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Which Concertina To Get?


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A-bear-01.gif Hello everybody, ya got the bear here.

 

Looks like I opened a can of worms when I asked what was the differance between a Concertia and a Accordion. Lets see what this one does........

 

OK here is my question: I have decided to take up playing the concertina. I now play the harmonica but because of my emphysema its getting to be a problem. But before investing into a concertina (living on a disability income makes money a scarce item around the bears den) I need to figure out which one to buy.

 

Being that I play (and understand the layout) a diatonic harmonica I thought I should get a concertina keyed like a diatonic harmonica. (I believe they are called Anglo concertinas). Keyed in a C/G tuning. However I was wondering if there is a Anglo style concertina with the C/G tuning that also has say an extra row of buttons to get the sharps & flats?

 

Any advice and or suggestions will be more then appreciated.......... Thank You

 

bear

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What kind of music are you interested in? That can help everyone determine what may be a good fit for you.

 

Very simply, the 20-button Anglo concertina is effectively 2 harmonicas stuck together. The 30-button Anglo adds an extra row of accidentals. There are good 20-button Anglo concertinas but the 20-button C/G can be limiting for Irish Traditional Music. A 20-button G/D allows tunes in D to be played, which could allow you more opportunities to play.

 

With your limited resources take a look at the new Rochelle by Wim Wakker @ http://www.concertinaconnection.com/rochelle.htm/. At $279 USD it looks like a lot of instrument for the money.

 

Take a look through the various concertina sites. You'll find a lot of good information at both the http://www.concertina.net and http://www.concertina.com web sites.

 

-jeff

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A-bear-01.gif Hello everybody, ya got the bear here.

 

........OK here is my question: I have decided to take up playing the concertina. I now play the harmonica but because of my emphysema its getting to be a problem. But before investing into a concertina (living on a disability income makes money a scarce item around the bears den) I need to figure out which one to buy.

 

Being that I play (and understand the layout) a diatonic harmonica I thought I should get a concertina keyed like a diatonic harmonica. (I believe they are called Anglo concertinas). ................

 

Any advice and or suggestions will be more then appreciated.......... Thank You

 

bear

 

I've only had my English concertina a few months. When I was deciding on the type of concertina I explained I couldn't make a harmonica work. (poor me always wrong direction for notes). For me English was a good choice. Sounds like an Anglo would be a good choice for you (lucky you). At least that seems to be the general idea in this forum. Different brains are wired differently. Friends who I've driven away at my attempts at tunes tell me that it sounds like a harmonica on sterhoids, and I don't need a lot of hot air to make "noise" on it. However some of my attempts are beginning to be somewhat recognisable. I found out my instrument has wandering keys. They don't stay under my fingers where I expect them to be. However they seem to be a little tamer now, but not much. Unfortunately not covered under warranty.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Play well

 

Thanks

Leo

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Sounds to me like we are luring you to the anglo side of the force :)

 

My suggestion would be a 30-button anglo. It looks to me like the Wakker Rochelle (available starting next month) is going to be your best bet. It will have all the sharps and flats you need to play just about any style of music. My own experience as an owner of a Wakker Jack baritone English (albeit briefly) is that these are excellent beginner models of a much higher quality than anything else you will find at that price.

 

Hope this helps.

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I started off with a 20 key Anglo, then went to 30 key Anglo (C/G) for the accidentals, but gave both of them up for a 48 key English after 6 months, as the English can play in any key whereas this is significantly more difficult on an Anglo. I've been playing my English concertina for 2+ years now and wouldn't go back to a diatonic instrument. I did however migrate from the mouth organ myself and found myself breathing in and out to the same notes as the mouth organ and thought I'd explode!! - going for the English quickly broke me of the habit.

 

I guess it comes down to preference and intended repertoire. My guess is English would be better for versatility, but the key signatures of traditional (folk) music lend themselves a bit to the Anglo, though they can played on both.

 

Charles Mackay

Edited by Charles_Mackay
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Sounds to me like we are luring you to the anglo side of the force :)

 

My suggestion would be a 30-button anglo. It looks to me like the Wakker Rochelle (available starting next month) is going to be your best bet. It will have all the sharps and flats you need to play just about any style of music. My own experience as an owner of a Wakker Jack baritone English (albeit briefly) is that these are excellent beginner models of a much higher quality than anything else you will find at that price.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Just to complete the links for the Jackie/Jack English...

 

http://www.concertinaconnection.com/jackie-jack.htm

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I guess I should have mentioned the type/style of music I'm interested in. Being I like several different styles I'm not sure what to call it other then maybe oldies but goodies, but then I like some of the newer stuff. I like folk music, older style country, ballads, some jazz, older style blues. Mostly stuff like Blue Moon, Sweetheart Tree, Whatever will be will be, Tammy's in love, Bohemian Rhapsody, Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White, Danny-Boy, Down on the corner, Everything Is Beautiful, Misty, Red River Valley, Riders In The Sky, Shenandoah, The Streets Of Laredo, Una Paloma Blanca, Waltzing Matilda, Riders on the storm, alleycat, chiquitita, Green Onions, The Entertainer, House Of The Rising Sun.

