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The Trouble With Anglo Concertina Availability


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Just look at his profile. You will see a link to the website of the group he is playing with. Look at the photos and listen to the music.

I thought of posting a similar reply earlier, but, having listened to many of the recordings, I couldn't hear much concertina. :huh: Devin sounds to be a very useful fiddler, though!

 

Regards,

Peter.

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I thought of posting a similar reply earlier, but, having listened to many of the recordings, I couldn't hear much concertina. :huh: Devin sounds to be a very useful fiddler, though!

 

Regards,

Peter.

 

 

I'd say the lad's a sight better than useful Peter. Only one cut sampled with concertina and well done. Ah youth. Perhaps it's time ta' take him outta the stocks an' move on ;)

Edited by Mark Evans
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[i'd say the lad's a sight better than useful Peter. Only one cut sampled with concertina and well done. Ah youth. Perhaps it's time ta' take him outta the stocks an' move on ;)

 

NAH! It's halloween. Off with his head! Burn him at the stake! :lol:

 

Seriously I didn't listen to all the tracks, so I didn't hear it. Which one was it/they?? But yes very nice fiddle music on the ones I listened to. Enjoyed it. :)

 

Thanks

Leo

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-Jumping on the opportunity to add something positive here:

 

This has been an educational thread in many ways, including the comparisons of various makers' anglos, the glimpses into a range of personalities, and finally this last bit of detective work revealing that Mr. McCabe is indeed a fine fiddle player.

 

He passes the audition, in my opinion, and deserves a fast concertina. I hope to hear the results of his efforts one day.

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Seriously I didn't listen to all the tracks, so I didn't hear it. Which one was it/they?? But yes very nice fiddle music on the ones I listened to. Enjoyed it. :)

I noted down track 5 for the concertina.

 

Regards,

Peter.

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I noted down track 5 for the concertina.

 

Regards,

Peter.

 

Ok I racant! maybe a little flogging :D

Track 5 on the second album. Very nice indeed.

Thanks

Leo

He plays a Connor. Would that be too slow? I've never tried one. I believe I was told they use old Lachenal reeds but I'm not sure.

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He plays a Connor. Would that be too slow? I've never tried one. I believe I was told they use old Lachenal reeds but I'm not sure.

 

I didn't think so. But then I'm of the opinion that speed doesn't necessarily mean better. I'm kind of partial to the slower playing anyhow. It doesn't sound like a machine grinding in my head. :unsure:

 

I don't know about the construction, though. It's beyond my comprehension.

Thanks

Leo

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Well it's seems I've hit quite a nerve with people on this subject--the thread has doubled in length since before the weekend. I won't try to respond to individual posts but rather make some general statements.

 

First, thank you to those of you who have responded at length with thoughtful, insightful comments (Geraghty, m3838 and others). It was interesting to see some comments from makers like Frank Edgely and Paul Groff, who obviously know what they're talking about. Some of the discussion about the concertina community and whether such a thing "exists" might be an interesting exercise for another thread. It is nice that many new makers have stepped up to supply players with quality instruments. At this juncture, I would definitely encourage new players to explore new, accordion-reeded instruments than midrange vintage instruments. All of the Edgelys and Morses I have tried have action and response that match any Jeffries. Although Lachenals might be closer in sound to top vintage Jeffries, the response is almost always poorer than new instruments. It's hard to weigh sound vs. response, but I think the trend today is towards response. Lachenals have also appreciated quite a bit along with other vintage instruments while new instruments by the makers mentioned will give you a better value. Plus learning concertina is so much about muscle memory that when you do transition from a Morse (or whatnot) to a steel-reeded top-of-the-line Dipper it's like having an instant sound upgrade using your same technique.

 

I was, however, dismayed by the profusion of cynics and their often unsuccessful attempts at humor. This very well could have been a civil discussion had it not been for your useless comments. Perhaps you'd be better off practicing and enjoying your instrument than frittering away your lives on an internet message board. That's what I'll be doing, anyway.

