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later Anglo Wheatstones: How "bad" are they?


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Hello,

 

I'm wondering if anyone can shed some light on the later anglo Wheatstones for me. I have done quite a bit of reading lately online about the apparent decline in quality on those concertinas made after the war but before Steve Dickinson took over Wheatstone. I've seen multiple times in my readings that they are not "as good". What I'm wondering is: How bad are they?

 

My situation: I'm looking into buying my first concertina (I've been renting one for awhile now). I had assumed my best bet for my current budget would be something like a Morse. However, I've been researching concertinas online and have come across later Anglo Wheatstones in the same price range as a Morse or other mid-range instruments. For my first instrument and with $2000 and under to spend, which of the two would you all recommend?

 

I realize this topic has been touched on in other forums but I couldn't find the specifics I was looking for. Apologies if this is a repeated thread. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks very much!

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JLO,

 

I can't speak on the Morse. I've only heard good things about them although I've never played or heard one.

I have a 1956 30b C/G Wheatstone which I bought from someone on this site. It plays very easily, is very responsive and has a nice mellow tone. It's not too loud and not too quiet (Like Baby Bear soup) It's plenty loud enough for me,,,, maybe too loud for my wife but that's her problem.smile.gif

I also can't speak on how well the Morse will hold it's value, if that's even a concern, perhaps someone here has experience with that. I'm sure if it's taken care of, it will do fine, maybe even gain in value. I think a Wheatstone would hold or gain in value regardless of when it was made. They've got that reputation and they've pretty much become collectors items since they don't make them anymore.

On that note, you can't buy a new Wheatstone, so you have to be careful to get one in good condition since it probably won't come with a guarantee and restoring one can get pretty expensive.

Decisions, decisions...unsure.gif

Good luck with whatever you decide.

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I'm foolish enough to comment on this, but first a disclaimer. My comments only apply to the 3 or 4 examples I was able to try when I was in the same market. Post-war Wheatstones offered for sale now may differ from what I found and I do not presume to second-guess their values or cost, or the sincerity of those offering them.

 

Anyway, between 10 and 12 years ago I was in the market to move up from a Stagi. I had a Lachenal for a year or two. At the time I was studying Irish dance music. We need not debate that inclination here, just to note that this style places considerable demands on an instrument for speed and dynamic range. It is also relevant that most of the hybrids had not appeared, though they were imminent. Only the Herrington was out then, and I did not have the experience with one that would lead me to purchase - I was ready to spend some cash, but only after trying the instrument, preferably several examples.

 

At the time a restored rosewood 30-b Lachenal went for 1200 to 1800 USD. Top notch Linotas and Jeffries in reputably restored condition were 4000-5000 (Crabbs as well). There was a market gap between 2000-4000, and a bunch of us (some on makers' waiting lists, others just saving up our money) impatient to move up from a Lachenal. In the late 1990s, all I found in this gap were the rare instruments by Connor, and 1950s Wheatstones. Both these at that time went for over 3000 as a rule. I tried as many as I could get my hands on. While they were clearly better than Lachenals, I had played a few of the heirloom boxes too. I guess that spoiled me, as I decided the step-up market was highly priced then for what you got. Again remember this was in the context of the time and my own (perceived) needs. One person's impression.

 

Shortly after, the hybrids burst onto the scene. Within a year or two we had Morse, Edgley, Norman, and Tedrow (among others, those were the makes I got to try personally). This changed the anglo market entirely. These are all very credible for demanding music, and all were under 2000. I got a Morse (used, they do hold value pretty well) and it still gets heavy session use - I have never found it lacking. I could be just as happy with the other hybrid makes. Lachenals stopped appreciating as demand from the Irish-learners market fell off. I sold my first one a while back for less than I spent on it (I always buy in at market peak!). Now some Lachenals are starting to look pricey to me (over 3000? maybe those are better than I ever had). I notice all sorts of prices for late Wheatstones today, they sometimes go for less now also. If a Lachenal and a late Wheatstone are priced the same, then do consider the latter. And some Wheatstones are very nicely done over in South Africa.

 

The upper middle and upper end have more great choices now too, but you didn't ask about those!

 

Other preferences are personal too. I still have an old Lachenal I play for fun now and then at home, but I've noticed that the instruments I've used seriously are all of modern (post-1995) manufacture. Some of us like having a warranty and a living maker. Others go for that old feel, and being an old-house nut, I understand that completely too.

 

I'd advise you to play other makes, even if they cost more than you are going to spend, so you can understand the strata in the market so to speak. Have fun!

 

Ken

Edited by Ken_Coles
Nuance!
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I'm wondering if anyone can shed some light on the later anglo Wheatstones for me. I have done quite a bit of reading lately online about the apparent decline in quality on those concertinas made after the war but before Steve Dickinson took over Wheatstone. I've seen multiple times in my readings that they are not "as good". What I'm wondering is: How bad are they?

