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Blues Concertina


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#1 urariotalice

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 03:27 PM

I want to have a custom made 20 button concertina for playing blues but have not had any experience with the different types of custom made ones out there...who makes the best sounding concertina for blues?

#2 Robert Booth

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 06:30 PM

Hi, welcome to c-net

I have been watching this space to see if anyone more erudite than I would respond; looks like yer stuck with me :ph34r:

I started on concertina thinking that I'd put big, fat blues chords into the mix of guys i was playin' with , but soon found that my doughty little 20-b just sounded too sweet for the dirty sounds I was thinking of. Assiduous applications of booze and cigarettes didn't turn the trick either-at least for the 'tina! So I punted, playing oldie folkie stuff off of old Weavers albums and like that, 'till i finally got me a 30-b. It didn't really solve the problem, but the addition of all those accidentals sure widened the field. I think that if you can try a 30-b you might find your options a whole lot richer.
30-b is closer to a chromatic harp than any other instrument that I am aware of-push the thumb button or raise your fingers to the accidental row: pretty darned close, but not perfect.

There is one guy, Harry Scurfield, who I've only heard on the Anglo International CD, who cranked out a great version of "Saint James' Infirmary" that was pretty satisfying to us Bluezercizers; sadly, only that one cut was featured.

If you are dead set on having that bluesy 20-b, you should contact some of the makers mentioned on this board; they are, to a man, concertina fanatics, and are more than willing to take on your ideas and help you tweak them into workable solutions.

If it does come off, please share the results, I'd be facinated to know what got done and how it sounds.

Good luck!
Rob

#3 m3838

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 06:48 PM

Look here:
http://www.bluesbox.biz/
I don't believe concertina will fit well in blues. May be those 20 button Hohners, they've got the sound.
I actually think Blues, as a genre of losers, complainers and let-downs, should be played on cheap common instruments, like beat-up guitar, harmonica --- it will sound authentic, like Charlie Patton.

#4 Dirge

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 07:20 PM

Are you planning to get the rh tuned to 'the blues scale'? It sounds like a brilliant idea. You sidestep Robert's 30 button suggestion that way because you build the accidentals into your main scale on the 20.

Should you do it with a cheapy so it's not too huge an investment until the concept is proven?

(I'd better add that I don't really know what I'm talking about here, I'm just starting to muck about with this sort of thing myself.)

(oh and don't let The Russian put you off trying it.)

#5 m3838

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 08:00 PM

(oh and don't let The Russian put you off trying it.)


And just where did I try to put off trying it? I suggested to use Hohner, for it's gritty sound.
I think playing blues on refined Englsh (or is it British?) made concertina will be just funny.
Like female contralto singing:
"Ah haed ay womeeeeen
An' she don' treat me rah't
She took al' mah moneeee
An' she don' give me no sweet loooove..."

#6 Dirge

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 08:48 PM

Sorry Misha; "I don't believe concertina will fit well in blues. " you said.

#7 m3838

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 08:51 PM

Sorry Misha; "I don't believe concertina will fit well in blues. " you said.

Ah bummer!

#8 marien

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 08:08 AM

This Wheatstone seems okay if 20 buttons is enough, although I don't know about the tuning and I am not sure about the reed frames for that age.

http://cgi.ebay.co.u...1QQcmdZViewItem

Marien

#9 Robert Booth

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 11:02 AM

"... losers, "

Mischa, remember what Muddy Waters said once, " Jes ' cause I plays the Blues don't mean I got 'em... I jes' plays em." :lol:

#10 bellowbelle

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 05:28 AM

T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do (concertina)
original words & music by Porter Grainger & Everett Robbins ~
parodized, italicized lines below by Wendy Stanford (revised 1/28/08)
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ 

There ain't nothin' I can do, nor nothin' I can say,
That folks don't criticize me;
But I'm gonna do just as I want to anyway;
And don't care if they all despise me.

No matter if it makes 'em meenah,
I'm gonna play my concertina;

'T'ain't nobody's business if I do.

If I sit here all day squeezin',
I don't have to have a reason;

'T'ain't nobody's business if I do.

