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Cc Elise As A Gateway Drug To Another Duet System


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I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of a 48B Crane duet from Greg J.

 

A couple of months ago I traded a Jack EC for an Elise. I am enjoying the Elise but I cannot see affording a decent Hayden anytime soon. I know that Hayden options have improved recently, but I would really like to buy a 46B Hayden for about $1500. Other than the Stagi, this does not exist, nothing comes close. The Beaumont is way over my budget and the CC Peacock just does not seem to be that much better than the Elise - still too small. As for a concertina reeded instrument - Wim's 46B looks great, but it is waaay more money and there is a two+ year waiting list. I am getting to an age where two year waiting lists do not sound good.

 

So I pondered keyboard diagrams for duet systems and eventually concluded that the Crane system could work for me, not as nearly as logical as the Hayden, but still with a certain symmetry. Plus I get concertina reeds for less than the price of a Peacock.

 

I wonder how common this progression is - Elise to a non Hayden duet?

 

More importantly, once I get the Crane, would there be any point in keeping the Elise? Do other folks who have followed this path still use their Elise, or does it sit lonely on a shelf somewhere?

 

Don.

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Just a quick plug for the Peacock, which I've been playing for about 6 months. It's a far superior instrument to the Elise in terms of playability and available notes (especially G#s!). I know the Peacock has taken some knocks around here for having only 42 buttons instead of 46, but I've found there to be workable solutions for every musical situation I've encountered so far.

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Don,

 

when I got my Elise it shared playing time with my Maccann which was sharing playing time with my Ec's.... but then I had the oportunity to grab a second hand Wakker 46 hayden.... now the elise sits in its bag.. only natural I guess, but unfortunately so does the Maccann. This is because the Hayden and the Maccann are somewhat similar but different enough to cause confusion.

 

Whilst I can imagine that the Crane and Hayden could be considered to be even more similar I feel sure that it will be a case of 'one or the other'.

 

I'm not finding any problems of confusion playing both the EC and a duet keyboard but two differing duets might cause problems.

 

Geoff.

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I would tend to agree with Geoff here. We've got the EC and the Anglo, each with its strengths and weakneses. Which you choose depends to a great extent on the kind of music you want to play. Instruments, after all, are just tools for a job, and EC and Anglo are about as similar as a screwdriver and an Allen wrench. As an Ikea customer, you're going to need an Allen wrench - as a builder of your own furniture, you'll find a screwdriver more useful.

Then we have the Duets. These can be used for things that neither EC nor Anglo can be used for: free combination of any notes of the chromatic scale (like the EC but unlike the bisonoric Anglo) plus high notes under the right hand and low notes under the left (like the Anglo, but unlike the EC).

 

And this Duet-typical combination of chromaticity with bass-treble separation is present in all the Duet systems!

 

When I decided to add a Duet to my "musical tool-kit", I chose the Crane because, on paper, the layout seemed to reflect my paradigms as a fretted-string player with a reasonable grasp of music theory. As it turned out, I was right. Now, I concentrate on improving my performance on the Crane, and don't even think about Maccanns or Haydens.

 

So I would say, one Duet is enough, if you can get inside the logic of its system. All the Duet systems can do the same jobs - the decisive criterion is which of them is most comfortable for you personally.

 

So, Don, if the Crane suits you, you can forget the Hayden. If not, try the Maccann. If it doesn't fit, sell them both and buy a higher-level Hayden! :)

 

Cheers,

John

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I've been thinking very similar thoughts. I have an Elise for four years now, bought a Morse Beaumont at the start of this year and been using it for bar gigs. Compared to the Elise, my bandmates quite appreciate my new willingness to play outside of F/C/G/D. I just a week ago picked up a 35b Lachenal Crane from another Cnet member, and been trying that out. I find the Crane layout reasonably intuitive, though I think the more I venture out of key of C the more it'll be annoying me that the fingering for different keys are somewhat different, though not as baffling (to me) as Maccann.

 

My vague impression is that we have a handful of Elise/Stagi Hayden players who ended up moving to Crane for better buying options, though I don't recall seeing same for Maccann.

 

At the moment, I'm 80% sure that ultimately I'll stick with Hayden, buy a Wakker for $5800 when I get to the top of the waitlist, keep my Beaumont for bar gigs and when I want a richer and more organ-like sound, and keep my Elise as a beater for camping, drunken parties, folk festival casual jams, etc. I could see maybe a 15% chance that I'll play the 35b Crane as my main box for the next 6mo in Latin America, and decide that the key changes aren't that bad and buy a 48b Crabb Crane. If 48b Crane just tickles me pink, I'd probably sell my Beaumont and Elise, keep the Lachenal 35b for travel. There's a 5% chance I instead somehow swing to Maccann, and would then have a cheapie 39b and a nicer 46 or 55 Wheatstone Maccann. Zero plan to go Anglo (just can't grasp it) or English (I want to grind on countermelody, basso continuo, etc).

