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Ashdown Anglo In Hobgoblin Catalogue


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They're made by Andrew Norman. His boxes are good, solid concertinas, and very playable. I have two :)

 

Well they were.....

 

I had an email exchange with Andrew in August last year and he said he used to supply the Ashdown badged boxes to Hobgoblin, but that he didn't any more and that Hobgoblin were supposed to be sourcing the boxes themselves. At the time I contacted Hobgoblin and was told that they were expecting a delivery but didn't have any in stock, but I haven't followed it up since.

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I spoke to Hobgoblin in January about the Ashdown concertina. They told me they had none in stock and did not know when, if ever, they would be getting any. I then phoned Andrew Norman, who was very helpful, but he explained that his current waiting list was 14 months. It seems that Norman is too busy to supply Ashdown boxes to Hobgoblin, which is great news for him, but a shame for the rest of us. The Music Room in Yorkshire (I think) did have a second hand Norman, but it was priced at £1400, which is £300 above what Andrew Norman quoted me, but obviously without the 14 month wait.

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I spoke to Hobgoblin in January about the Ashdown concertina. They told me they had none in stock and did not know when, if ever, they would be getting any. I then phoned Andrew Norman, who was very helpful, but he explained that his current waiting list was 14 months. It seems that Norman is too busy to supply Ashdown boxes to Hobgoblin, which is great news for him, but a shame for the rest of us. The Music Room in Yorkshire (I think) did have a second hand Norman, but it was priced at £1400, which is £300 above what Andrew Norman quoted me, but obviously without the 14 month wait.

 

At that price premium and the wait for the normal Norman, you might be better off looking at Marcus of Geuns-Wakker, though I don't know if their waiting lists are any shorter.

 

I find it truely remarkable that even the mid-list instruments are starting to acquire significant waiting lists.

 

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Bill

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I think the North American waiting lists are shorter than 14 months. Edgleys were about 4 months last time I asked. The ends are re-designed now and quite striking - I saw one at the NE squeeze-in. I think the Morse instruments also have comparatively short waiting times.

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I think the North American waiting lists are shorter than 14 months. Edgleys were about 4 months last time I asked. The ends are re-designed now and quite striking - I saw one at the NE squeeze-in. I think the Morse instruments also have comparatively short waiting times.

 

That probably sounds about right.. I think it took about 6 months for my Edgley, but I asked Frank to put it on hold for a month or so because I was unemployed at the time.

 

So when are we going to see new pictures of the ends? Was it the metal, the wood or both that were redesigned?

 

--

Bill

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The end grills are basically the same pattern, but have raised edges, and are of polished stainless. This design is now cut by laser. This is by far a cleaner cut than the waterjet method. Then the grill is pressed to get the raised edges. I think they are quite attractive, and I'm glad to say people seem to like the raised edges over the flat ones. I am making almost all my concertinas out of solid rosewood or bubinga, or cocobolo, or similar wood. These woods make a fine instrument and are great to work with. I'm very pleased with my current "professional model" with the new angled reed pan, and played my latest for the recent concert in Amherst. Thanks, Paul, for noticing and mentioning it. My waiting lists have increased lately, but not nearly as long as the other European makers. As far as pictures are concerned, I'll try to get one up, but I've been having problems with my camera lately, and ever since I got XP installed, my old "Photoimpact" program doesn't work. :)

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The end grills are basically the same pattern, but have raised edges, and are of polished stainless. This design is now cut by laser. This is by far a cleaner cut than the waterjet method. Then the grill is pressed to get the raised edges. I think they are quite attractive, and I'm glad to say people seem to like the raised edges over the flat ones. I am making almost all my concertinas out of solid rosewood or bubinga, or cocobolo, or similar wood. These woods make a fine instrument and are great to work with. I'm very pleased with my current "professional model" with the new angled reed pan, and played my latest for the recent concert in Amherst. Thanks, Paul, for noticing and mentioning it. My waiting lists have increased lately, but not nearly as long as the other European makers. As far as pictures are concerned, I'll try to get one up, but I've been having problems with my camera lately, and ever since I got XP installed, my old "Photoimpact" program doesn't work. :)

 

Sounds brilliant Frank. Look forward to seeing the pictures. I don't suppose you would sell the new grills as a retrofit for owners of existing examples of your instruments?

 

Anyway, always glad to see makers improving their instruments.

 

--

Bill

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I chased up the Ashdown model with Hobgoblin themselves and with the Musical Instrument Megastore Ltd, who list a lot of the stock sold by Hobgoblin on their site (at remakable prices). I haven't heard anything back from Hobgoblin, but MIM checked this out and said........ "Having spoken to the distributor it appears that although these appear on the catalogue one has never been produced" ...........so I guess that either one will never be produced or they're still trying to find a manufacturer.

 

Seems a bit odd to me for either of them to list products that they cannot supply, particularly for Hobgoblin who have it featured on the front cover of their catalogue.

 

 

- W

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I also spoke to Andy Norman a few months ago and he confirmed that he no longer supplied the Ashdown concertinas for Hobgoblin, who were planning to design their own instruments. I doubt that they will be able to produce anything as good as the Norman for the price quoted (particularly at the discounted price quoted by the Musical Instrument Megastore). Time will tell but I wouldn't hold your breath. Incidentally I guess the name Ashdown comes from Ashdown Forest which is on the doorstep of Hobgoblin at Crawley and fairly close to Norman's workshop.

