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advice on concertina

MARINER 05 Feb 01 - 05:43 PM
GUEST,Roll&Go-C 05 Feb 01 - 05:57 PM
Musicman 05 Feb 01 - 06:34 PM
Bob Bolton 05 Feb 01 - 10:04 PM
English Jon 06 Feb 01 - 05:27 AM
Noreen 06 Feb 01 - 07:30 AM
wes.w 06 Feb 01 - 09:08 AM
English Jon 06 Feb 01 - 10:08 AM
Bernard 06 Feb 01 - 03:33 PM
wes.w 07 Feb 01 - 08:26 AM
English Jon 07 Feb 01 - 09:26 AM
Bernard 07 Feb 01 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,concertina (and accordion) newsgroup 07 Feb 01 - 07:11 PM
Guy Wolff 07 Feb 01 - 07:42 PM
GUEST,SQUEEZE BOX 07 Feb 01 - 07:48 PM
wes.w 08 Feb 01 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,Mark. West Sussex. UK 08 Feb 01 - 09:12 PM
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Subject: advice on concertina
From: MARINER
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 05:43 PM

As someone who likes to sing shanty's and songs of the sea, I thought it might be a good idea to find an instrument to accompany myself. The other day I was in my local music shop where I spotted a concertina.This concertina plays in two keys only, C and G.or so I'm told. It is a different system than the one used in traditional music. My question is, is it any good for the type of music I have in mind? or would the other type be preferable?. Then theres the degree of difficulty playing it. Would it be simpler to play than the traditional one?. I'm a complete novice regarding concertinas ,or any other instrument for that matter, and advice would be greatly appreciated Mariner


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Subject: RE: advice on concertina
From: GUEST,Roll&Go-C
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 05:57 PM

Sounds like you were looking at an Anglo concertina, which is generally easier to learn to play than the English concertina, more like a harmonica, with a different note as you push in or let out a button. Either instrument can be fine for accompanying some sea songs. Generally a moderately priced concertina runs $500 (US) new and the ones that are less expensive (new) are not worth working with. The Italian Anglo concertinas by Bastari or whatever they are called now (Stegga?) are adequate to learn on. You really should consider getting one that works with your voice; if you sing songs in C and G what you're looking at may be fine. I have one concertina in G and D, and another in F and C. You should be prepared for a lot of bad jokes.

Good luck!


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Subject: RE: advice on concertina
From: Musicman
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 06:34 PM

If you put the word concertina in the filter search at the start of the threads, and set it to at least 180 days, you will find other threads on the topic with various links about the different types of concertina's....


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Subject: RE: advice on concertina
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 10:04 PM

G'day MARINER,

I'm not sure what you mean by "It is a different system than the one used in traditional music." German concertinas - or the better English-made Anglo-German concertinas (same fingering, slightly different layout, much more expensive) were the commonest concertinas in traditional music in the world.

Many modern folk performers use concertinas in magnificent chromatic systems (Wheatstone's original English System, the McCann Duet (a variant of a Wheatstone duet system), the lovely, logical so-called Triumph or Crane(actually invented by Butterworth) beloved of the Salvation Army or the rare and wierd (but magnificently playing) Jeffries Duet. These were mostly never seen by anyone outside of stage or band use ... and cost weeks of wages. the ordinary sailor, farmer or wage-earner in an industrial town used a 20 key German - until an Anglo was affordable. Perhaps they might even manage an Anglo-chromatic - but only if they were well off and musically literate.

Have a look at my booklet on Australian instruments and you will get an idea of the use of the various systems: Traditional Bush nstruments.

Anyway, it will work well for dance music. You may have to live with a few uncomfortable keys if you want to sing to it ... but it sure as heck is the traditional concertina (maybe 5 million or more made against about half a million of all the chromatic styles).

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: advice on concertina
From: English Jon
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 05:27 AM

Sounds like an anglo to me. 99% certain (If anybody tells you it's a HAYDEN DUET, you've just made a fortune, but regretably this is unlikely...)

