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MatthewVanitas

Converting Duets: Maccann To Hayden?

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In a recent thread, some members mentioned that conversions of Maccann to Haydet duet system had been done by Dana Williams and the late Neville Crabb. I found this intriguing, given the cost and wait-times of concertina-reeded Haydens, and would like to hear more about this!

 

Inventor noted that wooden-end models are easier to convert than metal: does that imply that the conversions involve actually relocating buttons? To maintain the revertability of the conversion, is it possible to just leave the buttons in place and work the Hayden layout into the existing configuration as best as possible?

 

Another member had noted that 6-across doesn't give one the full isomorphism of the Hayden, but then again even the extensive 52b Beaumont only has one row of seven on the right, and I've rarely found that limiting since I don't play in the deeper flat/sharp keys as much as Bb/F/C/G/D/A

 

Is this an extensive and complex process that involves modifying the reedpans, or is it a pretty straightforward matter of playing mix-and-match with reeds of approximately similar size that can drop into each other's chambers? Any notion of what current luthiers might be able and willing to do such a conversion?

Edited by MatthewVanitas

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Firstly I think each case would need to be looked at seperately.

 

In my case I have a 67key Aeola MacCann which is large enough to take Inventor's 65 key Hayden layout but it does not have all the reeds needed for the new layout and the righthand reedpan is not designed to go down to G below middle C. So there is the first obstacle that would need serious consideration ie. reedpan modification or replacement.

The MacCann that I swapped to Dirge did go down to G below middle C on its righthand ( a feature that is generally only found on the Huge 81key MacCanns) and I found this a very attractive feature so I am glad that Inventor included this in his 65key layout.

 

In someone's case, perhaps like Mathew, who would like to make a 46k Hayden from a MacCann I would suggest obtaining a donor instrument of the right range and size. The most likely instrument for this would be a 46k MacCann that starts at middle C on the right hand. These were made by Lachenal as an alternative to the standard 46's which had G above middle C as the lowest right hand note. The 46key Hayden does not have any reitterated notes so there would be no need to obtain extras. These 46 MacCanns are about 6 1/2" across hexagons that usually come with a six fold bellows... I would suggest that a longer bellows is needed in a small crossection Duet.

 

Another option that I would like is to have just a few more notes than the 46 (something like the Beaumont range) so that reitterated notes Ab's and Eb's could be added ...perhaps something like Inventor's 65 keyboard without the lowest line of buttons on each side.... using a 57 MacCann for the conversion.... this would give a reasonable sized instrument with enough lung power due to larger crossection.

 

Next consideration is that the 46key Hayden keyboard is nearly an inch wider than that of a MacCann that YES a new patern of the buttons would need to be made as the maintainance of Brian Hayden' original spacings is now the Standard and better that one does not have a compromise... because everyone else uses it , with or without the Slope. So modification of the end plates which would break into the fret piercings on most models, the replacement of the action board would also be needed, or extending the existing one.

 

Wooden end plates could be modified ,perhaps more easily ... metal ones too but to do this nicely is tricky, and risky.

 

Are we considering this because there are currently more MacCann Duets about than players of them? The decision to modify an otherwise fine instrument is not one to be taken lightly .

 

For my part, as a musical instrument maker, I suppose I could consider doing a conversion... and my comments about spare time were somewhat ironic as I already have more work than I will ever be able to cope with. Considering the suggestion that I convert my 67 MacCann that is currently redundant... I feel it could take me more time to do this than I would use to make enough money to buy a new 65key from Wim Wakker.... :)

 

Conclusion: there is quite a lot of carefull work needed to make a conversion like this and I don't see it as a cheap option.

