Jump to content

English Or Anglo? Which To Play?


meg
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hey guys. I really dig this forum. I came across it just in time.It stopped me from bidding on a cheapy little box on ebay.

 

I play the piano accordion now, mostly folk, irish and dance stuff. I love it, but am looking to expand into concertina territory.

For some reason (i think because i always wanted to be an oldtime sailor) I have been really excited about learning the Anglo. Recently, i was given the advice that an English concertina would be much easier to learn (with a piano background)

 

Has anyone found this to be true?

How difficult is the Anglo to learn?

Is the English just as fun?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

 

Thanks guys,

Meg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome, Meg!

 

This comes up regularly here. Check this thread for a fairly recent good discussion.

 

I play piano accordion and Anglo myself (in my case I learned piano, then Anglo, then accordion, decades apart) but I've heard it said that piano accordion and English is a more common combination. A couple of questions to consider: what kind of music do you want to play on concertina? And what are you hoping to do on concertina that you can't do on accordion?

 

Daniel

 

Hey guys. I really dig this forum. I came across it just in time.It stopped me from bidding on a cheapy little box on ebay.

 

I play the piano accordion now, mostly folk, irish and dance stuff. I love it, but am looking to expand into concertina territory.

For some reason (i think because i always wanted to be an oldtime sailor) I have been really excited about learning the Anglo. Recently, i was given the advice that an English concertina would be much easier to learn (with a piano background)

 

Has anyone found this to be true?

How difficult is the Anglo to learn?

Is the English just as fun?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

 

Thanks guys,

Meg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i was given the advice that an English concertina would be much easier to learn (with a piano background)

 

 

Welcome Meg,

 

You have stepped into what sometimes seems like Bedlam.

 

I play English and can't play the piano worth a tinkers damn. If Anglo is of interest, then go for it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I play the piano accordion now, mostly folk, irish and dance stuff. I love it, but am looking to expand into concertina territory.

For some reason (i think because i always wanted to be an oldtime sailor) I have been really excited about learning the Anglo. Recently, i was given the advice that an English concertina would be much easier to learn (with a piano background)

 

Has anyone found this to be true?

How difficult is the Anglo to learn?

Is the English just as fun?

My experience (as a squeezebox dealer) is that people find it easier to play similar systems: a piano player to an English or duet and harmonica or button accordion player to an anglo. While this isn't universal, it does seem to be generally the case. But - easier isn't necessarily "right" either. The *type* or genre of music will also be easier (and more appropriate?) to play on one system OR the other.

 

While I know the sea music would be more historically correct on an anglo rather than English or duet, there seems to be a disproportionally large number of current English players doing sea music the past 30 years.

 

Learning any instrument depends heavily upon the person. Most people seem to find certain systems much more intuitive (predisposed? hardwired?) than others, and the anglo/English/duet situation is and example of very different systems. It's a very personal thing. Try them out. See which one comes best to you.

 

Personally, I find the anglo to be "more fun". It's bouncy nature, quirks and "breath" make it feel "alive" to me. Working with it's limitations is challanging and fun (I like figuring things out). I also find the anglo limiting for the type of music I like playing the most. I also play piano and really like being able to play "fully" with completely independent parts - which is what a duet does in spades. So I've gone in that squeeze-direction.

 

You say "mostly folk, irish and dance stuff" though if you'd be more explicit we could be more specific too. In any case I think you'd benefit from hearing people play things you like and talking with them about their choice of concertina. Where are you located? There may be festivals, workshops, concerts, etc. somewhere around. This coming weekend we've got a workshop and concert in which all three types of concertinas will be strutting their stuff (including master sea musician John Roberts) this weekend in Western MA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For some reason (i think because i always wanted to be an oldtime sailor) I have been really excited about learning the Anglo. Recently, i was given the advice that an English concertina would be much easier to learn (with a piano background)

My predilection would be to go with whatever excites you. If the Anglo was what sparked your imagination, then do it. Whatever it was that made you feel like Anglo was it, then it's best to follow that up and see if it pans out. One thing you can do quite easily is to rent one for a month and try it. The Button Box rents them, and it doesn't cost much. All instruments have their challenges, so pick the one that inspires you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My experience (as a squeezebox dealer) is that people find it easier to play similar systems: a piano player to an English or duet and harmonica or button accordion player to an anglo.

 

Richard, I bow to your experience with great respect, but this has me scratchin' me noggin.

 

Several of my pianist colleagues who arrogantly assumed they could play my English right off the bat put the beast down after attempting a simple c scale declaiming "how counterintuitive can you get!" Hasn't worked out so bad for me however for they now suspect I perhaps run contrary to most tenors and am actually bright enough to play the wicked beast constantly in me mitts :P .

