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Tradewinds Ted

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About Tradewinds Ted

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    Chatty concertinist

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  • Interests
    Folk Music, incl. Banjo, Whistle, Dulcimer, Singing, and Dance
    Anglo Concertina
  • Location
    Now in Wisconsin! formerly in Lancashire.

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  1. Strongly recommend buying a copy of "The Concertina Maintenance Manual" by David Elliott. Excellent advice with description and photos, and it even seems to focus primarily on the English Concertina, just like what you now own. To answer your question on how to get to the reeds: You remove those 6 screws from one end, one in the middle of each edge, and gently lift off the wooden end. That exposes the action pan, with all the buttons and levers, and pads. This is then gently lifted out to get to the reed pan. Half of the reeds will then be visible, and you can gently pull out the reed pan to see the other half. There will be a hole in the reed pan to help in removing it. I emphatically suggest that you only remove one end at a time, and also be sure to put everything back carefully in the same orientation. Probably best not to leave the ends apart for an extended time either, or the reed pan or action pan can warp due to changes in humidity. There are others here who can tell you a lot more, including Mr. Elliott himself.
  2. I don't have this CD but I'm told he sings the new version on his 2004 CD "Ranter's Wharf" which also includes the title track. So not quite as recent as I had thought! His website indicates this can be purchased directly by contacting him, and he has at least two CDs since then. http://www.johnconolly.co.uk/merchandise.html
  3. To be fair, I got my spelling online too. "Connolly" was used as often as "Conolly" but the latter came from what appeared to be his own website. When we saw him perform a few years ago, he had recently written several new verses to "Fiddler's Green" but I don't have them.
  4. John's last name is spelt "Conolly" and he is indeed a fine fellow, as well as a fine musician/author/composer. Saw him perform maybe 5 or 6 years ago at Ellesmere Port, and also again in Edgworth.
  5. As other have pointed out there is the option to leave the field blank. It might be useful if the option to simply leave the field blank was somehow labelled so a new user would see that this is also an available option. Displaying the words "not telling" seems a stronger political statement than simply not providing the information; some people prefer to make that statement, while others may not want to imply such a statement, yet still prefer not to provide the information. A new user will of course be the least familiar with this forum, and could be put off. I just checked: For those already registered, it is easy to edit your profile to remove the gender selection so it is blank and doesn't show, if you prefer to do that. So if you didn't notice that leaving the blank choice was a valid option when you registered, you can update it now. No need to un-register. But to answer the original question: Why is declaring gender important? The one useful reason I can see is that the primary language used on this forum is English, which commonly uses gendered pronouns. Declaring gender allows members who haven't yet met to address each other respectfully with preferred pronouns, without making possibly embarrassing guesses based on names. I don't always think to look, but if I notice the gender of someone I wish to reply to, that helps me avoid affront or confusion. When addressing someone whose gender I don't know I try to remember to use neutral language, particularly if they have chosen "not telling" for this forum. (You may notice I just used a singular "they" to do so.) But non-gendered language in standard English can be awkward, so if male or female gender has been declared, I will use the standard matching pronoun where called for. I'm not at all likely to research the "about me" details of someone's profile for most replies however. Even so, I don't really think it would cause too much confusion if the gender field was just completely eliminated on the forum, as long as no one is offended when mistakes are made as result.
