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Startup Instrument (Quality)

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As someone recently in the same position, this sort of comparison would be very helpful, so I hope you get some insightful replies.  But I'm guessing very few individuals have tried all three of these models.  I ended up splurging on a Morse Ceili, and have no regrets, but it was quite a bit more money.  I'd love to see more information about the models between the Rochelle and the Ceili.


Good luck with your decision, and please report back with what you decide.



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From what I know, the Swan does not have Jeffries layout.


My first AC is a Swan. It was a decent concertina and is sufficient to start with. My unscientific guess ("guess" because I didn't keep it that long) is that if you are serious about learning AC, and make decent progress, you can feel its limitations and the need to upgrade after about 1 year.


I used the Swan for about two months and was lucky to be able to get a pre-owned Morse Ceili. The Swan then sat lonely in the case. I sold it a few months back. I would have kept the Swan as a "mobile" instrument (when traveling/in the car/in the office) had it had Jeffries layout.


In my experience, the limitations of the Swan are: (1) stiff bellows, (2) buttons having no bushings, (3) uneven button pressures. It's difficult to compare the sound, but I feel the Ceili sounds much "sweeter."


Again, the Swan is a decent starting AC. Its limitations are in comparison with the Morse Ceili, which costs almost 3 times as much.

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I’m in a similar boat. I would love to actually learn to play if I could have a working model in my hands. I had a Wren that arrived with sticky buttons. I liked the sound and size of it, but I couldn’t fix it. They were great about the return and communicating but it was nearly 100 bucks lost on round trip postage to and from the states. I’m currently borrowing a Stagi W-15-LN which would appear to fit the bill that you’re seeking—leather bellows, metal buttons, around 600 bucks without a case, but within a few days the bottom of the button blew through the wood below it (see repair forums). I did hear good things about the Swan and even saw it on sale for somewhere in the 700s a couple weeks ago, but I didn’t want to risk the postage if I had a problem. I’m currently planning to get a Rochelle and earn my upgrade to a Minstrel, but I am tempted to go straight to the Minstrel.  To me the Minstrel is a good choice if you’re willing to spend 1500 (1300 if you can get a used one), based on what I’ve read and heard, plus if you’re in the states, the postage for fixes at Concertina Connection is much more affordable. 

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