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Appropriate Concertina For 1st Time Player


AnnW
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My daughter is very musical (1st chair oboe in All State orchestra and band in High School), many piano awards, and self-taught guitar last winter. She is about to turn 21, and I'd like to get her a concertina. She would be using it for her own enjoyment, as well as entertaining friends and others in her dorm. From the research I've done, I'm thinking an Anglo would be best - since it has more notes. Also, I am leaning toward a 30-key. She doesn't have much room for storage, and am hoping this won't be too big. She is a big fan of French movies - or anything French - and it seems the background music in French films is accordion or concertina. I've been shopping on EBay and have found a new Anglo, 30-key for $100. The seller didn't know what key it was in (or at least the person who answered my email question). What do you think of this offer? Thanks SO MUCH for your assistance. If I should be looking at something else, I'd appreciate knowing as well. She would also need an instruction and music book. HELP!!

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Hi Ann,

If your daughter is going to want to play French music, the concertina may not be the best choice. Most French music is the piano accordion or the button accordion. If she plays the piano already, the piano accordion would be pretty intuitive. The size (and the volume) of the instrument would be the problem in a dorm situation though.

If though she might be interested in Irish folk music or another types of melody oriented music, the anglo would be great. Concertinas are the perfect size for dorm life. I live in a dorm and have no trouble playing without annoying others. It is small enough to have in the room without being a bother and portable enough to take with you if you want to play outside or with friends.

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I would listen to Geo, he is one of the original concertinists among us!

 

Having said that, I would vote for an upgrade of one step, to an Italian, whether 20 or 30 key anglo or 30 key English, if you go for concertina. Another thread here states that some of us think you should spend your dollar for fewer buttons of higher quality, and that is my own experience. Italian boxes go used for 1/2 to 2/3 of what they cost new, but buying used from a dealer will help you avoid an uplayable box. The cheaper they are, the less gracefully they age.

 

You should seriously consider a piano accordion. Few instruments are as undervalued as there used to be so many players (at least in the US) and now nobody wants them. But don't get one from a garage sale. Those always needs hundreds of dollars in repairs. If she can play one with narrow keys (1/2 or 5/8 inch instead of 3/4; "lady" size) she could get a fairly light 48-bass. Call Wendy at House of Mus Trad in MD or Doug C. at Button Box in MA if you live in the eastern US.

 

Have fun!

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  • 4 weeks later...

It all depends what she would want it for - I agree with the comment about accordion/button accordion if she does want to play French music, and the number of buttons on a concertina makes no great difference to the size. However I would argue for the English rather than the Anglo, for the benefits of being fully chromatic. The English might also make more sense to a trained musician ( ducks involuntarily as he writes this ! ).

Also, does she actually want a free-reed instrument, or is this just a general idea you have. Perhaps you could make a list of what is in the price-range you were thinking of and offer her a choice. Probably the best point is that even if you are wrong in the choice of instrument it should maintain its value to sell on.

 

GP

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