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Hi everyone I'm Ben in my late 20s from England. I have tried a few instruments in the past such as guitar and ukulele but have always struggled with these and ended up giving in. I am unable to read music but on a whim a few months ago picked up a Honher D40 second hand on ebay for around £60 and I love it. It wasn't until after my purchase I saw all the not so good reviews but mine seems to work as expected and I enjoy it. As I can't read music I decided to buy 2 beginner books, The Anglo Concertina Absolute Beginners by Chris Sherburn and Dave Mallinson and also Easy Anglo 1-2-3 by Gary Coover. I have tinkered with them and been able to play a couple of simple songs on one hand and have fallen in love so I've now decided to really put some work in and get practicing and really get acquainted with my Honher as I have finally found an instrument I love. Any suggestions appreciated for learning at my level or future.  Thanks guys and look forward to chatting with you all.

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Welcome Ben!

 

Just listen to as much concertina playing as you can to get a feel for the music and the capabilities of the instrument, and have fun exploring and learning and working around its eccentricities! 

 

Muscle memory takes a long time, but once you've got the basic notes you can experiment with expression by using the bellows to breathe life into the tunes.

 

Glad you found cnet - lots of good information here, advice, and always lots of opinions that can be helpful as well as entertaining!

 

Gary

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Hi Ben,

 

Playing with others also helps you improve so if you can find someone locally to help you or join a group of like minded individuals you should make good progress. There is also the following amongst other local resources to explore.

 

The East Anglia Traditional Music Trust has restarted their annual melodeon/ concertina /free reed tutor days but you have missed this years event. They used to run evening sessions around Bury St. Edmunds for beginners and improvers at other times particularly during the winter so contacting EATMT or looking at their website may help.

 

There is an On-line folk magazine for Suffolk called Mardles that lists folk clubs etc. where you will find other players, Morris sides and similar who also may have concertina players.

 

Regionally there is SqueezEast Concertinas, to which I belong but based around Norwich, where we play music in parts e.g. scored for orchestra or other groups which also includes a strong element of folk based music, plus we also sometimes have provison for tutoring. Several of us play for the Morris as well or in ceilidh bands.

 

Tutoring is also available on-line for most genres of music including concertinas

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Welcome to the world of concertina.. and an instrument that often is little understood by many; but which once they play one.. is then often a musical friend for life. 

Don't worry about reviews on one make against another (get what suits you best)... I have played my own Hohner branded concertina ( Anglo) for over 23 years now.. and use it all the time.

Concertina people are quite democratic in their attitudes, as to which one is best, so get on and enjoy the learning process; you will no doubt continue to get help from us all on Concertina.net.

Watch our videos as well.. there's so much to see!

Edited by SIMON GABRIELOW
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11 hours ago, lordbmz said:

...As I can't read music I decided to buy 2 beginner books, The Anglo Concertina Absolute Beginners by Chris Sherburn and Dave Mallinson and also Easy Anglo 1-2-3 by Gary Coover...

As it happens, I don't use either of those systems, but two points:

 

(1) I'd be a bit careful using two different systems - you could end up seriously confusing yourself.

 

(2) The book by Chris Sherburn is a bit of a mystery to me (I have my copy in front of me right now).

It uses a  system of button numbering which is discontinuous, which I find very perplexing. Running

across the rows from left hand to right hand, the numbering goes:

 

left hand...0, 4, 3, 2, 1...change to right hand...5, 6, 7, 8, 9

 

which I certainly find a tad confusing. There's a diagram in the book (p.5) which sort of establishes a

connection between 'finger numbers' and button numbers, but if you look at beginning piano lessons,

these seem to use a different numbering system, which reflects the natural symmetry of the hooman

body, and is pretty much the same as that used by the medical profession. Personally, I find this very

intuitive.

 

The books by Mick Bramich are very beginner-friendly, particularly if you don't read music (yet!). I started

with Absolute Beginners Concertina.

 

Mike Jones said:

 

> Tutoring is also available on-line for most genres of music including concertinas

 

I graduated from Mick Bramich's book to the Australian Bush Traditions online tutor when I started.

