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A Small Concertina?


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Recently I decided that I would like to purchase a concertina. However, I'm looking for what I can only assume would be call a "miniature" concertina, not actually a "miniature" one, though, I'd prefer one that is simply smaller with fewer buttons.

 

I started my quest for said instrument at the first place that came to mind: Ebay. Now, I'm certain that if I wanted anything from an antique lamp to a piece of gum chewed by Christopher Walken I'd have no trouble finding what I wanted there, however, a mini concertina was nowhere to be found. I then tried a Google search using various phrases such as "miniature concertina" and "small concertina", but mine seems to be a quarry as elusive as the Sasquatch.

 

Concertina.net seemed to be the next logical choice.

 

Does the instrument I'm seeking even exist? Is it known by a moniker or alias foreign to me? Should I repost this in the Buy/Sell forum?

 

Any help is appreciated and thank you in advance. :)

Edited by Travis C
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I find this a strange posting.Concertinas are small ,it is what they are about.These lovely instruments pack away in a box about eight inches square.Why would you want to have a concertina smaller than that.There are ladies concertinas one of which I tuned up many years ago which was thirty buttons and a lady bought it.There are miniature concertinas mainly played by clowns as a novelty item,but unless you have some disability you will have a much wider scope by playing a normal size concertina.

I have just checked to see if you are a lady and some have miniscule hands (one in Australia springs to mind) but even the ladies concertinas fingering layout and required hand size is the same as the standard ones.

Some concertina makers would make a concertina to suit your requirements and Bob Tedrow was advertising one on this site.

Al

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I don't find it a strange posting, as I'm seeking a smaller box myself. Sure they are relatively small and light compared to some other instruments but if you carry one around all day (or all summer, as I did while backpacking) you soon feel the weight. A specially small box won't necessarily be my primary session instrument but it will be very valuable to me.

 

Travis, it's doubtful you'll find your box on ebay as there are dozens (hundreds?) of worldwide concertina players taking a look at every concertina that comes on the market. There was a true mini a few years back but I got drummed out of the running for financial reasons.

 

Your best bet is to look at how much you can spend and then contact makers in your finance range and see what they can offer you as a custom order. I know Marcus Music did a slightly smaller box for a customer, I got to see it at Witney last year and I fell in love. Unfortunately for me, it wasn't for sale.

 

Here's a photo, next to one of his normal sized boxes. Not a whole lot smaller, but smaller than the average.

 

http://www.hostinginseattle.com/bethftp/cf..._concertina.jpg

 

If this is your first box, Travis, and you've been looking at the ones available in your local music shops, remember that Stagis and other entry-level boxes tend to be a bit bigger than the handmade ones anyway, so a standard Marcus or Tedrow or something will be smaller than the beginner boxes. I think. I haven't measured personally.

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The question was asked, "Do they make small concertinas?"

 

Yup, someone does. I seen one for sale on ebay just a day or two ago that had only one row of buttons and was (if I remember right) 4 or 5 inches accross. It was old and said to be in need of repaires but it was there so someone makes them...............

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I don't find it a strange posting, as I'm seeking a smaller box myself. Sure they are relatively small and light compared to some other instruments but if you carry one around all day (or all summer, as I did while backpacking) you soon feel the weight. A specially small box won't necessarily be my primary session instrument but it will be very valuable to me.

 

Travis, it's doubtful you'll find your box on ebay as there are dozens (hundreds?) of worldwide concertina players taking a look at every concertina that comes on the market. There was a true mini a few years back but I got drummed out of the running for financial reasons.

 

Your best bet is to look at how much you can spend and then contact makers in your finance range and see what they can offer you as a custom order. I know Marcus Music did a slightly smaller box for a customer, I got to see it at Witney last year and I fell in love. Unfortunately for me, it wasn't for sale.

 

Here's a photo, next to one of his normal sized boxes. Not a whole lot smaller, but smaller than the average.

 

http://www.hostinginseattle.com/bethftp/cf..._concertina.jpg

 

If this is your first box, Travis, and you've been looking at the ones available in your local music shops, remember that Stagis and other entry-level boxes tend to be a bit bigger than the handmade ones anyway, so a standard Marcus or Tedrow or something will be smaller than the beginner boxes. I think. I haven't measured personally.