 

Geoff.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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so you're not gonna do it?....I was all ready to enjoy this from the sidelines.... :rolleyes:

 

ok, here's another frolic----I've been wondering about a hayden for fiddle-like melody playing, in which the right-hand side ranged from, say, "f" below middle C, to "High C" on the high end. and in which the left hand had the exact same notes as the right hand. and in which one played a la EC, switching sides at will. but you would have "all" the notes on each side, so the bilateralism would be totally elective. and you could hold/strap it like an anglo. this might be the ultimate unisonoric concertina for melody playing. not sure whether parallel would be better, or mirror... :ph34r:

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First of all I think I may have got my Danas mixed up. It is the Dana who used to work with Richard Morse at Button Box. Am I right in believing that is Dana Johnson who is now a leading maker of Anglo Concertinas for the North American climate?

Around 20 years ago Dana along with Rich and Doug Chrighton stayed at my home in Somerset for a few days whilst we discussed Rich's plans for making Hayden Concertinas at Button Box. Anyway Dana had, and played a Wheatstone Aeola which he had converted from a Maccann Duet. I also drove them up to see Colin Dipper who lives not too far away in the neibouring county of Wiltshire.

The instrument in question was around the 67 key size but it could have been a 63. This did not have enharmonic repeats but 2 flats (Ebs & Bbs) and 3 sharps (F#s, C#s & G#s); so it would have played isomorphicly in A, D, G, C, F, and Bb. The key Bb being frequently used in New England contra dance music along with the frequently used keys of G, D,& A. (There is a reason why I chose the key E rather than Bb on the 46 button instrument, which I will not go into here).

Dana had put an oval metal plate over part of the fretwork and button holes of the Maccann, and bored new button holes in the standard positions of a Hayden. The action did need a slight rerouting, and the some of the reeds moved around but never more than 3 semitones up or down.

As Wheatstones use just 4 reed frames per octave this involves making the slots only one size larger or smaller, several reeds stay in the same places, and some (which have the same sized reed frame) simply slipped onto their new slots.

I believe that the person who now has the Dana instrument may read concertina.net, if so perhaps he or Dana may like to post photos of the outside and inside of this instrument.

I will come back to the Neville Crab conversion later.

 

Inventor.

Edited by inventor

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ok, here's another frolic----I've been wondering about a hayden for fiddle-like melody playing, in which the right-hand side ranged from, say, "f" below middle C, to "High C" on the high end. and in which the left hand had the exact same notes as the right hand. and in which one played a la EC, switching sides at will. but you would have "all" the notes on each side, so the bilateralism would be totally elective. and you could hold/strap it like an anglo. this might be the ultimate unisonoric concertina for melody playing. not sure whether parallel would be better, or mirror... :ph34r:

 

I was wandering about this too, some other day, when deciding over my DIY Hayden. IMHO in case of melody playing mirrored (original Wicki) layout would be even easier to learn than a Hayden. In case of harmony playing though, the parallel layout let you build richer major chords with the LH, with pinky finger adding an extra bass note. In case of mirrored layout this property switches to minor chords, but becomes virtually useless, as you must fold the pinky finger to reach one button higher.

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This is probably off topic, but coincidentally with ceemonster musing about treating the Hayden layout as a 'biltateral' box, I made up this button diagram for a CC Peacock by mashing together the left and right hand sides of a diagram I found on the Button Box web-site:

 

Hayden-Peacockcombined.jpg

The blue notes are only on the RHS and the green notes are only on the LHS. The magenta notes are on both sides.

 

So far, I am finding it handy for finding chords that span the two sides.

 

It helps me to think of the two sides as one isomorphic layout rather than two separate layouts. Is that a good thing? I don't know yet.

 

 

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fascinating, Don.

 

Well, I have been moving the puzzle pieces round and round the board, and I am kind of thinking of getting on Wim's list for a custom Hayden for bilateral melody music....I checked out the BB's Beaumont page wondering if I could order a Beaumont with 2 right sides, but it won't really work---has to be custom, which they don't do. Beaumont only goes down to middle C on the right. you have to get down to fiddle G, so hell, while you're making the investment, you'd better get the low f# and low F as well. perhaps give up your doubled G & G# on one side to sub in the low F and F# there. the hayden layout, because it goes up and down pitch wise vertically rather than horizontally, and because no key is valued over another fingering-wise, has great potential in this area, I do believe........ :ph34r:

 

 

you'd still be able to do lots of chordal harmony with your melodies, just not in the full bass/treble manner...