 

Both the above use the same numbering system (different to both systems you mention, I'm afraid).

 

John Kirkpatrick MBE has an online set of concertina tutoring notes here.

 

There's also a series of (audio) files here created by Alan Day. IIRC, they come with scores (PDF)

for the tunes covered.

 

All of the above are, I think, aimed at C/G concertina...

 

Once you run out of tunes (in whatever tutor you decide to use), there are a million tune books on the

internet. They come in various formats. Among the very best are Paul Hardy's Tune Books. You can

download a free PDF copy, or cough up a (very small) amount of cash for a properly bound copy.

 

Aside: Gary Coover published a table about 10(?) years ago which described about 30 different systems

(can't find the URL I'm afraid). I guess that's the beauty of 'standards' - there are so many to choose from.

Welcome to the asylum...😎

 

Good luck whichever system you decide to use...

 

 

Edited by lachenal74693
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Hello, I live in East Suffolk where there are a number of sessions with players of a range of styles and  dexterity.Iam going to a session this evening in the Dove (pub in Hospital road) where there is a mixture of music and songso if you can make it I will see you there.

Mike

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When I started I used a book called "first steps"..

It has a very basic numbering system, numbers 1 through to 5 for each button on keyboard.  The numbers above stave were for right hand of instrument, whilst those below stave.. for left side.

It was really quite straightforward. There was a V shape above number to indicate pulling out bellows ( for Anglo)! To make that particular note.

 

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10 hours ago, lachenal74693 said:

There's also a series of (audio) files here created by Alan Day. IIRC, they come with scores (PDF)

for the tunes covered.

 

Don’t overlook this suggestion. It may well be all you need. A bunch of audio files that will teach you how to play by ear, without having to think about printed music. The PDF was added later because some folks insisted on seeing the tunes written out, but that shouldn’t be necessary.

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13 hours ago, lachenal74693 said:

As it happens, I don't use either of those systems, but two points:

 

(1) I'd be a bit careful using two different systems - you could end up seriously confusing yourself.

 

(2) The book by Chris Sherburn is a bit of a mystery to me (I have my copy in front of me right now).

It uses a  system of button numbering which is discontinuous, which I find very perplexing. Running

across the rows from left hand to right hand, the numbering goes:

 

left hand...0, 4, 3, 2, 1...change to right hand...5, 6, 7, 8, 9

 

which I certainly find a tad confusing. There's a diagram in the book (p.5) which sort of establishes a

connection between 'finger numbers' and button numbers, but if you look at beginning piano lessons,

these seem to use a different numbering system, which reflects the natural symmetry of the hooman

body, and is pretty much the same as that used by the medical profession. Personally, I find this very

intuitive.

 

The books by Mick Bramich are very beginner-friendly, particularly if you don't read music (yet!). I started

with Absolute Beginners Concertina.

 

Mike Jones said:

 

> Tutoring is also available on-line for most genres of music including concertinas

 

I graduated from Mick Bramich's book to the Australian Bush Traditions online tutor when I started.

 

Both the above use the same numbering system (different to both systems you mention, I'm afraid).

 

John Kirkpatrick MBE has an online set of concertina tutoring notes here.

 

There's also a series of (audio) files here created by Alan Day. IIRC, they come with scores (PDF)

for the tunes covered.

 

All of the above are, I think, aimed at C/G concertina...

 

Once you run out of tunes (in whatever tutor you decide to use), there are a million tune books on the

internet. They come in various formats. Among the very best are Paul Hardy's Tune Books. You can

download a free PDF copy, or cough up a (very small) amount of cash for a properly bound copy.

 

Aside: Gary Coover published a table about 10(?) years ago which described about 30 different systems

(can't find the URL I'm afraid). I guess that's the beauty of 'standards' - there are so many to choose from.

Welcome to the asylum...😎

 

Good luck whichever system you decide to use...

