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Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?

Bunnahabhain 20 Mar 06 - 12:32 PM
Bernard 20 Mar 06 - 01:01 PM
greg stephens 20 Mar 06 - 01:09 PM
GUEST 20 Mar 06 - 01:20 PM
Leadfingers 20 Mar 06 - 01:59 PM
Bunnahabhain 20 Mar 06 - 03:29 PM
vectis 20 Mar 06 - 04:45 PM
Zany Mouse 20 Mar 06 - 04:49 PM
Crane Driver 20 Mar 06 - 05:03 PM
Crane Driver 20 Mar 06 - 05:08 PM
Zany Mouse 20 Mar 06 - 05:08 PM
Skipjack K8 20 Mar 06 - 05:44 PM
curmudgeon 21 Mar 06 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,Banjoman 21 Mar 06 - 05:36 PM
treewind 21 Mar 06 - 05:55 PM
Bunnahabhain 21 Mar 06 - 07:21 PM
melodeonboy 21 Mar 06 - 08:50 PM
GUEST,Dazbo 22 Mar 06 - 07:59 AM
GUEST,Beamus, Uppscoti & Faast - Organs of all Siz 01 Apr 09 - 04:11 PM
Jack Campin 01 Apr 09 - 06:59 PM
Bernard 01 Apr 09 - 07:22 PM
SteveMansfield 02 Apr 09 - 03:44 AM
pavane 02 Apr 09 - 04:18 AM
GUEST,LDT 02 Apr 09 - 07:42 AM
Bernard 02 Apr 09 - 10:50 AM
Peter the Squeezer 02 Apr 09 - 03:15 PM
Desert Dancer 02 Apr 09 - 03:50 PM
squeeker 06 Jun 09 - 08:08 AM
Ruth Archer 06 Jun 09 - 08:31 AM
Tug the Cox 06 Jun 09 - 08:54 AM
Dave Hanson 06 Jun 09 - 10:49 AM
Les in Chorlton 06 Jun 09 - 11:56 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 06 Jun 09 - 12:30 PM
The Sandman 06 Jun 09 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,Ed 06 Jun 09 - 01:42 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 06 Jun 09 - 02:42 PM
squeeker 06 Jun 09 - 03:28 PM
Bernard 06 Jun 09 - 03:45 PM
Little Robyn 06 Jun 09 - 04:55 PM
squeeker 07 Jun 09 - 05:47 AM
The Sandman 07 Jun 09 - 06:16 AM
Jack Campin 07 Jun 09 - 06:36 AM
Gervase 07 Jun 09 - 09:34 AM
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Subject: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 20 Mar 06 - 12:32 PM

I have been meaning to learn to play for some time, but need some advice: Which do I get?

I am looking for not too expensive (under £200) box to learn on. I'll probably be mainly playing English and Scottish stuff.

I know there are a lot of experts round here. Any advice would be very welcome. I had a suggestion of a small D/G piano accordion.

Bunnahabhain.

P.s I'm based in Edinburgh, so recommending a wonderful guy you know in Kentucky isn't that useful.


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: Bernard
Date: 20 Mar 06 - 01:01 PM

There's no such thing as a D/G piano accordion - that would be a melodeon.

The easiest to learn to play really depends entirely on what sets your bells ringing. Just feeling like learning an instrument isn't enough, you see. You have to have a burning passion, or it won't happen.

Which instrument do you most like to hear, and feel the most attraction towards? That should be your first choice - not driven by cost...

Always remember that a good quality instrument bought secondhand will usually re-sell for more than you paid for it if you decide it wasn't for you after all.

Personally, I've never ever sold an instrument - they're all my babies, good or bad, and I love 'em all to bits! It's a bit crowded, though...! Sixteen guitars, around ten piano accordions, six concertinas, four mandolins, the list goes on...!!

As I play piano accordion, melodeon, Anglo and English concertinas, and most stringed instruments, too, I can safely say they all have their inherent difficulties - which will be overcome if you have the passion.

The problem with the piano accordion is size - even the smallest is relatively heavy in comparison with a melodeon or concertina. However, for English and Scottish stuff, the piano accordion is probably a good choice, as it is reasonably 'self sufficient' - you can readily play in most keys, and provide your own accompaniment.

You can do the same with more difficulty on an English concertina, or the more expensive 40 key Anglo concertinas.

Simple D/G melodeons are very satisfying to play, and fairly 'instant' results are possible, but they are somewhat limited because of 'missing' notes, restricting the keys in which you can play. A three row, either A/D/G OR B/C/C# will get around that, but they are relatively big and expensive, and certainly not so straightforward - a small piano accordion will do the same job more accessibly.

I'm sorry, but asking for advice as to what to learn to play is a personal preference issue - nobody can give you the advice that is right for you other than your own gut feelings...

