Trying the concertina

We have some evidence, however, that you may have to pay for the reeds.
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Steve Hatfield
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Trying the concertina

Post by Steve Hatfield »

If one wanted to attempt playing the concertina (and didn't have anyone locally to "borrow" one from) and I wanted to find a used one, how much would I expect to pay for one? Now I'm not looking for the fanciest or best when I say used. But I'm also not looking for the "cheapest" one either.

I'm thinking $500 or less if that's even an option.

Thanks for any advice given.

Steve
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Thomaston
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Re: Trying the concertina

Post by Thomaston »

You could get a new Rochelle set up by Bob Tedrow in that price range.
http://hmi.homewood.net/rochelle/
BlueJack
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Re: Trying the concertina

Post by BlueJack »

Without seeing or trying a Rochelle it's hard to say; but, I have two cheap concertina's and one nice Wheatstone. One of the cheap ones was made, I think, in China maybe 10 years ago. It's only two rows (CG) and while it plays, it's not great. The other is even older made in "EAST Germany" (how old can you get) and was great 35 years ago when I didn't know what it was. Avoid the old German Scholer concertinas. Having said that, first, you really need the 30 button instrument to do anything interesting. Second, I would just about bet that the Tedrow machine is a good deal for the money. Certainly better than the cheapies on EBay and for sure better than my older 20 button instruments. I talked to Tedrow once about 10 years ago and he seemed like a really decent and down to earth sort of guy. If it were me, I'd call him and tell him what you are trying to do.
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Re: Trying the concertina

Post by boyd »

"Cheap" models are likely to have a slow action and require more push n pull to get notes to sound.
Sometimes you might have tuning issues on individual notes, or some notes will only play with more air (relative to the others on the instrument).
You might find stuff like leaky bellows or sticking keys if you buy second hand (eg eBay).

I got a Rochelle C/G which was new, no major issues, most notes sounding with moderate air, and tuning was good (checked on an electronic tuner).
Within 2 weeks I have 2 tunes playing ok and at a "normal" session speed (Mist Covered Mountains, The History Man) and a few in the works. I am now thinking the slow action of the instrument is holding me back a bit but thats ok until I have a few dozen jigs n reels and I want to play out in the pub. The Anglo is good for playing chords and I have used it for that during some stuff I play with my musical mates, giving a nice backing with the other guys when someone is singing. Easy to do with a little musical knowledge.
I have tried a mate's Morse English and found it has a much quicker action and draws/pushes notes with a lot less movement of the bellows.....so I guess I realise that I will need a better instrument in order to play at session speed without all the current effort that I have to put in.
But which make? What price?
Is a Marcus the one? Or an mid-priced Lachenal? Do I watch the internet bidding sites and then gamble on something I've never seen or played? Do I make a road trip to a far away concertina dealer and trust their judgement and help with one, or do I just email them or ring them up and tell them my budget and hope they don't take advantage?

Finding the next instrument is going to be a challenge. Not much out there that I have found that helps you really choose. Ideally its best to try a few and buy what you feel best with, or so it goes with pipes and flutes. I think 'tinas are just the same.

The Rochelle is good. You could get cheaper second hand stuff (with issues) which would still allow the learning of slow tunes.
I already play a handful of other instruments so I had a head start. If you are new to music, a beginner instrument would see you through at least a year of learning.
A really bad beginner instrument might just put you off for ever !!!

....my thoughts :)

Boyd
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Azalin
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Re: Trying the concertina

Post by Azalin »

boyd wrote:Finding the next instrument is going to be a challenge. Not much out there that I have found that helps you really choose. Ideally its best to try a few and buy what you feel best with, or so it goes with pipes and flutes. I think 'tinas are just the same.


From my point of view the choice is simple! The next logical instrument would be a 'hybrid' one, between $1800 and $2500 depending on the maker and if it's new or used. It won't have concertina reeds but will be very easy to play and will allow you to get to your next level. You could probably get a used Lachenal for that price, but it probably won't play as easily.
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Re: Trying the concertina

Post by nancymae »

I purchased a Rochelle last fall...and I love it! I got mine from Button Box, which they will take back in trade the full purchase price, if and when you want to upgrade to another instrument. You can't beat that deal! The Rochelle is easy to learn and I am having a ball, playing Irish trad as well as some contemporary music...Adelweiss sounds soo beautiful, as Moon River, and "When you Wish Upon a Star" are currently on my play lists. Keep us informed!!
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