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Hello, my name is Pete and I live in the middle of nowhere some twenty minutes or so from Ashford on the Kent/East Sussex border. I’m just deciding which English concertina to buy after a gap of twenty five years since I last played!

 

First a little background story… I was inspired to buy and play a concertina after seeing a Lancastrian folk trio called Jolly Jack playing in the local folk clubs (I lived in Yorkshire then), so I decided to have a look in a few antique shops to see what I could pick up. The first place I went in had a concertina! It was pretty boring to look at, being all black with just the 48 nickel silver buttons and finger rests to relieve the sombre hue. I was standing on top of its battered black leather case and priced at £65. This was 1977 remember, that was more than a weeks wages and I knew nothing about concertinas so that seemed like quite a lot of money. <_<

 

The shop owner had done a little research and proclaimed that the maker, Wheatstone, had invented the concertina; the thing looked well made and in reasonable condition. An inscription on the thumb strap screws proclaimed it to be First Prize in a concertina competition held in September 1911 which gave it a little provenance so he thought the price fair. After several minutes of bargaining I bought the instrument for £60, most of which was borrowed from my girlfriend, and took it home to gloat.

 

One note didn’t play and although I hadn’t a clue how to play it I was musician enough to realise that it needed tuning. I popped into a large music shop in Leeds to see if their repairman could do anything with it and it turned out he was a bit of a specialist. The repair and tuning cost me another £32 and when I called in to collect it the repairman came out from the back of the shop to see me.

“Nice Aeola” he said, “don’t see many like that these days”

I left the shop feeling a little glum that I hadn’t even managed to buy a proper concertina! :o

 

I learned to play to a moderate standard and accompanied myself whilst singing in the local folk clubs, eventually using the concertina more often than the guitar. Then one day a spring broke, so I trotted off to the same shop to buy a replacement. The old repairman had retired and the new chap said he needed the concertina in the workshop to make a new spring that was weighted like the rest so as to maintain a balanced action. I picked it up the following week and was disappointed to find that the new spring was much heavier than the others but I persevered thinking that the new spring would need time to bed in. After several weeks I returned it to the shop for adjustment because it wasn’t any better but it still wasn’t right when I got it back.

 

My playing declined after that and I found myself back playing guitar more and more ending up playing with a band making a few quid ‘playing the clubs’. In the meantime I’d amassed quite a collection of old concertinas at flea markets, mostly tutor model Lachenal anglos in six sided rosewood cases but I also bought a 30 button Jeffries with metal ends for £42 and a battered black duet in pretty poor condition. When I spotted a newspaper ad for old concertinas I decided it was time for a bit of a clearout. I got £150 for the Jeffries and £200 or so in total for most of the old wrecks as a job lot. In a moment of madness I took £400 for the Wheatstone, it was a hell of a lot of money at the time and all in cash. I thought I would be able to find another but this was a time when the supply was drying up and of course I never saw another.

 

Now I have itchy fingers and a real desire to play concertina again but I’m not sure I want to invest in a vintage concertina again at the moment. So am I mad to buy a Jackie just to get back into playing? I remember the Aeola had a lightening fast action and pretty short button stroke compared to others I tried but I doubt my hands will remember the feel of it after all these years.

 

I’ve enjoyed reading through umpteen threads on here and I’m really surprised there isn’t a pinned ‘Hello’ thread for newbies to introduce themselves instead of starting a new thread. I’ll let you know how I get on with the Jackie. :ph34r:

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Hello Pete; nice story. I'm sure it'll all come back to you fast and you'll be out looking for a 'quality box' asap but from what everyone says, Jackies are good playable instruments and you won't lose much money on it, so go to it!

 

Have you actually bought it yet?

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Have you actually bought it yet?

 

Yes I have, well it's been bought for me, it arrived today. Sorry, it took me a day or two to write my first post - pressure of work etc, so it's now a little out of context. It's my birthday next Tuesday and Jackie - along with Jack the baritone (!) are my presents. :D

 

Only four days left to stare at the wrapping paper. :(

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Hello, my name is Pete and I live in the middle of nowhere some twenty minutes or so from Ashford on the Kent/East Sussex border. I’m just deciding which English concertina to buy after a gap of twenty five years since I last played!

 

Hello Pete.

 

Welcome back to the concertina world. Have a look at Chris timson's concertina FAQ website - www.concertina.info, and look at the clubs/organisations page. here you should find a reference to the East Kent Concertina Players group who meet in Canterbury bi-monthly. I think this is within reasonable distance for you and you might like to get along to the next meeting, which should be on the 3rd Sunday in May. It is a small group but you would be welcome.

 

Best wishes

 

John Wild

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John's advice is good (it's like a sort of reverse Al-Anon, meeting other players only deepens the addiction) so it only remains to say welcome, and your idea of a pinned thread is a good one. I hope Paul and Ken take it up.

 

Chris

 

Well there are already 5 replies (before mine), so such a thread could become a large collection of intertwined conversations (for example 20 new members and 100+ "welcome aboard" replies). I've had some other ideas about organizing such things here. When my semester winds down (it's in full swing right now and I'm behind as usual) I may get to discuss it with Paul. Meantime new folks are welcome to start a thread of their own!

 

Ken

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That's discipline indeed. All of easter to get through playing nothing but air concertina.

 

Ah well, it couldn't last you see. The general idea of getting Jack and Jackie together was so my other half could learn to play too. Temptation overcame us and they're out of the boxes now! I must say that my first impression is very favourable, they're obviously built to a price but I reckon they're as good as they could be for the money and easily good enough to get someone playing. I was a bit surprised that the treble is the same size as the baritone but that's another way to keep the cost down I guess.

 

I remember very little about playing the EC to be honest but it didn't take long for me to be able to run up and down the C scale with a fair turn of speed and find a few chord triads. I'm going to force myself do it properly this time, learn to play from the dots and heed the advice about technique etc. The problem is that I can get a tune out of almost anything within a few minutes (except other concertina systems!) and I go rushing off ahead without really taking in the basics. That's fine for a while but sooner or later you run into that brick wall that demands proper technique and understanding of the instrument before you can move on to the next level.

 

Thanks to John and Chris for the welcome. I did go to the clubs/organisations FAQ page on Chris' website but I'll be blessed if I can see anything for Canterbury. :unsure:

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Thanks to John and Chris for the welcome. I did go to the clubs/organisations FAQ page on Chris' website but I'll be blessed if I can see anything for Canterbury. :unsure:

 

 

My apologies. I thought it was listed there. I shall have a chat with the organiser about rectifying that. Meanwhile I will check the detail for the next meeting and let you know. Alternatively I AM sure it is listed in the concertina calendar page on the ICA website.

 

Best wishes

 

John

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The next meeting of the East Kent Concertina Players is on Sunday 20th May.

the locaton is:

 

The Dominican Priory

St Peters Lane

Canterbury

 

If you find Westgate and Pound Lane you should find St.Peters Lane.

 

Best wishes

 

John

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The next meeting of the East Kent Concertina Players is on Sunday 20th May.

the locaton is:

 

The Dominican Priory

St Peters Lane

Canterbury

 

If you find Westgate and Pound Lane you should find St.Peters Lane.

 

Best wishes

 

John

 

Thanks for the info John, we hope to be there. :)

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