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Anglo Vs. English


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Which might be easier to learn?  Which is more versatile playing different styles?  I'm not dead-set on Irish music only, and have found a great deal on a 30-button English.  Your input/opinions are greatly appreciated!

 

Newbie Greg

I want a clean fight ladies and gentlmen Two falls, two submissions or a knockout to decide the winner! :)

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Greg, I think that for some of us it depends on how our brain is wired! :lol:

I've tried both, have a sweet little Mayfair English and yes, an incredible Jeffries anglo. Guess which one I play the most? There's no comparison when you've got a top-quality instrument.

I suggest you try to find a shop or acquaintences who will let you try both- give each a little time, because it is a big investment, no matter how good the deal (unless it's free!!).

And enjoy- you're entering a wonderful new world, and this site couldn't be friendlier or more helpful! :)

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Get thee unto the Recorded Links page. There you will find the answer you seek. Both systems are limited only by imagination. If you are looking for Anglo diversity, it's there in abundance. English is well represented. Careful, for there lurks Duet also and it too is wonderful.

 

Yer chops will be a slobberin', aargh! (sorry watching SpongeBob with my daughter). :P

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The only answer I have is: it all depends. We used to have a member of this forum who insisted that there had to be some absolute right instrument for different types of music, and strangely this always seemed to be the English concertina. As an anglo player myself I could not be expected to agree with that.

 

All I will say is that there are background indicators that might help: people with a music theory background seem on average to get on better with the English, while people without (players by ear, in other words) frequently get on better with the anglo. There are certainly more tutors and tuition available for anglos in Irish music, and similarly more tutors and tuition available for classical music with the English. (Not very many really for either system for English music, though both systems are widely used in English sessions). And don't forget the duet players, who frequently seem to be really amazing players of all sorts of music.

 

The only certain advice I can give is: go and try them out. See what you are happiest with and go for that. Badger people to explain why they like their particular system. As to why I like the anglo, I don't know really, it just seems right in my hands in a way the English never did.

 

I've always believed you should find the instrument you want to play (which may not even be a concertina, of course) and then work out how to play the music you want to play on it.

 

Chris

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PS. Would it surprise you that the Concertina FAQ has something to say on this most Frequently Asked of Questions?

 

In theory, before buying a concertina you would consider what you want it for and decide which type you need from the list above. For instance here are a few guidelines you may hear on the uses to which you might put the various types of concertina:-

 

- If you want to play in groups or ensembles of concertinas, go for an English.

- For folk or morris dance the in-out pattern of the anglo scale gives a "lift" to the music. It is also a good band instrument.

- For song accompaniment or for solo instrumentals duets are ideal.

- For fast flowing melody lines the key layout of an English gives it an edge.

- If you intend to play from music or to compose music for the instrument, choose an English or a duet.

- If you intend to learn to play by ear the anglo is significantly easier to learn than the other two, and in fact is surprisingly easy to get started with.

 

Unfortunately life is never that simple. The English is widely used for song accompaniment. Alistair Anderson has shown how successful the English can be for dance music and band work. I, like quite a few other people use the anglo for song accompaniment. The anglo is the concertina of choice for many Irish musicians, who get round its inherent "bouncyness" by dexterous cross-fingering between the rows. At the end of the day all you can do is try the various systems as far as possible and see which suits you best. If you can, talk to other players about why they chose their instruments and listen to what they play.

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The only answer I have is: it all depends. We used to have a member of this forum who insisted that there had to be some absolute right instrument for different types of music, and strangely this always seemed to be the English concertina. As an anglo player myself I could not be expected to agree with that.

 

All I will say is that there are background indicators that might help: people with a music theory background seem on average to get on better with the English, while people without (players by ear, in other words) frequently get on better with the anglo. There are certainly more tutors and tuition available for anglos in Irish music, and similarly more tutors and tuition available for classical music with the English. (Not very many really for either system for English music, though both systems are widely used in English sessions). And don't forget the duet players, who frequently seem to be really amazing players of all sorts of music.

 

The only certain advice I can give is: go and try them out. See what you are happiest with and go for that. Badger people to explain why they like their particular system. As to why I like the anglo, I don't know really, it just seems right in my hands in a way the English never did.

