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Rochelle or 20k lachenal?


theNewbie
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I am a complete beginner when it comes to anglo concertinas but have taken great interest in it. I usually play irish music on stringed instruments of various kinds but feel that it's time to give the concertina a decent try. Thanks to you people I realized that cheap chinese instruments are out of the question. What I would like your advice on is whether to go for a Rochelle or a 20k lachenal C/G. I assume that a lachenal would be preferable in terms of sound etc (?) but how much would the 20 keys set me back in terms of playability etc? Thanks, Fred

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I think most people would say go with the Rochelle, you know what you're getting if you buy new, you're straight into the full 30 button layout etc, easy resale etc.

(OK it's a bit big and clunky and shiny. It's arguably an excellent transitional tool on the way to something else. Is that a step, bearing in mind the money, that you're likely to take?)

 

The 20 would be a more specialised choice, obviously you've only got the notes of the C and G major scales so you're stuck with tunes that use (or can be fudged to use) only those notes.

 

Depends a lot on who you play with and how serious you are about concertina. If you can please yourself, or just you and a few others, you've obviously got more control over what you play.

 

If concertina would definitely be a second (or third etc) instrument and you'd be happy to accept the limitations, then a nice little vintage 20 has a great deal of charm and there's a great deal of music and enjoyment to be found in one. I know, that's my situation!

 

[Edit] As to playability I won't comment on what effect the presence or absence of the G/A reversal keys in the accidentals row will have on your playing!

Edited by TomB-R
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Not having that third row is pretty limiting. I just got my Rochelle, and though I do realize that it has limitations as well in different ways, I think it's a great beginner's tool. The move up program which most places offer is also appealing: spend $350ish now on the Rochelle, and when you're ready to move up, you can trade it in for full value towards a higher end instrument. BUT - that means you should be careful of which company you buy the Rochelle from, because you can only trade up with the place that sold it to you (or so I understand). I bought mine from Button Box, and will likely trade up to a Morse Ceili when I have the money and when I'm good enough to really play in public. Perhaps I'll practice for a year or so - make sure I'm going to really stick with it.

 

If you decide to go with a 30 button, I suggest purchasing Bertram Levy's Concertina Demystified to go with it. I have four tutors at the moment, and Levy's book is more comprehensive and moves faster than the others. In addition, Levy doesn't use a tablature, which means you go straight into reading the staff - something I wish all concertina tutors would do. I find the tablature (especially since there are several different systems) fairly annoying! Levy's is also the only one I've found which really focuses on chords from the beginning. Whether or not you intend to play with chords a lot, I think it's beneficial to learn them; doing so forces you to work with both hands from the start!

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My choice was to go from the stagi W15LN for a 26k lachenal, because it costed much less money than the 30k, and you have C#, Bb, and all that you need ... the only limitation of these instruments are the bellows, they have 5folds, like the 20k, so if you want to play very long bass notes, chords............

I played very much more on the Lachenal that I did on the stagi, it is a more motivating instrument

 

I have one for sale!!!

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I agree that the Lachenal, even being a 20-button will serve you much better than the 30-button Rochelle. As I described in a previous thread, I really don't like the Rochelles for many reasons and (assuming you're working on Irish trad), you can work around the missing buttons on a 20-button.

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you've only got the notes of the C and G major scales so you're stuck

 

You can play D tunes. You just leave out the C#, as they say, play around it. I'd say that a good 20B Lachenal will be better than the Rochelle.

 

I would say that Lachenal will not only be better than Rochelle, but it will be FAR better.

If you reall wnat C#, there is nothing easier than to replace on of Cs with C#s. You lose only one of the C reversals, big deal.

But a good 20 button Lachenal will cost you more than 30 button Rochelle, and for good reason. 20 button Ango is very cute, pleasant to hold and play.

Very light, well made. You name it, it's got it.

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I've often wondered why more people don't just buy 20 button instruments like this and repurpose a less used button with a C# reed. Seems like a reasonable compromise to me, but seldom suggested. Glad to see m3838's suggestion.

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I've often wondered why more people don't just buy 20 button instruments like this and repurpose a less used button with a C# reed. Seems like a reasonable compromise to me, but seldom suggested. Glad to see m3838's suggestion.

Ha, I didn't stop there and replaced 8 reeds on the G row with their #s. Result was fully chromatic instrument in 1.5 octaves, with diatonic range of 2/5 octaves in Cmaj. Didn't cost me much.

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I've often wondered why more people don't just buy 20 button instruments like this and repurpose a less used button with a C# reed. Seems like a reasonable compromise to me, but seldom suggested. Glad to see m3838's suggestion.

Ha, I didn't stop there and replaced 8 reeds on the G row with their #s. Result was fully chromatic instrument in 1.5 octaves, with diatonic range of 2/5 octaves in Cmaj. Didn't cost me much.

 

Awesome!

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