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Another New Person Has The Same Old Questions


JimNewGuy
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Hello, yet another new person here, asking the same old questions.

 

Hello all. I'm 55 and I don't have much experience with music. I played clarinet 45 years ago for a few years, thats about it. I have decrease lung function so I can't play instruments that require me supplying the air supply. I've decided I want to learn something that isn't physically challenging, is pretty portable, and is fun to play and listen to. After giving it some thought, the best instrument I could come up with was a concertina. That, plus when I've seen them in movies I've loved the songs and sound of it, has lead me to here.

 

After looking around on the web, this seemed to be the best place to ask some questions.

 

1. I don't imagine there is anyone I can find close to me to take lessons from. Is it possible and practicle to think I can learn to play on my own?

 

2. Of course, there is always the question of what type of concertina to get. I was hoping to play celtic and/or irish music, with a little bit of Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd here and there. So, I really don't want to spend tons of money on my first instrument, so should I get an Anglo or an English, 20 or 30 key type. I think I would prefer the 30, since I don't want to learn a set of fingering and then relearn them by changing types later if I decide to get a better instrument.

 

3. I've read where people have had to unlearn some bad fingerings when they did find a place to get lessons. So how will I know what is the correct fingerings when I'm self teaching?

 

4. Anyone out there that has successfully self-taught them selves? What worked best for you? What DVDs, books, tapes were most useful to you?

 

I guess that's all for now. Thanks for any help you can send my way.

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Jim

Hello. Welcome to the concertina.

It's a very, very cool instrument. I feel that technique-wise it's pretty straight foward, yet at times it can almost feel like a "musical Rubic's cube" mentally. This is particularly true when playing or composing music with counterpoint, accompaniment, etc. That's also what is so fun about it.

I would definately start right away with a 30 button (if you decide to go the anglo route... which, from the music you'd like to play on it, would be the way to go). When I started I used a 20 button, and outgrew it in a couple of weeks. There are just so many choices that can't be made on 20 buttons.

Some of the other people on this forum may know of more books and DVDs than I, but "The Concertina De-mystified" is a good book. Also, the concertina tudor by Niall Vallely from "Mad For Trad" is very good for learning Irish anglo concertina.

The Button Box is a great place to find what you need. I have two of their Morse 30 button Anglos (a C/G and a custom Ab/Eb that was originally a G/D), I love them both. They also sell some of the less-expensive concertinas.

I'm new to this forum myself. It's full of good people. You'll get lots of good advise.

All the best.

- John

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Jim,

Let us know what part of the world you live in and we can suggest local resources if possible.

 

Cnet has a buyers guide section with lots of useful information. Go to the home page and try clicking some of the links under the heading. The tune a tron link has music in pdf and abc and an electronic audio sample.

 

Some other useful websites are concertina.com and the concertina connection.

 

The Concertina Connection offers what is generally considered the best entry level instruments both in value and trouble free operation. Their anglo is the Rochelle and their english is the Jackie.

 

I agree with John that a 30b instrument (if you decide to play anglo) is where you want to go but if a nice 20b Lachenal or Jones pops up I woulldn't be afraid to try a 20b for a while. Properly reconditioned those can be decent instruments with the traditional "concertina sound".

 

Lots to learn and consider. We are all here to help.

 

Greg

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Thanks for the input so far.

 

As for where I am, I'm in Ames, Iowa, United States. Pretty close to the center of the contiguous 48 states of the U.S., for those of you outside of America.

Noel Hill comes to the Midwest every summer and teaches there for a week. You can check out his website for dates. I took his class as a beginner in the summer of 2006 and really enjoy the concertina. After a day's work, it's wonderful to know that you can make music.

 

Yvonne

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Hello, yet another new person here, asking the same old questions.

 

Hello all. I'm 55 and I don't have much experience with music. I played clarinet 45 years ago for a few years, thats about it. I have decrease lung function so I can't play instruments that require me supplying the air supply. I've decided I want to learn something that isn't physically challenging, is pretty portable, and is fun to play and listen to. After giving it some thought, the best instrument I could come up with was a concertina. That, plus when I've seen them in movies I've loved the songs and sound of it, has lead me to here.

