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Concertina Conundrum - Compare and Contrast

Ed Rennie

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Morning all (well, at least to those for whom it's morning just now)


I thought I'd float this in the general discussion forum as, although it concerns buying an instrument, I'm a long way off from parting with the readies. Yes, I'll explain.


I'm after a robust 30 key Anglo to use for playing for dance. I say robust, because i have been a robust melodeon player for darn near 40 years.


I have a basic 20 key Lachenal which is coming under heavy fire atm. That's my entry level box ticked, but I need more buttons and would like to move to a decent long term instrument, rather than the intermediate step, if you know what I mean. As with all things, budget is a big consideration so mid range.


Now i remember trying a Morse box many years ago at a festival and was very impressed by the weight of it (and price!)compared with a metal ended Lachenal or Wheatstone. Seemed responsive too. But they are now as rare a hen's teeth. So what's about?


I've seen Red Cow Music were selling the Concertina Connection Minstrel, which seems to have the same air about it, at least as far as i can tell from the pictures. Also McNeela seem to have some nice looking boxes. But there's the rub. I can only see pictures of various models and makes and being in rural Devon (and at the end of the festival season) i can't lay my hands on anything. And of course i want it NOW! 😄


So. which of the new concertinas have folks tried and what did they think? And we can probably include Marcus's.


II guess a good datum for price and weight/playability would be the Morse I tried (assuming it is robust, I never tested that because at the time I was clueless how to play it, so i just noodled a bit).


If you've managed to read this far without dozing off (or swearing), well done!











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I am sure you will get far more advice than my own (current early sunny morning).. few words.

Only to say that I have had my concertina for over 23 years now and although it needs occasional attention in mechanism now and again ( which I do myself).. it has stood up to years of use!

Mine was sold under Hohner name; but later on I understand was made in Italy by Brunna musica  ( company now closed, but see the documentary on con.net to see the wonderful people now taken over the reins, in Italy , using the same machinery)!

Mine has metal face plate, very modern plain plated. Brown bellows, 30 buttons, on C and G.

I also inherited my late father's accordion, so adapting to smaller concertina, is not that difficult, smaller buttons, and more delicate finger use is mainly all.

Sometimes with my kind, there can be a few teething problems, when new, but over time once used I personally find a great sense of satisfaction in the steel reeds it has, and strong full tone it produces.

You can find my own attempts at playing my own concertina on here ( Con.net) As it is my one and only squeeze box it gets treated as carefully as a baby on a crib, and even has its own special box to go in!

Best of luck with your choices; you will get no doubt many more offers of advice!🌝🌝🌝🌝🌝🌝

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Many of the models you mention will, I am sure, hold up very well. I have been hammering on my Morse Ceili since 2001 and it still works fine. A once-over by a technician every decade or two seems to be in order for these instruments, but compared to a piano or a violin (in my hands at least) I'd say that is acceptable.



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As you are in Devon, you should contact the West Country Concertina players.
The details are copied from www.concertina.info (the concertina FAQ)

West Country Concertinas        A flourishing group with 6 workshops per year at 
                                Ruishton near Taunton, a series of workshops at 
                                Sidmouth Festival and other events for beginners,
                                intermediate and competent players. WWW page
                                at:- https://thewccp.org/
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Not much of an expert.. and a lot depends on your budget.

I would probably focus on Morse, AC Norman over the other hybrids mentioned.


or better if funds allow, look for a decent vintage Wheatstone, Lachenal etc..


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Highly recommend most of the brands mentioned above. I'd especially look at an AC Norman, I've got 2, and they've not had an easy life. My GD has been abused by me since 1997 and my CG since 2003. Only ever broken one spring and had a bit of bellow patching on the GD.

Marcus concertinas and Morse if you can find one are also great.

Otherwise, its vintage 30 button time and I'd suggest looking at chris algars stock.

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