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guide for very new beginner


Nisse
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Hi,

I have been surfing the net for days now, trying to sort out what a concertina is, which one I should choose, and what price I should accept.

Since I am a very beginner, with small children loving to try my instruments, I think I need a basic and cheap anglo C/G.

Having no experience in accordion instrument and no possibility to have the concertina tuned for me (I live in Norway and it looks like this instrument is nearly unknown in the country...), so I suppose steel reeds are the thing, and that I should buy a new box from professional instead of a second hand from a private person.

I was considering buying a 20 buttons but after rewiewing many YouTube videos, I found many of them little melodious, some with much blowing or buttons noise. Does this come from a limited number of folds? I also noticed that people sell their 20 buttons box short time after buying one, sounds like it is nice to start with but that it gets limited quite soon..? I want to be able to play on different styles, singing along, at parties, and not having to buy a new one 3 months after buying the first. So I think I should choose a 30 buttons one, at least. And just because I like it better, I want one with a little diameter (about 20 cm would be nice) :P

 

Do you agree with my choices so far? B)

 

So comes the problem of which model I should go for among the many filling my criterias.

I searched ebay and netsides and followed on your reviews and advices to other beginners. I understand that Hohner is not what I should go for. That leave med with a Scarlatti and a Schanx on ebay so far. What do you think? Others to recommand?

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Hi Nisse

 

Have you found these two essays on purchasing a first concertina yet?

http://www.concertina.info/tina.faq/conc-buy.htm

http://www.concertina.info/tina.faq/conc-typ.htm

 

Generally speaking the "cheap" "beginner" concertinas are a mixed bag of reliability, playability, and satisfaction, with not much of a resale value. Since you mentioned you'd like and Anglo, this one is the best recommendation overall. They hold their value and can be traded for a better one "when" the time comes at full price depending on where purchased. Sometimes, they become available used also.

http://www.concertinaconnection.com/rochelle%20anglo.htm

 

We have a few members here from Norway. The search isn't the best, but a search of Norway will have quite a few posts from members, and also some videos from others that live there.

 

Thanks

Leo :)

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Thanks for your answer Leo :)

These reviews are well detailed and yes, I know the Rochelle is best but I did not really consider it as I find it expensive. Can I get something correct for under £200? :huh:

But then again, it sounds like even though Rochelle is best, it still has to be replaced after a short while by a better and very expensive instrument if one wants to move on. I know this is with all instruments, but I feel like concertina are out of date in no time? Could it mean that beginners get good very fast? ;)

 

Thanks for the tips about norwegian members, I will go and try meet some of them B)

 

Nisse

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Thanks for your answer Leo :)

These reviews are well detailed and yes, I know the Rochelle is best but I did not really consider it as I find it expensive. Can I get something correct for under £200? :huh:

But then again, it sounds like even though Rochelle is best, it still has to be replaced after a short while by a better and very expensive instrument if one wants to move on. I know this is with all instruments, but I feel like concertina are out of date in no time? Could it mean that beginners get good very fast? ;)

 

Thanks for the tips about norwegian members, I will go and try meet some of them B)

 

Nisse

 

A cheap, ebay concertina will make it very difficult to learn, and you will either give up or want to replace it almost immediately..

A Rochelle will allow you to move through the beginner stages, but when you get to that point you will probably want to upgrade.

A good hybrid like a Morse will not hamper your advancement, and will remain playable for many years, but you may find you want to upgrade to a "traditional" concertina later on because you prefer the sound. BUt the good hybrids are every bit as good in terms of playability as expensive vintage instruments.

 

 

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Hi Nisse

 

No, it doesn't have to be replaced after a short while. It can last a good long time if taken care of. See the age of the Lachenal and Wheatstone, and Crabb and others that are desirable after a hundred + years. Time will tell on these. At one time, only a few years ago, the cheap Chinese concertinas were the only way to start playing with all their frustrating faults. Concertina Connection started the line of their instruments with a lot of thought in the design, and are priced above the junk, and below the Stagi line. It became the new standard of minimum. It also has a major benefit, if something goes wrong with it, a fix is a quick phone call or email that usually resolves the problem quickly. Not so with "no name".