 

I have some background in other instruments, but not  in "theory" per se...frankly, the Anglo appeals in price and heritage, but the 2 tones (in/out) on the same button strikes me as terribly confusing.  I found a 30-button EC for under $100 shipped to my door....should I jump on it????

I've always believed you should find the instrument you want to play (which may not even be a concertina, of course) and then work out how to play the music you want to play on it.

 

Chris

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Gosh, there's a terrific echo around here!

 

Actually, I have to say that quoting using the new software is not especially intuitive, although once you're used to it it works fairly well. What you were trying to say, I quess, was

I have some background in other instruments, but not  in "theory" per se...frankly, the Anglo appeals in price and heritage, but the 2 tones (in/out) on the same button strikes me as terribly confusing.  I found a 30-button EC for under $100 shipped to my door....should I jump on it????

 

In all honesty my advice would be "no". At $100, it's not going to be a very nice piece of kit, and may only succedd in putting you off concertinas altogether. No, give it a little time and thought ( difficult as that may sound when the first flush of enthusiasm is on you) before you leap...

 

Cheers,

 

Chris

Edited by Chris Timson
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Which might be easier to learn?  Which is more versatile playing different styles?  I'm not dead-set on Irish music only, and have found a great deal on a 30-button English.  Your input/opinions are greatly appreciated!

 

Newbie Greg

 

I thought the 30 button that we were discussing in the other thread was an Anglo? 30 buttons is an odd number of buttons for an English.

 

Well I thought that learning the basics on the Anglo was pretty easy... but then again I also play Irish Button Accordion so there was alot of cross over. :)

 

In practice different people seem to learn more quickly on different instruments. For some of us, the logic of the Anglo clicks and we have no problem with the two notes per button, but others seem to have real problems coordinating the bellows. On the flip side some people take natually to the fact that the notes of the scale alternates sides on the English while others find it a real challenge. I don't have any experience with them, but I would bet that over-all the easiest would be one of the duet systems.

 

Now all that being said, all of this basically describes the process of just getting started on the instrument... in the long run I think really mastering any instrument requires about the same amount of work.. a hell of alot :).

 

--

Bill

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My concertina experiences went thusly:

 

(1) I bought a normally $225 Anglo from JLDyer off ebay, discounted to $40 due to a silent reed. It took me 15 munutes to fix this. This has been a solid learning instrument for me, though it's cratering now a year and half later. It was quite superior to a Stagi I played in button action and tone, although the Stagi bellows was more airtight. Unfortunately, these don't seem to pop up on ebay any more. Other lower sellers have perhaps made Dyer, who is basically a harmonica vendor, to get out of the game.

 

(2) I investigated the Jackie starter model to see how I liked English. I like both systems about equally well. The Jackie is the subject of numerous threads here.

 

(3) I eventually found I was ready to graduate to a medium bucks hybrid, which I've ordered.

 

 

If you're considering Microscope City from ebay, consider that two c.net English system users have found buttons in the wrong place. As a sample, below are the most recent 10 ebay feedback responses from concertina purchasers at Microscope City.

 

-Nice, in tune, 4 buttons reversed & had to unstick several but seller helpful.

-Very fast Shipping!! Good Communication!!!!! Thanks

-Excellent transaction,Thanks!!

-Prompt shipping! Packaging subpar, instrument quality matches price

-Concertina was defective, made me pay shipping anyway.Took a month to get refund

-Shipped wrong product | poor communication | made me pay for return shipping

-Shipped WRONG item -- REFUSES to return my shipping costs - or answer EMAIL*

Reply by microscopecity: Please send back for refund or replacement

-Quick turnaround - item not great just ok

-Everything fine

-My daughter is having fun with her new concertina; quality not great tho...

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Be careful buying a duet. A lot of people find these to be the hardest to learn. That is one reason why they are generally cheaper than English and Anglos. However, I am told that once mastered, the duet offers much more potential. I don't know about the difference between various duet systems. I think that the number of buttons is also a factor in the potential of duets.