If I go in search of beauty,
Never turn on my computey,

'T'ain't nobody's business if I do.

If my friends all leave me lonely
'N'I play for birds and flowers only

'T'ain't nobody's business if I do.

After all, the way to do is do just as you please,
Regardless of their talkin';
Oftentimes the ones that talk will get down on their knees,
And beg your pardon for their squawkin'.

If I do whatever I will, oh --
Squeezin' bellows in an ocean billow
,

'T'ain't nobody's business if I do.

Catch the wind and set in motion
All the waves within the ocean;

'T'ain't nobody's business if I do.

(repeat first 3 stanzas...or whatever)
Key: Eb

I use the tune as done by Bessie Smith, for the most part.

I may have posted this before but I recently rewrote my parodized lines.

My contribution to the blues...!

Edit added:
Hmm, I was only looking at the particular thread re blues...maybe this should have gone under the 'Tunes' forum.

Edited by bellowbelle, 29 January 2008 - 05:29 AM.


#11 Tom Hall

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 10:07 AM

Back in the late '60s, Tony "Little Sun" Glover put out a book on Blues Harp (harmonica).

I would think that his "cross harp" techniques would work very well on an Anglo.

There are copies of the book avaiable through bookfinder.com - Tom

#12 John Sylte

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 11:18 PM

Cross harp techniques rely heavily on bending notes using the shape of your throat and mouth cavity, and many of the notes that give blues harmonica it's unique sound are found in between the notes of the diatonic scale. Notes cannot be bent on a concertina. Ask someone who can play blues harmonica to do so without bending any notes at all, and that's probably as bluesy as the concertina could ever sound... I like the idea, that's just my two cents.

#13 Dirge

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 04:10 AM

So go on then, Alice; has this appalled you or are you going to have a go?

Edited by Dirge, 25 February 2008 - 04:11 AM.


#14 njurkowski

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 12:03 PM

Cross harp techniques rely heavily on bending notes using the shape of your throat and mouth cavity, and many of the notes that give blues harmonica it's unique sound are found in between the notes of the diatonic scale. Notes cannot be bent on a concertina. Ask someone who can play blues harmonica to do so without bending any notes at all, and that's probably as bluesy as the concertina could ever sound... I like the idea, that's just my two cents.


There are plenty of instruments that can play the blues without the ability to bend notes (piano, for instance...and certainly one could play blues guitar without bending, if that was the style he or she was after), but I agree wind instruments might not be the best place to look to for patterning your playing. Blues doesn't necessarily have to be "down and dirty" - a lot of the beboppers in the '40s and '50s played blues in a very clean style when compared to their forebearers (maybe compare Kid Ory's trombone playing with J.J Johnson). Playing blues convincingly is something that relies on the ability to shape appropriate melodic ideas and the judicious use of "blue" notes (b3, b5, b7, essentially) at the appropriate times. It can be a fine line between just playing up and down a blues scale (and therefore probably overusing blue notes) and playing convincingly on the changes. I've never been able to get the hang of it (on trombone or piano...I've never tried on concertina...), but I have no doubt that a skilled musician could get a concertina to play the blues. Though I can't think of a well-known blues-concertinist to pattern your playing after, you can always get inspiration from piano, guitar, and harmonica players, among others.

#15 stevejay

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 08:25 PM

I want to have a custom made 20 button concertina for playing blues but have not had any experience with the different types of custom made ones out there...who makes the best sounding concertina for blues?


Work on Dm blues. It has the most possibilities imo. Lots of pulls will give the best sound.

#16 keithfre

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Posted 29 March 2008 - 07:42 AM

I want to have a custom made 20 button concertina for playing blues but have not had any experience with the different types of custom made ones out there...who makes the best sounding concertina for blues?

An English concertina gives you all the blue notes on both push and pull, so you can play semitone "smudges" for instance.

#17 stevejay

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 08:16 PM

You can play cajun blues on a concertina. So much of blues depends on the the semitones and slides, bends, blues will come out sounding like a melodeon blues. Ledbelly recorded some on a melodeon.




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