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The new “Elise”, a 34 key Hayden Duet model


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We have a new addition to our family of entry level concertinas: the Elise 34 key Hayden Duet.

The first instruments are expected to arrive early next month. Because of the limited production time we have available at the factory, the number of instruments is limited.

As of today we accept reservations for the Elise. You can also contact participating dealers to reserve an instrument. For further details please see http://www.concertinaconnection.com/elise.htm

 

Wim Wakker

Concertina Connection Inc.

Wakker Concertinas

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We have a new addition to our family of entry level concertinas: the Elise 34 key Hayden Duet.

The first instruments are expected to arrive early next month. Because of the limited production time we have available at the factory, the number of instruments is limited.

As of today we accept reservations for the Elise. You can also contact participating dealers to reserve an instrument. For further details please see http://www.concertinaconnection.com/elise.htm

 

Wim Wakker

Concertina Connection Inc.

Wakker Concertinas

WOW!! This is much sooner than I had dared to expect!

And I get to be the first to congratulate Wim :-)

Going to check out the web page right now, for price, which notes are included, etc.

--Mike K.

Edited by ragtimer
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This announcement makes my Duet prediction a bit more interesting.

Al

 

No I don't think so, it changes nothing. It improves the supply of piddling Haydens, that's all. Anyone who buys one and then hopes to take duet playing further will be struggling to buy one with a decent range; the only real option for moving on at the moment is to order a new middle sized one from Wim. Until there is a ready source of BIG Haydens they are positively damaging to the duet cause, and I can't see how that situation would arrise in our lifetimes. The Hayden design may be very clever but with the supply situation existing it's a distraction and damaging to the cause.

 

I feel the same about Jeffries and Cranes but to a lesser degree; although decent middling instruments at second hand prices can be found they aren't common and neither system is available in the larger sizes offered readily by the Maccan system. As an example, I use every note of my 71 key these days, and simply couldn't go back to a smaller one. If you take up the duet hoping to get beyond the 'concertinas are for folk music' stereotype you need a useable range. As a beginner instrument one of those tiresome little 46 key Lachenal Maccans STILL offers much more promise for extended playing development than anything else of the size.

 

Choosing a duet system purely because it is easy to get started on is a shallow way of making the choice and, with things as they are, risks holding the ambitious player back, or even worse frustrating them into abandoning the duet altogether.

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This announcement makes my Duet prediction a bit more interesting.

Al

 

No I don't think so, it changes nothing. It improves the supply of piddling Haydens, that's all. Anyone who buys one and then hopes to take duet playing further will be struggling to buy one with a decent range; the only real option for moving on at the moment is to order a new middle sized one from Wim. Until there is a ready source of BIG Haydens they are positively damaging to the duet cause, and I can't see how that situation would arrise in our lifetimes. The Hayden design may be very clever but with the supply situation existing it's a distraction and damaging to the cause.

 

I feel the same about Jeffries and Cranes but to a lesser degree; although decent middling instruments at second hand prices can be found they aren't common and neither system is available in the larger sizes offered readily by the Maccan system. As an example, I use every note of my 71 key these days, and simply couldn't go back to a smaller one. If you take up the duet hoping to get beyond the 'concertinas are for folk music' stereotype you need a useable range. As a beginner instrument one of those tiresome little 46 key Lachenal Maccans STILL offers much more promise for extended playing development than anything else of the size.

 

Choosing a duet system purely because it is easy to get started on is a shallow way of making the choice and, with things as they are, risks holding the ambitious player back, or even worse frustrating them into abandoning the duet altogether.

Agree to all, except for the situation, when a player simply wants to use it the way English system is used, but can't get his mind over left/right scale pattern. I see it's right side has two octave range, it means it's left side also has identical layout and range, which gives you good 4 octaves (or good 3, if there is overlap). It's bigger than (or same as) Jackie's 3 octaves (14 buttons per side).

So if you use English Concertina music, it may be easier to play (for some), especially in chordal style.

It's like micro-Bandoneon with logical button layout. I'd say, for such an instrument to be 100% useful, it simply must have two notes per button, and be uni-directional, playing on the draw. Add a slider, and you may switch octaves with the flick of one thumb, there you have approximation of much larger instrument. It may have automatic spring assisted air valve, or thumb operated air lever, allowing quickly close the bellows.

