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McNeela Swan Anglo C/G

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I bought one three years ago. I wasn't sure if I would take to the concertina so I was looking for a decent hybrid. I was pleasantly surprised by the qualilty. It feels and sounds good. I've moved onto a vintage Lachenal so I can compare the two. The Lachenal has a warmer sound and the buttons are shorter, wider and more comfortable. The Swan sounds a bit 'tinnier' to my ears now but I think I would have been happy to stay with it if I hadn't bought the Lachenal. The Swan is quite comfortable to play and I would recommend it as a beginner intstrument.

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  • 6 months later...

I had the Swan for about 9 months before selling it on this forum. I then bought a Lachenal (c. 1917). 

It definitely got me going on concertina, coming from both piano accordion and box (C#/D) but started to fade in appeal after several months. I became aware of the compromises that McNeela has to make in order to create the instrument at a lower price. I’m not faulting him at all. But there’s a lack of soul and responsiveness that I became aware of, and I wanted something warmer, more personal, with more character.

You could totally get it and be happy with it, and/or be ready to part with it after a year or so. It’s fine as a transitional instrument and maybe for some folks it’s all they want in a concertina. 

If you’re a beginner to concertina, it’s definitely going to be a stronger choice than the Wren, but you might consider looking for a Phoenix (used or new) as that could give you more room to grow on the instrument. 

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I did buy the Swan but if I started over again, I wouldn't buy it.


For about the same amount of money, I recommend instead getting a better 20-button. Later on, when you are ready to upgrade to a good 30-button, you can keep the 20-button as a spare or for travel. There are plenty of tunes that can be played with a 20-button.


If you get the Swan now and later upgrade, I think you'll find the Swan frustrating and you won't want to keep it.

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