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Brand New Wheatstone vs what?

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I didn't even know such a thing existed,  but I played a friend's brand new Wheatstone the other evening. An ec with 48 buttons, raised wooden ends and aluminium reed shoes. It was remarkably light and had great dynamic range and a wonderful tone. The thing that really stood out for me though was the action. It was so light and instantaneous that it let all the tunes out so easily.

Overall it was outstanding and I didn't want to give it back. However I won't be ordering one - my friend had to wait 10 years for it to be made and delivered.

Is there anything else out there, traditional or hybrid that plays as fast and effortlessly? I have played a couple of good Lachenals, which were quite fast, Crabb and a couple of Wheatsones which were fast and responsive. I would think that the age of the instruments is a factor.

I need something to aspire to!

Discuss.....

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Posted (edited)

It all depends  where you are coming from.... what you currently play  will inform  your opinion  of any  other concertina you  try.  

 

It is very heartening  to read that   your  friend's   new Wheatstone  is so inspiring.  Wim Wakker's  description of his  Parnassus  model    would  definately  be  one to look at too.

 

I've always played  EC's from the  Classic period, mostly Wheatstones  and the odd Lachenal,  but always  aspiring to  find a  cracker.  Many of these  older  concertinas  are  in poor shape , in need of a  sympathetic  restoration  and  set up by   a good player,  but now and again  something truly exceptional  can be found.

 

Long years of  searching, buying and selling,  leave me with the opinion that  the " concertina  for all reasons"  is  not a good thing to   hope for... having two, or more, quite different models  is  an easier path.  My  'fast  and loud' , with great dynamic range,  48 Treble  Wheatstone  made just before  1900  is  about as good a  dance band / session concertina  as I have   ever  tried.

 

 

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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Posted (edited)

Perhaps a pilgrimage south to Chris Algar's (aka Barleycorn Concertinas) is in order.  My understanding is Chris' garden shed has the most concertinas in any one place on the planet and therefore a great place to compare many different concertinas.  And, of course, Mr. Algar will always be ready to sell you one.  In addition, Chris is very good in "placing" concertinas.  If something comes in that fits the description of what you are looking for then he will be calling you.  You could talk with him and get on his list.

 

By all accounts Steve Dickenson's work is fantastic.  But he is one man and single handed carrying on the Wheatstone banner.  However he also does restoration and refurbishment.  (Which could happen light years ahead of a new instrument)  There are some wonderful vintage english concertinas out there just waiting for a skillful repairer's restoration, touch and set up to "wake up" make a remarkable instrument "sing" again.  If you come across a concertina with great potential that might be an option.

 

Greg

Edited by Greg Jowaisas
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+1 on Chris and I've visited that fabled shed.  But on this side of the pond, Greg, you do a pretty fine job of placing concertinas yourself.  

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