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I have a wheatestone C/G anglo with the standard 30-button layout on which I play primarily irish music. I have seen some discussion on modified/hybrid layouts for ITM, but they have all been focused on the mid-range, usually focusing the C#.

 

I am getting fairly comfortable with the wheatstone system in this sense, but there is one thing that has continued to bug me. I would really like to have the D below middle C to throw in chords. As it is I can throw in a nice low G, A or E and even the odd C, but the one I would get the most use out of for irish music woudl be that D.

 

Does anyone have experience modifying the layout in this range? Are there any particular issues one might run into or reason's not to do it. I realize that there could be some issues with differently sized reeds on the low end.

 

Here is the mod that seems the most obvious to me. Remove the low F natural on the pull (top row, far left) and replace that with the low G. (That low F is probably my least used button on the left hand side anyways).

 

Then replace the existing low G pull (Mid row, far left) with a low D pull. It seems like this should be fine space-wise as the G should be the same length or shorter than the F, and the D would be on the same as the low C, so there should be room for it. Plus I think it should only require one new reed since the low-G would just be moved.

 

Moreover this layout seems like it would have nice options for a DA fifth and and an inverted GD fifth on the pull in that leftmost column, As well as a nice D octave combo in the middle row. The lowG-mid D pull that I currently use on the pull would be slightly more awkward, but not prohibatively so.

 

I would love to know if anyone has advice regarding either the ease with which I can find someone who make such a modification (It is beyond my own tinkering ability and comfort) and also if anyone has other alternative layouts for the low range.

 

I am not in any particular hurry, but I do think I will want to do it eventually, maybe once it is in need of a general tuneup. Of course the other option would be down the road to look for a different instrument with more than 30 buttons, but I have a bad habit of acquiring too many instruments as it is.

 

Thank you.

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I play 38- and 40- button Anglos, but none of them has a low D. They all have the luxury of a drone button, though, and that’s where I’d think about putting the low D (presumably on the draw) if I wanted that note.

 

Speaking for myself, I’d miss the low F, even though I rarely use it for Irish tunes. The full F chord just has a distinctively lovely sound. On the other hand, full, deep chords in any key have a pretty limited role in the sorts of Irish playing I like, and when I want them I’m happy to make do with what I have, just as a piper makes do with the available notes on the regulators. Working within (or around) limitations like that is an aspect of the music I find enjoyable.

 

Tastes vary, though, and there’s no reason not to pursue an innovation if it appeals to you. No doubt you’ll want to make sure any layout changes are reversible, though, in the event your preferences change down the road, or in case you someday decide to sell the instrument.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

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I changed the low F to a low draw D on my personal instrument thinking it would be really useful in itm. I do use it more than I used the low F, but not nearly as much as I thought I would. I am a pretty experienced player, using chordal accompaniment as appropriate. On another instrument, I replaced the draw middle D on the g row with a low d, which created a lot of possibilities that were quite useful. I believe I also changed the low F to a low A. Noel Hill likes the press/ draw middle d’s on the g row because you can treat them the same as the g’s on the C row. He opted to swap out the F for the draw A for the same reason, making all three rows function the same in the low end. He has his low d as a drone Button. Especially after discovering I really like the key of F, I haven’t opted to change the equivalent button on my A/E. At some point I may make a low F# to trade for the F ( now D) on my C/G just to see what it might offer, since the middle f# is such an important note.

Making my own instruments makes these experiments risk free, but altering a Wheatstone could create problems if it needed to be reversed. Reed shoe sizes change quickly in the low end, so there is no guarantee you can simply swap their positions even if the chamber space accommodates it. The dovetail slots may need modification. While quite possible, it is harder to reverse. Simply weighting the F down to a D works quite well, and in the future can be removed with only minor retuning required.

Dana

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I share Bob Michel’s attitude that playing around in an effort to overcome the inevitable limitations of our instrument is all very much part of the fun !

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Posted (edited)

The common place to put that low-D on a 38-button Jeffries is in place of the B-flat (just adjacent to the low-F). Every anglo I've seen with that note has it in that position - mine, Jody's, Adrian's, John Roberts's ... others too but I can't recall them offhand.

 

This particular button ("2a" on the new numbering system some of us are encouraging for more-than-30-button instruments, but also "2a" on regular 30-button numbering I think!) on the pull is commonly B-flat on a 30-button anglo (and is still a B-flat on some anglos with more buttons, too). On 38-button Jeffries it's sometimes a C-sharp (the same octave as the C-sharp push on button "3a", giving that C-sharp in both directions) and it's sometimes the low-D. (On a 38-button, the low-B-flat draw which is lost in this way commonly appears on button "5c" (I think!) - the added button which is just to the right of button "5".)

 

I've seen (and made) 30-button anglos with the low-D in the same "2a" location (and there's simply no low-B-flat on the instrument as a result). This is an option for Morse Ceilis and ESBs.

 

It's one of the most useful notes if you want to play bass runs in the harmonic style, particularly in the keys of C, F, G, and the dorian mode with tonic D, and I'm sure it would be fantastic in the key of D too. (I just can't remember using it there as much, in a bass run context, as there's no low-F-sharp. UNLESS you stick a low-F-sharp in as a replacement for the "duplicate" A on button "8" draw... which I've done on one instrument! Most anglo players I've talked to consider that one of my greater sins in life.)

 

The really low end of Mohsen Amini's anglo is totally weird, and I forget what his layout is. But all of the buttons down there do strange things, with low-D and low-Eb and ... maybe low-C-sharp and low-F-sharp too? I don't remember, but I do remember there's no lowest-C on his instrument. Both the extreme lowest buttons ("1", "1a", and I think "6" on the left) and the extreme highest buttons on the right side play non-traditional notes. He also has an octave modifier pedal when he plays with Talisk (probably with Ímar as well) which lets him drop his entire concertina by an octave at the tap of a foot!!!

