Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hello...

 

New to group and my apologies if this is answered somewhere else.

I played the accordion for several years many years ago as a boy (wasn't great but not too bad either!) and am looking to learn the concertina. I've read several posts and am trying to become a little knowledgeable about the different types. I want to play some Italian music and other generally recognizable songs.

Any suggestions? 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

You are in the right place, both for advice (here) and for  a chance to see/hear/try different types, in Massachusetts (the ButtonBox.) Anglo, English, Duet, with many choices among 'em, and lots of (really!) experts here.  I am a ham-handed aspiring intermediate, but will say that if you have experience with harmonicas, the anglo has very much similar "in/out" to get you started.  Each type has its expert proponents, and a search here will get you days of reading!  The ButtonBox, in Sunderland, MA is the place to go.  And, the annual Northeast Squeeze-In (NESI) is a yearly weekend squeezebox camp, in Becket, MA. I suppose if you are in Truro or   Lawrence it could take maybe 3 hours, but anywhere else in MA should be shorter, to either.   Doug & company at ButtonBox  will be an amazing asset, and can ship purchases or rentals for you to try if the pandemic prohibits travel in your case.  Just point your browser at them, and you'll be off.....

 

I suspect by the time I finish this, you'll have several responses.  It's a fun hobby, with smart, kind  and generous people involved.  Have fun!

 

David

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

👆What David said! The Button Box is great, and they will be able to help you narrow in on the right instrument for you.

 

For a very broad overview, Anglo concertinas are mostly used for folk music and are designed to make harmony easy (at least in their home keys), English concertinas are fully chromatic, more melodic (being originally designed for classical music) and less rhythmic, and duet concertinas are meant to allow more complex arrangements in many keys.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You did not say what sort of accordion.  If it was a button accordion then the Anglo version of the concertina might be the place to start, but if it was a piano accordion then either an English concertina or a duet might suit you better. 

 

It also depends upon what sort of music you want to play and listen to avidly.  If that is (ITM) Irish Traditional Music then you  pretty much have to at least start off with an Anglo in C/G.  

 

David's advice about the Button Box is spot on.  Hopefully they still have a rental program where you can cycle through all of the basic options a  month or two at a time until  you find a system that clicks with you.

 

Be warned though, these little buggers are addictive and expensive.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with the excellent advice already given. I would add that, having got to somewhere with a selection of instruments, you should spend a little while picking out a simple tune or two on an Anglo, an English and at least one sort of Duet. You will probably then find that one kind makes more sense to you than the others, in which case that is the kind to stick with. One important consideration is the extent to which you wish or need to play in a variety of keys. On an Anglo, it gets substantially harder as soon as you move even one key away from the two basic keys; for example to F or D on a C-G Anglo. On an English or some Duet systems there is less difference. On a Hayden Duet there is no difference at all for several keys. All that said, most people who play Irish music on any sort of concertina play C-G Anglos, but that is largely for historical reasons rather than inherent suitability.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello GotPlatelets,

 

CBA player here. I hate to admit it, but my CBA playing is closer to "bad" than to "great."  😔

 

Among the popular types of concertinas, duet is the most similar to chromatic accordions. But I chose Anglo for two reasons: (1) I want something small so that I can play where a CBA is too clumsy or even impossible, e.g. in a car, and (2) I want something of free reed but challenging to my brain. The Anglo fulfills both requirements.

 

About the Button Box, Doug is a wonderful person to deal with. Regarding their instruments, let's say that I bought a second hand R. Morse & Co. Céilí mid 2019 and like it so much that Christmas 2019, I treated myself a new one (of different key).

 

Edited to add:

 

Re. the kinds of music, I don't think you have to play ITM on Anglo. I play (more like "try to play") anything I like on Anglo. As examples, take a look at Gary Coover's Civil War Concertina and Christmas Concertina.

