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Hello,

 

I am a musician and play several types of pipes. Recently I had the chance to hear a English Concertina. I would like to purchase one along with some book to try out the water. Any suggestions?

 

PS, I will never become totally proficient with this but I would like to be able to play a few tunes with our small pipes and fiddles.

 

 

Cheers,

 

Bob Norris

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If you don't want to get too ambitious and want to keep the cost down I think the Jack Baritone concertina would be the kind of instrument that would serve you well. It would sit comfortably beneath the small-pipes pitch. A tutor book and soft case are included in the price. If it doesn't work out you will get a good second-hand price. :)

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Thanks!

 

The small pipes we play are in the key of A here is a sample: click the a2000 http://www.cancart.net/johnwalshbagpipes.c...mpipes_mp3s.htm

 

Those Concertinas seem pretty reasonable. Which one would go best with our pipes? I like the Jackie better myself

 

 

Also my sister in law found a Scholer Anglo set for free at a garage sale. She is sending me it in the mail. I want to attempt to play a bit so would I be better off just shelving the Scholers and get a Jack or Jill??

 

 

 

Bob Norris

www.sitechatters.com

Edited by Bob Norris
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Whether you try to learn on the anglo depends on what it is. If it has 20 buttons then it will be diatonic in two keys - probably C/G. If it has 30 buttons or more then it will be fully chromatic but again with two 'home keys' which vary from one instrument to the next.

 

If you are an accomplished musician already the Jack/Jackie might be too limiting and you will quickly outgrow them and need an instrument with a greater range.

 

Check out the Morse and Marcus English concertinas but these are in a different class and price range. Morse and Marcus also make a 30 button anglo in D/A but Marcus charge extra for this tuning.

 

The pipes sound nice but are lower in pitch than I expected, are they Scottish or Breton smallpipes perhaps?

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Whether you try to learn on the Anglo depends on what it is. If it has 20 buttons then it will be diatonic in two keys - probably C/G. If it has 30 buttons or more then it will be fully chromatic but again with two 'home keys' which vary from one instrument to the next.

 

My concern is that the Anglo, or at least from what Ive been told makes a different sound each way when squeezing kind of like a harmonica. I can only imagine this makes playing more difficult as there are more keys to memorize. Would you say the English Concertina is easier to play?

 

 

If you are an accomplished musician already the Jack/Jackie might be too limiting and you will quickly outgrow them and need an instrument with a greater range.

 

I do play a few instruments but really, or at least at this moment I would just like to play a few simple jigs and reels with our Small Pipes. As usual with me this is subject to change as I tend to "dive" into things head first ;)

 

 

The pipes sound nice but are lower in pitch than I expected, are they Scottish or Breton small pipes perhaps?

 

These pipes, in the key of A are Scottish Small pipes. We have several sets and jam with each other and a fiddler so a Concertina would only enhance the fun!

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My concern is that the Anglo, or at least from what Ive been told makes a different sound each way when squeezing kind of like a harmonica. I can only imagine this makes playing more difficult as there are more keys to memorize. Would you say the English Concertina is easier to play?

 

"Easier" is relative. I've been playing an anglo pretty seriously for almost 4 years. I had piano lessons as a child, so the anglo layout of "low tones on the left gradually getting higher as you go right" makes sense to me.

 

I also have an English, and I have not yet managed to make it make a lick of sense to me. But I keep trying :)

 

I think the system you start with is the easy one.

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I tried a 20 button Scholer-- couldn't make any sense of it. Then I tried an EC-- it made sense right away, but took a good six months to get sort of under my fingers. It's become a welcome diversion, habit, and one of my prefered instruments for sessions and playing for dances (my first instrument is fiddle). English can be played with bellows work rather like bowing, or it can be played with a longer phrase.

 

If you can find a copy of Alistair Anderson's "Concertina Workshop" it is great (I think Button Box has them and they are often available on eBay--- all copies now are likely to be authorized xeroxes of the original from the 70's). Alistair also plays Northumbrian small pipes and the book uses some tunes from that tradition. He gives helpful information on the shaping of the sound through staccato or legato button work and making use of the possibilities of changing the envelope with bellows pressure.

