Duet Concertinas

If you try and explain an English or Anglo concertina button layout to someone who plays a more common instrument, they usually look at you in complete amazement. They seem to ask "Why don't you just put the low notes in the left hand and the high notes in the right hand and make it play the same note pushing and pulling?"
Well, the concertina makers finally gave in and made such an instrument--the Duet Concertina. Unfortunately they all came up with different ideas of how it should be organized. This caused the market to fragment and in the ensuing confusion the Fender Stratocaster was invented and roared past them all. If only they had formed a standards committee, Jimi Hendrix might have played a concertina!

This is the McCann duet system. There are six columns of buttons and the low notes are nearest the wrist strap. The McCann was favored by professional musicians, in bands and on the stage of Music Halls.
This is the Crane or Triumph duet system. It has five columns of buttons with the low notes nearest the wrist strap. It was favored by players in the Salvation Army. This particular instrument is a Wheatstone Aeola Crane.
(perhaps one might call it a Craeola)
This is a Jeffries system duet (made by Jeffries Brothers). It has four curved horizontal rows of buttons. Jeffries adapted his design from the Anglo concertina so the lowest notes are nearest the pinky on the left hand and the thumb on the right hand. There are very few of these around. I have two! Perhaps 10 people in the world play this instrument.
This is the Hayden duet system. It has sloping rows of buttons. It is more sensible even than a piano (and much easier to carry). Any given spatial relationship has a consistent tonal relationship. Its layout is related to the continental chromatic accordion. Brian Hayden invented it in 1963 sitting on the sea wall at Sidmouth (thanks Brian). Steve Dickenson is making new ones like this under the Wheatstone brand. I hear his waiting list is down to just a few years.
Bastari has made some inexpensive Hayden duets and there are a couple of Crabb development models around. Colin Dipper has also made a few (see the next page).

More duets...

Anglo Concertinas, English Concertinas,

Acknowledgements and about the author