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Advice For A Newbie On A Budget


LDT

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May well have been Scarths. A little shop on the left hand side going north. They always had a good selection of attractive looking banjos in the back room but I never had the courage or the money to do anything about it.... and it looked a good place for penny whistles and mandolins....in so far as I remember.

Sounds like Scarth's alright, it was like a throwback to another era, and a godsend for folkies long before anybody dreamed of such a thing as a "folk instrument shop". No Hobgoblin then! :blink:

 

SCARTH

 

When George Scarth abandoned his violin-importing business and took over the general music shop at 69 Charing Cross Road, London, in 1929 he was at first content to sell the occasional banjo which he would obtain from his usual wholesaler. However, in 1931 he decided to launch his own brand of banjo and the first Scarth banjos were designed and made for him by Robert ("Bob") Blake. When the demand for these high-class instruments increased, J. G. Abbott was called upon to also make for him.

 

Scarth banjos ranged from an inexpensive model to a really high-class expensive instrument: the "Model B2" being a good copy of the American "Vegavox." None of the instruments the sold bear the name Scarth, but they can be identified by the old-English letter "S" (made of mother-of-pearl) inlaid in the pegheads.

 

No Scarth banjos were made after 1936. when the demand was more for plectrum guitars. By this time the firm moved 55 Charing Cross Road.

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£20 in the 70's what would that be nowdays? :)

 

I'll open it up as a question everyone.

What was your first concertina? (Now I'm going to find out how much you really spent on a first instrument) ;)

For my 25th Birthday, I decided to "invest" in one of those £20 East German concertinas, in the hope that I could learn how to play it. That was back in 1979. After struggling for a few months, I moved onto mandolin and bowed psaltry, but found that I couldn't play those either.

 

March 1981 saw me "invest" in a 30 key C/G Lachenal, which cost £130 from Hobgoblin and which, several months later, I was still unable to play. For reasons which would expand this mail considerably, I part-exchanged the Lachenal, in March 1982, for a very nice 36 key C/G Wheatstone, plus took out a two year Hire Purchase agreement for a purchase price of £375. Now I had a top of the range instrument which I could not play. However; I now had no excuses, even though the next 6 months were a painful experience for parents and neighbours.

 

£20 at today's prices for a cheap concertina? Don't know.

£375 for a Wheatstone? £5000+.

 

Actually; it turned out to be (1) an excellent investment, and (2) the tool for playing music in several countries, meeting some interesting and (generally) very nice people, getting me on television ....... I guess the list could go on.

 

Maybe I should dig it out and practice more. :unsure:

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May well have been Scarths. A little shop on the left hand side going north. They always had a good selection of attractive looking banjos in the back room but I never had the courage or the money to do anything about it.... and it looked a good place for penny whistles and mandolins....in so far as I remember.

Sounds like Scarth's alright, it was like a throwback to another era, and a godsend for folkies long before anybody dreamed of such a thing as a "folk instrument shop". No Hobgoblin then! :blink:

 

SCARTH

 

When George Scarth abandoned his violin-importing business and took over the general music shop at 69 Charing Cross Road, London, in 1929 he was at first content to sell the occasional banjo which he would obtain from his usual wholesaler. However, in 1931 he decided to launch his own brand of banjo and the first Scarth banjos were designed and made for him by Robert ("Bob") Blake. When the demand for these high-class instruments increased, J. G. Abbott was called upon to also make for him.

 

Scarth banjos ranged from an inexpensive model to a really high-class expensive instrument: the "Model B2" being a good copy of the American "Vegavox." None of the instruments the sold bear the name Scarth, but they can be identified by the old-English letter "S" (made of mother-of-pearl) inlaid in the pegheads.

 

No Scarth banjos were made after 1936. when the demand was more for plectrum guitars. By this time the firm moved 55 Charing Cross Road.

 

Thanks Stephen. All very interesting and brings back some happy memories of yesteryear.

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Now I had a top of the range instrument which I could not play. However; I now had no excuses, even though the next 6 months were a painful experience for parents and neighbours.

