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Stagi Beginner Brunner and Thomann plastic body concertinas?


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EDIT: Bumping a 2012 thread, see 2015 comments further down the page.

 

 

I'll start off by saying I'm aware that the ~$375 Rochelle is a popular inexpensive starter concertina, but I'm interested in hearing more about the Stagi plastic-bodied concertinas (I've seen them labeled "Beginner" and "Brunner") and the similar model from Thomann. I have some friends who mess around with the $20 Hero-style 7-button melodeons, which actually aren't horrendous for the price so long as you pick-and-choose the more in-tune one the toyshop has, and then tape off half of the doubled reeds to save on air. For those guys a $375 box is a bit of a hard sell unless they're really into a diatonic free-reed, but with the Thomann 20-button running €107, that's barely a third of what a CC runs.

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I've seen the Thomann discussed briefly here in the past, with a few folks mentioning they were okay for the price, and have read similar about the Stagi plastic on a few folk music forums. Has anyone here spent much time mucking around with either of these? Are they the same box, rebadged, or is Thomann having a different Italian shop build theirs? I'll admit I was also drawn by the mention that the ABS bodies seem capable of really taking a beating, which might make them a nice knock-around to take camping.

  • Has anyone taken a crack at one of these? For something of such low, low price is it at least something decently playable for a beginner?
  • If someone has a rock-solid budget of under $200, would these be a better or worse option than the Hohner D40 (made in China) box?
  • Are there any recommended quick-fixes for these boxes? Any easy home-brew way to make them play a little smoother? Tricks from fettling the old Scholer boxes that might apply?
  • Any recommendations for where to find these in the US? The only US seller I've found thus far (selling them as "Brünner by Stagi") is jimlaabsmusic.com, but at $179 that's right up there with the D40, and more expensive than Thomann sells the similar box for in Europe.

Thanks for any suggestions on these potential beater cheapies.

Edited by MatthewVanitas
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I have wondered about these too and haven't had a chance to play one. If they're made by Stagi in Italy, they may be better than the Hohner D-40, which I think of as not significantly better than a Chinese no-name box. I would guess that the Thomann is a rebadged Stagi/Brunner. (Brunner is the parent company - I think they may have bought out Stagi at some point.)

 

I doubt that you'll beat Jim Laabs' price - their Stagi prices tend to be the lowest in the US (unfortunately with customer service to match based on previous reports). The lower prices for the Thomann may just be a result of dollar-euro exchange fluctuations.

 

I'll start off by saying I'm aware that the ~$375 Rochelle is a popular inexpensive starter concertina, but I'm interested in hearing more about the Stagi plastic-bodied concertinas (I've seen them labeled "Beginner" and "Brunner") and the similar model from Thomann. I have some friends who mess around with the $20 Hero-style 7-button melodeons, which actually aren't horrendous for the price so long as you pick-and-choose the more in-tune one the toyshop has, and then tape off half of the doubled reeds to save on air. For those guys a $375 box is a bit of a hard sell unless they're really into a diatonic free-reed, but with the Thomann 20-button running €107, that's barely a third of what a CC runs.

 

I've seen the Thomann discussed briefly here in the past, with a few folks mentioning they were okay for the price, and have read similar about the Stagi plastic on a few folk music forums. Has anyone here spent much time mucking around with either of these? Are they the same box, rebadged, or is Thomann having a different Italian shop build theirs? I'll admit I was also drawn by the mention that the ABS bodies seem capable of really taking a beating, which might make them a nice knock-around to take camping.

 

  • Has anyone taken a crack at one of these? For something of such low, low price is it at least something decently playable for a beginner?
  • If someone has a rock-solid budget of under $200, would these be a better or worse option than the Hohner D40 (made in China) box?
  • Are there any recommended quick-fixes for these boxes? Any easy home-brew way to make them play a little smoother? Tricks from fettling the old Scholer boxes that might apply?
  • Any recommendations for where to find these in the US? The only US seller I've found thus far (selling them as "Brünner by Stagi") is jimlaabsmusic.com, but at $179 that's right up there with the D40, and more expensive than Thomann sells the similar box for in Europe.

Thanks for any suggestions on these potential beater cheapies.

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Ideally before you buy, or as soon as possible, do the following:

 

Gently operate each button in turn, noting the point at which it begins to sound, in each direction. You should get about the same feel for each button. It's not terribly scientific but not hard to get a general feel.

 

You may find that one or two notes need a lot more pressure/air to start. May be accompanied by a slight hissing noise. You don't want any box that does that. It typically indicates a poorly sealed reed, and is a real showstopper for an inexperienced player.

It may not notice, or may just sound a bit thin, when you play the box hard but when practicing or playing quietly it can stop you in your tracks. It can be easy to fix if you know how, but you don't want to fix a new box (unless it was free)!

 

Maybe next thing would be to play it as hard and fast as you can (doesn't have to be tuneful!) just to make sure you don't get any funny noises or sticking buttons.

 

I have met three boxes with the first problem. An experienced player playing fairly loud may not notice, but as I said for a beginner it is extremely off-putting.

 

Malcolm

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  • 3 years later...

Bumping my old thread from years ago to reply, since this is still the first Google hit for "stagi plastic concertina".

 

I recently moved to West Africa, and I figured out pretty quickly that I don't want to bring a nice concertina here to Monrovia. The rainy season here (which is is right now) is very wet and cool, so all the paperback books in our house are soggy, all the furniture smells of mildew, and a plywood ukulele has developed major soundboard cracks. In a few months it'll be dry season, and then it'll be baking hot, so that'll have its own troubles for gear. My team is moving to a new house since our current apartment has intermittent/occasional electricity, indifferent plumbing, and very large rats; the house we're moving to is much nicer and tidier, but it's literally 200 yards from the ocean, and the waves here are huge, so the salt spray is going to be corroding everything. So you can imagine, I'm not inclined to bring even my $500 Lachenal Duet here for fear of it getting ruined.

 

However, on eBay this week I found a used plastic-body Stagi/Brunner concertina, in cheery yellow and blue, for US$75, so I'll have a friend ship that over to me. I imagine that the soundboard is still plywood, so at some risk of cracks, and the reeds are presumably still steel and subject to corrosion, but at least a plastic body would remove one large area of climate-vulnerable material, and at this price I can risk it falling apart entirely (and could even rebuild it with spare parts if needed). Once it arrives and I get it felt out, I'll post a new thread about playing the concertina in Liberia!

Edited by MatthewVanitas
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  • 5 years later...
  • 11 months later...

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