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Help, Which concertina to buy?


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I currently have a Renelli Italian made, 20 button that my wife bought for me that I’ve been playing for a while and am looking to upgrade to a higher quality 30 button.  I'm reluctant to spend a huge amount at this time so I need advice and suggestions on a beginner/intermediate instrument in the $500 to $750 range (US dollars). I live near San Antonio, Texas and it's as if none of the local music stores have even heard of a concertina so I'll probably be buying online.  

 

Any help will be much appreciated.

Thanks,

JoeMike

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Your best bet is probably a Rochelle from Concertina Connection. It only costs $340, but you're not likely to find a better-playing 30-button in your price range. You could spend $700 on a 30-button Stagi but most of us would say it's not a better instrument than a Rochelle.

 

I currently have a Renelli Italian made, 20 button that my wife bought for me that I’ve been playing for a while and am looking to upgrade to a higher quality 30 button.  I'm reluctant to spend a huge amount at this time so I need advice and suggestions on a beginner/intermediate instrument in the $500 to $750 range (US dollars). I live near San Antonio, Texas and it's as if none of the local music stores have even heard of a concertina so I'll probably be buying online.  

 

Any help will be much appreciated.

Thanks,

JoeMike

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Depending on your future plans, I'd try to buy from one ot the dealers that offers the purchase price trade in if you upgrade. Button Box, Concertina Connection and Homewood come to mind.

Definitely!

 

You might want to read some reviews regarding the different makes and buy the Rochelle from the one you decide might be best to upgrade to next time. You might consider a used Rochelle if you can find one. From what I've seen, the used ones cost nearly as much as the new ones and you may not be able to trade it at cost. However, if you get a deal on a used one and keep it in good shape, you'd probably be able to sell it for near what you paid for it or possibly even more.

Decisions, decisions...

At any rate, best of luck!

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Thanks all for the advise. Before reading the replies I was thinking of a Stagi W15-LN advertised as having "new improved action" but apparently the consensus points to the Rochelle. Plus I'm less reluctant to pay $340 rather than $770 for something I can't put my hands on. The action on mine is rather stiff and slow. I know from playing guitar for many years that much diligent practice is required to become proficient but I also know that a quality instrument can improve playing enjoyment greatly.

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I know that I bought my Jack used for $275 and sold it for $210. The $65 was worth the experience because it taught me what a good concertina action should be. Had I known about the trade-up, I may have bought new. Obviously, up to you and your finances... but had I known, I would have bought from a dealer offering trade-up. Unfortunately, Chris Alger doen't offer such a deal. That's a shame, to be sure ... but the darn VAT does him in. :angry:

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I know that I bought my Jack used for $275 and sold it for $210. The $65 was worth the experience because it taught me what a good concertina action should be. Had I known about the trade-up, I may have bought new. Obviously, up to you and your finances... but had I known, I would have bought from a dealer offering trade-up. Unfortunately, Chris Alger doen't offer such a deal. That's a shame, to be sure ... but the darn VAT does him in. :angry:

It's because it's a Baritone. Smaller demand than treble. Jack as a Baritone is not such a great Baritone either, it needs lots of tweaking.

I think you did well. As for trade-up policy, dealers are in business to make money, not to take care of us. In common man sense I've been milked by the Button Box quite plentifully, but I can't complain, as they provided me with the chance to try different models, gave me good trade-in price etc. But on each interaction I'd lose some money to them. Fortunately it didn't make me poor and unfortunately didn't make them rich.

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You're right M3838 but the dealers do feed our need without having to purchase and then resell if we're not happy. I won't complain about my dealings with Button Box or Chris ... they have to make their overhead. An ebay or craigslist seller won't usually stand behind a sale if something goes left of center. But your point is well taken.

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Thanks all for the advise. Before reading the replies I was thinking of a Stagi W15-LN advertised as having "new improved action" but apparently the consensus points to the Rochelle. Plus I'm less reluctant to pay $340 rather than $770 for something I can't put my hands on. The action on mine is rather stiff and slow. I know from playing guitar for many years that much diligent practice is required to become proficient but I also know that a quality instrument can improve playing enjoyment greatly.

 

As a long-time player of the mandolin, I agree with you about the playing enjoyment of a quality instrument. As a banjo-player of almost as long standing, I know how enjoyable a well-set-up banjo is. Subtle difference!

 

Playing enjoyment results from a good sound and easy action. The sound is built in, but the action can be tweaked, optimised, cared for. The sound of a Stagi W15 is superior to that of a Rochelle - that's why it's more expensive. My "old, unimproved" Stagi action was a bit temperamental at first, but even it became reliable when well played in. The ergonomics (e.g. straps) are also superior to the Rochelle.

 

So if you want to avoid having to trade up, get the Stagi, and invest modestly in improving it. You'll have a useful, pleasant-sonding performing instrument when you get that far. With the Rochelle, the only way up, it seems, is trade-up. The sound (in my experience) just wouldn't justify ergonomic improvements.

 

But if you want that effortless beauty of tone like even a moderate player can get out of a top-class guitar - and I believe this is what you're looking for - you'll have to adjust you sights (well) over the $1000 mark and look for a well-made hybrid. We're always hearing from new owners of these who are delighted with the ease of playing, as well as with the tone.

