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Invest or start cheap?

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I'm on a very low budget and I'm looking for a concertina, but what I am not sure is If should buy a reliable one like this one I found on ButtonBox:

Concertina Connection Elise Save $45!

34-key Hayden duet, with traditional riveted action, 7-fold bellows, Hayden-specified keyboard slant and spacing (see note layout). Package includes soft case and a book written specifically for the instrument. Video.

We understand that some owners would want to ‘move up’ in the concertina world after having played the instrument for a while. To facilitate upgrading, we offer a full purchase price refund when a new Concertina Connection Elise is traded in for a new R. Morse & Co. concertina. New


Or should I purchase the cheaper one from amazon for 151.99?

Should I start cheap or invest in one I can trade later on?


Edited by Mr.ButtonMcSqueezebox
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A post or two ago, you were asking about a 20 button Anglo.  Now you are asking about a duet.  They are as different as guitar and banjo.


You need first to get an idea which type of concertina you would like to play music on, because playing music is what it is all about.


Anglo concertina.  Every button gives two different notes depending on whether you squeeze or draw the bellows.  Some people find this intuitive; others find it impossible.  It is heavily biased towards a small range of popular keys.  Despite that, it is incredibly versatile and can be played with a single lilting line of melody (like a flute or violin) or with melody and an interesting harmonic accompaniment (the "thinking man's piano" as Keith Kendrick calls it).  The Anglo is good for Irish Traditional Music, and for various other traditional styles, particularly dance music.


English concertina.  Every button plays only one note, whether the bellows are squeezed or drawn.  It is fully chromatic, so you can play in every key.  The scale alternates between left hand and right hand all the way up, which some people find intuitive, and others find impossible.  The English concertina is excellent for anyone wanting to play in any key from sheet music as there is a clear 1:1 relationship between buttons and lines/spaces on the stave.  Many people play a single line of melody (like a flute or violin) but both simple and complex harmonies can be achieved by a skilled player.


Duet concertina.  There are several different keyboard layouts, and someone who can play one may not be able to play another.  Duets all share the fact that the range of the left hand overlaps the range of the right hand, so that very complex piano-like arrangements can be played.  Duets also share the fact that they are comparatively rare, even in the rarified world of the concertina.


It would be unwise to choose between these three fundamentally different instruments solely on budget.  You need to hear them being played, have a go on one of each, and talk to players.  You need to fall in love with the idea of playing one, because making any progress on a concertina takes daily practice for a long time.


My own story: my background is English Morris music.  I learned first on harmonica, then on melodeon.  I did my research and decided "on paper" that the English was the one for me.  I then borrowed an English concertina for a month and tried it every day and made little progress.  I then heard an English and an Anglo being played by experts on consecutive nights.  I had a quick go on the Anglo and immediately knew it was for me.  Partly this was because I was already familiar with the suck/blow, push/pull idea from harmonica and melodeon, but as I have learned more Anglo, I now find myself unable to play melodeon because of the many differences!


Please, try before you buy: try listening, try playing, try talking to concertina players, and decide what you are setting out to achieve.  All 3 are wonderful instruments, but they do not suit everyone equally.



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I assumed from your moniker that you were from the UK, but I see that you are really from a fictional place...


If you are asking about buying concertinas than it would be useful to say at least which continent you are in!


Since you mention the Button Box I am going to now assume that you are actually in the US?  If so then I think that the Button Box still has their instrument rental program for US customers.  You can rent a beginner instrument from them on a month by month basis, you can change the instrument monthly until you find a system that suits you and part of the rental fee can be applied against buying an instrument.

Edited by Don Taylor
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Besides everything what was explained above, there is one other, very important thing to consider: while Hayden layout is both intuitive and very capable, Elise has one annoying limitation - it is not fully chromatic, you don’t get two notes on it. So while 30 button Anglo, any English and bigger Duets are all chromatic in at least part of their ranges, Elise has scope more similar to 20 button anglo. Moreover, the price jump to upgrade from entry level Hayden to „proper” instrument is biggest of all - there is no intermediary level instrument, only Elise and then Peacock (which is still sub-standard), Beaumont and Wakkers. With both Anglo and English systems you have a lot more steps to gradually jump between. So if the price is your main concern I would suggest Anglo as a starting point, as it is the most common system and it is easiest to both buy and sell an instrument.

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