Good luck!!


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: greg stephens
Date: 20 Mar 06 - 01:09 PM

The piano accordion for English music has one big drawback. it's very easy to play badly, but incredibly hard to play well( try making a list of great English dance players who use piano accordions and you'll soon agree!).
Melodeons at least make you use the bellows in a rhythmic fashion, and pretty much guarantee you end up with a style suitable for the music.


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Mar 06 - 01:20 PM

It is all down to you, go to a good Trad Music shop try all 3 and pick what YOU like
Me I play the accordion badly and it sounds       Badly
the English concertina badly and it sounds    OK
the melodeon I just cannot fathom
To repeat try them all out and pick what you feel good with


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: Leadfingers
Date: 20 Mar 06 - 01:59 PM

Oerhaps i am biased , but I recommend The Banjo !!


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 20 Mar 06 - 03:29 PM

Thanks leadfingers, but I'm not sure I could stand the jokes....


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: vectis
Date: 20 Mar 06 - 04:45 PM

Penny whistle?


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: Zany Mouse
Date: 20 Mar 06 - 04:49 PM

I think the problem you'll have will simply be price. My accordion cost around £800! I think you'll be able to pick up a cheap melodeon though (if you REALLY want to).

You'll need a second mortgage for a decent concertina.

Good luck

Rhiannon


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: Crane Driver
Date: 20 Mar 06 - 05:03 PM

To add to your difficulties a little .... ;-}

There are at least six different types of concertina, all as different from one another as, say, a guitar from a mandolin.

There are, however, two main groups of free reed instruments (the official name for squeezeboxes) - most people get on better with one or the other, though some people happily play both.

Anglo concertinas, melodeons and (most) button accordions are called single action - they produce different (usually adjacent) notes of the scale on 'suck' and 'blow' - just like harmonicas. Most are restricted as to which keys they play in, but some are fully chromatic (these are the big, expensive ones).

Piano accordions, the big continental button accordions, and all the other types of concertina are double action - each button produces the same note on push and draw. These are almost always chromatic instruments, though they're usually easier to play in certain keys than others.

Which is best depends on you. But get the best you can possibly afford of whatever type you go for. Cheaper instruments are often actually harder to play, and less suitable for a beginner.

And remember - squeeze hard and squeeze often.

Andrew


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: Crane Driver
Date: 20 Mar 06 - 05:08 PM

Oh yes, and there are, especially in Scotland, hybrid accordions that are single action on the right hand (tune) end and double action on the bass end. Often called Shand boxes after Jimmy Shand, who popularised and possibly invented the things.

Have fun.
Andrew


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: Zany Mouse
Date: 20 Mar 06 - 05:08 PM

Quite a few shops allow you to rent an instrument these days and then you can decide it after a certain period of time. I know someone who rented his English concertina for 6 months and then bought it and the shop took half the rental payments off the price. Good deal I thought.

Rhiannon


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 20 Mar 06 - 05:44 PM

Depends how your head's wired, IMHO. I was drawn to free reed instruments by my brother's excellent melodeon playing, but when I tried, I just couldn't get the push/pull, never having played harmonica.

Then, I mistook the intended insult of a gift of an accordion, and the misery that Greg correctly terms as 'easy to play badly' started.

However, I was aware from an early stage that the accordion enjoyed bad players and enemies, so I chose to torture my family rather than pub sessions. I've achieved reasonable proficiency, which is good enough to be paid for it, but it has taken a decade to really understand the possibilities. However, my long-suffering wife still can't bear to be in the same room as respirating bellows.

So there's upsides and downsides, but to tie in the excellent observations made already, I'm glad I chose the piano accordion, and took the time to understand it.


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: curmudgeon
Date: 21 Mar 06 - 12:33 PM

You should also take a look    here.

This question has been covered at length in their forum threads. Plau there is enough information on the site to last a lifetime - Tom


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: GUEST,Banjoman
Date: 21 Mar 06 - 05:36 PM

The Melodeon is the last resort of the musically inept.
I strongly advise that you avoid any contact with such instruments and opt for a decent banjo. I have several for sale.
Dont worry about all the jokes - most of them either started off as or can be altered to jokes about melodeons


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: treewind
Date: 21 Mar 06 - 05:55 PM

For £200 your best bet is a second hand Hohner pokerwork melodeon.
Forget concertinas at that price.

I won't rise to banjoman's bait.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 21 Mar 06 - 07:21 PM

Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm now looking for a D/G melodeon. There are new ones about at £200ish, but, as you say, a reasonable second hand one would be much better bet, as should be better to play, and hold their value.

Concertina.net... far more information than you can absorb in a life-time. It looks very useful though....


