Here is the thread where we talk about baffles: http://www.concertin...showtopic=14251
Stagi 18-button English mini concertina
Posted 13 February 2014 - 04:02 AM
Johanna, that info on the baffles was perfect!
Thank you all for sharing your advice.
Here is a link to one of my heritage stories, published in the Yuhika Latuhse Literary Journal: She Tells Us Stories. I hope you will see how my concertina will add melodrama to my performances.
Posted 13 February 2014 - 04:04 AM
Posted 13 February 2014 - 11:31 AM
Hi, Friends: I believe that I am, or was, the original owner of this small Hohner 18 button English concertina that you recently acquired from the Button Box. A few weeks ago I had traded it to them on the purchase of another instrument.
That small one was originally purchased at a shop on the Il de St. Louis, near Notre Dame in Paris, France, about 15 years ago. The shop is sadly no longer there, but it specialized in accoutrements for clowns in European circuses: red noses, baggy clothes, etc. The owner, who had been a clown himself in the long ago, ran half the shop for piano repair and the other half for clown supplies. He lived in an apartment below street level. It took me three years to actually buy it. The first year I watched him play, but when I returned the nest year it had been sold, and on the third year he had just received the one you purchased. He told me that the small EC's were made so that a clown could carry it in an enlarged pocket on a coat.
I had played EC back in the 80's, and had some fun with this one, but it never left the house and was kept in a humidity controlled envrionment. You might have found a chart of the keyout included with the instrument. If so, I made that.
A lot of warm nostalgia attached to that little one.
Posted 13 February 2014 - 08:49 PM
What goes around ... for some time, I myself was featured artist for the Universoul Circus and insured by World Clown Association. Small world.
I am very happy to know my little 'Tina's story. I just received word that my delivery is due to the mucky storm we have got here. Stormy weather!
Thanks again Dennis.
Posted 14 February 2014 - 05:26 PM
I am very excited to say that I found Dennis' handwritten chart in the muslin kit bag with her!
It is exciting to find that this is the little gem with the funny (clown) history. I will take my time in finding her a name. This little 18 button. Hohner has surprised me. She is not particularly loud and has a lovely mellow tone. The BUTTON BOX will be my go to online store for any future purchases. If I had not found Dennis' chart, I would have thought this instrument was brand new. It is so clean and shiny, the action is sort of stiff for a used instruments and the leathers appear to be brand new. I may have to change the leathers to go fully across my hand. I am happy to have received my concertina on Valentine's Day ... The name 'Concertina Valentina' seems entirely appropriate!
Thank's for the chart Dennis!!
Posted 14 February 2014 - 05:29 PM
Posted 14 February 2014 - 09:59 PM
It almost seems that the buttons are way back BEHIND my finger reach!
Posted 14 February 2014 - 10:15 PM
About those leathers. As this is an English concertina, they don't go over the entire hand. The thumbs go through the top ones, and the pinkies through the bottom ones. That should give you a comfortable reach. And if the way they are set is not quite right, they are easily adjustable.
Posted 14 February 2014 - 10:21 PM
When you say leathers, do you mean the thumb straps?
If so, then try adjusting them tightly so that only the tip of your thumb goes through, not the knuckle.
Looking at Johanna's picture, Valentina seems to have leather loops/straps for the little fingers too? If so, then you probably want to minimize the amount of your little finger poking through this loop. You may find that you can do without using this finger loop altogether.
See the tiff image embedded in here: http://www.concertin...251#entry136464
Posted 14 February 2014 - 10:48 PM
Posted 14 February 2014 - 11:21 PM
Gentlemen! I appreciate your assistance! Thanks.
I have been playing better and better in just one day once I figured out that my pinkie is so short it threw my whole hand off ergonomically. I can barely reach two or three buttons (I just measured it and it is a whopping TWO inches long from base to tip!). Now that I am using the next finger in the leathers, (yes, I mean the loops! Everything is perfectly well balanced, not heavy and REACHABLE! What a difference!
The other amazing thing was reading Dennis' fingering chart and realizing that the notes run from one hand to the other (CDEFGABC).