  6. Others will be better prepared to answer, since I don't play Melodeon, just tried it a bit from time to time, but those brief tries have provided some clues to the difficulty, just looking at it from the other direction. First of all, you are on the right track by admitting that the instruments are indeed different. The basic push/pull for the scale along each row works in the same familiar pattern (with possible variations on the lowest buttons) so that part should be familiar. The trick of crossing rows is really just to remember that it isn't a Melodeon, and training yourself on the new pattern. Crossing rows on the Anglo is certainly done, but it is not the same as on the Melodeon, because the relationship of the rows is different. On your DG Melodeon the G row is a fourth higher than the D row, while on a Cg Anglo the g row is a fifth higher than the C row. So as a result, the patterns for crossing rows are quite different, and the tunes you now play cross rows will have to be played in a different pattern on the Anglo. Even if your Anglo is a Gd which seems as though it would be similar, this time the d row is a fifth higher than the G row instead of the G being the higher row by a fourth on the Melodeon, so the relationship is still different. There are several answers on what to do with your left hand. 1) Part of what the left hand does is continue the melody, for notes that are lower than those provided on the right hand. After all, on your Melodeon there will have been 10 buttons on each row, or thereabouts, and the right hand on the Anglo only has 5 buttons on each row. These are likely equivalent to the top five buttons or so on the Melodeon, depending upon if yours is a 3 or 4 start. So the lower part of the scale continues on the left hand, and will be needed for many tunes. But there is more to it than just playing the lower notes along the rows. Because of the two rows are different by a fifth on the Anglo, most of the two home scales can be played with just the first two fingers on each hand, by crossing rows, so this will often be part of what the left hand is doing. 2) But what about chords? Well, the Melodeon provides the main chords more easily, since they can be a single button. With the Anglo, you have to build chords up with several buttons. But in the home keys, the buttons required are generally available in the same push pull direction as the melody notes which require those chords. For example, on a Cg Anglo the F# is only available on the pull, but the most likely chord to play during that melody note would be a D major, and the required D, F#, and A for that are all available on the pull. C, and G chords are largely available in either push or pull, although not in every inversion. The F note is generally only on the pull again, but the A, F, and some version of the C for the F chord are also available. Finding all the notes in the desired chord gets trickier farther off the home keys, or when playing against a passing note in the melody, but most likely you won't want to play all three notes on the chord very often anyway. I expect the same push/pull conflict between the available chords and passing notes happens with the Melodeon too? At least with the Anglo you can likely find at least ONE note from the desired chord which will be in the same direction as the melody note, and perhaps two. 3) That chord option can be broken up into an alternating bass line, playing a low note, perhaps the root of the chord, followed by perhaps the fifth of the chord, then the low note again, and the third of the chord, or a similar pattern, iin a classic "Oom Pah" style. Perhaps playing the root on the "Oom", followed by the third and fifth together on the "Pah". You will want to play different inversions of the chords for variation, but also because there may not always be room below the melody line for the 1st position of the chord. Generally it is best to keep these harmony notes short, not drawn out. 3) Another option for harmony is to play the melody note, and then another note in the same row, a bit lower as a harmony line. (occasionally, crossing rows for that harmony note) This could mean playing the same melody an octave lower, or it could mean playing a harmony line made up of fifths, fourths, and thirds below the melody line. I happen to prefer this style, and it is fairly easy when playing along the rows, but can appropriate notes can also be worked out when crossing rows on the melody line, it just takes more planning. When playing a harmony line or chords, this may influence your choice of when to cross rows on the melody line, in order to make your desired harmony line or chords available. At times that will be countered by the practice of avoiding playing consecutive notes on different buttons with the same finger. So it does get complicated. Then there are the accidentals and reversals available on the outer row. Of course the accidentals make more melody notes available, and the extra reversals can allow for a smoother melody line. But the reversals also can open up more possibilities for what harmony notes are possible for a given melody line. That is a lot from someone who says up front that he doesn't know what he is talking about, but I hope it helps!
  7. That looks like a Chemnitzer concertina, which originated in Germany (hence the name) but is commonly used here in the US Midwest for Polka music. There are a few people on this website with experience with these instruments and I hope they can help you more than I can, but more people here concentrate on the smaller English, Anglo, and Duet style concertinas. You might have more luck with the US Concertina Association, or links found at https://concertinamusic.com/ I found a link to a FAQ page put together by Ted Kloba, with information which looks like it could be useful to you, although it hasn't been updated recently. https://ciceroconcertina.weebly.com/chemnitzer-faq.html
