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Which type of concertina


kjillinois
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I'm a newbie concertina player in a duo with another person. We both play guitar. I am trying to figure out which type of concertina would be best for taking melody breaks, and then when my partner takes a break with the guitar, just chording along keeping the rhythm. I like the diatonic as it seems easier to play by ear, while with the english I seem locked to the sheet music. I'm never going to be a speed player, but love the sound of the concertina.

 

newbie in illinois

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I'd say beware of generalizations (including all the ones you'll see in posts after mine! ;) ). One can (and I've heard this) do this on every system out there. It is such a matter of how your brain is wired that there is no substitute for trying each system for a few weeks to see how you get on. If you are anywhere near Chicago I bet we can figure out who/how to do this. Or you could rent each system from the Buttonbox for a spell.

 

Beware, it is addictive, and a bit harder to find that ideal instrument than it is for guitar!

Ken

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I'd say beware of generalizations (including all the ones you'll see in posts after mine! ;) ). One can (and I've heard this) do this on every system out there. It is such a matter of how your brain is wired that there is no substitute for trying each system for a few weeks to see how you get on. If you are anywhere near Chicago I bet we can figure out who/how to do this. Or you could rent each system from the Buttonbox for a spell.

 

Beware, it is addictive, and a bit harder to find that ideal instrument than it is for guitar!

Ken

 

 

Thanks Ken. I have been playing with the concertina for about a month and I did rent a cheaper english from buttom box and got a pretty good deal on a stagi 30 button diatonic that I love the sound and feel of. The diatonic seems much more intuitive to me, but when I try to keep a steady rhythm for my guitar partner, I find myself running out of air while chording.

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Hi there. I play English, and I think i agree with you that the Anglo is a bit easier to learn. I don't play it but I do play a button accordion in which the notes are different on the push-pull. but the English is great for all kinds of music. Once you learn it, and it took me years, I play by ear. I use music to learn a tune and then my fingers memorize it, and I can play without the music. It's great for classical, and different types of music. But they're both lovely, and you might want to try both before you decide. Check the Button Box for their specials. I've bought most of my instruments from them, and they stand behind them.

 

deirdre

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The diatonic seems much more intuitive to me, but when I try to keep a steady rhythm for my guitar partner, I find myself running out of air while chording.

 

That can be overcome with practice. There are two ways to deal with this:

 

1) Use the air button. You can use this at the same time as playing the notes to get more bellows movement (in or out) than you would playing the notes alone. This allows you to recover some bellows without having to wait for a break in the music. For example if you have a long phrase mostly on the push, you can use the air button with a pulled note to open the bellows so you have more capacity to continue to play on the push. If necessary, deliberately play a note on the pull rather than the push (most notes are duplicated) to give you the opportunity to do this.

 

2) Explore alternative fingerings for the chord in both directions. Most of the chords you'll need if you're playing in C or G can be played on both the push and pull (although not, infuriatingly, C maj).

 

One thing you need to bear in mind is what keys you want to play in. The anglo is theoretically chromatic, but playing in some keys is more difficult, especially if you want to add chords. If you want to play songs in a variety of keys the English or Duet systems may offer you greater flexibility - unlike a guitarist, you can't just use a capo to change key. However if you're happy to play in just a few keys, then if you're more comfortable with the anglo then stick with it.

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You can do a lot more keys and chords on English and you won't need multiple instruments- than an Anglo. As an Anglo player I'd opt for EC in a singing context. Listen to Steve Turner. Although John Kirkpatrick does great on Anglo!

 

Thanks for all the replies. The only player I know locally uses the concertina mostly for melody work. I've felt I must choose one type or the other so I can progress more rapidly, but maybe I will play awhile with both types. I do like to play by ear, but read just enough music to figure out a tune when I am learning it. Maybe with time, the english will become more natural and I will learn to play by ear using that system. I've never played a really expensive concertina. I'm almost afraid to try one, as I'm afraid I'll get the acquisition disease I keep hearing about.

 

new in illinois

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new in illinois

 

What part of Illinois? I'm in Normal and I play EC.

 

 

I'm in Woodstock.

 

 

I'm in Rockford, so really close. I have just started learning. You already sound light years ahead!

 

Farion

;)

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new in illinois

 

What part of Illinois? I'm in Normal and I play EC.

 

 

I'm in Woodstock.

 

 

I'm in Rockford, so really close. I have just started learning. You already sound light years ahead!

 

Farion

;)

 

 

Hi Farion. If it sounds that way, you have the wrong impression. I've just started. I just don't know which way to jump so guess I'll play both types for awhile and see what happens. Are you taking lessons?

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Killinois,

 

You might consider Baritone English. A bit lower for chords and singing accompaniment and some room for melody. Listen to John Looms Youtube video of the Morse Albion Baritone. It's a better hybrid instrument. Then, if it's appealing, you can call me about mine because I'm really wanting a 69 key Crabb Crane Duet from Chris Alger and need to raise the funds.

 

What a shameless plug .... I'm so sorry!

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I'm a newbie concertina player in a duo with another person. We both play guitar. I am trying to figure out which type of concertina would be best for taking melody breaks, and then when my partner takes a break with the guitar, just chording along keeping the rhythm. I like the diatonic as it seems easier to play by ear, while with the english I seem locked to the sheet music. I'm never going to be a speed player, but love the sound of the concertina.

