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Stagi duet vs. Elise


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I currently play a Stagi Duet, and can verify the criticisms that have appeared on this site in the past. But I have accepted it's limitations, and am having fun with it. But it is clearly not a "high end"instrument. Since I cannot afford an older restored instrument, my question is, would and Elise duet be considered an upgrade in playability and sound ?

 

Thanks in advance for your time

Felix

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I saw/heard the Button Box prototype Morse Hayden Duett at the North East Concertina Workshop on Saturday. The staff seemed to think they were pretty close to a production model, and the fellow who played it at the post workshop conference seemed impressed by it. Might be worth calling the Button Box.

Edited by Bill N
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You are right - a major difference, in appearance at least, is that the Stagi has more buttons. However, in my opinion, the additional right hand buttons( highest notes) are near useless. When first choosing the Stagi, I assumed that the additional buttons would give me more range, versatility. But because of the difficulty of re-locating my entire hand thru the strap to hit them, and because they are rather thin, weak sounding, I dont use them.

 

 

After reading the above responses to my question, and thinking more about this, I suppose the best approach for me is to find an Elise that I can try out, as see if I like the "feel" of it. Based on my experience with accordions and anglo concertinas, the Stagi seems a bit stiff and not as manageable as I would expect.(I could go on about Stagi's , but it is possible to have fun with the instrument, which is the main reason I play music.)

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It is possible that the responsiveness of your Stagi could be improved by a good accordion or concertina technician. I've worked on two Stagi duet concertinas, and both suffered from poor reed response because the reeds had not been set up as well as they could be. You can test your instrument as follows:

 

Play each note starting from a very gentle bellows pressure and gradually increasing until the reed speaks. If you hear a brief sound of air moving before the reed speaks then the reed is set too high and it can be adjusted. This sort of adjustment can make a big difference to playability.

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I don't like Stagis either, but if I had to choose, I'd take it over an Elise. To me, those extra buttons are a HUGE difference. They let me play in more keys, let me do more ornaments, play more music with chromatic elements, and give me extra range. Many pieces I play just would not be possible with 34 keys. If you stick to diatonic folk tunes, and choose those that fit the instrument, the Elise can be very useful. But it's also very limiting, especially if you want to play what your friends are playing, and you suddenly need a G# or an Eb. You can fake around the limitations, or play backup on those tunes, but that's somewhat unsatisfying to me.

 

Those high notes probably don't sound nearly as weak and squeaky to an audience as they do to you, especially on faster tunes where they fly by quickly. And if you're having trouble reaching the higher notes, your hand straps are probably too tight. You'll find with practice you can play with looser straps, and it gives you more mobility while giving up very little control. I keep the instrument in my lap, and use pressure from my thumb, or by arching my hand, to tension the straps and stabilize the instrument. This will eventually become second nature.

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I don't like Stagis either, but if I had to choose, I'd take it over an Elise. To me, those extra buttons are a HUGE difference. They let me play in more keys, let me do more ornaments, play more music with chromatic elements, and give me extra range. Many pieces I play just would not be possible with 34 keys. If you stick to diatonic folk tunes, and choose those that fit the instrument, the Elise can be very useful. But it's also very limiting, especially if you want to play what your friends are playing, and you suddenly need a G# or an Eb. You can fake around the limitations, or play backup on those tunes, but that's somewhat unsatisfying to me.

 

Those high notes probably don't sound nearly as weak and squeaky to an audience as they do to you, especially on faster tunes where they fly by quickly. And if you're having trouble reaching the higher notes, your hand straps are probably too tight. You'll find with practice you can play with looser straps, and it gives you more mobility while giving up very little control. I keep the instrument in my lap, and use pressure from my thumb, or by arching my hand, to tension the straps and stabilize the instrument. This will eventually become second nature.

He's spot on with this, and Theo knows what he's talking about too. Get the Stagi tuned up by a pro and then think again.

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And if you're having trouble reaching the higher notes, your hand straps are probably too tight. You'll find with practice you can play with looser straps, and it gives you more mobility while giving up very little control. I keep the instrument in my lap, and use pressure from my thumb, or by arching my hand, to tension the straps and stabilize the instrument. This will eventually become second nature.

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And if you're having trouble reaching the higher notes, your hand straps are probably too tight. You'll find with practice you can play with looser straps, and it gives you more mobility while giving up very little control. I keep the instrument in my lap, and use pressure from my thumb, or by arching my hand, to tension the straps and stabilize the instrument. This will eventually become second nature.

 

 

Yes, the looser strap does help with mobility in reaching high notes, esp. on the RHS. But in order to help keep control, an idea suggested by Forum contributer Jim Albea has been very helpful to me: get rid of the thumb notch cut-out, and substitute a thumb strap (loop) like the English 'tina players use. Works great! much better control and comfort even with a somewhat loose hand strap, and less strain on the thumb (after initial trial). Albea created a descriptive photo essay link on how to do this. Try going to: www.pbase.com/gardencat/thumbstrap for some nice ideas for doing this conversion.

Edited by Frankevich
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I saw/heard the Button Box prototype Morse Hayden Duett at the North East Concertina Workshop on Saturday. The staff seemed to think they were pretty close to a production model, and the fellow who played it at the post workshop conference seemed impressed by it. Might be worth calling the Button Box.

