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Advice over a first purchase.


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Evening. After having listened a long time to boeremusiek i've decided I would very much like to learn the concertina and begin making my own boeremusiek etcetera. However I am on a very small budget. I have done research and have found a second hand Schöler concertina for sale for what seems to be a very reasonable price. However if I was to inspect the concertina in person I would not know what to look for, aside from obvious cracks/woodworm damage, to make sure the concertina was in working order. Is there a way I can tell if there are false notes etc/that something is wrong? I'd greatly appreciate any advice. I have attached the photos I could find of the very concertina in question.

 

Boeregroete

 

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Greetings and welcome, Boeregroete-

 

With such an instrument, generally, cracks in wood and a slight air leak here or there in the bellows isn't as likely to be as significant as sticking buttons, out of tune or bad-sounding reeds. I suggest playing the instrument, along with a companion who is familiar enough with music to have a basis for comparison. You could also take along a few inexpensive harmonicas in common keys (C, G, D) to compare how the concertina sounds. With this, you can assess how it functions by manipulating all of the keys (to ascertain whether they move freely both upon depression and release).

Edited by catty
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Hi,

 

Thank you very much for the information I will keep that all in mind when inspecting the concertina. I have a guitar tuner that works a bit like a harmonica, so I could possibly use that for testing - ( it has the notes E A D G B E on it ). It appears this diagram matches the layout of the concertina in question, and so I could potentially use it in order to test various notes - anglo20-W1000H300.gif

 

Also, might someone be able to confirm that this concertina is a 'Boer concertina' or boerekonsertina as I suspect, but am not sure about.

Edited by kaapenaar
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Hello Kaapenaar,

 

Your concertina is certainly a "Boere konsertina" (German made). The best person to check out the instrument would be Piet Visser, Phone #(083) 542-4069, who is a member of this forum, he lives in Kraaifontein, Brackenfell, Cape Town. Another person to help you out would be Allen Green from Mosselbaai (Mossel Bay). He builds and repairs concertinas.

 

With regards to learning concertina music...see Piet Visser. There are also two branches of the Boeremusiek Guild in Cape Town where they have weekly meetings/sessions playing Boeremusiek with concertinas and piano accordions. You can also check out "Boeremusiek Gilde" on Facebook for more information and contacts.

 

You may wish to start saving some money to buy an "Engelse" - or anglo concertina from Koot Brits (012) 804-7082 or Willie van Wyk (012) 802-1104.

 

Boeremusiek Groete,

 

Ben

Edited by Ben
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Thank you very much for the information Ben. It looked like a great bargain at first, however when I looked up the name Scholer later last night it appears most regard it as a terrible brand of concertina and should be avoided at all costs. The seller is also in Jeffreys Baai and that makes picking the concertina up in person very difficult if not impossible. So I'm beginning to think perhaps I should wait and save if the majority of cheap concertinas are going to be of remarkably inferior quality, its just going to take a very long time to save enough for these custom made concertinas which appear to all be very expensive.

 

Thank you, that sounds very interesting - I'm glad to hear of it. I visited the Boeremusiek Gild website(s) and saw on the instrument section the name Scholer mentioned, without any information as to its quality, so I foolishly assumed that it would consequently be a fine/reasonable brand to purchase.

 

So do boeremusiek concertina players play engelse consertinas as frequently as they do boerekonsertinas? I wasn't sure if all boeremusiek concertina players rigidly only play boerekonsertinas or if they just play whatever type they wish to play. I was just worried about buying the 'wrong' type of concertina for boeremusiek. I remember reading somewhere that Willie van Wyk is booked up for 2 years! Id have liked to have bought the Scholer for how cheap it is, but if its going to be a terrible instrument then i'd better not.

 

Boeregroete

Edited by kaapenaar
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It looked like a great bargain at first, however when I looked up the name Scholer later last night it appears most regard it as a terrible brand of concertina and should be avoided at all costs.

Scholers vary. I've got a couple that are playable, though they take a lot of effort to play, but I've also heard plenty of stories about worthless ones. I suspect that they varied in quality from model to model, and perhaps individually as well. I wouldn't "avoid at all costs", but I would recommend caution.

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Yes, the one's I've played had gamey buttons, action, reeds and intonation. Still, one could wrestle a tune from them. So, if the price is right and there's nothing else 'round the corner, it could well be viable.

 

I kept my el cheapos for the kids and for loaners.

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Hi.

In many youtube videos I watched SA players use all kinds of concertinas, and of all systems.

Here's one 12 sided, looking like 40 buttons Anglo.

Here's one 20 button "cheap" looking, but most probably

.

Another 20 button, traditionally made (ancient or new, I don't know),

.

Most probably Schooler 20 button, just like on your picture.

.

Super-Duper Anglo and

. (please note the 20 button Schooler at the feet of Duet player)

Now, I personally prefer the sound of those "cheap" concertinas and suspect that Boer musicians don't just go for the cheapest they can find, but actually rebuild and re-tune those. So if you really want to buy what you call "boer concertina", it may look like a cheap German one, but it will not be inexpensive for you to buy. More, there is a school in Germany, where they make instruments that look exactly like that Schooler, but of excellent quality. 20 and 30 buttons.

