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Hi there ! 

 

I just received my first anglo concertina ( the new swan ) that I bought on Mc Neela website ==>  https://mcneelamusic.com/concertinas/the-new-swan-concertina/

After about one hour playing I realized that the sound became weird.

After paying attention, it occurs only on the left side :

When I press on a button, I push and then pull, there is like a "sizzle" sound.

It appear only on the left side, all buttons are concerned.

By exemple If I want to play a C and then a G on the same button, I will push and then pull ==> It sounds weird, especially at the beginning of the second note .

Now if I play a C and then a A, I need to swap button, and there is no problem. This is always when I stay on the same button while pulling/ pushing or pushing/pulling.

 

I made a video to record the problem:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/10jSe3KLIM8YIBvqgOr25UWdWxpUzVQAh/view?usp=sharing

 

I've been back to Mc Neela over email to ask them about it, and this is their response:

 

"The sound you are hearing is typical of concertinas at this price range. It is the result of the valves resonating off each other and it should lessen with time as the valves loosen.
Alternatively, you could replace the valves with leather but that would be incredibly expensive and would require the work of a professional. 
I know this probably wasn't what you were hoping to hear but I hope it helps nevertheless! 
Let me know if there's anything I can help you with."

 

As a Violin player I know that cheepest instruments are really bad made, the're also hard to play on it, and I choose a "middle quality" hybrid anglo concertina to not be disapointed and actually I'm...

 

Is it normal for you guys ? Should I send it back for guarentee?

 

 

Bastien From France ( Sorry for the English ^^)

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It is an issue with the valves. If it only happens when you leave your finger down when changing direction learn to take your finger off and put it back down again for the new note. This issue usually only affects very low notes, I’m impressed in this case it is on every note on the left. The real remedy is to use this instrument to decide if you are going to be a concertina player and if so, buy a much better one. 

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I woul give it a bit longer before you get too concerned over the effect. To me, I would say it may well get less of a worry with frequent use. When I got my Anglo ( different make) the lowest C note, bass left side, was slow to respond and made similar noise, but over many weeks it improved. Some reeds, in my experience, have different characteristics to others, and it is the way they are. They are after all separate metal parts, put together into a box, and each will have its own character, and tendancies as to timbre of sound. It needs using frequently, and often, to free up any mechanism.

Be patient, and get to know your instrument, and you may soon see that these early effects reduce, or I believe, go all together.

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12 hours ago, Chris Ghent said:

It is an issue with the valves. If it only happens when you leave your finger down when changing direction learn to take your finger off and put it back down again for the new note. This issue usually only affects very low notes, I’m impressed in this case it is on every note on the left. The real remedy is to use this instrument to decide if you are going to be a concertina player and if so, buy a much better one. 

 

Thanks for your reply Chris,

 

I get your point but that lose a diatonic benefit instrument, I mean it's super handy to don't take my finger off on the same button whyle changing note ...

 

I'm actually looking on Concertinas makers website and the price are incredibly hight (for me, my budget).

In the other side, I see some Lachenal second hand on sale, but as I notice, In france there is 0 concertinas store, so it will be  a distance selling without the possibilitie of playing the instrument before ... Not that great especially for a beginner.

 

By exemple I bought a violin over my town and the luthier lent it to me for two weeks to play it then plai it again. (I don't know if this happend with Concertinas makers).

As I played several years on Fiddle I was able to "judge" the instrument's abilities.

 

And yeah, it sounds like I will continue playin concertina, I fell in love with it... 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, SIMON GABRIELOW said:

I woul give it a bit longer before you get too concerned over the effect. To me, I would say it may well get less of a worry with frequent use. When I got my Anglo ( different make) the lowest C note, bass left side, was slow to respond and made similar noise, but over many weeks it improved. Some reeds, in my experience, have different characteristics to others, and it is the way they are. They are after all separate metal parts, put together into a box, and each will have its own character, and tendancies as to timbre of sound. It needs using frequently, and often, to free up any mechanism.

