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I Need Big Advice


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I have been playing English Concertina for nearly 20 years and I am at a crossroad. I have 5 concertinas, a Wheatstones, a Lachenal, an edeophone and an aeola ...... and a Duet which still stares at me when I take it out of its box. I play the edeophone regularly and the Lachanel sometimes. They are all decent vintage instruments but, like most vintage instruments they get wonky notes and the action isn't always as responsive as I'd like. I mainly play song accompaniment rather than tunes and I like slow sensitive playing styles rather than flat out.

 

The question is... do I sell everything but the Edeophone and look to buy a brand new instrument? I understand some are better than others... but which ones? I would probably go for the top rather than lower models.

 

Suggestions?

 

Warren Fahey

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I would suggest to make your choice among the EC instruments you already own (and get some advice by people who can see and play all four of them) and then get it overhauled and/or restored, paying for that by selling the Duet and some of the 'rejected' specimens. Based on the information you provided I just can't figure out why none of them should be capable of fitting your needs after that...

 

Best wishes - Wolf

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New concertinas can be just as unreliable as the vintage models especially where the wood of the reedpan and pallet board are concerned, due to the " some settling of the contents may occur" effect.

Personally I find the old instruments to be wonderfully reliable, ok some do have worn out Actions or over tuned Reeds. A PROPER overhaul, a good quality New Bellows and a well chosen patient to begin with should provide the ideal result.

 

The problem for the EC player in this regard ( and the Duetist) is that most of the New makers concentrate on producing the Anglo .

 

As your needs are mostly for a song accompaniment instrument then a Wooden ended Aeola or Edeophone should suit you but perhaps a sweeter temperament would also be desirable.

 

Tell us more ,

 

Geoff.

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I should say that my two main concertinas have good bellows and fretwork etc - my main concern is that they seem to go slightly out of tune despite not getting a belting. I thought the new ones might be more reliable and have slightly better action. Maybe everything old is new again?

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While agreeing with Wolf and Geoff above, I would also like to put in a word for a modern maker of accordion-reeded concertinas worthy of consideration.

I'm far from an experienced player but count myself very lucky to have two great instruments with very different attributes. After starting out on a lovely brass-reeded Lachenal tutor model, I quickly upgraded to a beautiful Edeophone which cannot be faulted for tone, in my opinion anyway. Not long after, when not even looking for another concertina, I came across a used Morse Geordie Tenor at a price I couldn't refuse. I was expecting it to compare very unfavourably with the Edeophone but I play both equally and if I had to part with one of them, it would be a really tough decision, but I think I would probably end up keeping the Geordie. While I will always prefer the tone and looks of the Edeophone, the Geordie is way easier to play in terms of its precise action and amazing responsiveness. The Edeophone has been beautifully restored, but it is just naturally a bit "sloppier" and probably deserves a more skillful player than me. The lower notes on the Geordie are a joy to have too, although I would like a few extra notes in the upper register.

Just my 2 cents.

 

Dean

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The question is... do I sell everything but the Edeophone and look to buy a brand new instrument? I understand some are better than others... but which ones? I would probably go for the top rather than lower models.

 

 

 

G'day Warren,

 

Mmm.... difficult question for anyone except yourself to answer. The advice of Blue Eyed Sailor seems sensible. A new concer might mean some years on a waiting list. And as Geoff Wooff suggests not many makers are producing EC's. And "top" quality models, you need to talk to people who have bought such instruments, not many I'd suggest.

 

Are you going to the National this year? If so bring your concers, I'd love to sample them. If you can wait till around August I will be able to fill you in on how my new "top" Wakker concer performs.

 

Cheers Steve.

Edited by Steve Wilson
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Hi Warren

Having listened to and very much enjoyed your playing on your 'Across the Seven Seas' CD it is interesting to hear that you have reached this potential crossroads.

