When I decided I might learn to play the concertina, I did some fairly extensive research online and talked to some of my concertina-virtuoso friends about which one(s) to buy. It didn’t take me long to make up my mind and buy a 46 button Stagi-Hayden duet concertina. Here’s why:
1. The Stagi-Hayden Duet Concertina is easy to learn how to play – way easier! Some concertinas - like Anglo concertinas – produce two different notes when working the bellows; hold down one button and pull the bellows open to produce a particular note, hold down that SAME button when closing the bellows to produce a DIFFERENT note. Now there may advantages to this system for certain types of music, but I knew right off the bat it was not for me. With a Stagi-Hayden Duet Concertina, each button is assigned a particular note regardless of the action of the bellow.
Why I love my Stagi-Hayden Concertina!
2.The English concertina (I also have a 48 button English Stagi concertina.) is smaller and easier to hold, but I find the keyboard difficult to learn. To play a scale, for example, you depress the C note on the left side, then the D on the right, then the E on the left, the the F on the right again and so on.
The Hayden duet concertina has a more logical system, and both the left and right keyboards are essentially the same the left side having lower notes and the right side higher note. Personally, I find the duet concertina keyboard much less confusing.
Photo at right: Size comparison between my Stagi English --->
concertina (on top) and my duet concertina on the bottom.
3. The Stagi-Hayden Duet Concertina is completely chromatic, which means you can play sharps and flats and play virtually any melody, like on a piano. In my opinion, it is h easiest to learn how to play, not only because scales are easier to play and the left side is basically the same as the right, but also because the layout of the buttons facilitates playing melodies, counter melodies, harmonies, chords and chord progressions. The Hayden fingering system is " isomporphic" in design, meaning the same fingering in all keys. I will try to explain this a little better in the following video:
46 button Stagi-Hayden Duet Concertina
There are two other reasons why I recommend (and now sell) Stagi concertinas: quality and affordability.
Before a bought my Stagi, I purchased a less expensive version from a well-respected company here in the States. It sounded terrible! The bellows made a very annoying wheezing sound making me lose any desire I had to play it. I spoke to someone from the company and was told all the cheaper models are like that. I sent it back and replaced it with a used Stagi for a few hundred dollars more, and have had no problems. In fact, I love its deep, rich sound and therefore enjoy playing it daily.
I noticed that the company I got my Stagi from has recently raised its price by at least $200.00. In a way I can't blame them because isn't easy importing them from Italy. If you buy your Stagi concertina from me, you will be getting a new concertina for slightly less than what I paid for mine USED! I won't make much of a profit, but at least I will be making a little something for my effort getting them sent here to the States.
How much does a 46 button Stagi-Hayden concertina cost?
It took me almost no time at all to learn to play my duet concertina. In fact, this video of me playing the Polish morning hymn was recently featured on ARTE TV in Germany and France. I recorded the video after having played the instrument for less than a year! Indeed I am as amazed as you!