 

If you'd purchase a $100/$200 no name from Ebay, chances are a year from now, "when" the skills and needs/wants demand, it's probably worthless and might make a good doorstop, if it's decorative enough. Then pay in the $2000 range for a nice instrument. So all in all there would be $2200 + taxes and shipping total. At least with a Rochelle, at $300+, a year from now, to upgrade, depending on where purchased, there is a clause that says "full purchase price refund". That means the same $2000 instrument will only need an additional $1700 when the Rochelle is traded for a better instrument. Sounds like the longer term cheaper way to go. In the US, Concertina Connection, the Button Box, and Tedrow offer that pricing. I don't know of Europe. I speak in $US, but it doesn't matter, the idea works the same in any currency.

 

They do come available used sometimes here, and hold their value more than the lesser instruments and the Stagi line.

 

You can still look for something really cheap. It is what it is, but it's better doing it with your eyes open with knowing rather than that's all there is.

 

Do you play an instrument now, or read music? What kind of music you interested in? I suspect, it's not a decision that needs to be answered yesterday. Take your time and like the old knight in the movie said "Choose wisely".

 

Thanks

Leo :)

Edited by Leo
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I was in the same place about 1 1/2 years ago. One night, and 2 glasses of wine later, I purchased a "traditional" student Lachenal from one of our c.net members--and I've never been sorry. I think the speed and playablity of these creaking "antiques" more than offsets the opening and looking at the guts and futzying. What better way to get introduced to your new insturment of choice than to have to do some putzy repairs?? I was especially fortunate that one of our great repair and builder guys here in the US (Greg Jowaisas) was VERY generous with internet tutoring. I whined, he answered (bless his soul! what a patient man and generous teacher!) So, I think spending an extra $100 now will see you well, and gain you an extra half year or year of playing before you "need" to move up; going the Rochelle route or "student" traditional. (I'm also not certain that you will be satisfied with the $150 ebay specials.) And hopefully position your resale as an even-steven?? Enjoy your new toy! I surely have. Michelle (I feel another soul lost to eternal concertina envy?)

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OK guys, you got me, I'll go for a Rochelle or better B) After all, I desserve it :D

Now I see a Rochelle to sell in France, but it looks like it is still cheaper to import it from USA with the high shipping fees than to get it in France with inland fees :wacko:.

Then, does anyone know how it goes with taxes? I know that if I import it to Norway I will get 25% more to pay in taxes, but not sure about what happens if I import it to France... Anyone how knows?

 

By the way Leo, I do read music, I sing in a chorus and play the guitar (+ others just for fun). Not much time for that with small kids but it is getting better and better, and in some years... :P I am interested in different kinds of music, from ABBA to Irish Blessing :)

Edited by Nisse
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OK guys, you got me, I'll go for a Rochelle or better B) After all, I desserve it :D

Now I see a Rochelle to sell in France, but it looks like it is still cheaper to import it from USA with the high shipping fees than to get it in France with inland fees :wacko:.

Then, does anyone know how it goes with taxes? I know that if I import it to Norway I will get 25% more to pay in taxes, but not sure about what happens if I import it to France... Anyone how knows?

Hej Nisse!

You could also buy your Rochelle from UK at The Musicroom or look at Concertina Connections website for more dealers.

 

Good luck on your concertina hunt! :)

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Then, does anyone know how it goes with taxes? I know that if I import it to Norway I will get 25% more to pay in taxes, but not sure about what happens if I import it to France... Anyone how knows?

 

You need to look at this and find Norwegian rules. England to France you'd pay British VAT. England to Norway probably not. If I buy parts for my old vehicles from England and have them sent here, NZ, I pay lots of postage, but not the English VAT. The NZ customs only charge GST (=VAT NZ style) on incoming parcels over $450. So a parcel from England where the declaration and postage costs together are under $450 is often a cheaper way to buy something than getting it locally. Also the value declared is not what you payed for it. It's what the customs man could get if he re-sold it. Don't be too generous with the declaration (and get your seller educated too)

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Then, does anyone know how it goes with taxes? I know that if I import it to Norway I will get 25% more to pay in taxes, but not sure about what happens if I import it to France... Anyone how knows?

Forgot this part!!!

I know from Norwegian friends that you will probably have to pay some extra tax. But if you know someone living in Sweden near the border, then you can get the seller to send the instrument to that address and you can drive and pick the item up yourself. It's common way around that problem especially if you are going to buy a second hand instrument.