How old is it? approx, like is it new or antique? Also, wood? Mahogany? Rosewood? Wooden ends or metal? This sort of info could help identify it.

STAGI are the italian ones that Roll&go-c is trying to remember the name for. They have accordion reeds and sound a little different, but they're O.K. If you've got a wheatstone or a lachenal though, they are so much better. Hohner also make new instruments for beginners, which are said to be pretty good, although if you're not happy with the one you've got the best advice I can give you is:

Talk to Chris Algar

www.concertinas.co.uk

if memory serves.

He'll do you the best deal anywhere, and he's a nice bloke. I got an English off him, Rosewood ends, 5 fold bellows, mostly steel reeds which is quite lovely for £425 last year. It's a good box. He also does an upgrade path: basically, when you want a new one, he'll part exchange your old one at the value you payed for it, assuming it's still in the same sort of condition etc.

Hope all this helps. Good luck with it. Jon


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Subject: RE: advice on concertina
From: Noreen
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 07:30 AM

Mariner, see

Help: Concertinas and

concertinas for lots of info and discussion and further links...! Good luck from a wannabee concertina-ist.

Noreen


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Subject: RE: advice on concertina
From: wes.w
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 09:08 AM

Hi Mariner..
.. My question is, is it any good for the type of music I have in mind?..

Peter Bellamy accompanied himself on anglo, but he had quite a high range. John Kirkpatrick also does, but he's an ace player, and able to play in many keys, which you won't be able to do with only 20 keys, although you could also play in D (but without the C#) and the associated minor keys (E,A,B) and some other modal ones . But, inspite of 'Hollywood' mythology, concertinas were probably never used by sailors!

The previous comments about the quality of the instrument are valid, if its the standard Chinese made 'new red box' usually seen in music shops.

...It is a different system than the one used in traditional music..
Many of the revival singers (ie 1960s on) use the English system to accompany themselves (Tony Rose comes to mind as an example). But for traditional music (William Kimber,Scan Tester,etc and numerous musicians in Ireland) the anglo, even with only 20 keys, was used.
..Then theres the degree of difficulty playing it..
Some people pick up the anglo and can play simple tunes straight away (its like a mouth organ). Others struggle. Its the same with the English system. Different folks, different strokes!
good luck ..wes.


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Subject: RE: advice on concertina
From: English Jon
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 10:08 AM

Except that Bellamy played English... ;)

Jon


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Subject: What duz it look like?
From: Bernard
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 03:33 PM

It will be an Anglo - how many buttons does it have?

If it only has 20, then it's not likely to be a good quality one - they tend to have 30 keys or more. Okay, it may be old, and made by one of the famous makers, but their 'cheap' models were for beginners - the Lachenal 'English' with coloured buttons, four fold bellows and brass reeds, for example.

Another consideration is whether it has steel or brass reeds. Brass reeds are unreliable, and very much quieter than steel.

If it has gaudy coloured ends, and metal corners on the bellows, let someone else poke it with their ten foot plastic bargepole! It ain't worth a light!

A clearer description of the beast, please!!


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Subject: RE: advice on concertina
From: wes.w
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 08:26 AM

Sorry English John, but Peter Bellamy NEVER played English, only Anglo, and I'm talking about performances that I've been to from the late 1960's up until the Cheddar Folk Club recording on the tribute CDs. I talked with him quite few times about his anglo playing over the years, and he was one of my initial reasons for taking up anglo. I admired his work, playing and singing greatly. A unique man.
However, his style could be described as 'English' Anglo ;)
..wes


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Subject: RE: advice on concertina
From: English Jon
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 09:26 AM

Wes. I stand corrected. I was sure... Was it modified to play drones in both directions? I've seen a few that have been altered like that. How the hell do you play "nostradamus" on an anglo?

