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Why Choose Concertina


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What in a few words made you Choose to play  a Concertina . Here is mine .= Played Clarinet and Sax at school but could not sing at the same time .My Daughters new boy friend lent me an Anglo in 2004 and I was hooked.

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I couldn’t keep up with my friend playing Irish music melodies on any other instrument I had, so I bought an English. It would have been a lot cheaper to try a whistle!

 

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Joined a new Morris side when I was 17 (not much else to do for a 17 year old in the Welsh/Shropshire borders). Melodeons and concertinas everywhere. Started with melodeon (still play much better than I do a concertina - which is not saying much!), then saved up and bought a concertina (anglo) as it seemed an obvious progression/addition.

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Captivated by the sound back in the days of proper folk clubs, but strangely, never thought of buying one.  Then a friend sold me one for £100 - turned out to be an English - I had no idea of the different types.

Never found the sound that had beckoned to me all those years ago until a chance find at Barleycorn a year or two ago.

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Went through a brief "search" for button accordions, and that led to a look at concertinas, and it hit me that Anglos are virtually identical in scales to the harmonica, which I had played for about 30 years, albeit "the same 2 years repeated 15 times" might best describe the level of play....And now, with 8 years on Anglo, it's probably the same single year repeated 8 times, but what the heck...it's a lot of fun!

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Easy to play, portable, chromatic, can play chords or melodies, can (brainpower permitting) sing at the same time. I can't think of any other instrument that meets those criteria. Bonus: it doesn't need tuning.

 

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I first had a try of a concertina nearly 50 years ago when a fiend of mine lent me one for a few days.  I knew nothing about them and all I remember was that it looked beautiful and made a glorious buttery sound which I can still hear to this day.  I think he told me it was a Crabb tuned to "English pitch" which meant very little to me at the time.  I taught myself one tune,  "A Begging I Will Go" before I had to give it back.  Ever since then I had an idea that one day I would get myself a concertina.  40 years later my wife finally put me out of my misery and bought me a 20 key Schoeler on Ebay.  Needless to say it didn't quite match that mythical sound in my memory, but it set me on the on the road to learning a wonderful instrument.  I soon traded up to a succession of Lachenals and more recently to a fully restored rosewood Lachenal with a lovely set of reeds which truly approaches that sound I hankered after.  I realise now that the instrument I tried 50 years ago was actually an English, but I'm very happy to have discovered the joys of the anglo.

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46 minutes ago, catswhiskers said:

I first had a try of a concertina nearly 50 years ago when a fiend of mine lent me one for a few days. 

Whether intended or not - I LOVE the pun!

 

SCNR 😊

 

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My obsession in life is contra dancing. I dance, I call, I organize events. Playing music was the only aspect I was missing, but I wasn't entirely confident that I had the dedication to try picking up fiddle as an adult. A concertina seemed like a nice alternative. Something that I could just pick up and play. Maybe not play well at first, but at least play in tune, and without sounding like a dying cat.  I love that it's an instrument that I can just keep by my couch, and start playing whenever the mood strikes. No assembly, no tuning, and no swabbing out spit.

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17 hours ago, RAc said:

Whether intended or not - I LOVE the pun!

 

SCNR 😊

 

Ha ha - no pun intended.  The friend who lent me the concertina is a gentle and talented banjo player and anything but a fiend.  But his kindness certainly led to a fiendish obsession!

 

John 

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I tried various other instruments to no success, yet, seem this is working.. I liked the size, not having strings to tune as well. Another huge reason is, I educate in history at a 1828-1870 historic site in period clothing, this fits in, is more odd for visitors to see and helps interpret history.

 

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Played hammer dulcimer at the time and bought my first Irish CD: Noel Hill. Was smitten. Couldn’t play tunes fast enough on dulcimer, didn’t like tuning every day, and the HD was too heavy to carry around much, SO….. Found an Anglo nearby and I was hooked. Still can’t play fast enough! But I have fun playing with friends. I’d like to play at home more but my Aussie commences howling as soon as I hit the first note!

 

Ross Schlabach 

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Posted (edited)

I have to blame John Kirkpatrick and John Watcham ("Morris On", "Son of Morris On"), Alistair Anderson ("Concertina Workshop"), Mandy Murray ("Aleanna"), and Michael Hebbert ("The Rampin' Cat"). Being a keyboard player the idea of push-a-button-get-a-note makes a lot of sense, they stay in tune for decades, they can make a lot of noise for their compact size, and they're just quirky enough to make for a fascinating challenge.


Gary

Edited by gcoover
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I came from penny whistle, so I was aware of the concertina from Irish trad music. I also noticed concertinas and other squeezeboxes making appearances in a lot of video games (and their soundtracks) around the time I took it up - I'm not sure how much that was a factor.

 

Ultimately, I picked concertina because I liked the idea of a portable organ. Duet probably would have made more sense, but the extreme compactness of the anglo system called out to me. The larger number of modern makers, tutors, and players was also a consideration.

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In 1982 I joined Eynsham Morris. Dave Townsend and Ken Sheffield were both musicians for Eynsham then (amongst others) and I was so impressed by their sound, dexterity and abilities I wished to emulate them. Thinking 48 buttons was too many to manage and knowing nothing, I bought a Hohner Anglo (long gone). I have never emulated them but I do enjoy playing and am now branching out and trying to learn Crane Duet. I have tried  English concertinas, but found the thumb grip too painful and the left/right nature too confusing.

 

I do possess concertinas of all types now and lend them to people I know who wish to learn. I'm probably one of the obsessives as I have in excess of 30 instruments, most in playing order.

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Ive been more on the fence.  Got alot of irish in our family and music is my favorite genre.  I like instruments thats portable, small and has good range.  I actually love to learn it, my concern was i have no where local who works on them.  I had 4 items i sold on ebay in last month get lost, my fear is concertina getting lost while shipped off for tuning.  However i really love sound and as many instruments i bought and sold its only one besides tin whistle i felt passion to even wanting to learn.  Well also violin, but i see that mountain i have to climb to not sound like a dying cow haha.

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