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Right Concertina For Speed-folk


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Hello,

first i want to apologize to you about my poor english (my mother-tongue is german).

 

I am planning to start playing concertina. At the moment i would prefer to play anglo concertina for reasons of sound/dynamic, more options for ornaments and more easy continuous bass notes and chord-accompaniment (i was told, all that is much harder to do on an english concertina. I do not have enough money (not nearly) to buy a duet concertina and will not have it for al long time so this is no option).

But because i want to play neo/speedfolk mainly, i have to choose an instrument, that can be played very fast, and there the english concertinas seems to be the better choice?

I have seen players of anglo concertinas, that where very fast, but becaus of my very limited budget i can only buy a rochelle or a jackie and i heard, that low cost anglos are very hard to play fast because of the used materials und set up and hardware (i do not how to explain it better)?

 

What would you advise me to buy for speedfolk? A jackie or a rochelle?

 

(This thread is not supposed to carry forward the general discussion about using english concertinas for irish music!)

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Hi and welcome to the forum. I'm not even going to try and answer your question about the choice between anglo and English for the style of music you want to play but I can tell you that the Jackie/Rochelle wouldn't really be suitable for 'speed' playing in my opinion. I'm a great fan of the Concertina Connection starter instruments, they are great value for money, but they are hardly what you would describe as responsive.

 

Wim Wakker is about to launch the new Clover anglo, perhaps you should wait until we know how much they will cost and what they will play like. Sorry but there aren't any easy answer to your question.

 

There's nothing wrong with your English by the way.

 

Pete.

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Thank you for the quick answer.

 

I'm a great fan of the Concertina Connection starter instruments, they are great value for money, but they are hardly what you would describe as responsive.

 

That sounds shattering.

 

Wim Wakker is about to launch the new Clover anglo, perhaps you should wait until we know how much they will cost and what they will play like. Sorry but there aren't any easy answer to your question.

 

I read somewhere that the clover is supposed to be a hand made high end concertina ("hand made" and "high end" both sounds like "very expensive" to me).

I have the chance to buy a hardly used rochelle for 150$. Maybe i shoud buy one and learn to play on it until i will win in lotto or so ;)

 

There seems to be no way to get an instrument that fits my needs within the pricerange of max. 400$ (inc. shipping etc.) and i will not be able to spent more for a long time. Or is there a (not too expensive) way to tweak a rochelle or a jackie so that they response faster?

 

(I hope not to annoy somebody with this questions. I know that quality has its price, but as a poor student with big wishes it is sometimes hard to accept and so i am searching for some alternatives).

 

Truly yours

Lars

 

P.S.:

Is speedfolk the same as Balkan kolo dance music? The only speedfolk I've heard of run meth labs.

 

What i meant with neo-speedfolk is (and that is my own definition... i do not know if there is any official one) is modernized (in my case irish) folk music with an accent on virtuosic speed in play (and often mixed up with rock/metal elements).

Edited by Miasmamann
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If speed is your need, then a Morse is your answer. They are blindingly fast. As to ornaments, EC can give you plenty...it's all how your mind works. As to bass notes, on a treble english, you'll run out of room. Chords on an EC however provides an unlimitied universe of options.

 

The Morse is well crafted and handsome to look apon. It is not a entry level price insturment. I recently had an opportunity to play a Jackie, and for the money, you would be hard pressed to beat it (Rochelle as well I assume). It will take you awhile to to run past its limitations. By that time you will be hooked and find it easier to part with the money for an upgrade.

 

Welcome to this nutty little world.

Edited by Mark Evans
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Given your budget, and if you're sure that you want an Anglo rather than an English, your idea of buying that $150 Rochelle as an instrument to learn on sounds good. You should have no problem re-selling it at that price or higher once you've been able to raise the money for a more responsive concertina.

 

I doubt that there's any good way to make a Rochelle faster. The only thing that I can think of would be to replace its reeds with higher-end accordion reeds, and I don't know if that would be practical or have the desired effect. If you're interested in pursuing that, you might want to ask Wim Wakker (owner of Concertina Connection and the designer of the Rochelle) if he thinks that it would make sense.

