina Company has been making of late, as well as a new introduction to the hybrid scene, The Blackthorn, sold by Chris Alger in the UK.  And wish I could run over to a mythical concertina store and try them all out. 


    And, yes, you will develop a bit of a callous on each finger, but they won't be as pronounced as a guitar or fiddle player's.  With a better concertina you will be touching your buttons with less force to sound the notes as well.



  11. Interesting velcro idea...  I used to think I needed to keep the concertina out to encourage my playing it.  But now I find I will gravitate to its case as well.   I have pets and many humans in my house so one of my concerns was hair and dust.  The case sits on my desk in my living room out of direct sunlight and away from forced air or heating vents.  It is easy to grab on a whim, even though my favorite spot to play is my kitchen. 

  12. When I was learning I had the same question.When I was learning in a vacuum, before I knew another concertina player and the internet was in its infancy I ended getting a G/D 30 stagi because I thought that was a logical decision.  I didn't end up using it.   As soon as  I got myself a 30 key C/G I understood the ease of playing most Irish tunes on an instrument with that configuration.   You do end up using all the rows. But that is actually quite easy.  


    Probably the more pertinent question is Wheatstone or Jeffries systems.   They are subtly different and if you switch you will not lose your mind for more than a couple of weeks.  Correct me if I'm wrong hive mind, but I do think that most of the readily available inexpensive concertinas are Wheatstone models, while many of the newer hybrids lean towards the Jeffries.  


    I am very happy with my Wheatstone configured Dipper, which I requested since I had been playing a Wheatstone configured Conner for years.  While many others swear by the Jeffries system.

  13. I have not seen these in person, but does anyone have any experience with the new Blackthorn concertina?  It seems like a good starter instrument at   999 pounds. The others are really only good for you to experiment with and see, "does my brain work this way"  If you are already considering a 700 pound expenditure--  You will grow out of the others in a matter of months.  Are there any rentals near you?  Anyone you know you could borrow something from for a few weeks?   If you think you may bail rental would be the best option.


    You will likely take a 200 pound hit on resale of anything if you abandon ship.


    Check and see what options for trade-in trade ups are offered as well.   That may make a difference. 


    As for  a hard case, you don't really need one at this stage unless you are  a kid or a terrible klutz. The kind of bag you can get for $20 will be fine until you find yourself trekking off to sessions.

  14. You can find out what key it is in by pushing the first button of the center row on your right hand side while holding the instrument in front of you with the straps over your hands. Push  your hands slightly towards each other while holding that button down. This should be the button your index finger reaches easily. If it is a C/G instrument it  should sound a C. When you are pulling your hands away from each other you will get a different note, but you don't have to worry about that right now.  On the row closest to the strap on the same side push and sound that first button. It should be a G.  If you are getting other notes you are likely in a different key.  An  older instrument may have gone slightly out of tune so it may be slightly off compared to your tuner or piano, but it should be in the neighborhood.  A C/G instrument is the most popular for Irish music.  If all the reeds sound when you push or pull that is a good thing. Don't despair if there is something rattling around inside or not all the reeds sound. If there are things rattling around inside I'd wait to test it.  Broken parts can break other parts.  Most  things are fixable.  Price will vary as to playability.  Most people will have to bring it to someone to repair, though some here could manage it themselves.  That serial number will tell you when it was made. Earlier instruments generally sound better than ones made later. But that is a generalization.  

  15. If I'm not mistaken Noel Hill's system is vary similar to what they are teaching on the Online Academy of Irish Music.  (Please chime in here if I am incorrect hive mind)  If you are interested in getting that system under your belt you could subscribe for a month or two of their lessons.  I have found them very useful over they years I have looked at them.  If you had more options of fingerings you were comfortable with you might get more out of a camp or school situation.  

  16. If this is Rosewood Cites II restrictions for international shipping certain woods, including Rosewood are going to be lifted on November 26.  I can;'t tell what wood this is at glance but it may need a permit before that date.   They did change the rules this year, effective Nov. 26, 2019.

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  17. 9 hours ago, Frank Edgley said:

    If the  leather is beginning to crumble, it will probably continue to do so.....a losing battle, most likely.

    You are absolutely correct.  I was thinking of the folks trying to keep an old cheapie  like a well worn Stagi with leather bellows alive for a few more months while they wait for their name to hit the top of someones list. :)  Certainly not a serious repair.  Though in those cases leather patches would likely be a better bet. 


    I know I had an old paper bellows accordion that I kept alive for awhile with pva glue and  heavy paper patches.  In that case it was one of those old small hohner piano keyed accordions declared suitable for decoration for the most part...   It went through quite a few hands including those of many children before returning to the Goodwill store from which it came.

  18. I don't need to fix any bellows, but I wondered if any of you have experimented with this.  (My brain is an interesting place)  A few years back used this product in an electrical repair.  Some seem dry brittle but some advertise themselves as remaining flexible. I believe the one I used remained flexible, but the repair is in a past house so I can't really check. I wonder if it would serve as a stop gap semi temporary repair when leather is beginning to crumble.  Again, I wouldn't recommend using it without experimentation, certainly not on a valuable instrument, but even the liquid version of Flex Seal stuff they are pushing on infomercials looks like it could helpsome one get by on a cheap concertina or buy some time on a set of bellows that are going to be replaced.   Just curious.

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