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Hi All,

 

I play Anglo, but I would like to try a Duet.

 

I have been looking at the Hayden System, which I am interested in and seem to be able to get my head around,

 

However, I have just come across a Crabb Duet Crane system on the net.

 

I have no experience of this system, is it totally alien to a Anglo ?

 

What is peoples experience of these beasts ??

 

Should I hold out for a Hayden based instrument ?

 

I am sure there will be lots of opinions !!

 

Kind regards

 

Karl :-)

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Hello Karl, I'm by no means an expert, but I've played Hayden for a couple years, for personal enjoyment and in a local pub band.

 

So far as similarity to the Anglo, I kind of think of Duet as halfway between an Anglo and an English: you get the "left hand bass, right hand high" of an Anglo, but the "same note push/pull" of the English. I've messed with Anglo but don't personally find it intuitive, but the forum seems pretty varied with some folks having no trouble crossing between systems, and others only comfortable in one.

 

So far as Crane vs. Hayden vs. Maccann layouts for Duet: I play Hayden because that's the only layout that newly-manufactured and inexpensive duet hybrid concertinas are available in. Also I find the Hayden layout really instinctive, and really like how it removes a lot of the complexity of knowing notes/keys and reduces it down to just pure music theory. That said, there is the very valid issue that traditionally-reeded Haydens are rare and expensive, but there are plenty of refurbished vintage trad-reeded Maccann and Crane duets around for as low as £500-700.

 

If you really want to play a traditionally-reeded instrument (vice a modern one made with accordion reeds, which are "not necessarily worse, but sound somewhat different), then you'll want a Crane or Maccann. If you really like the Hayden system, you can get a clunky but playable hybrid Hayden for £400 or so, and a well-made hybrid Hayden (CC Peacock or Morse Beaumont) for US$2500 or US$3800. A traditionally-reeded Hayden costs around US$6000 and has several years' waitlist.

 

I have not tried Crane and Maccann out, though I have heard the overall argument that the systems are much of a muchness in the long run once you get used to any of the lot. Looking at the market, you see more Maccanns floating around used, so there would be some utility to learning that system, but if you don't plan to be frequently trading instruments around, there are plenty of Crane players out there, and though less-common they're not terribly difficult to find used.

 

On a sidenote I'll point out that though there isn't a lot in the way of instruction materials for Duets in general, such materials are pretty cross-applicable regardless of system.

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i have access to a crane and often get to play it..... :rolleyes: i like the system, and am watching for cranes myself. the upside of this system is that the layout, while not in sequential neighbor-note order like a piano, IS arranged in a consistent pattern, so once you've learned the pattern, the notes fall into it more or less without exception. the hayden also has a consistent pattern. this is unlike the maccann, which does have a pattern, but one that features numerous exceptions or outliers , and this takes some memory work to get it fixed in your brain. maccanns play as fluidly as the other systems (some of their advocates say they play more fluidly), it's learning the layout and how the layout for each octave differs somewhat from the others, that is kind of a bear.

 

just as the other poster said, maccanns are more numerous than cranes. haydens are available new if you don't have an issue with accordion-reeded concertinas.

Edited by ceemonster
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I went from Anglo to Hayden to Crane. At this point, I mainly play Anglo when I'm playing with other people and I mainly play Crane when I play alone. I rarely take out my Hayden now. I switched from Hayden to Crane for the reason that Matthew mentions: I love the concertina reed sound and concertina-reeded Cranes are much more affordable than concertina-reeded Haydens. I didn't try Maccann because it seemed that it would take too long to learn.

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[[is that enough buttons, or do I need more ??]]

 

i'm repeating what i've read on this site by folks more in-the-know than yours truly. and the word seems to be that crane is actually more usable as a starter at 48 buttons than maccann would be. i can't remember why. the word seems to be that while one would like to have 55 at least, with Crane one can actually get a decent start with 48....if you nose around you can find several threads elaborating on this...try, "crane versus maccann," or, "crane or maccann," or things like that.

Edited by ceemonster
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Hi there,

 

Thanks for all your advice,

 

The instrument I am looking at is a 48 button version,

 

is that enough buttons, or do I need more ??

 

Kind regards

 

Karl

Read a fine summary a few years back by a c.netter here, one of the currently not-linked old static pages. Ivan wrote this 9 years ago, but other than the prices it is a fair summary of some of the things you ask about.

 

Ken

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Hi there,

 

Thanks for all your advice,

 

The instrument I am looking at is a 48 button version,

 

is that enough buttons, or do I need more ??

 

Kind regards

 

Karl

Read a fine summary a few years back by a c.netter here, one of the currently not-linked old static pages. Ivan wrote this 9 years ago, but other than the prices it is a fair summary of some of the things you ask about.

 

Ken

 

The availability of off-the-shelf Hayden duets has improved dramatically since the article was written.

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I play a 48-button Crane. The key issue here is range. The right hand range of a standard 48-button Crane is fully chromatic from middle C up to the C two octaves above it, and also includes the "natural" notes up to the high F above that. This is basically fine for almost everything I play or have tried to play on the Crane. (It would be nice if it went down a little lower, say to G below middle C, but those low notes are all there on the left hand side, so you can get them if you need them. And the biggest standard Crane, a 55-button doesn't include those lower right hand notes either.)