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My concern is that the Anglo, or at least from what Ive been told makes a different sound each way when squeezing kind of like a harmonica. I can only imagine this makes playing more difficult as there are more keys to memorize. Would you say the English Concertina is easier to play?

As the responses from both Rhomylly and Larry indicate, some people find anglo easier and others find English easier. More than "easier", there are even a few folks who find one or the other "impossible". You're concerned about the in-and-out of the anglo, but are you aware that on the English the notes of the scale alternate from side to side of the instrument? Does that concept give you pause, or not? Have you considered the various "duet"-system concertinas?

 

Another factor to consider is price. What's your price limit, if any?

Most people are able to adapt to any of the different kinds of concertina, though it seems that the majority also find it easiest to stick with one kind. And which seems most "natural" can depend on the music and style the person wants play, as well as more personal factors.

 

It's as much for that reason as for any other that I suggest you'll find the English more useful than the anglo. Your smallpipe recordings include pipes in three different keys: D, A, and Bb. If you're going to want to play in all three of those keys on an anglo, you would need a 30-button (or maybe an Edgley 24-button). But even a 30-button C/G anglo is missing the low Ab of the Bb pipes in its lower octave (and the Edgley also lacks the Bb and Eb, so it only has an upper-octave scale for Bb mixolydian).

 

The English is fully chromatic, and even the 30-button Jackie has more than two full octaves in both Bb and A. It is missing the D and C# at the top of the higher octave of the D scale, but it also extends below the D to the fiddle's low G and is quite sufficient for most fiddle tunes in D. The other most-recommended "starter" instrument, the Albion English does extend to that upper D. It's also in a different class for price and quality, but is still in what is known as the "mid range" for concertinas.

 

Both the Jackie and the Albion also come in "baritone" models, i.e., sounding an octave lower than the standard "treble", so you could play tunes both in the same octave as the pipes (except for the high D on the Jack) and an octave lower, or use the lower notes for drones or harmonies. And of course, the English isn't restricted to pipe tunes (neither is the anglo).

 

One advantage of the various "duet" concertinas is the ability to put melody and harmony or chords into separate hands, but also -- like the English -- each button gives the same note on push and pull. But there are two reasons I'm not recommending that for you: The first is that you seem more interested in playing single lines (melody, harmony) than chords. (Maybe like me, your first instrument was not guitar or piano?) The other is that most duets don't go below C in either hand, so that loses you the bass/base in the keys of both Bb and A. All things considered, I suspect you'll find the English -- treble or baritone -- will provide you with more of the capabilities you currently have in mind to try, while still being capable of other things (e.g., backup chords) if at some point you want to experiment with them.

 

Also my sister in law found a Scholer Anglo set for free at a garage sale. She is sending me it in the mail. I want to attempt to play a bit so would I be better off just shelving the Scholers and get a Jack or Jill?

As long as you have it available for free, there should be no harm in trying it. You seem to think that you would find the anglo problematic, and playing with the Scholer should either confirm or contradict that suspicion. If you do find it comfortable, and if it's a C/G (as most are), you'll find the D-mixolydian scale (matching your D pipes) is right there on the C row. (But forget both A and Bb if it's a 20-button.)

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Hi,

 

I'm sorry to have to bother you all but I have no idea about this at all.

 

Your small pipe recordings include pipes in three different keys: D, A, and Bb. If you're going to want to play in all three of those keys on an anglo, you would need a 30-button (or maybe an Edgley 24-button). But even a 30-button C/G anglo is missing the low Ab of the Bb pipes in its lower octave (and the Edgley also lacks the Bb and Eb, so it only has an upper-octave scale for Bb mixolydian).

 

We only play in the key of a, the d and Bb are different models.

There are only nine notes on pipes (Its all what you do with them! ;) ) Low G, Low A, B, C, D, E, F, High G and High A. These are all in the key of A.

