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Keep Playing Quandary?


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Currently I play Guitar, Mandolin, Dobro (square neck), Ukulele (all low G Tenor), and Anglo Concertina-none well. I've played guitar for 20+ years so it is not on the block, so to speak. Of the others, I feel I need to eliminate at least one. I don't have a special attachment to any of them. I just don't have time to devote to them all. I guess I'm an intermediate player.  I've been to two of Noel Hill's "camps" and several "slow sessions" locally.  As this is a concertina  site, please tell me why it should be in the "keep playing it" category.

Thanks a lot!

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  • Almost never needs tuning 
  • No strings to break or change
  • Even more portable than a tenor ukulele
  • Makes you more attractive to current or potential partners than any of the others
  • Novelty factor: no one else you know plays one
  • Noel Hill doesn't play dobro
  • Mrs. Crotty never played ukulele
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43 minutes ago, Little John said:

The first four you mention are all stringed instruments, and therefore relatively similar. A concertina is very different sounding. So drop one (or more) of the strings.

 

This was my first thought as well. Of course, it works both ways - the concertina has an entirely different set of mechanics to practice.

 

Maybe it's different in your area, but around me the novelty factor of the concertina is huge. It never fails to attract attention (in a good way). I play with a little American folk group, and while many of the other musicians are much more skilled than I am, nothing seems to garner quite as much curiosity as my concertina. Everybody has seen guitars and fiddles but not that strange little squeezebox.

Edited by Steve Schulteis
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Thanks so much for all the replies.  At this time, I don't plan on any kind of liquidation plan .  I enjoy playing all of the various instruments, just don't have enough time to do justice to any of them.  I have put the dobros on hiatus until further notice.  I've put two of the three ukes into purgatory and will play the Pono every now and then.

 

Always subject to change, but for now I'll be concentrating on the guitar, mandolin and concertina.

 

Thanks again for all your help!

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I play "English" concertina, one-row button accordion (melodeon), mandolin, and penny whistles. I've tried tenor guitar and liked it (frets like a mandolin).  I prefer the English over the Anglo concertina (tried both). Perhaps because the English is chromatic and the layout actually makes more sense to me. (3rd's & 5th's close together on same side and bellows is used differently kind of like on a melodeon).

I agree you should cut one of the string instruments. Kind of depends on what music you play. I am thinking the Dobro or the Ukulele (just as you say you have)

Do you need the volume the Dobro provides? They will drown out a mandolin (as does the 4 stop cajun accordion I play). Do you play bluegrass?...Irish?  To me, the Ukulele is the one that really

doesn't seem to fit.

Edited by Everett
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I play cello, guitar, banjo, hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, pennywhistles, recorders, pipe & tabor, and concertina. The most recent is the concertina, although it’s now been over 30 years. Once I started playing the concertina, all the other “folkie” instruments went on the back burner.

 

I had found what I was looking for.

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It really depends on what music you play.

 

to me the uke is the most redundant. As you can capo up to the 5th fret and do everything a uke can do. Tonally, maybe different if you don’t have a nylon string. But still…

 

dobro.. again depends on what music. And tuning. But most can be done well enough with a guitar, and drop tuning.

 

 But, if you are not generally doing music that lends itself to the concertina. It is tough to rationalize that.

 

guitar and mandolin can. Pretty much do anything and you can’t “get there” with anything else.

 

 

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I'm spread so thin musically I won't try to list them here. I find it follows the playing opportunities. When I have a session/group/band/orchestra to play in, that instrument gets the attention and time. I know that limits my level of accomplishment, but I have so much fun I can't help it.

 

Of course the pandemic has kept it all pretty low key, so I've been working on several (including a new instrument, I guess some people never learn). Fun but I can't wait to join others in person again. NESI was my first dose in 18 months.

 

Ken

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Hi There,  I was in a similar situation a few months ago, so I appreciate your dilemma.  My main instrument is piano, but I also play a Lachenal English concertina, a Crabb English Baritone concertina, and cello, of which I have two.  It’s becoming necessary for me to down size and since the Crabb baritone wasn’t getting much attention, even though I love it’s sound, I decided that it was time to think about parting with it.  So it will be going on the market soon.  But the cello was another story!  Since I absolutely LOVE the cello and have been working at it for many years, my decision came through the issue of aesthetics.  I can make a piano sound beautiful, I can make my English sound so sweet, but the cello, my long time love, was creating a dissonance within my soul. I couldn’t get the sound I longed for.  I loved the cello so much, but I couldn’t for the life of me make her sound beautiful!  After several months of angst and sadness, I decided to completely stop playing the cello and begin the process of psychologically parting with the cellos.  What actually made it possible for me to do this was that I decided to find a couple very fine cellists to play piano/cello duos with. These days it feels like a win-win.  That Crabb and those two cellos will one day soon have new homes, I’m downsizing, and I’ve made peace with what was feeling like utter failure.  Through musical collaboration I can enjoy the beautiful sound of cello, becoming a part of it while playing piano, and let go of the frustration and sense of failure that I was feeling after years of lessons while still not being able to play more beautifully.   I guess, after this long, personal story, all I’m saying is, how do your instruments make you feel?  Which ones feed your soul or not?  Wishing you all the best in your decision making.

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I had enjoyed learning to play Mandolin, but it was finding my 1920 Gibson that made me love it. The same is happening with Concertina...I found a wonderful 1927 Wheatstone M21 English...  Finding an instrument that is "alive" to you is important.

 

Edited by Everett
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5 hours ago, Everett said:

I had enjoyed learning to play Mandolin, but it was finding my 1920 Gibson that made me love it. The same is happening with Concertina...I found a wonderful 1927 Wheatstone M21 English...  Finding an instrument that is "alive" to you is important.

 


if an instrument does not somehow inspire you to play it.

 

Then you won’t.

 

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I went into pare-down mode about a year ago.  I gave up the bagpipes because i could play most of its tunes on concertina, so i rarely took it out of its case.  (I also couldn't use it at my regular folk jam, as i could the concertina.)  I also gave up on my 4 string instruments -- tenor guitar and ukulele -- to spend the time learning guitar in more detail.  I did get a baritone guilele, which satisfies the small stringed instrument niche.

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