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Hello

 

I have a short but varied history with concertinas. July of last year I began my odyssey with with an Elise concertina. Four weeks later I realized how limiting this instrument was and decided to purchase a McCann Duet. It was a lovely Wheatstone with a very nice voice. Unfortunately the more I played, and the faster I played the less responsive and problematic the instrument became. I literally was opening it up on an almost nightly basis in order to try to fix stuck keys. Thru tears, I eventually sent the instrument back to the seller. Discouraged with the historical side of concertinas I ordered an Edgley which I received in med February. It is a lovely concertina, a bit louder than the Wheatstone. I have finally arrived to the point where I know longer have to think about the push or the pull of each note and am now learning about cross row playing and chords. My question is this: There is a very nice looking 1927 Wheatstone Duet now being offered on Ebay. My palms are sweating, and need a hanky for the excess saliva forming at the corners of my mouth. Is this a case of first love.... my mind will not let go of the thrill I experienced with the original Wheatstone. Even though it gave me so much grief and heart ache I miss the sound and the playing style. Am I nuts for even considering playing both an Anglo and a Duet? Has any one else seen this Concertina on Ebay? I have three days to either decided to jump into the fray, or grab the Edgley, play non stop and forget my first love. :unsure:

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Is this a case of first love....

 

That is one of the early signs of Concertina Obsessive Acquisition Disorder (COAD) - you mistake it for something else! :ph34r:

 

Ken

member of concertinas anonymous, along with most everyone here B)

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Hello

 

I have a short but varied history with concertinas. July of last year I began my odyssey with with an Elise concertina. Four weeks later I realized how limiting this instrument was and decided to purchase a McCann Duet. It was a lovely Wheatstone with a very nice voice. Unfortunately the more I played, and the faster I played the less responsive and problematic the instrument became. I literally was opening it up on an almost nightly basis in order to try to fix stuck keys. Thru tears, I eventually sent the instrument back to the seller. Discouraged with the historical side of concertinas I ordered an Edgley which I received in med February. It is a lovely concertina, a bit louder than the Wheatstone. I have finally arrived to the point where I know longer have to think about the push or the pull of each note and am now learning about cross row playing and chords. My question is this: There is a very nice looking 1927 Wheatstone Duet now being offered on Ebay. My palms are sweating, and need a hanky for the excess saliva forming at the corners of my mouth. Is this a case of first love.... my mind will not let go of the thrill I experienced with the original Wheatstone. Even though it gave me so much grief and heart ache I miss the sound and the playing style. Am I nuts for even considering playing both an Anglo and a Duet? Has any one else seen this Concertina on Ebay? I have three days to either decided to jump into the fray, or grab the Edgley, play non stop and forget my first love. :unsure:

Firstly you should not be discouraged from vintage concertinas. You were obviously very unlucky with your first Maccan; get one that has been overhauled by someone reputable and you'll be fine. There is usually a bit of a shake down period while random bits of fluff surface and jump into reeds, new mechanics free up and the reeds remember how to do their job (IE they improve vastly for being in regular use, which most Maccans have not) but it's all home-fixable at that stage, and once everything has bedded in you shouldn't have to touch them for certainly months on end. My main instrument is overdue for its first serious overhaul after 5 years of pounding, for instance. It could easily be a year since I opened it up last.

 

I think you're nuts trying to play 2 systems, it's virtually like learning 2 different instruments at the same time. Choose one and stick to it if you have any real ambition, or get ready to be Jack of all trades and master of none. There are people that claim to be able to do this but I'm not that clever, for certain. I wouldn't dream of taking up a second instrument; I'm busy trying to be a good duet player.

 

I also think you'd have to be nuts to stick with Anglos without good reason. If you feel it must be an Anglo for some reason "You can't play Irish on anything but an Anglo" say, well fine. Otherwise you are paying a fortune for a lesser instrument at the moment. Relatively speaking, antique duets are currently a gift, and you know you can get on with them, you've already tried it.

 

Furthermore, even the most dedicated Anglo enthusiast would have to admit that once you get onto complex music the system places obstacles in your way that duets simply don't suffer from. A quote from John Kirkpatrick: "I'm always very envious of duet players because they can just play whatever they want to and the notes are always in the same place!" (thank you the ICA newsletter)

 

Right. Next. If that concertina you fancy is that edeophone, don't. It will be a very nice device and a good serious instrument once sorted, but the lumps of wood missing from the sides wouldn't just fall out on their own. They've dropped out because someone has dropped it hard, or it's been tenderised by sitting next to a radiator for years. It may be OK, but I'd give good odds that there are internal repairs to do too. It's very rare that a concertina isn't repairable but this one looks like the bill might be larger than at first appears. And given that you are worried about an antique instrument I would strongly recommend that you avoid Ebay altogether and buy from a speciallist dealer, which DOES NOT mean someone who repairs accordions; a proper speciallist. Once you've spoken to the American ones ring up Chris Algar (Barleycorn, in the links) and talk to him. He'll charge you top dollar but he has a flawless reputation for customer service and the £ is low at the moment so perhaps his top dollar isn't so bad. He always has a huge range of instruments in too..(Saving money on an international 'phone call is false economy given the cost of concertinas)

 

Finally, don't bother with 46 key Maccans. They are cheap for a reason, namely that they have a frustratingly limited range. The usual advice (which I was given too when I was starting, and I subscribe to) is get one that goes down to middle C in the right hand side. That usually means 58 keys plus.