 

After looking around on the web, this seemed to be the best place to ask some questions.

 

1. I don't imagine there is anyone I can find close to me to take lessons from. Is it possible and practicle to think I can learn to play on my own?

 

2. Of course, there is always the question of what type of concertina to get. I was hoping to play celtic and/or irish music, with a little bit of Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd here and there. So, I really don't want to spend tons of money on my first instrument, so should I get an Anglo or an English, 20 or 30 key type. I think I would prefer the 30, since I don't want to learn a set of fingering and then relearn them by changing types later if I decide to get a better instrument.

 

3. I've read where people have had to unlearn some bad fingerings when they did find a place to get lessons. So how will I know what is the correct fingerings when I'm self teaching?

 

4. Anyone out there that has successfully self-taught them selves? What worked best for you? What DVDs, books, tapes were most useful to you?

 

I guess that's all for now. Thanks for any help you can send my way.

Hi Jim & welcome to the world of Concertina playing.

 

Most of us are to a greater or lesser extent self-taught. I started with Mick Bramich's Absolute Beginners Concertina book and he has further books for Irish Concertina. If you buy a Rochelle Anglo it comes with a decent beginners guide. Once you get past that the Bertram Levy CD course, or the Niall Vallely Mad-for-Trad CD-ROM are both excellent, though I'd probably recommend the Bertram Levy one first as it covers a wider range of styles of music.

 

Best of luck

 

 

- W

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If I had it to do again and knew I'd stick with it, I'd get a Rochelle as my first instrument. Hohners and Stagis are sort of "concertina shaped objects" which have little resale value and a tendancy toward stuck buttons once played for any length of time. (I have one of each.) I'll throw in another nod toward the Niall Vallely/Mad for Trad CDRom tutorial. For me it was the link between having the Hohner sit on my shelf for eight years, and actually learning to play it.

 

Please note that even though they don't supply the air for the instrument, some players breathe along with it subconciously, or at least make weird faces. It might be good exercise. It might kill you. (probably not though.) You'd have to play for your doctor to get a reasonable opinion.

Edited by Dan 04617
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If I had it to do again and knew I'd stick with it, I'd get a Rochelle as my first instrument. Hohners and Stagis are sort of "concertina shaped objects" which have little resale value and a tendancy toward stuck buttons once played for any length of time. (I have one of each.) I'll throw in another nod toward the Niall Vallely/Mad for Trad CDRom tutorial. For me it was the link between having the Hohner sit on my shelf for eight years, and actually learning to play it.

 

Please note that even though they don't supply the air for the instrument, some players unconciously breathe along with it subconciously, or at least make weird faces. It might be good exercise. It might kill you. (probably not though.) You'd have to play for your doctor to get a reasonable opinion.

 

LOL. I have asthma and a smaller lung capacity because of it. I don't think breathing while playing a concertina will kill me, though it might severely harm any listener.

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I am a newbie as well.

 

I really struggled the first couple of months, and now at appx 6 months things are starting to make sense to me (on the anglo). I would have to second, third, and thirty-eth the reccomend on the Rochelle.

 

I am just starting to out grow it now, and even then it is more wanting something new than me actually being better than the instrument. For a 300 or less investment, just do it! worst case you take a bath on it you try it for 6 months and lose 75-100 selling it. It is cheaper than a night out!

 

my 2 cents..

sean

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Hi there and welcome,

I have been playing a short while and would like to suggest you don't overlook the possibility of playing an English concertina. It is not ideal to play authentic phrasing on Irish music ( si I have been told) but I have enjoyed the ability to play a range of music and keys ( particularly violin sheet music).

Just a thought. Enjoy whatever you choose.

Regards

Trilby

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I have been playing a short while and would like to suggest you don't overlook the possibility of playing an English concertina.

 

As a player of the English concertina myself, for a little over 2 years, I am virtually entirely self-taught and though I mostly play English country dance and morris tunes in the keys of D and G, I like the fact that it is fully chromatic, enabling you to play in any key you wish and therefore be adventurous and widen your repertoire. So, I concur with you, Trilby and my hat goes off to you!

 

Chris

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If you possibly can, try both English and Anglo concertinas.

