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holyprince

Tip for newbie

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I know this is a common question, ive looked through many replies, tho i could use bit more personal help.  Ive been music instrument searching for years, alot i usually stopped early cause i dont like hauling bulk around.  Even guitar too big for my tastes xD. 

 

I stumbled across concertina, tho i am bit in bind on type.  I know anglo is go to for irish folk etc music, which i do love and sea shanties etc.  However, im odd ball and love too many genres of music.  From video games to folk, renaissance, baroque, techno, russian, celtic, my mp3 player confuses my friends from all odd things i have xD.

 

Im thinking im probally better off with english to cover broad range but from what i read itll cripple me on irish music.  I really dont want to narrow my music genre and im not worried on being traditional.  I just want to jam tunes, mostly as solo player.

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This is really no help but the answer is - play whatever system feels most natural to you. You can play more-or-less anything on any concertina. True, if you want to slavishly mimic current players of Irish music then you would want a C/G anglo, but there's nothing to stop you playing Irish on any other system. Similarly there's nothing to stop you playing baroque on the Anglo (just listen to Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne) or playing counterpoint on an English (listen to Dave Townsend).

 

I've played both English and Anglo in the past but eventually settled on the duet (Crane system in my case). If I'd had no choice in the matter I'm sure I'd have made out on either of the other systems. Indeed, since there are pros and cons to each system it's not a straightforward decision; but then neither is it irreversible. A lot of what you learn on one system translates to another.

 

If you can't get to try out different concertinas, watch and listen to others (on YouTube for example) and see what takes your fancy. In the end you won't really know if a system suits you until you give it a serious bit of effort.

 

LJ

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1 hour ago, Little John said:

This is really no help but the answer is - play whatever system feels most natural to you.

 

LJ

 

I agree with LJ.  I also wonder what your extant “music brain” has in it.  More to the point, are you experienced with reading notation?  Humming/singing/whistling?  Childhood band or orchestral instrument?  Basic keyboard familiarity? It mattered greatly to me 8 years ago that I could play harmonicas, solely by ear, but easily enough to  quickly pick up Anglo.  But, the Anglo for me is just a handful of harmonicas, and I can’t play beans in the smooth crossrow style almost all Irish (and baroque, and frankly, other good players of many genres) use.

 

Enter the duet concertina.  I have now two Haydens, and they have opened up the world for me, at least conceptually and theoretically, by being more regular and more chromatic, and by letting me play identical fingering for the same tune when trying different keys.  That’s the magic for me.

 

Many musical friends play English.  They can play perhaps fastest and most fluidly, since all tunes split between both hands.  If I hadn’t spent years on Anglo, and had begun with EC, I suspect that’d be the one for me.  But, like piano, seems to require 12 fingering patterns for 12 major keys, and another 12 for 12 minor keys.  So, Hayden remains the winner for me.

 

You have on this site literally hundreds of available samples to enjoy, and some of each type of machine.  I think it’s a great position to be in, and wish you joy in the quest.

 

David

 

 

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I play only Itm, as do my two musical friends. We all play English System concertinas. I started out on a melodeon but I couldn't play it fast enough to keep up with them when they were enjoying themselves - they have about 80 years of playing experience between them. So I took up the EC about 18 months ago. The ec allows fast playing but l am having to try hard to give the bounce and expression needed. I am getting there though.

I can't comment on Anglos.

Regards

Tiposx

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I totally endorse Little John's advice, but I encourage you if at all possible to visit somewhere where you can have a quick twiddle on as many of the systems as possible, even if only for a few minutes each. There is a learning curve to be followed of course, but you may find that one or other system makes more sense to you from the outset. English and Hayden duet have logical arrangements of the notes, and Anglo also logical for two of the rows, though the logic is completely different in each case. The other duet systems are a bit less logical, and the third row on an Anglo less still, but people make marvellous music with all of them.

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5 hours ago, holyprince said:

I stumbled across concertina, tho i am bit in bind on type.

 

2 hours ago, Little John said:

This is really no help but the answer is - play whatever system feels most natural to you.

 

7 minutes ago, Richard Mellish said:

I totally endorse Little John's advice, but I encourage you if at all possible to visit somewhere where you can have a quick twiddle on as many of the systems as possible

 

Which brings up the question:  Where are you located?  Maybe there's someone near youj who has more than one kind that you could try... or even one person for each type.