Be patient, and get to know your instrument, and you may soon see that these early effects reduce, or I believe, go all together.

 

Thanks for your answer Simon,

 

I wish it will be that way, I mean the sound problem will decrease... 

I still have several day to send it back to McNeela for a full refund, but the thing is if I wait to long they won't refund it totally.

 

I asked McNeela about their upgrade model ( https://mcneelamusic.com/concertinas/the-phoenix-concertina/ )

 

I actually asked them if the valve problem will occurs as well, and also what kind of reeds there is ( I learn that there is concertina's reeds and accordion's one ).

 

 

 

 

 

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I think you will find in consumer laws that a company can NOT limit their warranty ( even beyond guarantees)! And that a resolution has to be reached. But I hope with them having reputation and being known manufacturers, you hopefully will be fine. So don't be too worried over time limitations here; it's important that you the 'customer' is satisfied first and forenost,. And I am sure they will sort it out.

 

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On 12/4/2022 at 7:32 PM, Narko said:

When I press on a button, I push and then pull, there is like a "sizzle" sound.

It appear only on the left side, all buttons are concerned.

By exemple If I want to play a C and then a G on the same button, I will push and then pull ==> It sounds weird, especially at the beginning of the second note .

Now if I play a C and then a A, I need to swap button, and there is no problem. This is always when I stay on the same button while pulling/ pushing or pushing/pulling.

 

What you're experiencing happens with all kinds of concertinas, and accordions too. It sounds worse with plastic valves, but still occurs with leather ones.

 

It is caused by incorrect playing technique (not lifting your finger between press and draw notes on the same button), and is not a fault in the instrument. 

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17 hours ago, Bastien said:

I asked McNeela about their upgrade model ( https://mcneelamusic.com/concertinas/the-phoenix-concertina/ )

 

I actually asked them if the valve problem will occurs as well, and also what kind of reeds there is ( I learn that there is concertina's reeds and accordion's one ).

 

All "hybrid" concertinas have accordion reeds, that's what makes them hybrids, and why they are relatively inexpensive.

 

But accordion reeds come in various qualities, and the reeds in the the McNeela Phoenix are superior, high quality, Czech-made tipo a mano accordion reeds. 

 

I've tried a McNeela Phoenix, and can thoroughly recommend them.

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Well, if you are brave enough and reeds in this box are mounted with screws, not wax, then replacing valves isn’t really all that hard, it is mostly time consuming. But you would probably have to tune reeds afterwards, which is a bit trickier and even more time consuming. Most low end concertinas will have plastic valves mounted (which is strange as leather valves, though more expensive than plastics, are still just a fraction of a cost of even low end boxes). English and duet concertinas can work nicely with plastics (actually I prefer them in my boxes) but with anglos you will always hear this. It is the nature of the free reed and is a problem even in… midi concertinas(!) with real bellows and pressure sensors. It stems from the small overlap zone in between bellows direction change, when springiness of the air and coupling of reeds and valves of both directions to the same chamber cause both reeds and both valves to vibrate for a moment until airflow stabilises. Heavier valves and leather valves will reduce this effect but it won’t go away entirely and stiffer plastic valves will increase the effect. Using heavier and/or leather valves increases the pressure threshold to start the reed but by doing so you also increase the force you have to squeeze the bellows with to start the reed. So this is always a problem of ballance between the sound and the ease of play.  My box (a duet) is set up so even the lightest bellows squeeze will start any reed mounted, but at the expense of this kind of artifacts happening during bellows tremolo or LH oom-pahs at lower volumes. 
 

The bottom line - this behaviour is normal, to a degree. However, it is indeed very strong in your box, most probably because of wrong choice of plastic valves (they are not created equal).

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Can I suggest, as an experiment, handing the concertina to an experienced player, take half a dozen steps away and listen for the offending noise when the instrument is being played. You will probably find that the valve-slap sound decays much more swiftly than that of the reeds, which the maker was probably aware of, but remember that your concertina was built to a price point, hence the use of something other than top of the range materials and endless time spent on final adjustment in their workshop. While that particular model of concertina may be a disappointment to you, there will always be a degree of superfluous noise; you will not notice it after a while, except perhaps if you use it with close mics for recording purposes. (Have a close listen to a few concertina tracks on YouTube from top players with first class instruments and you will hear similar or worse culprits!)

