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michael01612

Beginner Questions...

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Hello,

 

Getting the urge for a concertina....and have some questions. I am thinking these are common beginner questions...

 

1) Do I want a 20 or 30 row?

2) Comments on the Hohner D40 and Jackie?

3) Instructional videos....compare/contrast these 2 videos:

 

The Seaman's Concertina: A Beginning Guide to the Anglo Concertina in the Nautical Style - John Townley

 

Learn To Play Irish Concertina - John Williams

 

4) Best instructional books?

 

5) How limited will I be on a diatonic? I don't plan on playing with other people that that often....is the limitation in that some songs can only be played in certain keys or on a chromatic and not on a diatonic?

 

6) I know this is not the buy/sell topic...but if someone has a used package deal...concertina, instructional vhs, and a book...then email me.

 

Many thanks...I can't wait to start!

 

Mike

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Well it seems to me that you have just gotten the concertina bug and are still sorting all the information about them in your head. The Hohner is an Anglo and the Jackie is an English... so they really are no practical instruments to cross shop... at least no more so than a flute and a clarinet :). So the first thing you need to figure out is what sort of instrument you want... Making a couple of decisions can help make that easier.

 

What sort of music are you planning on playing? Certain instruments are more traditional in certain genres; for example the Anglo Concertina is far and way the most traditional choice for Irish Music. This doesn't mean you can't use an English to play Irish Music but your instructional resources will be much thinner.

 

I know little about Englishes, so I will concentrate on Anglos...

I would recommend getting at least a 30 button Anglo... the extra 10 buttons will let you play in pretty much every key for an octave. For Irish Music, a c/g anglo with 30 buttons will allow you to play in every key you are likely to encounter in Irish Music.

 

If possible I would suggest stepping up to the mid-range instruments. Yes they are alot more expensive. If you get a cheap instrument and you like the concertina, you are likely going to want to upgrade within a few months and since the cheap instruments hold little value you will end up spending more in the long run. On the flip side, if you get a Morse, or Tedrow or Edgley (or one of the other mid range makers) and decide you don't like it you can sell it for most of its new price.. if you watch for used ones, you could well get one that, should you decide to sell it later, will actually cost you nothing in the long run :).

 

--

Bill

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Thanks for the information Bill!

 

As for what I plan on playing...I am not entirely sure. I have in my mind that I'd lile to try sea shanties and irish.......jigs..reels...hornpipes, etc.... but that may change. I am not sure if this broad interest lends any clarity to my anglo vs english choice or not...but if it does...please let me know.

 

I currently play 2 other instruments: old-time frailing banjo, and crossharp harmonica. I have a secondary interest in trying some sort of duet with myself via multitrack recording. The banjo plays in key of G, A, C, and D. And I have harmonicas in several keys. So a song such as Fisher's Hornpipe, which I know on banjo, might be fun to learn on concertina as well.

 

I've been doing a little more reading....perhaps you can clarify. A 20 button D40 Hohner anglo would allow me to play a particular song in a particular key. And a 30 key anglo would allow me greater ornamentation and flexibility on this same song...as well as play songs in other keys?

 

Many thanks for the info...I really appreciate it.

 

Mike

 

 

 

 

 

Well it seems to me that you have just gotten the concertina bug and are still sorting all the information about them in your head.  The Hohner is an Anglo and the Jackie is an English... so they really are no practical instruments to cross shop... at least no more so than a flute and a clarinet :).  So the first thing you need to figure out is what sort of instrument you want...  Making a couple of decisions can help make that easier.

 

What sort of music are you planning on playing?  Certain instruments are more traditional in certain genres; for example the Anglo Concertina is far and way the most traditional choice for Irish Music.  This doesn't mean you can't use an English to play Irish Music but your instructional resources will be much thinner. 

 

I know little about Englishes, so I will concentrate on Anglos...

