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KCMetroGnome

Upgrading My Duet

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All -

 

I had some great help from this forum almost 6 years ago when I purchased my Elise Duet concertina. I have enjoyed it over the years and I feel I'm finally in a spot financially where I can afford an upgrade. My main instrument is a 120 bass accordion, and I expect that to continue to be my main instrument, so as nice as a Wakker instrument would be, I don't feel I can justify the cost over a Peacock or a Beaumont.

 

Just looking at layouts and ranges it appears the Beaumont is the direction I would want to go (specifically because I would love to have that RH C#, D# and, to a lesser degree, Bb). However, I wanted to get some feedback from the forum of what I should be evaluating in addition to just the layout. I live in Kansas City, so the odds are pretty low that I would be able to get somewhere to actually try both instruments (though I would be happy for someone to tell me of somewhere in the KC area that I could try them). I'd also love to hear recordings of each if you can point me to them.

 

I don't want to cause any sort of rift, as I'm sure this forums has loyalists to each maker and possibly even the makers themselves. So I won't be offended if people want to skip on answering this post. I'm just hoping to get as much information as possible before I take the plunge on either instrument.

 

Thanks!

Rob

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I'm a happy Beaumont player, and I selected it because I felt that my harmonic preferences would be better served by the Beaumont rather than the smaller Peacock, and I'm very glad I did so. Also, it's a delightful instrument.

 

Reaching across the instrument when you run out of keyboard on the side your playing will always happen unless you get a 90 button Hayden, but 52 keys allows far less of this awkward interruption of the familiar chord/harmony patterns. I was SO happy to be free of the Elise's gaps!

 

If you are inclined toward the Beaumont, call the Button Box - they have a shop Beaumont which allows potential buyers to try it out. Perhaps you could arrange a home trial.

 

Enjoy your new Hayden!

 

Daniel

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You can watch videos of both Beaumont and Peacock being played here on the Button Box website :)

 

The two feel and sound a bit different, as well as having the obvious differences that come from the number of keys.

 

Feel-wise, one of the most noticeable differences is that the Beaumont's buttons are 1/4-inch diameter with a slightly rounded top, and the Peacock's buttons are smaller (3/16-inch?) with a squared-off top. The air buttons are in totally different places, too (the Beaumont's is on the inside of the right hand-rest, the Peacock's is on the right side where the little finger would push it, down and right of the other buttons). None of that is objectively better or worse, but one may feel more comfortable to one player and the other to another. (And in practice, as you surely already know, with a duet you'll seldom use the air button aside from before or after playing something.)

 

(Full disclosure, I assisted in the design of the Beaumont and made the first few dozen. But I won't be offended if anyone offers critical comments based on their experiences!)

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Posted (edited)

Wayman wrote:

(And in practice, as you surely already know, with a duet you'll seldom use the air button aside from before or after playing something.)

 

 

 

I wouldn't put that so categorically! While it's true that you don't have to manage the bellows direction on a duet as you have to on an Anglo, it is sometimes important to manage the bellows capacity. If I want to play a long, legato passsage without a bellows change, or to hold a fat chord for several beats, I want my bellows either fully closed or fully open at the start of it. And often the only way to ensure this is to bleed air through the air-valve during the phrase before it.

 

Cheers,

John

Edited by Anglo-Irishman

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Wayman wrote:

(And in practice, as you surely already know, with a duet you'll seldom use the air button aside from before or after playing something.)

 

 

 

I wouldn't put that so categorically! While it's true that you don't have to manage the bellows direction on a duet as you have to on an Anglo, it is sometimes important to manage the bellows capacity. If I want to play a long, legato passsage without a bellows change, or to hold a fat chord for several beats, I want my bellows either fully closed or fully open at the start of it. And often the only way to ensure this is to bleed air through the air-valve during the phrase before it.

 

Cheers,

John

 

 

Good point!

