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Beginner Looking for English Concertina


Woodsman
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Hi, I'm looking to buy my first English Concertina. I don't want to go too upscale at this stage--maybe up to around $500 (could be more if the right thing came along). I am aware of the Jackie/Jacks and Stagi models. I note that for the 30 button Stagi, it says some accidentals are omitted, whereas the Jackie is fully chromatic(?) I'm wondering about 48 or a 56 button but I don't know how difficult the fingering will be (also the cost factor). I have been playing accordion for quite a few years (not overly well). I'm hoping to get something that doesn't have too strident a tone--if I want volume my accordion can do that.

 

Any advice offered will be welcome--especially news of a good concertina for me at a good price. I live in Ottawa Canada. I'm in my 70s and looking for a new musical challenge.

 

I'm happy to have found concertina.net.

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Welcome to C.net Woodsman !

 

You will find plenty of topics here that should help you make a choice. On avarage there would be one enquiry from a new convert each week.

 

I have no personal experience of the Jack or Jackie models but looking at the Concertina Connection website, where it states that these instruments are fully Chromatic, it is obvious that some of the accidentals have been left out. These would be the repeated G#/Ab's and D#/Eb's that are normal on a 48key layout.

For getting a taste of the English keyboard I'm sure these are fine instruments but I feel that if a person gets on well with the system then they will quickly wish to up grade to a 48 or 56 key. Therefore it would be good to purchase from one of the accredited dealers, or directly from Concertina Connection, to avail of their up grade service.

 

On the other hand, and this is what I would do, why not look for an old instrument from Wheatstone or Lachenal with 48keys... spend a little more yes but in reality it is just an investment because these vintage models do hold their price. So, if you do not get on with the thing you can cash up again.

With that in mind you would be looking at a wooden ended instrument which will be not as loud.

 

Check out "The Button Box " or get down to the "N.E.Squeeze-In" which is on soon somewhere not a million miles from you.

 

Good luck,

Geoff.

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Welcome, too!

 

You might also want to consider (and try if possible) a decent old instrument with brass reeds, as opposed to steel reeds. These are usually quieter and have a more mellow tone. These also tend to be less expensive than their steel reeded counterparts.

 

YOu will no doubt know the following as an accordian player, but just in case: when buying an elderly concertina ensure it is in concert pitch and has 'new' (i.e. not original/old) pads and valves. Buying an elderly box from Ebay (for example) can mean spending as much again getting these and other things (e.g. leaky bellow) sorted out.

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Woodsman:

 

I live in Morrisburg near you (bottom of Bank St.) and own a Jack. Once it clears customs and arrives at her new home I will also own a Lachenal 48 button treble.

 

Send me a PM.

 

It would be great to have another beginner EC player nearby - I thought I was alone out here.

 

Don.

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As someone who walks in similar shoes as you (I play button accordion and very recently began playing the EC also), I can say that I had the exact same question a few months ago. I was initially inclined to shell out the extra money for a vintage instrument. When I called Concertina Connection, Wim convinced me that I really ought to go with a Jackie and that's what I did. I have had absolutely no regrets. It plays very well, I like the sound, and I have not yet found a tune that requires me to go out of its range, though I'm sure there will be eventually. Also, your price range is quite low for getting a decent vintage instrument. Others here know more about it than I, but it seems that you need to be willing to spend a minimum of 1200-1500 US dollars to get a decent vintage that will be tuned up and ready to go...unless you get lucky of course.

 

Now, I have to admit that I still troll the boards and various websites for a vintage or higher end hybrid, but with less urgency than before. Rather than trade in the Jackie when I eventually do upgrade, I think I will keep it as my less precious travelling box - it seems quite sturdy and I expect it to have a long productive life. Maybe you should take up Bufflehead on the offer to meet.

 

Disclaimer: this post from a person who has never even been in the same room as a Wheatstone or Lachenal, much less played one. :)

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...go with a Jackie and that's what I did. I have had absolutely no regrets. It plays very well, I like the sound...
Disclaimer: this post from a person who has never even been in the same room as a Wheatstone or Lachenal, much less played one. :)

Someday you will realize the irony of the juxtaposition of these two statements.

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I'm wondering about 48 or a 56 button

A usual (and complete) "treble" EC (with the pitch range of a violin) has got 48 buttons,

 

whereas a count of 56 buttons will normally indicate

- either a "tenor-treble" ("TT") with some added lower reeds, which I would really appreciate to own and play,

- or an "expanded treble", which is not so useful, as the added higher reeds fit dogs and bats better than humans. :)

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I have a couple of Lachenals with good, responsive brass reeds (not all brass reed instruments play as well as these two)that are available for $600 and $700 + shipping (4-fold and 5-fold bellows repectively) In tune, airtight bellows, refurbished with new pads and valves and playing well. You can personal message me or email: gjowaisas (type @) insightbb.com

 

The Jackie offers good value for an entry level instrument but for the extra money these two concertinas offer a traditional concertina sound and an instrument that will take you into the intermediate level of playing.

 

Greg

Edited by Greg Jowaisas
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...go with a Jackie and that's what I did. I have had absolutely no regrets. It plays very well, I like the sound...
Disclaimer: this post from a person who has never even been in the same room as a Wheatstone or Lachenal, much less played one. :)

Someday you will realize the irony of the juxtaposition of these two statements.

 

Ah, I hope you are correct...

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I'm wondering about 48 or a 56 button

A usual (and complete) "treble" EC (with the pitch range of a violin) has got 48 buttons,

 

whereas a count of 56 buttons will normally indicate

- either a "tenor-treble" ("TT") with some added lower reeds, which I would really appreciate to own and play,

- or an "expanded treble", which is not so useful, as the added higher reeds fit dogs and bats better than humans. :)

Arf!
:)

I have one with 64 buttons, having the additional notes in both directions from the 48-button treble range. It's still called a "tenor-treble", but has a range from C below middle C up to the G that's 4½ octaves higher.

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I'm wondering about 48 or a 56 button

A usual (and complete) "treble" EC (with the pitch range of a violin) has got 48 buttons,

 

whereas a count of 56 buttons will normally indicate

- either a "tenor-treble" ("TT") with some added lower reeds, which I would really appreciate to own and play,

- or an "expanded treble", which is not so useful, as the added higher reeds fit dogs and bats better than humans. :)

 

Wow, all these great responses! But if I were considering a 56 button (say, on-line), how would I know if the added buttons were in the lower or higher range?

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Woodsman:

 

I live in Morrisburg near you (bottom of Bank St.) and own a Jack. Once it clears customs and arrives at her new home I will also own a Lachenal 48 button treble.

 

Send me a PM.

 

It would be great to have another beginner EC player nearby - I thought I was alone out here.

 

Don.

 

OK, how do I send you a PM?

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...if I were considering a 56 button (say, on-line), how would I know if the added buttons were in the lower or higher range?

If it's the lower range, it should be described as a "tenor-treble" (or maybe just "tenor"), while if it's the higher range it should be described as an "extended treble" (or maybe just "treble"), but the best way is to contact the seller and ask.

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you might also consider the Morse Albion or the Marcus 37-key, an intriguing EC that goes down to F rather than G. depending on whether or not the concertina-reeded sound is essential to you for aesthetic reasons, in performance terms, you might never want or need to quote-unquote-"upgrade" after acquiring one of these two guys...

Edited by ceemonster
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