Edited by Hasse
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Hej Nisse!

You could also buy your Rochelle from UK at The Musicroom or look at Concertina Connections website for more dealers.

 

Good luck on your concertina hunt! :)

Hej Hasse!

I looked at both these and the one form Musicroom is more expensive than import from US. Concertina Connections indicates one dealer in France, the one I found on ebay (sells same price as in his shop in Lyon, and still more expensive than import from US.

 

Forgot this part!!!

I know from Norwegian friends that you will probably have to pay some extra tax. But if you know someone living in Sweden near the border, then you can get the seller to send the instrument to that address and you can drive and pick the item up yourself. It's common way around that problem especially if you are going to buy a second hand instrument.

Yeah I know, this is why I am considering having it sendt to France instead of here (Norway). I will be in France next month. B) But not around Lyon... By the way, do YOU live close to the norwegian border? B)

Edited by Nisse
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Then, does anyone know how it goes with taxes? I know that if I import it to Norway I will get 25% more to pay in taxes, but not sure about what happens if I import it to France... Anyone how knows?

 

You need to look at this and find Norwegian rules. England to France you'd pay British VAT. England to Norway probably not. If I buy parts for my old vehicles from England and have them sent here, NZ, I pay lots of postage, but not the English VAT. The NZ customs only charge GST (=VAT NZ style) on incoming parcels over $450. So a parcel from England where the declaration and postage costs together are under $450 is often a cheaper way to buy something than getting it locally. Also the value declared is not what you payed for it. It's what the customs man could get if he re-sold it. Don't be too generous with the declaration (and get your seller educated too)

Hi Dirge,

The norwegian rules are expensive... They take 25% of the price. In France I do not know really, never imported when I lived there. But I know there is no taxe from UK to France since they are both in EU. From US I do not know...

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Forgot this part!!!

I know from Norwegian friends that you will probably have to pay some extra tax. But if you know someone living in Sweden near the border, then you can get the seller to send the instrument to that address and you can drive and pick the item up yourself. It's common way around that problem especially if you are going to buy a second hand instrument.

Yeah I know, this is why I am considering having it sendt to France instead of here (Norway). I will be in France next month. B) But not around Lyon... By the way, do YOU live close to the norwegian border? B)

No, unfortunately I live down in Skåne fare from the Norwegian border. I don't know about France, but I know when importing from USA to Sweden you normally have to pay 25 % VAT (moms) and then costum duty from 0 - 20 %, but instruments normally around 3-10 % depending on the value (if remembering correct). For instruments with value under 1400 kronor you do normally not pay costum duty. I suspect you also end up paying both VAT and some % costum duty in France, but hopefully less than in Sweden!

Edited by Hasse
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Now, the taxes made it. It was cheaper from US before I counted the import taxes, but now it is different.

A Rochelle from Concertina Connection is $379 + shipping fees $60 + import taxes around 20% in France = $570 thus 418€€.

A Rochelle from France is 329€ + 15€ in shipping fees = 344€€/$469...

Unless we find out that we need to travel to US very soon, I think I have to go for the french one :)

Edited by Nisse
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I have been playing and teaching Anglo concertina for over twenty years. I hate to see people buying the Rochelle. Many people like them but in general these people are not experienced players. I don't know any experienced players who like them. Rochelles are heavy, slow, unresponsive instruments. I would certainly not buy one new when with a bit of effort and patience a decent old used one will turn up. I much prefer a good twenty-button Lachenal Anglo. They will do for years and be resalable when and if the time comes to move up. The old 20 button Lachenal Anglos generally go for about the cost of a new Rochelle. Buying a new Rochelle will generally mean some financial loss when the time comes to sell it on.

 

Is there any difference between the many concertinas -- the Stephanelli, Scarlatti, Rossini or the generic "30 Button Black Anglo" -- listed on Ebay and the genuine Rochelle? The Ebay Anglos look exactly like the Rochelle, but are priced less than half of the price of the Rochelle. Third World producers are famous for making and selling a product (knock-offs) that they have been hired to manufacture by one entrepreneur only to sell the rebranded product on the open market. It is very hard to see any difference between the Rochelle and the others on Ebay. One example on Ebay is the Rossini . Another is generic black anglo with "Italian tuned bimetalic German reeds." The price of the latter would be about $200 (€150) - which is below the radar of the customs officials.

