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Why are accordions relatively so cheap?


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55 minutes ago, Martin Essery said:

Thank you for your input, but I have been a musician for over half a century, at times professional and not stupid. It sounds like you are talking of the Rochelle, not the Rochelle-2, which is a much smaller instrument, presumably smaller bellows and maybe shorter reeds.

 

I am glad of your validation for the Marcus, as that is where I am headed next. I have tried a Marcus and was instantly twice the player! I tried a brand new unused Marcus too and there was twice the air in the bellows on an unused instrument compared to the Rochelle-2, which arrived very stiff and is still stiff after months of playing, with so much spring there there is no need to push, I just stop pulling as much.

 

Where I have run out of air and am not up to speed, I recognise that fact, but that is not what I am talking about, and not every tune can be played fast just so you have enough air. Although my skill with the air button could be improved, I do know how to use it, but that only helps if you have some opposite bellows notes to use it on, which is not always the case. Yes, playing staccato umpa notes makes things easier, but that is not always musically suitable, and other players on youtube do not have to resort to those techniques in the sorts of tunes that give me concern. My reference to harmonic style is to Gary Coover's Anglo Concertina in the Harmonic Style.

 

For instance, page 33, Auld Lang Syne, bars 6 and 7 are unbroken pull. My concertina, played at the right speed, the same speed that everyone else plays it at, barely makes 1 bar of melody and accompaniment on a full bellows and 2 bars is literally quite impossible. Stopping mid tune to empty the bellows would be silly. Other concertina players on youtube do not seem bothered, but my particular instrument cannot do it, and there are several other tunes in the book that produce similar problems.

 

There are other signs that my particular instrument suffers from lack of quality control. The button profiles vary from entirely flat to very rounded, so they have been hand made, but not by anyone actually paying attention. The bellows are still way stiffer after months of playing than seems reasonable. The pressure needed to make the reeds speak is very inconsistent, and with instructions from Concertina Connection, I had to retune them. Why should I need to do that on a new instrument?

As soon as I can afford it, I shall be getting a Marcus. I had thought of upgrading to a Clover, but if attention to detail is so absent on the cheaper instrument, I do not feel inclined to trust their more expensive ones. In a life as a craftsman, if I was required to make something cheaply, I did not make it shoddy, I made it as well as I could within the price constraint. While Concertina Connections makes much better instruments, the fact that they allowed this one through shows a lack of caring that I would rather not be associated with.

While I am having a quibble. When I played the Marcus, the air button was free, silent and quick, while comparatively the Rochelle-2 was reluctant, wheezy and slow. It cannot cost any more to make a larger air hole, so shows a fault in design, and another reason I would not trust the same manufacturer.

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3 hours ago, Martin Essery said:

I had thought of upgrading to a Clover, but if attention to detail is so absent on the cheaper instrument, I do not feel inclined to trust their more expensive ones. In a life as a craftsman, if I was required to make something cheaply, I did not make it shoddy, I made it as well as I could within the price constraint. While Concertina Connections makes much better instruments, the fact that they allowed this one through shows a lack of caring that I would rather not be associated with.

 

Have you considered that with the Clover you can take advantage of the full purchase price trade-in program that Concertina Connection offers?

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On 8/10/2022 at 11:28 PM, David Barnert said:

 

Have you considered that with the Clover you can take advantage of the full purchase price trade-in program that Concertina Connection offers?

I had indeed considered that, but came to the conclusion that I have tried a Marcus and like it, Marcus is only an hour away with lifetime warrantee should I need it, so any small loss in resale price will be offset by the added convenience of a local provider.

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For what it's worth, my experience with a McNeela Wren as a starter instrument (coincidentally also upgrading to a Marcus) was also similar to what you encountered with the Rochelle. These issues seem to be unfortunately common to mass produced entry level concertinas.

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7 hours ago, Owen Anderson said:

For what it's worth, my experience with a McNeela Wren as a starter instrument (coincidentally also upgrading to a Marcus) was also similar to what you encountered with the Rochelle. These issues seem to be unfortunately common to mass produced entry level concertinas.

Thank you for the confirmation. I am in the middle of possibly changing streams. My main interest is in classical music, some of which is possible on 30 buttons, and was going to get a better 30, like the Marcus before going for 40 buttons, but am wondering whether I should save for the leap to 40 straight away?

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On 8/13/2022 at 12:31 PM, Martin Essery said:

Thank you for the confirmation. I am in the middle of possibly changing streams. My main interest is in classical music, some of which is possible on 30 buttons, and was going to get a better 30, like the Marcus before going for 40 buttons, but am wondering whether I should save for the leap to 40 straight away?

If your main interest is in classical music, then choosing the Anglo is not necessarily the conventional wisdom.  The Anglo is heavily biased towards a small number of related keys, and the more accidental buttons you add, the more arbitrary the layout seems to become.

 

Conventionally the English is seen as more logical and consistent, without the strong bias towards certain keys.  Duets, also, lend themselves to a wider range of music.

 

That is not to knock the Anglo, and I'm sure many people find plenty of classical pieces they can either play or adapt.

 

My own experience is that I had a 38b Anglo for a few years, but I found myself drifting towards the 30b, and now, I play the 20b almost as much as the 30b.  I choose my repertoire according to the instrument, rather than vice versa.  What I listen to for pleasure (rockabilly, country, blues) is not what I play (Morris tunes and folk).  I have one "classical" (in the broadest sense) piece in my regular repertoire: an adaptation of a trumpet piece that I can play in full harmonic style on Anglo.

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5 hours ago, Mikefule said:

If your main interest is in classical music, then choosing the Anglo is not necessarily the conventional wisdom.  The Anglo is heavily biased towards a small number of related keys, and the more accidental buttons you add, the more arbitrary the layout seems to become.

 

Conventionally the English is seen as more logical and consistent, without the strong bias towards certain keys.  Duets, also, lend themselves to a wider range of music.

 

That is not to knock the Anglo, and I'm sure many people find plenty of classical pieces they can either play or adapt.

 

My own experience is that I had a 38b Anglo for a few years, but I found myself drifting towards the 30b, and now, I play the 20b almost as much as the 30b.  I choose my repertoire according to the instrument, rather than vice versa.  What I listen to for pleasure (rockabilly, country, blues) is not what I play (Morris tunes and folk).  I have one "classical" (in the broadest sense) piece in my regular repertoire: an adaptation of a trumpet piece that I can play in full harmonic style on Anglo.

I am not conventionally wise 😄 My inspiration is such as these 🙂
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yI1GQM_NMk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0LtMgMgNcA
I feel it is the very inconsistency of the Anglo that gives it an extra dimension of life that the English and Duet seem to lack. I like the challenge 🙂

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I have to say, in my personal experience, over couple of decades of playing 30 button Anglo, I have had to change but a few musical pieces in that time. And furthermore the experience I have over that time gained in studying transposition, and hand copying in many instances, has been of great benefit in my own progress.

Whether Bach, Elgar, Purcell, Telemann, Handel, and lesser known contemporaries.. I have managed transcriptions of most with little alteration to original music.  And besides, most instruments have to be adapted at some point anyway, to better fit the range.

How often do we come across a flute music book , or recorder, which has been carefully adapted to suit? And most composers of the past were in themselves very free in their music been used for other instruments also. Bach's violin work, suddenly becomes keyboard work, or organ work etc.... A Vivaldi performance made into a flute piece [performed by James Galway; I am thinking of Spring from Four seasons on LP at one stage.]

Its up to musician to find that original way forward whatever instrument they play.

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