  8. On that last point of finding the key of a tune - I also find it difficult to pick up what key a tune is played in during a session. Nearly impossible when away from my instrument, but when actually there with my instrument there are some tricks that help. First of all, you mention ITM and the Keys of G or C, but I've found that D is even more common than C, and A is also possible. I'm sensitive to that fact because one of my concertinas is a 20 button Anglo in Cg, so it doesn't have that critical C# note for tunes in D. If you are lucky, people will mention the key before they start, but in reality that doesn't seem to happen much, or if they do you can't hear them - often not even possible to hear the name of the tune if mentioned. If you are starting off on harmonies, there is a method to the "discretely guessing and quietly noodling." Try lightly/briefly playing your best guess at the root notes of the chords, rather than the full chords. That won't cause as much interruption as a full chord if your guess is off, but it allows you to hear your instrument against what others are playing, so you can calibrate where you should be. Once you have found the key, you may still miss where the chords change, but this also offers some forgiveness within the I, IV, and V chords, since your intended root note may still fit in as the 5th of the real chord. Once you have found the key, and starting to find the chord changes, and start filling in the chords a bit; the layout of the Anglo helps with this, in the home keys. It usually isn't necessary or even desirable to play the full chord, two notes of a chord are often plenty, and that is less likely to step on what anyone else is doing. Paying attention to the rhythm, playing two or three note arpeggios, instead of two notes simultaneously can work well, and you will likely happen upon bits of the melody that way. Changing between playing root and 5th then sometimes root and 3rd also provides some variation, particularly in passages where the chord doesn't change quickly. The aim is to play your harmony notes briefly and quietly, while somehow not playing them tentatively, which is mostly a matter of timing. One trick often mentioned is to watch the guitar player, to see what chord shapes they are using. Of course that means you have to know at least some basic chord shapes for guitar, and you also need to know if they are in standard EADGBE tuning, or something else like DADGAD, and also note whether they are using a capo. If there is more than one guitar player, they may tune and capo differently in order to avoid duplicating the same part. Personally I don't play guitar, and I've had little success finding the key by watching for guitar chords, but I do find it useful to watch when the guitar player changes chord shape as a hint for the timing of chord changes, even if I can't really see which the new chord might be. If there is a whistle player playing a D whistle, I can sometimes tell whether a tune is in D or G by watching for a the distinctive fully open C# vs several mid holes closed on the C natural. I also can often get the key by watching which notes dominate, particularly at the end of the phrase. Even the melody notes are fairly easy to see on the whistle, since the fingering of the notes is mostly linear with the scale. But whistle players are prone to ornamentations, so that can obscure things a bit, and some will bring a quiver of whistles in different keys. Note that in ITM sessions often the melody instruments are playing largely in unison, although playing different ornamentations, and perhaps playing different variations across each other, rather than anyone playing full harmony lines. Quite different in that way from Old-time sessions, where tunes are played through many times, with musicians trading harmonies. It is generally still OK to start by picking out chords and harmonies in an ITM session, but be sensitive to the particular session you are in. All that said, picking up a tune in a session is still a struggle, and I haven't even been to a session lately, so you are quite possibly already doing better than I am!
  9. I listened to the recording last night, and it sounded good. The playing has a few hesitations, but overall very nice and clear. The recording sounds as if resonating in a large empty room, which gives it a far away feeling, quite appropriate for this particular tune, although perhaps it might muddle other more bouncy tunes such as a fast jig. The notation didn't appear to be correct. The note pitches and the lengths were all just fine, but the bar lines were off by one crotchet. (1/4 note) This tune ought to start with a pickup prior to the first full bar, so the first two quavers (1/8 notes) would be before the bar, with the downbeat of the full measure on the next note, and everything else shifts forward one 1/4 note to match. I can't seem to open the .pdf today though, and see that your post was recently edited, so I don't know if that file has since been changed.
  10. Welcome! I just recalled seeing a thread two weeks ago about a strap adjustment used by Herold Herrington, and also used by Dana Johnson on his Kensington concertinas. It would require making new hand rests, or modification to the ones you have, but doesn't require attachment to the edge of the instrument, or a buckle against your hand. New straps needed without the buckle too, of course. A much cruder but easier to build option would be to add a screw on one end of the hand rests to go through adjustment holes on the (new) straps, but that would mean removing the screw for each adjustment. (which is really what most of us do anyway, just the position of the screw is different.)
  11. I don't play crane, but from piano a nice and fairly simple variation on the "oom-pah" portion of your accompaniment is to include some simple chord inversions if the same chord is required for a full bar or more. Not meaning to make it too complicated, just something to consider. So you might play the root of the chord on the first beat, and then 3rd and 5th together on the second beat, just as you have been doing. Then if the required chord hasn't changed yet play the 5th of the chord (perhaps in a lower octave than just played?) on the third beat, followed by the root and 5th on the fourth beat. Or mix it up and sometimes play the 3rd, followed by the root and 5th. The variation can be more interesting to listen to, and since the 5th of one chord will usually be the same as the root of one of the other two most common chords, it adds just a tiny pleasant bit of unconscious tension for the briefest moment while waiting for the upbeat to hear if the chord has actually changed or not.
