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From the above 30 button Anglo-concertinas, what would anyone recommend for an absolute beginner with a budge of £450-£700? Obviously in normal circumstances, I might go and try and “test” a couple! The big question for me is are more folds better for a beginner? All thoughts gratefully received.

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I would not choose on folds.  The number of folds is only one consideration.  (An instrument could have fewer deep folds or more shallow folds, etc.)  I'd choose on sound and feel.

 

Most good quality instruments have between 5 and 7 folds.  Some cheaper shinier instruments have many more.

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Not sure what you mean by "Jones 26", exactly, unless it's an antique Jones 26-button. That being said, of the choices you've listed, the Swan looks like by far the most reliable choice. The others could be OK, but without playing them in person, I'd be skeptical.

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McNeela Swan concertinas are still on sale. As for what they sound like here's a nice tune:

 

 

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Is the Jones 26b refurbished by a reputable maker, or is it just in original condition?

 

If you have the chance to buy a refurbished antique for the same cost as a new modern hybrid, I think most people would encourage you to take the refurbished antique. I had a 20b Jones from the 1870s, and it was still quite affordable but played great. A new entry-level or even mid-level concertina will be made with modern accordion "hybrid" reeds, but a refurbished antique will have "True" concertina reeds.

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I own a refurbed Jones 26 key Anglo and it is a very successful instrument

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50 minutes ago, d.elliott said:

I own a refurbed Jones 26 key Anglo and it is a very successful instrument

Moi aussi. A 26-Button A♭/E♭ Salvation Army Anglo in 'Old Phil' tuning (I think? it is

A≅445 Hz). It is a lovely thing...

 

If the OP has the opportunity to pick up a vintage instrument as an alternative to a

modern 'hybrid', it seems sorta 'sensible' to go for the vintage instrument, if only on the

grounds that the vintage is more likely to hold its value/price?

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I'll throw in my vote for a 30-button hybrid over a 26-button vintage, simply due to the more likely standard button arrangement for the top row, and also for the low B,/A, on left hand button #6 which is sometimes different on older instruments.

 

Of course, it depends on the type of music the OP is wanting to learn, but for music with sharps or flats I think it's more important to learn the standard 30-button layout.

 

Gary

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