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How are the Hohrner Concertinas?


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Hohner make good cheap(ish) melodeons and harmonicas. I once played a Hohner concertina and it was virtually unplayable. I learned on a Rochelle. The Rochelle was playable, the Hohner wasn't.

I generally agree. The Hohner 20-button concertinas of recent years are pretty bad and a step down from a Rochelle or a Stagi. Many of the older Hohners were made by Bastari/Stagi (and are often marked Made in Italy) and are a bit better.

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Hello I have a Stagi concertina and would like to buy another concertina...what does some one think of the Hohner brand?

Thank you

 

 

In a word . . . junk. Tried two of the D40 model, when I was first learning. One lasted about 30 days and the other 30 minutes before becoming unplayable.

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The best thing you can do is save your pennies and get a hybrid from one of the various makers (or if you're patient enough, wait for a nice one to come along in here), or contact someone like Greg Jowaisas who refurbishes older boxes at reasonable prices. As with many instruments, cheap concertinas introduce so much 'noise' into the learning experience that progress slows considerably (while you fight with weird unnatural button spacing, uneven weights, sticky buttons, wheezy reeds, etc). I struggled with a Stagi for a number of years before splurging on a box from Frank Edgley and the difference was incredible .. though evidently the older Stagis were actually decent boxes and are played by many professional concertina players.

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My general rule, which took me too long to learn: money saved on cheap instruments is wasted.

 

Or as a friend puts it, "Buy cheap, buy twice."

 

I had a couple of years of excellent musical pleasure out of my Marcus before I managed to get a Jeffries. It was another couple of years before I got a Dipper. But I still play the Marcus from time to time.

 

However, as soon as I got the Marcus, I never played the Rochelle again. The Rochelle served its purpose and got me interested, but it was not a lovely box to own and play.

 

I then tried a Hohner out of prurient interest when I was in the local music shop one day. I am a better musician now than when I only owned the Rochelle, but I could get less music out of the Hohner.

 

I honestly believe that cheap and shoddy boxes do more harm than good. They must put many people off playing because they make it physically more difficult, and audibly less enjoyable.

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I started out with a cheap anglo from eBay. The buttons would stick, it was red pearl and shiny, and as I was coming from a PA background, the push and pull thing just blew my mind too much. That was $75 down the drain. I keep it as an example of an Anglo, if anybody asks. Having 20 buttons and no sharps/flats made it less than useful for me based on music that I like to be able to play. $75 for the education that I shouldn't play an Anglo...

 

The next one I bought was the cheapo 30 button Chinese English also from eBay. You know the one that has 2 pairs of reeds that are swapped. I actually was able to use it to get to a point where I thought I was good enough to consider a better instrument. I tried swapping the reeds to the correct notes, but gave up on it. I don't play it now. That was $150 or so to learn another lesson. Get a decent instrument.

 

I spent $350 or so on a Stagi tenor. That was interesting, but the buttons were shifted up, or down, I forget. Made it confusing on my still learning how to play fingers. I was able to sell that for about what I put into it...

 

Somewhere along the line I bought a Wheatstone treble, 1898 or so, had it refurbished/repaired/tuned, and it's been my favorite instrument since then. I think I paid $1000 or so, another $800 to restore, but it's just been an awesome little concertina for me since then!

 

The moral of my story? I don't know if I could have sunk $2,000 initially into an instrument, least of all having one restored, if I didn't have the experience of the crappy and money lost experiences before that. I don't recommend people do that, but on the other hand not knowing if it's going to be an instrument worth playing how can you know? I would say for beginners, don't get anything less than a low-end Stagi to see what you'd like. You might be able to see it for about what you bought.

 

I bought a Stagi treble for about $350 years later, intending to use it as my "stunt instrument". I found I would much rather play my Wheatstone, as I just like the feel better. I gave that Stagi to my niece, and she's been playing for about two years now. I have a surprise for her the next time I see her, in a refurbished Lachenal. One benefit of a beginner's instrument is you do have a better means to introduce someone to concertina playing a lot easier and if they don't like it, they can always give it back. :)

 

-Patrick

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I had a Hohner D60 and struggled, as a beginner, for over a year trying to play reasonably well. Then, one day I picked up a decent concertina (can't now recall the make) in Ireland and was amazed at how well I could actually play; I really could not believe the difference. So, convinced it was the concertina and not me that was largely at fault I bought a Clover made by the Concertina Connection (and purchased from Barleycorn). I've never looked back and never regretted the purchase. Don't buy a Hohner is my advice.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Avoid Scholer concertinas too. That is if you actually plan to play the instrument. If you just want to take it apart then Scholers are good for that.

I have a Scholer that actually plays more or less ok, though the reeds are a little slow and it takes a lot of work to play. But some are much worse, so I wouldn't buy one without playing it first.

 

 

 

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Just a comment in passing - Hohner have their fingers in a lot of pies. Their melodeons and PAs, although arguably not their own design (from companies they have bought over the years) are respected and I have no reason to believe the same may not be true of other instruments they sell.

The concertinas are held to be bought in badged units at the lower end of the range, so, as you have done, it's a case of doing your homework first.

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