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Stagi Mini And A Jackie


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Dear Folk...

 

Comments, praise, curses... feed back in general on these two English system conertinas. the Stagi Mini, a 18 button model (price circa 350 and up), then the Jackie (price circa 250).

 

The Mini sounds particularly nice for a younger player. I do realise you only have two octaves (actually one note shy of that)... but still it sounds like it has much potential. Only 1 and 1/2 pound. again very good for a younger player I would think.

 

Then the Jackie which is an entry level English with 30 key one...

 

What say the folk?

 

Mac Catháin

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I started with a Stagi mini-18 and it is still my favorite box. Bob Tedrow was

kind enough to "turbo" it four years ago and it has followed me around the

world.

 

After a year on the mini-18 I bought a 30 button Stagi and was terrribly

disappointed. It was sluggish, heavy and stressful to play for long sessions.

I don't know how the Jackie will compare to the Stagi 30, but they would

be the same size.

 

The 18 has a great combination of light weight and range and is setup for

easy self teaching. The 18 will play most all of the Irish session tunes

for whistle, along with lots of songs and hymns. For five years I have

played the 18 at church and RenFest events, and it has worn out one bellows!

 

My ideal box would be an 18 plus 3 - add a low A, B and C# to the 18. Until

I can afford such a custom I probably play my Stagi 18 two or three hours

for every hour I play my full size Lachenal.

 

For what it is worth!

 

Bob Peterson

aka Aulde Robb Eliot

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Comments, praise, curses... feed back in general on these two English system conertinas. the Stagi Mini, a 18 button model (price circa 350 and up), then the Jackie (price circa 250).

 

What say the folk?

Oddly enough, a couple of days ago I got an email from my friend Henrik -- an excellent player of the English (those are his hands in the picture), -- in which he said the following:

The discovery of the 18 button Stagi (of admittedly very bad quality) has left me a changed man...

I basically play nothing else now, and has started to sketch how a "real" instrument should look like: 13+14 buttons, giving all the notes I need, standard hex, 160 mm bellows, German silver sides, valve mechanics based on modified Lachenal stuff, Saltarelle reeds.

Let me analyze what he says. He loves the mini so much that he's now playing it in preference to his excellent Wheatstone, but he says it's poorly constructed, and he wants more notes, better action (the mechanics of the buttons), and better quality reeds. I've also heard elsewhere that the quality and even the construction of the mini can vary erratically from instrument to instrument.

 

His desired 27 buttons is nearly the same as the Jackie's 30. He hasn't yet seen a Jackie, and neither have I (I have put in an order), but knowing Wim Wakker's commitment to quality I expect it to be of much better quality -- in both playing comfort and sound production -- than the Stagi. In fact, the new Jackie has an improved, riveted mechanism, one of the things Henrik says he wants.

 

I've sent Henrik an email which asks the weight of the mini (hmm, you already said 1½ pounds) and the distance between its thumb loop and finger plate. From the way it's constructed, that distance might not be any less than on a regular concertina, and so no help to small hands, while the thumb loops on the Jackie should be much more comfortable, and probably easier to adjust. I don't know what the Jackie weighs, but I'm sure Wim would tell us.

 

The Jackie is not only cheaper, but it comes with a tutor, a help line (I'll bet they take emails), and a trade-in policy. So my recommendation would be wholeheartedly for the Jackie, unless you consider the difference in weight (whatever it turns out to be) to be crucial.

post-4-1065648473.jpg

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I have done some design work and determined that a 4.5 inch reed pan could accomodate 11 accordion style reeds to give a 22 note mini that would be only 1/2 inch larger than the Stagi 18. This would be close to perfect.

 

The weights for the Stagi 18 and others in my collection are;

 

Stagi 18 - 610 g

Stagi 30 - 1050 g

Lachenal 48 - 1100 g (nicknamed "thumbuster")

 

Weight is roughly proportional to surface area, as expected (about 30 g/square inch). My Stagi 18 has brass buttons and an augmented action, so it is slightly heavier than a stock unit.

 

The reduction in torque to the thumb joint is directly proportional to both weight and distance from thumb joint to center of gravity, ie case radius. Reducing both case radius (3.1" to 2.1") and weight (1100 g to 610 g) makes a huge difference in playabiltiy.

 

An alternative that might be attractive would be to have a 30 button Jackie "cut down" to a smaller (and lighter!) case, reducing weight, torque and reach all at once. The revised action looks very interesting, and based on the Stagi 30, most of the space inside the case should be empty.