SOmething I was worried about buying something expensive and not being able to play. I have a history of buying expensive stuff then not using it. :P (rather like 'fran' in Black Books http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=mWD3wH3qQqQ)

 

I prefer to get something cheaper which I can have a bash at without worrying.

 

Sounds like Scarth's alright, it was like a throwback to another era, and a godsend for folkies long before anybody dreamed of such a thing as a "folk instrument shop". No Hobgoblin then!

I didn't know there were folk instrument shops till about a month agao. lol!

Edited by LDT
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(yes, Catty, someone's instrument, that is piece of junk, is , unfortunately, piece of junk

 

The issue here is not concerning the realtive value of concertinas (although it is, indeed, relative and absurdly presumptuous for someone to judge the "value" that another derives from a given instrument), but the ability and wherewithal to comprehend the essence of nascent musical and artistic curiosity (i.e.--what motivates a person to undertake exploration of a musical instrument). it's not typically economic logic.

 

My first guitar was an unserviceable vintage department store special with terrible action and a fretboard held to the neck with tape. It was a terrible thing--very much "junk" (in the pejorative sense), but hardly "worthless" as it was the only guitar I had and which led me into the world of playing instruments which has largely brought me everything in life.

 

While the Rochelle is certainly an excellent concertina for the price, to disparage another person's instrument as "worthless" reveals a lack of sensitivity to the psychological milieu of learning a musical instrument. I've been down this road countless times with others in my 40+ years of playing/learning/teaching musical instruments. You're not the only one--m3838--who has turned-off a newbie becasue their instrument wasn't "good enough"--the world is full of them.

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While the Rochelle is certainly an excellent concertina for the price, to disparage another person's instrument as "worthless" reveals a lack of sensitivity to the psychological milieu of learning a musical instrument. I've been down this road countless times with others in my 40+ years of playing/learning/teaching musical instruments. You're not the only one--m3838--who has turned-off a newbie becasue their instrument wasn't "good enough"--the world is full of them.

 

I'm sick and tired of PC-ing people, whose only goal is not to take any responsibility for talking.

Catty, we are talking about two concertinas side by side, at a price differences, that is negligeable for anyone sane. Available NOW. There is still time to return the lesser one and happily order the better one, yet you insist on keeping the worst choice. For What Reason?????

Just to make sure someone else starts on as bad instrument as you had? So you don't feel bad? Who argues that one with determination can survive bad instrument and, having wasted money on it, upgrades to better one? Why spend 500 pounds on Rochelle, when you can buy it for $350 without throwing 150 on that "Scarlatti"?

Folks at Hobgoblin should be ashamed of themselves, having fooled a youngster. What's the profit for them to do so? They sold their souls for What price? 150 pounds? That's cheap, if you ask me.

That Scarlatti will not last, will not allow push/pull crispiness, may damage hands and shoulders, if played extencively. Why insist on keeping it? What logic that is? Is it coming from a friend or from one indifferent?

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As I've said before, I'm not into quibbling over a few dollars difference between this and that beginner's instruments (such as apparently you are :( http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=7774). If someone likes the color or anything else about an instrument that motivates them to play--all the best...especially a concertina: it's hard to imagine an instrument that should be more beginner-friendly. At the risk of sounding condescending, my friendly advice to you, m3838, is that you read some books or something before you have children to raise so as not to discourage them in their explorations.

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Misha,

 

Please! This is no longer a discussion, you're haranguing people! :(

 

Like I said to you once before:

 

senokot.jpg

 

No, the Scarlatti mechanism isn't going to last as long or play as well as that in a Rochelle, the reeds aren't as responsive, the straps aren't as good and it doesn't come in a gig-bag (yes, we've heard chapter and verse about what you think of those! :rolleyes: ), but the Scarlatti is smaller, and prettier, and at least $100 cheaper for Lady D, who only wants it as a stop-gap, and plenty of other people might choose to buy it for those same perfectly valid reasons, it's their money that they're spending...

 

And you know something - they really aren't anything like as bad as you're suggesting, have you ever seen, or played a Scarlatti? In fact, looking at them side-by-side here, I wouldn't be surprised to find that they were made in the same factory, though without the Concertina Connection's better design, components and quality control.

