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Author Topic: Budget boxes  (Read 2700 times)

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Jonathan Arnett

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Budget boxes
« on: January 26, 2017, 09:55:57 PM »

Hello, Having had to sell my Piano I'm looking to try the melodeon. Having read quite a bit on here. It seems the Hohner d/g Pokerwork is favored. However if I can't track one down within my budget. I notice that on Amazon Scarlatti d/g boxes are around £280 which is just about within budget. And they don't sound too bad. But how durable are they? They do look a bit plastic y.  I will try to find a Hohner or similar but in the end I need to get my hands on something to play on for now. Of course I would love to spend 500+ on a wooden one but I just don't have the money right now. And even if I did I don't yet know if I'm going to be able to play the thing anyway! I reached grade 5 with the Piano when I was 16. That was quite a long time ago. Sadly after moving away to college and then working all over the place I could only play my Piano rarely. Well it's now gone to a new home. I love folk music and though I did consider an accordian I just like the sound of the melodeon better. Or maybe I like the sound of good melodeons better! 
Another question. How much does it cost to tune a melodeon? Say I find a C/G Hohner in good order but need a D/G as theres so much more study material out there. Or I find a wet tuned box and want to dry it off a bit.... Not sure what the right terminology for that is.
Great mine of information on here and thanks for reading this far. Sorry if this has all been asked before but I came up blank when I searched.
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Anahata

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2017, 11:20:42 PM »

A cheap box may sound OK. What makes it cheap is how easy (or not) it is to play. When you start a note, if it takes a comparatively long time for the sound to start, it feels like hard work to play and it won't go fast, or some notes will hardly respond at all if you try to play it quietly.  And yes, reliability may be a problem too.

As for tuning - that won't convert a G/C to a D/G! Even a shift of just a tone (C/F to D/G is often done) is best done by moving the reeds around for best fit, tuning the ones that are a semitone out and replacing the few that can't be used from the old set. You'd have to ask a fettler for a price and let them see the box - some are much harder work than others and an old box may need new valves or other work done on it.

Changing the amount of tremolo is easier, but again you're better off asking for a quote.
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playandteach

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2017, 11:23:58 PM »

I would have thought that if you find a good quality GC box in good order, that you should be able to trade it for a DG or at least sell it for enough money to get a similar quality DG. Though you might find a CF cheaper for the same quality, price as the key you want.
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Theo

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2017, 11:39:22 PM »

I would have thought that if you find a good quality GC box in good order, that you should be able to trade it for a DG or at least sell it for enough money to get a similar quality DG. Though you might find a CF cheaper for the same quality, price as the key you want.

That makes more sense, though you have to rely on your own judgement of the worth of a (say)GC box.

It really only makes sense to buy a box in the pitch that you want (eg DG).   Would you buy a car that had the wrong engine in it and then trade it or have the engine changed?   Its more or less equivalent.
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Theo Gibb

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Ebor_fiddler

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2017, 12:07:00 AM »

I had a Scarlatti as my first box. The only thing i found wrong with it was that, from new, it was very stiff to play and it took some work on the inside to get it working alright. I don't know whether this stiffness is general, but I tried one at my local melodeon outlet (NOT Acorn Instruments!) and this had the same stiffness. Apart from this, which can often disappear with playing, it was a good starter melodeon. I would recommend however that you check the Buy and Sell market here and look for a second-hand D/G, possibly a Pokerwork or a Sandpiper (mine's a cracker!) Good Luck!

Chris B.
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TomB

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2017, 01:42:19 AM »

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george garside

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2017, 09:16:32 AM »

chinese boxes depreciate  initially very rapidly  so a 2nd hand one can be ok to start on and can probably be sold on for much the same as you paid .  Don't buy a new one because you will stand the initial high depreciation.