 

Daniel

 

Thank you for the quick answer.

 

I'm a great fan of the Concertina Connection starter instruments, they are great value for money, but they are hardly what you would describe as responsive.

 

That sounds shattering.

 

Wim Wakker is about to launch the new Clover anglo, perhaps you should wait until we know how much they will cost and what they will play like. Sorry but there aren't any easy answer to your question.

 

I read somewhere that the clover is supposed to be a hand made high end concertina ("hand made" and "high end" both sounds like "very expensive" to me).

I have the chance to buy a hardly used rochelle for 150$. Maybe i shoud buy one and learn to play on it until i will win in lotto or so ;)

 

There seems to be no way to get an instrument that fits my needs within the pricerange of max. 400$ (inc. shipping etc.) and i will not be able to spent more for a long time. Or is there a (not too expensive) way to tweak a rochelle or a jackie so that they response faster?

 

(I hope not to annoy somebody with this questions. I know that quality has its price, but as a poor student with big wishes it is sometimes hard to accept and so i am searching for some alternatives).

 

Truly yours

Lars

 

P.S.:

Is speedfolk the same as Balkan kolo dance music? The only speedfolk I've heard of run meth labs.

 

What i meant with neo-speedfolk is (and that is my own definition... i do not know if there is any official one) is modernized (in my case irish) folk music with an accent on virtuosic speed in play (and often mixed up with rock/metal elements).

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Given your budget, and if you're sure that you want an Anglo rather than an English, your idea of buying that $150 Rochelle as an instrument to learn on sounds good. You should have no problem re-selling it at that price or higher once you've been able to raise the money for a more responsive concertina.

 

I am not realy sure. Long time the english was more or less my preferred choice (imho it sounds better/smoother/more fluent/more singing ... but i can only presume that rely on many many songs and videos i heard and saw). But after read allot about the differences, advantages and disadvanteges i became unsure. I heard, that one can play full arrangements including continuous bass notes, chords, and melody much much more easy on an anglo than on an english concertina + that there are much more ornamentation-possibilities on the anglo in another forum (i posted some questions there while waiting for the permission to write here). That aggravated my wobbliness ... and than after found some very fast playing anglo-players (REALY fast), I more or less tend to the anglo style.

 

As you said it will not be a problem to sell the rochelle without loosing money, so i will give it a try. If i think a english style instrument will be better for me after testing the rochelle i will change. Or maybe learn both ;)

Edited by Miasmamann
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Hello Lars,

 

there are some players in Berlin (English and Anglo) that could help you. And maybe an old Lachenal English would be a choice. They are not expensive and give you much more value than a chinese concertina.

 

Just contact me if you want more informations.

 

Nils

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I am planning to start playing concertina. At the moment i would prefer to play anglo concertina for reasons of sound/dynamic, more options for ornaments and more easy continuous bass notes and chord-accompaniment (i was told, all that is much harder to do on an english concertina).

Whoever told you that, I would challenge them; I don't believe it's true. But I won't say more about that right now.

 

I do not have enough money (not nearly) to buy a duet concertina and will not have it for al long time so this is no option).

Not even enough for a Stagi Hayden duet ($895 from the Button Box; I don't know about European dealers)?

 

...within the pricerange of max. 400$ (inc. shipping etc.) and i will not be able to spent more for a long time.

I guess not.

 

But because i want to play neo/speedfolk mainly, i have to choose an instrument, that can be played very fast...

Before your post, I had never heard of "speedfolk", so I Googled it and found some sound files and videos. None of what I heard/saw seemed particularly fast to me; none of the melody playing came close in speed or intricacy to what any competent Irish fiddler or whistle player can do without thought. So it's not clear to me why you think you will need to play "very fast". Nor why you think you will need both "very fast" and "bass notes and chord-accompaniment" in the same instrument. How many members of the existing "speedfolk" bands (of which my Google results suggest there are only a few, and mostly in Germany) regularly do even two out of the three (very fast, bass, and chords)?