By George I think I've got it!
Posted 15 February 2014 - 07:01 AM
Posted 15 February 2014 - 07:29 AM
Posted 17 February 2014 - 11:58 PM
Got a call back from the Button Box about my finger leathers. I explained that they appear to be a problem for me, and that I was not sure, but thought it was due to my small hands and the ergonomics of my 18 button Hohner Mini concertina. I also told them that I did NOT want to return it! And needed them to help me figure out the problem.
The person I talked to was VERY accommodating. He said we could just chat it out and discuss our ideas during the call. He had been thinking about my email and said that he himself found the mini leathers to be stiff and resistant. He offered to send me much softer leathers that might maintain the position I need but yield more easily and be more flexible for me. What a revelation! I totally agreed. He assured me that these leathers were NOT originally designed for this use but felt that they would serve my purposes adequately. He is sending them to my via first class mail.
Johanna, if you are picking this up, I want you to know that your recommendation to the Button Box was worth its weight in gold. I can't imagine a more perfect instrument purchasing partner than the Button Box. Mike Franch said he had a fine, long relationship with the excellent service at the Button Box. I am so happy to agree.
Dennis, I told him I have totally bonded with Valentina and mentioned that you told me about her history, adding that I, too, was former circus. I could hear his voice smiling as he replied that he had spoken to you and heard her history himself.
This is a great community. The support here has proved to be immediately important to me, for my art.
Thank you all, and too, to the organizers of concertina.net.
My very best regards to all and best wishes,
Posted 18 February 2014 - 11:57 AM
Hello ladyhealer, so glad to see that you've found an instrument that fits your hands and sound.
I once owned the same model (a Stagi) back in the late 1990s, but at the time was distracted by string instruments, ended up selling it and didn't get back into concertina until 2010, and now play Hayden duet.
At the time that I bought the Stagi, some folks online were describing it as a "pennywhistle concertina", since it has similar range and scale to the Irish tinwhistle, which is certainly enough to play a lot of standard traditional melodies. You haven't mentioned whether your overall intent is to use it to play melodies, or also to form chords to back singing or another instrument (or maybe you're still figuring out your plan), but it should work well for doing chord backup as well.
One method of holding, if I recall right from my experience, was that I ended up using just the top thumbstraps, and removing the bottom straps and just bracing my pinkies against the wooden ends of the instrument. I found a pic from an old post on CNet showing Noel Hill (a very famous Irish concertinist) doing similar on a fancy high-end mini:
A separate option (found on GoogleImages, appears on the Swedish www.concertina.se), this fellow appears to have drilled and bolted on pinky rests even onto his mini:
So there are a variety of ways to address the issue of how to hold a mini-concertina, and ultimately it just comes down to what works for you.
Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:39 PM
Thanks for the info. I have spoken with the folks from which I bought my 18 button mini and they are shipping me some thinner leather that will be more supple and flexible for my small hands. I believe that will work. Also, I saw that someone uses a dremel (a fast spinning sanding tool) to modify their instrument, not that I would EVER do that, but I might try it on my leathers to make the hard leather more supple. If I do that I will post a before and after picture.
Matthew you said something that really caught my attention: CHORDS for the mini!! Do you know where I can find a chart? If you yourself know chords that are useful with the min 18 button, I would certainly be pleased to find out about them! I want to be able to learn enough to use the instrument solo but especially with others as a backup player!!
What can I find out about those chords? If I get them I can make charts like the ones I made from a handwritten chord chart that came with my 18 button concertina, Valentina!
I also made additional charts, handy for when folks are first peckin' out a tune so that they can circle the note they choose as they discover it.
Here they are attached.
18 Button English Mini Concertina.pdf 27.66KB 94 downloads
18 Button English Mini G-Chart.pdf 29.25KB 158 downloads
18 Button English Mini D-Chart.pdf 29.25KB 68 downloads
18 Button English Mini F-Chart.pdf 29.6KB 90 downloads
Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:40 PM
ERRATA: It was NOT a chord chart it was a NOTE chart that came with my 18 button concertina.
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