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: melodeonboy
Date: 21 Mar 06 - 08:50 PM

A good choice. I'm obviously biased, but I do go along with whoever it was that said that it's difficult to play a melodeon either really badly or really well! This means that, like me, you should be able to perform relatively soon, confident in the knowledge that most people will think that you know what you are doing and assume that you've been playing longer than you have!

This is not to devalue the melodeon at all; merely to point out that it's a good instrument to learn if you want to be up and playing in a relatively short space of time (unlike the violin, for example!).

In the early stages, a little can go a long way!


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodian/Accordian/conce
From: GUEST,Dazbo
Date: 22 Mar 06 - 07:59 AM

If you're going down the melodeon route (I very wise choice if I may say so) have a poke around here (if you haven't found it already!):

Melodeon.Net

The home page looks out of date (and it is) but the forums (fora?) have a lively bunch of contributers who'll no doubt give you any advice on the 'best instrument in the world' to quote John Spiers!

PS Don't bother with the beginner's pages it's not constructed yet:-(


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: GUEST,Beamus, Uppscoti & Faast - Organs of all Siz
Date: 01 Apr 09 - 04:11 PM

We had a customer left a $1500 accordion on the back seat of his car while he parked in front of a store for only five minutes to shop.
Forgot to lock the car, and when he came back there were TWO accordions on the back seat.


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Apr 09 - 06:59 PM

Pet Sounds in Kelso currently has a Hohner Club in the window for 150 quid. Looks like a bargain to me. Phone Peter Fry there and ask him about it.


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: Bernard
Date: 01 Apr 09 - 07:22 PM

Three years too late, Jack! Really the fault of the inane guest who couldn't resist recycling an overworked banjo/bodhran/accordion joke...!!


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 02 Apr 09 - 03:44 AM

This is a thread that's leaked across the increasingly porous event horizon from Mud-e-ceilidh, surely.

Any thread that can answer the question

Should I buy a melodeon, a concertina, or a piano accordion?

with suggestions of getting
a banjo
or
a tin whistle
is surely beyond parody ...


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: pavane
Date: 02 Apr 09 - 04:18 AM

Don't forget my program HARMONY which can produce tablature for Melodeon and Anglo Concertina.

Especially useful for showing how to play across the rows

Available at my site


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 02 Apr 09 - 07:42 AM

My advice try before you buy. See what you like best. I bought an anglo concertina for around the price you are looking at and after a month realised I needed to invest in a more expensive one. I bought a (expensive) melodeon at the weekend and I can see the difference quality makes. SO I'd say save for a while longer and try all the types and see what you like.


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: Bernard
Date: 02 Apr 09 - 10:50 AM

If you pay more you get quality, and that makes 'em easier to play. Okay, there is an argument for learning on a banger, because it makes you appreciate the quality when you eventually get there... but it ain't necessarily so, as you may give up before you get there!

Apart from small (48 bass and less) accordions and Hohner pokerwork melodeons, you'd expect to pay upwards of £400.00 GBP for a half-decent box. My concertinas are worth over two grand apiece, and my 120 bass Hohner Musette IV (I have two) made in Switzerland weighs in at around a grand. When I bought one of the Hohners new in 1970 it was £550.00, which would be at least twenty times that by today's values.

I have a Delicia 48 bass which is hard work to play compared with the Hohners... apparently minor details such as the black keys being a little fat, so my fat little fingers can't easily fit between them... and the bellows are rather stiff with being more cheaply made.

The Hohners need very little bellows pressure to sound a note, but the Delicia needs much more... the reeds aren't as carefully regulated.

I could go on... and on... and on...


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: Peter the Squeezer
Date: 02 Apr 09 - 03:15 PM

Have a go on several, to find out what suits you best. If you don't, it could turn out to be a VERY expensive mistake. Whatever you end up choosing, happy squeezing!

Peter


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 02 Apr 09 - 03:50 PM

read the thread / check the dates / read the thread / check the dates / read the thread / check the dates / read the thread / check the dates / read the thread / check the dates / read the thread / check the dates / read the thread / check the dates / read the thread / check the dates / read the thread / check the dates / read the thread / check the dates / read the thread / check the dates / read the thread / check the dates / read the thread / check the dates / read the thread / check the dates / read the thread / check the dates...

(bears repeating...)


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: squeeker
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 08:08 AM

Hi,

I am also trying to decide which instrument to go for. I have been advised to get a Hohner pokerwork, but then heard that it can be quite loud and perhaps shrill. Is this true? I don't want to annoy (very close) neighbours, or myself.


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 08:31 AM

I bought a Hohner Morgane. I have had a few people tell me they think it's nice as an entry-level box. It is Hohner's attempt to be a bit more Italian - it's not as shrill nor as tappy as a Pokerwork.