 

Just my opinion!

 

Cheers,

John

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The sound of a Stagi W15 is superior to that of a Rochelle
Strictly a matter of personal taste. To my ear, they both sound reasonably pleasant.

 

that's why it's more expensive.
What's your evidence for that? I've never heard that said before.

 

The ergonomics (e.g. straps) are also superior to the Rochelle.
I don't agree. The Rochelle is designed to have the same feel (handrest design, button placement etc.) as a more expensive concertina. The Stagis I've played (I'm not sure which models they were) had the air button placed in a very awkward position.

 

But if you want that effortless beauty of tone like even a moderate player can get out of a top-class guitar - and I believe this is what you're looking for - you'll have to adjust you sights (well) over the $1000 mark and look for a well-made hybrid.
I agree with that.

 

Just my opinion!
Indeed, and now you have mine.
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The ergonomics (e.g. straps) are also superior to the Rochelle.
I don't agree. The Rochelle is designed to have the same feel (handrest design, button placement etc.) as a more expensive concertina. The Stagis I've played (I'm not sure which models they were) had the air button placed in a very awkward position.

I've tried the Stagi W15-LN several times and for me the buttons have always seemed poorly placed. I've got quite large hands, yet the buttons still seem a stretch to me. Other Stagis I've tried did not seem to have this same issue for me. YMMV

 

Moving between a Rochelle and a Jones 26b or a Norman 36b I never experienced any issue with button positions. The Rochelle button positions were bang on the money for me.

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Apparently I would have to travel some distance to try a tina for myself and even then the selection would probably be limited. Lots of accordions but no tinas in my area. Of course that's why I'm turning to experienced owners for advice.

 

Yes I know that quality concertinas are expensive but because of the situation stated above and the fact that I would not quiet call myself an intermediate yet it's hard to bring myself to buy something that will be in excess of $1000 on-line.

 

Thanks for the input and keep it coming I need all the help I can get.

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Apparently I would have to travel some distance to try a tina for myself and even then the selection would probably be limited. Lots of accordions but no tinas in my area. Of course that's why I'm turning to experienced owners for advice.

 

Yes I know that quality concertinas are expensive but because of the situation stated above and the fact that I would not quiet call myself an intermediate yet it's hard to bring myself to buy something that will be in excess of $1000 on-line.

 

Thanks for the input and keep it coming I need all the help I can get.

Hi JoeMike

 

Would Dallas be too far to talk to someone who makes them? The phone number is on the bottom of the page

http://www.concertinas.com/

 

Thanks

Leo

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Hi Leo,

 

I actually found your site on another post on this forum. I was in Rowlett several months back attending a wedding but didn't have the tina bug at the time so had no knowledge of your business. I have family in the Denton area so I'll look you up next time I'm in the area, although your instruments may be a little out of my league for my level of expertise. I'd like to see and play a real concertina.

 

JoeMike

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Hi Leo,

 

I actually found your site on another post on this forum. I was in Rowlett several months back attending a wedding but didn't have the tina bug at the time so had no knowledge of your business. I have family in the Denton area so I'll look you up next time I'm in the area, although your instruments may be a little out of my league for my level of expertise. I'd like to see and play a real concertina.

 

JoeMike

Hi JoeMike

 

I can't take credit for the Herrington Concertinas. I wish I had the skills, knowledge and expertise to do the kind of work they do, but it's not me. I live in Pennsylvania. My suggestion was from your lament "....that none of the local music stores have even heard of a concertina....." It would at least give you someone to talk to intelligently, and they are sort of local.

 

I would not try talk someone out of their price range, as everyone has their own priorities, but, like mentioned previously, there is nothing worthwhile in between the price of a Rochelle, and the fine work of the current makers of some good instruments. The step up/over/down, whichever you prefer to a Stagi over a Rochelle, well you can read the experiences of the above posts to see not much has been gained for the few extra hundreds of dollars, so perhaps not worth it. Yes, there is a big price gap. Unfortunately that's how it is.

 

One of the nice things of a Rochelle, depending on who you buy from, is the trade in value would be the same as your purchase price when, not if you upgrade. If you sell it to someone else, they seem to hold their value better that the Stagi too.

 

One thing that might help is to get over and forget the idea of combining price with level of expertise. There is no correlation between the two unrelated ideas. It's a common misconception that at such and such a skill level, I should be playing a brand x box. A common comment from those that upgrade to one of the better concertina's is, "So that's what the extra money buys. It's so easy to play, and the sound is better". If you do get to try one of their concertinas, with your current level of experience, I'd be interested to hear your comments on the difference. I suspect it will be like night and day.

 

If you get a chance, a few concertina players show up here. Might be worthwhile to go next time:

http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php...;showtopic=9263

 

Thanks :)

Leo

Edited by Leo
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As a general rule of thumb, decide how much you can afford, then find a way to double that amount of cash.

Selling a kidney might be a good idea.

Concertinas are funny things. They look so innocent but can take a huge chunk out of your earnings. Melodeons on the other hand cost a lot less and make a lot more noise.......sorry music.

 

Phil

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