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The Trouble With Anglo Concertina Availability


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An altertative:

 

Now that I've had a few moments to reflect, I think dpmccabe is correct, however I think misguided as it appears has merit. It should be age related rather than skill related.

 

Age:

1: 10 to 20 = Chinese type

2: 20 to 30 = Stagi type

3: 30 to 40 = Hybrid type

4: 40 to 50 = Antique type (Lachenals etc.)

5: 50 to 60 = Top of the line (Jeffries and the like)

6: 60 to > = Don't matter Too old anyway.

 

Under this system all is fair to me. It affects everyone the same. Predictable outcome. Levels the playing field. Leaves room for those coming in below.

 

We ought to install meters on the instruments to monitor how often/long they've been played, and if it don't meet minimum standard it should be moved to the next person on the list. That should force the quality of the music to a higher plane.

 

And we can donate it to some deserving young'un when s/he comes of age (If they've left their intentions to some clearing house in time enough to benefit). Any takers/volunteers to oversee the program??

 

With a little thought there has to be some way to be fair to everyone and allow that I can't be allowed to have an ability to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Maybe Robin Hood is right. Rob from the rich and give to the poor. ;)

 

He mentioned Charleton Heston, and his current position. dpmccabe forgets that to get there he had to part the Red Sea first when he was younger. Maybe Ted Nugent would have been a better example. He is a musician after all. The world would be a safer place if only the professionals had concertinas and take them away from them/us amateurs. :angry:

 

Fascinating Discussion

 

Thanks

Leo

Edited by Leo
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Wow dbmccabe, you seemed to have touched a nerve here. I hope that the discussion you touched off stays rational and civil, and I at least appreciate the efforts toward this of most of the posters so far.

 

Now dbmccabe, you say:

 

My first concertina was a Stagi. Learning to play Irish music well on a Stagi is all but impossible. ………….. The Stagi and Lachenal I later owned never did my technique justice. I've had amazing musicians play my old concertinas and even they couldn't make them sound decent. On the rare occasions when I would be able to play another's Dipper or Jeffries, I always surprised myself with the sound of my playing, which had previously been obscured by an instrument that couldn't move nearly as fast or precisely as my fingers.

 

Congratulations for patience it took to get past this. I can imagine it was as much the struggle you describe. I don’t know because I was lucky enough to start my concertina playing on a rather good instrument, some would rightfully say way, way too good. I am not sure I will ever have qualify for it under your terms. I think my playing does the instruments I play justice, but I know that there are others who could much more with anyone of them.

 

I want to point out that there is a major flaw in your general argument. “With the value of a concertina largely determined by its feel and response, a player simply can't improve on an inexpensive instrument that won't respond fast enough for reels or most ornamentation.” If a player cannot improve without a quality instrument, and a poor player should not seek an instrument beyond his current ability, well there is a problem.

 

Now you face your next playing challenge: “It's a very sad and frustrating moment to have reached the limitations of your instrument and have nowhere to go. And for many, there really is nowhere to go.” However, there are actually plenty of affordable very playable anglos being made today. And I am pretty sure that their ultimate value is greater that their current price. That is certainly the case of Jeffries’ instruments. Further Suttner and Dipper are also great values despite their high prices. But then, placing an order today gives you 5 years to save up the money. You do have somewhere to go, but your frustration is that you cannot have the best available instrument right now. Isn’t this the exact same "if I want it I should be able to have it" attitude you seem to decry.

 

Because of these contradictions, many in this forum see you original posting as rather self-serving. I appreciate your desire to make a living at music is commendable, but you need to realize that there are “concertina enthusiasts” in this forum who are amazing musicians, and who got that way playing great instruments that rewarded their hard work. So, you have indeed touched a nerve.

 

Dan Madden

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thanks, Rhomylly. just never been to much on some one telling me what i should do, or have ect... acording to leo post im rightwhere i should be, "4: 40 to 50 = Antique type (Lachenals etc.)" :) any way i believe to each there own, and hopefully the ones i cross paths do also. anyway hope all finds you well out west. windy here today.

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The problem is that there are plenty of both type. Concertinas sitting in cases 99% of the time and musicians who need them as that final step in making a career work.

 

That could be the problem but maybe the problem consists of personal frustration, envy, and resentment and the practical view would be to master them.