  12. You mention several other items that need repair, but not the reeds? I suppose the need to replace the reeds was implied by the original question, but what is their condition? Missing, broken, rusty, dirty, or just out of tune? I've not heard of anyone making traditional concertina reeds in shoes, except those builders who also manufacture their own concertinas. The concertina reeds are considered to be a significant portion of the total cost of the instrument. If you do find a source of reeds, make certain that they will fit your particular instrument. The reeds and shoes for each particular note are not all identical in size and configuration from one maker to another. I understand being intrigued by a particular instrument though, and it could be an interesting project. But if your reservation about a professional restoration is the cost, I expect that your best course of action would be to have a professional restorer take a look at the instrument, to see what is really involved to either just bring it to playable condition, or to fully restore it, and discuss what each option actually would cost, as well as what portions of that project are advisable for you to take on yourself, either for you to learn or save on the overall cost. You may indeed be advised that the instrument is a lost cause and not worth the expense, but you may find it will cost less than you fear, and in either case you should get some advice that aids your efforts or even prevents accidental damage from an ill-advised action. I'm nothing like an expert though, just interested. There are others who can much better advise you, including previous responders in this thread!
  13. So the plates are waxed in. Flipping the plates to reverse the direction as an experiment would require re-waxing. Possible, but not worth it, particularly since you will most likely want to flip them again after, to bring your instrument back to normal. But not expensive, unless you end up paying for a professional repair later. I think you are correct, the lifted valve on the far right is the E on the pull. Air pressure ought to be enough to pull that valve down into place, but perhaps it doesn't land quite where intended. The internal construction of your Wren is much more like an accordion, so someone experienced in accordion repairs would be appropriate, when you need them. You are in luck, a quick google search came up with "Musical Instruments of Canada" operated by the De Florio family in Toronto. Their website accordionscanada.com indicates that they do repairs on site, and also sell the beginner Concertina Connection instruments, so would certainly be familiar with concertinas similar in construction to yours. (The Rochelle construction also uses blocks with waxed in reed plates.) Perhaps four hours drive away, in Windsor Ontario, Frank Edgley builds more traditional concertinas, as well as hybrids. From what I have read on this site, it is certainly worth looking him up if you are considering options for an instrument you may want to upgrade to in future.
  14. Well, if you really want to try it, you may be able to do so for free: What make of concertina do you have? and how do you feel about opening it up and tinkering? If yours is a traditional concertina reed instrument, you likely could swap out all the reeds (keeping them in their reed shoes) to the opposite side of the reed pan, if the reed shoes for the push and pull reed under each button are the same size, or very close. Absolutely free to try, and completely reversible once you are done, as long as you have carefully marked where each one was originally! For any one button, the notes on the push and pull are usually very close in pitch so the reeds/shoes are likely to be very close in size. If it is a hybrid/accordion reed instrument, and the reeds are fixed in pairs to plates screwed to the reed pan, then it is likely very easy to just turn each of those plates upside down (inside out?) to reverse the reeds, and again, this is free and completely reversible. Again, be sure to carefully mark how they were originally. A friend of mine actually did flip the plate holding the reeds for the C#/Eb on the right hand of one of his Wheatstone system Anglo concertinas, to make it more similar to his other Jeffries system instruments, at least for playing in D. I changed it back, when I later bought his instrument, and it only took a couple minutes to carefully swap the one plate, so swapping thirty of them could be done well inside of an hour. On the other hand, if they are accordion reeds waxed in... while this is theoretically also reversible with new wax, it would be a terrible hassle, and an amateur attempt seems a catastrophe waiting to happen. I wouldn't do it!
  15. Ok, so my estimate of the average pressure difference as 1/60th, or 0.017 of atmospheric pressure, though admittedly small, was nearly 1.4 times bigger than your more informed estimate of 0.0122 of atmospheric pressure. I think I guessed pretty well then, and but more importantly I must admit you are correct that the difference is not likely to be consequential. I also forgot about the eventual practical upper limit of pads lifting if the pressure inside the bellows is too high, before the bellows blow out. Sorry to have side-tracked the conversation quite so much, as I do agree that ergonomic considerations are likely the real reason why most (not all) types of diatonic bellows instruments have been standardized to start the scale on the push (or blow, for harmonica.) And that in turn MAY lead to push notes more often on the downbeat, as discussed previously.
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