 

Better get back to practicing. I'm not really in the mood and looking for any distraction today.

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I think you're nuts trying to play 2 systems, it's virtually like learning 2 different instruments at the same time. Choose one and stick to it if you have any real ambition, or get ready to be Jack of all trades and master of none. There are people that claim to be able to do this but I'm not that clever, for certain. I wouldn't dream of taking up a second instrument; I'm busy trying to be a good duet player.

 

That's why I recoverd from free-reed acquitison syndrome (like COAD only worse, I think) and stuck by the Crane. I didn't start concertina to drive myself bonkers. Of course, I may end up that way ....

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Finally, don't bother with 46 key Maccans. They are cheap for a reason, namely that they have a frustratingly limited range. The usual advice (which I was given too when I was starting, and I subscribe to) is get one that goes down to middle C in the right hand side. That usually means 58 keys plus.

 

 

Hi there. I agree with most points made so far. Particularly Dirges view regarding 46 MacCanns. at least 58 or 67's (with the right hand going down to Middle C.) Haven't seen the one on E Bay, but, certainly worth contacting Chris Algar. E Bay can bite you on the bum sometimes. Having played MacCann since the early 70's, I'm still finding new things to attempt. I've obviously tried other systems over the years, they just didn't work for me. And as Dirge has said, Duets haven't priced themselves out of the market (yet!) in the same way as Crabbs and Jeffries Anglos have done. John Kirkpatrick is a good mate, and he's right for stating his opinion regarding Duets.

In conclusion, I'd say, Go for it! You'll certainly get more "Box for your Bucks". Good luck, and let us know what you decide.

Regards Ralphie

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I am certianly very glad that I took the advice, given by Dirge and Ralphie, and went for a 58 as the minimum size. As a very new player of the MacCann I am enjoying the adventure whilst also keeping up my EC playing. I am not finding that playing two different keyboard systems is at all confusing mainly because I have played the EC for so long that it is 'natural' and deeply ingrained in my head. To learn them both at the same time, from scratch, might be a bit much though.

Good luck with you playing,

Geoff.

 

PS; maybe the MacCann keyboard is more closely related to the keyboard of the EC than even the Crane? I would imagine that learning both Anglo and MacCann at the same time might cause some extra problems.

Edited by Geoff Wooff
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I have to agree...I learned one system (anglo in my case) until it was second nature, and then tried EC. I find EC fascinating in its parallels and contrasts, and if I ever put real time into I imagine I would progress (I'm spread a bit thin musically, as I play brass, recorder, and some fiddle and have more playing opportunities for all of those locally than I do for concertina). One concertina system at a time, anyway! If I live to be about 200 I'll get to them all.

 

I saw the thread title, "Opinions needed," and thought, "Wow, concertina.net is the ideal place to collect opinions!" :ph34r:

 

How many? A lot over the years, but I have progressed to the late-stage disease, where one gets rid of instruments one doesn't use. I may one of these days get to the ideal state where I play only what I have and have only what I need to play! B)

 

Ken

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Lorie,

I'd like to second the opinion that several have expressed: Don't try to learn two instruments at once - and the Anglo and the duet are two differnt instuments!

 

I'm what Dirge would call a Jack of All Trades, instrumentally. I can get away with that for two reasons: Firstly, I'm a singer, so I only have to be able to play decent accompaniments, not virtuoso solo pieces (like Dirge does), on my instruments. Secondly, I started making music very young - at about 7 or 8, on the mandolin - and only added a new instrument when the last one was "second nature", meaning that I can hear a tune in my head, and make a good stab at it in an appropriate fashion on the instrument in question.

Now I have an Anglo, a 5-string banjo, a guitar, an autoharp, a sheaf of whistles, the mandolin (not for accompaniments, only in ensembles), and a ukulele, all of which I can play in public. The latest addition, the Crane duet, has almost reached that status. The Thüringer Waldzither is next in line.

 

A couple of decades ago, I decided to work some of these instruments up to solo standard. I did this with the banjo, Anglo and autoharp (harder than you'd think!) by spending my practice time exclusively on one instrument until I had reached the next level of competence with it. I've found that, once you've reached a certain level, you can turn to another instrument without losing ground on the previous one. On the contrary: the things that come easily on one instrument can prompt you to try them on another instrument, on which they may not be quite so obvious, but rather effective. Especially when the two instruments are concertinas.

