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Hi there,

 

I am interested in learning to play the concertina, but until I am sure it is something I can do, I am thinking of purchasing a Black Pearl anglo 20 button to start with. Is this a waste or will it give me enough to learn some basic skills and help me decide if I want to continue. Obviously, quality improves sound, but I just want something to discover a bit about concertina playing. Thanks so much for your input! I have some friends that are playing some old fiddle tunes and Irish dance songs and I would like to eventually learn to play well enough to play with them..for fun!

 

I appreciate your input!

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That is pretty much the way that I started, but I bought a 20 button East German Hohner. The thing that I learned was that I really loved playing Anglo, but within a very short period of time I'd upgraded to a 30 button Lachenal.

Your alternative is to buy something more expensive, then if you discover that concertina isn't for you, you'll be able to sell your concertina and probably not make a loss. If on the other hand you buy your black pearl, you probably won't recover the cost if you decide that you don't like it.

 

Take a look at this.

 

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/LACHENAL-20K-C-G-ANGLO-CONCERTINA-RESTORED-/280588444248?pt=UK_MusicalInstr_Keyboard_RL&hash=item41545fe258#ht_500wt_1156

 

or this

 

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Anglo-Concertina-G-Jones-26-key-/110608359937?pt=UK_MusicalInstr_Keyboard_RL&hash=item19c0c5a201#ht_500wt_1156

 

Phil

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I started on a cheap Concertina & managed to survive without losing a finger ;)

 

I think it's fair to say however that the general consensus is to buy the best instrument that you can afford. If you buy a new cheap concertina you'll possibly be able to get at most about 50% of your money back if/when you sell it. If you buy a better quality instrument you'll probably be able to get most/all of your money back. Resale price is an important consideration because, whether you like the Concertina or hate it, the likelihood is that at sometime you'll sell the instrument that you started on either to upgrade or to give up!

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That's not the only choice you have to make. There are three different types

of concertina. The English Concertina has the same range of notes as the violin

so I would argue that it is the best choice for any type of folk music.

 

However the major choice you need to be aware of is this. Most modern

beginners' instruments are made with accordion reeds and to concertina

players they don't have a real concertina sound. If you really want to

learn the concertina then whether you choose an Anglo, an English or a

Duet concertina maybe it should be a real concertina with a real

concertina sound.

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The English Concertina has the same range of notes as the violin so I would argue that it is the best choice for any type of folk music.

It's worth thinking about all the types of Concertina but not everybody would agree with this argument. Personally, unless in the hands of a skilled player, I find the English Concertina a bit boring when it's playing UK folk music. YMMV

 

it should be a real concertina with a real concertina sound.

Lots of us (myself included) are more than happy with accordion reeded instruments.

 

As for 20 or 30 buttons on an Anglo Concertina, I believe most of us would recommend that you get a 30 button if you can.

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I'm yet another who started off with a cheap, German 20-button concertina. There were no Chinese ones in those days. I had a lot of fun with it, and used it to play for social evenings and church services. From the point of view of playing technique, it paved the way for the Bandoneon and 30-button Anglo that I took up later on.

 

There are different systems of concertina, as someone pointed out, but in my opinion the best system for the casual player, who wishes to play familiar tunes in an attractive manner without too much theoretical top-hamper, is the Anglo.

 

Cheers,

John

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That's not the only choice you have to make. There are three different types

of concertina. The English Concertina has the same range of notes as the violin

so I would argue that it is the best choice for any type of folk music.

 

 

Actually, there is no "best" choice, so don't let anyone pretend to make that choice for you. You have to listen to concertina recordings/players and choose the kind that appeals to you most. If you love the sound and music of Anglo players, get an Anglo... if you prefer the sound and music of English players, get an English...etc. Personally, I find the anglo much more exciting and entertaining to listen to and to play... but I like quick and rowdy Irish dance music of Irish Anglo players, so it depends on what appeals to you. The so-called "limitations" of the Anglo are definitely also part of its character.

 

However the major choice you need to be aware of is this. Most modern

beginners' instruments are made with accordion reeds and to concertina

players they don't have a real concertina sound. If you really want to

learn the concertina then whether you choose an Anglo, an English or a

Duet concertina maybe it should be a real concertina with a real

concertina sound.

