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How many concertinas have you owned/tried?


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I don't think there's been a topic along these lines, I'm probably mistaken.  Anyway, the title speaks for itself.  I have the brass reed Lachenal Anglo I bought to start out with, found it to a major headache to play, monkeyed around with the reeds, screwed up a few, gave up for a while...


Then I bought the Kensington I mostly play.  Also have a Wheatstone.  Have a 58 button Jeffries duet in Bb, nice confusing change of pace.  😁


A friend has bought a mess of Anglos over the years looking for something light that won't hurt her hands/wrists.  I've played her Morse, her Irish concertina company, and now she has a small Carroll, I knocked out a tune on that the other day. 


Another friend has a Noel Hill model Carroll, and he keeps the straps loose enough so that I could give that a good test drive once.  Another friend let me loosen up the straps on her 38 button Suttner and play it for a while.  I got to hear her play my Kensington, too.  Nice hexagons all!  They all shine in different ways. 


Playing the Anglo it's really frustrating how you can't easily try out someone else's instrument, what with all the loosening up involved.  I wish the quick release mechanism Dana uses on the Kensington had been universally adapted, but I'm sure some people wouldn't be happy with the look.  I envy people who play the EC, no fussing around. 

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10 minutes ago, LR71 said:






Playing the Anglo it's really frustrating how you can't easily try out someone else's instrument, what with all the loosening up involved.  I wish the quick release mechanism Dana uses on the Kensington had been universally adapted, but I'm sure some people wouldn't be happy with the look.  I envy people who play the EC, no fussing around. 

Oh  I  can  assure  you  there is  plenty  of  fussing  about  when  trying  someone  else's  EC...  same  problem  , the  straps.  There  are  two  types of  players;  the  one's  who  have  their  straps  set  for  gripping  the end  joint  of  the  thumb  and  the  others  ,like  myself,  who  have  the  straps  slack  enough  to  shove  the  thumbs  in  as  far  as  they  will go.

As  for  how  many  concertinas  have  I  Tried ;  more than  a hundred,  Owned;  lost  count  but  likely  more than  fifty... currently  have three.

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Couple years of playing Anglo, started with the dreaded Hohner D40, upgraded to my G/C Lachenal, steel reed, 20 button, 1890s mahogany. This Lachenal is my go to companion. I recently obtained a Henry Harley Bb/F 26 button Anglo. This is for my love of history. The square concertinas with wood parts and such. I love the sound of it and should play it more than I do. Such a pretty thing. So 3.

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- Rented a Rochelle from the Button Box for about a fortnight (I was working in the States at the time), enough time to let me know that 1) I wanted to keep playing the anglo concertina and 2) I didn't want to keep playing the Rochelle.


- Bought a second hand Tedrow C/G, massive improvement from the Rochelle, lovely to play and beautifully made.


- Bought a second hand Edgley Heritage C/G, which I'm still playing and enjoying

Edited by Jillser Nic Amhlaoibh
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I follow the loose straps/push with heel of hand/right side airborne approach.  It's taken a while to get used to that.  It's interesting how about every imaginable way of holding these things has been tried.


I wondered if there was some adjustment possible with the EC, or if it mattered as much - you'd need to play both types to know.  Some here could answer that, I imagine.


My friend also had an Edgley hybrid, I think I played that at some point.


I forgot that I have a non functioning EC - think it's a Lachenal too - also a Schoeler 20 button C/G, complete with original leather case.

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I own only one concertina .. my Anglo 30 key ( Hohner branded) Italian produced instrument. And I am quite content with this one, because it is also used often for playing published music, but also for my writing music of my own; in increasing quantities, and here it is often the first characteristic timbre of sound the tunes are produced with.

I am sure all the other named concertinas  are also great, but I'd am staying with my one for now.🌝

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Ive owned 12 different concertinas, a couple EC's but mostly Anglos. Ive tried a number more than that over the years, but I ultimately obtained a Kensington earlier this year and I suddenly didnt want any other concertinas. It fits my needs and playing style perfectly, so Im wanting for nothing more at present. Truly a magnificent instrument and Dana's work should be talked about just as much as Suttners and Caroll's, which Ive also tried and find that theyre of course all amazing but just different. You never know whos work will fit best with you, but man, I do wish Kensingtons got more press. Its criminal I tell you!