 

We can give our best advice to people when they ask for it, but we can't force them to take it - there's no Concertina.net "thought police", so (pretty) please, let's not ruin Lady D's introduction to the wonderful world of concertinas any longer. :huh:

 

Edited to add apostrophe! :(

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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As I've said before, I'm not into quibbling over a few dollars difference between this and that beginner's instruments (such as apparently you are :( http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=7774). If someone likes the color or anything else about an instrument that motivates them to play--all the best...especially a concertina: it's hard to imagine an instrument that should be more beginner-friendly. At the risk of sounding condescending, my friendly advice to you, m3838, is that you read some books or something before you have children to raise so as not to discourage them in their explorations.

 

Had I not thrown caution to the wind 30 years ago and impulsively spashed out a 'fiver' on my lovely new little cheap and cheerful 20 key Anglo from Scarths in Charing Cross Road I would have denied myself all the immense pleasure that has subsequently followed from that decision. As soon as I could save enough for a superior instrument I passed it on to an enthusiastic youngster and if they derived just a tiny fraction of the pleasure that it gave to me I am a happy man.

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I rest my case.

Unfortunately Catty, I can't follow your advice on reading books before raising children, my poor kids are already 15 and 7, playing piano ($4000 Yamaha upright grand), taking Ballet, French, Rhythmic Gymnastics, going over to acrobatics, over to Contortion. And the little one will take swimming, ballet, acrobatics, Hula and even Hip-Hop, though the last one was done without my approval. So far - so good. I'll be an Idiot to start them on lesser instruments, I'd rather sell my car.

My logic is simple: there is A and B. A is worse than B. Person C chooses A. I suggest to take it back and get B. Immediately some well wishers jump up in protest. I don't care about your protest, protest as long as you want. It doesn't change the fact that B is better than A, and that person C made not as good a decision impulsively. There is no case ever recorded, when a lesser instrument was played more eagerly because of appearance.

So to the owner of that pretty Scarlatti I would say:

Go for it, but don't get discouraged, when your Scarlatty will betray you. It's not your fault, just chunk some more money on Rochelle, and you'll sale more smoothly.

To Stephan: Those pretty Scarlattis are bad. They are bad because when you'll try to play, you'll have inevitable chokes between push and pull, so even if you'll get better, the music will sound, as though your timing is wrong. The worst - you'll get used to it. The next worst - you'll feel like you just can't get the music sound acceptable, no matter what you do. It may be OK for a beginner's toy, but any further progress is hampered. Those cheap instruments are only good for good players, who want some sound, or appearance for the act. Hohners sound pretty solid, but a beginner should stay clear off them now, having a decent alternative.

Those with ears will hear.

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hello nice people!

:)

I'm new to your forum, and only posted once just to ask for advice choosing between a stagi and rochelle. I've decided to go for the roch (or jackie, can't make my mind up between Ac and Ec!), and am looking forward to getting one, when i've saved a few more pennies, cos there's lots of helpful advice on this site.

 

this argument however isn't quite so cheery :( , and doesn't particularly encourage me, and probably not my friend LDT either I imagine. We all have different opinions on what to start with, don't we; personally i wouldn't get the scarlatti from hobgoblin -- i've made mistakes with their cheap instruments before. But then I have the money that i don't need to get the cheaper one, and yeah, its not a huge price difference, but sometimes even small increases in price take us past our budget, whichever way you slice it. Maybe LDT's choice was between the scarlatti and nothing at all. We could all argue about whether you can only really enjoy the concertina if you buy a certain brand, but fundamentally, as long as you DO enjoy it, who cares right? John Renbourn started playing guitar with a cheap toy that came with a cowboy suit his parents bought him! And then he was playing a guitar, the bridge of which was held in place with a lollipop stick! Yeah, he's not from an impoverished background at all, and maybe he could have started all those years ago with a better instrument if he'd scrimped and saved, in fact I'm SURE he could have done. But he didn't, and yet he obviously kinda enjoyed it anyway, cos he carried on and became one of the best fingerstyle guitarists in the world.

