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Marcus Music


Queen Lud
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Hello again,

 

I am starting to think about what type of concertina to move on to next. I have had a good look at the list of current makers on this forum. I am limited by price so will need to buy a hybrid model. Even within that range I am probably looking at being able to save up to £1,500.

 

As such, I have been considering the standard 30 button anglo made by Marcus Music.

 

I have searched the forum for information on this make but have returned only a few mentions. I am not sure if it is good form to ask for specifics about a particular make but ask I shall anyway. Has anybody got any experience of this model?

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Hello again,

 

I am starting to think about what type of concertina to move on to next. I have had a good look at the list of current makers on this forum. I am limited by price so will need to buy a hybrid model. Even within that range I am probably looking at being able to save up to £1,500.

 

As such, I have been considering the standard 30 button anglo made by Marcus Music.

 

I have searched the forum for information on this make but have returned only a few mentions. I am not sure if it is good form to ask for specifics about a particular make but ask I shall anyway. Has anybody got any experience of this model?

Yes - I played a Marcus standard 30-key anglo for about three years before moving on to a traditionally-reeded instrument.

I would have no hesitation in recommending the Marcus as being up there with the best of the hybrids. It was well made - the riveted action smooth and positive, bellows supple and quiet, the metal ends looked good. The reeds, although Antonelli accordion reeds, seemed to me to have a sound closest to a traditional-reeded instrument than all the other hybrids I tried. The response of the reeds was excellent, easy to speak and capable of playing softly, but with a good strong volume when required. Overall, excellent value for money. One of the best. If you decide to buy one, remember to decide which keyboard layout you want (Wheatstone-Lachenal or Jeffries) and specify it when ordering.

See here http://www.marcusmusic.co.uk/concertinas.html (scroll down about 2/3rds of the page to find the layout link)

 

Hope this helps. No doubt others have their own opinions.

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I've only ever played Marcus concertinas on their stand at folk festivals, but I've always found them pleasing and decent boxes for the money. With exchange rates being what they are at present I think the British hybrid makers, Marcus and Norman, both offer excellent value for money to UK players and I'd have no hesitation in recommending them.

 

Chris

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I have a review I wrote with the intention of submitting it to the newsletter of the Midlands Concertina Group. I can only find it in pdf form, so can't copy and paste it. Let me have an email address and I can ping a copy across.

 

The gist of it is I'm very pleased with my metal ended deluxe in G/D.

 

Marcus were pleasant to deal with. Delivery was earlier than promised (around 3 months). The box is smart to look at. The action is smooth and pleasant to use, with fairly short key travel. Bellows are well made and robust. The tone is good, although they are accordeon reeds. The valves are leather with a thin metallic spring down the centre. Inside it is quite tidily made.

 

I have had the chance to play on, or at least "quickly try" a Dipper, more than one Wheatstone, more than one Lachenal, a Connor and several other makes. The Marcus stands up well to comparison.

 

My previous box was a Rochelle, and whilst there was nothing wrong with that, I never played it again from the moment I picked up the Marcus.

 

I play the Marcus as near as possible every day, sometimes two or three separate practice sessions, and have been known to practise for 3 hours in a day simply because the instrument won't let me put it down. I never have to force myself to practise - unlike other instruments I've played over the years. The Marcus has stood up well to this fairly heavy use.

 

Of course you get what you pay for, and we'd all prefer a beautifully restored Wheatstone or a custom finished Dipper (or similar), but you will certainly not be disappointed with the Marcus. It's a nice instrument to own and play.

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Don't be put off by the 'accordion reed' debate.... both the Marcus and the Norman instruments play beautifully with a great action; my friend's Marcus has a slightly quieter action, but my Norman seems guicker and the response from the reeds is very good. Maybe a little harsher sounding than my Wheatstone, but amongst other instruments you would never notice.

 

I really feel that they are much better value than the average Lachenal for a similar price, and, whilst some may suggest that the vintage concertina will hold its price better, that is hypothetical, because once you own a Marcus or a Norman, you won't want to sell it, you will just acquire another concertina to play alongside it!

 

David

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I really feel that they are much better value than the average Lachenal for a similar price, and, whilst some may suggest that the vintage concertina will hold its price better, that is hypothetical, because once you own a Marcus or a Norman, you won't want to sell it, you will just acquire another concertina to play alongside it!

 

David

 

Yes, I have been thinking along those lines. I doubt I will be selling what I buy.

