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Sebastian

20 Buttons?

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Hello. I have been playing a two-voiced 20 button concertina for some years now (from the now defunct Beschäftigungsgesellschaft in Klingenthal) and I am quite happy with it. It sounds as cheap and noisy as it in fact is. It's an honest instrument. ^_^

 

However, sometimes I would like to have the more refined sound of those "vintage style genuine pure & proper concertina reeds". From playing a 30 button Anglo in C/G I know that the high notes of a single-reeded instrument in C/G are a little bit to squeaky to my liking and I think I would prefer an instrument pitched a third or so lower.

 

Now my question: How do I get such an instrument—20 button concertina in A/E or Ab/Eb or so with "vintage sound"? Are those still build to-day? Or do I have to look out for a used one? :unsure:

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Almost nobody builds 20-buttons new these days since the market is so heavily 30-centric, and there's a decent backlog of vintage 20 button (as well as 24, 26, etc.) Anglos that sell for way less than 30s because... well, those numbers are fewere than 30.

 

Among the better ways to get such an instrument would be posting a want ad in the Classified section here. Folks were actually dicussing exactly this just a few days ago, and a few different options turned up. Aside from that, there are a few major purveyors of concertinas who might have such things on hand, most notably Chris Algar of Barleycorn Concertinas in the UK.

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(Why) Do you rule out a G/D? They do sound lovely too...

I don't want to rule out G/D, but I have virtually no knowledge about the "concertina market". I don't sing to the concertina and I seldom play it together with others, so the absolute keys are not very important. My only thought was, that I would prefer an instrument a little lower than C/G, if it's not fitted with LM reeds but with M reeds only.

 

 

Among the better ways to get such an instrument would be posting a want ad in the Classified section here.

So there are concertinas in those keys? But to post an ad for a used instrument I have to know better what exactly I am looking for. I should at least have heard some A/E (or G/D or Ab/Eb ...) concertinas of different origin, Maybe it's time to skim through Youtube ... ^_^

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The most common home keys for anglo concertina is C/G, as you've noticed. The next most common by a fair distance is G/D and you will probably find that combination easier to buy than the others. I mostly play G/D and can vouch that it is a nice sounding combination. You've obviously thought about your use of the concertina, so I'll just say that if ever you do find yourself playing with others then G/D will prove quite useful and 30 buttons will always come in handy.

 

Best of luck,

 

Chris

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Almost nobody builds 20-buttons new these days since the market is so heavily 30-centric, and there's a decent backlog of vintage 20 button (as well as 24, 26, etc.) Anglos that sell for way less than 30s because... well, those numbers are fewere than 30.

 

Among the better ways to get such an instrument would be posting a want ad in the Classified section here. Folks were actually dicussing exactly this just a few days ago, and a few different options turned up. Aside from that, there are a few major purveyors of concertinas who might have such things on hand, most notably Chris Algar of Barleycorn Concertinas in the UK.

I second contacting Chris Algar. I was considering a Bb/F as I play regularly with Bb & Eb transposing instruments. I was at Whitby Folk week and was by his stand and mentioned this and to my surprise he had one. It was a 38 button and, unfortunately too expensive but the fact is he had an instrument in a key other than the most common ones.

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I too was looking for an octave-tuned double-reeded concertina in a less common tuning (D/A) and Dan Worrall put me on to Danie Labuschagne, a South African maker who builds concertinas for the Boer music community. He made me the requested instrument in about 4 months, and even with postage from SA to Canada it was less than the price of a mahogany 20 button Lachenal. They are made with accordion reeds and follow the general plan of your Klingenthal box, but the build quality and sound are vastly superior (e.g. leather bellows rather than cardboard). He can make them in just about any key (he orders the reed sets from Poland). I have been very happy with mine.

 

Edited to say: Just read the OP again, and realize you are not necessarily looking for a double voiced instrument. I believe Danie can make single-reeded instruments as well, and this allows for a greater range of tuning choices as there is more room for larger reeds.

Edited by Bill N

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I too was looking for an octave-tuned double-reeded concertina in a less common tuning (D/A) and Dan Worrall put me on to Danie Labuschagne, a South African maker who builds concertinas for the Boer music community. He made me the requested instrument in about 4 months, and even with postage from SA to Canada it was less than the price of a mahogany 20 button Lachenal. They are made with accordion reeds and follow the general plan of your Klingenthal box, but the build quality and sound are vastly superior (e.g. leather bellows rather than cardboard). He can make them in just about any key (he orders the reed sets from Poland). I have been very happy with mine.

 

Edited to say: Just read the OP again, and realize you are not necessarily looking for a double voiced instrument. I believe Danie can make single-reeded instruments as well, and this allows for a greater range of tuning choices as there is more room for larger reeds.

I'd be interested in learning more about that octave-tuned D/A! This is a great system that I play myself. I had a nice octave tuned German D/A but passed it along to a student. Can Labuschagne make one with an extra button or two (21 or 22 buttons plus the air key)?

 

Thanks,

 

Paul Groff

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I'm not sure how much customization he can do. I'll PM contact info to you tomorrow. I got this system to play Newfoundland tunes, as the DA button accordion is very popular there.

Edited by Bill N

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