 

Even with the best of instruments, how much effort do you think will be required for you to reach performance-grade in any of those skills? (I say "performance", because as far as I can tell, "speedfolk" is not a particular music, but a particular style of performing varous kinds of "folk" music.) I.e., how many hours per week for how many weeks? Do you already play another instrument? If so, what? And how competently?

 

Basically, I'm wondering whether you're being realistic about your needs. While a Morse Ceili or Albion, or any of many other instruments might be great for what you want to play, you indicate that -- short of a miracle -- you can't afford one. Should you give up on concertina and start with an inexpensive accordion (of one type or another)? That might be one possibility, but I think that a Rochelle or Jackie might serve you quite well until you're ready to compete with the group "Fiddler's Green" (which seemed to account for a good half of the "speedfolk" hits I got on Google).

 

But because ... i have to choose an instrument, that can be played very fast, and there the english concertinas seems to be the better choice?

Some anglo players can be blindingly fast, but that begs the question of how quickly you could achieve that level. For both chords and quick melody playing in a variety of keys, I believe the English does have advantages. If you're only going to play in a couple of keys -- those with simple fingering patterns on the anglo -- then the anglo may be just as good, and have other advantages. But for quick playing on a less-responsive instrument, I think the English may indeed have an advantage, because (in my experience) poor response seems to be even poorer when coupled with a bellows reversal.

 

What would you advise me to buy for speedfolk? A jackie or a rochelle?

I wouldn't advise you to buy anything in particular "for speedfolk". You must buy something for yourself, something that you'll be comfortable working with... and then the speedfolk will hopefully take care of itself. (I recommend you use the Search facility to find other discussions of this anglo-vs-English-vs-duet issue. I think you'll find that many others -- though not everyone, of course -- agrees that the type of music isn't the crucial factor.)

 

I have the chance to buy a hardly used rochelle for 150$. Maybe i shoud buy one and learn to play on it until i will win in lotto or so ;)

That sounds to me like a reasonable thing to do. And if it doesn't work out, you might try to exchange it for a Jackie. Meanwhile, you could learn a lot (and so could we) if you discuss with us the various things about playing the instrument that you find easy and difficult.

 

What i meant with neo-speedfolk is (and that is my own definition... i do not know if there is any official one) is modernized (in my case irish) folk music with an accent on virtuosic speed in play (and often mixed up with rock/metal elements).

One interesting aspect of my quick Google on "speedfolk" was that a few bands seemed to be using the term to describe themselves, but nobody seemed to define -- or even try to describe -- what it was. But as I said above, virtuosic speed didn't seem to be a characteristic of the segments I listened to. On the other hand, aggressiveness did seem to be an element. Is that the rock/metal element you meant?

 

... As to bass notes, on a treble english, you'll run out of room. ...

Well, even the lowest note on a C/G anglo isn't really "bass", but on a baritone English (Jack or Albion) the lowest note is a fourth lower. It's the same as the low G on a G/D anglo (G/D is so far not available in the Rochelle, is it?), and the English includes every note all the way to the bottom, which the anglo doesn't.

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Thank you, you alle are a great help to me and now i am sure it is best to buy the rochelle and try it out. I have nothing to loose but much to win.

 

Until now i "only" played tin whistle (a freeman tweaked shaw high d ... i loved it :) ) and some other flutes (far faaaaaar away from beeing good ... and i have not played for a long time). I played for a short time in a (very) small "speed-folk" combo (tin whistle, e-guitar, e-bass, djembe) but we (Thank goodness) never reached a stage and i lost contact after moving to leipzig.

In my (our) definition of speedfolk virtuostic speed played a important role... maybe we created a whole new music style without knowing :D. (to be true we all was not good enough and our gear was even more worse, so most songs we played sounded like thick mud, but it was a lot of fun ... (drinking guinnes and having fun was much more importend than the music).

