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Jim2010

Concertina vs accordion reeds

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I imagine that there has been a discussion of the differences between Concertina vs accordion reeds but the ways that I tried searching didn't find any. I've read lots a comments in various posts about differences but nothing comprehensive. Any links would be appreciated, and any links to sound comparisons would be especially appreciated. I am in the process of purchasing my first concertina (probably Hayden duet but possibly English). It seems that most players much prefer concertina reeds, but are there any reasons to prefer accordion reeds (such as sonority for certain types of music, durability, easier maintenance, etc.) Any help appreciated.

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If you choose to go with a Hayden then, unless you commision a new one on a multi-year waiting list, you are going be using accordion reeds.  Used Haydens with concertina reeds come up very, very rarely.

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Posted (edited)

Don Taylor is correct about the difficulties of finding concertina-reed Hayden because of their recent invention.  However, you might find that you prefer accordion reeds, as I do. It's a matter of personal choice, so give a listen to both - best in person, of course - but here are a few suggestions.

You can hear genuine concertina reeds by searching YouTube for JeffLeff, who plays a Concertina Connection Hayden which is lovely and requires a long wait and $8000+.  David Barnert of this forum plays a rare Wheatstone Hayden duet concertina and can be found with a YouTube search of "Hayden duet concertina David Barnert" since the name of his channel - Dr. Sleep - brings up hits for a film of that name. Boy, can David play!


A YouTube search for "George plays music" and "soloduetconcerta" will get you recordings of a Button Box Beaumont hybrid (that is, accordion reeded) instrument like the one I play, and there are good audio samples of all the Haydens presestly on offer right there on the Button Box site.

I have a classical-period Wheatstone English concertina, too, and I love its voice as well, but find accordion reeds smoother in melody-and-harmony settings.  That's just me.  See what you think.

And of course there are concertina-reed duet instruments in non-Hayden configurations, and they are sometimes less expensive that anglos and ECs of similar quality, but Haydens have advantages that I find attractive, and it seems you find them so as well.

Happy hunting!

Daniel

Edited by W3DW
Edited for clarity

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Thank you Don and Daniel. I very much like the sound of the 46 button Wakker instrument that Jeff Lefferts plays. But the price and waiting time makes this impractical for a first instrument. Nice thought for the future, though.

I suppose for a first instrument my choices are Troubadour, Peacock, Beaumont.

I have read threads from 2013 about the pluses and minuses of the Peacock and Beaumont. I haven't seen anything about how the Troubadour plays/sounds.

The Troubadour and Peacock can be traded in for the Wakker (and I like the possibility of mirrored keyboard but I am confident I could go either way). I like the sound of the SoloDuetConcertina Beaumont (not available with a mirrored keyboard). I have never heard the Peacock or Troubadour played. Are there any recordings? And recordings of anyone playing a mirrored keyboard? Thanks, Jim

 

 

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The Troubadour is new to the market, and while the Button Box has one, there's no recording yet. BB has a Peacock with a sound sample, and Liberty Bellows also has a Peacock in stock and a sound sample as well. 

 

I'd forgotten that JeffLeff has the smaller Wakker -  $6075 not $8750, but still a long wait, I expect.  I'd order the bigger one if I were younger and rich! 

 

My personal opinionated opinion is to pass on the mirrored keyboard.  It is probably a help in the first weeks of learning, but your fingers will be learning a new foreign language either way, and soon either keyboard will become second nature.  I don't see any biomechanical advantage or disadvantage to the system once muscle memory has formed.  Haydens are already rare beasts, and a mirrored one is a rarity among rarities! Wakker is the only source I know of for mirrored instruments, and they'd be tough to resell, too. 

 

Of course, Wakker would take one back on trade in.  Also, BB would give you full trade-in for a (bought new from them) Wakker if you want a Beaumont - that's the route I took.  Check with them when they re-open to be sure they still do this, and even if they do, they might not choose to do so for a mirrored one.

 

And listen to their three Beaumont sound samples - they are excellent. 

 

Again, happy hunting. 

