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Greg, it's been said many times elsewhere on this site, but don't forget the Button Box (look for their links all over CNet). They have a decent rental policy- you could try one style for a few months, then either switch and try another or stick with what you've begun. And they ship, and they're prompt, and they're great to work with!

A mecca for conertinaists then? You make this Brit quite envious.

 

Tom

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Henk:

 

You're right...I'm quite torn.  English seems easier to understand (same note in/out) but Anglo is somewhat less expensive and supposedly better to play by ear on...either way, I'm short on cash.  The real problem is that I have no reference point toward what might be right for me.  Until I figure that out, there's probably no point in pursuing an instrument that may be wrong for me...

 

"The first step toward wisdom is the realization of how little you know".

 

Greg

Hi

 

I'm a total beginner - my Jackie arrived from Concertina Connection a few days ago (excellent service) and I am enjoying it so far. :) Concertina Connection offer "a full purchase price refund (of the Jackie) when the instrument is traded in for any higher priced vintage or new concertina. This offer is not limited by any time frame". It you are considering a Jackie, then I think it's worth knowing that you can upgrade at a later date if you wish to do so.

 

Good luck with whatever you decide.

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Sarah:

 

You are right about their helpfulness and about the value of the product...in fact, I have found that there is less than $20 diffence in prices betwen used and new Jackies. It is still out of my price range for now, but I think that's what I'll work towards if I can't pick up a vintage instrument cheaply. (So far, that hasn't been an option!)

 

Greg

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I just never saw the point in paying to not own something!

 

Greg, I seem to recall that at the Button Box at least some of what you pay for rental can apply towards the purchase. And it's not money wasted if you're figuring out the instrument of your dreams! ^_^ (this is me dreaming happy concertina dreams!)

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Central Indiana in particular is a cultural wasteland.  I attend every Gaelic, English and Folk music event I hear about, and have NEVER in my 38 years seen anyone play a concertina live.  Fiddle? Sure. Bodrahn? Sure.  Harp? Sure.  Accordian?  Well that's as close as it gets, and then only in Polka settings...

[...]

Greg

 

Well, until 2 years ago, when the session-for-show at the Irish fest in September got going, I was always there.

 

There is an Irish session every Tuesday at the Golden Ace on the 2500 block of East Washington. It gets going by 8 PM. Say hi to Jim and Kate Smith and Jenny Thompson for me. Matt Williamson often comes from Bloomington. He plays a G/D Lachenal, in addition to fiddle. Grey Larsen, down in Bloomington, is a superb player on a D/A Wheatstone anglo and if you hang around down there you'll see him in concert or at the biweekly public session he regularly hosts (I don't know where it meets these days, at the Runcible Spoon maybe?). Ed Delaney lives in Richmond, is extremely good on English concertina, and plays many of the contra dances over there (he never seems to get to Indy however). I know of two players up near South Bend (both on English). Hmmm...I was maybe the only C/G anglo player around there when I was around full-time. I lived in Indiana for the last 15 years and while it is not at the center of things, that has advantages. Once you do play, you get more invitations and opportunities. I met superb musicians in Massachusetts (far better than me) who have never weaseled their way into a $25 gig or been on a stage because that state is so overrun with talented players of all instruments.

 

Some perspective, the only Irish piper I know of in the whole state is Jim Smith, so they are even scarcer (and pipes are more expensive) than we are. At least you don't have that itch (do you?).

 

I know we are all taught instant gratification in America, but music over the last 30 years for me has been more like slow gratification. Both getting an instrument, and learning to play it (this is slow too!). There are millions of cars and motorcycles out there, but not so many concertinas. Good guitars were scarce in the 1950s and then makers appeared to meet the demand. I think we are starting to see something similar but smaller with concertinas. Don't worry, you'll get there and we can help you hang on until then! B)

 

Ken (wondering why the concertina renaissance only started after he left Indianapolis!)

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Ken:

 

I haven't been to Bloomington since I was too young to get into a bar! I've lived in Indy my whole life and have never even HEARD of the Golden Ace! I'll have to check it out. As for Mr. Lawson, I have sever al of his albums while he was with Metamora! He is one of the artists that got me interested in Folk back in the late 80's! I've also been a semi-regular on the Northside at a bar called the Aristocrat that hosts a band called Hog Eye Navvy that does British folk and sea chanties.

 

Greg

 

PS - maybe you should change the website's name to "the Concertina Crisis Hotline"...

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I just never saw the point in paying to not own something!
Greg, I seem to recall that at the Button Box at least some of what you pay for rental can apply towards the purchase. And it's not money wasted if you're figuring out the instrument of your dreams!  ^_^ (this is me dreaming happy concertina dreams!)
The Button Box's policy is that when you're done with your rental HALF of those rental fees can be applied to purchase an instrument (any of our instruments).

 

The point is that it's not worth paying $200 for a bottom-end concertina that isn't in tune and has problems from the get-go to find that it's a difficult box to play, NOT the system or instrument for you, spend a lot of time fooling with it when it screws up - and then spend a lot of time to finally sell it for $50. For the same amount of money you can rent several types of concertinas (sequentially) that are considerably better quality (and which are in tune and good shape) for 4 months - and at the end of that you still have $70 to put toward an instrument of your choice. :)

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Rich sums it up...maybe we'll put it up in lights for the new visitors, who every week ask where to find a first instrument!

 

The Ace is just a neighborhood bar, not a fancy venue or place that does music most nights. That is the kind of place where the musics of the sorts played by many concertinists here on C.net once thrived, in the US, the UK, and in Ireland at least. The way you learn about these things is to hang around musicians. For example, the Indy Folk Music and Mountain Dulcimer society (or whatever it is called; meetings are listed in the Sunday Star newspaper Arts section). Many musos if not concertinists there, and when I did a concertina workshop for them a few years ago they were interested and attentive.

 

Sorry to bore all the rest of you with so much local talk; point is, there is always somebody or someplace nearby. It may take some digging, but I've never come up totally dry. In Lafayette, Indiana I helped get it started, editing the folk newsletter, doing the folk radio show, and even helping to organize some of the dances. Play it and they will come. I'm still learning Pittsburgh; tonight I stayed after the Calliope student showcase talking to my fiddle teacher for an hour. He told me of more venues, festivals, and groups than I can count. Time for some private lessons with him I think! (I was in a group class)

 

If you've been to see Hogeye Navvy you've heard a concertina. Mac Bellner's husband (can't think of his name right now) plays a very nice vintage C/G anglo, though mostly accompaniment rather than melody, as I recall.

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Sorry to bore all the rest of you with so much local talk; point is, there is always somebody or someplace nearby.  It may take some digging, but I've never come up totally dry.  In Lafayette, Indiana I helped get it started, editing the folk newsletter, doing the folk radio show, and even helping to organize some of the dances. 

Couldn't agree more. Anne and I needed a regular session to get better, and the nearest was nearly an hour away in Bristol (remember, this is England, where a hundred mile is a long way). So we started one. It's flourishing, now, and yes it's making us better players.

 

Chris

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