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The Phoenix Anglo


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Today I saw at the Concertina Connection website a page about the Phoenix Anglo.

A quote from this page:

The Phoenix project is an idea of Chris Algar of  Barleycorn Concertinas. As a dealer Chris frequently comes across concertinas that are beyond repair.  The reeds of these instruments are salvaged and used in new, traditionally made anglo concertinas. The Wakker Phoenix anglo is made exclusively for Barleycorn Concertinas.
.

I checked the Barleycorn site but could not find anything about the Phoenix (the latest news dates back to august 2001 :( ).

So I wonder if anyone of you C.Netters can tell more about this Phoenix :unsure: ?

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Well, Chris used to have Connor do something similar for him in years past...I don't know if that arrangement is still in place or if this one replaces it. Chris generally doesn't spend a lot of time revising his Web site; he just buys and sells concertinas (My impression, anyway!) ;)

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So I wonder if anyone of you C.Netters can tell more about this Phoenix :unsure:

I went to see Chris on Friday (about something else entirely) and had a bit of a play on one of these Phoenix beasts while I was there. My impressions of it are very favourable indeed - good action, response, and sound. And it looked lovely too. :)

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  • 1 month later...

I e-mailed Chris regarding the Phoenix about a month ago and he told me that he was a little sorry that Wim had posted the project because he would like to have a concertina to show people first. He said that he did sell one already and another was presently being built. In any case I wonder if any of the makers of mid priced concertinas have considered the same approach. Howie

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I am not sure that there are differences between the reeds on the English and the Anglo, but I do expect that the reeds in the Anglo undergo alot more stress than reeds in an English (in large part from rapid changes in bellows directions). As a result it wouldn't suprise me in the slightest if they used a sturdier grade of reeds in an Anglo.

 

--

Bill

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While sets of reeds can be any scale (length/width proportion/size), anglo reeds tend to be shorter than English and duet reeds. All things being relatively equal (for the same pitch), shorter reeds tend to be brighter sounding.

 

Sturdiness is an attribute that can be featured in either long or short scale reeds - rapid bellows change isn't really part of the reed design/durability situation (though anglos usually have more robust bellows!).

 

Even within a range of reed scale, the reeds change in scale to make the higher reeds project more and the lower reed less (so as not to overwhelm the "melody"). Of course there're other things besides the scale of the reed to make them project more or not....

 

We *do* use different scale reeds for our Morse Englishes and anglos but for response and fit purposes rather than for tonal purposes. We find it easier to adjust the tonal properties in ways other than with the reeds - at least for our hybrid design of concertina.

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  • 3 weeks later...

"Phoenix" is a very interesting choice of name in this context, for not only does it describe the reborn concertina "arising from the ashes" of the old one, but also, according to Chinese legend, it goes back to the very birth of both free reed instruments and music itself. The Sheng (the inspiration for all our western free reed instruments) is said to have been invented to imitate the sound of the mythical phoenix bird, and the elegant symmetrical arrangement of the pipes represents the two folded wings of the phoenix.

 

One version of the story follows :

 

Chinese history books trace back to the very birth of music itself, an event pinpointed in the Book Of Chronicles (Schu-Ching) as occurring during the reign of the legendary "Yellow Emperor", Huang Ti, around the year 3000 B.C. Huang's other accomplishments included the invention of boats, money, and religious sacrifice. He is said to have sent the noted scholar Ling Lun to the western mountain regions of his domain to find a way to reproduce the song of the phoenix bird. Ling returned with the cheng (or sheng), and captured music for mankind.

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Clearly the CG Anglo has a different compass of pitch to the standard English treble, to make an anglo you will be looking for the remains of an anglo, and a born-again English will require the the corps of an English. Other than that I guess a Duet of the right number of keys would make two Anglos, hence the term Duet?

 

My only hope is that fine old instruments that can be restored (at a cost admittedly) are not being broken up to provide reeds to feed a more lucrative Anglo market.

 

This is a particular concern as the UK is being hoovered for instruments, many destined for export. Dealers are not finding the instuments, and hence the drive to develop modern and cost-effective alternatives, the hybrids, and now re-cycled reeds in new carcases.

 

Dave

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From what Chris said to me I was under the impression that the reed pan in the one I played had been salvaged from an irreparable common-or-garden wooden ended 30-key Lachenal. The important thing for me is that it responded, and sounded, much better than it had any right to, given the instrument the reeds had come from.

 

I've no problem with the more common old instruments being broken up if they're beyond economical repair and the end result is a better machine for a player.

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Robin,

 

the statement about 'export' is a statement of fact, and I was commenting on how it impacts on the dealers in the UK, the diminishing stock they have to pull from and their need and pressure to find replacements, like the Phoenix scheme and the drive to find reeds to fuel that.

 

Its a matter of market forces

 

The UK is the prime source of vintage instruments, as it is drained of its pool instruments the prices are driven up, hence the impetus to provide low end entry instruments and affordable new 'upper-standard' instruments. This will, taking Stuart's point', make the 'beyond economical repair' decision swing to profit based decision. Two anglos at a re-sale value of say £3000 each or a duet at say £1000.

 

At that sort of equation and with the business pressure mounting there might be a business case buy good instruments and mine them for their reeds.

 

From a UK Nationalist point of view, would you like to see your heritage being bought up and exported to other countries? Probably not, but you are right its better exported and appreciated, than it ending up in a land-fill site, or a garden fire. However this was not the point I was making. I know that several of instruments that I have restored, were restored for sale and export, and I knew this intention before starting work.

 

Dave

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  • 3 months later...

As a proud owner of a Phoenix Anglo, I wondering if anyone else here has one? When I went to see Chris, he had a number of these, mine is serial number 0505. The serial numbers mean this is 05/2005. It's an Amboyna model and looks indentical to the one on Wim's website http://www.concertinaconnection.com

 

The action is fast and light, the tone is supurb and consistant, and the air handling is very efficient. I know there are at least four others out these, probably more by now.

 

Does anyone else here have one? and would like to share an opinion?

 

Regards,

Gerry.

(In the heart of East Anglia - UK)

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Gerry,

 

These look very nice but no price is listed.  How much does Chris sell them for?

 

From what I remember, they ranged in price from around GBP2400 to 3000 depending on the reeds and how well they performed. They were all black ended except for the one I bought. They are quite a markup on Wim's accordian reeded concertina's, but Chris is a trader and without his efforts they wouldn't exist at all. I have to say, I'm very happy with mine.

 

Regards,

Gerry.

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They are quite a markup on Wim's accordian reeded concertina's, but Chris is a trader and without his efforts they wouldn't exist at all.

But don't forget that the traditional concertina-style reedpan is a very complex piece of woodworking, accordion-style reedblocks are quite simple in comparison, plus you are paying for the "donor" concertina that provided the reeds. So it should be a good bit more expensive.

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