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Speaking as someone who does own a Jeffries and does have a Dipper on order, who plays the concertina in public perhaps eight times a year and who has been paid a total of £10 over my playing career of 36 years for playing any musical instrument in a public performance I'd like to say that neither DPMcCabe nor the purchaser of any instrument is in a position to evaluate the need for any particular new instrument, most especially in the light of Dave Prebble's comment "The step up in quality gave me such a jolt in enthusiasm that progress grew exponentially and within 3 months I was playing solo spots at clubs and concerts. The quality concertina was simply so much easier to play and offered much greater rewards.".

In all spheres of musical instruments I am a firm believer in the principle that "student quality" or "beginner's quality" instruments are the most appalling negative influence on talent and/or enthusiasm. I am absolutely sure that having to struggle against the inadequacies of a "beginner" or "student" instrument has put many a talented player off their instrument of choice for life.

I also do not understand DPMcCabe's differentiation between money ("I am willing to pay $7,000") and time. For the vast majority of people getting the money together takes time. Why is one so much more unjust to you, Mr McCabe, than the other?

Finally I agree with DavidFR's comment that I don't think you can quantify the enjoyment that person will get from playing that box, or justify reducing it by apportioning them a lesser concertina. Part of their enjoyment is a result of the time, effort, and yes - money - they put into getting it.

I would add that I have tried to post this reply several times this evening, and have been unable to because of high traffic on the ADSL connection that I share with other users. How can this be rationalised so that access to the internet is awarded according to need? I really need to put this post on concertina.net … Who is to decide that my need to put this post up is greater than that of those whose access to the internet has prevented me from posting up until now?

Samantha

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As many have pointed out, dpmccabe has premised his conclusions on assumptions that most reject, e.g., that people buy Dippers and leave them in the case. One assumption that I resented but also found amusing was the suggestion that the "typical adult beginner" will essentially never make it and thus shouldn't opt for the best concertina. He may be right, but I intend to find that out on my own. I started with a Stagi when I was 63, moved to a hybrid, then ordered an excellent concertina-reeded concertina when I knew that I couldn't put the instrument down, and that quality does make a difference in enjoyment and learning. I also feel that now at age 66, I should be entitled to buy a Dipper, Suttner, Wakker, Carroll, or Kensington if playing such an instrument gives me pleasure, and it does. I would also dispute dpmccabe's assumption that starting adults don't have the dedication. My friends would find that laughable knowing that, even though I work full time, in the past 3 years I have attended workshops with Noel Hill, Micheal O'Raghallaigh, Gearoid O'hAllmhrain, and Edel Fox, and have taken lessons from Tim Collins at his house, and now take lessons weekly at Comhaltas, and attend one or two slow sessions a week. Maybe I will never be a great musician but I am enjoying the people music immensely, and I feel that a good instrument gives me confidence and encourages me. In fact, one teacher indicated that a good instrument was important to making progres. So, I understand and even sympathize with dcmccabe's desire for a top instrument, but I resent the implication that older adults should in effect take themselves out of the mix. They may not become great muscians but they are entitled to pursue their passions every bit as much as a younger person. So, while I may not be the typical adult beginner, I know that last year I was the only concertina player at Comhaltas, and this year there are 12--all of them adults and all giving the appearance that they will have a hard time keeping the concertina in its case. That is enough for now--I have to go back to practice on my quality concertina. Alan

Edited by Alan Miller
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I would add that I have tried to post this reply several times this evening, and have been unable to because of high traffic on the ADSL connection that I share with other users. How can this be rationalised so that access to the internet is awarded according to need? I really need to put this post on concertina.net … Who is to decide that my need to put this post up is greater than that of those whose access to the internet has prevented me from posting up until now?

Samantha

 

Samantha, you only deserve to get on if you can type fast :)

Edited by Paul Read
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All my sites were moved to a new server today. Everything appears to have gone smoothly with no major glitches, but let me know if you notice anything broker or misbehaving.

 

Thanks,

 

Paul

 

I too noticed some trouble earlier. I thought it was me too. But I guess alls well now

Thanks

Leo

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in the past 3 years I have attended workshops with Noel Hill, Micheal O'Raghaillgh, Geroid O'hAllamhrain, and Edel Fox, and have taken lessons from Tim Collins at his house, and now take lessons weekly at Comhaltas, and attend one or two slow sessions a week.

Folks like you are helping the concertina community grow and prosper. There are a lot of you. Thanks. If there weren't, people like Suttner and Dipper wouldn't be making concertinas at all.