 

 

This still does not cause me to "doubt" the Hayden system. I think it's a great system, and unlike Crane/Maccann/Jeffries, there are non-concertina instruments that use/can-use the layout, like some keyboards. Also future mass-produced Duets are almost assuredly going to be almost entirely Haydens, as well as any mass-market MIDI Duet, etc. It's an extremely intuitive system, its consistency is lovely, and its ability to "capo" itself and change keys to smoothly is a stellar asset for jamming/gigging.

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After seeing this kind of "hayden upgrade options" thread again, I wonder why Wim has decided to make the Peacock 42 button and not a standard 46 button instrument… I also would consider saving money for it instead of building my own concertina, if it had the full standard layout. I don't think, that Wim was affraid of canibalising demand on his Wakker-H1, as this is far more expensive option. And Beaumont is an existing proof, that it is possible to fit even 52 buttons in 7" hybrid box… Because of this decission, every available option below 4$k is some sort of a compromise...

 

(If by any chance you're reading this Wim, I would really like to know the answer to this question…)

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Because of this decission, every available option below 4$k is some sort of a compromise...

 

Hybrid aside, what's the $3950 Beaumont's compromise? The 7" size? While smaller would be nice, it's a very light box (as all Morse designs) and I'm not finding it bulky.

 

I would've been fine with 42b, I just got the Beaumont since I'd heard such good things about Morse's line of instruments. The duplicated chromatics are just occasionally kind of nice, as is the low C# on the right, but I would 100% have bought a Peacock had the Beaumont been not close to production last year.

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@Matthew: Beaumont is my 4k$ threshold :) It is the cheapest available Hayden with at least standard 46 keyboard and traditional action and design. Peacock has shorter overlap and no A above middle C on the LH side, which I use a lot (mostly in accompaniment but in some countermelodies also). Stagi has bandoneon/German type action and non-standard button size and spacing. And we all know all the issues Elise has.

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don't forget that the peacock is a lot cheaper than the Beaumont. I agree that 46 would be preferable to 42 even if 52 is understandably pricier. but still, the 42-button peacock is a huge expansion over the elise range for under $3,000 and the peacock has TAM ("hand-type" or "hand-finished" reeds as standard), whereas the Beaumont has best-quality factory reeds as standard, with TAM available as an upgrade. granted, the bb's price for the TAM upgrade available on the Geordie and Beaumont models is quite reasonable. i'm just noting, the peacock is a nice little package at a price point.

Edited by ceemonster
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I actually elected not to upgrade to TAM on the Beaumont since BB, iirc, basically said it really came down to a matter of taste. Broadly speaking they described TAM as "brighter", and since I plan to eventually have a "true" reeded instrument that will have that sharp/piercing tone, I went non-TAM to get a more organ-like droney sound on the hybrid.

 

 

 

 

@Matthew: Beaumont is my 4k$ threshold

 

Ah, I'm just being pedantic. ^_^

 

Beaumont I am indeed really happy with, and I'm impressed that it's really not larger (and not even heavier?) than the Peacock despite the extra buttons. But we certainly have happy Peacock owners here, and I nearly was one but had some spare cash from other sales and wanted to overshoot vice risk undershooting on keys and polish.

 

 

As an aside, so far as the Crane's price advantage over Hayden for trad-reeded: given the (relatively) large number of Hayden Duets being produced in quantity these days, if any decent scattering of Hayden players migrate to Crane to save money, it's going to eventually increase Crane prices to the point that new true-reed Haydens might not look so bad. All the more so if some economized true-reed models arrive to compete on the market, and/or some new technologies make shaping traditional reeds faster and easier. A 55-button Wheatstone Crane can push US$4k on a good day, yes? Not saying it's going to happen anytime soon, but Wim and BB are taking Duet from being a pretty obscure niche, to being something that even a total concertina novice might run across and choose as an option. I would likely never have gotten into Duet had I not seen the Elise on the CC site when I went there considering buying a Jack for song accompaniment.

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Perhaps I was a bit hasty in dismissing the Peacock as a viable last Hayden for me so I think that I will hang on to my Elise for a while longer before finally deciding if I want to abandon the Hayden option in favor of a Crane.

 

Thanks for the useful perspectives offered here.

 

Don.

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I'm not about to abandon the investment I've put into the Crane, but if I was starting out now I'd be looking for reasons not to go with the Hayden. (I'm also entranced by the CBA.)