 

newbie in illinois

Well, nobody has yet jumped in to suggest a Duet model, so let me be the first. Duets are equally adept at playing melody (usually on the right hand, but you can play left-handed an octave lower for a nice baritone quality), or playing bass and chords (mostly on the left hand side).

 

Best, you can play a Duet like sining wiht a guitar -- melody on RH, bass/chords in LH. If you think in chords, you'll love a Duet, especially a Hayden.

 

OF the Duet types, I personally think the Hayden system is the easiest to learn, and easily transposes among the traditional guitar keys. Tell your guitar friend to leave his capo in the case ;) The ELise Hayden costs only $370 and will cover most folk guitar pieces. Button Box has them.

 

The Crane/Triumph is maybe the best combination of learning and ready availability of instruments.

 

The Maccann Duet is maybe hte most capable musically, but maybe takes longer to learn.

 

Best wishes -- Mike K.

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Well, nobody has yet jumped in to suggest a Duet model,

Don't get a Duet, it's too easy to learn. You'll lose the sense of accomplishment.

But really, it's not the system as much, as finding the instrument that you like the sound of. Then stick with it, it's system, it's character. Some Concertinas (like low sounding Tenors and Baritones) don't really like to play chords, they prefer melody.

Some, like Accordion reeded Stagi and Button Box produced Morse/Albion, are good for chords.

Etc.

Whatever is easier to learn is important only the first few months, then it quickly becomes irrelevant.

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Well, I play duet, but I don't think I'd recommend one for the usage you described. They're really for playing melody and accompaniment at the same time, or for playing simultaneous melody and counterpoint. You could use them for simpler purposes, but they're big, expensive, and rare enough that unless you're going to use their full capabilities, I think you might as well choose English or Anglo.

 

There's nothing about an English that would discourage learning by ear. I used to play Anglo, and it does have some advantages. The different notes on push / pull make the melody fit in a very compact space, and harmonies change "automatically" as you change directions playing the melody. It's also usually played with a more robust style, probably because of the ergonimics of the handle, and the way you need to learn to change bellows directions frequently and quickly builds up a more physical connection to the instrument. It's also good for folks who don't want to learn chord theory, and just play what sounds good -- it's set up to make simple harmonies easy, and there aren't as many wrong notes on the instrument. But at the same time, that makes playing complex or very specific chords more difficult. It's great for a simpler, more rough-and-tumble style.

 

But what you're describing sounds more like the English to me. Especially if your playing is jazzier, or more chromatic. It's very good at single-line melody, and very good at any sort of chording, the limitations start showing up if you try to play both at once. Of course, with any system, the limitations are an invitation to creative arranging.

 

If you feel really drawn towards playing full, solo arrangements of varying styles, and want to put in a lot of work, then you may want to start down the duet road.

 

I've heard stories of people who have started with the system they thought they'd like, but things only really "clicked" when they switched to another. I feel some of the work you put in on one system will help with another, having switched from Anglo to duet myself.

 

Does that help?

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You can do a lot more keys and chords on English and you won't need multiple instruments- than an Anglo. As an Anglo player I'd opt for EC in a singing context. Listen to Steve Turner. Although John Kirkpatrick does great on Anglo!

 

Thanks for all the replies. The only player I know locally uses the concertina mostly for melody work. I've felt I must choose one type or the other so I can progress more rapidly, but maybe I will play awhile with both types. I do like to play by ear, but read just enough music to figure out a tune when I am learning it. Maybe with time, the english will become more natural and I will learn to play by ear using that system. I've never played a really expensive concertina. I'm almost afraid to try one, as I'm afraid I'll get the acquisition disease I keep hearing about.

 

new in illinois

 

if you would like to try an expensive concertina, i have a top of the line anglo you could try out, just to see what it's like--you won't run out of air very easily. i'm usually in either dekalb or st. charles, and i teach at murphy roche music irish music school in burr ridge--i also play at elgin public house at least once a month (that seems like it would be the closest to you). i happen to be playing there this sunday from 3-6 pm, so if you would like to stop by and try out my concertina, you're more than welcome. please let me know ahead of time (pm me), so i make sure i dont miss you if you decide to come.

 

i could also show you some rhythm and chording stuff, beyond just melody, to show you some of the capabilities of the instrument.

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Thanks everyone for the input. I've had some company and just sat down tonight and read the additional replies. Right now (this sometimes changes daily) I'm plugging away on the Jackie and the english system. I've also listened to some of the instruments on u-tube and my ear is attracted to the baritone sound. I have to use written music to play the english system, but maybe with time my ear and hands will learn what to do.

 

I will probably rent a baritone English to also try it. I've seen some reasonably priced Stagi baritone concertinas, but read on one web site that their baritone models had some problems. I've learned a lot of new names recently, Wheatstone, Lachenal, etc. What a facinating history and instrument and I'm amazed at their longevity. The guitar is almost simple by comparison.

 

Still practicing in Illinois

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Killinois,

 

You might consider Baritone English. A bit lower for chords and singing accompaniment and some room for melody. Listen to John Looms Youtube video of the Morse Albion Baritone. It's a better hybrid instrument. Then, if it's appealing, you can call me about mine because I'm really wanting a 69 key Crabb Crane Duet from Chris Alger and need to raise the funds.

 

What a shameless plug .... I'm so sorry!

 

Hi. I listened to John Loomis on u-tube and loved the sound. I don't have the funds for that good of an instrument, but it is a great sounding concertina. Illinois

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