the extensive possibilities of customization, there is a lot
of variety in
our instruments. Of the
100+ Wakker concertinas made to date, no 2 instruments are
exactly the same.
that the only way to experience our concertinas is by actually
not listening to a sound
file. Because of the limitations of most sound systems, 'wrong'
control settings, etc.,
sound files can only give a vague impression at best.
The sound and feel of a
Wakker concertina partly determined by the person that ordered
following testimonials are from players who tried our 2007
'traveler' anglo. The
anglo players in the USA a chance to try a standard Wakker
in the "Making
of an anglo" section you can see how it was made.
Review of my Wakker
C/G model WA-1 (C/G Jeffries
layout) made in April 2006. Before
I say how much I like the Wakker I will briefly describe my
playing experience and level.
ITM, and have played for approximately
3 1/2 years. I have taken workshops with
several of the
recognized players, such as Tim Collins, Noel Hill,
and Edel Fox. I
take lessons through Comhaltas and participate in weekly sessions,
in a Comhaltas practice Ceili Band.
I consider myself to be a dedicated intermediate hoping
continue to improve.
There are two
immediately noticeable attributes to the Wakker:
It is extremely light, and the
tone is sweet.
The light weight makes it possible to practice for several
hours without fatigue.
The tone is
often compared to a Wheatstone. I should point out that even
though it has a
Jeffries layout, my Wakker has a radial reed
pan. I suspect that this makes a difference,
may enhance the sweet tone.
My Wakker has raised
wood ends. I like the feel of the raised ends but I don’t think it
much difference to me. Wim says
that they affect the harmonics. I am not sure that I could
difference. I just know that I like
the tone, including the harmonics. The
are an excellent height for my hands, and also are
padded. The instrument fits
my hands. When I
“finish” practicing I usually put down, only to find it “jumping”
my hand for another go. This
I have all-leather 7
fold bellows. They hold their shape
perfectly. That is, they don’t sag,
they move effortlessly. The
response is immediate. This has helped
me on triplets where there
are two bellows reversals such as the low
(i.e., LH) F# E F# sequence or the low (LH) F# E D
(with the D on
the draw). The bellows also stay
closed without the need of a strap. (I
concertina in its case but keep the lid open.)
The dynamics are
excellent. It will play softly, and
also will hold its own in a session with
many other players.
I have noticed huge differences in tone and volume depending
acoustics of the room. I am sure that is true for any
Over the 17
months that I have had the Wakker, it has broken in beautifully.
The tone is
sweeter, and the bellows have smoothed out.
The action was always fast and quiet, but it
seems to be even
I think that the
Wakker has helped me improve because it is so responsive.
But beyond all of
this, it is just a lot of fun to play.
After much consideration of various options, I recently purchased a custom
concertina from Wim & Karen Wakker Model W-A2 Number 0767. I am
with my new concertina! I only had to wait a year and Wim
was extremely patient and
knowledgeable in helping me decide the
specifications for my instrument. As an Irish
this concertina exceeded my expectations...it is wonderful! It is light in
weight, rich in tone, fast in action, has a wide dynamic range, a true
concertina sound and it
is beautifully and meticulously finished. As a
professional musician and music teacher, I
highly recommend Wim's
“...For your own
information I have based my comments on personal preference and
other concertinas I own and play.
Things I really
This is the
lightest concertina I have ever played (which really suits my current playing
situation very well).
The reed work is
absolutely superb, very responsive with good dynamic range and combined
action makes for a very ‘fast’ instrument.
Button travel is
short with a nice feel and consistent across all notes.
The air button is
easy to ‘feather’ and allow small breaths of air into/out of the concertina
whilst sounding notes.
Action is very
quiet with minimal pad noise.
Hand rest height is
ideal for my hand size.
preferences (may not be the same for everyone):
I particularly like
the fact than when the buttons are depressed they come close enough to
wooded ends that you can feel them with your finger tips.
The inner row of
buttons is slightly too close to the hand rest (closer than most other
concertinas I have played). I used a loser hand strap setting and found that I
was able to
adjust to this.
