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Rochelle or Weltmeister or other?


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Good morning and a Happy Holiday (whichever you may celebrate) to you all (Christmas for myself).

 

A few months ago I acquired my grandfathers old Scholer Concertina (year unknown) and I gotta say it may be the first musical instrument ive ever felt honestly happy playing. Which is why it breaks my heart to report that of its 20 keys, only about 7 or 8 of them work properly. So, im in the market for a step up from the old Scholer. My research and calls to a couple well regarded stores here in the US have as the subject line says nudged me towards either the Concertina connection Rochelle or the Weltmeister 607. Im honestly just looking for advice from folks about their personal experience, any issues you've experienced with either. or even advice on other brands if it helps given my knowledge and experience with this line of instrument is small.

 

Warmest Regards to the forum,

Firbolg 'n Orc

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The consensus on here might well be neither. You already know that you like anglo concertina so you do not need a cheap one to see if it suits you. The money spent on either of these could go towards a better instrument that will play better, sound better and last longer, both in terms of durability and how long you will enjoy playing it before needing an upgrade. I am an English system player and have no direct experience of either of these tinas but I did have a CC Elise to try out a Duet system. Duet was not for me so it was sold on this site. The Elise was very basic in bellows and action but the tone was nicer than I was expecting. As a try-out instrument it was a low cost option but I think that its limitations would very soon have frustrated me and the same could well go for you. If you can afford it go for a higher grade tina that will last you a long time, it will be cheaper in the long run. In addition, if you do give up, a good instrument will hold its value well, should you wish to sell..

 

Dick.

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57 minutes ago, DickT said:

The consensus on here might well be neither. You already know that you like anglo concertina so you do not need a cheap one to see if it suits you. The money spent on either of these could go towards a better instrument that will play better, sound better and last longer, both in terms of durability and how long you will enjoy playing it before needing an upgrade. I am an English system player and have no direct experience of either of these tinas but I did have a CC Elise to try out a Duet system. Duet was not for me so it was sold on this site. The Elise was very basic in bellows and action but the tone was nicer than I was expecting. As a try-out instrument it was a low cost option but I think that its limitations would very soon have frustrated me and the same could well go for you. If you can afford it go for a higher grade tina that will last you a long time, it will be cheaper in the long run. In addition, if you do give up, a good instrument will hold its value well, should you wish to sell..

 

Dick.

Less that I consider either of them an upgrade. I'm still very much in beginner/novice territory. I'm looking for a further entry level (under $500) Concertina that will open up my range of play beyond the old Scholer. What is considered a high end 20 button? I've only seen lower cost ones.

Edited by FirbolgNorc
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I can't speak to the Weltmeister, but the Rochelle is a great instrument. Now the reasonable price does come at a cost. It's kinda bulky, the bellows are stiff, and the tone is nothing special. If you compare it to a $1500+ instrument, it's going to feel a bit like a toy. But that's in comparison. If you don't know what it's like to play on the expensive instrument, then you find you don't notice the bulk and the stiffness of the Rochelle after awhile. You start accounting for it automatically, and you can play fast jigs and reels along with the best of them. And it is nice to have the full 30 keys - it opens up a lot in terms of the tunes you can play, and the chords you can add.

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1 hour ago, Mjolnir said:

I can't speak to the Weltmeister, but the Rochelle is a great instrument. Now the reasonable price does come at a cost. It's kinda bulky, the bellows are stiff, and the tone is nothing special. If you compare it to a $1500+ instrument, it's going to feel a bit like a toy. But that's in comparison. If you don't know what it's like to play on the expensive instrument, then you find you don't notice the bulk and the stiffness of the Rochelle after awhile. You start accounting for it automatically, and you can play fast jigs and reels along with the best of them. And it is nice to have the full 30 keys - it opens up a lot in terms of the tunes you can play, and the chords you can add.

You had a Rochelle? Would you say aside from the size and bellow stiffness you had any issues? I know it's a Chinese made model and that can often mean a decrease in quality. 

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2 hours ago, FirbolgNorc said:

What is considered a high end 20 button? I've only seen lower cost ones.

Whilst it's possible to find vintage Crabb and Jeffries 20key (and 26 key) instruments which are extremely good, these are not common and would be well outside a $500 budget.

 

The "best" 20 key instruments would be the highly decorative rosewood ended Lachenal steel reeded instruments and you can find these as fixer-uppers for less than $500 and even potentially fully restored.  If that's what you really want, then have a look out for one as they'll play better than your Scholer.  But the Rochelle may well give you the extra challenge of a 30 key chromatic instrument as your next step up the concertina ladder

 

Alex West

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1 hour ago, FirbolgNorc said:

You had a Rochelle? Would you say aside from the size and bellow stiffness you had any issues? I know it's a Chinese made model and that can often mean a decrease in quality. 

I've had it for around four years, and no real quality issues in that time (though it doesn't get much use these days since I upgraded). There's maybe a note or two that sounds a little raspy, but if you're not listening for it, you probably wouldn't notice.

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2 hours ago, FirbolgNorc said:

You had a Rochelle? Would you say aside from the size and bellow stiffness you had any issues? I know it's a Chinese made model and that can often mean a decrease in quality. 

The Rochelle, and the Jackie and Elise for English and hayden duet, may be made in China, but they are made for Concertina Connection in America, and made to their specifications.

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I'd vote for stepping up at least to the Swan or Blackthorn if at all possible. I haven't personally tried either but have heard good reports. They will have none of the stiffness or clunkiness of the cheaper models and you'll find you enjoy playing a lot more, and that's the whole point!