So my best advice is stick with it for a while, and welcome to the world of concertinas. And try to refrain from holding down buttons when changing bellows direction; it will aid clarity and improve finger dexterity. Maybe where you play two notes on the same button, you may discover an alternative fingering and bellows direction available by playing one of those notes on another row; seek them out: it will encourage you to learn your way around the keyboard with increased fluidity.

(Sorry for straying a little off-topic.)

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Seriously, you all are providing so much excellent informations ! 

 

Thanks a lot, I get it now, I understand the complexity of how instruments are making according budget.

 

So I will continue playing on this New Swan, even if i found a Clare built by Irish company that it could be ok with my budget (second hand).

 

I will I think work on with the swan and increase my skills before changing instruments ! 

 

As someone ask it, there is not players here in France so I wont bé able to listen someone else playing my concertina.

 

Take Care all of you, thanks again!

 

 

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21 hours ago, Stephen Chambers said:

It is caused by incorrect playing technique (not lifting your finger between press and draw notes on the same button), and is not a fault in the instrument. 

 

Lifting your finger between a direction reversal on the same button will generally make your playing sound a lot crisper, and is something you should be doing irrespective of any strange noises. It may take a bit a work, but will soon become automatic, and is  (IMHO) well worth it.

 

Try playing a scale without lifting the finger for straight reversals, and then lifting the finger for every new note. You will notice the difference.
 

Other people's opinions may vary.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Clive Thorne said:

Lifting your finger between a direction reversal on the same button will generally make your playing sound a lot crisper, and is something you should be doing irrespective of any strange noises.

"Shouldn't" you try to play the Anglo legato?

I must say, neither my Crabb nor my Stagi make funny noises when I do a legato scale passage without lifting the finger off the button on bellows reversal. On a staccato run, I suppose lifting the finger before reversal would be OK, even desirable, but not as the "default" technique.

Or am I missing something?

Cheers,

John

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Anglos are funny beasts.. its often a combination of bellows use along with the way buttons are pressed, that can give the effects desired; staccatto can be formed by a certain quick pecking at the key, and also by slightly jerking of the bellows, enough to make a short note, but not harshly; it all comes down to practice, and finding your own way, by playing. Legato, I have found is a certain smooth passage of fingers moving over keys, and bellows supporting the notes journey in a thoughtful, and equally smooth manner. Like a sort of partnership between player, and instrument.

Edited by SIMON GABRIELOW
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On 12/8/2022 at 7:17 PM, Anglo-Irishman said:

"Shouldn't" you try to play the Anglo legato?

I must say, neither my Crabb nor my Stagi make funny noises when I do a legato scale passage without lifting the finger off the button on bellows reversal. On a staccato run, I suppose lifting the finger before reversal would be OK, even desirable, but not as the "default" technique.

Or am I missing something?

Cheers,

John

In my experience it is easier to learn to play staccato and then relax it a bit when required, rather than learn legato and try to sharpen it up when required. (I found this out on melodeon rather than anglo, but it equally applies (IMHO) to anglo). Your mileage may vary.

 

If you are playing legato on an anglo then are are still likely to be bellow reversals with a button change as well, so you'll lose the legato there anyway. If really wanting to go legato the best route would be to avoid below reversals as much as possible within the limits of the instrument - I think.

 

For dance music at least, my preference is to play staccato. - gives a lot more punch to the sound.

 

I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination so make of the above what you will.

 

In the end there is no right or wrong, just preferences. Go for the technique/sound that works for you.

 

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Hi there, I will follow, try, all your greats advices! 

 

I'm learning through, 123 easy anglo from Gary coover as there is no teacher in my region. 

 

I move in pretty fast I think.

Concertina is more easy at the begining than violin from my point of view.

 

Cheers, take Care 

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