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Since this spring, I've been playing a 60+ year-old 20-button anglo of indeterminate make and am starting to chafe. The action isn't great, several of the reeds squeak, and of course it would be nice to have a couple more sharps and flats to play around with.

 

So I'm looking around for a 30-button concertina that wouldn't destroy a college student's budget. I found a 30-button Rochelle through buttonbox.com for $350 and they offer full purchase value refund when trading it in for one of their Morse & Co. concertinas. Should I go ahead and buy it, look for a better instrument/price, or stick with what I've got for now?

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So I'm looking around for a 30-button concertina that wouldn't destroy a college student's budget. I found a 30-button Rochelle through buttonbox.com for $350 and they offer full purchase value refund when trading it in for one of their Morse & Co. concertinas. Should I go ahead and buy it, look for a better instrument/price, or stick with what I've got for now?

 

 

Buy the Rochelle.

Just like with any other instruments, the balance of cost versus "quality" is highly personal and complex. Search for the hundreds of other cnet threads if you want to read a thorough list of arguments on the subject. Then just buy the Rochelle.

:)

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I used to have a Rochelle before I moved up to a Norman. It's really good value & excellent for the price.

 

I've been a customer of the Buttonbox. It's always a bit of a concern the first time that you deal with a business based in a different country but Buttonbox proved to be an excellent company to deal with and I was delighted with their customer service.

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Since this spring, I've been playing a 60+ year-old 20-button anglo of indeterminate make and am starting to chafe. The action isn't great, several of the reeds squeak, and of course it would be nice to have a couple more sharps and flats to play around with.

 

So I'm looking around for a 30-button concertina that wouldn't destroy a college student's budget. I found a 30-button Rochelle through buttonbox.com for $350 and they offer full purchase value refund when trading it in for one of their Morse & Co. concertinas. Should I go ahead and buy it, look for a better instrument/price, or stick with what I've got for now?

 

definitely go for it. the next step up is a far way off, and you can trade the rochelle in for an upgrade. there's nothing to loose!

 

p.s. where do you go to school?

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I just got my Rochelle a few weeks ago, and though the bellows are stiffer, etc etc, than a fancy high priced instrument, I think that this is a perfectly fine instrument to learn on. It seems that the Rochelle filled a void in the concertina world: a reasonably priced beginner's instrument that isn't total crap and doesn't lose its value. I'm promising myself that when I am good enough to really play in public (after a few years, perhaps!) that I'll treat myself with a higher quality concertina. But that gives me something to work towards. I, like you, was playing on an old, chafing, 20 button - but mine started to fall apart within a month or so. The Rochelle was certainly a step up! I got mine from Button Box, and was surprised how quickly it arrived. I haven't had much other contact with them, but it seems that the community here has had great dealings with them and lauds them for their customer service.

 

I highly suggest the Bertram Levy Concertina Demystified to go along with it - I've been working on the the first three lessons, which are fast moving basics (and I LOVE that it's teaching me on a normal staff, and starting on octaves and harmonies very quickly) and the rest of the 11 lessons are all specifically for the 30 button - introducing each extra button on the top row with a few exercises and then a song in a key which uses it. I find the DVDs with the songs and lessons very helpful, too, because it really makes a difference to hear how the song should sound while you're learning to play it! Well worth the money - and as the tutor suggests, I'm beginning to see how you really can spend months at a time on each single lesson. The other tutors that I've been playing with focus pretty much on melody only - each using their own type of tablature. It's true: learning on a normal staff is just as easy to learn as tablature, and then you'll never have any problems when you pick up new music (and the tune-o-tron is full of songs sans tablature).

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After much study here I started with a Rochelle. I like it and still play it even though I bought a Morse in July. The two are different but both are enjoyable for different reasons. I didn't trade the Rochelle in since it is a C/G and I ordered the Morse in G/D. I don't regret keeping it at all. As others here say, it is an honest machine at an honest price. Good luck and have fun with whatever you end up getting, Dave.