I would recommend getting at least a 30 button Anglo... the extra 10 buttons will let you play in pretty much every key for an octave.  For Irish Music, a c/g anglo with 30 buttons will allow you to play in every key you are likely to encounter in Irish Music. 

 

If possible I would suggest stepping up to the mid-range instruments.  Yes they are alot more expensive.  If you get a cheap instrument and you like the concertina, you are likely going to want to upgrade within a few months and since the cheap instruments hold little value you will end up spending more in the long run.  On the flip side, if you get a Morse, or Tedrow or Edgley (or one of the other mid range makers) and decide you don't like it you can sell it for most of its new price.. if you watch for used ones, you could well get one that, should you decide to sell it later, will actually cost you nothing in the long run :).

 

--

Bill

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Hail fellow beginner :)

 

 

You mention the Jackie and as a proud owner and newbie I can highly recommend it.

 

On the question of books I've been avoiding them at the moment using my time to pick out tunes from sheet music or from whistle notation :|

 

OF the instruments I play I've learned them all by playing songs I know. The jackie comes with a nice little tutor to get you started and once you've looked at the keyboard diagrams and can locate at least two buttons without looking at what your fingers are doing you are well on your way.

 

I'm not qualified to argue english versus anglo - but one of the reasons I leaned toward the english was the same note played in both directions - I'm sure lots of people have begun on anglo and learnt the layout easily but.... twas not for me.

 

Though it has to be said that anglo's and duets are looking interesting now I've got going on the jackie.

 

Maybe I should make my signature "I've got a jackie and you are not gonna stop me telling you all about it!" :rolleyes:

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Hello, welcome. I'd suggest with the additional information on your interests that you look at a 30 button C/G. That you play mouth harp, would be a natural and it is the type instrument most closely associated with the music you've listed.

 

You'll have a blast!

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Thanks for the information Bill!

 

As for what I plan on playing...I am not entirely sure.  I have in my mind that I'd lile to try sea shanties and irish.......jigs..reels...hornpipes, etc.... but that may change.    I am not sure if this broad interest lends any clarity to my anglo vs english choice or not...but if it does...please let me know.

 

Well in the popular imagination, Sea shanties are also played on Anglo Concertinas... in reality there is at best a weak historical link between concertinas of any type and sea music. Of course who really cares, no one is going to call you to task for using a concertina with sea music since most people don't know that the link is weak :). So I would definitely say that this indicates an Anglo bent...

 

I currently play 2 other instruments: old-time frailing banjo, and crossharp harmonica.  I have a secondary interest in trying some sort of duet with myself via multitrack recording.  The banjo plays in key of G, A, C, and D.  And I have harmonicas in several keys.  So a song such as Fisher's Hornpipe, which I know on banjo, might be fun to learn on concertina as well. 

 

Well the Harmonica also suggests the Anglo... since the logic is much the same.

 

I've been doing a little more reading....perhaps you can clarify.  A 20 button D40 Hohner anglo would allow me to play a particular song in a particular key.  And a 30 key anglo would allow me greater ornamentation and flexibility on this same song...as well as play songs in other keys?

Are we talking songs or tunes? When you are looking to play along with a song... well there are different requirements... and Duets are the best choice for that. If we are talking tunes.. well a 30 Button Anglo gives one alot of flexibility in ones choice of keys. For example, Mick Bramich's tutorial for Irish Concertina teaches how to play in C, G, A, D and F major (assuming it is a C/G concertina) and their relative minors. On a 20 button anglo you are restricted to mostly C and G and some D tunes that don't use the C#... its hard to imagine being able to play in F or A at all. Of course you would also get some additional ornamental possibilities with the extra row.

Many thanks for the info...I really appreciate it.

You are welcome.

 

--

Bill

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Well, my 2c worth (from a fellow beginner).

