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New Clover Anglo or used Morse Ceili (#020)?


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I am a beginner player from Colorado, ready to move up from my (crummy) student 30 button to a better model. I have an opportunity to purchase a used Morse Ceilli for $1800, but it needs repairs: some of the reeds have been swapped out to create a "custom" button arrangement and one button only sounds on the push, not the pull. Without being able to see/examine, the box, Button Box guestimated the cost of repairing the 'bad' button/reed and restoring the original button layout at $300-$500. A new Clover costs about $2400 which makes the two possibilities about equal in price. Button Box wait repair time is 3 months. Since I am an inexperienced player, I don't know if it is "risky" to purchase an instrument whose maker is no longer in business or if this is even a crucial issue. Is an instrument of this vintage prone to increasing repair issues? There is no one local who can repair concertinas, so any future repairs means I would have to ship the instrument somewhere like Button Box. I have tried both instruments and slightly prefer the more mellow tone of the Morse as well as the fact that it doesn't have metal-capped buttons (which kinda leave indentation marks in my finger tips!), but I would be OK with the Anglo if the Morse potential repair problems seem significant. Thank you for your feedback!

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I'm a huge fan of Morse ceilis, and the BB's Bob Snope could probably build one in his sleep.  The BB repair service is still in business, and I imagine it will be for some time to come.

 

 But I'd ask one question: who did this "custom" button arrangement?  If it was the BB, fine; if not, I'd be wary, since amateurs can do a lot of damage.

 

The ceili and clover are roughly comparable instruments. I prefer the sound of the Morse, but that's a subjective question of personal taste.  The clovers I've tried have a pretty comparable feel.

 

Metal capped pointy buttons - trust me, you get used to them. It took me a few weeks to adjust to my Jeffries, which has button caps like little spears. Now it feels totally natural

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I agree with Jim on the first point: technically the makers of the Morse are still in business; they just aren't making new instruments.

 

I have been hammering on my Morse Ceili since I bought it in 2001 and it has held up very well. I will confess can't separate my opinion of its thoughtful design from my memories of its thoughtful designer, Rich Morse, whom I considered a friend.

 

I built one of the early Clover kits for my wife and it is a fine instrument/design also.

 

Ken

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If you liked the feeling and sound of the Morse, go for it. Have the Button Box fix her up just like new. I second that they know what they're doing and It's worth it. Those are good instruments; built to last.

 

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From ergonomical point of view,

- Ceili is lighter than Clover. 

- Buttons of Clover (and concertinas of concertina connection in general) are somewhat "thinner" than Ceili and someone will experience their fingers falling inbetween buttons, which could be frustrating

- Bellows are very smooth on either instrument. 

 

Totani

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I also suggest the Morse.  The people are the best, and they are the key.  But, if this particular instrument has been hacked by amteurs, as Jim suggested there may be some damage.  Button Box folks will steer you straight.

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Thanks to all who replied. I think the question of new Clover versus used Morse has been answered for me - ConcertinaConnection seems to be out of business. Their phone is disconnected; there is no order form on their website; emails go unanswered. So, Morse, here I come! thanks again.

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I have not played the clover.

but the Morse are top notch.

 

I would also keep looking, there are hybrids out there in your budget that will come up. I’d look out for an ac Norman I had one and it was on par with anything else I ever tried.  Fast bright, loud and amazing workmanship.
But I traded it as I am focusing on English anD duet.

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2 hours ago, bluesgal said:

Thanks to all who replied. I think the question of new Clover versus used Morse has been answered for me - ConcertinaConnection seems to be out of business. Their phone is disconnected; there is no order form on their website; emails go unanswered. So, Morse, here I come! thanks again.

 

Good luck with your decision/choice. However, I've not heard anything about Wim and Co. suspending operations from anyone/where else and would want to know this from sources near him before giving this credence beyond a rumor.

 

Ken

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It is a pity that Wim Wakker of concertina connection did not respond to you. 
 

From ergonomical point of view,

- Morse is lighter in weight

- Clover has thinner buttons and some player may find his fingers falling in between buttons

- Bellows of Clover and Morse are both very good with different taste

 

So I think your decisión is decent. I would not mind going for a Clover though.

 

Totani

 

 

 

 

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22 hours ago, bluesgal said:

Their phone is disconnected; there is no order form on their website; emails go unanswered.

I just received a package of parts from them last week.  Maybe they are on vacation?

 

Anyways, you won't regret a Morse.  A lot of different concertinas have passed through my hands, but the one I have hung on to since I first started playing 14 years ago is my G/D Morse.  It plays like butter.  I wouldn't worry too much about the layout modifications (if they were in fact done by someone other than the manufacturer- my Morse has a custom layout that they did at my request.) Because the reeds aren't slotted into a dovetail it's unlikely that any damage was done in the reed swap.

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