 

In short, either forget the Anglo and get a good Maccann, or stick with the Anglo until it's second nature, and then get a good Maccann.

 

In my experience, the time to move from Anglo to duet is when you find that the Anglo restricts your musical expression. I got a Crane because I wanted more chromatic capability, i.e. ability to play in more keys.

 

Cheers,

John

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I've found that, once you've reached a certain level, you can turn to another instrument without losing ground on the previous one. On the contrary: the things that come easily on one instrument can prompt you to try them on another instrument, on which they may not be quite so obvious, but rather effective. Especially when the two instruments are concertinas.

 

In short, either forget the Anglo and get a good Maccann, or stick with the Anglo until it's second nature, and then get a good Maccann.

 

In my experience, the time to move from Anglo to duet is when you find that the Anglo restricts your musical expression. I got a Crane because I wanted more chromatic capability, i.e. ability to play in more keys.

 

Cheers,

John

My experience has been similar to John's. I play a number of instruments but I learned them one at a time. You might be able to learn two concertina systems at once, but I think that most of us who play more than one system learned them sequentially, not simultaneously.

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Hello Lorie,

Just a note and an example to affirm what others are saying about sequential rather than simultaneous learning.

Once I became proficient on oboe — many years ago — proficiency on the other woodwinds came rather quickly as the fingerings (clarinet excepted) were quite similar though the embouchures differed.

Once I became proficient on the mandolin, the guitar (and even the banjo) followed rather quickly though the scale length and the number and tuning of the strings varies as do the chord shapes and positions and the physical sizes/formats of the instruments. That said, a half-tone is one fret apart on all of them.

BUT, the violin was an entirely different matter — despite it being nearly the same size, scale, tuning, and number of strings as the mandolin, it was tantamount to learning something the likes of which I had never experienced.

I adapted to the various duet systems rather quickly — though I have pursued only one to a level of real proficiency — after playing the English system for 6-7 years, but still can't even think about the possibility of playing so much as a scale on an Anglo system. I am utterly befuddled by it.

Likewise, the unisonoric bandonion systems came rather naturally, but the thought of a bisonoric bandoneon or chemnitzer is nearly paralyzingly to me.

A free bass system comes quite naturally to me while a stradella bass Is, oddly enough, a challenge.

I think John's advice may be the most prudent — pursue something new/different when what you have (after you have reached a level of, perhaps, intermediate skill and proficiency) impedes your progress, limits your expression, or doesn't allow you to accomplish what you want to accomplish.

Best wishes for much enjoyment — whatever you pursue and play.

Be Well,

Dan

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That said, a half-tone is one fret apart on all of them.

Dan

 

As an Anglo player, the quote above sounds like some kind of cruel joke. Lorie, your dilemma seems to have brought out some amazing players to give you advice. What an amazing place C.Net is. Best of luck and skill with your decisions.

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That said, a half-tone is one fret apart on all of them.

Dan

 

As an Anglo player, the quote above sounds like some kind of cruel joke. Lorie, your dilemma seems to have brought out some amazing players to give you advice. What an amazing place C.Net is. Best of luck, skill and creative guess work with your decisions.

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Hi Lorie

A solution for your dilemma could be to place an order for a modern duet.

Wakker, Wheatstone-Dickinson, Dipper (and maybe a few others) are building exceptional instruments,

and you can be sure to avoid the problems you have encountered with vintage instruments.

They all have a long waiting list. So, meanwhile, you can progress with your Edgley, and the duet should arrive

just at time, when anglo has became second nature to you and you are ready to move to something else.

 

Moreover, from my own experience, placing an order can refrain for some time the progression of COAD :)

 

David

Edited by david fabre
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Never mind.

The joke just hit me.

 

As someone who couldn't play an Anglo if my life depended on it, that system is all one big cruel and fret-full joke.

I truly admire anyone whose psycho-motor skills can master that system.

 

Dan

Edited by danersen
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Firstly Hi Jodie!

Secondly, An example of a man with two brains is Keith Kendrick (Derbyshire UK) amazing on both English and Anglo, and a very fine singer as well. Have worked with him many times over the years. He tried my Duet, and didn't get it at all!

My conclusion is that every mind is different! Couldn't agree more with the poster who could play mandolin, but found the fiddle scarey! I've been down that road too.....(Even my cats left the room in disgust)

I think you'll be lucky to get a bespoke Concertina from either Mr Dickinson, or Mr Dipper.

With great respect (and huge admiration) to both of them, they're not as young as they were!

I remember visiting Colin Dipper 10 years ago, and him saying...."If I made all the tinas that I've been asked for, I'd be 125 years old!" And having been to Steve Dickinson's place, only a couple of months ago, he said the same.

This is all a bit of a digression to the OP's point.

To re-iterate, MacCann Duet, At least 56/58 (whatever) that goes down to middle C on the right end. It's floated my boat for at least 30 years!

Well worth the pain, learning it though....Damn sight easier than a Violin....even worse.....a Viola!

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