 

5 hours ago, holyprince said:

Im thinking im probally better off with english to cover broad range but from what i read itll cripple me on irish music.

 

Does this sound "crippled" to you?  Monty is playing a standard treble English.

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1 hour ago, David Colpitts said:

 

Many musical friends play English.  They can play perhaps fastest and most fluidly, since all tunes split between both hands.  If I hadn’t spent years on Anglo, and had begun with EC, I suspect that’d be the one for me.  But, like piano, seems to require 12 fingering patterns for 12 major keys, and another 12 for 12 minor keys.  So, Hayden remains the winner for me.

 

 

There are only a limited number of finger patterns. Most of the sharp keys (and their minors) use the same fingering. English is a great system for keyboard  players because you are used to working with both hands together and doing different things. It also helps (with equal temperament) when you're playing in crazy keys - like Carolan's Miss McDermot in F minor - where you have to do enharmonic substitutions.

 

Basically, the choice of system comes down to your musical background and what exactly you want to play.

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While I certainly agree that trying out the different systems in person would be ideal, in many, if not most places, that was an impossibility even before social distancing was in effect. I would recommend spending some serious hours watching Youtube videos. When I became interested in the concertina, I was a bit hung up on the anglo's apparent limitations. But the more I listened, the more I found that the players I enjoyed the most, all played anglo. I came to this realization initially based on recordings, but it has subsequently been borne out by in person listening. I absolutely agree with the others that you can play just about anything on any system, but the sound likely won't be the same. The english has some real advantages which can't be denied. At the same time, when I moved away from theoretical consideration of the various systems, I kept coming back to the fact that--to my ears anyway--the english system almost always sounds a bit polite compared to the anglo. All of which is a roundabout way of saying that you should make the decision with your ears, and not your head. 

 

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Another consideration is that there is much more instructional material available for the Anglo than for the other systems.

 

(Personally, I typically play by myself, so I also really like the Anglo's capacity to play both melody and accompaniment at the same time. A single melody line always sounds kind of sparse in my hands, but then again, I'm no good at Irish music on any instrument.)

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Posted (edited)

I have almost no music experience, which i know is pretty bad at 36 xD.  I have gene milligan wood irish whistle i converted notes to tabs same with harmonica, tho i havent played really any music instrument long. I have bad habit of liking something, getting it then all sudden not playing it.  I know the sound of concertina, accordion etc i can stand and enjoy sound of for hours more so than guitars.  Im in mo and i dont know any place near me that deals with concertinas, especially since im more in a rural area even like st louis would be a good distance drive.  I mean i can hear the song in my head and probally could hum it, but music skill wise this would be my true first devoted instrument.

 

Also yeah i been going over many youtube videos seeing how each is played.  I do have a old 20 button german concertina i bought many yrs go super cheap but i dont think itll hold up long if i mess with it.  Its in d/a, which all books i found are c/g so i would have to transpose and i know with age and not known brand itll probally crumble on me haha.  But i guess i could see if i like anglo on it?  Ill upload pict of it.

 Kepted getting -200 error so uploaded here

https://ibb.co/c1hSxT3

Edited by holyprince

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Posted (edited)

Holyprince I had on of those Scholer concertinas. It was in D/A and it was pretty horrible. You will find that a Rochelle, Jackie, Lachenal or any mainstream concertina in fair condition will sound and play so much better than the Scholer.

Edited by Tiposx

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The age-old question for all beginners is what type of concertina would suit them best - a most excellent and almost impossible question!

 

And compounded by so many different button arrangements all masquerading under the same generic "concertina" name. But the key is "different tools for different jobs", as well as instrument availability. Plus the type of music you are wanting to play needs to match the instrument.

 

I play English, Anglo and Jeffries Duet - each has its own strengths and limitations. I'm sure others will chime in with their experiences and opinions, but here's my $0.02:

 

The Anglo is hands-down the most readily available, with a build quality that can vary from absolute crap (I'm talking about you East Germany and China) to superbly professional. The diatonic push-pull thing takes some getting used to, but I find the two-notes-for-one-button delightfully challenging and overall quite effective. You are limited to certain keys, especially if you only have a 20-button, but if you enjoy making something with limited resources then that might work for you. The push-pull gives the Anglo a lot of punch, and it can play melody and accompaniment at the same time, and is the go-to instrument for Irish Traditional and English Morris. You don't need to read music to play, but it helps.

