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Considering a Wren 2 C/G Anglo

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Hello there!


I have been researching concertinas for a few months now and I am getting close to making a purchase.  I have read through a number of threads here, perused the webpages of various suppliers and makers, watched a boatload of videos on youtube and purchased several albums featuring Mohsen Amini.  I even marked out button positions for each hand on pieces of paper and have been tapping along with the videos I watch of people playing.  There are still a few things that I would like to hear people chime in on. 


After I graduate this December, I would like to make my very first concertina purchase. I have seen many people suggest buying a lachenal 20 key C/G rather than buying a beginner model.  This is tempting to me but I don't want to be spending over 500 USD to start out and living up near the top of the Golden State (Tehama County), I have not been able to find any local shops that have even a cheap concertina to try out.  I am also a little concerned that on a 20 button I won't have the notes required for some of the music I would like to learn (Irish tunes, Shanties, Folk tunes).  So I am mainly looking at the choice between a Rochelle and a Wren 2.


I have found pages and pages of info about the Rochelle.  I have seen videos of people playing them, read about their pros and cons etc.  When it comes to the Wren however, I can't seem to find any firsthand info on them other than from McNeela.  

So my questions are:

-Have you had firsthand experience with the Wren 2?  Was it a positive or negative experience?

-The Wren 2 advertises several features that seem to be specifically in reference to shortcomings of the Rochelle such as its size.  Is it worth paying a little more for this?

-Can a 30 button vintage Anglo be had for ~500 USD?  If so, would it be preferable to a newly made beginner model?

-Is there any advice that you would give to a beginner to avoid trouble in the future?





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I feel for you. Where best to spend your $500? A nice beginner instrument like a used Morse from the Button Box costs $2000 or so. In looking on Amazon just now, there were 30 button Anglos less than $300 from Trinity College and Bonetti, though I have never tried them. Also promising looking was the Swan for $883.


Long ago, I started on a cheap Bastari Italian instrument which worked pretty well for a few years. I think they are called Stagi now.


I see that the Button Box has a used Stagi G/D for $595. That's what I would get. The G/D key is great for songs and session tunes in the harmonic style. G/D is what I play 95% of the time.



Edited by Jody Kruskal
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Smyth's Accordion shop is in Oakland. Looks like a bit of a drive from Tehama county but his website shows a bunch of good beginner's instruments in stock. The best would be to play them and try what you like. I just recently restarted on the concertina playing a Morse Ceili this time around. I first started in 2010 with a Rochelle but found the bellows very stiff and the instrument in general difficult to play. It's definitely better than the cheap chinese made 20-button boxes but I still didn't enjoy playing it and it turned me off from playing the concertina for several years. Other people say it's the one of the best out there for a beginner which is why I'd definitely recommend getting to a shop like Smyth's if you could. When considering the Morse Ceili I also tried the Concertina Connection Minstrel but found the buttons to thin. Maybe I'm just picky?



Can a 30 button vintage Anglo be had for ~500 USD?


I know it's not easy to invest a lot of money into something when you still are unsure if you want to really be serious about it but I've found that concertinas more than other instruments really change the experience based on the quality of the instrument. If I was given a both a cheap and really expensive violin or guitar it would take me months if not years of playing to really tell the difference between them but the difference between a mid-level Ceili or Clover and a starter's Rochelle or generic 20-button is noticeable within weeks of playing if not immediately.

Edited by Sean M
rewording a sentence
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6 hours ago, CaliforniaPikeMan said:

-Can a 30 button vintage Anglo be had for ~500 USD?


nope, unfortunately (unless you'd be very lucky). A post-war Crabb like this one might be about the cheapest you'd probably be able to get. I have a very similar (Bb/F) 20b instrument which is nice but a bit tiring. For a decent Lachenal 30b the asking price would at least be 1.500 GBP or more.


but you might consider acquiring a 20b instrument; 500 USD might suffice insofar (due to little demand), you could play lots on it (if you're willing to play "along the rows", i.d. in the keys of the instrument, starting with C on a C/G.


as to Jody's featuring the G/D: I really like playing in this lower range, but vintage G/D instruments are rarer than C/G anglos and therefore more expensive, so you'd have to consider that too.


hope this helps, best wishes - ?


Edited by Wolf Molkentin
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I’ll add to what Jody said, regarding a G/D Anglo.  I listened to his (and others’) advice 6 years ago, and have always been glad.  Unless you are bent on fast Irish with absolute minimum of wasted motion (albeit after years of practice) then the G/D is a great bet.  I am up to session speeds on quite a few Irish tunes, even, and for all the rest the G/D is an absolute natural!  And, the Stagi version is actually quite nice.  I own one, and if anything happened to my Morse Ceili G/D, I’d use the Stagi until I could replace/repair the Morse.


OTOH, the Rochelle at well under 400 bucks is a trustworthy entry drug.  I have the Hayden sibling, the Elise, and it has never troubled me in 5 years or so.  Sturdy, reliable, and surprisingly good sound.  But, the G/D......


Have a ball!



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4 hours ago, Jody Kruskal said:

Hey Pike Man,


Better snap that G/D up or I might get it myself for a camping concertina.

This is an LN model with the "new, improved action". 


I have a C/G version of this concertina and the action is an improvement over the older tubing based action.  It is still a modified accordion type action and not a concertina action but at least the buttons do not try to hide inside the ends!




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