Edited by ceemonster

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Quickly to Ceemonster: This thread was started to discuss converting vintage Maccanns to Haydens; not about entirely new types of concertina, custom made to your specification by current concertina makers. It is already a spin off from Geoff's for sale advert.

I have quite a lot more to say about the M to H topic, both Historically and technically. Whilst I would be interested in your personal project please could you start a new thread specifically devoted to that.

Inventor.

Edited by inventor

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ok, here's another frolic----I've been wondering about a hayden for fiddle-like melody playing, in which the right-hand side ranged from, say, "f" below middle C, to "High C" on the high end. and in which the left hand had the exact same notes as the right hand. and in which one played a la EC, switching sides at will. but you would have "all" the notes on each side, so the bilateralism would be totally elective. and you could hold/strap it like an anglo. this might be the ultimate unisonoric concertina for melody playing. not sure whether parallel would be better, or mirror... :ph34r:

 

This has also been a dream of mine for many years....

(Most of original text now deleted, because moved to a more appropriate thread, as noted below.)

 

Edited to add: Looks like inventor was posting while I was composing my post. If such a new topic gets started, I think I would even move the contents of this post there and then delete them here.

 

Further edited: The move has now taken place. The new thread is here. The former contents of this post now appear as post #4 in that thread.

Edited by JimLucas

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[[[Looks like inventor was posting while I was composing my post. If such a new topic gets started, I think I would even move the contents of this post there and then delete them here.]]]

 

you better, or it's a smack upside the head and cold porridge in the corner... :ph34r:

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[[[Looks like inventor was posting while I was composing my post. If such a new topic gets started, I think I would even move the contents of this post there and then delete them here.]]]

 

you better, or it's a smack upside the head and cold porridge in the corner... :ph34r:

 

Porridge? Oh, no!! :o ;)

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Wow, several different ways to go with this.

 

I was thinking of something relatively more simple, ideally without having to re-drill or move anything around other than the reeds. As Geoff notes, even angle aside the Maccann keys are closer together than the standardized Hayden, but I'm pretty used to dealing with a wide variety of non-standardized instruments. So if I can get a Maccann converted without having to do major surgery (leaving it maybe even reversible if Maccanns ever become rare), that'd be fine by me, and hopefully keep the costs way down.

 

Other than Greg (who afaik is a bit busy at the moment), what other folks are out there that might be able to do such a job if it just involves swapping around reeds, no drilling or changes to the keywork/levers? If it's at all doable, I have a few inexpensive Maccanns I've had my eye on, that I might could pick up and send for a switcharoo.

 

It's been fun playing a small Crane so far, but I'm not convinced it's going to exceed the Hayden system in my esteem, so having a small Hayden, even in a slightly off-kilter layout, has much appeal.

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I am interested in the idea of the Hayden with 2 right sides, whether a custom or a rebuilt MacCann. It could be effective for trad music from Ireland once one figures out how to allocate buttons for rolls and other embellishments. Would you want the two sides to be mirror images of each other or reversals? (ie. would middle C be under the index finger on both sides or would it be always on the right side of each respective array?)

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To Matthew: as far as I can see it you just want to Cheesemanise your existing 46 button Lachenal Maccann, but not mirror image the LHS.

I have said it before about the 46 Maccann, in my humble opinion starting on the g' on the RHS and leaving out the d at the bottom of the LHS is a mistake. This isn't done on the smaller (46 button) Haydens or the smaller (45 button) Cranes.

