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So hand-making wooden boxes for a living, Helen, you should have no problem in making a concertina case when you acquire a suitable instrument :-)

 

Just wondering whether any of the concertina dealers or makers in England have need of a case maker? You just might be able to come to some mutually agreeable arrangement. Just a thought worth conjuring with....

 

Good luck in your quest.

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So hand-making wooden boxes for a living, Helen, you should have no problem in making a concertina case when you acquire a suitable instrument :-)

 

Just wondering whether any of the concertina dealers or makers in England have need of a case maker? You just might be able to come to some mutually agreeable arrangement. Just a thought worth conjuring with....

 

Good luck in your quest.

There's an idea - we already hake a bird box shaped like a fiddle/violin (amongst other things) so a concertina box would be relatively simple!

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That's the idea - cheap and (probably not so) cheerful to start with and gradually upgrade. My husband and I own a small woodworking business so we're members of the 'artisan but poor' crowd!

But I remember back in the day being told that it's far better to actually go for it (with anything in life) and not waste your life waiting around until you have more time and/or money as there's always something getting in the way. And before you know it you've never got round to doing anything. We did it with our business - had the idea and just went for it - and have never regretted it. Apart from being relatively poor of course. Poor but happy!

I have seen some used bargains but it's a case of waiting for something to pop up. These things have a habit of doing so.

 

Thank you for your comments and advice.

Hi Helen, I understand and sympathise (broke aspiring concertina-maker). Unfortunately concertinas are complicated little beasts to build, and the very cheapest ones have lots of corners cut in their construction that make them not just sound bad, they are more difficult to play and wear out quickly too. Imagine trying to build a fine chest of drawers with the sort of tools you find in a £1 shop.

 

Good point Alex - except I know full well that if I wait to have enough money to buy a quality instrument then I'll never do it. Something will come along like a children's school trip or a car repair bill etc (plus we're renovating our house!) and I won't be able to justify spending a big sum of money on me.

 

(However, woodworking tools and paintbrushes is something I do know quite a lot about. Years of experience has taught me that sometimes the supposedly top quality tools aren't always very good at the job. Never be afraid to seek the right tools in the places you don't expect to find them rather than worrying about which brand it is!)

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(However, woodworking tools and paintbrushes is something I do know quite a lot about. Years of experience has taught me that sometimes the supposedly top quality tools aren't always very good at the job. Never be afraid to seek the right tools in the places you don't expect to find them rather than worrying about which brand it is!)

When it comes to woodworking tools, I'm a fan of buying vintage and restoring them - still lots of bargains to be had out there!

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If you think of converting to anglo, I can send you one of mine for free. its a cheap Chinese one, but it plays in tune.

 

ill have to see if I can fix the straps from playing it for months though!

 

 

all id ask is that you pay shipping... and maybe $10 for a six pack of beer :P

 

But most of all, just encourage people with the concertina

 

 

time to go get it out of storage & check it out

 

 

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I very well may be wrong......

 

I have one of those, boxes, that someone gave me for Christmas.

 

I just fiddled around with it. (finally!!) it sounds like an anglo/harmonica.

 

I'm dirt poor too, so I don't mind helping you out because I'm in same situation.

 

edit:

 

I am wrong. it does play different notes on pull and draw though

 

#2 edit:

 

it plays the same as an anglo on the bottom four notes.

 

I can play songs like old susanna just the same way as on an anglo.

 

octaves sound better.

 

I'm a newbie too, so you will have to get advice from people like don taylor

Edited by cryptastix

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If you think of converting to anglo, I can send you one of mine for free. its a cheap Chinese one, but it plays in tune.

 

ill have to see if I can fix the straps from playing it for months though!

 

 

all id ask is that you pay shipping... and maybe $10 for a six pack of beer :P

 

But most of all, just encourage people with the concertina

 

 

time to go get it out of storage & check it out

 

 

Helen is in the UK so figure on about $50 for shipping.

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Perhaps I need to try to up the budget slightly though to buy a used entry-level English.