 

In terms of standard 30 button concertinas, I think Colin Dipper makes the smallest instrument, maybe 5.5" across as opposed to a bit bigger than 6" for most other boxes. Frank Edgly and Harold Harrington both make a 24 button instrument that I believe might be a bit smaller than their standard boxes and if their instruments are smaller they are likely to be the best way to go for a smaller light box that still is a relatively complete instrument (i.e. not restricted to a small range of keys). Bob Tedrow does make a mini, 10 button concertina, but those instruments are rather limited in what they can do; but you might be able to get him to make a custom layout... maybe something with 3 rows of 4 buttons as opposed to 3 rows of 15.. it would limit you in the lowest octave, but then again, that might not be a big concern for you.

 

--

Bill

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Small concertinas:

 

post-67-1153164482_thumb.jpg post-67-1153164535_thumb.jpg

 

I make a twenty and twenty four button concertina as well.

 

 

Bob Tedrow

 

Bob, I forgot you made a smaller than average concertina.. what is the smallest you have made a 30 button? And what is the smallest you have made a 24?

 

--

Bill

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Bob, I forgot you made a smaller than average concertina.. what is the smallest you have made a 30 button? And what is the smallest you have made a 24?

 

 

The Concertina in the image is 5 5/8" across the flat sides. The 24 Button will be smaller.

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the Edglely and the Harrington 24b are the same size as their 30 button concertinas. I think they both use the same prefabricated bellows assembly.

 

Bob

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Bob, I forgot you made a smaller than average concertina.. what is the smallest you have made a 30 button? And what is the smallest you have made a 24?

 

 

The Concertina in the image is 5 5/8" across the flat sides. The 24 Button will be smaller.

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the Edglely and the Harrington 24b are the same size as their 30 button concertinas. I think they both use the same prefabricated bellows assembly.

 

Bob

 

I wasn't sure, you might be right.. its a pity really, there was a guy up in the Catskills last week with a 24 button and I didn't think to compare sizes.

 

--

Bill

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There's a fundamental point you should understand; there is an optimal cross sectional bellows area. Go too small and you'll lose the abiity to sustain notes and spend lots of time running out of air. Go too big (some duets) and you lose volume.

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There's a fundamental point you should understand; there is an optimal cross sectional bellows area. Go too small and you'll lose the abiity to sustain notes and spend lots of time running out of air. Go too big (some duets) and you lose volume.

 

Not just volume, but also responsiveness.

 

--

Bill

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  • 2 months later...

I have almost given up looking for a smaller tina, I have also watched the Stagi go from $350 to now on some sites almost $600. With all the interest I'm surprised they are not more readily availble. Ebay seems to me to be a bad place to buy a concertina.

 

Some of the best "antiques" I have ever found I found at thrift shops, including an old TS9 toaster I bought for 5$ and resold for a little over a hundred. I live in California, I dont imagine I will find many antique concertinas, but then again the gold rush may have brought in a bunch as I would think it would be easy to ship or pack.

 

The Tedrow Zephyr looks to me to be exactly what you want, but at a price tag I'm guessing around $2K based on his other prices (not complaining, the instruments look incredible) that would probably cost about the same.

 

On Morgana's Mini concertina site are some photos of a "Jones Miniature", thats what I'm trying to find, or one of the smaller Lachenals. But, I doubt very much a low price one will show up on Ebay.

 

Hmmm, seems like a market niche that could be filled by an industrious concertina enthusiast.

 

~Hooves

Edited by Hooves
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I have one of Bob’s small 30-button concertinas, in fact, I talked with him about my interest in such a design at the start of 2005 and he made the first one of that line for me. I liked the notion of something a little smaller but didn’t want to lose any functionality. No good reason, perhaps it was just a result of the electronics industry smaller-by-the-year influence.

 

Referencing sizes, the smallest 30-button I know of is a Dipper County Clare and mine measures 5 5/8” across the flats. Bob states that the Zephyr model depicted above measures 5 5/8” as well, but mine is 5 7/8” so I assume he was able to adjust the size down a bit more as he refined the design. Colin’s Professional County Clare model measures 5 7/8” so all three are pretty close in size regardless. The other 30-button instruments I have measure about 6 ¼” across the flats and while it doesn’t sound like much more, as Bob’s photo shows there’s a noticeable difference when you do a side by side comparison.