 

 

I much prefer Gary Coovers book but I will certainly consider what you have listed above thanks 

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4 hours ago, Mike Acott said:

Hello, I live in East Suffolk where there are a number of sessions with players of a range of styles and  dexterity.Iam going to a session this evening in the Dove (pub in Hospital road) where there is a mixture of music and songso if you can make it I will see you there.

Mike

I'm also from east Suffolk I will have a look into these if you have anymore information I'd be most grateful

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4 hours ago, David Barnert said:

 

Don’t overlook this suggestion. It may well be all you need. A bunch of audio files that will teach you how to play by ear, without having to think about printed music. 

I want to echo David's suggestion - and David is very well versed in music theory.

 

I spent far too long worrying about learning to read music fluently and I am now trying to reset myself by learning to play by ear.  Much more satisfying.

 

In the olden days folks used to use their finger to slow down a 'record' on a 'gramophone' in order to hear what was being played.  Slowing it down this way was uneven and it also changed the pitch.  These days we do not have to do this. There are lots of 'slowdowner' programs available that let you select a small section of music that you can then slow down almost to zero without changing its pitch.  You can set it to loop that section over and over again while you play along with it until you get it right, then you can slowly speed it up again.

 

I like 'Transcribe!' which is available on Windows, Linux and Mac, and 'Audiostretch' on Android and iOS, but there are lots of others.

 

Combine one of these with Alan's audio files (or any other source of clear recordings) and off you go.

 

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16 hours ago, lordbmz said:

I much prefer Gary Coovers book but I will certainly consider what you have listed above thanks 

I'll add that although I don't use GC's system, I do have an (experimental) program which uses a

(modified/simplified) version of GC's numbering system to add simple (melody only) tablature to

a score. Send me a list of tunes you want to learn, and if the tunes are in my tune book, I'll see if

I  can work up tabbed scores for those tunes. I'll need to know what keys your 'tina is in, and

whether  it's 20- or 30- button.

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5 hours ago, lachenal74693 said:

I'll add that although I don't use GC's system, I do have an (experimental) program which uses a

(modified/simplified) version of GC's numbering system to add simple (melody only) tablature to

a score. Send me a list of tunes you want to learn, and if the tunes are in my tune book, I'll see if

I  can work up tabbed scores for those tunes. I'll need to know what keys your 'tina is in, and

whether  it's 20- or 30- button.

Thank you for that I will have a think and message you at some point. Thank you so much 👍

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, lachenal74693 said:

I'll add that although I don't use GC's system, I do have an (experimental) program which uses a

(modified/simplified) version of GC's numbering system to add simple (melody only) tablature to

a score. Send me a list of tunes you want to learn, and if the tunes are in my tune book, I'll see if

I  can work up tabbed scores for those tunes. I'll need to know what keys your 'tina is in, and

whether  it's 20- or 30- button.

Thank you for that I will have a think and message you at some point. Thank you so much 👍

Edited by lordbmz
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So far I'm mainly playing on one side and keeping it simple to build up memory and movements. The thought of moving onto both sides is daunting but I get that it will come with natural finger movements. Being right handed my left hand cramps/aches quickly as my fingers aren't used to being manipulated on that hand so my focus will be to strengthen the dexterity of my left hand for a while too

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5 hours ago, lordbmz said:

So far I'm mainly playing on one side and keeping it simple to build up memory and movements. The thought of moving onto both sides is daunting but I get that it will come with natural finger movements. Being right handed my left hand cramps/aches quickly as my fingers aren't used to being manipulated on that hand so my focus will be to strengthen the dexterity of my left hand for a while too

 

I’m a duet player, not an Anglo player, but in the early days of my playing, some thirty-(mumble) years ago, it became clear very quickly that if I didn’t start incorporating my left hand early in the process, it would become harder and harder the longer I put it off.

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I agree, you must practice using both sides of instrument, in order  to establish early on.. good technique.

Later on you are bound to come across music that requires passing from left to right side ( or visa versa).. of keyboard.

This sort of 'ambidextrous' requirement (using both hands) is essential to play well. It really is not that hard to acquire the nack; with good practice, you will master it eventually .Keep practicing, and don't give in if progress seems slow.

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