Where do you live? I'm coming up to Stamford for SqueezEast on Sunday next (sorry about the previous typo saying Saturday), and if you are nearby I could drop off a loan English - e.g. Lachenal 57544 which I'd like someone to play thoroughly for a while to see if my treatment of the dried-out bellows stands the test of time. Drop me an email - I am paul at paulhardy.net.

Edited by Paul_Hardy

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(However, woodworking tools and paintbrushes is something I do know quite a lot about. Years of experience has taught me that sometimes the supposedly top quality tools aren't always very good at the job. Never be afraid to seek the right tools in the places you don't expect to find them rather than worrying about which brand it is!)

When it comes to woodworking tools, I'm a fan of buying vintage and restoring them - still lots of bargains to be had out there!

 

same with tin-smithing tools. Old ones are the best

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the anglo is one of the finest, and most expensive instruments ive played.

 

 

after thinking about it a little bit..... this isn't really a good instrument for you. Ive had so much trouble learning how to handle these things.... and its been an extremely expensive learning experience.

 

and I am extremely poor.

 

 

for example.

 

I bought a new stagi 40 button for around $800. then I play it... and the freaking thing isn't even in tune, so I had to ship it off and get it serviced for another 400+ dollars. (granted, I had bushing installed)

 

ive bought a few off ebay, because I was ignorant and they all turned out bad. another one I paid $200 for, I shipped it to get it repaired, and he basically told me it was a piece of junk, that's really not worth getting repaired. So then you have to pay for shipping and assessment.

 

your best bet is going to be, saving up around 300-400 bucks and get a used Rochelle/Jackie/elise.

 

if you can manage 500, Greg Jowleski.....(one of the forum members)

 

I forget his full name off the top of my head.....

 

he will set you up extremely well, and he warranty it for a year. I'm in the process of getting a 20B from him.

 

I'm not trying to be snooty, I am just telling you what your in for.

 

I strongly encourage you to play.... again, this is just what my mistakes have cost me.

 

 

possibly, if you consider some of the earlier posts, a very good harmonica will function just the same as an anglo for far cheaper, and you can learn on it.

 

The other types (English, duet) I have no clue of an alternative.

 

 

Sorry if I seem rude, because I'm not trying to be

 

 

 

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Good post by cryptastix, he points out the problems with buying off eBay and with buying an instrument (the Stagi 40 button) that is not well regarded but is appealing at first glance.

 

It is a pity that he did not buy a reliable 20 button from Greg or a Rochelle from Concertina Connection or a distributor in the first place, and now he is out a lot of money that he can ill afford.

 

Helen: If you really cannot afford to buy a 20 button from a known supplier like Chris Algar in the UK, or a Rochelle from whoever is selling them in the UK, then you should seriously consider Theo's idea of buying a good harmonica. I once bought a $50 plastic 20 button Chinese Anglo (with a fake Italian name) off eBay and it really was a piece of cr*p. Or buy a cheap ukelele, seriously, to learn some music chops before you invest in a decent concertina.

 

I really wish concertinas were cheap, but they are not, and having taken one part I can see why.

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Good post by cryptastix, he points out the problems with buying off eBay and with buying an instrument (the Stagi 40 button) that is not well regarded but is appealing at first glance.

 

It is a pity that he did not buy a reliable 20 button from Greg or a Rochelle from Concertina Connection or a distributor in the first place, and now he is out a lot of money that he can ill afford.

 

Helen: If you really cannot afford to buy a 20 button from a known supplier like Chris Algar in the UK, or a Rochelle from whoever is selling them in the UK, then you should seriously consider Theo's idea of buying a good harmonica. I once bought a $50 plastic 20 button Chinese Anglo (with a fake Italian name) off eBay and it really was a piece of cr*p. Or buy a cheap ukelele, seriously, to learn some music chops before you invest in a decent concertina.

 

I really wish concertinas were cheap, but they are not, and having taken one part I can see why.