 

I think this discussion went down the wrong path a bit when I suggested that people often buy expensive instruments and don't use them enough or at all. While I do believe these people exist, they are a minority compared to those who buy expensive instruments when midrange ones would suffice. This has been discussed ad nauseam and sometimes it's best to agree to disagree. Some people got very defensive about this, presumably because they feel like I'd possibly put them into such a category. Well, I never made personal attacks or direct criticism on anyone's playing so I hope people keep that in mind. My main point in all of this is that if you can't justify the purchase of an instrument in terms of your level of playing, your dedication to the instrument and where you hope the instrument will take you (or where you take it), then start over and think about what you really need. Have some perspective and consider the needs of others as you consider your own. No instrument maker can judge someone's playing and say "No, you can't have one of these" and I'm not saying that should happen. If you find yourself thinking, "A Lachenal would be just fine for me for many years to come" then get the Lachenal. If someday you think you're playing at the point where you need a better instrument, then by all means take the plunge.

 

However, what I think is an even larger majority is those who have antique instruments, don't play, but, for one reason or another, don't know what they have. I'm sure there are hundreds of Jeffries and Wheatstones in various states of disrepair sitting in attics. Many of this are family heirlooms and, sadly, might not see the light of day (or the hands of a competent player) for years. This hasn't been discussed much but we all know it to be true--that there are excellent instruments just waiting out there. I suppose that's one thing we have eBay to be thankful for. Most of the good instruments on eBay not being sold by Chris Algar or a small handful of other sellers belong to people who inherited the instruments and don't know what to do with them. They're out there, but it's just a matter of getting them back to the "community" and it seems to be happening slowly but surely. They often don't know what they have. That Linota on eBay, by the way, sold for £3600 (wow...).

 

I was surprised to learn that nice instruments often go on extended loan to promising players. Perhaps this is more of an Irish phenomenon since I've never heard of it. Indeed, I don't even know of another concertina player within a 100-mile radius. For those of you with a multitude of concertinas in musical hot spots, though, it's a gesture that could pay off for you in many ways. The instrument is more popular than ever. The need is there but often, the instruments are not. You just might make the next Noel Hill or Chris Droney.

 

For the record, there are some audio clips of me playing through links in my profile. Not much concertina, I agree, but I had only received my Connor just before the latest CD's recording process had begun, so I was favoring the fiddle at the time. There's a track of jigs on the first album that's all concertina (Ernestine Healy's/Timmy Cliffords/etc.), but I had only been playing for 3 years or so and was using my old Lachenal, so that recording's not going on my headstone, so to speak. Although, I think someone here should invent an audio-capable granite headstone for ITM graveyards of the future. The idea is now in the open.

Edited by dpmccabe
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Why should an excellent fiddler insert himself in the concertina queue to get a second instrument which will stay in the case a good deal of the time. He'd be stalling the career of someone whose main instrument is concertina and depriving him of the better one to reach the next level. If pbmccabe hears about this he'll be outraged. :lol:

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They're out there, but it's just a matter of getting them back to the "community" and it seems to be happening slowly but surely. They often don't know what they have. That Linota on eBay, by the way, sold for £3600 (wow...).

 

I must admit that one of the greater pleasures of the restoration business is knowing that I'm releasing another concertina back into the wild. I would say that the Linota was probably in the same range as a similar condition Jeffries, maybe a little more than expected though. Chris Algar was the buyer I believe and he knows concertina values (or what he can get for it restored).

Edited by Paul Read
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They're out there, but it's just a matter of getting them back to the "community" and it seems to be happening slowly but surely. They often don't know what they have. That Linota on eBay, by the way, sold for £3600 (wow...).

 

I must admit that one of the greater pleasures of the restoration business is knowing that I'm releasing another concertina back into the wild. I would say that the Linota was probably in the same range as a similar condition Jeffries, maybe a little more than expected though. Chris Algar was the buyer I believe and he knows concertina values (or what he can get for it restored).

 

I was thinking of bidding myself but never thought the price would go that high, but if Chris thinks it's worth that much than it must be. Had it been ebony-ended, in concert pitch and with a few more keys I would understand the price. Maybe he was able to play the concertina before bidding?

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.... My main point in all of this is that if you can't justify the purchase of an instrument in terms of your level of playing, your dedication to the instrument and where you hope the instrument will take you (or where you take it), ...

 

I almost agree with you, dpmccabe, but you have missed out one essential creterion to be included when considering the purchase of a top notch concertina (or anything else) and that is justification in terms of your own enjoyment of the acquisition ...

Samantha

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Well it's seems I've hit quite a nerve with people on this subject--the thread has doubled in length since before the weekend. I won't try to respond to individual posts but rather make some general statements.