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Interesting that the love of money is primary to the love of playing.

ie a professional deserves a better quality instrument than an amateur

in spite of the fact that perhaps the amateur put his heart and soul into

his/her playing

 

 

Years ago I discovered Suttner.. he had a 6 month turn around time...so now he has been discovered and his instruments are 3 times the money and 12 times the wait. Good for him

 

You said that the condition of high prices and long waiting periods does not seem to be the case with other instruments. Your ignorance is showing. You mentioned Castagnaris are available off the shelf from the Button Box. Yes a few ,some used. New ones can take 6 months to a year to get and Castagnari ( in spite of rumors 3 elves make them) is a full bown production shop. I have waited as long as 11 months to get one. And take Messervier or Vezina in Quebec, or Falcon in Louisiana or Briggs, or Gaillard.. these are all button accordions the quality of the concertinas to which you refer, and they are all expensive and have waiting lists...one you must "audition" before he will build for you if you are a new customer.

 

Or how about a Ruck Classical guitar or a DeVoe Flamenco... years to get and tall dollars.

Mandolins: Gilchrist $8 grand and up and 6 years or Dudenbostel...same thing and there are others.

 

You mentioned fast cars.. sure you can buy an off the shelf Vette but a real car..say a Ferrari.. place an order and wait and pay upwards of 200K

 

I don't see the elitism so much as I see narcisism (sp) and entitlement and envy.

 

BTW the Morse Ceili is one fine instrument worthy of any player..maater of fact I prefer them to the 3 Jeffries I have played or had in my possession.

Edited by Jeff H
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...The same "if I want it I should be able to have it" attitude is what puts mammoth SUVs in driveways across America and four patties on that Burger King cheeseburger instead of one. You may want the best instrument you can get, but do you need it?

 

5 pages of responses in one day, you must be doing something right. at first i thought this was an old thread someone resurrected. anyway, i guess capitalism isn't fair, people with more money can buy a concertina even if they don't really need one. if you have enough money, you can get a new suttner in less than a year. just put an ad on the buy and sell forum and someone will sell you his or her spot if you're willing pay enough. i agree it isn't fair, but in your post you complained that while you can buy a top-of-the-line mercedes with enough money, you can't get a new suttner, and this simply isn't true.

 

i'm guilty as charged. i placed an ad, and two people responded with spots to sell. i got a new suttner c/g a few months ago, and i'm getting the next Bb/F carroll. in addition i have a just-tuned edgley Ab/Eb and a tedrow C/G. i had a lot of work this year, and it will probably be a long time before i have enough money to buy the concertinas i want again. there are people more deserving in ireland. i wish we had a different system, but i'm not sure i would rather have the "people's central committee" deciding whether i deserved a concertina or not. and i think the system we have for concertina distribution is better than a pure free market. all the current makers sell concertinas for less than they could, and even an american minimum wage worker could get on the list and save their pennies for four years if they really want one and are willing to give up luxuries like housing and protein.

 

i know it's selfish of me, but there are worse things i could do with my money, like buying diamonds or hummers or boats. so i'm willing to accept your judgement. as much as i'd like it to be, owning a concertina is not a universal human right, and owning more than my share of them will never be an extraditable offense.

 

i don't deserve these concertinas more than you any more than i deserve my american passport more than someone who was born in another part of the world. i practice as much as i can, if that makes you feel any better. and i don't really lose any sleep over this.

 

but my real reason for responding to your post: does burger king really have a four-patty cheeseburger? if so, that is disgusting. i didn't eat at mcdonalds for a month after seeing "supersize me". but there's nothing like a big-mac, so i fell off the wagon after just 30 days.

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First, take your typical adult beginner. He plays the concertina as a hobby apart from his full-time job. Although he's been playing for around 10 years, he only practices for a few hours a week and does it just for fun. He's had plenty of time to wait for a Dipper and once received it becomes his instrument of choice. His midrange Lachenal was fine for him, but he wanted to have the nicest instrument he could get and could afford it with no problem. The concertina had always just been a hobby for him and he's since moved on to other pursuits. The Dipper sits in its case most of the time now.

If he (or she) has been playing for 10 years, practicing for several hours every week for all that time, and waited to get a Dipper - is it plausible that then suddenly he/she puts it in its case and never plays it?