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If you take up the duet hoping to get beyond the 'concertinas are for folk music' stereotype you need a useable range.

Yes, but for folk music, hymns, and many other simple tunes in limited keys, the 34 button would be adequate. I could actually use it to play several of the simpler pieces I've posted on YouTube without any adjustment at all, such as the Babes in the Wood / Elsey's Waltz medley, the Chicken Polka, and Alle Jahre Wieder. Many other "fiddle tunes" in C, D, F, and G can be played with a decent accompaniment. Looking at some of my arrangements, I'd might have to adjust for the missing left hand high B for several of them, but that's quite easy. Adjusting for those that go up to B on the right side would be trickier and less satisfactory. But for something like Morris playing, I think the "Elise" would be practically all you'd need. It'd also be a good instrument for someone who can afford a full-sized instrument, but wants to try out the layout first.

 

But I do agree that an inexpensive bigger Hayden would be a huge boon, and is more needed. I personally don't like the button spacing, playability, size, and sound of the Stagi Hayden, but a easier playing, smaller 46 button at about the same price ($1K or so) would be very welcome. And we can only hope the Button Box continues with Rich Morse's idea of a 70+ button model. It would very much complement Wakker's three models.

 

Add a slider, and you may switch octaves with the flick of one thumb, there you have approximation of much larger instrument. It may have automatic spring assisted air valve, or thumb operated air lever, allowing quickly close the bellows.

I wouldn't want to fiddle with something like that. I think most people who want to play duet are looking for a more regular layout, not something idiosyncratic. But maybe your idea would work as a specialized one-handed instrument.

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Another implication of an inexpensive entry model is that it may increase demand for some higher-level model Haydens (or other duets). Once enough makers think about meeting that need, one (or more) of them will jump in. It will be interesting to watch.

 

Ken

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Another implication of an inexpensive entry model is that it may increase demand for some higher-level model Haydens (or other duets). Once enough makers think about meeting that need, one (or more) of them will jump in. It will be interesting to watch.

 

Ken

Exactly -- this $360 Elise will "break the ice" for almost anyone wanting to try the Hayden Duet. And it will certainly make for more demand in a year or two for larger, better models (Wim is a businessman, after all ;) ).

 

Some comments on other posts follow (I had typed my own opinions earlier today, but a power failure ate it):

The "Elise" range is not quite 2 octaves, but C to A. I think Wim did the right thing, to lose some range off the top in order to add the "black" notes.

 

The upgrade choices are not limited to Wim's 46 and 62 key models (or is that 65 on the big one?). In between is Bob Tedrow's resumed produciton of his 52-key, which has the range of a 46 but fills in the very useful missing low C# and D#.

 

Yes, we all hope the Button Box carriers on Rich's plans.

 

I found that 2/3 or 3/4 of my own favorite tunes could be played as-is on the Elise. Including everything we paly in the local Celtic/Old-Timey band. Those that need G# and D# are hard to fix, but those that need notes above high A can be easily adapted, tho they may sound funny. FWIW, and that's not much, Beeethoven's "Fur Elise" cannot be played on an Elise in the original key :-)

 

And yes, I already called Button Box today (during the power outage) and reserved an Elise. It will help re-train my fingers from the Stagi button spacing, thus help me adapt to my big Bastari and the better Hayden I hope to get someday.

--Mike K.

Edited by ragtimer
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Many other "fiddle tunes" in C, D, F, and G can be played with a decent accompaniment. Looking at some of my arrangements, I'd might have to adjust for the missing left hand high B for several of them, but that's quite easy. Adjusting for those that go up to B on the right side would be trickier and less satisfactory. But for something like Morris playing, I think the "Elise" would be practically all you'd need. It'd also be a good instrument for someone who can afford a full-sized instrument, but wants to try out the layout first.

 

If you want to play in a (true) minor key, it will have to be D. Though in practice some tunes at first glance in the other relative minors of the above 4 keys might work if they are actually in somewhat modal tonality rather than true minor (ie, don't sharpen the leading note).

