Jump to content

Recommendations for Beginner Instrument


Recommended Posts

I am a seasoned classical piano player looking to learn a more portable instrument to play in sessions.   I was introduced to the concertina by a talented friend, and am excited by the possibilities of this instrument.  I am looking for a beginner instrument, and because I want to play Irish sessions, I'm leaning toward the 20 key Anglo to start.  Any advice is appreciated regarding this choice or other beginning instrument choices, along with a realistic budget.   Thank you in advance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you'll soon become frustrated with the limitations of a 20 button Anglo. A 30 key Anglo is really needed to give you the ability to play in multiple keys and offer choices of fingering.

Have you investigated the English or Duet system concertinas? They are often more natural choices for a 'seasoned classical' musician as they are chromatic by design whereas the Anglo is a diatonic instrument at heart.

You will also find English and Duets tend to be more affordable i.e. much better instrument for the same budget.

BTW Irish trad music can be played well on any type of concertina, it doesn't need an Anglo!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Can you play Irish on an English concertina?" and "Can you play Irish on a 20-button Anglo?" are both perennial arguments. We're not going to answer them once and for all in this thread.

 

Here's what I will say. If you play Irish music and you want to take lessons, follow advice from YouTube or from books, or swap tips with your fellow musicians, you should get a 30-button C/G Anglo. If you want to blaze your own trail, you can get something else. Both are valid, and there's nothing wrong with trying something new. But figuring everything out for yourself is really hard, and so is being lonely.

Edited by Leah Velleman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

(OP, since you brought up the 20-button: the issue there is that many Irish tunes have C#, and some have G# or Bb. So you have to do something about that — either skip a note or find something else to play. Sometimes it sounds natural, and sometimes I really find myself missing the "real" note.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When staring out  by using 20 buttons should be fine , as it will give you an idea how the instrument feels in your hands.

And as regards English or Anglo for different music they are both worthy in their own rights. And Anglo can play in different keys also when you get 30 buttons level.  You can play then in any key you want. 

20 buttons will probably be fine as there is one excellent performer on this forum whose playing, particularly on 20 button, is very expressive and well known to us all of its capabilities.

30 buttons  will give more choice of tonal key range.( If you need it).

 

Edited by SIMON GABRIELOW
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are set on playing Anglo, then everything you can play on a 20 button instrument can be transferred to a 30 or more button instrument with the same fingering.  The converse does not apply.

 

The 20 button Anglo is very versatile.  It is often summarily dismissed by people who assume "more is always better", but many thousands were made and sold and plenty of us enjoy playing them.

 

However, it is true that a 30 button is even more versatile than a 20.

 

One benefit of the 20 button Anglo is that it forces you to understand the logic of the Anglo layout and work on your fingering without taking the easy short cuts that become possible with more buttons.  My playing improved enormously after I bought my first 20 button instrument.

 

If you are already a keen and experienced musician, you may find that the English or duet work better for you.  The English is fully chromatic, and has a consistent/logical layout.  It can do pretty much everything that the violin or flute can do.  The duet can do pretty much everything that a small (short keyboard) piano can do.

 

However, the Anglo has a character all of its own.  "Logic" told me to buy an English, but I ended up with Anglo after trying both systems.  Maybe my background in harmonica and melodeon were factors.

 

I would say that if you are already a keen musician, you would be better off with a good quality instrument with limitations of range, rather than an instrument with more buttons but less quality.  If you cannot yet justify going for a good quality 30+ button, then get a good quality 20.  If you take to it, it will not be the last concertina you ever buy.

 

Far better to have one you enjoy playing and which encourages you to upgrade, than one that you don't enjoy playing which encourages you to give up.

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As far as the 20- vs. 30- button Anglo discussion is concerned, it might be worthwhile considering an 'in-between' Anglo with 24/26 buttons? Almost as versatile as a 30-button? Possibly cheaper than a 30-button, if you are considering a 'vintage' instrument? Probably more difficult to track down a particular key configuration (G/D. C/G, etc.)?

 

 

Edited by Roger Hare
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...