 

As a (moderate) box player,I found the English hard to get going on but once the system is mastered, it is a great instrument, particularly for accompaniment. Anglo is the easiest to get started on, but still requires a lot of work to become good (still working on that part!).

 

If you have the money, I would recommend a good restored vintage instrument or a hybrid as better instruments tend to be easier to play.

 

Whichever you get, play it every day.

 

Good luck,

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Greg, I don't know how it works, but a call to the Button Box might be worth your time.  I understand they do rent instruments.

I'm not totally sure of our rental policy (I'm their designer, not a sales person), but I believe it goes that you can rent our concertinas (mostly the top end Stagi English, anglo and Hayden duets) for about $35-$40/month (depending on the model) with 3-month "periods".

 

You are initially charged for 3 months, and every subsequent third month, for the time you have our instrument out. If you return the instrument, you are rebated the portion of the time you didn't have it.... For instance, if you returned (ended) the rental after only having it for two months, we'll reverse charges on your credit card for the month you didn't use it.

 

Also during your rental you can exchange your instrument for ANY other instrument (even a button accordion or PA :blink: ) - with adjustment in the rental rate (if any) and you paying the shipping costs both ways. You can try out an English, anglo and duet all in one month if you were so inclined (and had the time!).

 

At the end of the rental, one half of your rental fees are applicable for you to use toward the purchase of an instrument from the Button Box (ANY instrument - it could be your rental box, a new or refurbished one, a Morse, a Lachenal, etc.).

 

The nice thing about renting is that you can physically try several systems out for less than the hit you'd take on buying a single cheap box and trying to resell it. And the boxes you'd be renting are the best Stagis which have been thoroughly checked over and well maintained.

 

Still, trying out boxes in a void isn't great the end-all either. Being with other players would be much better. An event like the Squeeze-In lets you get into a lot of that. Even our upcoming Concertina Workshop would be a good place for beginners to experience the different types as there are beginner workshops in all three types. Maybe there's some sort of musical gathering in your neck of the woods with a few box players?

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Be careful buying a duet.  A lot of people find these to be the hardest to learn.

That depends upon the type of fingering system a duet has. Of the most common types of duets the Hayden is by far the easiest to learn. Over decades of seeing how quickly people take to, and learn a system of concertina, I would hazard to say that from easiest to most difficult:

 

Anglo, Hayden duet, English, Crane (Triumph), Maccan duet, Jeffries duet....

 

Note, this is MY take on the Button Box's overall group of customers - not the average person. Most people are strongly "wired" one way or the other such that one particular system comes easier to them.

 

I also note that the anglo playing style IS NOT taken into account. This is just to get one reasonably proficient at playing it in any way, and for anglo, that would be in the English fashion, in which the melody on the right and accompaniement on the left side and playing "along the rows". Playing Irish on an anglo is more difficult, possibly bumping it down to second or third place.

 

Same could be said for the other systems too though.... For instance, to play Hayden simply is a no-brainer, but to play it as crisply and as quickly as an English for the same amount of learning time would relegate the Hayden to the #3 spot after the English....

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I thought the 30 button that we were discussing in the other thread was an Anglo? 30 buttons is an odd number of buttons for an English.

 

 

 

I just double checked the website, and it is listed as an "Enlish-style concertina", but the photo shows 15 buttons on one end.....

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I thought the 30 button that we were discussing in the other thread was an Anglo?  30 buttons is an odd number of buttons for an English.

 

I just double checked the website, and it is listed as an "Enlish-style concertina", but the photo shows 15 buttons on one end.....

If you mean the one on the www.violinsoftexas.com website, then that is a three-row Anglo system concertina.

 

Neither the manufacturers, nor the "wholesale" sellers of these cheap Chinese-made instruments really know anything about them, so their descriptions cannot be relied upon. It looks like they tend to use the term "English style" to diffentiate between Anglos that have their button rows vertical to the top & bottom of the instrument (like an English-made Anglo) and those that have their button rows parallel with the sides of the instrument (like the traditional German-style concertinas).

 

So it seems we must now all be careful to differentiate betwixt "English style" and "English system" in concertinas ! :huh: :blink: :(

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