 

Now, take a player who's only in his teens but has been playing for 6 or 7 years, regularly takes lessons from a top Irish player down at the Comhaltas branch and plays in sessions every week. He's become quite a good player and places well at the local Fleadh. Right now, he has a decent Wheatstone but is having trouble playing up-to-speed at the session. He listens to musicians like Tim Collins and concludes his instrument just won't let him play the notes and ornamentation as quickly and precisely as the musician with the Jeffries. And he's probably right. He knows that if he wants to become a player of that level, he needs to get an instrument like that but he has no luck in finding one. He could order one today and it would get there in about 5 years, but he knows he'll never be able to keep up with his fellow musicians who are playing flute or fiddle. When he goes to sessions and workshops around the country, he sees lots of players with nice instruments, but few of them are using them to their full potentials. He doesn't make much progress for a few years and decides that maybe a career playing concertina isn't very practical.

Great players are not great because of the instrument they play, but because of what they do with it. I'd think that if such a player's instrument was not capable of playing at high speed, they'd just explore different styles/genres of playing that were more suited to the instrument they have. Then maybe later if they'd got a faster box they could revisit the high speed playing with a broader experience of the instrument's capabilities. If, however, for the style of music they wish to play the definition of quality largely revolves around playing speed, that seems sterile and artificial criteria far removed from what music is to most people.

 

If he hasn't got the drive and tenacity to plug away at it until he can acquire the instrument he thinks he needs, if he just gives up on his career aspirations, he probably hasn't got what it takes to be a top player anyway.

 

- W

 

 

p.s. On the subject of need vs desire. Nobody really needs a Concertina - they need shelter, warmth, food, love & companionship (though I know some people experience some of these things with their Concertina :o ). Everything else is just varying forms of wants and desire.

Edited by Woody
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p.s. On the subject of need vs desire. Nobody really needs a Concertina - they need shelter, warmth, food, love & companionship (though I know some people experience some of these things with their Concertina :o ). Everything else is just varying forms of wants and desire.

 

Yes I agree, but with a caveat.

There is this problem for professional musicians. To get to the level of conservatory, you need a nice professional level instrument. Otherwise you you wan't be even accepted.

However, concertina-wise, there are modern made instrument that are a fraction of a price of Jeffries or Dipper, and are just as quick. The brand names are sought after because of the tone.

I don't like the tone of Jeffries and Dipper. I like the sound of D/G Morse and C/G Edgley a lot more. A young player desires Jeffries for it's tone/speed to play at specific sessions in specific style - great.

Get a Morse and wait for Dipper.

Otherwise imagine a tragic situation with an 18 year old, seen older folks slugging by in their Mercedes-Benzes, while he can outrun them in his old Toyota Corolla.

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You'd be hard-pressed to find a top flute player or accordion player who payed more than a few thousand dollars for his/her instrument. Now we see restored Jeffries going for $8000 or more.

 

Well, your thoughts are well put, but your information is off.

Peter Soave, top tier chromatic accordion player from the US, has 5 row C system, 120 bass Pigini, with Titanus reedplates made in Russia,

Top notch hand made Piginis go for $15K. Peter's was $30K.

 

It's a far cry from "expencive" Dippers.

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I very well might have the wrong idea about the level of instruction at the workshop, but why do intermediate -and-above players require instruction in the skills that were mentioned in the article? Maybe the article was skewed, but perhaps you could clarify?

The great thing about Noel's workshops is that you have to be incredibly good ( few people are that good ) to not find a wealth of information in his classes. I've been going for the last 12 years, and have become quite proficient in the instrument, yet I never fail to find some new aspect of playing I hadn't been able to appreciate before. Noel teaches to all levels and "professional musicians" take his classes. Unless you can play as well as he can. ( that doesn't mean as fast ) with all the nuance and exquisite care he takes in bring the music to life, you have something to learn from him. Most of the early beginners in his classes have long since been able to out play the instruments they started on, and a fair number of them can out play the run of the mill Jeffries or Wheatstone.

 

To second Rich's message on the finances of concertina building, It is a very capital intensive endeavor. I am one of those who was able to get started when I had the good fortune to have a lot of capital at hand. To do more than make a few concertinas, to actually make enough to be able to afford to work full time at it takes a large investment up front. as Rich has said before, it isn't something any bank will loan to you. To make a really good concertina takes a lot of experience as well. Colin Dipper once told me about eight years worth. I found that reasonably accurate unless you can apprentice to a good maker.

 

The reason there are a lot of pipes and accordions available is because it takes a lot less to get started making them. ( really good pipes Like David Quinn's or Mark Hillman's still cost a lot of money and aren't that much more available ) Over time if the interest in the instrument continues to grow, more people will find a way to make them, but it will be slow.