Other than that a second hand pokerwork is worth looking for and  small faults such as  a  reed not sounding right  are easily put right at reasonable cost  . A second hand pokerwork from one of the fettlers/dealers that post on here can be a very good buy and can last a lifetime. There are a number of 'professional' players who use nothing else!

george
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Helena

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2017, 09:43:16 AM »


This is for sale on Ebay at the moment, perfectly good starter box.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Very-Nice-Delicia-Popular-Melodeon-in-key-of-D-G-/192083066835?hash=item2cb90affd3:g:ExMAAOSwZQRYc4DR

Hmmm... I started out with the wooden 'deluxe' version.  It was hideous.  After three months I bought a Pokerwork... such a difference. The Pokerwork still gets played and is currently on loan doing missionary work with a wannabe player.
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Jonathan Arnett

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2017, 01:23:02 PM »

Thanks for the detailed advice. You learn something every day. Will avoid cheap then as I can't at this stage try one one out. And certainly don't want anything difficult to play. So will consider the Delicia though it looks a bit like a childs toy. And see if I can find a Pokerwork then!
There are two B/C Pokerworks on ebay. Even a secondhand one at Hobgoblin. The B/C boxes seem less popular so don't quite walk of the shelves as fast giving me a better chance to get a good one. But I havn't seen much study material available for them. There are no local teachers here even I could afford that. So will be learning from books and the internet. Do like the lower tone of the B/C but having something easier to learn on is probably more important at this stage. There is a Hohner Morgane on ebay thats not too far from me and it sounds great to my ear. But it weighs 10kg's. Seems like a lot compared to the Pokerworks 3. Have experssed an interest in a Chinese D/G Pokerwork on here though not at the asking price. Are they ok to learn on or am I better buying an older genuine German one?? Probably for similar money. Havn't seen a sandpiper for sale at all. Crying shame about the Music room. If only I'd known I would have got one even before I sold the Piano but thats life. It's there fault I'm here really. They persuaded me it was possible.... 
Really appreciate all the help.
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Theo

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2017, 01:35:06 PM »

BC is a very versatile system because it is chromatic.  It is usually used for playing Irish or Scottish music and most teachers and teaching material you find will be Irish style.  It's much less popular for Scottish these days, but still a very good system. 
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Theo Gibb

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Nigel

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2017, 01:45:50 PM »


This is for sale on Ebay at the moment, perfectly good starter box.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Very-Nice-Delicia-Popular-Melodeon-in-key-of-D-G-/192083066835?hash=item2cb90affd3:g:ExMAAOSwZQRYc4DR

Hmmm... I started out with the wooden 'deluxe' version.  It was hideous.  After three months I bought a Pokerwork... such a difference. The Pokerwork still gets played and is currently on loan doing missionary work with a wannabe player.

Dave Gray started on the basic Delicia (as advertised on ebay) and is proud to say so.
You're a much better player than me Helena but my wooden delux version is great. I think that Lester stated elsewhere that the set up of the box is important and I may have been lucky.  Initially I hired a Pokerwork, then bought an old Gremlin which I resold quickly on expert advice (from Theo) and then bought the Delicia. For a beginner, I think that it's second best to a Pokerwork but not by that much. I now have an Italian box but whilst obviously inferior, the Delicia works and sounds fine when occasionally played. I really should sell it but I'm MAD.     
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2017, 01:52:42 PM »

Further to Theo's comments, the BC boxes 'function' in a different way.
i.e. the 4th apart boxes such as DG, GC, AD or BbEb are similar in the way they play.
If you played a tune on a DG then went to any of these others, pressed the keys on the keyboard in the same order, the tune comes out the same but the different key of the new box. That would not happen if you went from a BC box to one of these.

When people start off trying to get their first melodeon, the often asked question is ' what music do you want to play?'
As said, Scottish or Irish favour the BC's whereas English music players generally go for DG. That tends to be the prominent weapon of choice on here. Others favouring French or continental music will possibly gravitate to a GC.
As a gross generalisation if you listen to any of the genre's of music then for instance the Irish tend to fly around the keyboard so tend to want something chromatic and often the basses are played spasmodically or poked in where they can.
Something like the English style relies heavily on basses to provide a rhythmic backdrop to the melody in their home keys of D and G. It's horses for courses.
Any ideas as to what style you like to listen to and eventually play?