Edited by pentaprism
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks ALL for the responses...very much appreciated. Familiar with the Sunderland area to visit the Button Box...went to UMass a million years ago.

 

Still thoroughly confused but likely leaning towards a Duet. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

If Duet, the most complete "growth path" is the Hayden, whose inventor is a member here.  I started with Concertina Connection's "Elise," via the ButtonBox rental program, which I quickly converted to purchase.  While limited somewhat in buttons (and musical keys) it still lets one play tunes and harmonies in several common keys, with the same fingering; just start in a different spot, and use the same pattern.  C, D, G and others, but an incomplete "A," if that is crucial to you.  Under 500 USD new.Then there are Stagi (slight misfit from exact spacing, etc., but more buttons and sweet sounding reeds) at under a thousand.  Then Concertina Connection with two models, ButtonBox's own Morse Beaumont, and Wakker towards the "high end."  Vintage Wheatstones, rare.  And others...If you are curious and a bit lucky, a very playable Bastari (the company that turned into Stagi) Hayden may be found, for a reasonable price.  I got mine at ButtonBox, but there were only a few dozen made, and you might have trouble finding one.

 

Other types are out there, with expert proponents each.  Two or three world-class Hayden players regularly post here.  A simple search will bring you a wealth of information.

 

Great fun awaits!

 

David

Edited by David Colpitts
Wrong name....sorry
Link to post
Share on other sites

My usual advice for beginners trying to choose a system (and take it or leave it) is:

 

Find out what the person was playing who first inspired you to think about being a concertina player, and get one of those. Otherwise you may be disappointed when you find that you can’t make it do what you remember someone else doing.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, David Barnert said:

My usual advice for beginners trying to choose a system (and take it or leave it) is:

 

Find out what the person was playing who first inspired you to think about being a concertina player, and get one of those. Otherwise you may be disappointed when you find that you can’t make it do what you remember someone else doing.

I don't entirely agree with that. Many kinds of music can be played on any kind of concertina. Duets are certainly the most versatile, providing possibilities for complex arrangements that the others don't, but Duets may not be easiest for simpler music, depending how your brain works. What you can play is more a function of your skill and experience than which kind you play. So I stick with the advice to have a brief go on as many different kinds as possible, even if you already have an idea which kind you are likely to want.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Richard Mellish said:

I don't entirely agree with that. Many kinds of music can be played on any kind of concertina.

 

While that may be technically true, I (and, I suspect, you and most others here) can usually tell whether we’re listening to an English, an Anglo, or a Duet concertina when one is being played.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, David Barnert said:

 

While that may be technically true, I (and, I suspect, you and most others here) can usually tell whether we’re listening to an English, an Anglo, or a Duet concertina when one is being played.

Usually yes -- but not always. I have more than once been presumed to be playing a Duet when in fact it's an Anglo, and I'm not the only one.

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Richard Mellish said:

I don't entirely agree with that. Many kinds of music can be played on any kind of concertina. Duets are certainly the most versatile, providing possibilities for complex arrangements that the others don't, but Duets may not be easiest for simpler music, depending how your brain works. What you can play is more a function of your skill and experience than which kind you play. So I stick with the advice to have a brief go on as many different kinds as possible, even if you already have an idea which kind you are likely to want.

I sort of agree here. You can play any kind of music on any kind of instrument, but each type makes certain things easier. Anglos sacrifice being able to play easily in non-home row keys for simplifying rhythmic and harmonic accompaniment. English and Duet systems make other compromises. If you're a virtuoso musician, it doesn't matter, but if you're not planning to dedicate your life to the instrument, it may be more fun to pick an instrument that is optimized for the kind of music you find most interesting and fun to play.

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, David Barnert said:

I (and, I suspect, you and most others here) can usually tell...

 

3 hours ago, Richard Mellish said:

Usually yes -- but not always.

 

I think we’re pretty much saying the same thing: Glass half full/glass half empty.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...