Jump to content

Which 'tina For Guitar Player


scultrera
 Share

Recommended Posts

hi all,

 

first, let me start by saying thank you for all the excellent info on C-Net for helping me decide between Anglo and English concertina.

 

I'm leaning toward Anglo. It sounds more "organic" to me. There's a local Irish music school, and there also seems to be a lot more books available for Anglo C/G. BUT I've read in several places some people just can't ever seem to grok the push/pull having different notes which has me worried.

 

I have played guitar my whole life (well, as long as I can remember - I'm 50 now), but not professionally. I would like to use the 'tina to accompany my singing mostly. I also don't read music and have learned everything by ear and/or guitar tab.

 

I'm fortunate to live about an hour from The Button Box. My plan is to bring two versions of some really simple tab (e.g. Twinkle Twinkle LIttle Star!) - one Anglo and one English version and see if they'll let me try out a Rochelle and a Jackie - hopefully one or the other will speak to me!

 

Does this sound like a good plan - are there any other tests I could do to figure out which one works for me?

 

The other question: Do you think one or the other would be easier for a guitarist to learn?

 

Thanks!

 

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sure you have these points already but:

 

Having an Irish music school in your area might not help you with song accompaniment on the Anglo because the emphasis would be on Irish dance music played in a melody line only, or for the most part. The range of easy keys on the Anglo is somewhat restricted.

 

The English has the advantage of being fully chromatic and many people choose this keyboard for song accompaniment... thus plenty of recorded examples are available. The small keyboard of the Jackie will be limiting in the chromatic sense as will the Elise duet.

 

The Hayden Duet is easier to learn and probably chromatic enough, even in the fairly small versions easily available, for song accomp.

 

I'd think you will be looking to make chords for your song accompaniments so the rental scheme will be a good option to give enough time to study this.

 

Good luck with your new venture.

Edited by Geoff Wooff
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Define "easier." I have a similar biography, and I found that a duet provides the most natural transition from the guitarist's point of view; the left hand side of the duet concertina corresponds to the guitarist's right hand thumb, whereas the duet concertinist's right hand is the counterpart of the guitarist's right hand fingers. That's about as close as one gets to the guitar.

 

Then again, the instrument is in itself dramatically different from a guitar to begin with; I have no trouble at all separating the right hand thumb from the fingers on the guitar, but learning to play both left and right hand on the concertina felt like learning to walk again, and bellows control (the musical counter part of string attack) is a science in itself. So you are looking at some work in the first place and thus might as well take up the additional challenges inherent in anglo (I am one of those who can't make heads or tails of bisonoric instruments) or English playing.

 

Just my 0,02. Whatever you choose, enjoy and take every note seriously (just like one should do on any instrument).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Define "easier."

 

If you are refering to my comment Rudiger, then I am suggesting that the Hayden keyboard is the easiest to get started on. When my first Hayden arrived it had hardly come out of the packaging before my wife took hold of it, asked how the button layout was and imediately began playing tunes. For the next half an hour I did not get to try my new instrument for the first time... must add that my wife had never played a button instrument before.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Define "easier."

If you are refering to my comment Rudiger, then I am suggesting that the Hayden keyboard is the easiest to get started on. When my first Hayden arrived it had hardly come out of the packaging before my wife took hold of it, asked how the button layout was and imediately began playing tunes. For the next half an hour I did not get to try my new instrument for the first time... must add that my wife had never played a button instrument before.

 

"Easier" is always something personal.

 

My own first encounter with an English concertina was essentially the same as your description of your wife's encounter with the Hayden. In my limited encounters with the Hayden system (Dickinson-Wheatstones, by the way), I found it not difficult, but no "easier" or more "intuitive" than my first encounters with the Maccann and Crane, and for all three of those I knew the keyboard layout in advance. The anglo layout makes fine intellectual sense to me, but in spite of much practice, I still often have difficulty coordinating bellows changes. And I find the "split" keyboard of the English to be perfectly natural, but I know others who have the opposite anglo-vs.-English experience. Prior experience with guitar -- or piano, or anything else -- doesn't appear to be a predictive factor in any of this.