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

gettabettabox

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2017, 02:30:21 PM »

Hohner Morgan's don't weigh anywhere near 10kg?
(Unless someone has put a lead brick inside.)
A little bit heavier than a pokerwork I'd say, towards 4kg.
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GPS

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2017, 02:41:29 PM »

Hohner Morgan's don't weigh anywhere near 10kg?
(Unless someone has put a lead brick inside.)
A little bit heavier than a pokerwork I'd say, towards 4kg.

I've never played a Morgane, but judging by the photos I've seen I'd guess it would be around the same weight as my Saltarelle - about 3.8Kg.

Graham
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David A

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2017, 02:42:44 PM »

I started with a secondhand Scarlatti Nero that I "borrowed" for £50 from Hobgoblin for the week of Sidmouth Folk Festival in 2015 so that I could go along to Ed Rennie's workshops. At the end of the week I decided to keep it as I'd really enjoyed playing it and Ed's workshops were excellent so paid Hobgoblin the balance. However I did find pulling the bellows hard work and now that I've decided I intend to continue playing I've splashed out on a Serenellini Lady to replace the Nero. The Lady sounds much nicer and is much easier to play.
For lessons I go to as many workshops as I can at the various folk festivals I go to. In addition to Ed's, I've been to ones run by Bob Ellis (Sidmouth 2016) and Mel Biggs (Shrewsbury 2015 & 2016). All were great fun and very helpful. Mel does lessons by Skype that several people have told me are good. And I've bought a few lessons from Les Titford from his website (http://www.daddylongles.com/). These are also good. But the best thing I've found is to get together regularly with some other players (not necessarily just box players) as playing with others, even at low level of competence, is much more rewarding that practising alone.
Everyone tells me it's virtually impossible to find the box you want straight away, so I recommend getting one (perhaps hiring it if you're near a Hobgoblin shop) and getting started. Once you're playing a bit you'll start to work out what's really important for what you want to play.
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george garside

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2017, 03:42:56 PM »

Jonathan - if we had a clue as to where you live there may be a forum member near to you who could give you some help/advice or whatever.

I can't understand the need for secrecy as to ones abode and putting country, county, and town can't do anybody any harm but may result in some positive connections being made!

george
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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2017, 04:08:40 PM »

We're whizzing off piste here George but I've never understood the need for secrecy when it comes to addresses either. I don't expect a post code but a county would be helpful.....
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Jonathan Arnett

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2017, 04:29:13 PM »

Thanks again for all the help. It's no secret where I live. I just havn't filled in my profile yet.... If I wanted to be incognito would have used Sqeezer or something as a username. Sorry only just joined.  Halifax.
ok. So the B/C  is probably more Piano like. Do you get the same note on the push and pull? Or is it just that the keys go up in semitones rather than tones? And carry on going up rather than changing direction half way like the D/G I've watched a few of Daddy long les blogs on utube so sort of understand how the D/G works. Well as far as you can without actually having one to mess with.  Think it will take some getting used to after a Piano.
I wasn't aware that Hobgoblin hired instruments. There Leeds shop isn't a million miles from me so may be worth a visit. Though Friday afternoon is the only real time I have for that sort of thing and driving to Leeds on a Friday isn't my idea of fun.
Style of music. I listen to English, Scottish and Irish. So not much help there.... Sorry. Used to play Classical and ragtime on the Piano. Though have long listened to folk.
Would be great to play with others but having small children makes that a bit difficult. Chances of a workshop or festival pretty slim at least until they get a bit bigger. Though skype is a real possibility.
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Huw Adamson

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2017, 04:52:21 PM »

There are no differences between a B/C and D/G except for the fact the keys D and G are a fourth apart, and the keys of B and C are a semitone apart. Both still play different notes in each direction, and the scale changes halfway up (don't worry about this though, it takes very little getting used to and helps with chords.)
Because the keys of B and C are a semitone apart, you can play in more keys in total, having more 'accidentals', however the advantage of a fourth apart box is that you tend to be able to do a lot more with the bass and chords.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Budget boxes
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2017, 05:03:10 PM »

Jonathan, if you go to the Home page of the forum, on the left hand side is a section called Articles.
There you can click on the link and view typical keyboard layouts for most of the common keys. Both BC and D G layouts are there.
With your experience of piano it might give you a good insight into how they vary from key to key and also how BC and DG compare.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

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