 

My situation: I'm looking into buying my first concertina (I've been renting one for awhile now). I had assumed my best bet for my current budget would be something like a Morse. However, I've been researching concertinas online and have come across later Anglo Wheatstones in the same price range as a Morse or other mid-range instruments. For my first instrument and with $2000 and under to spend, which of the two would you all recommend?

This is not an easy call. If at all possible, find an opportunity to play one of each, one right after the other in the same room.

 

A few thoughts:

 

I know people with both types of concertina who are happy with them.

 

I've heard that postwar Wheatstones can vary in quality, so you should try to play the one you're thinking of buying ahead of your purchase if you can. I would guess that Morse etc. quality is at least a bit more consistent.

 

Some of the postwar Wheatstones (most often the ones with 40 buttons) were made with traditionally made reeds and traditional dovetailed reedpan slots. Others (the ones that are more likely to be in your price range) were made with "crimped" reeds that were screwed onto the reedpans, a less expensive construction method. Morses and other midrange/hybrid concertinas (Edgley, Tedrow, Herrington, Norman, etc.) are made with accordion-type reeds. A Wheatstone, even one with crimped reeds, will have more of a traditional concertina tone than any of those.

 

I wouldn't make any predictions about resale value for either one.

 

I think that all or nearly all of the postwar Wheatstones are in C/G, which is fine if that's what you want.

 

One advantage of a postwar Wheatstone as opposed to a vintage concertina from an earlier era is that it may well need less restoration than an older one would -- for one thing, I believe that the postwar ones were mostly or all made in modern pitch and won't need a major re-tune.

 

If I were in your position I'd probably go for a Wheatstone, especially if I could get an opportunity to play one before buying and liked what I found. But I'm very fond of the concertina-reed sound.

 

Hope that helps!

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I would think that a concertina w/ concertina reeds, in good playing condition just wouldn't be the cost as a hydrid, which is more what you get for $2000. So, a Wheatstone, early or late, those all have concertina reeds. I think I saw a later out on the internet market recently, but it was that cheap.

 

I recommend the Tedrow Zephyr.

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I have owned a Morse anglo in G/D for a couple of weeks now. I absolutely am in love with her. In the interest of full disclosure I must admit, though, that all I had played before was a Rochelle :D and a Stagi :angry: . Still, I would cast a vote for the Morse in that price range. I think it is well worth the price I paid for it and hope to play her many years. Dave

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a late wheatstone in good condition is a fine instrument. however, when buying used, you might not be able to tell if it is in good condition! the metal ended wheatstones from the 1950's can be very nice. i'm not a fan of the wooden ended ones from the same period (plastic buttons), and would only buy one if i could get my hands on it first (and for some reason needed one :P ).

 

all in all i would say a hybrid is a safer buy. all of the quality hybrid makers today are offering easy to play and well-made instruments. i wouldn't recommend buying a "late" wheatstone unless you could try it in person, or if someone with a discerning eye recommended it to you specifically.

 

as for the question, "how bad are they?" well, i would say in comparison to the earlier concertinas by the same manufacturer there is no competition. in good condition they are as good as a modern hybrid, and maybe a little bit more responsive in the reeds (but less so in the buttons).

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Hello,

 

I'm wondering if anyone can shed some light on the later anglo Wheatstones for me. I have done quite a bit of reading lately online about the apparent decline in quality on those concertinas made after the war but before Steve Dickinson took over Wheatstone. I've seen multiple times in my readings that they are not "as good". What I'm wondering is: How bad are they?

 

My situation: I'm looking into buying my first concertina (I've been renting one for awhile now). I had assumed my best bet for my current budget would be something like a Morse. However, I've been researching concertinas online and have come across later Anglo Wheatstones in the same price range as a Morse or other mid-range instruments. For my first instrument and with $2000 and under to spend, which of the two would you all recommend?

 

I realize this topic has been touched on in other forums but I couldn't find the specifics I was looking for. Apologies if this is a repeated thread. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks very much!

 

What you get with a Morse: great action, extreme reliability, OK sound. If you like the sound, which is clearly more accordion-like, it's a great choice, because it won't limit your playing and you can be confident it will last a long time without repairs.

 

If you prefer the traditional concertina sound: a post-war Wheatstone MAY be okay, but quality is variable. A few I've played have been pretty decent, a few have been substandard. If that's your choice, shop very carefully.

 

I've had a Morse G/d for about 6 years; for 5, it had very heavy use, and it's never even been opened. It's now a spare because I prefer the traditional sound, but I never regretted buying it and won't sell it. I also played a few Tedrow Zephyrs that were very nice.

Edited by Jim Besser
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a late wheatstone in good condition is a fine instrument. however, when buying used, you might not be able to tell if it is in good condition! the metal ended wheatstones from the 1950's can be very nice. i'm not a fan of the wooden ended ones from the same period (plastic buttons).

Why don't you like the wooden-ended ones? Do you have aesthetic objections to the plastic buttons, or are there other issues?

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Thanks All so much for your input! I appreciate the advice. I'm going to gather my resources and likely will buy a hybrid (Morse) at the end of the summer, unless something amazing presents itself in my price range before then :)

 

Best,

 

Jackie

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