 

My advice to anyone serious about learning an instrument ( concertinas are no exception ) is get the best playing and sounding instrument you can afford. The pleasure you will get from you playing will increase your learning speed and practice time. If you find it isn't for you, sell it and don't leave it around unplayed.

 

I'll be happy to give anyone all the help I can if they want to start making concertinas. Their scarcity is a real and serious issue. Other people I know have begun the process, but there is a lot more involved than meets the eye. The least of you problems will be selling them.

Dana

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It would seem to me from from what I have read above that if dpMcCabe had sufficient commitment to a future as a professional player and posessed half as much enthusiasm for the instrument as the amateurs and hobby players here, then by hook or by crook, he would have found and bought a suitable instrument by now.

 

If anyone wishes to buy equipment to start any business, be it as a cabinet maker or musician, they either save their own money to do so, or produce a business plan to convince the bank manager that there is sufficient market demand which they can satisfy profitably, and that it is in the lender's interest to loan the stake money. In any such situation there is a degree of risk involved on both sides. For the player, I would suggest this is that he will be able to justify the increased cost by playing to a higher potential available on a quality instrument and that the 'market' will recognise this improvement by paying better appearance fees

 

Put simply, If you want something enough and are prepared to make unpleasant sacrifices along the way, you can and will achieve your aims. If this means selling prized posessions, downsizing or getting rid of the car or busking... or as happens in Ireland, getting a second mortgage on the parents house....then so be it.

 

We have heard of the growing numbers of young 'would be' professional concertina players in Ireland who will not be able to afford instruments of sufficient quality. Just how many concertina players can the market support? There will perhaps be room for maybe 1 in 50 of the most promising players to secure a full time living wage. As for the rest, youngsters being pushed on by overzealous parents will fast fall by the wayside, leaving those who really love the instrument and the music, to carry forward in the ranks of gifted amateurs and part time professionals.

 

If a Suttner, a Dipper or the like is your particular 'ideal instrument', then you have no choice but to accept that the waiting list is long and meantime, to stump up the cash for as good a stop-gap instrument as you can find to suit your purposes.

 

The demand for vintage and used concertinas will, for the forseeable future, outstrip supply and prices will be high. Although the supply of new instruments at all levels is improving, the overall shortfall is likely to continue.

 

Jeffries, Wheatstones and other top instruments (both 'as found' and restored) are out there if you look hard enough and are prepared to make any necessary sacrifices (or loan arrangements) and pay the market price. They are not going to get any cheaper - quite the opposite!

 

It is not just the poor 'professional musicians' who live in penury, 'enthusiasts' have quite possibly had to make huge sacrifices to fulfil their dream and have certainly had to buy in the same market as everyone else.

 

Grit your teeth and accept that there are people out there far better placed financially than yourself albeit you might be a more proficient player than they are, and might play more often.

 

Also accept that for every 'professional' player out there, there are many times more amateurs who play to an equal or higher standard. Not everyone wishes to be a professional, indeed the vast majority play for their own pleasure, be it alone at home, or in sessions.

 

Neither you nor I have the right to make any kind of judgement on the enjoyment value that an instrument brings to a particular 'enthusiastic' owner, whether it is being played to its full potential or not....... still less do we have the right to suggest that they should settle for a 'second rate dream' in the form of a lesser quality instrument.

 

I couldn't even start to describe the enjoyment I have derived from my own instruments.

 

I am sorry if you don't like how the world works.... it is certainly not ideal.., but the mere fact of being a professional musician ( be it $100 or $100,000 a year ) does not endow any right whatsoever to have priority of access to an instrument be it in terms of waiting time or quality. If a musicians 'business' can't stand the expense of buying the most suitable instrument available at current market prices, then they have little choice but to learn to live with what they can afford.

 

Regards

 

Dave

 

btw,

 

"Right now, he has a Decent Wheatstone but is having trouble playing up-to-speed at the session"

 

Most likely that session is one of the 'breakneck race to the finish' variety all too common these days. Far better to play a little slower, more accurately and with more feel for the music.....but that is a whole new argument entirely

On the other hand, it could be the well known Wheatstone / Guinness effect :lol:

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but my real reason for responding to your post: does burger king really have a four-patty cheeseburger? if so, that is disgusting. i didn't eat at mcdonalds for a month after seeing "supersize me". but there's nothing like a big-mac, so i fell off the wagon after just 30 days.

 

 

Oh yes there is my friend .... but I couldn't possibly name it on a such a polite forum as this

 

:ph34r:

 

Dave

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