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Recommendation For An Intermediate Concertina


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Hey everybody,


this is my first post here. I'm Philipp, 25 years old, I come from Germany (Kaiserslautern) and usually play the piano at irish folk sessions. As a second (more transportable ;) ) instrument, I'm thinking about buying a concertina. By searching on the internet, I learned a lot about the construction, the different button layouts and which layout is convenient for irish folk. During my search, I came across an intermediate concertina from McNeela (Phoenix):




Now the question is whether this is an instrument I will enjoy for a longer time (several years) or will there a need to upgrade after a fairly short time? Has anyone experience with this model? Are there any significant differences between Czechoslovakian and Italian reeds (tipo a mano) with respect to the sound or response, respectively?


Thanks in advance!



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I cant reccomend the Wolverton highly enough. Incredible value for the money and a very reliable and friendly guy to deal with. I recently took delivery of a g/d from him (as i already have a nice c/g) and i have to say I love it. Beautifully made and it sounds fantastic

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Thank you for the tip, Ron! I can imagine that the Wren might not last for many years. But it doesn't have to. It's a fairly cheap beginner instrument. However, the Phoenix is quite a bit more expensive and seems to be built from much more qualitative components. Are there any negative properties?

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By Czechoslovakian made reeds, I am guessing these are made by Harmonikas in the Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia does not exist anymore).


Interesting video here on their factory.


They do list "Dix Concertina" reeds, is this what McNeely is using?


A few years ago somebody here was building a concertina using these reeds but I don't think that they ever reported the final results.


Some folks on Melodeon.net think that Antonelli reeds (Italian) are actually made by Harmonikas in the Czech Republic.


I have no idea about the quality of these reeds, but I have often wondered why we do not see the Dix Concertina reeds showing up in new builds.

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According to Mr. McNeela (I wrote an e-mail), the reeds are A Mano accordion reeds from Harmonikas. He says that they are very loud, very responsive and designed for jigs and reels. Apart from that he also recommends Lachenal, Claddagh or even Jeffries concertinas in case one doesn't want to upgrade within a few years. Nevertheless, I think it's a great value concertina for its price, besides the Wolverton, which also appears to be a good intermediate instrument.

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  • 11 months later...

Hello everyone !


I am back to the concertina world lol After some time on a diatonic accordion, I definitely have more fun with a concertina.

I am now looking for a 3 rows concertina that I can use for many years along…

This Phoenix seem to be a good choice with tipo a mano reeds and 6 leather bellows…

It does sound pretty nice to my hear (but Caitlín Nic Gabhann can even get a great sound from the Wren ? and not too harsh (very important !).

And part of a review is "Especially,low keys sound marvellous." (love that).


I tried the Wren and didn't like it but this one is 1000 euros more expensive so it can only be better.

Any more review on this one ? (I hesitate waiting for a Lachenal but I cannot try it before buying and usually air tightness is not the best on vintage cheaper concertina, budget is low comparing to concertina average price). 

Best !

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2 hours ago, papawemba said:

Just when I was going to push the buy button for The Phoenix concertina, the sale was over ?


(buying it second hand if any proposition occur....)




If you're talking about McNeela sales, they seem to be quite frequent. I bought the wren a month ago in a sale.


It's a great starter concertina for about £300 in the sale, though a little Spinal Tap:


There's something about this that's so black, it's like how much more black could this be?

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