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But this is only for irish music. I supose that for people who plays more chords - I.e, Morris - the more keys possibly should be the best.

There's also more to non-Irish than just Morris. There's John Kirkpatrick, Harry Scurfield in Bayou Gumbo, all that great South African stuff, for starters. And give a llisten to Anglo International.

 

...if you can figure out which notes you need...

Ah, there's the rub... predicting the future. ;)

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it's a tradeoff. more buttons means more possibilities, but also more weight. you do not need more than 30 buttons for irish music. some people have mentioned using the extra buttons for phrasing, and that it helps with fast passages--this is simply a misnomer. bellows changes are not a problem on a high quality instrument like a suttner. i have been easily able to get 4 bellow changes a beat all the way up to at least 180bpm. there is no situation in irish music where having the ability to have any sequence of notes legato is necessary due to the physical constraints of changing bellows directions. however, you MAY want this ability for phrasing based on your musical tastes, but it is not necessary for the sake of speed.

 

38 buttons could be useful for phrasing, for sure. sometimes it is nice to maintain a bellows direction between two notes in order to lean into one from the other, which is simply not possible with certain note combinations.

 

the most useful thing for having extra buttons is having more chords. all the basic 12 major and 12 minor chords do NOT exist on the anglo concertina in their full form on a 30 button anglo. this can be extremely frustrating. although i am not one to usually use a full chord in all circumstances, i like to be able to choose what notes i will drop--sometimes i may drop the third, sometimes the first, sometimes the fifth. i hate not being able to play any chord i want. i am not sure if the 38 solves this problem, but if you want to do extensive chording beyond the home keys, it is a must to have more buttons.

 

so, if you are just going to play irish music in the home keys, 38 buttons is not necessary. however, if you want to go beyond irish music, it can be very helpful. i was talking to someone once who i believe was from south africa, and he was utterly amazed that we could play anything with less than 38 buttons, so take what i say with a grain of salt.

 

personally, i would order at least 38 if i had the chance. my maker did not offer that option, so i only have 30 buttons. if i was going to order a suttner, i would order 38 buttons for sure. that being said, i am fully happy with 30 buttons and i do not feel i have fully mastered the possibilities that my buttons have to offer.

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38 key all the way imo. Cost difference is small, a 38 key will do everything a 30 key will but the reverse is not the case. When you're paying all that money and waiting all those years, I can't personally see a logic for not getting the extra keys.

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38 key all the way imo. Cost difference is small, a 38 key will do everything a 30 key will but the reverse is not the case. When you're paying all that money and waiting all those years, I can't personally see a logic for not getting the extra keys.

This is what I have been thinking, that it goes one way but not the other.

 

I'll report on my order in this thread.Thanks to all of you for good advice and illuminating points.

 

Snorre

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I'll report on my order in this thread.Thanks to all of you for good advice and illuminating points.

 

Snorre

 

Please do. Please include any info regarding current pricing (the online price list might be outdated) and waiting times as well as any other information that might be helpful for my own decision in the near future. You can also pm me, if you prefer. :)

Edited by jileha
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38 key all the way imo. Cost difference is small, a 38 key will do everything a 30 key will but the reverse is not the case. When you're paying all that money and waiting all those years, I can't personally see a logic for not getting the extra keys.

I think time is the critical factor there.

Whichever you get, if you later conclude that you would prefer the other, you could almost certainly sell the first to fund the second. But if you have to wait several years to benefit from the change, that could be a problem.

 

Back to factors influencing your choice:

  • You already have a Morse Ceili, yes? Do you find its 30 keys limiting? I.e., do you find yourself "looking for" particular notes in particular bellows directions, but not finding them?
  • It seems that so far you're only playing Irish music on the concertina. Do you expect that to always be the case? Do you play other types of music on the fiddle (bluegrass or other American folk? jazz? springar or other Norwegian types of tunes?), and if so, would you consider trying them also on the concertina? If so, think about how you would play them on the Ceili and whether more buttons would be helpful.

By the way, I don't know what the difference in weight is between the 30- and 38-button Suttners, but I'm pretty sure that either will be heavier than the Morse. And fairly certain that you'll quickly get used to it. :)

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the most useful thing for having extra buttons is having more chords. all the basic 12 major and 12 minor chords do NOT exist on the anglo concertina in their full form on a 30 button anglo. this can be extremely frustrating. although i am not one to usually use a full chord in all circumstances, i like to be able to choose what notes i will drop--sometimes i may drop the third, sometimes the first, sometimes the fifth. i hate not being able to play any chord i want. i am not sure if the 38 solves this problem, but if you want to do extensive chording beyond the home keys, it is a must to have more buttons.