Brian

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I also spoke to Andy Norman a few months ago and he confirmed that he no longer supplied the Ashdown concertinas for Hobgoblin, who were planning to design their own instruments. I doubt that they will be able to produce anything as good as the Norman for the price quoted (particularly at the discounted price quoted by the Musical Instrument Megastore). Time will tell but I wouldn't hold your breath. Incidentally I guess the name Ashdown comes from Ashdown Forest which is on the doorstep of Hobgoblin at Crawley and fairly close to Norman's workshop.

Brian

 

Well we will have to see what Hobgoblin comes up with. If they are going to stick with accordion reeded instruments, it might make sense to license a design. I just hope that they don't cheap out on the construction of the instrument.

 

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Bill

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Well we will have to see what Hobgoblin comes up with. If they are going to stick with accordion reeded instruments, it might make sense to license a design. I just hope that they don't cheap out on the construction of the instrument.

 

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Bill

 

Just received a reply from Hobgoblin saying that the first batch of Ashdown Anglos are currently being made - no date for when they'll be ready & they said there is currently a waiting list.

 

- W

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Well we will have to see what Hobgoblin comes up with. If they are going to stick with accordion reeded instruments, it might make sense to license a design. I just hope that they don't cheap out on the construction of the instrument.

 

--

Bill

 

Just received a reply from Hobgoblin saying that the first batch of Ashdown Anglos are currently being made - no date for when they'll be ready & they said there is currently a waiting list.

 

- W

 

A side issue that may or may not have any relevance to this is that there seems to be a bit of movement of hobgoblin staff at the moment...... away from hobgoblin

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  • 3 months later...

Saw the first couple of Ashdown Anglos on the Hobgoblin stall at Sidmouth - though I think they're now renamed as "Sherwood" concertinas. They had two on display on Saturday, which they'd received only a day or two before, one of which was for sale, and they were taking orders for either C/G or G/D boxes. I was told they'll be being made at a rate of about 2 per month. The price was just below £1000 (either £995 or £999 - I'm not sure).

 

I'm sure more experienced players (I've been playing about 15 months) will be able to give a better review should they try one, but for what it's worth here's what I thought.....

 

At first look the Ashdown/Sherwood looks quite nice, similar to the one pictured in the Hobgoblin catalogue except for having black plastic buttons instead of metal ones. The build quality also seems solid enough.

 

I found the bellows to be nice and smooth and not at all stiff as I'd have expected from a brand new Concertina, though I'm sure it will have had quite a lot of test plays at Hobgoblin to loosen things up.

 

The black plastic buttons were not to my taste, personally I just feel that the black plastic looks a bit cheap, but that's not to say it's not a good choice - I just like metal buttons. The buttons are flat topped (again - I prefer round-edged tops so that impacts on my opinion) but seem comfortably placed. The action of the buttons feels very positive.

 

The reeds (I believe Antonelli) were very responsive and to my ear sounded very bright - a very nice sound.

 

Weight-wise, as somebody that normally plays standing up, it felt comfortable.

 

 

Before playing it I'd tried a Norman that the Music Room was selling and the Norman seemed a superior instrument (but then it's got metal buttons with rounded edges) - but was for sale used at £1400 I believe - a premium of about £300 on what Andy Norman is charging me for a new one.

 

I think if it was a choice between the Ashdown/Sherwood and the £400 more expensive Norman box, both with instant delivery, if I could I'd pay more and choose the Norman box. Also if it was £1000 for the Ashdown/Sherwood and a one month wait, or £1100 and a one year wait, I think I'd still go for the Norman - but only just (a year is a long wait for somebody with my lack of patience). However, if I'd chosen to get the Ashdown instead I don't think I'd spend my days thinking that I'd made some terrible mistake. Overall, for this kind of money it seemed a decent Concertina.

 

- W

 

Edited to add following....

 

After another 6 months waiting for my Norman and still a few more to go (and while I'm sure it's going to be an excellent instrument when I get it) I want to revise my original review to say that in retrospect I think I'd go for the Sherwood simply on the grounds of it being a seemingly decent instrument available without a lengthy waiting period.

 

 

Edited again to add....

 

Now (November 2007) I've had my Norman for a few months and it's such a fine instrument I think it's way superior to the Ashdown and well worth the wait. I've also had the chance to try Marcus boxes and I'd say that they're better than the Sherwood and are at a similar price (and from what I remember a waiting list of only a couple of months). For some reason I preferred the cheaper standard Marcus to the special version. I've also tried the Morse and, apart from it's sound which is not completely to my personal taste, it is an exceptional instrument well worth the praise you'll find elsewhere on this site. Unfortunately if you get the Morse through the Music Room in the UK you'll be paying a premium so I'd recommend you went direct to the Button Box in the USA.

 

I believe the guy who makes the Sherwood is a former employee of Andrew Norman, and I'd still say that it seemed a decent instrument in this price range, though I think that I'd go for any of the others above in preference - and the Norman for me stands head & shoulders above the others - though if you take this route and accept you'll have to wait I'd recommend doing what I did in the end which is to pay a little bit more and buy the 36 button Norman"Standard". I would also however buy a Marcus to tide me through until the Norman was ready, and then hope that I could recoup most of the Marcus' value by selling it on eBay, as the waiting time for the Norman was getting quite dispiriting by the end.

Edited by Woody
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Well, I don't know if they are the current instrument or not, but they do have pictures of the ashdown in the Hobgoblin catalogue that appears to be distinct from the Norman Concertinas they had previously been rebranding.

I find if I go to their Online catalogue, the main Concertina page with the small image of the Ashdown seems to have metal buttons and a different endplate - but if you click for the larger photo then what you see with the black buttons seems (from memory) to be what they're now selling.

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