 

Daniel 

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Please don't forget: your first concertina is very unlikely to be your last concertina. 

Many a member has changed their tune over time once they started playing.  Even in extremis: English > Anglo.  CG > baritone.  A mano > dural >  concertina old style, etc. etc. Even concertina > melodeon!  Or both. 

So don't go too crazy on that "perfect" first purchase.  Or spend too much.  Or wait too long.  Most members will practically guarantee it will not be your last .  🙃

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Posted (edited)

As an “old rookie” in both Anglos and (most recently) Haydens, I can merely echo what better-experienced people have already said about their positive feelings regarding the accordion-reed Haydens currently available.  Lucky enough to live an hour from the ButtonBox, and from the NESI Squeeze-In, I have handled the Elise, Troubador, Peacock, and Beaumont, as well the old Bastari (which I now happily own and unabashedly love) and once, a Wheatstone Hayden.  The Wheatstone, for sure, had that undeniable concertina reed difference, which some require.  However, to my ears (better than my hands and eyes) the difference is just that; it’s different, not better.  Especially when played ensemble, the accordion reeds  are a viable alternative, to listeners, at least.  Exceptions might be focused solos, or some trad song accompaniment, but I read (here?) somewhere that a surprising percentage of listeners couldn’t accurately tell which was which in practice.  Even the humble Elise (at 400 bucks) sounds appropriate in lots of group play.  And the recent postings of work by Lucas Chae (sp?) have made me appreciate the sound of the much-criticized newer Stagis.  Those aside, the Peacock and the Beaumont especially seemed like real instruments, with much room for intermediate-to-advanced growth.  The Troubador, too, but it wasn’t sufficiently expanded in range or chromaticity from my Elise to make me want that upgrade.

 

Best wishes in your quest.  If I had time and money, I’d buy a Beaumont now, or a Peacock if I wanted to get on the Wakker list for some years down the road, and trade in the Peacock.

 

David

Edited by David Colpitts
Typo

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Posted (edited)

Alex Holden, of this parish, will also make you a (custom) Hayden with concertina reeds.

Edited by Don Taylor
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7 hours ago, David Colpitts said:

Especially when played ensemble, the accordion reeds  are a viable alternative, to listeners, at least.

Yes, and to fellow-musicians!

In our folk group, i was the Jack of All Trades - I sang, and played the instruments that nobody else played. These included 5-string banjo, tin whistle - and Anglo concertina. A specialty of ours was Carolan tunes in quasi-classical arrangements for various combinations of fiddle, guitar, bass, and one of my three instruments. I did "Si bheag, si mhor" on whistle (first iteration) and Anglo (second iteration) - specifically, on my 30b, metal ended, Stagi, which of course has accordion reeds.  When I had acquired my concertina-reeded Lachenal Crane, I practised the concertina part (which is melody only) of Si bheag, and played it at the next practice. Our Chief Arranger and Bassman immediately told me to forget it, and go back to my old concertina. It blended better!

Here's the  group's recording of Carolan's "Si bheag, si mhor". That's me on tin whistle, and on Sagi hybrid Anglo, starting with the second A-part of the second run trough the tune.

 

Cheers,

John

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I’m wondering if someone has ever made an accordion with concertina reeds? That’d be interesting to hear. 

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3 hours ago, Anglo-Irishman said:

Yes, and to fellow-musicians!

In our folk group, i was the Jack of All Trades - I sang, and played the instruments that nobody else played. These included 5-string banjo, tin whistle - and Anglo concertina. A specialty of ours was Carolan tunes in quasi-classical arrangements for various combinations of fiddle, guitar, bass, and one of my three instruments. I did "Si bheag, si mhor" on whistle (first iteration) and Anglo (second iteration) - specifically, on my 30b, metal ended, Stagi, which of course has accordion reeds.  When I had acquired my concertina-reeded Lachenal Crane, I practised the concertina part (which is melody only) of Si bheag, and played it at the next practice. Our Chief Arranger and Bassman immediately told me to forget it, and go back to my old concertina. It blended better!