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After reading the above postings, my opinion may not be popular, but as far I'm concerned only if you absolutely can't afford anything else, buy the Rochelle.

 

I don't like them much myself, find them heavy, the button feel cheap and slippery, the button placement and spacing to be odd. They take a lot more work to play than a "real" instrument and I'd be worried about RSI problems after playing them for any length of time because of the weight.

 

Yes, they do fill a gap between wall ornaments and the low end of the "real" instruments, but I'd never recommend one to anyone unless there just wasn't any other possibility. What I'd recommend is beg, borrow, whatever it takes to get the money for a better instrument, you'll be much happier and a better player in the long run.

 

If you can possibly work out a way to afford a Tedrow or Edgley (or Morse, or Kensington, or ...), please consider getting one instead. Both Bob Tedrow and Frank Edgley build great quality, fine sounding and easy to maintain accordion-reeded instruments. An instrument from either will serve you for life and will retain its value long after the Rochelle falls apart in case you change your mind or need the money later. I had a student with a Rochelle last year, and by the end of the year, he was having problems with the reeds, and its not an instrument built to be maintained, at least not the one he had.

Edited by eskin
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I totally agree with eskin. Among other things I dislike the mousy sound and the slow response of the Rochelle. eskin also mentioned the weight with regard to RSI. I find that the weight of the ends increases the inertia, making it much harder to play briskly.

 

Does the next jump up have to cost an additional $1,500 or so? What is available for $800-1,000 that would be significantly better than the Rochelle? Is this My link any better? There is a huge gap between the Rochelle at about $300 and the next step up at $1,800. This is a market gap crying to be filled.

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I totally agree with eskin. Among other things I dislike the mousy sound and the slow response of the Rochelle. eskin also mentioned the weight with regard to RSI. I find that the weight of the ends increases the inertia, making it much harder to play briskly.

 

Does the next jump up have to cost an additional $1,500 or so? What is available for $800-1,000 that would be significantly better than the Rochelle? Is this My link any better? There is a huge gap between the Rochelle at about $300 and the next step up at $1,800. This is a market gap crying to be filled.

 

If I was an economist I would say, "Assume the 26b instrument." Presently the Jones and Lachenal 26b instruments seem to be the poor step children of the concertina family. However, better than 9 out of 10 Irish Trad tunes set well on the instrument and the high melody notes, with the exception of four accidentals, are all there for the Morris crowd. I usually price the 26b instruments I recondition between $1000. and $1200. Concertina reeds and sound, decent bellows, proper size and in the case of many Jones instruments: rivet action.

 

I agree with the above stated problems with the Rochelle. But it is the best entree level choice for the money. I worried that its size and stiffness would put off some beginners but I'm not sure that has been the case. Certainly there is less discouragement to aspiring players than those who have had endured the button sticking of a Hohner or cheaper Italian or Chinese concertina.

 

I agree with David that there is a 30b niche waiting to be filled at the $1200. price level. It would be interesting to get the developmental history on Wim Wakker's Clover model. I had the impression it would fill that niche but some of the production/manufacture was moved from China to Europe and the price at $1,790. moved the instrument into the established hybrid cost category. A kit is offered at nearly $600. less.

 

In the meantime please note that this instrument is still available:

 

http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=11385

 

Nice player, rivet action, right price.

 

Greg

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What is available for $800-1,000 that would be significantly better than the Rochelle? Is this My link any better?

 

About this model (Stagi W15-S) : I own one of these, and I'm not sure it is a better value than the rochelle.

The main default of this model is the action mechanism : the levers are all mounted on the same axis and

the buttons are not held straight, as a consequence I have to constantly realign the buttons.

Apart from that, the sound is not unpleasant but very accordeonish.

I have never seen a rochelle but as far as I understand, the construction is similar but the action is of much better quality.

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Thanks to everyone for the advice! I went ahead and bought the Rochelle (partially because my income wouldn't support much more than $300 or $400); we'll see how it goes. I guess I've sort of locked myself into a Morse concertina later on, but they look like splendid instruments, so I think I can live with that.

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