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Looking for Hayden duets

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I play on an elise hayden duet, and have been since I started playing, but recently I've been wanting to upgrade to a more versatile hayden duet. I've checked around online but it seems duet concertinas don't get much attention, let alone the hayden system. Anyone have any reccomendations on where I can find a nice hayden duet? I was looking at the stagi 46-key but stagi concertinas tend to have a lot of problems straight from the manufacturer.

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Nowadays you have the following options, in price order: Stagi, then Troubadour & Peacock from Concertina Connection, then Beaumont from Morse Concertinas, and finally Wakker H-1 & H-2. Note range wise the list goes as follows: 36 button Troubadour, 42 Peacock, 46 Stagi and Wakker H-1, 52 Beaumont, 65 Wakker H-2. That is all.

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Thanks Łukasz, very helpful response with all the info I was looking for. I'll have to take some time and think about budgeting towards the beaumont or the peacock, and it seems due to the covid crisis many of the manufacturers are on a hiatus. Thanks for the help and hopefully I get what I'm looking for.

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I imagine you have already considered the trade-in value of the Elise if used towards the purchase of a new Concertina Connection instrument?

In my case, that would be 400 dollars or so towards a Troubador, Peackock, or higher-level Wakker.  I still haven’t heard any real user reports on the Troubador, but have spent a bit of time on Peacock and Beaumont; liked ‘em both a lot.  And, in some circles, for some music, the Stagi is well-received.  I’ve seen used ones for 4 or 5 hundred, so depending on your requirements, might be an interim machine.  But please don’t buy an older, first-run Bastari 46 button....they are too nice, and I want it as a spare.....Seriously, they are very sweet and playable in their own way, and I love mine.  Just hope it keeps running.



Edited by David Colpitts
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hey David, yeah I read about the trade in which is about 400 as you said. Even so the peacock, which I think is probably what I'll try and get, is around 2.5k. So it's not impossible but I'll have to sit on that idea a bit longer. Also I looked up the bastari and you can rest assured even if I came across one for sale, it would be firmly outside of my price range lol. 

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Keep your eyes open for used instruments. Unfortunately, I know (knew) at least three people who owned Haydens who are no longer with us. I only know the fate of one of their instruments. I have a hunch about one of the others.


The Button Box, being the source of the earliest Haydens in the US (I got mine there in 1987) is probably the likeliest source of information about what might be floating around.

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Thanks for the tip David B. I'll keep my eye on The Button Box. Do let me know if you come across any more information on those haydens, I do concertina repair so even if they're less than perfect condition I may still be interested.

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On 6/2/2020 at 5:41 PM, Jim Bayliss said:

I'm willing to part with my two Bastari 46 key Haydens.


These are fine first instruments. Just ask David Colpitts, who recently bought one at the Button Box. I have one that I’m NOT willing to part with. When I first met Jim Bayliss, that’s what each of us was playing (I still remember his rendition of “Georgy Girl”). We both play Wheatstones now, but I find the Bastari (nothing like the Stagi that came later) is an essential spare.

Edited by David Barnert
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This, as I understand it, is how the Stagi Hayden came to be:


As noted above, Bastari made a perfectly acceptable 46-key Hayden, with all the keys in the right places according to Inventor’s specifications:



16mm between the centres of buttons along the rows 9mm between one row and the next above — to give an equal spacing of 12mm between the nearest buttons along the diagonal. The rows to slope down at an angle of 10.5 degrees towards the thumbs. Large flat top buttons are preferable.


When Stagi acquired Bastari, they didn’t make the Haydens. Jeff Jacobs, of Arlington VA, saw the need for a decent low-priced accordion-reeded Hayden and prevailed upon Stagi to restart the old Bastari line. But apparently Stagi had lost the plans and had to start from scratch. Unaware of the specs, they redesigned it from a photograph. The result is the mess that is now the Stagi Hayden.

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You can perhaps rent a Stagi Hayden from the Buttonbox.  I did that,  then bought one which I played for about 3 years.  It worked OK for me.  Since then,  bought a  Morse (Buttonbox)  Beaumont  and  have become quite attached to it,  so I recommend it.   Two issues stand out on the Stagis and Beaumonts which you should consider,  namely the  position of the palm bar relative  to the  button rows,  and  the diameter of the buttons.  Stagi  palm bars    are at a small angle to the rows,  while the Beaumont bar  is parallel  to the rows.  I prefer the latter but feel that  both approaches work when one gets used  to them....   Re.  the button diameters,  the Stagi's are c. 5/16"   and the Beaumont's are  1/4".  Both work OK  and I consider the 1/4"  to be the minimum for comfort.   Many of the   other  brands of'tinas out there use  c. 3/16" buttons (ouch!).   My Beaumont came with somewhat domed button tops and since this caused my fingers to slip under some conditions  (like  dry, cool,  hands),    I had them flatten the tops  a bit and find this  much preferable.   Hope these tips are helpful.

