Jump to content
Frank Nocera

My introduction and question.

Recommended Posts

Greetings,

 

I am recently retired, living in the Tampa Bay area and have decided to take up the concertina in my dotage. Unfortunately, the sum total of my musical experience and ability could easily be put in a flea's navel and there would still be room for lint.  But what I lack in talent may be made up for somewhat by sheer grim determination. 

 

Having done some research, I believe I will be acquiring a used Jack / Jackie / or Rochelle as my first instrument. It appears that there are plenty of tutorials around for the Anglo, so I am leaning towards the Rochelle. I've read the postings on this general forum and that has helped me come to that choice. Let me know if I have erred in this conclusion.

 

I live in Dunedin, a small town on the West Coast with a penchant for things Scottish and more craft breweries than stray cats. It has an international award-winning community pipe band and bagpipe is even taught in the schools here. Alas, after much inquiry and recieving of strange looks,  I have not been able to find anyone who teaches concertina or even accordion. Does anyone know of a person who gives concertina lessons in the Tampa Bay area?

 

Thanks for letting me in!

 

Frank Nocera

The Wannabe

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am also retired with no musical experience but started playing 18 months ago. I love it. I went to both UF and Fla State and know Dunedin. I now in live in far far Northern Maine with no teachers or sessions. Enjoy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first concertina was a Rochelle.  I got on fine with it, but soon decided to upgrade.  That was over 10 years ago.   I now own 4 Anglo concertinas, but not the Rochelle.

 

By coincidence, I got the chance to play a Rochelle only about 3 weeks ago.    Of course, it was not as easy to play as the instruments I now own, but it was surprisingly good.  It was far better than the various other "budget" and "beginner" models I've had a go on over the last few years.  Far better.

 

The Rochelle is an Anglo.

 

The Jackie is equivalent in quality, but is an English.

 

The two instruments are fundamentally different, despite superficially looking similar.  They are more different than a guitar and a banjo, or a clarinet and a flute, or a boat and a motorbike.  They are in effect completely different instruments from each other that just happen to be the same general shape.

 

Point is, before you choose one, you need to be sure whether you want an Anglo or an English (or even a duet, which is different again!

 

If you've never played either, it would be a good idea to see if you can find either a local shop/store or a local music session where you can talk to someone and have a go.

 

What sort of music would you like to play?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Mikefule said:

What sort of music would you like to play?

 

I'm thinking sea shanties, Irish, Western cowboy. How would that guide my selection of beginner's concertina? 

 

Someone turned me on to Caitlin's Nic Gabhann's tutorial web site. Her on-line Irish concertina lessons are for Anglo. So that has me leaning toward the Rochelle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am  using Caitlín’s lessons and they are perfect for me

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, mathhag said:

I am  using Caitlín’s lessons and they are perfect for me

 

What concertina did you choose for learning?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am very lucky to own a fabulous Anglo CG made by Colin Dipper. Too glorious an instrument for someone of my talents but I treasure it.

when I first decided to play something in the free reed family. I attended NESI and saw all my choices. I was just really drawn to the Anglo. So I bought Morse Ceili from the Button Box. It was very nice and really everything I needed but I had a chance for this Dipper and just couldn’t pass. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Frank Nocera said:

 

I'm thinking sea shanties, Irish, Western cowboy. How would that guide my selection of beginner's concertina? 

 

Well, for a start, it's good to have a clear idea of the music you want to play, rather than just a vague idea that you'd like to play a concertina.  For example, if you'd wanted to play  modern jazz then the Anglo would be a bad choice.

 

Both the Anglo and the English will work for Irish tunes, cowboy tunes and shanties.

 

The Anglo strongly favours a small number of keys, but is very versatile within those keys.  The layout of the keyboard with the different notes on push and pull is confusing at first, but as you learn more tunes, you find out that the notes are all in the right place to fit the common patterns and harmonies.  In a sense, the Anglo is illogical, but so is music, and the two are a good fit.

 

The English layout follows a much more "obviously" logical pattern.

 

The two instruments favour different styles of play and usually sound different, although a good player can make an English sound a lot like an Anglo and vice versa.

 

Listen to good musicians playing each system.

 

My own story: after around 25 years in folk music and dance, playing various instruments to a mediocre standard, I decided "on paper" that the English was the obvious choice for me.  I borrowed one for a month and struggled.  Then I heard an Anglo played well one Monday evening, and had a quick go on it, and I heard an English played well on the Thursday of the same week.  Suddenly, I understood that the Anglo was the sound I wanted.  I've never looked back.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I would echo the advice to go somewhere where you can try playing at least an anglo and an English, and preferably a duet (of one or other variety) as well, before spending much money and time on what might turn out not to be the best system for you. Even a few minutes twiddling may immediately tell you that one system makes sense for you and another doesn't. In my case I came across a 20 button cheap and nasty East German box. I had never played mouth organ seriously but had a general idea of suck/blow, so the German system made sense to me and I've stuck with it, though now on 40-button anglos.

Edited by Richard Mellish
correcting typo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m a rank beginner as well.  I’m going to recommend a different approach. You can rent a Rochelle (or a Jack/Jackie) from The Button Box.  That will give you some perspective. Personally I found the Rochelle to be a miserable starting point and only rented for a couple of months and then got a much easier to play Anglo. As with all instrument acquisitions buy the best you can afford, but only when you’re sure what it is you want to do........   that’s just this hack’s $.02.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, mike_s said:

...then got a much easier to play Anglo.

 

Mike,

 

I didn't know you could rent them! Thanks for that info. What make Anglo did you get? 

 

Frank

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Frank,

 

I just started learning to play the anglo concertina myself about 2 months ago. From a self-taught perspective I found Gary Coover's books to be very helpful as it introduces a relatively easy tablature for the instrument. He has book's for all music types you suggest you'd like to learn. However, they are all for the anglo concertina (that I'm aware of). Good luck on your decisions.

 

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Frank,

 

My story is a bit odd.   I rented a Rochelle for a couple of months and then bought a vintage refurbished Lachenal.  A few months later I got discouraged sold the Lachenal and quit.   Fast forward 18 months.  I bought a used Rochelle to tide me over until I could find something easier to play.  Thanks to my sometime teacher (Bruce McCaskey) I found a used Edgley.  I’m now about 10 months in and enjoying it a lot.   Like you I’m retired so have plenty of time to goof around on various music instruments (I pretty much suck on all of them).  One thing I did which was invaluable was to attend the Noel Hill Irish Concertina School.  Learned a ton of good stuff.  He does three in the US-Eastern, Mid West, and West Coast-highly recommended.  Whatever you decide, have a great time with it.  Playing music is a great avocation, especially for us old f@#ts!

 

Mike

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×