 

 

hey, completely off topic, but I just noticed! grats on the 1,000th post my man don! :D

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I've mucked around with a number of clunky old Italian cheapies off eBay (US) and maybe I've had good luck but out of dozen+ I only had maybe two that were simply unplayable. A lot of them aren't playable at first because the little rubber linkages rot away over time, but you can replace them with about $2 of the right size of vinyl tubing and 20 minutes of unskilled work. If the reeds are damaged or out of tune, that's a different matter, but I've had good luck.

 

Cheap Italian (or more recently Chinese) used boxes on eBay are 95% likely to be C/G Anglos, but that said I did once buy an English on eBay for $75, and it was huge and clunky but functional buttons and played in tune.

 

Of your options, the best is probably trying out all the various systems at a social event, then renting/borrowing a moderate cheapie (decent modern hybrid, or beater vintage). Alternately, haunt eBay and buy an Italian/German/Chinese cheapie and expect to do a little unskilled work on it. On a dozen occasions I've gotten eBay sellers on the phone so I could hear the buttons played individually and together (to see if the harmony sounded right) to confirm before buying. You assume *some* risk of a dud, but if you hear it played over the phone and it sounds okay, for under $100 I'd say go for it! And just be ready to replace rubber bits, or glue a fallen-off pad, or whatever else, just basic grunt-work. If you want Anglo that's easy, but you'll have to browse a little bit on eBay, Craigslist (or your local equivalent), Hobgoblin's used listings, etc to find a cheap English, and for a Duet there's really no option short of a used Elise for about $300 or so.

 

That said, if you think English is the best fit (and note you can download music apps for your phone that let you try out Anglo and English key layouts on your device), don't compromise on an Anglo just because it's cheap and available, just keep a more vigilant eye out for a cheapie English.

 

So in summary, try and meet some folks so you can try various boxes, then rent or borrow one of the type you like. Or go on eBay but be willing to ask the seller to just press the buttons and squeeze over the phone to verify it sorta-works, then be ready to use your woodworking skills on some basic maintenance and upgrades.

 

Speaking of which, the little melodeon you have can, with a little semi-skilled mockery, be converted to use higher-quality Italian reeds, put on better valves, etc. and it'll be at least three times better than it is now. I've owned several such "toy melodeons" converted by Irish Dancemaster of Florida, and they're simply worlds better than the unmodified instrument.

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Actually, tell you what, I have a cheap Italian-made English concertina sitting around at a friend's place, and I think he's done playing with it. Email me and I can cut you whatever deal needed to fit your budget.

 

No point getting an Anglo if that's not what you *really* want, also I don't need you bidding against me on cheap Anglos on eBay!

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Thank you all for the recent replies and sorry for not coming back until now but we've been on a family camping holiday in the Lake District so internet wasn't something on my radar!

 

I'm back in the workshop today but I'll have a proper read through all your replies later tonight. For now budget is a major constraint and there is no way on earth I would be able to warrant spending several hundred pounds when we need repairs to the house and soon a newer car and the children's school shoes and summer holidays etc etc. I have no choice but to start at the bottom, although I am more and more leaning toward English if I can possibly find entry level at an affordable price.

 

Financially I might be able to stretch to £125 thanks to some birthday money last week that I really should be spending on new walking boots!

 

Please no harmonicas though as I absolutely can't bear them (I have to switch off the radio at the slightest hint of Bob Dylan - sorry!)

And I'm trying to get away from woodwind/blowing instruments as they're all I've played in the past - including clarinet etc. Folk recorder isn't nearly as widely heard these days as it was when I was a child in the 1970s but I do still have my sopanino, descant, treble, and tenor recorders which I occasionally still play!

 

Ukelele is out too - that's been a tried and failed thing. My late grandfather in Stamford was a very accomplished ukelele, guitar, and banjo player so I had plenty of chances but I've never quite gelled with strings, to be honest. Other guitar-type instruments that I've attempted haven't been enjoyable - at school when friends were getting into guitars I was definitely in the 'keyboard' camp.

 

But I absolutely love my 10-15 minutes each day with the plasticky toy melodeon and having made more progress with that in 9 months than I ever did on the aforementioned stringed instruments I'm definitely sticking with bellows!

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