I never met him unfortunately. I was only 16 when he left us. His recordings are what made me want a concertina in the first place. I'm going to have to rethink my entire playing style now...bugger. He was also a huge influence on my arrangement style, esp the work with young tradition.

Interesting that Damien Barber plays English system. He's probably the closest player I know to Bellamy's style, but then he plays melodeon as well, so I suppose elements of the technique cross over.

I'll go and stand in a corner in my dunce's cap now.

Cheers,

jon


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Subject: Drone keys
From: Bernard
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 01:37 PM

There are Anglo's with a drone key on the opposite end to the air key, but in the same position.

Just thought I'd mention it...


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Subject: RE: advice on concertina
From: GUEST,concertina (and accordion) newsgroup
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 07:11 PM

Hi --

Looks like you're getting lots of great help here, but you might also like to know about the concertina/accordion newsgroup: rec.music.makers.squeezebox. Lots of helpful folk hang out there too.

Kim


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Subject: RE: advice on concertina
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 07:42 PM

I Like my 30 botton Anglo very much.. They are made in both C/G and D/A so think about what range you like to sing in but please get a 30 or three rowed instriment .. That top row opens up all sorts of things you will want for sea shantys ! All the best , Guy. <><><>Oh the Botton Box in Amherst Mass. is a great place to get an instroment in the US and also makes shore you get a working box!!!! Very Inportant!!!


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Subject: RE: advice on concertina
From: GUEST,SQUEEZE BOX
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 07:48 PM

Hi

I will probably repeat everyine else, but you do have an "Anglo" or Anglo-Germanic type. The English is chromatic and has only one note per key. Both have strengths; the Ango is bouncier and thus often better for dance tunes. I hear it is easier than thee English, but I don't know as I "struggle" with the English. The English can be more versital as it has the range of a fiddle and can play slower, quieter tunes. Both can be used to accompany, though I understand that the Aglo is better. I nam very fond of sea shanties and sea music, and I do play them on the Englsh. I've heard others use the Ango. So decide what you want to play as your guide

Scott


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Subject: RE: advice on concertina
From: wes.w
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 08:40 AM

Sorry for a bit of thread creep folks but..
English Jon...
... Was it modified to play drones in both directions?... Yes, Peter had a bit of bent metal attached to one of the end bolts which he could swing around to press down one buttons on the front row (accidentals) of his 3 row box. He was quite pleased with his invention.

..I'll go and stand in a corner in my dunce's cap now... Don't do that! It's interesting that you, even as a player, thought he was playing English. And it also gives another anspect to Mariners question about what type of box would suit his needs.

And he would have delighted to have someone of your youthful age say that he was the reason you took up the box. Last time I spoke to him he was sad that he seemed to be categorised as a 'boring old traddie' by the folk entrepreneur festival mafia. Times are changing, but some of the jewels have been lost along the way.
Take care .. wes


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Subject: RE: advice on concertina
From: GUEST,Mark. West Sussex. UK
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 09:12 PM

There are two basic terms - English and Anglo.

English plays the same note on push and pull when you press any single button.

Anglo plays a one note on push and a different one on pull. Anglo has two rows of buttons each side for two musical key pitches and some have a third row for sharps and flats.

English is easier to learn basic accompaniments on but harder to play fast tunes.

Anglo is the favourite for fast Celtic Jigs/reels etc.

Any old concertina in good condition and bargain price is worth buying. You can resell, swap or trade. Just check every button sounds a note except for the "air" button. Close the bellows and then hold the concertina vertically in one hand. If gravity opens the bellows and they "drop" open they are leaking.

For Shanties and sea songs you need an English. Basic accompaniments are quick and easy to figure out especially as you will only probably play to suit whatever key you sing in so you will tend to hover round the same set of buttons.

There are also "Duet" systems but they are not for the novice.

Good luck Mariner. Go for it. They are great fun in spite of the jokes. Anyway. concertina players tell jokes about banjos.


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