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The Neanderthal Vs. The English Concertina

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#19 Bullethead

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 09:49 PM

Tremendous improvement along the lines of what I was talking about in my last contribution to this thread. Of course there are some groaner moments, but it's really beginning to sound like music. Keep at it.

 

Here's a suggestion: Now that you know your way around the instrument, see if you can get your hands on a decent one and give it a go. See if it doesn't convince you that it's time to trade up.

 

Well, thank you sir ;).   "Groaner moments" are going to happen regularly.  I've only been doing this 3 weeks, I have about zero musical talent, and if my mind wanders for a moment, my fingers run off on autopilot running the length of the keyboard or some other such thing.  But I'm not ashamed to record them for posterity.  They're entertaining :).

 

I'm really enjoying this thing so far, at least now that I've figured a comfortable way to hold it.  The video has a pretty good look at how my pinky is in the angled rest, which I find very comfortable and keeps it out of the way of the playing fingers.  But I admit that I'm already considering an upgrade.

 

That, however, brings up the subject of customizing it to suit my hands, which really are more comfortable chipping flint projectile points than doing anything else.  As I'd never modify an antique, I'd have to get a new-built one.  However, all the new-made mid-range ECs I've seen have mesh-like ends that don't offer many options on where to mount the pinky rests.  It looks like they'd need major surgery.  Maybe I could convince somebody to build the ends to my specs, maybe I'd have to make my own set of ends.

 

There's another issue.  As I've said, I learned to type on a manual typewriter so early on got into the habit of hitting my keys hard.  As such, for decades I was wearing out a normal computer keyboards every few months until I got a Siig metal keyboard which so far has lasted about 2 years but is showing signs of age.  I figure I'll destroy the action of most concertinas in short order, even when I'm trying to play legato.  And I like to customize my tools.  So for the nonce I figure I'm better off with cheap things I can abuse, modify, and make crude duct tape repairs on myself without too much of an investment in them.



#20 Don Taylor

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 07:18 PM

I'm really enjoying this thing so far, at least now that I've figured a comfortable way to hold it.  The video has a pretty good look at how my pinky is in the angled rest, which I find very comfortable and keeps it out of the way of the playing fingers.  But I admit that I'm already considering an upgrade.
 
That, however, brings up the subject of customizing it to suit my hands, which really are more comfortable chipping flint projectile points than doing anything else.  As I'd never modify an antique, I'd have to get a new-built one.  However, all the new-made mid-range ECs I've seen have mesh-like ends that don't offer many options on where to mount the pinky rests.  It looks like they'd need major surgery.  Maybe I could convince somebody to build the ends to my specs, maybe I'd have to make my own set of ends.

 

 

Maybe you would only need to have some custom finger rests made.  You could buy a pair of finger rests from Concertina Spares in the UK:

 

fingrests.jpg

 

and braze these onto brass plates with holes drilled in the plates for attaching to the concertina instead of the original finger rest - which you would remove and store away in case you wanted to sell the concertina to a homo sapien.  You can choose to align the new finger rests on the brass plates however you please.

 

 



#21 Bullethead

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 11:15 AM

That's a good idea, Don.  I'll have to keep that in mind.

 

I often wonder why ECs don't have more adjustments possible in their grippy parts.  The ability to slide and rotate both the rests and the straps on the ends would seem a quite logical and natural feature.  After all, so many other things can be adjusted to fit different people, why not ECs?



#22 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 04 November 2015 - 02:53 PM

Hi, Bullethead,

 

What a musical nickname: Neanderthal!

 

I'm sure you know that the Neanderthals got their name from the valley near Düsseldorf, Germany, where the first remains of their race were found. (Due to the spelling reform before last, it's now spelt "Neandertal".)

This valley, in turn, derived its name from a certain Joachim Neumann (equivalent to "Newman" in English) who lived in the 17th century and, after the fashion of his day, graecified his name to "Neander". He was a Pietist schoolmaster and lay preacher, and - here's the musical connection - hymn-writer. The hymn "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation" is one of his, and you'll find the name Joachim Neander in quite a few English-language hymn-books.

Apparently, he was in the habit of conducting open-air services in a valley near Düsseldorf, which led to the location being called "Neander Valley" - or Neandert(h)al!

 

Cheers,

John

 

PS. Thanks for your recordings - you're coming along nicely!



#23 Bullethead

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 11:15 AM

What a musical nickname: Neanderthal!

 

Wow, thanks for the info.  I have sometimes wondered how the valley got its name, and wondered if it was some corruption of "meander".



#24 Bullethead

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 09:54 AM

Wow, it's been a bit over 1 year since I was last in here.  I just wanted to pop in and say that the Neanderthal is still torturing his concertina and his cat still hates it, despite the ups and downs of the past year.

 

Shortly after I posted the above, I developed some bad tendinitis on the back of my left hand, behind the index finger.  Naturally, I at first blamed the concertina so quit playing for several months, but the condition got worse anyway and spread to my whole left forearm, then my right arm got into the act.  Turns out I've taken to clenching my fists in my sleep, apparently due to deep-seated anger and frustration over things that are really beyond my control.  It was so bad I was starting to give myself carpal tunnel.  So, after some physical and mental therapy, and wearing wrist braces to bed, things improved to the point where I started playing again.  I've just been too busy to say anything about it, or make a recording.

 

Anyway, I suppose I should now leg this necro thread rest in peace.  Just wanted you all to know I haven't abandoned the concertina.





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