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Author Topic: Time for a new challenge  (Read 1397 times)

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ACE

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Time for a new challenge
« on: March 10, 2013, 11:54:13 AM »

I am hoping there are a few duet players on this board, but looking at the prices of duets on fleabay it seems they are not really in demand. I need a new challenge and my wife sings in so many different keys  a duet might be the way to go. I have looked at all the info on concertina net. (not a member). So many systems, but as it will all be new to me, what do the players on this board think would be the best for a non music reader and straight up and down the rows g/d melodeon player to take up.I do play the anglo as well but have never bothered playing anything other than the set keys. I expect a lot would say go english but the duets are cheaper and I love that vamping sound that some people get from them.
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Saltarelle Horizon, Dino mini, Lachenal g/d anglo

Steve_freereeder

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Re: Time for a new challenge
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2013, 01:09:23 PM »

As you would be coming to the duet concertina from a melodeon/anglo background I would tentatively suggest a MacCann system would suit you better than, say, the Crane (Triumph) system. The latter has more in common with the English system. There also seem to be more second-hand MacCann concertinas available than the other duet systems, so you probably have more choice there.

You might also consider the Jeffries duet, which as I understand it, was developed also partly with anglo players in mind. I believe some would say that the choice of keys is more limiting on a Jeffries duet than the other systems. However, Gavin Atkin on this forum seems to do very well indeed on his Jeffries Duet  ;)
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Steve
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ACE

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Re: Time for a new challenge
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2013, 01:58:52 PM »

On price and availability the MacCann wins hand down for me at the moment, but as I say I am completely ignorant on the system layouts. I seem to be able to knock out a tune on all sorts of different musical instruments after I have worked out the scale, so playing the duet after some dedicated practice should be doable. Yes the Jefferies is the holy grail, finding one might be an issue with my budget. The lady in my life is very encouraging although 'do what you bl**dly well like' does not really equate to a proper 'yes dear'
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Saltarelle Horizon, Dino mini, Lachenal g/d anglo

Inventor

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Re: Time for a new challenge
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2013, 04:45:58 PM »

I have played a Duet concertina for many years, and have taught all the four most common types at many Concertina Weekends.
The simple reason why Maccann Duets are seen often on the internet at comparatively cheap prices, is because they are quite difficult to fathom out even one key, let alone several; and many would be players eventually give up, and sell them on.  Unless you are willing to spend several years of dedicated practice, and go heavily into written music notation, you will never master a Maccann. Although I know one famous Maccann Player; the late Tommy Williams, played entirely by ear; I would not recommend the system to a "non music reader".
The Crane system is only superficially similar to the English Concertina, but is a fairly straightforward system.  Once you have worked out how the scale goes in C, by moving your hand in or out a row, with a few minor adjustments you can find how to play in F and G as well; rather like a G/C/F melodeon you might say. The chording on a Crane is pretty easy, and it is no problem to "busk" a good vamp accompaniment on the left hand side.  A couple of well know players; Paul Maccann (surprisingly), and the singer Tim Laycock, play both Crane Duets & Melodeons.
Many years ago (in the "Sixties") I played a Jeffries C/G Anglo Concertina and an A/D/G melodeon, and started to play for Semipro Folk Singers.  Again they wanted to sing in a variety of different keys, and a Jeffries Duet at first seemed to be a good option. However the similarity to an Anglo only extends superficially to one key only. I found the instrument quite hard to play, and experimented with other ways of arranging the notes.
After a year of experimenting I hit on a way which was not only easy to play in one key, but played in exactly the same pattern in five others as well. The Chording is very simple, one finger pattern plays a Major Chord, turn this pattern upside down and you get it's relative Minor chord, and all chords zig-zag across the instrument in the natural harmonic sequence.
To cut a very long story short, this system is now available in many different sizes, most have 6 different keys with the same fingering, the larger ones 8 or 9 keys the same fingering, and the smallest (Elise) in just four keys (D/G/C/F). I must point out that I make no financial gain out of any of these instruments whatsoever; but would recommend that you might look at the "Elise" which costs about £300+ new or occasionally on the internet at about £200.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Time for a new challenge
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2013, 06:25:07 PM »

I have tried a McCann, after getting to know Ralph Jordon years back, a good McCann player.
I loved the sound he made and became frustrated at the thin 'melody only' sound I could get from my English Concertina. Also a daft quirk, the sytem inventor 'Professor ' McCann was from Plymouth in Devon, so playing one's 'national' instrument appealed.
I got so far, but I'm left handed though not toally. I realised I could get quite good accompniaments but would often loose the melody as that was my right hand being weaker. In the end I gave up.
Interestingly, on a melodeon I have no problem with the basses and have enough in my right hand to keep the melody going.
Sadly, for me the McCann was a step too far and I do regret that.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

ACE

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Re: Time for a new challenge
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2013, 07:11:51 PM »

Some really good advice there Inventor, Thankyou. The elise had not come up on my radar before but well worth a look at. Strange that you should mention Tim Laycock as one of my warm up pieces on the anglo is Fakenham fair which stuck in my mind after I heard Tim performing it at a local club years ago and I think I might still have it up in the attic on one of the old Forest tracks LPs How much better would that tune sound like  played on a duet.
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Saltarelle Horizon, Dino mini, Lachenal g/d anglo
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