 

I love it to play fast and to learn becoming faster without losing sight of a clear technic. It fascinates me, i cannot tell why. And i also like it a little bit outré...

Edited by Miasmamann
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Long time the english was more or less my preferred choice (imho it sounds better/smoother/more fluent/more singing ... but i can only presume that rely on many many songs and videos i heard and saw). But after read allot about the differences, advantages and disadvanteges i became unsure.

Where did you do your reading? Was it here on Concertina.net? One thing that constantly annoys me (I've long since gotten over being surprised) is the number of people who will tell you what a particular instrument cannot do, when they have never learned to play it, nor -- in far too many cases -- even tried. One refreshing thing about Concertina.net is that there is much less of that.

 

I heard, that one can play full arrangements including continuous bass notes, chords, and melody much much more easy on an anglo than on an english concertina...

Heard from whom? And do you believe everything you "hear"?

 

For particular arrangements, that might be true, but in general? No! E.g., there are many arrangements that are "simple" on an English that are quite impossible on an anglo, because they require combinations of notes that are in opposite bellows directions on the anglo.

 

"Continuous bass notes"? If you mean drones, I certainly have no trouble with that on the English, and I don't have to break the drone as frequently with bellows changes as on the anglo. If you mean something like bass runs or alternating bass, they're not easy on an anglo, either, except in certain tunes played in certain keys. On both, it's common practice to leave gaps in bass lines -- and in chords -- and let the flow of the music suggest to the listener the bits that "aren't there". Have you listened to the different styles of the various players -- both English and anglo (and why not also duet?) -- on The Recorded Tunes Link Page? In particular, for English I would recommend listening to what Ratface, Henrik Müller, and Mark Evans have there. Maybe even my own, as well, though that's old stuff -- my first-ever recording attempts -- and should be better.

 

...that there are much more ornamentation-possibilities on the anglo...

That's absolute balderdash! Compared to a C/G anglo, a treble English is only missing a few of the lowest notes (a tenor-treble English has all the notes of the anglo and more), which I've never heard an Irish player use in "ornaments". Ornaments are note sequences, and there is no note sequence which is possible on the anglo and not possible on the English. I even doubt that there are any that are significantly more awkward on the English. There may be ornaments on the anglo that aren't commonly heard on the English, but that's not at all the same thing.

 

... and than after found some very fast playing anglo-players (REALY fast), I more or less tend to the anglo style.

What do you think of Simon Thoumire on the Englsih?

 

As you said it will not be a problem to sell the rochelle without loosing money, so i will give it a try. If i think a english style instrument will be better for me after testing the rochelle i will change. Or maybe learn both ;)

A fine idea, methinks.
:)

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... so most songs we played sounded like thick mud ... drinking guinnes and having fun was much more importend than the music.

And of course, songs that sounded like thick mud had no direct connection to a drink like thick mud.
:D
B)

 

*harrumph* more or less :D

 

I must confess (to my shame :huh: ), that i have oversight the recorded tunes link page... it is a great help. I have done a quick overlock and what i like most ("like" is an understatement) is the style of Danny Chapman /Ratface... wow. (I often like how peaple play slow music peaces but here i love them, too. A great sence of feeling.)

 

this is how i would love to play (i know, a faaaar way to get that good).

What kind of concertina is it? (english, that is clear, but what does tenor treble mean? Has it a wider tonerange? Is it a 56 button concertina? Would the Jigs from the youtubelink also be possible on a "normal" 48 button concertina? (And what about a 30 button?)) I am really really impressed.

 

P.S.: Am i right when thinking that a 30 button jackie is a better buy than a 48 button hohner? ( http://www.hohner.eu/index.php?811 )

Edited by Miasmamann
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I must confess (to my shame :huh: ), that i have oversight the recorded tunes link page... it is a great help. I have done a quick overlock and what i like most ("like" is an understatement) is the style of Danny Chapman /Ratface... wow.