I would disagree that for Boer music you need more than 20 buttons, as it was original instrument for the music and music is well suited to it and wise versa.

20 button entry level Lachenals, even with brass reeds, may be very good instrument for you.

What's more, you can easily swap some reeds and chromatize it, exchanging some G row reeds with their sharps. Even retuning is not necessary, it works well. I did this with my Lachenal and it worked very well. I still have it.

But it probably unnecessary to mention Rochelle 30 button from Concertina Connection.

On the other hand, if Rochelle is out of your reach, why bother? Get yourself Ukulele, or Banjo Ukulele and you'll be very authentic in SA style. Banjo Ukes can be found for $100-200 and be excellent instruments.

Edited by m3838
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Thank you very much for the information. Unfortunately I cannot look at all the videos as here in south africa my bandwidth is ridiculously small and expensive - but I'll remember what you've said. Thats interesting about the German school, I have noticed some concertinas that look exactly like scholers, down to the flower decoration but without any mention of brand. Ultimately I am not too concerned about the 'cheapness' of the concertina as I have gotten by for years on a 'cheap' guitar with no problems. I wondered about that, I'm glad to hear it would be easy to change reeds if I wanted to. I have found a very reasonably priced second hand 30 button Rochelle that I'm seriously considering purchasing so it may be an option. I've managed to find about 3 samples of it playing also and I like its sound - it doesnt have that 'boxy' sound of some other cheap concertinas I have heard in videos. Yes I've considered it, and I probably will try the banjo/ukelele in the future at some point as I am interested in it, as well as having played the guitar now for many years. I also saw a cheap mandolin the other day in a farm shop. Thank you for the detailed response, I will remember what you've said and most probably make use of it in the future.

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Grab the rochelle; it's what any learner gets told makes most sense when they ask here, and it's probably the only 3 row of use you can afford. I have no interest whatsoever in Anglos and even I have learnt this much!

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Grab the rochelle; it's what any learner gets told makes most sense when they ask here, and it's probably the only 3 row of use you can afford. I have no interest whatsoever in Anglos and even I have learnt this much!

Although not an Anglo player, I'm with Dirge on this one. The Rochelle assuming it works, and you can afford it, would be the best option.

After all, you can find out if you get on with it. No point in spending a fortune just to find out that you should have had the mandolin after all!

You could always sell the Rochelle on if it doesn't suit you.

Good Luck, and let us know what you decide.

Ralph.

Shame you Web connection is so clunky, there are some great links to all sorts of players on this board.

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Thank you both for the information, I'm content then that Rochelle is a fine choice to begin with. I will hopefully purchase the Rochelle that I have in mind, I will say in a few days whether all has gone as planned. Yes, its terrible to say the least, as I think of all the concertina videos/song/tutorials floating around the internet - but life's life. I'm slightly fortunate in that just before I started this new highly limited connection I recorded quite a few boeremusiek songs/medleys from an internet radio - so I'm sure they will help when I'm learning.

 

Thank you

 

boeregroete

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Thank you both for the information, I'm content then that Rochelle is a fine choice to begin with. I will hopefully purchase the Rochelle that I have in mind, I will say in a few days whether all has gone as planned. Yes, its terrible to say the least, as I think of all the concertina videos/song/tutorials floating around the internet - but life's life. I'm slightly fortunate in that just before I started this new highly limited connection I recorded quite a few boeremusiek songs/medleys from an internet radio - so I'm sure they will help when I'm learning.

 

Thank you

 

boeregroete

 

Hmm.

Are you somewhere in the countryside? I didn't expect SA to have any worse Internet network than anywhere in the developed world. Do you travel to the larger cities nearby? Do they have internet? Or hot spots? I know back in my country Internet is paid for by the minute of use. You can't subscribe to it (or can, but at higher cost). Gets pretty expensive and they filter anything that's larger than certain mbts per something.

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Just outside of Cape Town, but not rural. The speed is ok but the main provider, telkom, charge ridiculously high rates for a very small monthly bandwidth allowance, and its capped too. I've just moved here and had a lot of trouble accidentally going Way over the limit inadvertently, its 5gb for an entire month I believe, but i've exceeded it twice accidentally already. I don't think hotspots are available here, perhaps in the most expensive hotels and so forth - but yes I have seen internet cafes here and there. So in general the speeds here are not terrible, but its the price you pay, the bandwidth limits, capping and braindead helpline assistance that really impacts you.

Edited by kaapenaar
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Thank you both for the information, I'm content then that Rochelle is a fine choice to begin with. I will hopefully purchase the Rochelle that I have in mind, I will say in a few days whether all has gone as planned. Yes, its terrible to say the least, as I think of all the concertina videos/song/tutorials floating around the internet - but life's life. I'm slightly fortunate in that just before I started this new highly limited connection I recorded quite a few boeremusiek songs/medleys from an internet radio - so I'm sure they will help when I'm learning.

 

Thank you

 

boeregroete

 

Another vote for the Rochelle. I have had one for two months now and can play a dozen tunes on it. Granted, I am in the market for a better anglo but the Rochelle is nice and will buy me all the time I need to shop around. (And still play at the same time!) Dave

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