I have to say that I struggled teaching myself. There's a lot going on with the melodeon, and I don't play anything else, which probably makes it doubly hard.

I would recommend finding a tutor locally if you can - I've only had a few lessons so far, but I'm finding it makes a huge difference. Progress isn't particularly fast (would be faster if I practiced more!) but rather than just working with my right hand to start with, I'm learning left and right at the same time. And the penny is really starting to drop. It's great. :)


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 08:54 AM

As with all melodeons, a pokerork can be noisy if you pump too haed. The Erica has a rounder souind as isn't much more expensive. jeff


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 10:49 AM

A man went into a music shop and told an assistant he was thinking of changing over to playing the accordion, the assistant asked what he had in mind and the man said he liked the look of the big brown one by the wall, the assistant asked him if he was a banjo player, he said yeah but did you know ? the assistant said that big brown one by the wall is a radiator.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 11:56 AM

Bunnahabhain,

whatever you do you will be most welcome at The Beginners Tune Session at The Beech, Beech Road Chorlton, Manchester, UK on the first Tuesday of each month

L in C


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertin
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 12:30 PM

As I've suggested here, if you are French you get a piano accordion, if German a button accordion/melodeon, and, if English, a concertina.


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 12:57 PM

this may surprise some people,but with a budget of 200 or thereabouts,I would suggest a 20 key anglo concertina or a one row melodeon.


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertin
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 01:42 PM

If you are French you get a piano accordion, if German a button accordion/melodeon, and, if English, a concertina.

I was born in England, live in Scotland and am of French and Irish parentage. I would be most grateful, WAV if you could advise me as to which free reed instrument I might play?

Perhaps my mongrel upbringing means I shouldn't be allowed to play anything at all???


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertin
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 02:42 PM

I'll try, Ed - if you are staying in Scotland (with a Scottish wife, or such like) I think you should go for one of the Scottish pipes or harps; on the other hand, if you repatriate, there's the Duet, the Anglo (as C.B. just said), or, my favourite (to hear, i.e.), the English Concertina; or you could join the likes of me with an English Flute!


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: squeeker
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 03:28 PM

Thanks for all the advice. I will thinks some more, listen some more and hopefully it will become clearer. Does anyone have an opinion on a recent Delicia?


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: Bernard
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 03:45 PM

Cheap and cheerful... the older Delicia models were better quality.

A pokerwork can be played quietly, if it's a good one (the advantage with Hohner and other 'better' makes).

If the reeds are well regulated, they will play reliably with very little bellows effort, resulting in a quieter tone.

A good test is to hold three buttons down without squeezing the bellows. Gradually put pressure on the bellows, and all three notes should start to sound simultaneously if the instrument is properly regulated.


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 04:55 PM

So did Bunnahabhain buy the D/G melodeon? And how has progress been? In 2 years I would expect a learner to be past the torture stage.
That is if they stick with it.
Robyn (who never got the push/pull thing working)


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: squeeker
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 05:47 AM

Yes, I wondered if the playing could have something to do with the volume - as is usual with a musical instrument! Now someone has said to me that a piano accordian might be what I am looking for, as it is chromatic, and I read music easier than playing by ear. I learnt piano as a child. I need something very small, though, because I live on a boat...it just gets more complicated.


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 06:16 AM

perhaps a small piano accordion, [the problems are with big piano accordions], heavy weight consequently sludgy playing,learn finger attack and staccato,and be conscious of bellows,think about bellows reversal,and pumping the bellows when you are going the same direction.


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertina?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 06:36 AM

There are also small chromatic button accordions (the commonest being 48-bass B-system three-row Russian bayans). These will give you more notes per pound than a piano-keyboard design.

I have once seen a small (Hohner?) C-system five-row chromatic branded as "Ellegaard". The name comes from the Danish classical accordionist Mogens Ellegaard, who ended up using a C-system chromatic five-row of his own specification with a very odd bass layout (partly stradella and partly free-bass). I think this little beast had a normal free-bass left hand, though. It looked like a high-quality instrument - priced around 1500 pounds. For getting the greatest possible flexibility and range in a small box it seemed ideal.


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Subject: RE: Which do I get? Melodeon, accordion, concertin
From: Gervase
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 09:34 AM

if you are staying in Scotland (with a Scottish wife, or such like) I think you should go for one of the Scottish pipes or harps; on the other hand, if you repatriate, there's the Duet, the Anglo (as C.B. just said), or, my favourite (to hear, i.e.), the English Concertina; or you could join the likes of me with an English Flute!
English flute? I think he means the recorder; although, of course, he should be playing the didgeridoo. Or don't.
Some people have the most peculiar nationalistic bees in their bonnets.


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