 

Much more importantly (i think, anyway) than all of this bashing each other about, is that this discussion is pretty off-putting for us newbies! I'm sure you're all very nice chaps and chappesses, and I'm sure you'd like us to stay and play on the forum, and that you wish us many happy years of playing, so lets agree we feel differently, we're not gonna convince each other cos we seem to hold our opinions rather strongly, but that's cool, and lets chat about something else? :rolleyes:

 

Has anyone asked LDT if she's enjoying the instrument? has anyone asked if she's having all these problems that are being predicted? Does anyone know what her first tune is yet? Cos now that we've established that some people wouldn't dream of learning on a scarlatti, and some people would learn on anything they could get their hands on, it might be nice to move on :)

 

No offence intended to anyone here; and I don't want to start another barrage, I hope you will all share your wisdom and playing experience with me in the years to come, and i shall be telling you all about my 'tina when i get it!

 

Happy thoughts to you all

P

:)

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Misha,

 

We're agreed that Scarlattis are not as good as Rochelles, but they are a lot better than the "instruments" many of us started off on (and the first one I ever attempted to play - not the first one I later bought - was dreadful!), and they're certainly better than the ones from the Hohner importers (Sutherland) that we see here, whilst your responses still make me wonder if you've ever actually played one. If you had, I would have thought your biggest criticism should be the stiffness of the springs on the G row (it would be mine - though it's something that can be adjusted), rather than "chokes" that aren't there in the ones I've tried. I wonder if you may be confusing them with some inferior, "generic", Chinese brand, of similar appearance? :unsure:

 

But let's give it a rest, and let Lady D enjoy taking her first steps in learning the concertina, instead of putting her off concertinas (and concertina players!) for life... :(

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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Maybe LDT's choice was between the scarlatti and nothing at all.

 

Some would no doubt say, if you can't afford a "real" instrument, you shouldn't bother at all. Everyone knows a $4,000 piano is needed to undertake study of piano :rolleyes: --to say nothing of all the excellent musicians who began on less than optimal instruments. Thank goodness there are those for whom music itself holds adequate fascination to produce what can be from whatever primitive means are available...lousy guitars, home-made fiddles, pots and pans if that's all that's accessible to someone!

 

m3838: you're sounding just crazy :blink: ...but I do understand. Let's hope you're permitting your children to have some "fun" somewhere in the course of all their formal study.

Edited by catty
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There is no case ever recorded, when a lesser instrument was played more eagerly because of appearance.

 

:blink: :unsure: :o :lol:

 

I gotta say...and I don't mean to be disrespectful...but this made me laugh quite heartily this morning! m3838: were you never a child?! :lol: Why do you suppose there are a gazillion guitars, for example, in the world...and you can get a decent one for $100? (hint: image)

 

Anyway, musical pedagogy is a worthwhile topic for discussion that people shouldn't be put-off by. It's bound to engender robust disagreement, and "Advice for a newbie" is the appropriate place--especially to provide encouragement. I would add--especially for LDT--that these forums everwhere on the net are full of "experts" (who apparently derive pleasure by dissing people's instruments...but we all know what that's about); pick an instrument and there's an online forum...with its sect of regulars offering curmudgeonly opinions. Enjoy the music!

Edited by catty
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-On first instruments: My first guitar 40 years ago was OK but a laminated top of the day denied it the robust tonality of a good solid-top. Disappointed it had no sweet spot in which it resonated like a Martin dreadnought, I looked forward to a premium instrument. The cheapie had a weak but well-balanced sound and got lots of play. I have a premium instrument now, but its strengths would have been somewhat lost on me then. Meanwhile, the cheap instrument served well and was toted through rain, left in frozen/baking cars (Bad! Bad!) without much worry and loaned out to wild friends whose pleasure in it exceeded slim replacement cost. A fully-found, responsive & inexpensive instrument is a treasure upon the earth... as is a fully-found, responsive expensive one.

 

-Brian

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My latest attempt

no buzzing :) The more I play the quieter the buzz. lol!

Hm. OK, good for you, buzz is gone.

Next step is to learn to fan bellows out/in instead of dragging bellows out/in, wearing them out.

And I'd start learning scales and some songs by now. Give yourself a month to learn 4 songs without polishing. The more tunes you'll learn in the beginning, the better.

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