 

First, thank you to those of you who have responded at length with thoughtful, insightful comments (Geraghty, m3838 and others). It was interesting to see some comments from makers like Frank Edgely and Paul Groff, who obviously know what they're talking about. Some of the discussion about the concertina community and whether such a thing "exists" might be an interesting exercise for another thread. It is nice that many new makers have stepped up to supply players with quality instruments. At this juncture, I would definitely encourage new players to explore new, accordion-reeded instruments than midrange vintage instruments. All of the Edgelys and Morses I have tried have action and response that match any Jeffries. Although Lachenals might be closer in sound to top vintage Jeffries, the response is almost always poorer than new instruments. It's hard to weigh sound vs. response, but I think the trend today is towards response. Lachenals have also appreciated quite a bit along with other vintage instruments while new instruments by the makers mentioned will give you a better value. Plus learning concertina is so much about muscle memory that when you do transition from a Morse (or whatnot) to a steel-reeded top-of-the-line Dipper it's like having an instant sound upgrade using your same technique.

 

You know the interesting thing here is that not everyone would consider the Morse to Dipper transition to be a sound upgrade. Yes, alot of us do prefer the Dipper's sound, but some people do actually prefer the sound of the Italian reeded instruments. In fact, after giving Dana Johnson a chance to try my Edgley back in June (He is local and he was helping me fix a reed on my Kensington) he commented on the fact that it had a vintage (as in typical of the old concertinas that use to be played in Ireland, not Jefferies or Wheatstone vintage) sound to it. This concept (in my mind) was strengthened when I listened to Chris Droney talk in the Catskills. Back when Chris got started, the Jefferies and the Wheatstones were very much the exception. If you played concertina back then, you were far more likely to play a german made, german reeded concertina. My ultimate impression was that the far superior durability of the the English made instruments was the major factor in the ascendency. So ultimately, in an ironic way, the Morses and Edgley's actually represent a fusion of the tone that would have been typical of the early 20th century with the superior construction and durability of the English made instruments. So in a way, they are a return to tradition :).

 

I was, however, dismayed by the profusion of cynics and their often unsuccessful attempts at humor. This very well could have been a civil discussion had it not been for your useless comments. Perhaps you'd be better off practicing and enjoying your instrument than frittering away your lives on an internet message board. That's what I'll be doing, anyway.

 

Hey can't practice all the time, and arguing can be fun :).

 

SNIPED to keep the length down.. I didn't want to directly address those points

 

 

I was surprised to learn that nice instruments often go on extended loan to promising players. Perhaps this is more of an Irish phenomenon since I've never heard of it. Indeed, I don't even know of another concertina player within a 100-mile radius. For those of you with a multitude of concertinas in musical hot spots, though, it's a gesture that could pay off for you in many ways. The instrument is more popular than ever. The need is there but often, the instruments are not. You just might make the next Noel Hill or Chris Droney.

 

Its definitely a great gesture, and not necessarily an uncommon one, but if you are not careful it can be an expensive one. But, I essentially gave my Stagi to a session regular who wanted to try the concertina out, and have lent my Marcus out a couple of times. I suspect when I get my Suttner, I will be willing to the do the same with my Edgley.

 

--

Bill

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I play one of my own most of the time, now, as does Tom Lawrence, Tom Glynn, and Asher Perkins (who, if he competes in Ireland, next year, well may be be the next All-Ireland Champion in the under 18 category), and other quite good players. Or perhaps we are not quite up to standard???

 

I, personally, am honored to be counted (albeit much more humbly) among such fine Edgley players!

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... But, I essentially gave my Stagi to a session regular who wanted to try the concertina out, and have lent my Marcus out a couple of times. I suspect when I get my Suttner, I will be willing to the do the same with my Edgley.

 

when i ordered an Ab/Eb concertina from frank edgley, i was thinking at the time that it would be my primary low-tuned instrument for a few years until colin dipper finally got around to building one for me. (i'm in the queue somewhere, but the dippers still haven't asked me for any money, so i expect i'm in for quite a long wait).

 

anyway, after getting the edgley a few months back, i've decided that it's an instrument that is too valuable to leave my living room, and i can't imagine ever loaning it to anyone. whether i prefer it to my suttner depends on the mood i'm in. most of the tunes i've gotten off the willie clancy records sound a lot better when i play them on the edgley, while most of what i've gotten from the o'sullivan/mcmahon records sounds better on the suttner.