 

I sometimes think about getting a G/D Anglo for English sessions because of volume/speed problems, but I don't have the time to learn another system or the energy to carry a third instrument now I've also just started performing with the mandolin. And, anyway, I already have a melodeon.

 

I share the attraction of being a multi-instrumentalist but not the point of playing two instruments with basically the same sound and function but different systems.

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I share the attraction of being a multi-instrumentalist but not the point of playing two instruments with basically the same sound and function but different systems.

frogspawn,

Three too much for you? When I load up for a band gig, I take an Anglo concertina, a mandolin, a banjo, 2 tin whistles and a low whistle. And if The Spanish Lady is on the programme, castagnettes for the instrumental break. For solo gigs, it'll be Crane concertina, banjo and Waldzither, and maybe autoharp, too!

 

However, as you will notice, I don't bother with two instruments that fill the same niche in the arrangements. Even though I have two concertinas, it's always one or the other. My Anglo is a Stagi hybrid, and my mates in the band say it blends better with fiddle, guitars and double bass than my Lachenal Crane does. The Crane gets to go on solo gigs because I play more art-songs (i.e. more chromatic music) when I'm alone, and the Lachenal reeds blend well enough with my voice.

 

What I seem to be saying is that Anglo and Crane duet do have different roles. However, the distinction has partly to do with the accordion v. trad. concertina reeds, rather than the systems. The two concertinas sound different, even with me playing both of them, and each scenario (group/solo) benefits from a different sound.

I also possess three 5-string banjos, all tuned the same, but one is a steel-strung, plastic-headed resonator banjo, the second a nylon-strung, vellum-headed open-back, and the third is a vellum-headed zither-banjo with a mix of steel and nylon strings. Technically, I can play all my pieces equally well on any of them, but the volume and tone are so varied that each is clearly preferable for a certain repertoire and size of venue.

 

Even if I had a Lachenal Anglo similar in quality to my Crane, however, I would probably still use the Anglo for single-note playing and chord accompaniments in the band, and the Crane for solo singing, where I have to do filigree accompaniments and melodic breaks at the same time, with no further harmonic support. As you said yourself, it was the requirements of a differnt scenario - the session - that made you think of a different system in the first place.

 

Of course, some folks say that you can't have too many concertinas ... ;)

 

Cheers,

John

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Re the varying Duet systems: part of me thinks that the difficulty of switching atwixt them may be overrated. While the fingerings vary, the physical motions and fundamental concept are basically identical. To draw a parallel, I'm just an okay strings player, but I don't find it at all confusing to move between plucked strings of different tunings, or even varying tunings on the same guitar. So I don't, and I'm sure the pros don't, despair of playing eadgbe and then switching to dadgad or open-g.

 

I'm very new to Crane, but it's coming to me quick, and even at this stage I'm not feeling befuddled setting down the Lachenal and picking up my Beaumont a minute later.

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John

 

I have to carry everything on foot and at festivals there's often not much room to put things down!

 

The Crane is fine for song accompaniment in quiet folk clubs but I find it hard work in noisy pubs. I've also occasionally found myself in front of an 'ordinary' pub audience who don't really warm to unaccompanied English folk ballads. With the mandolin I can thrash out some Old Time / Americana stuff which will be easier to do and more popular in that sort of venue IMO. And I like it.

 

Rik

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After seeing this kind of "hayden upgrade options" thread again, I wonder why Wim has decided to make the Peacock 42 button and not a standard 46 button instrument… I also would consider saving money for it instead of building my own concertina, if it had the full standard layout. I don't think, that Wim was affraid of canibalising demand on his Wakker-H1, as this is far more expensive option. And Beaumont is an existing proof, that it is possible to fit even 52 buttons in 7" hybrid box… Because of this decission, every available option below 4$k is some sort of a compromise...

 

(If by any chance you're reading this Wim, I would really like to know the answer to this question…)

This is just my speculation as I have never seen the inside of a Peacock, but if Wim decided not to use accordion style reed banks and laid his accordion reeds out flat on a reed pan like concertina reeds then he would run into geometry problems pretty quickly, especially trying to find a layout for the larger low reeds on the left hand side. It is my understanding (?) that a more concertina-like sound can be achieved from accordion reeds if they are laid out flat on the reed pan rather than in reed banks.

 

So maybe Wim opted for a better sound rather than more buttons.

 

The Beaumont does use some reed blocks to achieve 52 buttons in a 7" box:

Beaumont-insides-lg.png

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Do we have many/any folks on the board who've played both Beaumont and Peacock? It was my impression when I looked into the issue that there are only a few, almost entirely folks who've dropped into Button Box's brick-mortar store at a time when they had both on the shelf.

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