 

From a playing standpoint (almost exclusively Irish music) I’ve never encountered any shortages of air in playing the Clare and Zephyr. Most Irish material (jigs, reels, etc.) offers a lot of opportunity to adjust Anglo bellows volume though because of the abundance of notes coupled with frequent bellows reversals. I should comment that even the larger ones use up the bellows pretty fast when one starts playing sustained two and three note chords in slow airs (especially with the lowest notes on the instruments).

 

It doesn’t seem likely you’ll find anything much smaller that those mentioned in a 30-button model, especially in an accordion reed design since the reed plates/shoes tend to be larger than those in the true concertina reed designs and space becomes limited. I’ve never studied the layout on 24 and 26 button models, but I can think of a few tones I’d not often miss if I had to cut back to a 26-button.

 

I’ve tried a Tedrow miniature and I have to say it’s a pretty fun little music maker. I think one might find themselves wishing for more range if it was their only instrument, but I’ve seen Tom Lawrence play several tunes on his without apparent limitation and he made it sound great and look easy.

 

I’ve always coveted Noel Hill’s miniature Jeffries, it’s about the size of a can of soda and would almost fit in a jacket pocket. He’s told the story of losing it for a time at a pub one night; it was sitting on the bar (in its small leather case) and when they did the closing cleanup someone tossed it in the trash with the bottles and the like, not realizing what it was. It was recovered after a search of the refuse bags.

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Recently I decided that I would like to purchase a concertina. However, I'm looking for what I can only assume would be call a "miniature" concertina, not actually a "miniature" one, though, I'd prefer one that is simply smaller with fewer buttons.

 

I started my quest for said instrument at the first place that came to mind: Ebay. Now, I'm certain that if I wanted anything from an antique lamp to a piece of gum chewed by Christopher Walken I'd have no trouble finding what I wanted there, however, a mini concertina was nowhere to be found. I then tried a Google search using various phrases such as "miniature concertina" and "small concertina", but mine seems to be a quarry as elusive as the Sasquatch.

 

Concertina.net seemed to be the next logical choice.

 

Does the instrument I'm seeking even exist? Is it known by a moniker or alias foreign to me? Should I repost this in the Buy/Sell forum?

 

Any help is appreciated and thank you in advance. :)

 

I got two lovely anglos from Colin Dipper which you might call minis. They are 5 1/8 in (13cm) across the flats but have three rows and 31 buttons - 14 on LH and 17 on RH. They are real beauts and I ordered them many years ago for my kids who play fiddle and flute already and but my daughter has played a few tunes on one. Maybe my son will take it up in due course- he has plenty of time yet, but it gives me the chance to play it which I do all the time. I must say that these tinasy are crackers. Its not just that they are beautifully made but the sound is great and the action as light as a feather. I was waiting quite a bit but it was worth it so order now. I've attached a couple of pictures of one and you'll see for yourself how nice it is . the other is very similar but with lighter wood, brass buttons and green bellows.

post-402-1159287682_thumb.jpg

post-402-1159287709_thumb.jpg

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Guest Peter Laban

I was out playing with the McCarthy sisters and Edel Fox on saturday in Friel's Jaqueline's concertina is definitely a small one. Jackie Daly once showed me a Jeffries he owns which would also class as a small concertina, and a very lovely one to boot.

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I was out playing with the McCarthy sisters and Edel Fox on saturday in Friel's Jaqueline's concertina is definitely a small one. Jackie Daly once showed me a Jeffries he owns which would also class as a small concertina, and a very lovely one to boot.

 

 

Pete

I know the Jackie Daly one, its in Bflat /F. A friend of mine, Martin Hanley, has a similar one in C/G. Both were sold by the late Paul Davis in the mid 70's- 1976 I think as I bought Martins Lachenal from him then when he got the Jeffries. They are lovely tinas and have a great sound. All the minis I've seen seem to have extra volume. Jacqueline's is a two row Wheatstone with 24 buttons I recall and also a lovely instrument.

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