 

this is how i would love to play (i know, a faaaar way to get that good).

What kind of concertina is it? (english, that is clear, but what does tenor treble mean? Has it a wider tonerange? Is it a 56 button concertina? Would the Jigs from the youtubelink also be possible on a "normal" 48 button concertina? (And what about a 30 button?)) I am really really impressed.

That's Danny again. Listening to what he plays in that clip, I would say that all the notes are to be found on the 30-button Jackie.

 

The tenor-treble (usually 56-button) goes lower than the standard treble. The treble (one could say the Jackie is a 30-button treble) has the same lowest note as a fiddle, i.e., G below middle C. The tenor-treble continues down to the C below that, the low C of a viola. But on the tunes Danny is playing in that clip, he doesn't even go as low as middle C, and his highest note is the B just below the highest C on the Jackie.

 

Am i right when thinking that a 30 button jackie is a better buy than a 48 button hohner? ( http://www.hohner.eu/index.php?811 )

That's a widely shared opinion.

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Thank you (thank you thank you, cannot say it often enough)... i feel much better now, knowing the way i will try all out. (First i will buy the rochelle and later, when i have enough money, a jacky to compare... play both a time parrallel and than decide which way i want to go).

 

My favorites after some days doing nothing but listening to concertinamusic are Danny Chapman on the english conertina and Niall Vallely on the anglo... think i should buy some albums. :)

 

(I am sorry for annoyed you with my lack of power to make decisions)

Edited by Miasmamann
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*harrumph* more or less :D

See, I told you English wasn't bad. :)

I must confess (to my shame :huh: ), that i have oversight the recorded tunes link page... it is a great help. I have done a quick overlock and what i like most ("like" is an understatement) is the style of Danny Chapman /Ratface... wow. (I often like how peaple play slow music peaces but here i love them, too. A great sence of feeling.)

The level of skill shown by non professional players like Danny Chapman isn't common, on the concertina or any other instrument. He must be very good at what he does for a living if this is the standard of one of his hobbies! You spoke of playing at virtuoso speed - perhaps you might like to rethink that in the light of what you have seen!

What kind of concertina is it? (english, that is clear, but what does tenor treble mean? Has it a wider tonerange? Is it a 56 button concertina? Would the Jigs from the youtubelink also be possible on a "normal" 48 button concertina? (And what about a 30 button?)) I am really really impressed.

A tenor/treble is indeed a 56 button concertina that extends eight notes lower than a standard treble, down to the C below middle C. Danny plays a tenor/treble Wheatstone Aeola, an octagonal concertina that was the finest instrument in the Wheatstone range. You don't even want to know how many Euros one of those would cost you! I'm not absolutely sure but I don't think Danny used the full lower range of the instrument in this clip but even if he did the vast majority could be played on a 48 key instrument. I should also mention that many players never venture into the upper reaches of the treble concertina range.

 

So now you are thoroughly hooked on the concertina. Welcome to the world of musical magic and financial misery. :unsure:

 

I see Jim (who is more knowledgeable than I) has posted while I was writing this, so apologies for any duplications or errors on my part.

 

Pete.

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So now you are thoroughly hooked on the concertina. Welcome to the world of musical magic and financial misery. :unsure:

I see Jim (who is more knowledgeable than I) has posted while I was writing this, so apologies for any duplications or errors on my part.

 

(I feel flattered, but i know, my english is far away from beeing perfect (my former english teachers knowed it, too, sadly :lol: ). I even do not want to know how many mistakes i have done in this few posts.

There is no problem when things are written twice (especially when they are true and important).)

 

I feel good in this forum and i do not take it as trivial to get such a warm welcome to a community as such a bloody beginner with so much silly :rolleyes: questions. Thanks.

Edited by Miasmamann
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The board says you are still around, though it must be close to midnight there, but trust me, your English is as good as a lot of folks who live here in Ohio. Or for that matter, it is as good as or better than a lot of the supposedly high school level papers I read in my current job.

 

Alan

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