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Greetings! I am 100% new here although have been admittedly skulking around for quite some time in the guest shadows. I've learned a great deal from reading many of your posts, and am now more confused than ever. I am desirous of purchasing and learning the concertina, and have a musical background, but have never played a button box. I'm sure I will get some excellent advice from you all. Specifically at the moment, I'm wondering if an English concertina tuned to 445 Hz would forever be sharp with accompaniment, or would it be A-okay (no pun intended - well maybe a little) for very amateur use?  

Thanks all in advance,

Carla

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Hi Carla and welcome to the forums!

 

The answer, I'm afraid, is "no" - would result in a deviation of about 20 cents, way too much (+/- 5 cents is o.k., 10 cents hardly bearable, but double it to 1/5 semitone - no way IMO!

 

However, a stringed instrument (like guitar, mandolin, fiddle) could be tuned to your instrument of course...

 

Best wishes - 🐺

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Hi, Wolf. Thanks so much for the warm welcome! And thank you for that invaluable advice. I have the opportunity to purchase a very old and beautiful Lachanel Tutor but am reluctant to commit as I am a fledgling and don't want to bite off more than I can chew. I feel as though the tuning might be the deal breaker. Not to bend your ear (and fingers) too much, but what would your opinion be on a Duet? I am classically trained on the piano, and in my research (not yet hands on) I feel as though that might be the best fit for me, learning-wise. I would appreciate any and all advice I can get.

19 minutes ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

Hi Carla and welcome to the forums!

 

The answer, I'm afraid, is "no" - would result in a deviation of about 20 cents, way too much (+/- 5 cents is o.k., 10 cents hardly bearable, but double it to 1/5 semitone - no way IMO!

 

However, a stringed instrument (like guitar, mandolin, fiddle) could be tuned to your instrument of course...

 

Best wishes - 🐺

 

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8 minutes ago, MrsShevy said:

I am classically trained on the piano, and in my research (not yet hands on) I feel as though that might be the best fit for me, learning-wise.

 

Carla, you're opening a can of wormes here! 🙂

 

Many (not just Duet players) will tell you the Duet is the way to go, and I would not strongly object to that proposal (I recently bought a larger Crane, and love to find my ways across the keyboards).

 

But! I'm trained like you (from childhood on), and started playing the English Concertina in the summer of 2011 (after having considered Anglo and Duet). The English has, as clearly visible from the "Tutor" keyboard, the "white" keys in the center rows and the accidentals adjacent in the outer rows, which makes it a fully chromatic instrument with a diatonic core (or a diatonic instrument with chromatic extensions?).

 

If you would think of playing the piano like "left hand - accompaniment" and "right hand - melody", the Duet would be in fact the equivalent. But I reckon you don't. Good keyboard playing is very much interwoven between the hands, and lots of the harmony happens under the fingers of the right hand. This quality is to my - very personal - oppinion best to be transferred to the English Concertina.

 

You may listen to some of my SC tracks (see link below), or search the forums that will provide tons of oppionion re the question you're raising.

 

I will be very happy to further discuss this but don't want to drown you with content and enthusiasm all of a sudden... 😇

 

All the best - 🐺

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1 hour ago, MrsShevy said:

an English concertina

 

19 minutes ago, MrsShevy said:

what would your opinion be on a Duet?

 

It depends on what you want a concertina for and why you want a concertina. I'm a "classically trained" organist, and the instrument that turned out as "the best fit for me" is a 20-button german concertina. :wacko:

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7 minutes ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

 

Carla, you're opening a can of wormes here! 🙂

 

Many (not just Duet players) will tell you the Duet is the way to go, and I would not strongly object to that proposal (I recently bought a larger Crane, and love to find my ways across the keyboards).

 

But! I'm trained like you (from childhood on), and started playing the English Concertina in the summer of 2011 (after having considered Anglo and Duet). The English has, as clearly visible from the "Tutor" keyboard, the "white" keys in the center rows and the accidentals adjacent in the outer rows, which makes it a fully chromatic instrument with a diatonic core (or a diatonic instrument with chromatic extensions?).

 

If you would think of playing the piano like "left hand - accompaniment" and "right hand - melody", the Duet would be in fact the equivalent. But I reckon you don't. Good keyboard playing is very much interwoven between the hands, and lots of the harmony happens under the fingers of the right hand. This quality is to my - very personal - oppinion best to be transferred to the English Concertina.

 

You may listen to some of my SC tracks (see link below), or search the forums that will provide tons of oppionion re the question you're raising.

 

I will be very happy to further discuss this but don't want to drown you with content and enthusiasm all of a sudden... 😇

 

All the best - 🐺

You've got that right, Wolf! A can of worms is where I've been living lately in my obsession to learn what best concertina to buy. I value your opinion greatly and all knowledge is gladly accepted. I'll head over to your tracks shortly. Thanks! :)

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12 minutes ago, Sebastian said:

 

 

It depends on what you want a concertina for and why you want a concertina. I'm a "classically trained" organist, and the instrument that turned out as "the best fit for me" is a 20-button german concertina. :wacko:

Hello, Sebastian. Thanks for your reply. I really just developed a desire to have/learn one for personal entertainment. I love the sound of them and I suppose at the core it is the Irish in me that it calls to. That is not to say that I only would want to play jigs and reels, but that would likely be my jumping off point. That's funny that a 20b turned out to be your favourite. I wish I could find that darned crystal ball to tell me what to pick. In all that I've read, the Anglo is most recommended for Irish music, but it just feels counter-intuitive to my piano brain.