To add my own 'two cents worth' I had been playing an 1870s Lachenal excellsior for some time - a lovely soft tone, but with some uneveness of response, tone and a few other peculiarities - when I decided to treat myself to an early Aeola from Chris Algar which had undergone a full service. The performance of the Wheatstone in terms of evenness of response, airtightness etc was close to being a revalation (a look inside underlines, as one would expect, that it is a better made instrument and had suffered less bodging over the years). That said, I do still play my Lachenal frequently as the tone is so attractive to my ear and well suited to my 'style' of singing. At the risk of sounding like a heretic, in an ideal world I'd have something as well built as the aeola but with the excellsior's sound/tone. I have seen a number of Anglos with reclaimed antique reeds, and think I have read somewhere that Wim Wakker reinvigorates Edeophones with new rivetted actions. Perhaps these offer alternative routes?

Be very interested to know what you decide.

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In an ideal world I'd have something as well built as the aeola but with the excellsior's sound/tone.

 

(It's off topic, but...) I'm really delighted by reading this... :)

 

Since I don't seem to care that much about the action (and/or maybe my 1926 Excelsior has fewer pecularities than an older one), in my ideal world I'd have just a tenor treble with the Excelsior's tone! As I did some some song accompaniment in public last weekend I was told that the tone of my instrument fits my resp. my wife's singing pretty well, with the higher notes clearly being separeted from the basic double-stop open fifths I'm making frequent use of, and not drowning the singing either.

 

I have never heard or tried an instrument with this particular sound qualities - mellow but with some strength however, very different from any Aeola (and this guy - Robert - had me trying a whole series from his herd, you can believe me). I simply love taking it up and playing... It's just that I'd love to have this half octave of lower notes added as well (and wouldn't mind some more air, albeit I have learned to deal with the bellows as they are).

 

But since I'll have to stick just with this instrument for budget reasons and don't expect to find an "ideal" replacement as mentioned anyway, I'm perfectly happy with what I have! And they have these great looks, don't they? :)

 

Best wishes - Wolf

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Sorry to continue the drift, they are indeed eye catching Wolf. I think I have seen from Lachenal pricelists and the photo in Les Branchett's tutor that Excelsior tenor-trebles do exist. There's temptation if one should appear!

 

I'm sure you have it right, as I believe this to be a piece of (dangerous) information which I even had at some point but seem to have sort of blocked out until today... :o

 

As to the OP, the lack of regularily getting a belting might be part of the problem...

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Hi Warren,

 

Always nice to have more concertinas than you need! My two cents worth is to keep your Edeophone if that is your main squeeze; it certainly sounded very nice when I heard it (and you) three years ago. For my money, I'd stick with older concertinas that are refurbished, but then I am a history nut. And then, so are you!

I would think it a good idea to keep two and sell the others off. One never knows when a concertina will develop a problem, just when you need it most. Do like the British royals, and go for 'an heir and a spare'. :rolleyes:

You are inspiring me to pare down my own collection. They seem to grow like a small flock of chickens...

All the best,

Dan

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Marcus makes ECs in his "regular" and "Deluxe" iterations, wood or metal ends, custom requests accommodated. His treble config is much like that of the morse albion--dispensing with the high notes most people don't use--but it has the innovation of going down to "F."

 

Norman makes ECs including a Tenor 45 like the config of the Morse Geordie Tenor. He also offers a baritone...

 

 

Geuns, who is out of the question for a US shopper such as myself due to the exchange rate :( :( :(, makes hybrid treble 48s AND baritone 48s...

 

wakker makes treble hybrid ecs, unclear whether his baritones hybrids are in play yet...

 

 

I myself own a Morse Geordie Tenor with a TAM reed option. I am greatly disappointed that rather than being as loud as a wood-ended steel-reed concertina, its lung power is about par with that of a wood-ended brass-reeded concertina. but otherwise--the tone is really, really beautiful, and the response is very quick.

Edited by ceemonster
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This discussion still beggars the question - Is no one making new top-notch English instruments? And why are there so many very good new Anglo instruments?

 

A few thoughts...

Every year many people take up the anglo, not very many take up the EC.

There are enough excellent vintage ECs to meet the demand.

ECs are more expensive to make, more buttons, more reeds.

Most of the makers are Anglo players.

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