 

My plan is to bring two versions of some really simple tab (e.g. Twinkle Twinkle LIttle Star!) - one Anglo and one English version and see if they'll let me try out a Rochelle and a Jackie - hopefully one or the other will speak to me!

Steve, I think that's a bad plan. Absolutely too limited to give meaningful results. Actually better than that would be to just sit down and experiment with each instrument, not using any notes or tab or even trying any particular tune (well, you could do that, but not only that). Try moving your fingers about and seeing what sounds come out and how patterns that feel comfortable or awkward to your fingers relate to each other musically. (On the anglo, of course, you'll need to add the factor of changing vs. not changing the bellows direction.) And since for song accompaniment you'll certainly want to be doing chords and/ or harmonies, experiment also with combinations of more than one button at a time.

 

Even so, one session is unlikely to be enough to reasonably support a "permanent" decision. I agree with the others that you should take advantage of the rental option (for which the BB gives you partial credit when you finally purchase an instrument) and try each of the three systems for at least a month before making up your mind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not too sure what's "organic " about concertinas, some leather in the bellows, some wooden bits but pretty much a product of the industrial revolution. For song accompaniment I would suggest that the english with its chromatic scale is more organic/industrial than an anglo. But then a duet(Hayden?) may offer expanded possibilities.

 

Mmmm... I've toyed around with a Hayden. For instrumental piano type music...great, but for song accompaniment it can be a bit heavy. But not for all songs, some can be accompanied well with a duet. Generally I favor the english with its lighter feel and its versatility over the duet or anglo. Not quite high enough in G/C? Then go to A or D without having to worry about bellows direction on those accidentals.

 

Jim's suggestion to try all three systems is very sound if you have that option.

 

Good luck. Cheers.

Edited by Steve Wilson
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Define "easier."

 

If you are refering to my comment Rudiger, then I am suggesting that the Hayden keyboard is the easiest to get started on. When my first Hayden arrived it had hardly come out of the packaging before my wife took hold of it, asked how the button layout was and imediately began playing tunes. For the next half an hour I did not get to try my new instrument for the first time... must add that my wife had never played a button instrument before.

 

I'm sorry for being unclear, Geoff. I was referring to the last sentence in Steve's initial posting. Unfortunately my browser swallowed the quote, otherwise it would have been obvious. No disagreement here, I guess. I once had a stab at a Hayden and found it fairly easy to crank out a melody as well. I think I'll stick to the Crane though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks all!

 

I will call BB today - their website doesn't say much about rentals other than "we have limited rentals" so maybe it's something they don't like to advertise too much.

 

As for "organic" - I guess I meant like when I breath, breathing in makes a different sound than breathing out - so I thought the Anglo was more like the human body. But also the playing seems to have more "edges" to me, kind of like a harmonica (sorry, not sure how to describe this). Where the EC I've listened to seems to be more like keyboard playing. Could have to do with it being chromatic, too? Could also be some of my favorite guitarists are blues guys and the sloppy bending, vibrating, rhythmic kind of play appeals to me in the guitar world. Not sure - certainly don't want to insult anyone - could also just be who I've listened to.

 

As for Irish school close by, I meant there are masters close by for if and when I want to go beyond accompanying.

 

Finally, your replies have reminded me of something else I've noticed in the past when transferring my guitar skills to ukulele or bass or banjo or even a new guitar piece - learning something new can be harder if it's too close to a pattern that's already ingrained in your muscle memory. It's fine when you're going slow, but then you become stressed (like when learning a new piece) and the old, incorrect pattern keeps coming out - maddening! So it might actually be better if whatever I choose has absolutely nothing in common with guitar lol.

 

I think I'll start with renting an Anglo for a month and seeing how that goes.