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26 minutes ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

You may listen to some of my SC tracks

I'm impressed! You give me hope that I'm not starting out too late in life if you can play that well after only having picked it up in 2011. Thanks for sharing, Wolf. :)

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WHereabouts are you?  It's more than possible that you're near enough to someone who has an instrument (of whatever flavour) you might be able to try before you make a decision

 

Alex West

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A good idea, Alex, but I'm in Central Ontario, Canada. It would take me ages to find someone who plays, even in this www age. If I don't buy the Lachenal, I plan to take a trip in May to Massachusetts and see if the Button Box can help me out. I'd love to just take a leap of faith and buy it, but it's no small chunk of change. I wish I had had this obsession when I was in Scotland and England a year and a half ago! That would have been much more convenient. 

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Before you get to the Button Box, there are quite a number of players either in or not far away from Toronto.  I know Ontario's not a small place and journey times can be  - significant - but it might work!

 

Best of luck!

 

Alex West

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, MrsShevy said:

but it just feels counter-intuitive to my piano brain.

When I started to venture into concertina-land, I was interested in taking a new approach. I mean, I pressed keys for all my life, and I know this one-key-one-note-thing. A bisonoric instrument was interesting for me, because it combined key pressing with something new (bellows direction).

 

In the beginning I tried a 30b anglo-german concertina too, but neither did I like the sound nor did the layout make much sense for the 'harmonic style' I'm used to think in. I think you should begin somewhere (maybe with a fairly standard english concertina), and if you later don't find it to your liking, you could sell the instrument and switch to a different kind of concertina (a duett). A concertina has a resell-value, so not all of your investment would be lost. And you can't ponder on everything before you have gathered enough first-hand experience. There will always be surprises. :)

Edited by Sebastian

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If you can get to Toronto on a Wednesday evening there is a session which regularly has 6 or 7 concertina players of both English and Anglo systems.  Several of them play both.  Although I've never seen a duet at the session I believe a couple of the players have some experience, and may even own one or two.  Definitely not a beginners session, but friendly folk who would be happy to show and tell.

 

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35 minutes ago, Sebastian said:

When I started to venture into concertina-land, I was interested in taking a new approach. I mean, I pressed keys for all my life, and I know this one-key-one-note-thing. A bisonoric instrument was interesting for me, because it combined key pressing with something new (bellows direction).

 

In the beginning I tried a 30b anglo-german concertina too, but neither did I like the sound nor did the layout make much sense for the 'harmonic style' I'm used to think in. I think you should begin somewhere (maybe with a fairly standard english concertina), and if you later don't find it to your liking, you could sell the instrument and switch to a different kind of concertina (a duett). A concertina has a resell-value, so not all of your investment would be lost. And you can't ponder on everything before you have gathered enough first-hand experience. There will always be surprises. :)

That's great advice, Sebastian. I've changed my mind at least a hundred times since I started researching, and I haven't even touched one yet! I hope to take the plunge soon, and will suffer or celebrate the consequences. I love all the help I'm getting on this forum. Nice peeps :)

16 minutes ago, Bill N said:

If you can get to Toronto on a Wednesday evening there is a session which regularly has 6 or 7 concertina players of both English and Anglo systems.  Several of them play both.  Although I've never seen a duet at the session I believe a couple of the players have some experience, and may even own one or two.  Definitely not a beginners session, but friendly folk who would be happy to show and tell.

 

Thank you, Bill. That sounds amazing, and something I would love to experience! Can you tell me where it is? PM me if you'd rather not post publicly.

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10 hours ago, MrsShevy said:

That's great advice, Sebastian. I've changed my mind at least a hundred times since I started researching, and I haven't even touched one yet! I hope to take the plunge soon, and will suffer or celebrate the consequences. I love all the help I'm getting on this forum. Nice peeps :)

 

Actually, the "right" choice of systems is probably the #1 question asked by novices. It's the kind of question that yields 5 different answers from 4 different people, which is a strong indication that there is no answer that suits more than one musical biography.

 

I started out about the same time as Wolf. Upon advice from Anglo-Irishman, I chose the Crane duet and have stuck with it ever since, so by now you have three Germans going down three and a half different rows (if John pitches in, that makes it four Germans and probably six roads).

 

What you may want to do to help you choose "your" system is print out the different layouts in approximately 1:1 size and do some dry playing on paper to get a feel for the different playing philosophies. 

 

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Haha! I'm seeing this "pattern" emerging the deeper I delve, RAc. All of the advice is very welcome though. What I love is that no one is coming right out and saying "nah, don't go duet, it's crap" or some such. The paper idea is ingenious. I've been miming along with some YouTube videos and somehow feel that English may be the way to go, and man! I'm amazing already! (insert sound byte of many cats in a room full of rocking chairs). I'm more intimidated and at the same time exhilarated than ever :)

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Posted (edited)

 No one has mentioned cost or "serendipity".  I remember  Neville Crabb telling me in the Islington shop many years ago that if you're just beginning, it makes no difference what system you choose, as he trotted out a large Wheatstone/Jeff duet with what turned out to be some strange accidental and bass arrangements at about half the cost of anything else on the shelves.  Although it's taken me 50 years to actually give it a go, I don't regret the choice one bit.  You state your goal as personal entertainment so I would suggest that neither a pitch anomaly nor close compliance with a piano should dictate your choice.   A concertina is not all that much like a piano, nor is it much like a violin.  It's a very expressive and rewarding instrument in and of itself.  My advice is not to go the route of imposing your will on the instrument ( Trying to make it act like a piano) but let it sing itself to you.  So.  I'd buy the Lachenal if it's in good playable condition, it's convenient and the price is right.  

Edited by wunks
sp.

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I absolutely agree, if not in relation to accompaniment, the pitch (within a reasonable margin) doesn't matter that much, if at all. But as Carla seems to intend play with accompaniment by sb. else, things would be different.

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