Just to name a few..............

 

I'm thinking along the lines of a Anglo but not sure..............

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Here's my $0.02. It sounds like either type of concertina would be fine for what you're looking to do with it. If you think along the lines of how a harmonica works, then maybe an Anglo would be a good choice. If it is more along the lines of melodies, then maybe the English would be best.

 

Personally, I don't think you would go wrong no matter what path you choose. Just have fun, stick with it, read c.net and ask lots of questions. The people here are great and willing to help.

 

-jeff

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Jeff, me thinks your right my friend. Since my brain is in line with the Blow/Draw (push/pull) action of getting notes on a diatonic harmonica I tend to think the Anglo concertina might be better for me.

 

But I was still wondering if I get a Anglo C/G tuning is there one that also has sharps and flates? You know, the standard 20 button finger latout in the C and G tunning just like the harmonicas but also has extra buttons to get the sharps and flates?

 

This concertina world sure is confusioning to a know nothing rookie like me.

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I guess I should have mentioned the type/style of music I'm interested in... oldies but goodies.... I'm thinking along the lines of a Anglo but not sure..............
Sounds like an anglo might work well for you though you're definitely going to need one with sharps/flats - which is the 30 button (or more) model. I'd suggest that you go for a G/D rather than a C/G because it appears that you'll be playing anglo in more of an "English style" rather than "Irish style". If that is the case and you get a C/G then all your tunes would come out an octave higher than where they would "normally" be expressed. The G/D is a 5th lower.

 

A duet concertina is particular good for expressing that kind of music. I hope squeezegirl can chime in here as she was pretty intrenched into the anglo before deciding it wasn't flexible enough for the type of music she likes - and she recently got a duet - and is making incredible progress with it. She should be able to give us a firsthand take of the pros and cons of each system given the music she plays.

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Jeff, me thinks your right my friend. Since my brain is in line with the Blow/Draw (push/pull) action of getting notes on a diatonic harmonica I tend to think the Anglo concertina might be better for me.

 

But I was still wondering if I get a Anglo C/G tuning is there one that also has sharps and flates? You know, the standard 20 button finger latout in the C and G tunning just like the harmonicas but also has extra buttons to get the sharps and flates?

 

This concertina world sure is confusioning to a know nothing rookie like me.

 

Richard makes good points for a G/D, and a duet may be a good option too. The thing to keep in consideration is your available funds. If you are on a limited budget get the most bang for the buck.

 

IMHO, a 20-button C/G would be a mistake since you wouldn't have the notes you will likely need for the music you want to play. You could get away with a 20-button G/D, but you'll likely find it limiting. A 30-button C/G or G/D seems like the best choice.

 

You can get a 30-button Rochelle C/G from Wim Wakker for under $300 including shipping. A 30-button C/G or G/D Stagi from the Button Box will cost over $600. Stick with any of those, or something offered by folks on this board and you won't go wrong. Avoid eBay until you know your way around concertinas.

 

Good luck and have fun!

-jeff

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Richard said..............

I'd suggest that you go for a G/D rather than a C/G because it appears that you'll be playing anglo in more of an "English style" rather than "Irish style". If that is the case and you get a C/G then all your tunes would come out an octave higher than where they would "normally" be expressed. The G/D is a 5th lower.

 

A G/D is lower tuned? I did not know that. Thank you Richard. I like the lower tuned instruments better.

Let me explane something else here. I'm no musician. I cannot read music. I'll never be good enough to play with a band. I started playing the harmonica because my doctor told me to to give my lungs a work out. (I have emphysema). But my lungs are getting so bad that I'm unable to play the harmonica most of the time and I really miss playing music. I play just to amuse myself (and now that I have got better at it, my wife and dog enjoys it now........LOL). Anyway just so y'all know I have no musical talents, or at least very little.

 

Jeff said.................

You can get a 30-button Rochelle C/G from Wim Wakker for under $300 including shipping. A 30-button C/G or G/D Stagi from the Button Box will cost over $600. Stick with any of those, or something offered by folks on this board and you won't go wrong. Avoid eBay until you know your way around concertinas.

 

Jeff it would have to be the under $300.00 one. On my budget even that is streching it a lot. And as far as Ebay goes. Your $66.00 to lat my friend. Yup, about 4 months ago I bought a brand new 20 button Anglo from a guy on ebay. It sounded like crap, within 3 weeks a couple of the notes went out of tune. Which did not matter anyway because several of the buttons fell inside the thing and I could not play it anyway. Thats why I decided to do some research on concertinas before selling out any more money that I cannot afford to loose.

 

Thanks to everybody here I just might wind up with a life long keeper. I'm going to look into that duet you guys are talking about. I really thank everybody for all the help here :)

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Have a go at mending the one you've got first. That'll cost you nothing, lose you nothing, teach you a lot, and may even produce a playable instrument. There's lots of advice on the forums here. It may not be ideal but it's the ultimate economy fix.