 

Thanks again for taking the time to give your POVs. Greatly appreciated,

 

Steve in Connecticut

Edited by scultrera
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not too sure what's "organic " about concertinas, some leather in the bellows, some wooden bits but pretty much a product of the industrial revolution. For song accompaniment I would suggest that the english with its chromatic scale is more organic/industrial than an anglo. But then a duet(Hayden?) may offer expanded possibilities.

 

Mmmm... I've toyed around with a Hayden. For instrumental piano type music...great, but for song accompaniment it can be a bit heavy. But not for all songs, some can be accompanied well with a duet. Generally I favor the english with its lighter feel and its versatility over the duet or anglo. Not quite high enough in G/C? Then go to A or D without having to worry about bellows direction on those accidentals.

 

Steve, I think it's important to make distinctions between personal taste, what the majority of players do, and the potential capabilities of any particular instrument. The English only has a "lighter feel" these days, as you put it, because of the way it's generally used. In its heyday advanced players often played fistfuls of chords on it.

 

Steve in Connecticut -- it sounds as though the anglo will be a good match, but I would still advise trying the other systems for comparison. I was convinced, when I started, that I wanted an English concertina, but when I got my hands on one it made no sense to me, whereas the anglo felt natural.

Edited by StuartEstell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So it might actually be better if whatever I choose has absolutely nothing in common with guitar lol.

 

Believe me, that will be the case regardless of which concertina you choose. Any "similarity" -- aside from producing musical notes -- will be entirely a product of your imagination.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think any of the systems can be used very effectively for vocal accompaniment. The Anglo (which I play) certainly has limitations, but limitations can be experienced as opportunities, especially if they encourage you to think about accompaniment in new ways.

 

But let's be specific. In a 30-key Anglo you have an instrument that's theoretically chromatic over a two-and-a-half octave range. Some keys are far easier than others, though. And that's for a single melody line; due to the necessity of bellows reversal, some note combinations are difficult or impossible, and some chords simply can't be played.

 

But the real challenge of the Anglo, I think, is that each key, from the easiest to the most daunting, has its own character, and favors certain effects over others. Patterns aren't movable, and transposition entails reinvention. Is this a disadvantage, though? It depends on what kind of player you are.

 

As a practical matter, I'm pretty comfortable accompanying a song on a C/G Anglo in keys from Bb to A and their relative minors (I accompany in other keys, too, but less comfortably). That's half the keys--more than adequate for my vocal range, since I can always come within a half-step of the optimum pitch (on any given day) for my voice.

 

So if I'm singing by myself, I never think of the Anglo as limiting. If I'm playing with other musicians, though, problems may arise. A guitarist can use either movable chords in a closed shape or a capo; an Anglo player has neither option.

 

So if I were starting out and knew I'd be dealing with a recalcitrant bandmate with a penchant for, say, C#, and if I didn't want to invest in multiple Anglos, then I might be inclined to pick a different system. Otherwise, though, in spite or because of its quirks, I think an Anglo is a great instrument for a singer.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

Edited by Bob Michel
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another vote for both Anglo and Hayden...or either. I am three years in, and find the push/pull of the Anglo very natural (after many years of harmonica) but for my brain, ONLY along the rows in home keys. That's why I have one in G/C and one in G/D, to cover main keys for most of the genres I aspire to. Hayden offers identical patterns for several keys, which is a source of continued delight to me. As an added bonus, chords share similar pattern consistencies, and if you can live with the small "compass" an Elise from Button Box is bargain at the price, And those fine folk offer regular and reasonable rentals, with partial credit of rental towards purchase if you keep it. By the way, they'll rent Jackies, Rochelles, and others as well.

 

It seems we are neighbors in Hartford. Feel free to email if you have any questions about any of this stuff for a local. We also have strong local sessions for Québécois and Old Timey in addition to the Irish.

 

Regards,

 

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hey thanks for all responses!

 

I've rented a Rochelle from Button Box and love it! I can't even imagine wanting to try out the English b/c I'd have to start all over again. So I have a feeling I'll be buying this Rochelle. Plus I really like the Gary Coover books.

 

Thanks again!

 

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...