 

The Williams tape is lacking. Don't get me wrong, I find him to be an excellent musician. However, there is just something missing in the tape. Maybe it's the scared rabbit expression he has when looking at the camera. My wife felt bad for the guy every time I put it in the VCR.

 

I believe it's Homespun that put out the CDROM tutor. It's not shabby. Definately a better dollar value than the tapes. I'd look for that.

 

Of course, the Mick Bramish book. That one is a keeper. Get the CD along with it. If nothing else, it's actually a decent listen.

 

Again, this is just my opinion. Of course, if you disagree, then you are obviously wrong and in need of therapy :P

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the information Bill!

 

As for what I plan on playing...I am not entirely sure.   I have in my mind that I'd lile to try sea shanties and irish.......jigs..reels...hornpipes, etc.... but that may change.     I am not sure if this broad interest lends any clarity to my anglo vs english choice or not...but if it does...please let me know.

 

Well in the popular imagination, Sea shanties are also played on Anglo Concertinas... in reality there is at best a weak historical link between concertinas of any type and sea music. Of course who really cares, no one is going to call you to task for using a concertina with sea music since most people don't know that the link is weak :). So I would definitely say that this indicates an Anglo bent...

 

I currently play 2 other instruments: old-time frailing banjo, and crossharp harmonica.  I have a secondary interest in trying some sort of duet with myself via multitrack recording.  The banjo plays in key of G, A, C, and D.  And I have harmonicas in several keys.   So a song such as Fisher's Hornpipe, which I know on banjo, might be fun to learn on concertina as well. 

 

Well the Harmonica also suggests the Anglo... since the logic is much the same.

 

I've been doing a little more reading....perhaps you can clarify.  A 20 button D40 Hohner anglo would allow me to play a particular song in a particular key.  And a 30 key anglo would allow me greater ornamentation and flexibility on this same song...as well as play songs in other keys?

Are we talking songs or tunes? When you are looking to play along with a song... well there are different requirements... and Duets are the best choice for that. If we are talking tunes.. well a 30 Button Anglo gives one alot of flexibility in ones choice of keys. For example, Mick Bramich's tutorial for Irish Concertina teaches how to play in C, G, A, D and F major (assuming it is a C/G concertina) and their relative minors. On a 20 button anglo you are restricted to mostly C and G and some D tunes that don't use the C#... its hard to imagine being able to play in F or A at all. Of course you would also get some additional ornamental possibilities with the extra row.

Many thanks for the info...I really appreciate it.

You are welcome.

 

--

Bill

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If you decide on the Anglo I can recommend the CD ROM from Mad for Trad. It starts at very beginning and goes through advanced techniques with lots of tunes.

 

Have fun!

Mark

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If you decide on the Anglo I can recommend the CD ROM from Mad for Trad.  It starts at very beginning and goes through advanced techniques with lots of tunes.

 

Hi,

 

where can i get details of this?

Is it seriously aimed at Anglo? or would it give an EC player trying to do Irish any help?

 

Chris

(aargh! Dr. Gilbert at metronome 200!!!! my fingers just won't go there!)

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If you decide on the Anglo I can recommend the CD ROM from Mad for Trad.  It starts at very beginning and goes through advanced techniques with lots of tunes.

 

Hi,

 

where can i get details of this?

Is it seriously aimed at Anglo? or would it give an EC player trying to do Irish any help?

 

Chris

(aargh! Dr. Gilbert at metronome 200!!!! my fingers just won't go there!)

 

Well, you could read about it right here.

 

(says the Associate Editor, wondering how many forum users have never visited the Rest of Concertina.net.)

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If you decide on the Anglo I can recommend the CD ROM from Mad for Trad.  It starts at very beginning and goes through advanced techniques with lots of tunes.

 

Hi,

 

where can i get details of this?

Is it seriously aimed at Anglo? or would it give an EC player trying to do Irish any help?