 

I tried English first at an "Absolute Beginners" day and did not really feel comfortable with it, though I liked it enough to consider continuing for a while. That I didn't was due to external circumstances. About a year later I bought a second hand Hohner anglo on eBay and took to it straight away. After about 6 months, I traded up for a Morse and really enjoy the anglo, but it is not for everyone. Both systems have their strengths and weaknesses but with both you can be playing a tune in a few hours. I am self taught on the anglo. There are classes for English concertina near where I live as it is popular locally, but less so the anglo so I just plug along on my own. I mostly use mine to accompany myself singing, so I try to transpose songs into "anglo friendly" keys, but it gives me a lot of pleasure.

 

Geoff

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Jim,

 

My story is very similar to yours. My musical experience was also around 45 years ago, except it was the piano, ...and under duress. The reasons I selected the concertina were the reasons you named, and the fact that I live a few blocks away from the shop of the illustrious Bob Tedrow (brag brag). (One day soon I hope to order a Tedrow hayden.)

 

You should check out the Hayden Duet before making your final decision. I got a Stagi Hayden about a year ago and have really enjoyed it. So far I can dispense recognizable renditions of Christmas carols, southern trad, football fight songs, Godfather themes, some Simon and Garfunkel, ...that kind tune. Who knows, in the fullness of time, I may even work my way around to Celtic.

 

Jim

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Jim,

 

My story is very similar to yours. My musical experience was also around 45 years ago, except it was the piano, ...and under duress. The reasons I selected the concertina were the reasons you named, and the fact that I live a few blocks away from the shop of the illustrious Bob Tedrow (brag brag). (One day soon I hope to order a Tedrow hayden.)

 

You should check out the Hayden Duet before making your final decision. I got a Stagi Hayden about a year ago and have really enjoyed it. So far I can dispense recognizable renditions of Christmas carols, southern trad, football fight songs, Godfather themes, some Simon and Garfunkel, ...that kind tune. Who knows, in the fullness of time, I may even work my way around to Celtic.

 

Jim

 

Oh no, a duet? Just when I thought it was narrrowed to 2 choices, a 3rd pops up.

 

So a duet isn't just for duets?

 

Time to go look up what a duet is and see if it's for a soloist to be.

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I'm another self-taught player. I like the EC for several reasons: first, it is fully chromatic, which allows me to play with any other instrument (at the moment I'm working on klezmer duets with an oboe player!). Second - and this is important for those of us in the midest 'flyover land' - readily available sheet music for violin, fiddle duets, etc., works well for the EC. Third - my musical tastes are pretty eclectic, and the EC does well with everything from Celtic slow airs to Simon & Garfunkel to Pachelbel's Canon in D.

 

All types of concertina are fun to play, and the Anglos have the distinct advantages of being more available, sometimes more affordable, and very well suited to popular Celtic playing. But if your musical tastes are much broader, I think you'll find the English concertina is more versatile.

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Oh no, a duet? Just when I thought it was narrrowed to 2 choices, a 3rd pops up. So a duet isn't just for duets?
Duets can do a lot more than just duets. Basically a duet has low notes on the left and high notes on the right with the same note on push/pull. It's fully chromatic and easy to play in many keys (some duet systems are easier than others). Now comes the really interesting part: There's about an octave (the same octave) of mid-range notes available on both sides! In effect it's like a mini double-manual organ, which makes for wonderful counterpoint, rounds, canons... and yes, duet pieces.

 

Of course you can separate parts more with the left hand going down an octave or more lower and the right a couple octaves or more higher. You can also play two parts with each hand much like stride piano with some high under-harmony to the melody. My favorite types of tunes are ragtime, classical, 20's popular dance "songs", contra and ECD, Morris.... and Irish. At some point I want to explore Motown and 60's stuff.

 

-- Rich --

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Incredible. This is getting difficult. I'm beginning to think an English beginner model is right for me. I would mind jumping into a 'beginner' duet, but $900 for a beginner is just to much for me. I like what people say about the Anglo, but have one button play 2 notes seems difficult to me. I'm one of those simple people that needs simple solutions.

 

Of course, I may change my mind. But the idea of playing Pink Floyd on something called an English has some karmic charm to it.

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