 

 

 

I would say a Jackie would be in the range to "try" out. I cant see spending to much more for something that (I hope not) collect dust on a shelf. So you think a 30 key Jackie would be able to play with thees pipes in the key of A?

Edited by Bob Norris
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We only play in the key of a, the d and Bb are different models.

I see, now. I thought those were your own sound files, but they're from the maker of your pipes, yes?

 

There are only nine notes on pipes (Its all what you do with them! ;) ) Low G, Low A, B, C, D, E, F, High G and High A. These are all in the key of A.

The C and F are really C# and F#, but since highland pipes don't have the options to play the "natural" (non-sharp) alternatives, their music is normally written without explicitly indicating the sharps. But if all you want to do is play the pipe tunes, you needn't worry about that, as long as your instrument has the notes you need and you know where to find them.

 

So you think a 30 key Jackie would be able to play with thees pipes in the key of A?

Absolutely. In two separate octaves.

 

To be fair, so would an anglo -- even a 20-button one -- in either G/D or D/A.

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I see, now. I thought those were your own sound files, but they're from the maker of your pipes, yes?

 

Yes they are the exact pipes we play in the key of A.

 

 

To be fair, so would an Anglo -- even a 20-button one -- in either G/D or D/A.

 

 

Ok :ph34r: , well the Scholer Anglo is in the mail and should be here in a few days. Depending on the condition and what I can or cant make it do I will decide on the next course of action :o ho

 

 

Here is one of us playing a set,, could you see if your Anglo (or English) can pitch to it?

 

Some tunes

 

 

Thanks for the help. Guess my next round of dumb questions will be along the lines of how do I play this thing! :lol:

Edited by Bob Norris
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Here is one of us playing a set,, could you see if your Anglo (or English) can pitch to it?

 

Some tunes

Nice set.

 

Fine for my English(es).

Same for my G/D anglo, ignoring the third ("accidental") row.

Same for my C/G anglo, but needing the third row for the C#'s and the low A. (The other push A's and pull G's in the 3rd row can also make some bits easier.)

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I would say a Jackie would be in the range to "try" out. I cant see spending to much more for something that (I hope not) collect dust on a shelf.
I suggest that you spend a lot less than that if your intent is to "try" one out - consider renting one? You can rent a better concertina than a Jackie or Rochelle for as long as you want - perhaps swapping English for anglo every other month?. But I'll bet you'll know within the first couple of months which way works for you - in which case you'll be able to spend the $200 "saved" by not getting a Jackie/Rochelle toward the box you really want.

 

-- Rich --

 

PS: A small plug for the Button Box.... We rent the better Stagi concertinas and have also just started selling the Jack/Jackie and Rochelle concertinas (don't even have them on our website yet - you'll have to call or e-mail us about them).

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Sister in-law said it has 5 and 5 buttons on each side,, so a 20 button? Think it still might work?

Depends on three things:

  • What key it's in.
    As I said, G/D or D/A would work with your A pipes, but
    C/G, which is most likely, would be missing the C# you need.
  • How in tune it is.
    This means both that its A should be the standard 440 hz and that it is in tune with itself.
    If it's gone out of tune with itself, it's probably not worth paying somebody else to retune it.
  • How you personally get on with it.
    It's an anglo, and you said you thought you might have difficulty with an anglo.
    I hope you'll let us all know whether that turned out to be true.

But now you need to be patient.

There are many questions which will answer themselves once you have the instrument in your hands, but which we can't answer for certain without having the instrument in our hands.

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Its here!

 

Now,, I already learned a simple hornpipe however there is a discussion on which way to hole it? I'm holding the low keys in the left hand, is that correct??

 

Also how can I tell the key or pitch? Its a 20 key Anglo :)

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Here are some keyboard charts. Holding it with low notes on the left, yours is probably laid out like the bottom two rows of the C/G 30-button Wheatstone. The home scales start on the middle buttons of the left rows and first (uppermost) buttons of the right. Whatever pushed-bellows note starts a complete ascending scale from those positions on each row---moving up on the left side and down on the right side---defines the keys of that concertina.

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