 

 

I wouldn't think it would be that much use for the English Player... maybe if the English player was just looking for a few hints on ornamenting a tune... but it basically is a tutor in how to play the Anglo; unfortunately the two systems are extremely different.

 

--

Bill

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Hello, welcome.  I'd suggest with the additional information on your interests that you look at a 30 button C/G.  That you play mouth harp, would be a natural and it is the type instrument most closely associated with the music you've listed. 

 

You'll have a blast!

 

As another harmonica player, I would add that Anglo is the obvious choice - a song learned on anglo is a song learned on harmonica, at the same time. Wealth of harmonica tab out there, is an asset.

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About 20 vs. 30 buttons - I don't understand why anyone would choose an incomplete range instrument(given a choice). I don't really see a reason why such instruments are still made. Harmonica can bend, and I love it for that, thus letting you play all the notes, but concertina cannot.

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Well, you could read about it right here.

 

(says the Associate Editor, wondering how many forum users have never visited the Rest of Concertina.net.)

 

I sympathize with you Ken and I myself must admit that one of my favorite links is a direct link to this forum :ph34r:

 

A suggestion:

You could place some essential links at the top of the forum page (close to the advertizing section).

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Well, you could read about it right here.

 

(says the Associate Editor, wondering how many forum users have never visited the Rest of Concertina.net.)

 

Thank you - my knuckles are deservedly rapped. :(

 

Chris

 

ps I do flit past Concertina.net to see if there's anything new on my way into the Forum, but I haven't yet read it cover to cover!

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About 20 vs. 30 buttons - I don't understand why anyone would choose an incomplete range instrument(given a choice). I don't really see a reason why such instruments are still made. Harmonica can bend, and I love it for that, thus letting you play all the notes, but concertina cannot.

 

Actually, I was just reccomended a 20-button over a 30 yesterday for a first instrument. I belive that the idea is it would be less frustrating to learn... however, i have toyed with the idea of getting a 30 and intially ignoring the top row. The 20's are definitely cheaper, though and that's a big issue for me right now!

 

Greg

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Actually, I was just reccomended a 20-button over a 30 yesterday for a first instrument. I belive that the idea is it would be less frustrating to learn.

Gurk! What a strange thing for someone to suggest. You are quite right, just ignore the third row at first. But the "accidentals" row is not just accidentals, but reverses of important buttons and things of that kind. You will fairly quickly get impatient with the limitations of a 20-button box.

 

If money is an issue (and, concertinas being what they are, it usually is) and you really cannot go to a 30-button, then watch out for the 26-buttons that sometimes flit past on eBay and elsewhere. Much cheaper than a thirty-buttton, much more versatile than a 20-button, they often make a very good buy for a starter concertina.

 

Chris

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Actually, I was just reccomended a 20-button over a 30 yesterday for a first instrument. I belive that the idea is it would be less frustrating to learn.

Gurk! What a strange thing for someone to suggest. You are quite right, just ignore the third row at first. But the "accidentals" row is not just accidentals, but reverses of important buttons and things of that kind. You will fairly quickly get impatient with the limitations of a 20-button box.

 

If money is an issue (and, concertinas being what they are, it usually is) and you really cannot go to a 30-button, then watch out for the 26-buttons that sometimes flit past on eBay and elsewhere. Much cheaper than a thirty-buttton, much more versatile than a 20-button, they often make a very good buy for a starter concertina.

 

Chris

 

Agreed, the 26 button concertinas will get you the most important notes on the accidental row (for Irish music that would be the C#, the alternate directions for the G and A and hopefully a G# (so you can play all A major tunes).

 

If buying new, one might also look at the 24 button concertinas that Frank Edgley does. The only hesitation I would have with them is that you will have to relearn your fingering if you do switch over to a 30 button box... of course you may never feel the need to; Jacqueline McCarthy does just fine with her 24 button box (A wheatsone I think.. I am pretty sure it is the inspiration for Frank's 24 button 'tinas.).

 

--

Bill

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