 

But the truth is quite a lot of the time you don't touch a G# or Eb in a "simple" piece, so I suspect that this is probably the best compromise available for a 34-key Hayden. I'm prepared to guess it will prove a much more useful instrument than a 39-key Maccann or 35-key Crane. In fact it has certain advantages for the beginner over a 46-key Maccann.

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Well, I'm an "entry level" user, and I'm on the list for one. A low-budget Hayden to try out is exactly what I've been waiting for.

 

I like to play in G minor, so I'll be missing the Eb. And some of our Morris tunes (amazingly enough) require G#. But I'll adapt until I can afford something more exhaustively chromatic.

 

David Haimson

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As a beginner instrument one of those tiresome little 46 key Lachenal Maccans STILL offers much more promise for extended playing development than anything else of the size.

 

 

I have a 48 key crane and a 46 key MacCaan, the Crane is a whole 1/4" around the edges bigger, and from my humble opinion as a duet player, for the keys it is by far superior.

 

But I do enjoy the MacCaan: lately I believe MacCaan was one jazzy cat - just look (on yer tiresome 46 key ) at that top two rows on the right (high) side? whats that baby!?!

 

EDITED: I meant the keys in the upper row on the right side starting at 2 thru 4 and the buttons below it , it just feels like the middle to me. Those 6 buttons are a great scale, and its repeated down the diagonal.

 

Blues and pentatonics all over that Maccaan keyboard, truly the good Dr. deserves a place in the history of blues/jazz.

 

In fact, I am writing a piece based on that blues scale, title soemthign like "Macaan's Rag" (this is to supplement my other dedication "MacCaan's Lament - in D major", note that not one D appears in this piece...

 

I have heard that ol Robert J. played concertina, that really bugged Son House...

 

 

NOTE: "McCrappie's Air" has nothing to do with the MacCaan duet, in fact it would be near impossible to play it on a 46 key as McCrappies's air requires extensive use of D drones. No substiutions allowed!

Edited by Hooves
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As a beginner instrument one of those tiresome little 46 key Lachenal Maccans STILL offers much more promise for extended playing development than anything else of the size.

 

 

I have a 48 key crane and a 46 key MacCaan, the Crane is a whole 1/4" around the edges bigger, and from my humble opinion as a duet player, for the keys it is by far superior.

 

 

I apparently wasn't clear enough. When you have decided that your wish to play more ambitious music is being crippled by the range of your instrument and you are ready to move on (and hopefully this will come upon you one day Hooves) you can, should you wish, go and buy a Maccan with nearly the range of a piano and the best quality long scale reeds virtually off the shelf; you'd be unlucky not to find a decent candidate with a few 'phone calls, and very reasonably priced compared to other system vintage instruments. Cranes that size are virtually unknown because the keyboards become unmanageable. (it was discussed it a while back, remember?) All you can find is medium sized models, and they aren't that common. (Let's not even mention that they will also almost certainly be of that 'workmanlike but economical' spec that the Sally Army sensibly went for. Perfectly nice but not aeolas or edeophones.) The situation is worse with Jeffries instruments (they don't seem to come in large either) and much worse with Haydens. There, your only realistic graduating opportunity is a brand new middle sized Hayden at the moment. No pool of vintage high quality instruments, no pool of s/h instruments at all. This is not going to change overnight. We'll all be dead before it does; concertinas simply do not sell in the numbers they did in the 1920's.

 

I am deeply concerned that the 'Duet Messiah', the kid whose destiny is to show the wide world the truly amazing things you can do with a duet, may be lost forever because he stopped playing in frustration when he couldn't get a decent instrument instead of being seized by the magic of the thing and compelled to breathtaking new spectacular heights as fate originally intended. And all because some well meaning soul sold him the Hayden dream, probably in turn because they had found it 'easy to get started' and didn't want to admit or hadn't realised, that the lack of larger instruments badly limited the potential of the thing.

 

Perhaps I should add that this is the nearest I get to religion, the belief that this prodigy will appear. I await the coming with keen anticipation. Consequently, actions likely to impede the early start of his/her glorious triumph are close to heretical in my book. I don't actually care what system he plays; it's just that as things stand there is no real choice for anyone with ambition, and I don't want quality players falling by the wayside. There are damn-all of them as it is.