 

 

Yes, I saw it there too, Bill, and even tried it briefly. They are still tinkering with it, but it won't be long now I think. We don't know the pricing yet as they are figuring out that too. Buttons/reeds should be in the 52-54 range. size is 7" across the flats (hexagonal). Possibly some kind of adjustable palm bar and/or thumb strap in place of the thumb cutout--maybe offered as optional extras. Sounded quite nice I thought. Usual nice Button Box quality. In any event, it should be a very welcome addition as a mid price range Hayden.

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I currently play a Stagi Duet, and can verify the criticisms that have appeared on this site in the past. But I have accepted it's limitations, and am having fun with it. But it is clearly not a "high end"instrument. Since I cannot afford an older restored instrument, my question is, would and Elise duet be considered an upgrade in playability and sound ?

 

Thanks in advance for your time

Felix

The Elise is hard to see as an upgrade to the STagi -- fewer buttons, rough action, small buttons.

However, it does have more responsive reeds than the Stagi, and its standarad button spacing means you can move up to a fine box without relearning the finger locations, as you must when coming from a Stagi.

 

Also the Elise is easy to modify the handrest to be parallel to the button rows, no slant.

 

The main problem with he Elise is its missing notes. The STagi at least has the standard 46 keys.

And the Stagi looks pretty (tho not quite like a concertina).

 

And if you did not get your STagi from the Button Box, you should send it to them to tweak the reed set and tuning. It will come back a much more responsive box. I still play my Stagi, tho I'm lookign to upgrade. And yes, I got to play the new Morse prototype last week at the B. Box -- what a thrill!

--mike k.

Edited by ragtimer
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I got my Stagi Hayden from the Button Box and it is still a very painful instrument to play. Yes, it has all those buttons, but they are no good if one cringes at the thought of trying to make music with it. I just got a second Hand Elise and I am really enjoying messing with it.

 

ocd

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I got my Stagi Hayden from the Button Box and it is still a very painful instrument to play. Yes, it has all those buttons, but they are no good if one cringes at the thought of trying to make music with it. I just got a second Hand Elise and I am really enjoying messing with it.

 

ocd

 

 

How so, "painful" to play? I have a Button Box Stagi and it plays great, although the bellows are perhaps not as easy to push/pull as some, but not a significant problem. In fact, the larger bellows, and greater than usual number of bellows folds, gives one plenty of air. I only tried an Elise once briefly, but the tiny buttons were hard on my fingers. However, often it's just a case of getting used to it. But I just can't imagine what you are describing when you say "painful to play", and 'cringing at the thought of playing it.' Can you be a little more specific?

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How so, "painful" to play? I have a Button Box Stagi and it plays great, although the bellows are perhaps not as easy to push/pull as some, but not a significant problem. In fact, the larger bellows, and greater than usual number of bellows folds, gives one plenty of air. I only tried an Elise once briefly, but the tiny buttons were hard on my fingers. However, often it's just a case of getting used to it. But I just can't imagine what you are describing when you say "painful to play", and 'cringing at the thought of playing it.' Can you be a little more specific?

 

I do not like how it sounds: the sound is muted, the timbre is dull. It does not sound like any concertina or accordion I have played before. I much prefer the sound of the Elise. It must be a matter of taste.

 

"De gustibus non est disputandum."

 

ocd

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How so, "painful" to play? I have a Button Box Stagi and it plays great, although the bellows are perhaps not as easy to push/pull as some, but not a significant problem. In fact, the larger bellows, and greater than usual number of bellows folds, gives one plenty of air. I only tried an Elise once briefly, but the tiny buttons were hard on my fingers. However, often it's just a case of getting used to it. But I just can't imagine what you are describing when you say "painful to play", and 'cringing at the thought of playing it.' Can you be a little more specific?

 

I do not like how it sounds: the sound is muted, the timbre is dull. It does not sound like any concertina or accordion I have played before. I much prefer the sound of the Elise. It must be a matter of taste.

 

"De gustibus non est disputandum."

 

ocd

 

 

 

Well, yes, mostly a matter of taste perhaps. But here are a few ideas: when I first got mine, I not long thereafter put a layer of felt inside the left hand end plate, to soften the left hand side which typically, on many concertinas, tends to overpower the right hand side. This helped for sure. Also, when I play (usually in a small room) I usually use ear muffs or plugs, but I have very sensitive ears so that might not apply to everyone. Finally, I have noticed that the Stagi sound (tone) is not perhaps the greatest in the world (and many would agree I think) but I heard one played in concert last week at the Button Box Northeast Concertina Workshop (of NCW) and I was delighted with the the sound quality. Go figure. It was played in a generously sized church, so accoustics play an important part. Try some of these techniques (the felt, ear plugs, different locations to practice, etc.) and you may find that the Stagi sound will grow on you--or at least not be painful to play. Good luck. P.S. I did find the Elise to have a nicer sound, but that was the only advantage to recommend it, if you will allow me the opinion.

Edited by Frankevich
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I tried the Button Box Hayden prototype at NEFFA today. While I don't play the system I liked what I saw. Lots of buttons and they sounded like a Morse, full rich accordion reed sound like the other Button box instruments, nothing dull or weak about it. Still in development though with no word on when this cool duet will be available to buy.

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