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Wanted: Cheap 30 Button Concertina


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I am buying a concertina for a friend who has never played before. I have a budget of about £170 (sterling), although I can be flexible. I was just wondering if anyone (preferably in the UK) has a 30 button Anglo concertina around that price range that they are willing to sell asap.

Thank you! :-)

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Attiel, I expect that you have not gotten any response because the budget you are working with will not permit buying a concertina that anyone could in good conscience recommend to you. There are cheap Chinese CSO's (concertina shaped objects) out there, but they and the other stuff that can be purchased for less than £200 can not be relied on to function properly and provide a decent playing experience. Please don't get me wrong; I am not trying to insult you for your budget. I am just trying to let you know that concertinas -- even entry level ones -- are expensive. As a for instance, my first concertina cost $1,200 and that was almost 20 years ago. I might have found something cheaper then, but I never regretted the investment and that was for a decent model and not a starter instrument. The closest Anglo model I can find to your budget is around £215-£250 (Concertina Connection "Rochelle") using the current US-UK exchange rates with no allowance for VAT. The English model equivalent is called the "Jackie" and would convert to about £220 plus VAT. These would be the least expensive models I have heard anyone on this forum recommend and these are probably not without some issues based on comments posted in the past.


There are a number of older and seemingly inexpensive concertinas that occasionally pop up on eBay, but these usually require work from qualified repairmen and these repair costs can easily top £200 by themselves.


I'm not sure how to advise you going forward. Buying an instrument for a friend is always a risky business since they may not love what you have bought for them or don't have the motivation to stick with it. You haven't said why you picked the concertina or even if you were looking for an Anglo, an English, or a Duet model but of course the limitations I mentioned above apply to all types fairly uniformly. Is it possible that you could get your friend interested in music through a different, less expensive instrument? If he/she has expressed a serious interest in learning the concertina, maybe you could contribute to a purchase with the recipient putting in funds too.


In any case good luck,


Ross Schlabach

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Ross is correct in his advice above.


But by coincidence the Music Room in Cleckheaton is listing a used Stephanelli instrument in your price range. This is one of the cheaply made ones from China, and I haven't seen it so I can't say what it is like, but Cleckheaton is close enough to York you could have a look at it. A poor instrument can be discouraging, but maybe you'll be lucky and it will be good enough to suit your purpose.


They list a special internet price, but I would guess they would likely honor that in person if you mention you saw it online.

They have a number of other instruments you could compare it with, Including the Rochelle model mentioned above, and some much nicer hybrid models, and some antiques, so you can see the difference in sound and feel that the different construction can make.


www.themusicroom-online.co.uk then select Squeezebox, then Concertina, then Anglo


Good Luck!

Edited by Tradewinds Ted
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I'd second both advices given. As to the question raised which type of concertina your friend is going for I also had the understanding that it would be the "Anglo" (a.k.a. "Anglo-German") because of the then typical number of 30 buttons. If you're not sure however, you should ask your friend in order to get him a fiting instrument.


Good luck with your searching - Wolf

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Hi Attiel,


I'm a new member too. I am currently trying to trade up from my first concertina (a 30 button Scarlatti) to something more "respectable". The advice from these experienced guys is right - you don't get much for under £200. That's what I paid for the Scarlatti new (from Hobgoblin in London). It's true that a poor instrument can be discouraging to a beginner, but the Scarlatti (for all it's weaknesses) hasn't put me off - and I couldn't/wouldn't have risked £600-£800 or more to try out something new. If you are interested in trying the Scarlatti (on a 'returns-accepted' basis), I'm happy to discuss. Give me a call if you wish 020 8660 3651 - Paul.

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I lost my first reply but would say the same as Paul - I am very happy to have started out with a cheap Scarlatti concertina (English in my case) as I would not have been confident that I would succeed in learning to justify spending more. Also, buying a more expensive instrument is easier once you have some experience of playing. I bought my Scarlatti from Amazon but with hindsight, though Hobgoblin are a bit more expensive, I would hope they would filter out the more extreme problems some Amazon reviews report. Mine had a couple of sticky keys, but I managed to sort that OK. There is also a branch in Leeds, I believe, so you might be able to try one.


Another possibility that no-one has mentioned is that local concertina groups often have some instruments to loan out.

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Hi all,

Thank you very much for your kind advice. I ended up buying the Stephanelli as brought to my attention by Ted (thank you in particular btw!). I know its not going to be great, but I figure it will be ok for my friend to just try out concertina playing.

Thanks again :-)

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The biggest problem that I have found as a beginner on cheap instruments is that they just do not have enough lung power to allow a beginner to play s-l-o-w-l-y. A good quality concertina has much more usable lung power than a cheapie.


Another problem is that cheap concertinas need a bit of 'wellie' to sound the note at the time you press the button and this consumes more air than playing softly.


A good player can make a poor instrument sing, but it is very hard for a beginner to slowly pick through a tune without running out of air.


One way I have found around this is try not to hold onto a note while searching for the next one, play short staccato notes with rests between each note. It does not sound very musical, but it does conserve air until speed and fluidity can be achieved.



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