 

Gary

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Of course, everyone who has responded has a good point; when you ask here, you get divergent opinion, which I imagine is why you did ask here....

 

I have played a Concertina Connection Elise duet for about 4 years, off and on.  It is the same body and construction level as the Rochelle, and the only issue it has shown is some wear at bellows corners.  The material has generallly held up, and it's been fine for "entry."

 

However, I have also found great value in much cheaper used Bastari/Stagi anglos, which sell new for maybe 400 (20 buttons) to 6 or 7 or 8 hundred? USD, for the 30 buttons.  More importantly to me, I paid 95 dollars for my first one, and 125 dollars for my second.  Both well used; one patched here and there, but both 30 button anglos with sweet sounding reeds and comfortable, if not lightning fast, action.  And here's the real benefit to me: They are so cheap, you may not even need to "trade in" when you "move up," and can hang on as a spare, loaner, or gift to a rookie later.

 

Of course, if your only goal is very fast play (say, Irish mostly) then they won't be fast enough forever.  But I bet someone here will offer you one for a couple/few hundred dollars, and the experience will be way smoother than the Scholer.

 

Any way you settle on, have fun!

 

David

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20 hours ago, JimR said:

Another advantage to the Rochelle is it's more traditional riveted action as opposed to the rubber tube used by most entry-level 'tinas.

So, what does riveted action actually mean? And for that matter what would my Scholer have? I'm sorry if this feels a basic question. Assume my technical knowledge is close to nonexistent.

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Many (most?) cheap instruments have hollow button bottoms into which a tube of man made material is placed, then slit for the lever to slide through. The tubing degrades over time and allows the button to move more than it should.

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12 hours ago, David Colpitts said:

Of course, everyone who has responded has a good point; when you ask here, you get divergent opinion, which I imagine is why you did ask here....

 

I have played a Concertina Connection Elise duet for about 4 years, off and on.  It is the same body and construction level as the Rochelle, and the only issue it has shown is some wear at bellows corners.  The material has generallly held up, and it's been fine for "entry."

 

However, I have also found great value in much cheaper used Bastari/Stagi anglos, which sell new for maybe 400 (20 buttons) to 6 or 7 or 8 hundred? USD, for the 30 buttons.  More importantly to me, I paid 95 dollars for my first one, and 125 dollars for my second.  Both well used; one patched here and there, but both 30 button anglos with sweet sounding reeds and comfortable, if not lightning fast, action.  And here's the real benefit to me: They are so cheap, you may not even need to "trade in" when you "move up," and can hang on as a spare, loaner, or gift to a rookie later.

 

Of course, if your only goal is very fast play (say, Irish mostly) then they won't be fast enough forever.  But I bet someone here will offer you one for a couple/few hundred dollars, and the experience will be way smoother than the Scholer.

 

Any way you settle on, have fun!

 

David

Where may I ask did you find such affordable deals on those two used ones? I'm hesitant about a used instrument from sites like reverb or ebay.

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14 hours ago, FirbolgNorc said:

So, what does riveted action actually mean? And for that matter what would my Scholer have? I'm sorry if this feels a basic question. Assume my technical knowledge is close to nonexistent.

 

There's roughly four categories of action, with lots of variations in each category.

The primitive 20 button German instruments had simple wooden levers arranged in parallel along two steel axles (one for each row). The buttons are glued straight onto the ends of the levers, so when you press them they travel through an arc instead of straight down. These are fairly reliable, unless the button falls off, which they often do.

Later German/Italian/Chinese instruments have flimsy pressed aluminium levers arranged in parallel along common axles. The attachment point between the bottom of the button and the lever is meant to be a flexible joint (often involving a piece of rubber tubing), but they tend to be pretty wobbly and are a common failure point. This type of instrument often ends up with the buttons all pointing at odd angles, and frequent problems with them sticking down when you press them.

Vintage Lachenal instruments used a 'hook' action, where each lever passes through an individual post, with a spring holding the lever up against the pivot point. This can work well, but they have a bit of a reputation for being clacky, slow, and harder to play than a riveted action.

Most of the other vintage English makers used various types of riveted action, where each lever has a flat section in the middle with a hole in it that is loosely riveted to an individual post. The majority of modern high end makers are also producing riveted actions, or some variation (e.g. a tiny screw instead of a fixed rivet so you can adjust the amount of play).

 

I found some pictures of the Rochelle/Jackie/Elise action on this thread. It looks like a cost-reduced version of the sort of action you see in most vintage Crabb and Jeffries boxes, where they took a piece of round rod, flattened a section of it near the middle, and drilled a hole in it for the rivet to go through.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/19/2020 at 8:50 PM, FirbolgNorc said:

Where may I ask did you find such affordable deals on those two used ones? I'm hesitant about a used instrument from sites like reverb or ebay.

Sorry I just saw this note....I got them each at the annual "Northeast Sqeeze-In" ("NESI") which is a 100-person squeezebox afficionado weekend in September in Massachusetts.  I bargained down to $95 from $100 for the black one, and from $150 to $125 for the metal ended one.  The metal one brough an offer (same NESI, 3 years later) of $150 from a friend, but I bargained her down to $125 and passed it along to her.  The most expensive of my Bastaris are a Hayden Duet (rare and very cool, to me) well-used but ButtonBox fettled for under $600, and a 40 button G/D from them, for under $500.  If you are interested, a query on this great site should get you some offers/suggestions, I imagine.  I find the regulars here to be kind and fair, as far as I can tell.

 

Regards,

 

David

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