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Have a go at mending the one you've got first. That'll cost you nothing, lose you nothing, teach you a lot, and may even produce a playable instrument. There's lots of advice on the forums here. It may not be ideal but it's the ultimate economy fix.

 

I sure wish I had found this website/forum and all you helpful people a couple of months ago. Fixing the cheap concertina I "had" sounds like a fun thing to do. Problem is I sold it in a yard sale for $20.00. Stupid thing to do, I know. Since I do know how to adjust reeds and retune harmonicas it seems like a concertina would be close to the same.

 

So far it looks like I'm leaning in the direction of a 30 button Anglo G/D, but am still doing a little more research first. Ya know what folks, the more I learn about concertinas the less I know......LOL I mean lets take a simple 10 button Anglo for example. The thing is tuned just like a diatonic harmonica right? Well maybe, it depends on which company made it. And then start adding things like more buttons or multiple reeds and things only get more confusing. But it sure is fun and very interesting trying to figure all this out.

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Years and years ago, when I started to get interested in buying a concertina, I was faced with the same choice.

I asked a friend who played Anglo, "are they hard to learn?"

His answer was, "Do you play the harmonica?"

"No," i answered, "Why?"

"because if you can play harmonica, you'll have no problem playing the Anglo."

 

 

Years later, after learning the basics of Anglo, a child passed me a harmonica and asked whether I could play it.

Remembering what my friend had told me years earlier, I put it to my lips and had a go..........and to my amazement, I could play the harmonica. I'd never ever touched one before.

 

Something else you should consider. If you learn the Anglo, it's not that hard to learn English Button Melodeon. System is very similar.

 

Try to get a good Anglo though. Avoid those cheap ones that you often see in music shops or on E Bay.....also, if you buy a twenty button, you'll soon wish you had a thirty button.

 

Phil

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Phil says:

Try to get a good Anglo though. Avoid those cheap ones that you often see in music shops or on E Bay.....also, if you buy a twenty button, you'll soon wish you had a thirty button.

 

This is where I am now. I'm a rank newbie; I got a Hohner 20-button on Ebay before I knew any better and am teaching myself to play it (with an eye toward playing for English country dance and morris eventually), but it took me very little time indeed to figure out I'd want something better right quick. I'm in much the same position as the Bear (though I don't plan on selling my cheap concertina until I have its replacement in hand). Next for me is a 30-button C/G Anglo, and I'm not yet prepared to pay for a vintage or high-end modern instrument. From reading this thread and other things on this site and elsewhere, it looks like my choices are:

  • A Rochelle, once they become available next month.
  • A Stagi (from the Button Box, properly overhauled and tested).
  • A Morse Ceili, a Herrington, a Tedrow or something else in that range.

Has anyone had access to a pre-production Rochelle, or can people only guess how it will be based on the quality of the Jack and the Jackie? How is it likely to compare to a Stagi? If I'm able to pay the price of a Morse (I live in Massachusetts, so it seems a better choice to drive to Sunderland than to correspond with Homewood or Rowlett), am I likely to be better off with that than with a cheaper instrument?

 

No doubt this will all come down to a favorite saying of my mother's: "Only you can decide." Nevertheless, I'd be glad of the benefit of your experience.

 

Joshua

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FWIW, I've been playing for around 6 months and have played a Jackie, Stagi(s), Morse and I own a Tedrow. I've never played a Rochelle. Here's my take on things as a fairly rank newbie. Hopefully those with more experience will correct any errors I've made.

 

Jackie - Nice for the price. Decent action and sound. I just couldn't mentally get the hang of the English fingerings. I assume that a Rochelle would be of similar quality.

 

Stagi - I've played good ones after they were turbo'd, but the most of the original ones were not a lot of fun to play. Slow action, muffled a bit in sound. Once worked on they were not bad. I can't compare them to a Rochelle though, but they are around twice the price.

 

Morse - Great action, great sound (if you like accordion reed sounding concertinas, which I do), beautiful instruments. I've never met Richard Morse but from his posts I would buy an instrument from him any time.

 

Tedrow - Great action, great sound (see above disclaimer on accordion reeds), beautiful workmanship. Bob's very patient, a gentleman and a true professional.

 

Here's my take on things. Buy as much instrument as you can afford and a little bit more. Don't waste time wishing you had spent the extra few hundred dollars, 'cause once it's built it's too late. One thing to remember as well is that most new instruments (unless they are top-of-the-line ones) will not resell for top dollars like a vintage instrument. If you buy one with the plans on selling it to upgrade later you most likely will not get back what you paid. I don't see this as a negative, just reality.

 

I think in the long run it all depends on your budget. If you can only afford $300 the Rochelle would be a good choice. If it's $600 a Button Box'd or Tedrow'd Stagi is a good instrument. If it's around $1800-$2000 then a Tedrow or Morse is a great instrument that will last you a lifetime (or until your next round of concertinaitis kicks in).

 

You can always look for sales on vintage instruments or pre-owned instruments, but the chances of them coming up for sale in your time frame are slim.

 

Of course, that's my opinion and I could be wrong :D

 

-jeff

Edited by jlfinkels
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