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Looking to get a concertina so quick question.


If I buy a 30 button, can I ignore the extra buttons and at it like a 20 button accordion till I get the hang of it or is that a bad starting point?

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To a large extent, it depends on the type of accordion, which you played, and also the style of music you'd like to play.


If you have played a diatonic accordion, you'd have no problem playing a concertina. The concert pitch Anglo Concertinas come mostly in C/G or G/D. (C/G would more suit Irish Traditional Music, and similar folk musics, whereas the G/D would suit you more, if you wished to play in the harmonic style or accompany yourself or others singing.)


With the C/G you have 2 keys, in which you can play straight away, however if you wish to play in other keys, e.g. in D, F and / or in A, you'd quickly run into problems due to the lack of C#, B? and G# notes, which typically you would get on the 3rd row.


If you played a chromatic accordion, B/C or C/C#, it might initially take a little while to get used to the arrangement of notes.


You could check out concertina makers, who have put fingering charts up on their websites.

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If you meant "can I ignore the extra buttons and play it like a 20 button concertina?" here are my 2 cents...


You can make a lot of great music with a 20 button concertina, but eventually you might feel limited.  For some good examples of 20 button playing, look up some recordings of Mrs. Crotty.


I don't think you'll have any regrets with a 30 button.  The third (extra) row is an accidental row with all your sharps/flats.  The other two rows should be more or less identical between the 20 and 30.  The accidental row adds a whole lot of options and the opportunity to play a wider range of tunes.  If you do decide to go the 30-button route, look closely at the accidental row layout of both the Wheatstone and Jeffries layouts and see which one fits you better.


Depending on your budget, a Rochelle from concertina connection is a good place to start.


Best of luck,


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I'm a newcomer to AC. I have a 30-button but am still in the "20-button" section of Gary Coover's Easy Anglo 1-2-3.

It's best if you can get a good 30-button AC. By "good" I mean the Morse Céilí, or the Clover, or something comparable, or a vintage from a reputable restorer. Realistically, we are talking about $1500 and up.

But for whatever reason you can't or you don't want to spend that much, get a good 20-(or 26-/28-) button. I'd rather have a good 20-button than a so-so 30-button.

But from that I know, there is no new hybrid 20-button, thus you're limited to "vintage" for a 20-button. I've seen good 20-/26-/28-button vintages for less than $1000.

Edited by pentaprism
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If you're talking about an Anglo concertina, a 30 button is a 20 button plus an extra 10 that you can choose to ignore.  The 20 button part is a standard layout common to all Anglos.


(Strictly speaking, there is some variation in the pull note on the lowest left hand button on the inside row, but that will not affect a beginner.)


So any tune learned on a 20b can be transferred with no change of fingering to a 30b.


Which is best for a beginner?  The 30b is more versatile, but if I had a limited budget and could only buy one instrument, I'd rather have a good quality 20 than a poor quality 30.  There are arguments both ways.

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