But anyway, I think its super important that folks try as many concertinas as possible. Theyre expensive instruments (with even trinity college boxes costing hundreds) for sure, and the button box's closure has made the experience of trying concertinas out in america much harder, but its worth trying as many as you can. I started on a 20 button 'Tidder' (the name has been potentially debunked, but I digress), and traded up over and over until I got where I currently am and I do not regret the journey at all


Edited by Oberon
Forgot I had a couple more concertinas than originally stated. Can't believe I forgot them!
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I have owned:

  1. Rochelle 30 button C/G.  Sold.  A good basic beginner's box.
  2. Marcus 30 b G/D "Deluxe".  Sold.  A nicely made box, a bit heavy, and the action was rather clicky.
  3. Jeffries 38(?) button B flat/F.  Sold.  A beautiful box, smooth to play and a lovely sound.  I sometimes regret selling it, but I had no need for B flat/F.


I own:

  1. Dipper 30 b G/D with amboyna ends.  My pride and joy.
  2. Lachenal 20 b C/G, 5 fold bellows.  One of the nicest Lachenal 20s I've played.
  3. Lachenal 30 b C/G, baritone, 5 fold bellows.  Lovely tone on the left hand, slightly less so on the right. I play it occasionally.
  4. Lachenal 20 b C/G piccolo.  An impulse buy.  Very high pitched, and the left hand sometimes overwhelms the right, so it encourages a sparse (and therefore carefully selected) accompaniment.  I enjoy playing it from time to time.
  5. Marcus 21 b Traveller, C/G.  You can find my review of this elsewhere in the forum.  A beautifully made box, although not subtle.


I have played:

Every box I have had chance to play including:

  • 5 other 20 button Lachenal C/G before choosing the one I bought.
  • At least 2 x Lachenal 20 b G/D
  • Briefly, a Lachenal 20 b D/A
  • Several AC Normans, mainly 30 b C/G or G/D
  • Another Rochelle, which I played recently, long after I sold my own.
  • Various 30 b Lachenals.
  • 2 or possibly 3 Connors.  They were nicely made but I personally did not enjoy playing them.


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I have 2 Jeffries duets that I play regularly.  One is a Wheatstone 57 Button C core, The other a Jeffries 50 button D core.  They are as different as night and day.  The Wheatstone is reedy and sonorous, stiffer and chromatic down to the low cello low F with a magnetic tab option now set with the F for a F/Eb bisonoric.  The D core ( Thank you Bob Snope ) has a more horn like tone and is as fast as I could ever want to play.  It has a couple of bisonorics and centers the more common keys on the instrument. 


I have a lovely Morse C/G I bought to try Anglo before the 50b was changed over but I don't play it much.  I'll probably trade it for a suitable JD in the future. 


I've a couple of stray EC's I picked up locally the best of which is a '20's Wheatstone #4 but they all need work.



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I am lucky enough to live where button box used to be. So, I was extremely lucky to have had the chance to try out a lot of various things.

it really gives you a better perspective as to how identical instruments can be very different in real life.


that said.. I currently have 4. 2 cranes, Lachenal new model, crabb crane, 55b Aeola and a 57b Maccan Chidley.


if anybody out there would be interested, I would like to trade the Maccan for an English or an Anglo.


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Tonewise the Kensington is fantastic, such a sweet sound.  I like the Wheatstone sound fine but prefer Jeffries, and Dana really does shoot for the best of each, there isn't a note anywhere that falters either.  I admire his dedication to keeping costs down, too. 


The Wheatstone is great for a change, it's got that character that you get in antique instruments of all sorts.  Takes a bit to get used to the small metal buttons, though - which is something else I really like about Dana's work, the wide delrin buttons.  That really opens up possibilities at times.  Dunno if Carroll or Suttner offer those as options.