Edited by wayman

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The really low end of Mohsen Amini's anglo is totally weird, and I forget what his layout is. But all of the buttons down there do strange things, with low-D and low-Eb and ... maybe low-C-sharp and low-F-sharp too? I don't remember, but I do remember there's no lowest-C on his instrument. Both the extreme lowest buttons ("1", "1a", and I think "6" on the left) and the extreme highest buttons on the right side play non-traditional notes.

Do you know if that layout is his choice, or did he happen to buy it that way and learned to play it?

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The really low end of Mohsen Amini's anglo is totally weird, and I forget what his layout is. But all of the buttons down there do strange things, with low-D and low-Eb and ... maybe low-C-sharp and low-F-sharp too? I don't remember, but I do remember there's no lowest-C on his instrument. Both the extreme lowest buttons ("1", "1a", and I think "6" on the left) and the extreme highest buttons on the right side play non-traditional notes.

Do you know if that layout is his choice, or did he happen to buy it that way and learned to play it?

 

 

I think he requested it of Suttner, who made it; I think the idea was that it gives him full (or nearly full) bi-directional chromaticism over a narrower compass of notes, enabling a lot more octave playing for all those riffy groovy things he does? I'll write and ask him for a note chart and report back when I get it.

 

(I just lucked into seeing Talisk up in Scotland last week when I noticed one lunchtime that they'd be twenty miles up the road from me that evening - it was fun surprising Mohsen by being somewhere he totally didn't expect to see me (two days after he played in my own city, and I wasn't there to see him!). That was when I learned all about his fantastic microphones and crazy pedal set-up, which I might find time to bring up as a new forum thread...)

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The common place to put that low-D on a 38-button Jeffries is in place of the B-flat (just adjacent to the low-F). Every anglo I've seen with that note has it in that position - mine, Jody's, Adrian's, John Roberts's ... others too but I can't recall them offhand.

 

This particular button ("2a" on the new numbering system some of us are encouraging for more-than-30-button instruments, but also "2a" on regular 30-button numbering I think!) on the pull is commonly B-flat on a 30-button anglo (and is still a B-flat on some anglos with more buttons, too). On 38-button Jeffries it's sometimes a C-sharp (the same octave as the C-sharp push on button "3a", giving that C-sharp in both directions) and it's sometimes the low-D. (On a 38-button, the low-B-flat draw which is lost in this way commonly appears on button "5c" (I think!) - the added button which is just to the right of button "5".)

 

I've seen (and made) 30-button anglos with the low-D in the same "2a" location (and there's simply no low-B-flat on the instrument as a result). This is an option for Morse Ceilis and ESBs.

 

 

I've done this myself on all my 38 key anglos, but on a 30 button anglo, it would be a really difficult decision, since the low F and Bb are such important notes. It's perhaps worth remembering that F major is the lowest key you can play in on an anglo where you have the complete diatonic lower octave and leading note. I can understand why if there is one, some might put it on the LH thumb button.

 

Adrian

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Posted (edited)

 

 

I've done this myself on all my 38 key anglos, but on a 30 button anglo, it would be a really difficult decision, since the low F and Bb are such important notes. It's perhaps worth remembering that F major is the lowest key you can play in on an anglo where you have the complete diatonic lower octave and leading note. I can understand why if there is one, some might put it on the LH thumb button.

 

 

 

It is a difficult decision to make as I do make use of almost the full low end of the instrument. Meanwhile there are at least 3 buttons on the high end I can honestly not remember ever using in a tune.

 

That is a good point about the full F major scale. I don't actually know any F Major tunes, but I suppose I may wan't to in the future.

 

I guess it might be just be better to look for an instrument with more buttons or a drone button in the future.

Edited by swahl

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I've done this myself on all my 38 key anglos, but on a 30 button anglo, it would be a really difficult decision, since the low F and Bb are such important notes. It's perhaps worth remembering that F major is the lowest key you can play in on an anglo where you have the complete diatonic lower octave and leading note. I can understand why if there is one, some might put it on the LH thumb button.

 

 

It is a difficult decision to make as I do make use of almost the full low end of the instrument. Meanwhile there are at least 3 buttons on the high end I can honestly not remember ever using in a tune.

 

That is a good point about the full F major scale. I don't actually know any F Major tunes, but I suppose I may wan't to in the future.

 

I guess it might be just be better to look for an instrument with more buttons or a drone button in the future.

A lot of East Clare tunes are in F or Bb. The more I learn in these keys ( or the modes that use the same notes), the more I want to learn. They often go well with C tunes, which was clearly someone’s idea of an important key

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Sean--

 

The missing low D is definitely frustrating on a 30-button Anglo, but if you ever want to play English-style along the C row or accompany songs in C you will appreciate that low F.

 

Daniel

 

 

I've done this myself on all my 38 key anglos, but on a 30 button anglo, it would be a really difficult decision, since the low F and Bb are such important notes. It's perhaps worth remembering that F major is the lowest key you can play in on an anglo where you have the complete diatonic lower octave and leading note. I can understand why if there is one, some might put it on the LH thumb button.

 

It is a difficult decision to make as I do make use of almost the full low end of the instrument. Meanwhile there are at least 3 buttons on the high end I can honestly not remember ever using in a tune.

 

That is a good point about the full F major scale. I don't actually know any F Major tunes, but I suppose I may wan't to in the future.

 

I guess it might be just be better to look for an instrument with more buttons or a drone button in the future.

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