Jump to content

Upgrade Hayden Duet: Peacock Vs. Beaumont, Wakker And Wheatstone?


Recommended Posts

Thank you David, the fact that You were unaware of this detail is a sort of an answer by itself - obviously You would pick up any clear differences between character of notes:) I'm aware that many other concertinas have perpendicular reeds: Elise, Bastaris, cheap german anglos etc.. And that bandonions and some multi-voice german concertinas have a mix of perpendicular/parallel reeds but they always (?) have a mix between voices, not between notes.

 

@Matthew's Elise: the best way to upgrade this instrument is to replace buttons to fully bushed ones - I've done it right after purchase, as Elise turned out to be a downgrade in quality from cheap german anglo because of the buzz of buttons... I don't know if suitable buttons can be found as I have done mine myself. And you'll have to re-drill the holes in the case to bigger diameter to acomodate bushings. But after this replacement the action on Elise becomes quiet, responsive and rigid (no wobbly buttons) and much easier (and faster) to play.

Edited by Łukasz Martynowicz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 39
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

[Actually, I mentioned it twice, above, but it's not obvious:]

 

i saw and noted both mentions. but neither mention stated it was the same Hayden with hook action I saw listed for a month-ish in the "Duet" section of BB's "in-stock" sale listing page. i figured it must be, but you don't know till you know. so i was asking if it was indeed the same one, which it seems to have been....... :ph34r:

 

i wonder if we are seeing the tip of the Duet Ascendance folks here have been betting on once Haydens got out there some....

Edited by ceemonster
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm glad you raised this question, Matthew, since I've been wondering the exact same things - including keeping the Elise as a "beater"! I don't have any answers, or money to initiate the upgrade right now, but I'm hoping to be in your predicament in the not-too-distant future!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Matthew,

Since you're interested in the Wicki-Hayden system in general did you know there are other instruments in production that use that layout? The Array Mbira uses the exact arrangement of notes that Hayden concertinas use, but with the sharps and flats that are missing from the edges of the layouts on concertinas. 120 separate tines (like reeds in a concertina) on the most common 4 octave model. Rich Morse was interested in building something similar, but with improvements he had worked out. He felt the tines/reeds should be scaled differently (thicker and wider for low notes) for each octave. He had a whole list of ideas for how he'd design one and sent them to me, but I can't seem to find the email. The Harpejji uses a close but slightly different note layout. It's an isomorphic layout, but technically not a Wicki-Hayden arrangement. Whole steps as you move horizontally and half steps as you move vertically up each string. Then the Wicki-Hayden midi keyboards you already know about.

I haven't played concertina for a while now, but am tempted by the newer Haydens out there. The Morse Beaumont looks really nice, but almost 4000 dollars is quite a high price for me to swing for what will likely be a secondary instrument (I play tenor guitar). I like the Concertina Connection Peacock too, and 2600 is easier to spend. I really like the Morse concertinas (I played an Albion english), they are nicely made, I love how they sound, and they are very light and feel agile. If I get a Hayden I'll probably wait until I can afford a Beaumont. The Button Box is only a several hour drive from my house, which is nice too, and would be a factor in my decision.

Edited by BruceB
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Bruce, I am indeed familiar with a few of the Hayden-Wicki instruments you mention, but mostly the crossovers that have intrigued me are the MIDI controllers: Thummer (never made it to market), the Gadgetina (still a homebrew), and the AXIS-49. The last is commercially sold, though the originators intended it to be used for their own competing isomorphic layout, but Hayden fans have moved key colors around, turned them sideways, and run Wicki coding through their synth to accommodation our tuning.

 

142rds7.jpg

 

I'm rather tempted to get the AXIS-49, particularly as I believe their current $250 each is a "sale" price, though that sale appears to have been going much of this year. The AXIS is appealing not just for being a useful alternative to piano keyboards for those of us who want to play keyboard... but not piano. The bit that really draws me is that it can be so easily tweaked for intonation, microntonal bits, etc.

 

I had at one point vaguely pondered a Hayden concertina in, say, Pythagorean tuning, but that would be $5k+ and give me an instrument that would be almost unsellable. Then I thought maybe I could get a MIDI concertina and then just program it for many tunings including Pythagorean, but I suppose a MIDI concertina is rather pricey too. Then my brain finally connected the dots and I figure getting a jammer keyboard is really the most practical way to go at this stage. :D

 

 

Anyway, Bruce, in your shoes I would definitely drop in and check out the Buttonbox. I'll be curious to hear which model you end up choosing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's also an iPhone app, Hexjam, which is billed as a hexagonal jammer keyboard (doesn't use the words "Hayden" or "Wicki" anywhere in the app description, as I recall) which is a simple Hayden jammer keyboard. One-hand only, of course, but great for demonstrating the concept to anyone, anywhere, when you're not actually carrying a concertina with you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have the TradLessons iPhone Hayden concertina app, so that helps explain the concept.