 

Best is to buy either a good hybrid or a good Lachenal with steel reeds. It's always better to learn on a good instrument. The resale of a good hybrid might entail a loss of a couple of hundred dollars but the instrument would give very good value up to that point, and encourage a beginner to play it. That alone would make it worth the money.

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I have been playing and teaching Anglo concertina for over twenty years. I hate to see people buying the Rochelle. Many people like them but in general these people are not experienced players. I don't know any experienced players who like them. Rochelles are heavy, slow, unresponsive instruments. I would certainly not buy one new when with a bit of effort and patience a decent old used one will turn up. I much prefer a good twenty-button Lachenal Anglo. They will do for years and be resalable when and if the time comes to move up.

 

 

I'm glad someone much more experienced than me brought this up! Because I seriously don't understand why the Rochelle is so popular. In my opinion it's just as painful to play as the clacking Lachenal I borrowed for a short while and not really that much better than the cheap "no name" concertina I'm playing right now until my new hybrid concertina arrives. Maybe the Rochelles are more durable, but if you only plan to play the Rochelle for one or two years and then move one it's kind of wasted money.

 

I bought my Chinese concertina at The Accordionary,(don't have my concertina anylonger - but a look alike), some years ago as a spare concertina, and it’s been in the wardrobe until recently when I didn’t have access to any other concertina, after some adjustments it’s been more comfortable to play than the Lachelan, rather slow, but not really that heavy, it's really ok untill April...

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I hate to see people buying the Rochelle. Many people like them but in general these people are not experienced players. I don't know any experienced players who like them. Rochelles are heavy, slow, unresponsive instruments. I would certainly not buy one new when with a bit of effort and patience a decent old used one will turn up. I much prefer a good twenty-button Lachenal Anglo. ......

Best is to buy either a good hybrid or a good Lachenal with steel reeds. It's always better to learn on a good instrument. The resale of a good hybrid might entail a loss of a couple of hundred dollars but the instrument would give very good value up to that point, and encourage a beginner to play it. That alone would make it worth the money.

 

I can speak from the perspective of someone who came to the concertina with no experience and little familiarity with the instrument. 4 years on, I now own a Morse hybrid, and a nice 20 button Lachanal, and agree absolutely that they are much easier to play than the Rochelle that got me started, but I would say the following in its defence:

 

*Well built- 4 years without a problem, despite now doing duty as my "camping-let -visiting-children-have-a-go" concertina. Twice I have tried cheap concertinas in a music shop to find that they were already broken.

 

*Reasonably playable- although it takes a bit more effort than the Morse, the action is decent and consistent, it's airtight, and the sound is pleasant and balanced. I've tried Scholers, Scarlatties, Hohners and a Stagi, and it is hands down better to play. And before Colin Dipper kindly laid his hands on my Lachanal at a "meet and greet" last year, it could be maddening to play as well (and it was twice the cost of the Rochelle).

 

*Reputable dealers- I like knowing that the nice folks at the Button Box are only a call away.

 

*Resale/trade up option- I disagree completely with your point about losing money. If you want to trade up to a hybrid, many dealers will give you full trade in value. As for resale, I've followed the sales of used Rochelles, and they seem to depreciate less than a 1/3 of their value. Cheaper than renting an instrument to try out.

 

*Availability- Might be different in Ireland, but here in Canada concertinas are thin on the ground. As a beginner, i wouldn't have dreamed of buying a complicated bit of 100 year old engineering sight-unseen from ebay, or take a chance on a cheap Chinese box from an anonymous ebay dealer.

 

*Price- My main point: My brother plays guitar. As a beginner, he was able to purchase a decent instrument for a few hundred dollars. It served him well, and allowed him to develop his skill and love of the instrument. All in all, a very low risk investment. Milions of others have done the same, and although many didn't carry on, the intial pool of beginners was large enough, thanks partly to the cheapness and availability of the instrument, that it is one of the most popular instruments in the world. After many years of playing, he recently "treated" himself to a new instrument. Very nice indeed, and about the price of a hybrid concertina. If my only choice 4 years ago for obtaining a playable box was to take an uninformed gamble on ebay or spend $2K to see if I liked the instrument, I wouldn't have proceeded. I think the lack of affordable beginner options is one of the main reasons for the concertina's relative obscurity.

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