I thought the notes
below mid. C to be somewhat overpowering in certain situations.
Although as I
have played it more I’m adjusting to the volume (it may be that I’ve become
use to my Crabb which has relatively soft lower notes).
I need to amend the comments I gave you about the “Traveler” with regard to the
I visited a friend last night and we played together (by the way he
was willing to swap his Jeffries
for the Traveler). From the perspective of a
listener the low notes sounded much better balanced
than when I was playing...”
"...Thanks for making such a wonderful instrument and sending it out into
the world. My
initial response was how different it was from what I've
become familiar with. A bit smaller
and substantially lighter than my
Connor. Of course initially it felt a bit strange but as I played
everything seemed to fall into place.
What I found most appealing:
1. Consistent and Light touch of the buttons. Triplets and cuts seemed
much more natural and
easier to control,
2. The reeds seemed to respond quicker which really helped emphasize
how little effort was
required to get the sound I was looking for,
3. Although the Traveler could be as loud as either of my other two
concertina's it had the added
feature of being able to play quietly - this
would be considered a huge feature to most of those
4. The workmanship a finish were very impressive. Definitely an
instrument anyone would be
proud to own and to pass on to future
I was so impressed that I've already sent in a deposit so I can get on the
"... The quality of the instrument is really
exceptional, thanks for sending it by..."
"...Thanks for the opportunity to try your concertina. I found it to
workmanship. The fit and finish is apparent from the
photos on your web site but the
actual instrument is really a pleasure
to look at and to hold in one's hands.
The Norman I usually play has buttons that project quite a bit from the
end piece, but
the "Traveler's" buttons have a relatively short stroke. The
button rows on the Traveler are
also farther apart than on my Norman and
the inside row is closer to the palm rest. Once I
got used to this I found I was
making fewer mistakes when I played the Wakker because I
don't tend to
"stumble" on adjacent buttons as much. The button mechanism on the Wakker
almost completely silent but the leather straps squeak to the point of being
Of course, as the instrument is broken-in and the leather softens, this squeak should go
The tone of the Wakker is very pure and balanced, it almost has an
oboe-like quality. I was
very happy with my Norman, but these two
concertinas are in different leagues altogether.
Now I want a Wakker..."
"It is an exquisite
instrument, responds quickly, is very easy to
play, with tone and
workmanship at the top of the game. It is
The first thing that struck me upon arrival was the
look of the concertina; it was very
pleasing to the eye! i really
thought the grain of the wood and the finish perfectly
compliment each other. butterscotch comes to mind.
i liked the raised ends, which made me wonder why i would ever want flat
ends! in the
end i guess it doesnt maker a difference, but it added a
lot of class to the instrument.
some people were complaining that they kept hitting the wood because the
peeped out, which i did notice. however, i think it is
like an open holed flute--a frivolous
difference that points out bad
playing technique, not bad design. i found after the brief time
with your instrument, my finger placement is much better on my
edgley concertina, as the traveller taught me to pay more
attention tom to my fingers.
in the long run, that is a good thing.
i was very pleased with the speed of the action and feel of the keys as
well as with the tone
of the reeds. i did not get enough chance to feel
and compare the resistance and tonal
properties of the reeds as much as i would have liked. i spent a lot of time feeling the "quiet
the reeds, which i was very impressed with. i did not get the chance to
push the reeds
and feel how and when they went flat at a louder volume.