I've thought for a while that if I really wanted to shop for a different top of the line Anglo I'd go to one of the concertina festivals in Ireland. 


We had a gathering of Anglo players in the PNW recently, too, but there wasn't much of any opportunities to try out other instruments - people just wanted to play tunes, have a concertina only session. 

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I have owned:  Lachenal New Model 64-button Maccann duet, serial no. 1865, from 1997 to about 2014 (sold via this website, donation made).


I own:  Wheatstone Aeola 67-button Maccann duet made in November 1914, from 2009 to date.


I have tried numerous other Maccanns, basically every time I encounter a Barleycorn stand.  (Also one horrible German 20-button anglo, which I couldn't get on with at all.)


And that's it.

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2 hours ago, Paul_Hardy said:

so presumably I currently have have 15


Rethinking, numbers #5 and #6 are the same instrument (reincarnated as MIDI), so I only have 14 to track down! I do an annual audit, so that's a New Year resolution to do it this week.

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My first concertina was East German, a scarlet 20-button thing with floral decoration around the bellows. I didn't know anything about concertinas, but I'd heard Tony Rose play one on an LP and thought it seemed like a proper folky instrument, and my local music shop had this in the window. It was only much later I discovered there are different types of concertina, and that Tony played English but I had an anglo.  To be honest, I didn't get on with it awfully well.  However at university I met the singer-songwriter Richard Plant who also played anglo, and that revived my interest. However the instrument wasn't really robust enough for vigorous playing, and I soon found myself wanting to upgrade.


My next instrument was a 26-button Lachenal with brass reeds and rather leaky bellows, which at least encouraged me to develop my use of the air button. From that I stepped up to a metal-ended 40-button Lachenal which I bought from Neil Wayne. Unusually, it had fretwork around the edge of the action box, which I've seen in only one other instrument, and that only in a photo. On Colin Cater's recommendation I took it to Colin Dipper to be fettled, and it served me well for a number of years. However the sound quality, although good, was not quite up to the best instruments, and when the opportunity came along to acquire a 40-button Crabb I took it, knowing that this is what John Kirkpatrick plays.  I still have this. 


I play mainly English music so I wanted a G/D, and acquired a 40-button made in 1924 by John Crabb.  This was a very good instrument, but somehow I didn't get along with it, for reasons I couldn't quite put my finger on. Then fortune smiled on me, and I found myself the owner of a 31-button Dipper G/D Cotswold, which is a very fine thing indeed.


Somewhere along the way I picked up a 30-button Lachenal baritone in F/C.  Pedants have pointed out that this isn't properly a baritone, as there isn't a treble model in those keys.  However it is larger than a treble instrument, and with very much larger reeds than those in the G/D which is only one tone higher, so I think it is reasonable to think of it as a baritone.  The straps were a bit tight, and I only recently obtained custom straps which are longer than standard, which I've found have made it much easier to play.


This, the Crabb and the Dipper make up my current stable of concertinas. I also have a flock of melodeons, a guitar, a hammered dulcimer and several recorders.


The instruments I have tried out are too many to mention. Whenever players get together the first thing they do is compare concertinas, and when I visit a concertina stall at a festival I never miss an opportunity to fondle the anglos, although with no real intention of buying. A few stand out - Colin Cater's Bb/F Jeffries, which first made me appreciate what a good instrument can do; a miniature anglo with beautifully engraved end plates which I very nearly bought; nearly all the Dippers I've got my hands on; and John Kirkpatrick's surprisingly responsive bass anglo. 


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In the past had a Shakespeare 38 button C/G, and a 20 button Lachenal Bb/ F, and a 20 button Ab/ Eb. I briefly had a nice Wheatstone metal ended English, but I couldn't get used to the fingering. My current instruments are Suttner A4 in Ebony C/G, a Suttner A 32 Bb/ F in rosewood, along with a C Jeffries metal ended Ab/ Eb. I have played numerous Jeffries, Wheatsones, and most modern makers instruments. All of my instruments in 1/5 comma mean tuning.

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