 

Seriously, I spent a very tense undergraduate experience trying to pass piano proficiency. Thank goodness Professor Romano thought I was cute. ;) All I can honestly manage is some melody in the right hand and chords in the left. Wait, that sounds like an.....anglo :ph34r: . Perhaps it's time to get back into therapy :blink: .

 

Son of a freakin' gun! I fixed the post I'd pooched up earlier. Wow! That done, perhaps I'll now go and try to balance the checkbook (that would be a first as well).

 

P.S. I in no way which to give the impression that my remarks here were intended to be cheeky with Richard. He's forgotten more than I will ever be able to know on this issue. Besides he made my beloved concertina.

Edited by Mark Evans
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow guys. Thanks so much for getting me started.

I love hearing about everybody's experiences.

 

To be more specific about the music I play - I play a lot of my own originals (tunes and folk songs with me singing) as well as I play with a group for contra dances and around town for various occasions. The piano accordion is wonderful for this, but sometimes it can get heavy - both literally and musically. I would like to try the concertina for its pep and its portability.

 

I live in Prescott, AZ and there aren't many musical venues where one can go and listen to different concertina styles. Flagstaff and Tucson have a bit more, but I have three little kids, and we just don't get out that much.

 

I will check out the ongoing discussions that Daniel pointed out (sorry I didn't find it first).

 

Its quite an interesting topic and I guess until I get my hands on a box, I just wont know for sure.

 

I think you all are right, I gotta go with my gut and try the Anglo out first. If it weren't such an economic commitment, I wouldn't be so concerned about starting on one box or the other.

 

Keep on squeezing!

Meg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"If it weren't such an economic commitment"

 

Then you can buy some more expencive instrument and, if not liked, sell it back to the dealer or on Ebay. Good concertinas are good investments, unlike accordions. If you buy something cheaper, you will lose money. Why not work out a payment in installments? Better, then renting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"If it weren't such an economic commitment"

 

Then you can buy some more expencive instrument and, if not liked, sell it back to the dealer or on Ebay. Good concertinas are good investments, unlike accordions. If you buy something cheaper, you will lose money. Why not work out a payment in installments? Better, then renting.

 

I think that is exactly what I will do. I am sort of waiting around for Wim Wakker to bring forth his beginner model Anglo. I emailed him and he said that it is expected out in the next couple months.

 

It does seem that it wouldn't be too difficult to resell a decent concertina if it doesn't work out.

thanks for the idears,

meg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been reading the posts from last month about this same issue, as well as listening to the recorded tracks on this page. It has all been very helpful and I am going to get an Anglo after all, only way to find out.

 

so here is the next question...

I would like to get a 30b to have more versatility and key options, but as money is (unfortunately) an obstacle, should I go ahead and get a 20b to begin with? Or will I feel to limited?

 

I know, I know, it is up to me and my purse strings, but how many of you find that a 20b is all that you might need?

 

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions.

Meg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Meg,

 

I was in just the same position as you a couple of months ago. I thought I fancied an anglo because I harboured a delusion that I might be able to sound a bit like Peter Bellamy, accompanying myself singing. Obviously this wasn't going to happen, but you've got to dream, eh :D

Anyway, I had a 20b lachenal C/G to try out. A month was enough for me to realise that it wasn't what I wanted. I traded it back in and I now have a baritone wheatstone english. I still can't sing to save my life, but the concertina is great. So I guess the advice is to try and buy something you'll be able to trade in if you can't rent or borrow first. You can't really tell what you're going to click with from reading about it. I think I was certainly influenced by a bit of kit fever as well. You know the thing, where the stuff everybody else seems to want is definitely what you want? Anglos seemed to be a bit cooler and more desirable because of that. But I'd never have been able to afford an anglo half as nice as the english I've got.

So, getting round to your current question, a 20b was enough for me to know I didn't want that system. Hope there's something helpful for you in that lot and have fun finding something you like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey guys. I really dig this forum. I came across it just in time.It stopped me from bidding on a cheapy little box on ebay.

 

I play the piano accordion now, mostly folk, irish and dance stuff. I love it, but am looking to expand into concertina territory.

For some reason (i think because i always wanted to be an oldtime sailor) I have been really excited about learning the Anglo. Recently, i was given the advice that an English concertina would be much easier to learn (with a piano background)

 

Has anyone found this to be true?

How difficult is the Anglo to learn?

