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Preferred Keyboard Layout

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Hi gang,


Let me preface this query with the fact that I am a novice, newby, what-have-you in terms of the anglo concertina. I am still playing a 20b older Hohner I bought a bunch of years ago, and rarely took out of the box. Last October, I got it out, and started playing a few tunes, sort of like a harmonica you don't need to blow, wound up at this site, and noticed that folks were playing Irish type tunes on these instruments. I had always thought that the tunes I heard were played on English concertinas, but I stand corrected. A little research, a video and a tutor later, coupled with nightly practice, and I'm severely hooked.


I do have an inexpensive, used 30b on the way, but I suspect I'll be wanting to upgrade in a year or so to one of the gorgeous instruments I have located through advertisements on this site. Actually, it will take me that long to save enough money to do that, but there are things to think about. The Bertram Levy tutor shows two keyboard layouts for the 30b anglo, the "Wheatstone/Bastari" and the "Jeffries." So, here's my question to all of you whatever you ares out there (see the "concertinaist" thread elsewhere in the general forum category): Which layout do you prefer for Celtic/Irish sorts of playing? Levy says the "Wheatstone/Bastari" layout has some notes that are probably amusing to dogs, but almost to high for the audible range of humans. Well, he doesn't quite put it that way, but he implies it. So all of you experienced anglo Irish music players out there reply to this. That way I, and maybe a few others, will have some notion how to proceed when it comes time to place that order for the mid priced concertina of my dreams.


Sound and action are features I'll have to work out at a later date. Since I live on the moon (Moontana, actually) my chances of actually laying my hands on enough instruments to make an intelligent decision about such matters are very slim.


Thanks for your time and consideration.


Jim Robertson

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A problem with the "new" (no longer really so new) Forum seems to be that people -- especially newcomers -- lose awareness of the other helpful parts of concertina.net. E.g., Ken Coles' helpful article on anglo layouts, which can be found at



There have also been several earlier queries on the same subject, e.g.,


Jeffries Or Wheatstone Button Lay Out

What are the advantages?


in this General Discussion forum, with the most recent post being yesterday. It's only 4 entries below this topic at the moment.


Check it out. Then see if you have any more questions.

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Hi Jim,


I want to welcome you to a wonderful musical world on behalf of all the concertina addicts. I haven't been playing an anglo all that long so take my comments as one who has recently walked the path you are now on and who is far from being an experienced veteran.


The one thing I would encourage you to do, and it might be the most difficult, is to find other concertina players and try as many instruments as you can.


Your enthusiasm is obvious. That will help you put in the necessary time and practice. The books and videos and listening, listening, listening will help. But, in my limited experience, there has been nothing more helpful than watching and asking questions of an experienced player. One comment or suggestion can save you from reinventing the wheel.


I'll leave it to the experts to debate button layouts. But only you can tell what kind of instrument feels right for you. And the best way to make a choice on feel and sound of an instrument is to try as many as you can.


If you can get to a concertina workshop (Noel Hill: West Coast), big vintage music

store (Seattle) or find concertina players in your area (newspaper ad, one of these forums) it will make you better informed so you can make lots of good choices.


And I probably don't need to mention that you've already found one of the best resources: Concertina.net. Lots of information in the buying guide and lots of helpful, knowledgable folks ready to help.


I wish you all good luck in your concertina adventures. Greg

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Since writing the article on layouts (thank you for the kind words) I have spent time with both layouts and an getting better at going back and forth. I just need 5 or 10 minutes to reset my brain. I think it has become a detail at my current level (Intermediate for Irish playing). For a beginner, I would just say use one system for a while (same old advice). When a great box or some other reason comes along, you will change if you need to. When I was a beginner I agonized like you (and wrote the article), but it seems like more of a detail now. P.S. I don't have the Dipper yet, so I can't report on my custom layout idea yet!

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