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I would recommend caution in considering the rental of a Stagi Hayden. David Barnert was not specific regarding "the mess that is the Stagi Hayden" but I would like to comment on the button placement: it is not standard. 


Hayden specifications call for buttons to slant relative to the palm bar, and some Hayden-system concertinas like my Beaumont have keys parallel to the bar instead.  I've played both and can manage either nicely. 


Whatever Stagi did with slant and button spacing - I didn't measure it to compare - made it difficult for me to play. Specifically, the higher pitched right hand buttons toward the little finger side of my hand were hard to reach, and I have pretty big mitts! Clearly some folks make Stagis work for them, but be aware that the Stagi keyboard marches to its own 5/4 samba. 

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When the Stagi Hayden first came out in 2001, Paul Everett bought one and brought it to my house for me to try. I wrote a review that was posted on the front page of concertina.net (not the forums) for the longest time, but I don’t see it there now. It happens I still have it as a text file on my computer. Here it is:


From: DavBarnert (davbarnert@aol.com)
Subject: New Stagi Hayden Duet Concertina: A Report 
Newsgroups: rec.music.makers.squeezebox
Date: 2001-07-29 01:48:49 EST

A few weeks ago a message appeared here announcing a line of
Hayden Duet Concertinas produced by Stagi with accordion reeds
[see <http://www.buttonbox.com/stagi-hayden.html>]. A friend of
mine recently bought one and brought it to my house on Saturday,
where I had the opportunity to play it and take it apart. This is
my report.


The Hayden Duet system was developed by Brian Hayden in the latter
half of the 20th century in England. A handful of instruments
using his design have been made by Steve Dickinson and Colin
Dipper. These are expensive instruments and are associated with
long waiting periods. About 20 years ago Bastari mass-produced a
bunch of inexpensive Haydens with accordion reeds but production
stopped when Bastari was acquired by Stagi. In recent years (and
perhaps as a result of discussions in this forum) there has been
increased interest in Hayden Concertinas but there have been none

I acquired my first Hayden in 1987 (a Bastari). I quickly became
proficient at it, using it mostly to play for Morris Dancing,
Contra Dancing and English Country Dancing. In 1994 I was offered
a chance to buy a used Wheatstone (Steve Dickinson) Hayden, and
this is now my primary instrument. I have another (larger) one on
order (since 1990) from Dickinson/Wheatstone but I never expect to
see it.

I have had the privilege (at the Squeeze-In in Massachusetts,
USA and the Chippenham Folk Festival in England) to play various
models of Haydens including Brian Hayden's handmade prototype. I
am not a professional musician.

A more recent announcement in this forum concerns a line of
Haydens on the verge of being introduced by Brian Hayden himself
in conjunction with a Russian reed maker. I have not seen these
instruments yet. They are *not* the subject of this report.

The report:

Let us first dispense with a misconception that I had concerning
the new Stagi Haydens. It seemed a reasonable assumption to me
that Stagi had merely reactivated production of the old Bastari
line, with (perhaps) minor cosmetic alterations. As will be made
clear below, this is simply not true. The instrument appears to be
a completely new design.

External Appearance:

It is larger than the Bastari (which, in turn, is larger than the
Wheatstone, although all three have the same 46-button layout). It
is about 0.5" (1.2 cm) larger in diameter and more than an inch
longer. The distance between the buttons is also greater. The
horizontal rows of buttons are slanted at a different pitch than
both the Bastari or the Wheatstone (which have identical button

The ends are wood and the buttons are white plastic (both are
metal on the Bastari). Like the Bastari, the hand straps are
leather, screwed at one end and buckled at the other. The air vent
button is on the right end, convenient to the thumb.

Unlike the Bastari (or any other concertina I have seen), the ends
are held to the bellows not by screws at the corners of the
hexagon parallel to the axis of the instrument but by metal pegs
(like on an accordion) radial to the instrument's axis in the
center of each side of the end (see photo at above web site). They
have rounded tops and are easily removed with the fingernails.
When the concertina rests in its natural position on a tabletop,
therefore, it is resting on the heads of two of these pegs (one at
each end of the bellows), which can't be good for either the
tabletop or the pegs.