Is the English just as fun?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

 

Thanks guys,

Meg

 

I found the English to be hard to relate to. I much preferred the Anglo, and the 20 button is fine, so long as you play on the row and do not cross row. I read somewhere that you just pick up a box in the key you want and keep the same fingering system, which is quite true. Now if you want one instrument to do it all, the 30b is a must, unless you don't mind mixolydian mode and the flat 7th. The accidental row gives you more keys and the sharps/ flats you need, but requires cross row fingering.

 

Do you want to play or do you want to practice all the scales needed to be proficient first? The anglo played on the row is very easy to figure out, play by ear and read music with, as the fingering is very basic and stays the same. Good Luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you all are right, I gotta go with my gut and try the Anglo out first. If it weren't such an economic commitment, I wouldn't be so concerned about starting on one box or the other.
That's why the Button Box rents concertinas. For less that the cheapest Chinese job on eBay you can successively rent an anglo, English and duet (the best Stagi models all in best condition) over the course of several months (or less if you realise which is the right box for you) - and THEN buy what you know you want. And if you buy it from us, half of your rental fees goes toward you new box. Not much of an economic commitment at all.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you're willing to wait for Wim Wakker's Rochelle to come out you'll be getting a 30-button at what's expected to be an extremely reasonable price. If you're sure that you want to buy an Anglo that would be my recommendation. The Rochelle is of course a bit of an unknown, but its sister instrument the English Jackie has been out for a few years and has been very well received as a beginner's concertina.

 

But if you have an opportunity to try out both an English and an Anglo before buying you should do that. Richard's suggestion of renting from the Button Box is certainly one possibility. If you can actually get yourself to a shop or some sort of players' gathering that might be an even better idea. I don't know what you can find in your area, though--do you have any plans to travel outside Arizona anytime soon?

 

And regarding the choice of instrument...I used to occasionally play Anglo for contradances but found that I was putting way too much strain on my arms to try to build up enough volume to be heard. I wound up settling on a 48-bass piano accordion as my preferred instrument for that. I use Anglo for song accompaniment (and Irish tunes and miscellaneous other things) but more singers seem to play English. Anglo tends to lend itself more to big fat chords in a relatively small choice of keys...the English players I've heard tend to use a more spare from of accompaniment with 2 or 3 notes at a time, and seem to have an easier time playing in a wide variety of keys.

 

Daniel

 

I've been reading the posts from last month about this same issue, as well as listening to the recorded tracks on this page. It has all been very helpful and I am going to get an Anglo after all, only way to find out.

 

so here is the next question...

I would like to get a 30b to have more versatility and key options, but as money is (unfortunately) an obstacle, should I go ahead and get a 20b to begin with? Or will I feel to limited?

 

I know, I know, it is up to me and my purse strings, but how many of you find that a 20b is all that you might need?

 

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions.

Meg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[.

That's why the Button Box rents concertinas. For less that the cheapest Chinese job on eBay you can successively rent an anglo, English and duet (the best Stagi models all in best condition) over the course of several months (or less if you realise which is the right box for you) - and THEN buy what you know you want. And if you buy it from us, half of your rental fees goes toward you new box. Not much of an economic commitment at all.

 

why that's a fabulous idea. sign me up!

i actually emailed you guys at the Button Box earlier today (after reading more about this on the forum) to see about renting. i wasn't sure if you would ship rental boxes or not.

if i could actually play around with each kind of concertina for a couple months, then i would really have a better understanding.

i can more easily talk myself (and my husband java script:emoticon(':P', 'smid_5')

:P ) into stretching our budget for the right box, if i know that i am actually going to play it!

thanks,

meg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hey, that's great advice.

i play the tin whistle, and just switch whistles for the key i want. works like a charm. and you're right, i do want to play, not be bogged down with too many scales. although, i have to admit, i enjoy my fingering exercises more than most i know.

thanks,

meg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i know what you mean about the kit fever. fortunately or unfortunately, i am pretty isolated out here in the sonoran desert, and i don't have too many folks influencing my decision making process. if i listened more to advice anyway, i wouldn't even consider the Anglo. go figure.

i thinkyou're right, a 20b would be enough to tell if i dig the system.

squeeze on,

meg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i thinkyou're right, a 20b would be enough to tell if i dig the system.

squeeze on,

meg

 

Meg, If you are considering renting to see what's a good fit then why not go with a 30 button C/G from the Button Box. A 20 button is a limiting experience if you are intrested in anything away from the home keys. Also buying one on the net is a very dodgy affair. Most likely you'll pay more than it is worth and the buttons will stick, frustrate you and it goes up on the shelf.

Edited by Mark Evans
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...