Here's the  group's recording of Carolan's "Si bheag, si mhor". That's me on tin whistle, and on Sagi hybrid Anglo, starting with the second A-part of the second run trough the tune.

 

Cheers,

John

Thank you John, Good information and wonderful music. I'm sure you have some very happy listeners at your performances.

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I second what David wrote - Troubadour is not worth it. It won’t give much edge to beginner over four times cheaper Elise and you will want to upgrade soon enough anyway, either to Peacock (which is still sub „standard”) or Beaumont, which is the largest readily available Hayden at the moment. And if you can afford Peacock or Beaumont they both shouldn’t be hard to sell if you ever decided on a different system, which makes concertina-connection trade in program less of an advantage.

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12 hours ago, rcr27 said:

I’m wondering if someone has ever made an accordion with concertina reeds? That’d be interesting to hear. 

 

I don't know about that, but Crabb built a few double reeded English concertinas that have a more accordion-like sound:

 

Or there is the Franglo, basically a traditionally built concertina with 2 1/2 row melodeon fingering:

 

I suspect if someone were to take a conventional accordion and modified it to accept concertina reeds, it would be very expensive and would still mostly sound like an accordion.

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3 hours ago, Łukasz Martynowicz said:

I second what David wrote - Troubadour is not worth it. It won’t give much edge to beginner over four times cheaper Elise and you will want to upgrade soon enough anyway, either to Peacock (which is still sub „standard”) or Beaumont, which is the largest readily available Hayden at the moment. And if you can afford Peacock or Beaumont they both shouldn’t be hard to sell if you ever decided on a different system, which makes concertina-connection trade in program less of an advantage.

Thank you. When you say that the the Peacock is still sub standard, do you mean it doesn't have enough buttons/pitches or something else?

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15 hours ago, rcr27 said:

I’m wondering if someone has ever made an accordion with concertina reeds? That’d be interesting to hear. 

 

There is a description of a Lachenal 'Chromatic Accordeon' in the book A Maid and Her Music, which biography of Ruth Askew, who amassed a huge collection of free reed instruments in her life.

The book describes it as having 19 treble keys across two rows tuned in B & D and 4 left hand keys. The reeds are Lachenal concertina reeds on the right with more ordinary accordion/melodeon reeds on the left. It was made in around the 1930s, so very late for Lachenal when they were under harsh competition from the accordion market- around the same time Lachenal also produced the infamous Accordeophone: http://www.concertina.info/tina.faq/images/accphone.htm

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15 minutes ago, cohen said:

 

There is a description of a Lachenal 'Chromatic Accordeon' in the book A Maid and Her Music, which biography of Ruth Askew, who amassed a huge collection of free reed instruments in her life.

The book describes it as having 19 treble keys across two rows tuned in B & D and 4 left hand keys. The reeds are Lachenal concertina reeds on the right with more ordinary accordion/melodeon reeds on the left. It was made in around the 1930s, so very late for Lachenal when they were under harsh competition from the accordion market- around the same time Lachenal also produced the infamous Accordeophone: http://www.concertina.info/tina.faq/images/accphone.htm

 

Interesting, the first one sounds like an earlier and simpler version of the Franglo idea.

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46 minutes ago, alex_holden said:

 

Interesting, the first one sounds like an earlier and simpler version of the Franglo idea.

 

Kind of, but still retaining the melodeon shape. I can't find anything about it online, but here's a lo-tech picture of the photo that appears in the book.

IMG_20200425_161059-min.jpg

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1 hour ago, Jim2010 said:

Thank you. When you say that the the Peacock is still sub standard, do you mean it doesn't have enough buttons/pitches or something else?

„Standard” as defined by Brian Hayden himself. Compared to Peacock, it includes A1 and B1 on the left side and C3# and D3 on the right. Personally, it is A1 that is dealbreaker for me. ‚A’ notes are so central to how Hayden system is layed out, that I use A1 in about 2/3 of all my current repertoire. What is most annoying is that Wim decided to not follow the Elise core layout and gradually expand on it with higher level instruments, so switching between concertina connection instruments require switching arrangements, as Troubadour has the same issue.

 

 

 

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