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Wanted To Buy - 30 Button Anglo for Beginner


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Hi all,

I’ve recently become obsessed with learning the Concertina. I’m hoping to purchase a lower end but playable pre-owned 30 button Anglo. Some models I’m interested in are the Wren, Rochelle or basic Stagi. I’ve never played the concertina, but I’m pretty fair at playing a number of instruments by ear. Thanks in advance for your help or suggestions.



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By the time I finish typing, you will probably have heard from more experienced players, but here are my quick thoughts:


Don't know your budget, but is it  "lower end" you seek  because you want to pay the least, and not just because you want to try something you might not like?  Most folks here seem to say you might get the best you can afford, and especially if it's a good used instrument, get most of your investment back in sale or trade.  That said.....


I have no experience with Wren, but lots of hours on old Stagis and the Elise (Hayden Duet) which is the same box and quality level as the Rochelle.  Both are fine for the price; a new Rochelle is something in the low-$400 range, and Stagis can be had for that and a bit lower or higher.  I should emphazsize that the Stagis I have are actually Bastaris, which are older iterations from that company, or its precursor.  I prefer them to the newer ones with the marquetry veneer decorations. The Rochelle is pretty responsive, and a good "learner." I spend lots of Anglo time on the old Bastaris, and love the sweet, mellow sound, especially played solo or for recording.  OTOH, I have a Morse Anglo that is much lighter, faster, and more responsive than either, but at more like mid $2000's.


So, is there any vendor near you where you might try some?  ButtonBox in MA may still ship rentals, so you could try for 3 months and purchse or return.


It'll be great fun for you, I hope.





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I recommend trying to learn it with musical notation.  I learned by ear and feel limited.  Because it is a "push/pull" instrument (related to harmonica), learning it chromatically rather than diatonically will open up more possibilities... well, at least that is what I am finding out.  Knowing where each note is in different places and which are push and which are pull will make it so much easier.  Whatever you do, enjoy!

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Welcome Rob,


As a owner of Minstrel and Rochelle-2 by Concertina Connection, I suggest you get in touch with Wim Wakker of Concertina Connection to see if he has pre-owned Rochelle in stock.


1. You cannot go wrong a lot with Rochelle as a beginner instrument

2. pre-owned Rochelles are sold at lower price than brand new ones

3. pre-owned Rochelles that have gone back to Concertina Connection are refurbished and come with 2-year warantee, and

4. pre-owned Rochelles are also subject to trade-in program offered by Concertina Connection

If you do not mind paying S&H or if you live in Dublin, perhaps you could try Wren2 out, as McNeela offers 14 day money back guarantee. 

As for Stagi (or Bastari), if you are lucky enough to get a good one, it will be good. If not, tough luck.

I hope this information helps. Happy concertina life!



Edited by gtotani
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I'd advise against the Wren. It was my first concertina, and I think other companies offer a better product for the price. Stagi and Rochelle look good, but I haven't tried them.

My second concertina was/is a Baritone C/G by Morse (Button Box) and it's incredible! I'd highly recommend them, but it might be out of your price range.

Keep in mind that in many cases you can sell a good used instrument for the same price you purchased it, provided you didn't use it much.

All the best,


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On 12/3/2021 at 1:27 AM, papawemba said:

The Duckling seem like a nice bet for beginner concertina (but waiting might be too long).

I would skip the Wren. Also check out Rochelle 2 !


And welcome in one of the most expensive instruments world lol



Waiting list for Duckling is 16 months 

If Rob can wait, a newly introduced Dabblers (28 or 30 button) could be an interesting alternative.



And yes, Rochelle-2 is a good choice if one does not favor "bulky" and "glossy piano black" original Rochelle.



Edited by gtotani
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I can endorse gtotani's recommendation of the Dabbler. I have had the the prototype for a week now and find it a very easy playing concertina. It is light in weight, normal sized and has voluminous bellows which are very flexible; the tone is good and the dynamic is well controllable. The construction is unconventional but it seems to be well made; I expect it to be at least as durable as the competition if not more so. There are some neat details such as the hand rest being adjustable for reach and rake.The only similar concertina I have played is an Elise duet, the Dabbler is far in advance of that in quality. The Elise was an instrument that got in the way of playing in a way that the Dabbler does not. The only drawbacks so far are that is a bit leaky (Paul says it is due to the type of pads) but this is well compensated for by the size of the bellows, also the buttons are un-bushed. They work smoothly but I cannot say how they will wear. I am a long time english player who started on anglo decades ago but could not get on with the system but I am now having a second try. After several upgrades I am now playing Aeola and Edeophone tenor-trebles so am comparing the Dabbler to very high end concertinas. 


Hope this helps,



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  • 4 weeks later...

In advice for getting started on concertina; there are many views as there are people in the world, however your letter seemed  familiar to me; as years ago I too was whipped up in enthusiasm to learn concertina,  [mainly to accompany my late father who had button accordion].. I chose a simple two row Anglo, nicely made in wood, in Germany at that time.  I loved the thing; it was used for years.  Then I exhausted the number of pieces I could play on it in scope and so searched for a more chromatic instrument.

I went up to 30 key Anglo variety [ Hohner] labelled instrument [which took ages to arrive in store].  There was apparently only one left in stock they had found - and it came my way! Of which I am eternally delighted; as you get a sort of creative trust or relationship build up between a musician and instrument, just as a violinist, or guitarist does with their own instruments, particularly as it is held close to you, not at  arms length as in piano.


I have used my Hohner branded Anglo for 23 years and it is still going strong; the few technical issues you get at beginning like sticking buttons, or the like, gradually, with patience, recede, and in my experience at least, you then get an instrument which is more responsive. 

For a beginner instrument myself I would only say get the best you can afford, but don't be put off by brand name superstitions or bad words against certain names on the market. And you do NOT have to spend hundreds to get a good concertina [despite what some may claim]


People have often 'downed' my hohner make 30 key Anglo; but then a point is made that its still going strong after 23 years; and so why would I feel the need to change it now? Its done me well.  Maybe as well as one costing hundreds in money value!

Another member pointed out to you, on concertina .net. about learning to read some music also; and I would say YES to that learn to read some music for the person who gets the concertina.  There are many basic books with surprisingly simple tablature layout to use; and they are surprisingly straightforward to understand! But they really help..

Best of luck to whoever gets that little reed box; try and enthuse them with its many merits and they may have a friend for life!

In attached image I am playing my much loved hohner 30 key Anglo concertina at home!


me and concertina april 2019 vid still vignettev.png

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