 

and these instruments all change over time.

 

just to keep this thread going a little longer, i'd respond to the earlier comment that the musician is more important than the instrument. i guess this is true, but there's a reason people say to get the best instrument you can when you start. while an advanced player can make a cheap instrument sound good, a beginner needs a better instrument that they won't have to fight all the time. when i upgraded from a stagi to a norman, my ability improved much more rapidly. and there's a lot more to learning the concertina than getting the "muscle memory" of fingering and bellows direction. the way the instrument sounds is important. i find myself trying different kinds of things on the different concertinas i have, and this is at least in part because of the different sounds each of them have.

 

i know i've said all this before, but i just want to repeat that there are legitimate reasons for a dedicated beginner to have a better instrument, even a priceless jeffries, to practice on. a beginner with a suttner to learn on will have a different experience than a beginner with a tedrow. this isn't to say that one of these instruments is inferior to the other, it's just incredibly helpful to have an instrument that sounds like what you're trying to emulate when you're learning. that's my experience, at least, as someone who tries to learn by listening very carefully to recordings. i've still got a few more concertinas on the way, and i'm sure what i do with each of them will be very different.

 

i don't like to go to sessions or play for other people, so i guess in a sense all these instruments are wasted on me. what good is music if the musician won't share it with anyone but unwilling neighbors? is it enough for it simply to bring pleasure to the person making it? i think it is, but i can't say that i'm really convinced. in any case i appreciate the work of the instrument makers that have indulged me. i don't really know how to make it up to them.

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I wore out two Rigoletta concertinas before buying my first Wheatstone back in 1983. I paid $1,200 for a 1925 36 button Linota. If I was following McCabe's logic I wouldn't have deserved it then and would have just purchased a Lachenal or something similar. By the time I got good enough to buy anything worthy of my playing ability the Wheatstone I now own would be out of my price range. In other words -- I'd be stuck with an instrument that I wouldn't be happy with. I'm very glad I shot higher than my ability would have allowed at that time.

 

I think most people that take up any instrument will go into it with high expectations. The same would be true for people interested in concertinas I suppose. The problem with Anglo concertinas, as pointed out in this thread, is the lack of availability and high expense. Threads like this will only make people feel more urgent about getting their hands on a high-end concertina so that years from now they won't be stuck with something sub-standard.

 

At any rate… I doubt this forum would be the right place for Mr. McCabe to make his appeal. It’s obvious that folks here are least likely to have instruments they don’t need or feel like their interests, ambitions and playing level doesn’t deserve. I’d be curious if anyone here actually has an instrument in their possession that they feel they don’t deserve based on their playing level or interest. I also doubt anyone in here knows anyone else who has fine Anglo concertinas packed away being neglected.

 

A year or so ago I thought I damaged my concertina in a way that only a repair expert could deal with. I looked into finding a second concertina in order to have one to use while the other is away in the shop. It was essential since I make my living playing the thing and couldn’t be without it. I was extremely frustrated at the situation regarding waiting lists, prices, selling of spots in waiting lists etc., and felt like I was up against a wall. Luckily I was able to repair the concertina myself and it works fine now. I still would like to get a second one, and I’m working on that, but the reality of it is not making it easy or any more affordable.

 

On the brighter side, a very well-known concertina player approached me to see if I’d be interested in buying a mint condition Jeffries he hasn’t played in 25 years. He said he wanted to get it into someone’s hands that would play it well. His price was still too dear for me, but I helped him find someone who was looking for their first top-of-the-line concertina. I guess this proves that there are folks out there who are actually putting un-used top quality concertinas out there to be acquired by people who will love and play them. Perhaps you’ll be as lucky too some day, Mr. McCabe. Perhaps if you re-framed your query it might garner the desired response.

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On the brighter side, a very well-known concertina player approached me to see if I’d be interested in buying a mint condition Jeffries he hasn’t played in 25 years. He said he wanted to get it into someone’s hands that would play it well. His price was still too dear for me, but I helped him find someone who was looking for their first top-of-the-line concertina. I guess this proves that there are folks out there who are actually putting un-used top quality concertinas out there to be acquired by people who will love and play them. Perhaps you’ll be as lucky too some day, Mr. McCabe. Perhaps if you re-framed your query it might garner the desired response.

 

Sage advice.

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