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Question on Reeds When Looking to Upgrade


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Hi everyone,

 

I'm finally looking to upgrade my Mcneela Wren after a couple of years of playing on it. I'd really like to invest in something for the long haul, but even after doing some research I'm a little confused on what constitutes "hybrid" reeds from traditional concertina reeds.

 

My current understanding is that hybrid concertinas use accordion reeds rather than traditional concertina reeds Do the sellers that offer "tipo a mano" mean that these are made in the traditional way? For instance, I see the Morse Ceili recommended quite a bit - is this still a hybrid concertina? If not, are there any makers that still offer reeds in the traditional way, or is this exclusive to vintage concertinas from makers like Lachenal?

 

Thank you!

Alex

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Hybrid does indeed mean a concertina made with accordion reeds.

 

Tipo a Mano is a sort of accordion reed. It means it is a machine made hand finished reed. Morse concertinas are indeed what would be called a hybrid instrument. Anything advertised with tipo a mano is a hybrid concertina.

 

There are a number of people still making concertinas with traditional concertina reeds, you can see a list of them in this permanent thread here: 

 Whatever you go with, enjoy the music!

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Yep, agree with Jake. Music is more important. I know a guy who gets great music out of any instrument. Must be his soul doing that.

------

 

My personal experience sofar: My heritage Edgley sounds quite better and less brittle or harsh,

than my G/D Edgley with hybrid reeds.

I had a Harry Crabb English for over 40 years, handmade reeds, great sound too.

 

Drawback seems a bit that my heritage Edgley seems heavier, and therefor feels a bit lazy in response compared to a Hybrid. Maybe not so with other brands? 

 

I prefer traditional reeds for sound however, but for fast playing and a more penetrating gig-rig  in a battle with banjos i would choose a Hybrid. Especially the higher ranged reeds seem quite louder. To get that loudness with traditional reeds it seems it needs more pressure. IMO that is !

 

PS bought a hybrid Seth Hamon wheatstone system but i am already used to jeffries layout.  

It's a real light weight & fast player, very responsive, but i am into selling it instead of a planned conversion for now. (See another post).

Needs wood chopping to get that right and i rather not mess with a perfectly made instrument.

So i am out shopping for a jeffries system hybrid for gigging now. 

 

Hamon's instruments are definitely a step up from the far cheaper McNeela instruments.

Guess Jake makes good stuff too, as some others do.

 

PS i'd certainly prefer a 7 fold bellows, especially when you're into chording, for a little extra air reserve.

 

Edited by fiddler2007
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Jake and Fiddler -

 

Thank you both! This is exactly what I needed to get me started on the right path - I'll take into consideration what was said about being able to cut through the group sound when playing in a session as well.

 

I'll let you know what I end up going with once I've made a decision.

 

Thank again!

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PS the more expensive reeds like Voci tip a mano are made more precise than the cheaper reeds.

Reeds are fitted precisely in the reedplate slots, thus more air efficient and the instruments are less asthmatic and faster responding than the cheaper brands.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would just comment that the top "real" concertinas are easily as responsive as any hybrid.  I mean here the Dippers, Carrolls, Wheatstones etc.  In my opinion the sound is much superior but you pay more for the instrument of course.

Edited by Paul Read
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A little history:

 

Until relatively recently (+/- 30 years?), concertinas with accordion reeds were mass-produced in Germany, Italy, China, etc., and were of considerably lower quality than the carefully hand-made instruments with concertina reeds from England and the US. That was it. Decent instruments with concertina reeds and inferior instruments with accordion reeds.

 

Then people like Harold Herrington in Texas and Frank Edgley in Canada and Rich Morse in Massachusetts and Bob Tedrow in Alabama started building quality instruments utilizing English construction standards but using accordion reeds, which are a lot less expensive.

 

Although Morse wasn’t the first of these, it wasn’t until his concertinas started becoming hugely popular that I started hearing the word “hybrid” to refer to these quality hand-made concertinas with accordion reeds.

 

Please forgive me if I’ve been inaccurate in my recollections.

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7 hours ago, David Barnert said:

A little history:

 

Until relatively recently (+/- 30 years?), concertinas with accordion reeds were mass-produced in Germany, Italy, China, etc., and were of considerably lower quality than the carefully hand-made instruments with concertina reeds from England and the US. That was it. Decent instruments with concertina reeds and inferior instruments with accordion reeds.

 

Then people like Harold Herrington in Texas and Frank Edgley in Canada and Rich Morse in Massachusetts and Bob Tedrow in Alabama started building quality instruments utilizing English construction standards but using accordion reeds, which are a lot less expensive.

 

Although Morse wasn’t the first of these, it wasn’t until his concertinas started becoming hugely popular that I started hearing the word “hybrid” to refer to these quality hand-made concertinas with accordion reeds.

 

Please forgive me if I’ve been inaccurate in my recollections.

Sounds about right to me.  I would add Marcus and Norman in the UK as early hybrid makers.  And mention should also be made of the accordion-reeded May Fair concertinas made by Wheatstone in the 1950s which were significantly better than the accordion-reeded ones from Germany and Italy.

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4 hours ago, Daniel Hersh said:

Sounds about right to me.  I would add Marcus and Norman in the UK as early hybrid makers.  And mention should also be made of the accordion-reeded May Fair concertinas made by Wheatstone in the 1950s which were significantly better than the accordion-reeded ones from Germany and Italy.

 

Thanks. I was less aware of what was going on in England in the early days of my concertina experience (late 80s, early 90s). But do you agree with my sense that the word “Hybrid” didn’t gain traction until the Morse concertinas took off?

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18 hours ago, David Barnert said:

Thanks. I was less aware of what was going on in England in the early days of my concertina experience (late 80s, early 90s). But do you agree with my sense that the word “Hybrid” didn’t gain traction until the Morse concertinas took off?

I don't know.  Some of us (including the late Richard Morse) had a long and vehement discussion about the term back in 2007:

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1 hour ago, Daniel Hersh said:

I don't know.  Some of us (including the late Richard Morse) had a long and vehement discussion about the term back in 2007:

Wow, what a thread. As I started reading it, I was thinking “I’m glad I didn’t know about this thread back when it was active.” And then I came upon my own posts in that thread. One of them asks the same question I asked above, and directed at Rich Morse, no less:

 

Quote

FWIW, I just did a search on the word "hybrid" in this forum, and (if one can trust the search engine, which is not at all a certainty), the first use of the word was three years ago by Rich Morse, here, in the 2nd paragraph.

 

Rich, do you know whether it was you who first used the word in the context of concertinas or did you get the usage from someone else?

 

And in the next post, Rich answers the question:

 

Quote

Before that I know that at least the word "hybrid" was descriptive of boxes that had incorporated both accordion and concertina technology well before we were making them.

 

In any case, it appears from that thread that I had my dates wrong in my first post in this thread. If Harold Herrington didn’t start making concertinas until 1997, then my “(+/- 30 years?)” estimate was overly broad.

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