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Advice on buying concertina - looking for a duet... Peacock?


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I currently have a Jack English Concertina but I find that I very rarely play it. I bought it because I play the piano accordion but wanted a lighter, more portable instrument that I could play similar music on. Now I realize that I probably should have gotten a duet to start but they were much harder to find and more expensive.

 

I've saved up now and done more research but I see the Beaumont Concertina is no longer available. 😢 If I can't find someone who might be looking to sell their Beaumont then I'm leaning towards the Peacock.

 

What do you all think? I've read all kinds of things (the blessing and curse of the internet!) saying good and bad things about the Hayden system and 42 button models so I'm wondering if you all think the Peacock would be a good choice for me. I play many instruments so I'm comfortable and enjoy learning new ones. Thanks in advance.

 

I guess one other question: the Jack concertina that I have felt a little "cheap" to me with the plastic buttons and if anyone has experience with it and the Peacock I'd love to hear a comparison as to the feel when playing. Does the Peacock play smoother?

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The first concertina that I bought was a Jack, I traded that for an Elise then I bought a Peacock and then sold that to buy a Beaumont.  I still have the Elise and the Beaumont.

 

I remember liking the sound of the Jack and I sometimes think that maybe I should have kept it, but I really only have the time and ability to work on one system at a time.

 

There is a huge difference between the Jack/Elise models and the Peacock/Beaumont. The latter are much smoother, easier and faster to play.  I pull out the Elise from time to time and while it is OK it is harder work to play.  The Peacock and the Beaumont are quite similar in many respects and if I had not had the opportunity to buy a used Beaumont locally for a good price then I expect that I would still be happily playing the Peacock.  I prefer the Beaumont because it has a bigger range, larger buttons and a better finish to the wood.  OTOH a Peacock is much easier to maintain than a Beaumont, the reeds are all screwed down flat on the back of the action board while the reeds on the Beaumont are waxed in place and some of them are in accordion style reed blocks.  I need to fine tune a couple of the reeds on my Beaumont and reset a couple more and I keep putting off doing the job as it is not that simple to get at the reeds.

 

If I were buying a new Peacock then I might try to afford the version with the french polished wood rather than the oiled wood finish on the standard version.  Over time I found that the oiled wood picked up dirt from my hands and it seemed to get into the oiled finish.

 

Wim Wakker has mused about making a larger Peacock but I do not know if this is still a possibility, might be worth checking with him.

 

Just re-reading your post.  The Peacock does not feel 'cheap', it has nice metal-capped buttons and good quality leather bellows.  The reeds are quality hand made Italian reeds.  It comes in a solid hard-case.  I just do not like the 'natural' finish and feel that the upgrade cost to the french polished finish is a bit steep.  You really have no other choice in a new Hayden at this time, hopefully this will change soon.

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@Don TaylorThank you so much! Your reply is super helpful. I wish the Beaumont was still available but your experience makes me feel more comfortable getting a Peacock. I was wondering about the finish on it but, like you said, I think the cost for that upgrade is quite steep. That's very interesting to keep in mind how the reeds are mounted and that comforts me that the peacock are screwed in rather than waxed like the Beaumont. I really don't like having to do surgery on my instruments 😄 

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9 hours ago, Kb2 said:

I've read all kinds of things ... about ... 42 button models so I'm wondering if you all think the Peacock would be a good choice for me.

 

I don't play Hayden and I don't have any experience of the models you discuss, but from my experience as a Crane duet player I would say the 42 buttons of the Peacock give you all the notes you really need.

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42 minutes ago, Little John said:

I would say the 42 buttons of the Peacock give you all the notes you really need.

 

Almost. I play a 46-key Hayden and when I pick up a Peacock I really miss having an A4 on the left. But it’s probably not a deal breaker.

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3 hours ago, David Barnert said:

 

Almost. I play a 46-key Hayden and when I pick up a Peacock I really miss having an A4 on the left. But it’s probably not a deal breaker.


Exactly this, but for me it is a deal breaker. Especially as an upgrade to Elise, both Troubadour and Peacock lacking LH A4 is baffling to say the least, as you utilise this button on Elise in most of what you can play on this little box. So when you „upgrade” you must rearrange everything.

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4 hours ago, David Barnert said:

... when I pick up a Peacock I really miss having an A4 on the left.

 

I can understand this. The main difference between my 44-button and my 45 button Crane is the left-hand A4 on the latter. It is useful, but not essential.

 

My comment

 

5 hours ago, Little John said:

... the 42 buttons of the Peacock give you all the notes you really need.

 

was based on two factors, which I think we have discussed before:

 

1. The vast majority of tunes sit in the range D4 - B5, which the RHS of the Peacock covers.

 

2. The Peacock's range C3 - G4 on the LHS (same as a 48-button Crane) gives you enough notes to form any chord you are likely to need.

 

The thing that would cause me most trouble would be the C#4 missing on the RHS, but that's true of a 46-button Hayden too. And of course, there are always ways round these small difficulties.

 

For some of us, having a small, light instrument outweighs the slight advantage a few extra notes could give.

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