You should be able to get most, if not all, of the major and minor chords with a 38-key. However it's not just chording beyond the home keys where the extra buttons come in useful. Having more phrasing options for the melody is useful when you're playing chordal style, for a number of reasons:

  • You can avoid being forced into a bellows change which may break up the left-hand rhythm. Being able to play legato melody phrases on the right hand helps you to keep a steady rhythm and maintain the chord progression on the left.

  • It may also offer you alternative melody fingerings in the opposite bellows direction, which may give a better choice of LH chord or simply allow you to gain/lose air without needing to grab the air-button.

  • It can also help to keep separation between the right and left sides of the instrument. For example, when playing in Am I have the A on the right hand push, instead of having to drop onto the left hand for it, where it also forms part of the chord. On the same buttons I've got a similar choice for the G on the pull, while on the inner row I've got D and E on the right hand so I don't have to drop onto the left. I find this makes a clearer distinction between the melody note and the chord.

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38 key all the way imo. Cost difference is small, a 38 key will do everything a 30 key will but the reverse is not the case. When you're paying all that money and waiting all those years, I can't personally see a logic for not getting the extra keys.

I think time is the critical factor there.

Whichever you get, if you later conclude that you would prefer the other, you could almost certainly sell the first to fund the second. But if you have to wait several years to benefit from the change, that could be a problem.

 

 

Back to factors influencing your choice:

  • You already have a Morse Ceili, yes? Do you find its 30 keys limiting? I.e., do you find yourself "looking for" particular notes in particular bellows directions, but not finding them?
 
I think having another G# would come in quite handy. Also the Bb. These are the notes I can think of now. There might be more in 4 years time :)
 

It seems that so far you're only playing Irish music on the concertina. Do you expect that to always be the case? Do you play other types of music on the fiddle (bluegrass or other American folk? jazz? springar or other Norwegian types of tunes?), and if so, would you consider trying them also on the concertina? If so, think about how you would play them on the Ceili and whether more buttons would be helpful.
 
Good point, but at the moment I am not where I can see this clearly. I am practicing Irish tunes like mad to get some mileage and general control....maybe some quarter-tones would be handy for Norwegian music :D
 

By the way, I don't know what the difference in weight is between the 30- and 38-button Suttners, but I'm pretty sure that either will be heavier than the Morse. And fairly certain that you'll quickly get used to it. :)

 

The A-2 is at 1.4 kg and the A-4 weighs in at 1.54 kg.....a bit heavier than my Morse (just under 1 kg). The positioning of the rows are also a bit different AFAIK. I tried a 30 btn Suttner in Ennis this spring, and when doing a roll on push E (RS mid row) and C# (RS outer-row) they seemed to be set at a slightly wider angle on the Suttner than the Morse (didn't have to cross my fingers as much). I also was offered to try a 38 at a session, but the extra buttons, together with a beginner's nerves, completely botched up the tune I was trying to play. I don't this will present a problem in the future....

 

The "non-reversability" is becoming an important factor for me, or at least more important than 0.14 kg and the difference in price. I think it will be worse to have an instrument where I might, in the future, feel something is lacking, than have 38 button instrument of which I only use 30, or less buttons.

 

Again, I am very grateful to all contributors. I just bought a house for the first time in my life, but buying a concertina seems to be trickier :D

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I think having another G# would come in quite handy. Also the Bb. These are the notes I can think of now. There might be more in 4 years time :)

I'm surprised you didn't say F#. I think having F# on the push as well as the pull is very useful.

 

... I am practicing Irish tunes like mad to get some mileage and general control....maybe some quarter-tones would be handy for Norwegian music :D

Or some "sympathetic" reeds for a harding concertina? ;)

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... I am practicing Irish tunes like mad to get some mileage and general control....maybe some quarter-tones would be handy for Norwegian music :D

Or some "sympathetic" reeds for a harding concertina? ;)

I think we're moving into murky waters....a guy here made a harding mandolin.....not so sure what to think.

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I will undoubtedly catch a lot of flak for this but I have a strong opinion on this topic, so I strongly advise against a 38 button and in favor of a 30 button Suttner. Do not underestimate the impact of that extra weight and do not overestimate the value of the extra buttons. A while back, I ordered a 30 button Ab/Eb from Jurgen. While waiting for delivery, I changed my mind and my order to a 38 button model instead. That was a big mistake. There is nothing wrong with the Suttner 38 button but if you are not used to a 38 button instrument, you are potentially in for a big shock. The keyboard is much more crowded and the weight difference is definitely notable.