 

Having stirred this particular murky pond I do actually wonder if the majority of Wim's new creations will be bought by purchasers who thought they wanted an Anglo, rather than wannabe duet players. It might be to their great satisfaction. It should do everything an Anglo does but simpler, shouldn't it?

 

(A little footnote for those who didn't know: I reckon I would be as quick taking up English as learning another duet system; they are that different from each other.)

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Congratulations to Wim for producing a very affordable beginners Hayden Concertina. For an inventor this is about the highest compliment that can be made; (and P.S. country to popular belief I don't make a penny out of it), that his idea is being produced by the hundred on the other side of the world. (O.K. two batches of 50 this year). I understand that most of the first batch of 50 is already spoken for.

 

I too hoped that Wim could include the top Bs on both sides; however he has managed to shoehorn an extra 2 buttons more than the Jackies & Rochelles, on each side, any more would have meant that these could not have been made so cheaply on the existing machines.

 

Regards Harmonic Minors: It is also possible to play (using a slightly modifyed fingering) B harmonic minor - B, C#, D, E, F#, G, A# (i.e. Bb), b. Mastering this fingering of this HM key will take you along way towards mastering all the fingerings that you need to play all the Harmonic minors on the 65 button instrument. (You only need one other fingering which I have described in an earlier reply, to play all but one very obscure Harmonic Minor key).

 

Wim also pointed out to me that the Elise shouldn't only be regarded as just a beginners instrument, but for a large number of people (as has happened with his Jackies and Rochelles) this will be the only concertina that many will posess and play for the rest of their lives; and certainly don't wish to go through years of learning that the Maccann requires before they can even play their favourite tunes with an easy accompaniment.

 

For the benifit of Dirge a little history lesson about Maccans:

Very early on in concertina history 1830s (might have been 1840s) a very early Duett type concertina appeared which had a basic proto-maccann arrangement of notes. They had a small rectangular shape (almost square) and are believed to have been made in Germany. They could only be played in a couple of keys (C & G). They were sold I believe through Wheatstones who also sold a basic tutor to go with them. A few still exist and you can find the tutor on the "Maccann Website". Although Charles & William Wheatstone, and others proposed other types of Duett; it wasn't until nearly 40 years later (1885) that Maccann proposed a new Duett. It is somewhat debateable exactly what Maccann was suggesting in his provisional Patent; however when the instruments were finally made these proved to be the same arrangements as the Rectangular German instruments with Sharps and flats added in the most obvious places, and a few high notes added on the right hand side (an octave above on the next but one row above) and a few low notes added on the LHS (an octave below on the next but one row below). They still started rather high on the RHS (g') . It wasn't until after the Butterworth (Crane -Triumph) concertina came out ten years later that the Maccanns started to begin the RHS on middle C (c'). and later still that much larger sizes of Maccann were made. Almost a Hundred year span; so as you can see it all takes time to work through.

 

I expect as someone else has pointed out demand is going to cause supply; perhaps some enterprising person might consider rebuilding larger MaccanDuetts which nobody wants, (and makes them so inexpensive) as Hayden Duets! Crabbs did this to Maccanns to Cranes about 50 years ago when that was the demand.

 

Inventor.

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Wim also pointed out to me that the Elise shouldn't only be regarded as just a beginners instrument, but for a large number of people (as has happened with his Jackies and Rochelles) this will be the only concertina that many will posess and play for the rest of their lives; and certainly don't wish to go through years of learning that the Maccann requires before they can even play their favourite tunes with an easy accompaniment.

...

For the benifit of Dirge a little history lesson about Maccans:

... Almost a Hundred year span; so as you can see it all takes time to work through.

 

Inventor,

I'm not sure you can compare a minimal Hayden with an entry-level Anglo or English. Wakker's Rochelle may not have the tone of a Wheatstone (it hasn't even got the tone of a Stagi!), but it has all the same buttons in the same places as a 30-button Wheatstone. So the owner is free either to play all the music that others play on Wheatstones, or to upgrade to a Wheatstone with no learning effort. The Human-Machine Interface is the same. When you've learnt the Rochelle, you've learnt the Anglo.

