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20 Button Anglo Concertinas?


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I see some of these listed at times but as normal the prices are just about as the 30 button concertina. Am I correct in stating the 20 button just lacks the sharp and flat notes in the scale of like G/C or what ever key in the concertina is in?  I guess the 20 button may be a little easier to play but may be limited by the notes available but it appears from the people I have seen comments about that the instrument is sufficient to play all the tunes they desire.  I am just curious since I am new to looking into concertinas and need to educate myself.

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Some would say that a 30 button Anglo concertina is even more sufficient to play all the tunes you desire, AND in the keys you may desire.

 

Richard

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That is what I figured if you wanted to play all types tunes. I also thought it might be easier to learn on but not sure about that. It may not matter. I am sure there are a lot of tunes a person could learn on with the 20 button one would have to realize if it was in a key needing sharps and flats and their concertina was a G/C instrument they may want to avoid the tune or transpose it to G,C, Am,or Em.

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Playing in session or in original key: 30b

Playing for fun : 20b is sufficient if you don't mind playing the same key ! D tune can eventually be played in C, A tune can eventually be played in G. F tune can eventually be played in G. I say eventually because some notes can be too low/high or the tune won't sound good in that new key. So be prepare for some sacrifice as maybe you won't be able to play your favorite tune.

 

The biggest problem is if you like to make a tune more interesting by adding that special note (out of home key) that can only be found in 30b. But no big deal.

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I went up to 30 button from a 20 button concertina a long time ago, and I never regretted doing it. I wanted more choice in key tones, and to be able to try out all the different tonal variety there was; even the more exotic C sharp key, and other oddities. Also you can create chromatic effects where you want to with less restriction on maybe only having a few on 20 button. 

There again there are some very good 20 button players; one particularly on concertina.net who show very brilliantly how 20 key Anglo can really sound! 

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7 hours ago, Jody Kruskal said:

Lots of fine music can be had from a 20 button Anglo. Still, those 30 button instruments allow you to play left hand harmonies with greater authority and other right hand benefits.

 

There are a ton of tunes that work fine on the 20B even in ITM.  many keys can be approached and tunes can be twisted to fit(much like a single row melodeon. Check out the playing of Bobby Gardiner   William Kimber was a fine example of some great 20B playing(although later I believe he went to a 30B)  In playing for Morris dancing I think he used the left hand more as a percussion instrument and was less concerned with the actual harmonies.  Still great playing. 

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An advantage of 20 button concertinas is that they come in many different key configurations, and the fingering on all of them is the same, ie, you learn a tune on a C/G concertina, but you want to play it in D, switch to a G/D, or a D/A, and the fingering will be the same.  Playing tunes and scales on 30 button instruments vary per the key, and the fingering can often be tricky.  That being said, many, many people do it, but for ITM, they mainly only learn the scales for G, G, and A(and the relative minors).  Good Luck with your future concertina, whatever you choose!

 

Don Smith

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4 hours ago, zalexander said:

Another newbie question: How difficult is it to move from a 20b to a 30b instrument? Would a beginner be putting themselves at a disadvantage by starting with a 20b?

Absolutely not! 20b is a classic and useful way to start. I had an essay taking this exact point of view on the old, static version of Concertina.net. My Stagi got me going until I was ready to spend a month or more of salary on a "real" instrument. After tons of "replace that" advice from fellow students at my first Noel Hill concertina class (25 years ago!) Noel borrowed it and silenced them all by playing it like lightning (I have a recording). Then he handed it back, saying with a grin, "I started out on one like that. I wrecked it!"

 

Ken

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17 hours ago, zalexander said:

Another newbie question: How difficult is it to move from a 20b to a 30b instrument? Would a beginner be putting themselves at a disadvantage by starting with a 20b?

Usually twenty (or at worst nineteen) of the buttons on a 30b are equivalent to those of a 20b, so whatever works on a 20b should work just the same on a 30b. The only possible slight problem would be if you developed workarounds for the limitations of the 20b and found it hard to abandon them and take advantage of the greater flexibility of the 30b, but that needn't matter much anyway. And, as noted above, many of us have started on 20b and moved up successfully, some of us to 40b.

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A 20 button Anglo is every bit as enjoyable to play as a 30 if you treat its limitations as part of the charm of the instrument, rather than as a handicap.

 

The 20 button is incredibly versatile, and there are hundreds, probably thousands, of traditional, pop and country tunes, and even short classical pieces, that you can play on it with or without harmonic accompaniment.

 

The 20 button offers a wide range of chords in each of its 2 main major keys, and their relative minors.

 

Of course, a 24 button is more versatile, a 30 button is more versatile than that, and a 38 button more versatile still.  If you want extreme versatility, you can always learn the piano instead.

 

There is more to the choice of instrument than its versatility.  No one says "if you buy a tin whistle, you will need to progress to the flute within months."  No one says the violin is less versatile than the guitar because it doesn't do chords.

 

All that said, if you are only ever going to own one Anglo then a 30 button is a good compromise.  You can always choose to play it "old skool" like a 20b by ignoring the accidental row, or you can use its full 30 buttons.

 

Starting on a 20 will not put you at a disadvantage if you choose to progress to the 30+ button.  The same fingerings will always work, plus you will also be able to try alternative fingerings borrowing from the extra row.  Some of those extra buttons are extra notes, but some are just conveniently-placed duplicates of notes you already have on the 20b.

 

The Anglo is the most impractical, niche, quirky, oddball of instruments, and trying to be rational about choosing one is inherently irrational!  Choose one that feels good in your hands and sounds good in your ears.

 

Personally, I've owned various Anglos and although my Dipper 30 is my go-to box, I have every bit as much fun on my baritone 30, my piccolo 20 and my standard 20.

 

 

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Before going up to 30  button concertina; on my then German made  20 button model... I had transcribed well over300 plus pieces I found worked on it! Most classical also; and surprisingly found music books intended for recorder, or flute, very useful in their variety, range and choice!

Then once got to 30 button even more music was possible beyond even the 300 ( but that's another story completely,!)..

Edited by SIMON GABRIELOW
Clarify message.
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Yes I  agree; when listening to C. Wheeler ( forgive my spelling as I am using tiny mobile phone for this).

I can easily imagine I am listening to a complete orchestra ( in miniature).. certainly a special sensitivity which shows capabilities of 20 key concertina alone very clearly.

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