 

To give it its due, Jurgen builds a wonderful instrument -- regardless of the number of buttons you choose. The 38 button model will offer additional chord opportunities and can provide alternative note locations and bellows directions for notes and chords that may be of value to some players. Just don't expect miracles. Should you switch to a 38 button model, there will be lots of months of learning and relearning to take advantages of the extra notes -- and that benefit will only come if you are not put off by the tighter button layout and the extra weight. I was so disappointed at the lack of a real perceived benefit to me that I sold it and later ordered a Carroll 30 button Bb/F and I've never regretted this last switch -- no weight penalty, no cramped keyboard and I still got a nice flat pitch instrument. Had I instead left my Suttner order in its original 30 button configuration, I would likely still have that Suttner to this day. But I would have the Carroll too!! It's that good.

 

Now, I will put on my combat helmet and hunker down in my foxhole as criticism is lobbed my way. But I thought you should hear an opposing opinion from someone who had some skin in the game, made that same decision that you are considering and experienced the differences first hand.

 

Ross Schlabach

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I agree with Ross. I often wish I were a better player ... but I have never felt that if I had more buttons I would be any better. The reason I am not a better player has nothing to do with the amount of buttons, but rather with the lack of time I devote to playing.

 

Maybe if I'd started with 38 buttons when I was seven years old I'd feel differently and not feel comfortable with "only" 30. But a concertina with 30 buttons offers enough challenge and options for me at this point -- twenty years down the road. I'd rather learn more tunes, and spend that time learning to play them well, rather than trying to find a use for eight more buttons.

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I think having F# on the push as well as the pull is very useful.

It's the biggest advantage for most players that I know.

 

... I am practicing Irish tunes like mad to get some mileage and general control....maybe some quarter-tones would be handy for Norwegian music :D

Or some "sympathetic" reeds for a harding concertina? ;)

I think we're moving into murky waters....a guy here made a harding mandolin.....not so sure what to think.

But isn't a sitar only a "Hardangar bouzouki"? B)

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... I am practicing Irish tunes like mad to get some mileage and general control....maybe some quarter-tones would be handy for Norwegian music :D

Or some "sympathetic" reeds for a harding concertina? ;)

I think we're moving into murky waters....a guy here made a harding mandolin.....not so sure what to think.

But isn't a sitar only a "Hardangar bouzouki"? B)

Does CCE have a separate category for that, or would that be a "miscellaneous" instrument? :unsure:

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The extra buttons on a 38 key seem like a lovely thing, but as a player of Irish music the notes they bring do not make sense, and of course they were created for an entirely different canon. Some time ago I attempted to enlist help to decide on extra notes which would be an asset in Irish music with a view to creating a layout which was not so extensive, perhaps only 34 keys as a compromise on weight and room, but with every key being right on the money. Another way of putting this is, what would people put there now if there was no historical flywheel? I could not find anybody ready to offer an opinion. So let me try again. If you could have two more buttons on each side at the head of two of the rows what would they be..?

 

On the left side I see the F#, the E/F, and the C buttons as contenders. On the right the F# and ?

 

As a start, I have a low F# on the RHS second button accidental row and this has shown me the handiness of a note situated well away from its peers. What else from the LHS would work on the right? What if the two RHS side buttons were a low E/F reversed, and a low C/F#. And if the left buttons were a high F#/C# and what else?

 

Chris

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There is nothing wrong with the Suttner 38 button but if you are not used to a 38 button instrument, you are potentially in for a big shock. The keyboard is much more crowded and the weight difference is definitely notable.

 

... and that benefit will only come if you are not put off by the tighter button layout and the extra weight. I ... later ordered a Carroll 30 button Bb/F ... no weight penalty, no cramped keyboard ...

I won't argue the weight question, except to say that the way you respond to the difference is a personal thing. I've said before that I find my 45-button Jeffries more comfortable than the 38-button. I think it has more to do with the different handles, and maybe the balance, than with the actual weight.

 

But I don't understand your characterization of the 38-button keyboard as "crowded", "tighter", and "cramped". On all makes of concertina that I've ever handled, additional buttons are placed outside the core 20 or 30, with matching spacing. I have never seen one where the buttons were squeezed closer together in order to accommodate more.

 

Can Suttners really be different in this respect? The only Suttners I've handled had 30-buttons, so I can't say for sure, but I doubt it. I suspect, Ross, that you may have become confused trying to find the 30-button core among the additional buttons, but that it was not because the buttons were closer together.

 

But instead of speculating, I request that anyone else who has experience with both tell us. Are the buttons closer together on a 38-button Suttner than on a 30-button Suttner?

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