 

My other concern with buying second hand is I don't know enough about concertinas to make a wise choice so I think I am safer buying a new one.

 

Thanks for all the comments, which are very encouraging. I am interested in the standard concertina with wooden ends. This is an aesthetic decision - should I be considering the metal ends for other reasons?

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My other concern with buying second hand is I don't know enough about concertinas to make a wise choice so I think I am safer buying a new one.

 

Thanks for all the comments, which are very encouraging. I am interested in the standard concertina with wooden ends. This is an aesthetic decision - should I be considering the metal ends for other reasons?

 

Point 1 - I think you are wise. There are a couple of dealers I would trust to sell a second hand restored instrument to a novice at a fair price, but if you're on your own then buying one of these is good.

 

Point 2 - metal ended concertinas tend to have a brighter sound than wooden ended ones. Which sound you prefer is a matter of taste.

 

Chris

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I've been playing a Marcus G/D for about two years now.

I have not a single complaint. It's a gorgeous instrument.

Personally, I'm convinced.......although nobody else has mentioned this.............it has made me a better player.

I don't know whether this is because the action and the volume are miles better than my old instrument.......or could it be that it just makes me want to play it more often.

 

You know, he's making a little mini model now called The Traveler.

 

Phil

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regarding this mistaken reference to riveted action: [the riveted action smooth and positive]---

 

marcus concertinas do not have riveted action. they have post/lever action. the mechanism is superior to stagis, but it is not a fast action. i have a marcus deluxe, and find it to be beautifully crafted cosmetically with super-nice bellows. i also like the tone. but if you are looking to play traditional irish dance music, as opposed to, say, song accompaniment, it is slow enough that it will hold your playing back if your playing gets to a point where it needs to build to dance speed. my playing actually outgrew the button action on this instrument dismayingly quickly. i have been meaning to sell mine for ages, but have kept putting it off because as an art object, it is really, really nice. i actually have been wondering about the cost of having the action converted....

 

mine has jeffries fingering, and inexplicably and infuriatingly, a note i can't do without, the high push "a" on the far right in the top right-hand row is not the usual high "a," but a super-ooper high, squeaky "a" an octave higher, and is completely unusuable. i am clueless as to what anyone could possibly want this note for. i did not discover this until my playing had progressed enough for me to go there, and it is simply infuriating.

Edited by ceemonster
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regarding this mistaken reference to riveted action: [the riveted action smooth and positive]---

 

marcus concertinas do not have riveted action. they have post/lever action.

Yes - I think you are right, I must be remembering wrongly, sorry.

There is a set of photos of the inside of a Marcus anglo here:

http://hmi.homewood.net/marcus/inspection/

 

the mechanism is superior to stagis, but it is not a fast action. i have a marcus deluxe, and find it to be beautifully crafted cosmetically with super-nice bellows. i also like the tone. but if you are looking to play traditional irish dance music, as opposed to, say, song accompaniment, it is slow enough that it will hold your playing back if your playing gets to a point where it needs to build to dance speed. my playing actually outgrew the button action on this instrument dismayingly quickly. i have been meaning to sell mine for ages, but have kept putting it off because as an art object, it is really, really nice. i actually have been wondering about the cost of having the action converted....

Interesting to read your point of view, but this just wasn't my experience. I certainly did not find the action slow at all. I bought my Marcus from the Music Room in Clecky and the fast smooth action (compared with other instruments they had) was one of the selling points for me. The only reason that I sold my Marcus was that unexpectedly, I had the opportunity to buy a nearly-new Wakker anglo at a reduced price - and I really did like its lightness and superior sound of the 'proper' concertina reeds.

 

mine has jeffries fingering, and inexplicably and infuriatingly, a note i can't do without, the high push "a" on the far right in the top right-hand row is not the usual high "a," but a super-ooper high, squeaky "a" an octave higher, and is completely unusuable. i am clueless as to what anyone could possibly want this note for. i did not discover this until my playing had progressed enough for me to go there, and it is simply infuriating.

My Marcus had the standard Wheatstone-Lachenal layout (my choice), hence the problems you encountered simply weren't there for me.

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Hi

 

I would recommend a visit to a dealer or good shop or festival stall to look at a decent accordion reed instrument, rather than a beat up Lachenal etc. I'd get a 30 button in C/G for Irish or morris or a G/D. You can alwatys sell on or part exchange

 

I had a Norman C/G then traded up to the 'real thing'.

 

Good luck

Mike

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