With the Wakker Jackie (I am led to believe, but I am not an English player), the reduction to 30 buttons was effected by eliminating the enharmonics, so the instrument is fully chromatic, and the missing buttons only have to be substituted for when you've got an excessive number of sharps or flats in your key signature. So, anything possible on any English treble would be possible on the Jackie, only the more way-out keys would be more difficult, though playable at a pinch.

 

The Wakker Hayden is different. It's a Duet, and what I expect from a Duet is chromatic capability. I can play good stuff in three keys on an Anglo - no need to learn a Duet system unless I can get significantly more. That's why I went the Crane road. Even if I'd scrimped and got a small 35-button Crane, it would have been fully chromatic as far up as it went. I'd just have had to see to it that I didn't pitch my arrangements too high. But the Elise is simply missing some notes in each octave (even the 30-b Anglo has all the notes somewhere, just in case you need them ;) )

 

I can quite believe that you can get the hang of the Hayden button arrangement with an Elise, and can easily extend this knack to the fully chromatic version (that is, surely, the whole point of an isomorphic layout). But as a practical instrument, the Elise seems to offer little added value over an Anglo, because it lacks the typical Duet chromaticism.

 

So it is only an entry-level instrument, or one for modest usage - not a fully functional instrument.

 

You're right about the Maccann taking so long to achieve its final form, and that the first Wheatstone "Duett" was very limited in the number of keys it could play (the same as the 20-button Anglo, in fact). But the idea had to be conceived, and put into practice, and improved, and that took time, whereas the Hayden system as such is already cut and dried, and is fully chromatic. It just has to be implemented.

 

Maybe the hoped-for Messiah (or better Paganini) of the Duet will get started on an Elise, but I doubt whether he will push out the envelope with it. Maybe I'm wrong.

 

Cheers,

John

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I can quite believe that you can get the hang of the Hayden button arrangement with an Elise, and can easily extend this knack to the fully chromatic version (that is, surely, the whole point of an isomorphic layout). But as a practical instrument, the Elise seems to offer little added value over an Anglo, because it lacks the typical Duet chromaticism.

I think the entry-level Hayden Elise ioffers a lot more than an Anglo. First, it's easier to play and to learn to play. More important, it can accompany itself from the left side. With one box you get bass, chords, and melody. That's what Duets are about (or maybe melody plus countermelody, etc.). If you could use only one concertina to accompany trad dancing, a Duet would be it.

So it is only an entry-level instrument, or one for modest usage - not a fully functional instrument.

Cheers,

John

You're right, in that the Elise can't play many tunes that would work on a "standard" 46-key Hayden.

However, if we see the real purpose of the Elise as "getting people hooked on Duets", then that's OK.

 

In fact -- if someone new to squeezing learns on an Elise, and then decides she would be better off in Maccann or Crane, then he's not invested all that much time and effort, since one can get pretty decent at Hayden in six months or less. That "quick learning curve" of the Hayden can lead to another type of Duet. He's learned phrasing and expression and bellows technique, and above all, how to operate each side of the brain independently.

 

Not that it matters, but I believe the Hayden system beats all others for bass and chords (left side), and for diatonic melodies on the right side, tho other Duet systems may be superior for complex chromatic melodies and fancier LH accompaniments. I was blown away by what David Cornell was doing at NCW a few years ago on his 72 (or was it 80-odd) key Maccann. Could he have sounded as good after years of working at a 72-key Hayden? I like to think so -- but until that Messiah arrives, we can only speculate.

 

FWIW, I haven't heard any calls for an entry-level Maccann or Crane, tho I would try a Crane trainer for $360. Those too, would have a limited set of accidentals.

 

Finally, who says that "fully chromatic" is what Duets are about? True, most of them are. But a Duet is about self-accompaniment, IMHO. And for being the one-person band for a trad dance, the Elise will serve just fine.

--Mike K.

Edited by ragtimer
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Question for Dirge:

 

My hat's off to you since you say that you use all of your 71 keys. I play a 48 key Sally Army Crane and I'll have to admit that I would like to try a 55 but that's it, at least, I hope so.

 

Have you ever recorded your Maccan playing? I daresay that you may well be one of the only large Maccan players alive and I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to hear you.

 

Cheers,

 

Henri van Wandelen

near Daytona Beach, Florida, USA

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