 

In practice, this has never been an issue for me playing either the Beaumont or Peacock, but perhaps that's because both are 7-inch instruments ... which means the bellows have 25% more volume (I think - see footnote!) than an instrument with a typical 6-1/4-inch bellows (and the same number of bellows folds). When I play duet, my limited repertoire tends to be slow pieces which are suited by drone accompaniments, so I'm often holding three or four buttons for a measure or few at a go, but even so I don't run out of air where I might if I played the same arrangement on a 6-1/4-inch instrument.

 

... if anyone's really into math and wants to check mine since it's early on a Monday morning, I'm going to start a math-intensive thread with my equation for this because I'd like someone to confirm it, but don't want to derail this topic!

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In practice, this has never been an issue for me playing either the Beaumont or Peacock, but perhaps that's because both are 7-inch instruments ... which means the bellows have 25% more volume (I think - see footnote!) than an instrument with a typical 6-1/4-inch bellows (and the same number of bellows folds). When I play duet, my limited repertoire tends to be slow pieces which are suited by drone accompaniments, so I'm often holding three or four buttons for a measure or few at a go, but even so I don't run out of air where I might if I played the same arrangement on a 6-1/4-inch instrument.

 

 

 

... if anyone's really into math and wants to check mine since it's early on a Monday morning, I'm going to start a math-intensive thread with my equation for this because I'd like someone to confirm it, but don't want to derail this topic!

 

 

Yes, there's 25% more cross-sectional area in a 7-inch than a 6 1/4-inch. That might allow for deeper bellows folds too and hence greater extension, and thus an even greater increase in volume.

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Wayman wrote:

(And in practice, as you surely already know, with a duet you'll seldom use the air button aside from before or after playing something.)

 

 

 

I wouldn't put that so categorically! While it's true that you don't have to manage the bellows direction on a duet as you have to on an Anglo, it is sometimes important to manage the bellows capacity. If I want to play a long, legato passsage without a bellows change, or to hold a fat chord for several beats, I want my bellows either fully closed or fully open at the start of it. And often the only way to ensure this is to bleed air through the air-valve during the phrase before it.

 

Cheers,

John

 

 

Another way is just to plan ahead and reverse bellows direction so that you are at one extreme or the other when you need it. This is an important consideration for me because I have a couple of anglo buttons on my Crane. I've never found it a problem and I've never used the air button.

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Posted (edited)

If it's the Beaumont, I advise going for the option of tipo a mano (AKA "TAM" or "hand-type" or "hand-finished") reeds. It's not that much more expensive, and the response is a tad quicker and suppler. Not saying the "super Durall" factory reeds they use as standard are horribly resistant, just saying, the TAM response is a little faster and more supple. The TAM reeds do sound a bit brighter, which some don't care for in the high notes, but I like the response as well as the clarity the added brightness gives you in the mid-range and low notes. I've got the TAM reeds in two Morse Geordies (a Tenor and a Bari) and wouldn't go any other way.

 

Wakker's promo material used to say "hand-finished" in the Peacock, but I see when Morse has Peacocks in they describe the reeds as "Italian reeds." So I would email Wakker and ask if TAM is standard in the Peacock.

Edited by ceemonster

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Posted (edited)

Hi there! I'm currently trying to make the same decision! :)

So far I'm swaying towards the Peacock. I mostly play trad folk, and on all the recordings I've heard, the Peacock seems to sound more like a traditional-reed concertina (it also looks a lot more like a vintage concertina). And Mr Wakker is a maker of traditional instruments after all.

But the Beaumont's extra buttons would make for a lot more versatility. More usable range and much easier to play chromatically. And the larger overlap between hands especially; I expect that'd make it easier to play melody or harmony 'between hands', English-style. Also I seem to remember someone on here saying that the Beaumont has a slightly better fit-and-finish.

MetroGnome, I suspect recordings don't do the instruments much justice, but that's all I have to go on too (I live in Scotland). Soloduetconcertina on youtube is a marvellous Beaumont player (a TAM-reed one I think), and Steven Arnston on Soundcloud plays the Peacock. You can also hear Morse and Wakker-hybrid instruments being 'demo-ed' on the Liberty Bellows youtube channel. (The videos are made by people who aren't concertinists, so the playing isn't anything much, but you can hear their tone).

Edited by Datsen

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