As I see a Maccann it has rows (wavy) across rather than collums, for the lower octaves you have two sequences of 6 buttons. In the lower octaves these are-

(1) C#-C-E-D-F--F# & (2) G#-G-A-D#-B-Bb .to make them more like a Hayden system these need to be

(1) Bb-C-D-E-F#-G# & (2) F--G-A-D#-B-C# .

The notes C, G, A, D# & B remain in the same places as they are; D & E swap places (not a problem); Bb swaps with the C# in the next row higher, (fitting the Bb in a somewhat smaller tone chamber can be awkward). F, F#, & G# rotate round (F, & F# usually have the same sized reed shoe).

Note: I have left the D# in the middle, and it can be seen as either a D# or Eb; and when you get round to changing the fretwork and button holes, these can be put on a rod link to become an Eb at the beginning of a row, and a D# at the end.

Personally I would prefer to redo the whole RHS to include C, D, E, F, & F# at the bottom end, and loose the same number of very high notes at the top; and add a low d rather than the high c" on the LHS.

The higher octave on a Maccann is different from the lower octaves, but you can continue reed swaping in a similar manner. I agree that it is better to start with a small Maccann which starts on the middle C on the RHS.

Inventor.

Edited by inventor

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@Inventor: yes, Cheeseman-izing is about exactly what I envisioned. Cheeseman isn't quite exactly Hayden though, right? If possible I'd like to get a Maccann as close to Hayden as possible (working around the waves and all) to minimize restructuring and cost. Has anyone got a sketch of the actual Cheeseman layout? Though again more Hayden that not would be my preference.

 

Here's a past discussion of the Cheeseman conversion which put the idea in my head: http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=16536&page=1

 

 

 

Personally I would prefer to redo the whole RHS to include C, D, E, F, & F# at the bottom end, and loose the same number of very high notes at the top; and add a low d rather than the high c" on the LHS.

 

Would this add a lot of expense to the project? Lachenal reeds are what, $5-10 apiece, and I'd have the leftover high-notes to sell back, so $30-60 extra to swap up the scale amidst a larger conversion doesn't sound bad. Would that cause some difficulty though in the size of the reeds and fitting into the chambers, or would the lowest G chamber on the RH be able to accomodate the C reed (it's the C below said G, yes?)

 

@inventor: would a 39b Maccann just be quite unsuited to conversion, or not really much worse than a 46b? There's a particularly pretty little Lachenal 39b I have my eye on, if the fella hasn't sold it yet.

 

 

re: a new thread. Yeah, I didn't want to speak out of turn by mentioning it, but the alternative Hayden settups are a tangent best put in another thread, as inventor notes. Leaving this thread for convering a standard Maccann into something resembling a standard Hayden.

Edited by MatthewVanitas

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I looked closer and the other thread had an attached .pdf with all the layout info. I hope Peter won't mind that I took a screenshot so that folks can get an idea without having to download and page through the .pdf. It takes a minute of squinting to see the Haydenesque layout, since the waviness of the keyboard throws off the eye at first. Though fortunately some other Maccann keyboards don't have this extreme of a wave.

 

2624mdf.png

Edited by MatthewVanitas

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In your proposed layout you have two types of major and minor fingerings: CEGvsFCA and DFAvsACE. When playing harmonies this even may be a benefit (you can use only two fingers for a full triad) but when playing arpeggios or melodic passages you'll often bump into awkward finger-bending or using the same finger to play two notes in the same chord.

 

I think that the only reasonable approach to converting Maccan to Hayden is to cannibalise the Maccan and rebuild "innards" and endplates to a fully fledged Hayden. And in such case I think that metal ended ones are better, because you can just make new ends not worrying about matching wood/veneer type, grain texture and lacquer.

 

In any case such conversion isn't all that easy, and even in the simplest form of reed-swapping, reversing it back to Maccan may require more work than turning it to Hayden(-ish) layout. Also, some degradation in sound quality will likely occur, due to tampering with the reedpan back and forth.

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