 

I have a lovely 1870's Wheatstone English that is fast and responsive with a gorgeous tone, and it's my choice for music with a lot of notes in a variety of keys. Reading music is pretty important, and starting with a good tutor (like the Butler book) will make sense of that crazy alternate-sides-and-alternate-fingers scale pattern which is purt-near impossible to just pick up and figure out on your own. But once you've got it down, you can rip through passages in almost any key at lightning speed if you want, but the overall effect tends to be fairly even and smooth. The EC is typically a much more legato instrument for single melodies and simple close harmonies, and can be very effective for accompanying singing. You'll not be doing much bass note and chord oompahs on an EC. Unfortunately the budget models are fairly scarce, and the early 1800's models with brass reeds and 4-fold bellows and spruce soundboards (baffles, really) can be really quiet and short-winded.

 

Duets are the most scarce by far, you'll not be seeing many of these about. And to be even more confusing they come in four major flavors:  Maccann, Crane (or Triumph), Hayden and Jeffries Duet. Same note pushing and pulling, with lower notes on the left hand and higher notes on the right hand plus a bit of overlap, so they're designed to play melody and accompaniment together at the same time (like playing a "duet" with yourself). Duets allow you to play unusual and complex chords and arrangements in almost any key. The Jeffries Duet is more limited in the keys it can play in, but I find it much more fun and exciting in the way it can be played with oompahs, vamps and "fistfuls of chords". I heard the Michael Hebbert album The Rampin' Cat many years ago and was immediately sold.

 

As to types of music, get to where you can recognize the type of concertina and then look to see what is being playing on each type. If it has little thumbstraps, it's an English. If it has handstraps and a lot of pushing and pulling then it's probably an Anglo. Handstraps and a bit smoother, a duet of some sort. There are exceptions, but mostly traditional, folk, old standards and light classical seem to be played most on concertina. If you're wanting to play AC/DC or Funkadelic or Coltrane or Thrash Metal or Beyonce you will definitely have your work cut out for you!

 

Gary

 

 

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Thank you for indepth look i will continue to listen to both and make my decision.  I will link 2 example songs i want to learn and play i know second one be harder without the bass notes but long as i can do main song part.

 

 

 

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Interesting choices of music given your question. The first piece lends itself to an ec. The second piece melody could be played on an ec but would sound a bit thin without at least a few chords. I am pretty sure that I would tend to speed it up on the ec (bad habit) to make it sound fuller.

Perhaps an anglo or duet would suit the second piece better as a performance piece.

Given that your goal is to jam along with the music then an ec would be fine- but I am biased!

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Haha yeah hence my dilemma cause wide variety of music i like.  I dont know much bout duet is that just like a ec but different arrangement? Also ah i didnt know the ec doesnt do chords well.  Thanks the info been real helpful.  So i guess if i want chords i really need to look at anglo or duet, and im guessing duet would offer more variety?  Whats hard is i dont have place local to try them and nice be to have one of each unfortunally i can only splurge on one xD.  Idk if concertina connection has shirtage atm but all entry concertinas are sold out, which i was interested in their trade up program, unless know another place.

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7 hours ago, Tiposx said:

The second piece melody could be played on an ec but would sound a bit thin without at least a few chords.

 

Since I didn't mention it for years the community might bear with me repeating myself that of course the EC is very well capable of playing "chords", or rather harmonies, in fact lots of them, so that you'd rather have to show some self-restraint in this respect.. 😎

 

Best wishes - 🐺

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I got it narrowed to anglo and duet, i like idea of highs one side and lows on other.  Also tend to like music more so from those two.  Idk why but ec sound doesnt click as well with me, which is odd since all same except button arrangements.  What i have to figure out is where can i get good beginner of either, one site i checked is sold out across board i guess i could email to see if any used ones.  Unless anyone knows a good one for sale.  30 button anglo and duet is two im looking at.

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23 minutes ago, holyprince said:

Idk why but ec sound doesnt click as well with me

 

the commonly-availabe EC-sound covers just one half (at most) of what the instrument is capable of - of course you should not take up an instrument which doesn't "click" with you, I would just like to provide you with an example for your consideration, ad lib...

 

my recording doesn't properly cover the "fat" sound of the particular instrument (a Wheatstone model 24 ET), but it might give a hint to what I'm talking about (you might explore my SC page for more takes of course).

 

best wishes, enjoy whatever instrument you will chose!

🐺

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