 

The left hand range on a Crane 48 goes from C an octave below middle C, up to the G above middle C, fully chromatic all the way. I have found the left hand range to be adequate. There have been times that I wished it went up higher, and I will probably eventually switch to a 55-button to get a few more notes there, but it has not been a big problem for me.

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Hello Karl

I recently acquired a 48 Crane after playing Anglo systems for a long time. I find the Crane system very logical and much easier to play from written music compared to the Anglo, giving much greater ease of playing in all keys which is useful for song accompaniment. One major difference that I noticed between playing Anglo and Crane is the length of stretch of the fingers to reach the high notes on the right hand. The Anglo has 3 or 4 rows of buttons away from the hand support whereas my crane has 6 rows requiring a greater stretch. In the early days i found accurately reaching the right buttons more difficult. I had tried a McCann before and that was easier for reach but less logical for reading music onto. I am personnally happy with the Crane system and recently acquiring a 61 button instrument. Kevin

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Hi All,

 

Many thanks for all your help and advice with this.

 

I play for a morris side, so the anglo is fine, I play in the "English Style" ( Jody is my hero !! and sometimes tutor ) I was very lucky and upgraded to a Jefferies G/D a couple of months ago and am very very happy, Thanks to Chris Algar.

 

I also play in an English ceilidh band, which I love, we also sing songs and play other tunes in between dances, some of the songs are in C or F,

 

I would like to try a duet with the songs and be able to support the melody with more chords. I suppose a Hayden would be easier for transposing tunes and songs to other keys.

 

But I have also read up about the Crane system, it looks interesting.

 

My wife also plays in the band and has played the Piano accordion for years, now having problems with her shoulders, she doesn't like the anglo system, tried an English, couldn't get her head around the alternating ends, think maybe a Duet might be the way to get another concertina in the house !!

 

You all know what I mean, try finding someone who only has 1 concertina !!

 

Regards

 

Karl

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Hello Karl,

 

I've played all of the usual duet systems (and a couple not so usual) sufficiently enough to have a reasonably thorough knowledge of them, so I'll try to collect my thoughts and share a few insights over the weekend.

 

The short answer, though, based on your comments seems to me to be the Crane system.

 

In the mean time...

 

Marien ... Where are you?

Could you not contribute meaningfully, here?

 

Be Well,

Dan

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Karl,

The easiest concertina system to play is the one you've been playing for the last 10 years! B)

But of course, if the duet is to be your first concertina, that doesn't count.

Some time ago, I decided to take up a duet to play different things than I have always played on my Anglo. None of the Duet systems have really any similarity to the Anglo, so what I went by was the similarity to other instruments I play. After doing what Rüdiger suggests and playing "air concertina" on printed layouts, I discovered that the mindset you need for the Crane is a combination of Neapolitan mandolin and classic 5-string banjo - both of which I have been playing since childhood.

 

Let me explain: on the Crane, the scale goes along a row of buttons until you run out of fingers, and then skips to the beginning of the next row - as it does on the strings of a mandolin. And if there's a sharp or flat, it's adjacent to its natural - again as on the mandolin.

Chords on the Crane are all formed from three basic patterns, with the major and minor triads differentiated by choosing one of two adjacent semitones. This is very much like what I do on the banjo.

 

On the other hand, if your wife is used to the PA keyboard, she'll know when to use the black keys, and she'll find them neatly laid out on the outer button-columns of the crane. As someone pointed out, this facilitates sight-reading of standard notation.

 

I play a 48-button Crane, and don't find the upper range on the right limiting. If I did upgrade to a 55-button, it would be to get some frequently-used chords, like F major, an octave higher on the left hand.

 

Hope this helps,

Cheers,

John

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Karl,

I had a spell of a few years playing Crane a long time ago. I found it great for song accompaniment and I also played it in an English barn dance band. I loved accompanying songs with it for these reasons:

1) it’s easily playable with chords in a good range of keys, unlike an anglo.

2) the separation of melody and accompaniment between the two hands was less of a strain on my brain than an English, where both melody and accompaniment are shared between both hands. (Does your wife play piano as well as PA, incidentally? If so, a duet is a logical move.)

 

I was less comfortable with tunes. Straightforward English dance music was fine but I could never quite get the lift I wanted, and fast Irish tunes were out of the question. The reason? I’m left-handed. I await contradiction (!!) but this was the decider for me. With an English or anglo, you often move from note to note by changing hands or bellows direction. On a duet, every new note is a new button on the right hand. My weaker hand just didn't give me the degree of control I wanted. So, for me, you need to think about the kind of music you want to play and also whether you’re a righty or a lefty. Maybe a left-handed duetter can respond here?

One other thing. On an anglo, it’s easy to get a bass-chord oompah going, if that’s your thing. I never managed that on my Crane without losing my hand position.

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One other thing. On an anglo, it’s easy to get a bass-chord oompah going, if that’s your thing. I never managed that on my Crane without losing my hand position.

Just to relativise that: I find that once you've identified the buttons you need for your chord, playing them as a block chord, an arpeggio or an oom-pah is just as easy on the Crane as on the Anglo. However, it's easier to identify the buttons needed for the chord on an Anglo (in its home keys), which makes the whole chording thing seem simpler!

 

But when you get away from the keys of C and G, any style of chord is easier on the Crane.

 

Cheers,

John

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