 

Bob Peterson

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Here's Henrik's response to my inquiry. I think this should pretty well settle the matter.

Unfortunately I would NOT recommend the small Stagi to a beginner,

especially not for a young beginner.

 

The quality = playability, action, ease of playing is simply too bad. It's a little bit like a big truck with a faulty gas pedal: it's ON or OFF. An experinced driver can survive it, but an unexperienced will go off the road the first time it turns...

 

And comparing my Stagi with Erwin's [the one in the photo I posted, which prompted Henrik to get his own]: Stagi has removed the finger plate (!?) and replaced it with another set of straps at the bottom. Totally unplayable - the first thing I did was to remove that and place it on top, in parallel to the other. So I am doing without the finger plate, using, from time to time the holes/cut-outs in the sides...

 

It would be a shame to discourage a young player with a bad instrument.

 

The "Jackie", no doubt about it. I looked at it and listened to an MP3.

Edited by JimLucas
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I have done some design work and determined that a 4.5 inch reed pan could accomodate 11 accordion style reeds to give a 22 note mini that would be only 1/2 inch larger than the Stagi 18.

Giving it a range from what note to what note?

 

This would be close to perfect.
Always a mattter of personal preference, of course.

 

The reduction in torque to the thumb joint....
??? I've been playing English concertina for 30 years, and my instruments include a contrabass that weighs in at over 3 kg, which I play in a standing position without a strap or any other special support, but I have no idea what you mean by that. I can't identify any such "torque" on my thumbs when I play.

 

How are you holding your instruments?

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His desired 27 buttons is nearly the same as the Jackie's 30. He hasn't yet seen a Jackie, and neither have I (I have put in an order), but knowing Wim Wakker's commitment to quality I expect it to be of much better quality -- in both playing comfort and sound production -- than the Stagi. In fact, the new Jackie has an improved, riveted mechanism, one of the things Henrik says he wants.

 

 

The Jackie is not only cheaper, but it comes with a tutor, a help line (I'll bet they take emails), and a trade-in policy. So my recommendation would be wholeheartedly for the Jackie, unless you consider the difference in weight (whatever it turns out to be) to be crucial.

Mr. Lucas, when you get the Jackie, be sure to let us know what you think of it, or even write a formal review, as I plan to buy one myself and would like to know how good they are. Did Wim Wakker indicate the delivery time for it?

 

Thanks!

 

Bob G. Evans

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Recently I have bought a Jackie. It arrived about 24 hours after ordering, but I live in the Netherlands.

I have just put it on a kitchen-thing and it's weight is 1300 grams.

The sound is good. When I compare it with my Marcus Anglo, the Jackie sounds very "dry" (I do not know a better description for the sound).

Finally I have problems with playing the low notes. I have to bend my fingers very much to reach them. Maybe the straps should be placed more to the edge? I have normal hands, but they are used to play Anglo ;)

 

Henk

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:D

As a beginner, I am in the market for a new Stagi C2 (20 Button Anglo C/G)-for which I will have to wait a couple of months.

 

I have an opportunity to buy a Stagi B1 (20 Button Anglo C/G) now (and at less money).

 

Would I be better off waiting for the Stagi C2?

Does the quality of the two instruments vary?

Is the sound quality significantly different?

What about the handling differences between the B1 & C2?

 

I am not in an area where I can try a variety of instruments (nor rent) for comparison purposes.

 

I appreciate that the Stagi is far from the upper end of the concertina market but is a good mass market choice for a serious beginner (yet unsure of where they want to go with this experience in the future).

 

Any comments?

 

 

:blink:

post-4-1065896072.gif

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Recently I have bought a Jackie.

 

Finally I have problems with playing the low notes. I have to bend my fingers very much to reach them.

Nothing wrong with bending your fingers; I do it all the time. (The palm should simultaneously arch back toward the wrist.) I could easily play one or even two rows lower than where the lowest notes are lined up on the Jackie. In fact, on my 64-button baritone Aeola, I do.

 

For best control, the fingers should be very slightly arched/blexed/bent even for pressing the "highest" buttons, since the finger tips should come straight down on the buttons, not approach at an angle. (I believe this is also standard advice for piano and guitar players, though I couldn't give a reference.)

 

So work on flexibility in your fingers. Practice flexing and stretching them. It's a skill you won't regret having.

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