 

 

Spending the money for a concertina with traditional concertina reeds (not accordion reeds) would be foolish for a beginner who doesn't seem to have spent much time researching the topic yet and just wants to dip their big toe in the waters. The accordion-reeded instruments can give you plenty of fun and learning. Again, nobody can choose for you -- listen to samples (there are tons all over the internet and YouTube now) and decide for yourself... if you hate the sound of the accordion-reeded instruments, save your pennies and get something that appeals to you. If they sound okay to you, then they can be fine to play and plenty fun (and that's ALL that matters in music if you're not a pro). I started Concertina.net because it's a fun instrument (in all its forms)... perhaps people should remember this more often...

 

Paul

 

 

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...if you hate the sound of the accordion-reeded instruments, save your pennies and get something that appeals to you. If they sound okay to you, then they can be fine to play and plenty fun...

Paul, I think you've neglected a third possibility:

Some folks actually
prefer
the sound of accordion-reeded concertinas.
:)

And for such a person to pay a premium for a "concertina-reeded" instrument would be silly.

 

...plenty fun (and that's ALL that matters in music if you're not a pro).

Please don't exclude the pros from having fun.
;)

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I am in Washington State...

 

There are others in Washington, I know of Anglo players in Port Townsend, Bellingham, Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia, on some of the islands and a few other spots around the state. Depending on your location, you might be able to connect with someone directly that would be happy to answer questions, give advice and help you get started. If you have an interest, contact me via personal message on this forum. We were all beginners once and full of questions.

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wow!

 

Leave town for a day and learn so much after my "real beginner" post. I am in Bellingham. My friends play everything else (no concertina) but it looks like sooo much fun that I am determined to learn. Looks like I will buy the best 30 button anglo I can afford : and then, look out!

 

Thanks very much for all the great input, and keep it coming. This looks like a really great online group.

 

Thanks again

elena

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As to a suitable best buy concertina for you, I am surprised that no one has yet suggested Concertina Connection's range of basic well-thought out and made and reasonably-priced range of concertinas. There is the Rochelle, a 30 button Anglo. The Jackie, a 36 button English system treble, the Jack, an English system Baritone and the Elise, a Hayden duet system. These concertinas, made in China for Wim Wakker, are far superior in quality for the price compared to other accordion-reeded models, such Hohners, etc. If you buy one from a dealer, such as The Button Box, I believe they will allow you trade it in later on in part-exchange for a better concertina upgrade, assuming you are still hooked and have made progress!

 

Chris

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wow!

 

Leave town for a day and learn so much after my "real beginner" post. I am in Bellingham. My friends play everything else (no concertina) but it looks like sooo much fun that I am determined to learn. Looks like I will buy the best 30 button anglo I can afford : and then, look out!

 

Thanks very much for all the great input, and keep it coming. This looks like a really great online group.

 

Thanks again

elena

 

Hello Elena,

 

Well, there's no overall "best" thing to do I agree, only the best thing to do for you.

 

My personnal experience is that I started with a "hybrid" concertina, a Edgley anglo 30 buttons. It costs me over 2000$, yes, but the idea was to play on an easy instrument which would help me stay motivated enough to keep on improving. Also, I knew I could resell my hybrid at 75% of the cost, at least. That was a very good decision, for me. Now I own an amazing Dipper concertina, which has concertina reeds, but the Edgley was alsmost as easy to play as my Dipper, and switching instrument was very smooth.

 

There are other, cheap concertinas out there, and it's for you to decide what you need. But if you ever feel you want a "hybrid" (I'm sure the makers of those don't like us calling the instruments that way) there are many good makers out there, like Edgley, Tedrow, etc.

 

For me the anglo was the right choice, but as Paul was saying, maybe you should try to listen to players of different systems and decide by yourself. Take into account the systems used to teach irish music in workshops and classes around the globe, I'd say it's also a factor for some.

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...a "hybrid" (I'm sure the makers of those don't like us calling the instruments that way)...

 

I don't know about how others may feel, but the first person I heard/read using the term was one of the makers: Rich Morse.

 

jdms

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...a "hybrid" (I'm sure the makers of those don't like us calling the instruments that way)...

I don't know about how others may feel, but the first person I heard/read using the term was one of the makers: Rich Morse.

Animal breeders speak highly of "hybrid vigor".

Nearly all commercial strains of fruits and vegetables, whether for mass farming or small gardens, are deliberate hybrids.

 

Not a term to be disliked, at all.

 

(Well, maybe some individual, non-concertina hybrids are less "likeable" than others. The "square tomato" comes to mind... reputedly lower in both flavor and nutrients than its rounder ancestors, but said to be favored for mass production, because it is less likely to roll off of conveyor belts.)

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