All About Concertinas


A concertina is a free reed instrument with bellows similar to accordions. It is lighter, smaller and more difficult to play than the accordion.

Concertina are widely used in Irish traditional music. If you are a beginner and striving to master the instrument, here are some tips for you:

1. Decide on the type you wish to play. The English and Anglo German variety are the most commonly available.

2. For playing the concertina, you will need finger rings. Type of finger ring to use will depend on your type of concertina.

3. Get a set of simple books or even specific ones for your concertina. If you have Anglo concertina then "Del Rey's Deluxe Concertina Book" is an ideal option and also widely available.

4. Learn a few simple songs first before proceeding to tougher ones.

5. You can visit YouTube for 'concertina' where there are quite a few good tutorials and talented performers to give you an idea about how to play the instrument.

Some additional knowledge:

An Anglo concertina is good for folk or Irish music, where pull/push on the bellows quickly change the note. An English is more versatile, with additional buttons.

A concertina has about the same range as the violin. The sheet music for the violin can be played on the concertina.

English concertina are a bit more expensive than Anglo, with more reeds and buttons.

2 major concertina types:

English concertina: Invented by Wheatstone, this is the original concertina. Typically, the English concertina has 48 keys, though some models even have 56.

Anglo concertina: The Anglo concertina was developed just after the English concertina, with the diatonic German instrument as it's model., which were also the ancestors of the harmonica and the melodeon.

Tips for buying concertina:

When buying concertina, you have the option of buying either used or new ones. If buying used ones, it's important to take someone with you with a fair knowledge about the instrument. Otherwise, you may end up buying an instrument that 60 years old or more. There is nothing wrong with that as the finest of instruments are of around that age. But when it comes to buying old instruments, there may be some problems not visible to the common eye but may be expensive to fix. Check that the instrument is in 'concertina' pitch and not old pitch, if you intend to play in group.

Different types of concertina are used for playing different types of music. If you want to play in groups, go for an English concertina. For morris or folk dance, the Anglo scale gives a lift to the music.

When buying concertina, there's nothing wrong with asking the dealer to take the ends off and take a look inside. You may find anything inside, up to wood worms. Some dealers may disagree on doing it.

Buy from a good dealer to get superior quality instrument. Visit to know more.

Russa is a popular musician and author. She possesses a vast knowledge about musical instruments and shares her knowledge about concertinas in this article.

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