i felt the concertina played marvelously on the right side. the
instrument seemed to sparkle
when playing in the english, right-centric
style. i was a little concerned with the feel of the
reeds on the low
end, especially the GD chord on the push (2nd button from bottom on 1st
and 2nd rows). the chord was very loud and resonated extraordinarily--i
could feel and hear the
reeds vibrating even after the notes sounded,
much like on a diatonic G harmonica. i understand
that on all
concertinas there is a similar resonance, but i was concerned because it
seemed to be
overpowering and unbalanced compared to the rest of the
instrument. the sound and feel of the
chord (and i'm assuming all notes
down in that register feel the same) in itself was wonderful,
made it very hard to balance the feel and sound of chords in irish
music; no matter how
much i put less pressure, the notes still seemed to
echo forth above the melody notes i was
playing. i do not know if this
is because of the abuse the instrument has received. also,
the instrument breaks in, all the notes would be so resonant (which
all in all, i would be very happy to own this concertina. it fit my
hand like a glove, and i very
much appreciated the attention to detail. i was sad to see it leave me so soon, and i am quite
confident that any
flaws were due to the unfair stresses on the instrument. it will
recommendation from me. let me know if you have any
p.s. i got a chance to play a rochelle, and was very pleased to see the
low end concertina market
My thoughts on "Traveler":
Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to experience the
Workmanship is just superb. The instrument is light and
responsive and takes very little effort
to play. It is capable of much
faster playing than I can provide. The voicing and tonality,
particularly on the right hand side of the instrument are as good as I
have ever heard. I would
be very happy to own an instrument like
Don von Schriltz
"I had a great time playing
the Traveler, and only wish I had more time to enjoy it while it
here. It is obviously a quality piece of workmanship as well as a fine
"I found it quick, responsive, the perfect size,
with very comfortable hand rails and straps.
The instrument's tone
I noticed a difference in the action of the
"less frequently used" buttons (harder to press) in
traveling instrument. My one complaint, is that I found the buttons
my fingers prefer larger diameter buttons.
Again, thank you for making the instrument
available. This was a great way to experience it".
" I enjoyed the Wakker Anglo
Traveler during the too brief time that I was able to play it.
playing concertina for a year and a half. My everyday instrument is a Geuns-Wakker
(G/W) accordion-reed anglo. I also have a reconditioned 20-button Lachenal and I had a Stagi
for a while. I’ve never played a Jefferies or
concertina-reed instrument by a top contemporary
maker for more than a few
minutes. I have had a few opportunities to play contemporary
instruments. I’m explaining for context. As a relatively new player, there may
be strengths or weaknesses to this instrument that I don’t yet appreciate.
The fit and
finish of the Traveler are outstanding. There are no rough spots and no joints
seams that feel “off”. I don’t know if it’s because of the raised ends, but
the travel distance of
the buttons seems short compared to my G/W. It wasn’t
better or worse, just different. It was
easy to adjust to. It may have
contributed to the overall efficiency. There is a bit of chipping to
plates above the most frequently used buttons. This is probably fingernail
is only cosmetic. The one element I don’t care for is the hand strap
attachment system. The
straps are fixed to the top of the hand rest with a very
nice 2-screw metal plate. The adjustment
is on the bottom of the hand rest with
a thumb-screw and metal sheaf or cover. The thumb-
screw was smallish. I have
larger hands than the previous host, and found that aligning the
sheaf, strap and receiving nut to be quite fussy. There may be some technical
dvantage to this system – it avoids putting a hole in side of the end frame.
The strap itself is
thinner and lighter than my G/W.
The tone of
the reeds is “honkier” than my G/W. I’ve been very happy with the tone of the
reeds in my G/W. I would not swap them for another accordion reed instrument. Wim tinkers
with them and the result is pretty traditional sounding. That said,
the reeds on the Traveler
simply sound traditional. I can only compare them to
recordings and they seem to have that
slightly honky, slightly nasal sound that
I associate with older instruments. They also have a
richness and depth that I
don’t hear on my G/W.
Traveler is very efficient when playing. This is the biggest difference from my
reeds speak immediately. Compared to the G/W, I could play noticeably
longer phrases with
noticeably less bellows movement. The instrument plays very
fast. The dynamic range – soft
to loud, is very good. It seems very responsive
to a light touch. I don’t know if it could handle
the heavy type of playing I
associate with low-end instruments, but it wouldn’t need too.
when I’m getting on someone’s waiting list for a top level contemporary
the Wakker Anglo will be one of the top three that consider ".