Got the Beaumont on order, maybe buying the jammer keyboard once I sell some other gear (C#/D Hohner Erica, 4-stop D melodeon, etc).

I'm not going to sign up for a waiting list until a few months down the road, once I get a feel for the Beaumont and figure out my stance on trad vs. hybrid reeds. I'm picking up a good-quality Jones 20 button C/G Anglo from Greg Jowaisas so I'll have at least one good trad concertina in the house, and can extrapolate that sound to figure out whether that's what I'll someday want to hear in a Duet. I don't want to wait too-too long on getting on a waitlist, as I'd rather risk losing the $100/£100 deposit rather than add years to my wait time. Two questions on that:


1) Wakker definitely does trad reed Hayden-Wicki duets and maintains a waitlist. Wheatstone has done them in the past, but my understanding is it's not a priority of his and waiting for one from him might take ages and ages. Dipper has made them before, but did they just make huge ornate 12-sided ones? I'll have a better feel for what I like after getting familiar with the Beaumont, but based on my Elise experience so far I imagine that a nice compact hexagonal 46k would suit me fine. I've seen John Connor's name mentioned as having built Haydens as well, and Geoff Crabb too, though unsure if those are total one-offs or whether they're open to taking more orders for them. I'm in my early 30s, so I'm not in a drastic hurry and can survive a 6 year waitlist or more. Are the above my main options for waitlist for a trad-reeded hybrid, or any I'm missing? Any of the above that are just really not likely sources for a Hayden?
2) Of the folks making trad-reed concertinas these days, who maybe might do Haydens, do any of them offer brass reeds as an option? Are brass reeds notably more expensive? I'd have to put a lot of thought into it and do some ear-testing, but big picture I think high-quality brass reeds might suit me well for solo play or accompaniment to voice or just one or two acoustic instruments. I don't so much look on the Hayden as a session instrument, since I have the 1-row melodeon to blare out four sets of reeds for that!
Edited by MatthewVanitas
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Dangit, I wrote a longer post but accidentally erased it trying to hit the key combo to get the "£" on a US keyboard.

 

 

In short summary: really enjoying the Beaumont, played it just about every day for the last five weeks, and making plans to incorporate it into friends' music projects. Been selling off a lot of other music gear to focus down to the instruments I truly want to play seriously, since I had an embarrassingly large amount (numerically and in terms of the square footage of my small apartment) of instruments I didn't really play more than a few times every few years.

 

I made some inquiries to other trad-concertina makers, but in the end it appears that Wim is really the go-to guy since he has a standardized and refined design he's developed and crafted a number of, whereas for others it's an unduly complex process of making a one-off niche instrument when they have 5-7 year waitlist for the Anglos they've already mastered. So Wim would be the best bet, and people seem quite pleased with his gear; his website's walkthrough shows a really exacting process he uses in his builds.

 

It's a hefty wad of cash, $5900, but in the big picture the people who in 1985 bought Wheatstone Haydens for £655 (US$1070) probably feel pretty good about it since you can't exactly buy one of those for US$2,375 in 2014 dollars this week.

 

At the moment I'm inclining to putting my $200 down, as I don't expect a new master trad-reed concertina maker specializing in Haydens is going to emerge in the next three years.

Edited by MatthewVanitas
Link to comment
Share on other sites

well, dickinson/wheatstone offers them for order on his site. but supposedly the wait is longer than hell, as in, eternal. AND you'd pay uk sterling, OUCH. i believe those who have ordered from wim have been very happy...yes, 6 Large is a lot of cash. but it's about what you'd pay for an Anglo or an EC if that's any comfort...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

As an infrequent poster, but near-constant reader, I always get back to this: Low entry cost, high FQ (fun quotient) and terrific value in the Elise. I am now three months into a rental from the good Button Box folks, and coul not be happier. After a mere 18 months of Anglo (which I love and persist in treating as a handful of harmonicas, and can play most of what I care about along the rows) I am struck by the genius of the Hayden layout. And, despite a barely useful left hand (clumsy and ill-trained; nothing organic) the instrument and I are bonding to the point that tunes in my head are increasingly tranlatable through my fingers and out...for me, the goal is a seamless process, ultimately, where the instrument will be like a singing voice; the notes will take care of themselves. To that end, I devote about a half to full hour per day, and have slated much more for summer. I am amazed that "muscle memory" works for rapid runs, even arpegios (spelling?). So far, my main use is Folk/Americana/Gospel, but Old Timey fiddle tunes and even Irish are in the works. One box, same fingering, and keys of G, C, And D with adequate range and one four-hundred dollar box? Pretty cool, to my way of thinking.

