Posted 14 December 2004 - 03:04 PM
I thought maybe it was about time I followed up my own thread... I posted to get people thinking about it, to provide some food for thought, and to get some reactions, food for my own thought, as it were. That has happened nicely. I have come to my own philosophy about it, so to speak.
Now one thing I want to mention, since some people may have the wrong idea. I do like the Dipper and have no plans to part with it. I'd have to say I prefer the Edgley, I've never tried another concertina besides Edgley's (Dipper, Jeffries, or otherwise) that felt as good to play. I just feel like everything is perfectly in the right places, and I have total control, and the more subtle voice really fits with my concept of music. This could well just be me (hence the universal advice to try as many concertinas as you can before buying). But the Dipper Clare is also a lot of fun to play -- a little harder for me than the Edgley, but with it's own charms.
For me, what I've basically concluded is the Dipper is a stage instrument. An analogie for you Uilleann pipes aficionados: it's like one of those big honking Taylor sets made for unamplified halls. The penetrating tone of mine really works well playing for Ceili or set dancing, and especially for hard-shoe step-dancing, and will be getting a work-out in such applications. But in the kitchen it's a bit anti-social. For the kitchen sessions, the Edgley's more subtle, less penetrating tone wins the day. Not that the Edgley is all mellow, the attacks have plenty of bite, so it does adds that unique concertina feel to the session, but doesn't overpower like my Dipper does. For solo performance, it will be the Edgley, because I feel so comfortable and able to express with it.
As far as the other concertina players who were assessing the Edgley vs. others, I'm afraid I didn't ask details about their comments, so we can only speculate there. Next time I'll ask for specific critique.
Incidentally, as far as reed response and dyanmic range goes, my take for my 2 particular instruments is this. Both can play quietly. In scientific terms, the Dipper's reeds may extend to slightly lower pressures, but musically in session, I've found the Edgley is much more controllable at low volumes, the Dipper wanting to get very loud very quickly. For dynamic range, the Dipper can go much louder. For quickness at typical Irish playing volumes, I don't see any significant difference between the Dipper and the Edgley. It feels like in measurable terms the Dipper's reeds are a bit faster (Actually, after trying Jeffries and others, it feels like Dipper's reeds are the fastest ever), but the difference does not seem to be significant musically, as I am able to get ornaments so quick on the Edgley that they are nearly clicks without discernable pitch, like on the Dipper. I think the slightly gentler response of the Edgley makes the sound a little more rounded sweeter, and in actual fact, I prefer that because I feel it opens up a new realm of expressiveness and control vs. the Dipper where the cuts are kind of binary (on, then off), and I can't control texture as well.
So that's just my take on things, opinions and experiences of one peculiar musician, offered up for what it's worth, with no guarrantee of applicability to anyone else's situation.