The instrument had a note that was silent on the draw, and that
gave us an excuse to take it apart. We pulled out the six pegs and
removed the end assembly. Like the Bastari, the accordion reeds
were lined up on harmonica-like structures that projected in
towards the bellows. But unlike the Bastari, the reed plates were
held in place with bees wax and the "leathers" were strips of
mylar-like plastic. The instrument is constructed of plywood,
which accounts for its light weight. The bellows is similar to the
Bastari bellows: thin leather over cardboard.

The reeds are not identified, so finding the one that corresponded
to the faulty note required access to the chamber with the
buttons, levers, and pads. Two small Phillips-head wood screws in
opposite corners got us there. The construction of the action was
a bit of a surprise. Each button sits firmly atop a rigid vertical
shaft that pokes through a hole below, guaranteeing that the
position and movement of the button remain vertically aligned.
Each shaft has a hole through it and the ends of the aluminum
levers pass through the holes. The levers then pass over a
straight row of metal fulcrums with individual metal pins (the
Bastari has one long pin through all the levers). The levers then
meet the coil springs, which are stretched as the buttons are
pushed (the Bastari has springs on the button side of the fulcrum
that are compressed as the buttons are pushed). The other ends of
the levers are attached to the pads with what appears to be a
plastic cement.

After identifying the reed plate that corresponded to the silent
note, I realized that (unlike English-construction concertinas)
there was no way to inspect the offending reed without removing
the plate from the bees wax. Instead, I blindly inserted a wooden
toothpick through the reed plate, pressing the reed on the far
side away from the plate. I sent a sharp puff of air through in
hopes of dislodging whatever dust might have been stuck between
the reed and the plate. Then we put it all back together and the
note worked fine.


The sound is similar to the Bastari. Reasonably in tune (I didn't
test it with a meter) and nicely responsive to changes in bellows
pressure for shaping notes. The sound is tinnier than you'd expect
with real concertina reeds on a flat reed pan and has less dynamic
range, but it is not without a certain charm.

The action is a little stiff. The wider spacing and different
angle of the buttons took a bit of getting used to, but was not
really a problem. My hands fit through the straps just where I
expected them to. It was fun to play and I really felt like I
could make some music.

I can say nothing, of course, about how it will stand up to
years of playing.

In summary, this is an instrument that is fun to play and has an
agreeable sound. Its disadvantages are its large size, the
inaccessibility of the draw-side reeds, and the unfortunate
position of the metal pegs (see above). At the moment, it is the
only Hayden available and likely to be less expensive than any
Hayden on the horizon.

Perhaps soon there will be decent midrange Haydens available from
Mr. Hayden or The Button Box (which has been gearing up to make
them for some time). But for now, this is the "bird in the hand."
I hope others will agree that it satisfies the need for available
and affordable (if not top quality) Hayden Duet Concertinas.

  ______      /\/\/\/\
 <______>     | | | | |  David Barnert
 <______>     | | | | |  <davbarnert@aol.com>
 <______>     | | | | |  Albany, N.Y.
 <______>     \/\/\/\/

Ventilator   Concertina
  Bellows      Bellows
(Vocation)   (Avocation) 


Two things I learned since writing this are both mentioned in my June 3rd post, above (Brian Hayden’s specifications and the Jeff Jacobs connection). Note that the Button Box link mentioned above is no longer active.

Edited by David Barnert
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20 minutes ago, John Wild said:

Where you say you never expect to see the larger one on order,  was your expectation the reality or did you actually get it?


Let’s see...


In 1989, Rich Morse (who founded the Button Box and developed the line of concertinas that bear his name) ordered two 55-key Aeola Haydens to be made simultaneously, and put down a $200 deposit on each. A year later, he offered me one of them, so I paid him $200 and bought in on the deposit. In 1992, Rich and I both paid an additional $1400 (£740 at the time). We were told to expect delivery in the Fall of 1992. Over the years since, I have not paid any more money, and I heard from Dickinson once, asking me if I wanted wooden or metal ends. Rich, hoping it would speed things along, ultimately paid full price for his. Neither of us ever saw an instrument. Rich died in 2009.


Also, nothing ever came of the Russian project, although a photograph of a prototype was circulated.

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