 

So, to two actual questions: Do your Elises play responsively in the low left range? I'll ask Doug at BB before I convert to purchase, but am wondering if the very slow response is addressable, or the nature of the beast? And, can anyone specifically comment on their switch to the Peacock from yhe Elise, which might be a possible upgrade for me in a year or two.

 

Meanwhile, any more Elise fans willing to swap tales of triumph or tragedy?

 

Thanks, and regards,

 

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The slow response of the lowest notes is caused by weighted reeds and you can't really do anything about it.

Well, yes and no.

 

Big, weighted reeds are inherently slow but if they are not 'voiced' correctly then they will be slower than they need to be. Voicing a reed means altering the gap height of hetween the tip of the Reed and it's little carrier. All accordion reeded boxes will have the same issue so this is not unique to the Elise.

 

It does not look easy to access all of the reeds on an Elise, the reeds on the inner wooden reed frame have very little clearance. Has anybody actually managed to work on those reeds? Can the reed frames be removed non-destructively?

 

@David: You should talk to The Button Box about this issue, if anyone knows how to fix this problem for you it is these guys, plus it is their concertina anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have tried to adjust the gap heights on the slowest reeds and this have helped a bit, but nevertheless those lowest reeds are significantly slower to speak. Slow enough, that this must be corrected when playing low rhytmic accompaniment progressions.

 

This issue and lack of 6 buttons (missing sharps) are my only complains about Elise (at least about my modified one) - versatile as it is, it would last for much longer as a learning instrument, if it were fully chromatic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you, Gentlemen. Dan, I certainly will follow the advice to ask the Button Box people to set the reeds optimally, and can probably live with the missing notes for quite a while. After all, I still have my Anglos and harmonicas, if I need other keys. And, Lukasz, do I recall that you have bushed and otherwise improved the Elise action?

 

Thanks, and regards,

 

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[The slow response of the lowest notes is caused by weighted reeds and you can't really do anything about it.]

 

 

[big, weighted reeds are inherently slow but if they are not 'voiced' correctly then they will be slower than they need to be. Voicing a reed means altering the gap height of hetween the tip of the Reed and it's little carrier. All accordion reeded boxes will have the same issue so this is not unique to the Elise.]

 

there is more to this issue than meets the eye. the lowest reeds on the elise are much slower than notes of the same pitch on a high-quality accordion-reeded concertina will be (or SHOULD be). these aren't "tenor" or "baritone" notes, after all, and on a high-quality instrument they should sound quickly enough for fast ceili-dance play.

 

hell, i have a morse Geordie tenor EC with TAM accordion reeds, and the tenor notes respond with quite respectable speed. true, not as quickly as the higher notes, but nice and fast.

 

now, the caveat is that even with expensive, supposedly top-quality concertinas including "concertina-reeded" models, YMMV. that's the rub. i was communicating with a player not long ago who was recounting that the tenor notes on a wheatstone aeola TT they had tried were so slow they would be useless for anything besides short tapes for a little lower-end harmonizing. this wasn't baritone notes, it was tenor notes. but other TT owners will mrarvel to you over the quickness over their entire range.

 

but...if the range you're talking about only goes down to the "G below middle C," if those notes are super-slow, that is due to inferior quality of the reeds; inferior setting/voicing of the reeds; and/or inferior quality of other features of the instrument such as action mechanism or other components, period. i have also owned and played several high-grade, TAM accordion-reeded anglos and the reeds are full speed ahead in that range...

Edited by ceemonster
Link to comment
Share on other sites

now, the caveat is that even with expensive, supposedly top-quality concertinas including "concertina-reeded" models, YMMV. that's the rub. i was communicating with a player not long ago who was recounting that the tenor notes on a wheatstone aeola TT they had tried were so slow they would be useless for anything besides short tapes for a little lower-end harmonizing.

Sounds to me as if those reeds need some professional attention. I doubt that original reeds in an Aeola should ever be that slow.

 

this wasn't baritone notes, it was tenor notes. but other TT owners will mrarvel to you over the quickness over their entire range.

Never mind TTs. My basses are quick enough to play dance music two octaves down, though maybe not up to all the flashy Irish ornaments.

 

but...if the range you're talking about only goes down to the "G below middle C...

Actually, it's the C below that (same as the TT's lowest), but the point is the same.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


Make a Donation


×
×
  • Create New...