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I currently have a Jackie EC, but want to change over to an anglo - it will fit better with what I want to play.  I'm thinking of either the Wren2 or Phoenix concertinas.  Frankly, I don't see a difference in the descriptions of the 2 yet there is a large difference in cost.  I've also read that the Wren2 had a problem with the keys sticking, but maybe this new version has fixed that?  

 

Any suggestions?

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I've not handled either, but the Wren is described as a beginner instrument, the Phoenix is "intermediate".  The Phoenix has traditional riveted action and tipo a mano reeds, whereas they are a bit coy about how the Wren is constructed.  I suspect the difference in price is accounted for by better quality construction and better reeds, and you can expect that to make a difference to playability and sound.

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The Wren is pretty poor in construction; it is basically everything you’d expect from a cheap Chinese-made instrument. I’ve never had a look inside a Phoenix, but I’d expect that it is much better.
The Wren has  accordion-type reed blocks, which makes it quite long, while the Phoenix seems more traditional in dimensions, making me think it has flat-mounted reeds.

The Wren also has nasty fabric/paper/plastic bellows with shallow folds and sharp corners, and they have a habit of collapsing in on themselves when you pull them out too hard. The Phoenix however looks to have more traditionally constructed bellows with rounded corners and leather binding.

The other main difference I can see is in the actions. The Wren has a Stagi-style aluminium action where all the levers are positioned parallel to each other, but, as hjcjones has already mentioned, the Phoenix has a traditional riveted action radiating out from the buttons.

All in all, the Phoenix is evidently the better instrument, but it all depends on budget! 

 

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11 hours ago, Squeezebox Of Delights said:

The Wren is pretty poor in construction...

All in all, the Phoenix is evidently the better instrument, but it all depends on budget! 

McNeela (or whatever his face is) was recently bragging about the high quality of the Wren

in two threads on Reddit/concertina. He called the threads:

 

Concertina Guide

FAQ: How much does a concertina cost?

 

Neither were much more than blatant (and misleading) advertising.

 

It's nice to see an unbiassed assessment of the Wren coupled with a comparison with another

instrument in the same area. It's something which has been needed for a while.

 

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12 hours ago, Squeezebox Of Delights said:

The Wren is pretty poor in construction; it is basically everything you’d expect from a cheap Chinese-made instrument. I’ve never had a look inside a Phoenix, but I’d expect that it is much better.
The Wren has  accordion-type reed blocks, which makes it quite long, while the Phoenix seems more traditional in dimensions, making me think it has flat-mounted reeds.

The Wren also has nasty fabric/paper/plastic bellows with shallow folds and sharp corners, and they have a habit of collapsing in on themselves when you pull them out too hard. The Phoenix however looks to have more traditionally constructed bellows with rounded corners and leather binding.

The other main difference I can see is in the actions. The Wren has a Stagi-style aluminium action where all the levers are positioned parallel to each other, but, as hjcjones has already mentioned, the Phoenix has a traditional riveted action radiating out from the buttons.

All in all, the Phoenix is evidently the better instrument, but it all depends on budget! 

 

If you want to buy from McNeela, there's also the Swan model which is between the two in price and presumably in quality too.  I have played a Swan and thought it was a decent instrument for the price.

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