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Myrtle's cook

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Posts posted by Myrtle's cook

  1. These look equally good for keeping dachshunds and similar small dogs warm - although succumbing to the temptation to pick up such an attired creature to see if it sounds chromatically or differently on the compression/pull might not be such a good idea for either party... ...no definitely not to be encouraged. :-)

  2. Welcome, too!


    You might also want to consider (and try if possible) a decent old instrument with brass reeds, as opposed to steel reeds. These are usually quieter and have a more mellow tone. These also tend to be less expensive than their steel reeded counterparts.


    YOu will no doubt know the following as an accordian player, but just in case: when buying an elderly concertina ensure it is in concert pitch and has 'new' (i.e. not original/old) pads and valves. Buying an elderly box from Ebay (for example) can mean spending as much again getting these and other things (e.g. leaky bellow) sorted out.

  3. There are quite a few resources including the Frank Butler tutor over at http://www.concertina.com/english/ free for down loading.


    As someone who was interested in learning the English concertina for accompanying folks songs I found Roger Watson's 'The first complete tutor for the English Concertina' very helpful - not jam packed with tunes, but it does build your ability in manageable steps from starter to knowing enough to start arranging yourself. In the same folk vein worth knowing that Dick Miles has written 'The Concise English Concertina A tutor' - I would suggest this is more of an intermediate level tutor unless you are very musical and pick things up quickly. Dick has also produced a second volume focused on arrangments to songs which takes things to the next level - both available from http://www.dickmiles.com/


    Once you get started almost any tutor is likely to be of interest - I have just acquired the Salvation Army tutor for English concertina and some of the tunes and arrangments are really engaging and interesting (and sound good too!).


    Also worth looking at you tube to get a better feel for skills such as bellows control etc Elsewhere on this website are highlights other members have identified.

  4. I think Ivan is probably right in terms of total Meccannics, I have seen at least a dozen Maccan players (some very accomplished musicians) amongst the concertina bands of the Liverpool Orange lodges.


    Perhaps the issue is that in the present economic conditions those of us who have a Maccan are sticking with it and resisting the temptation to buy another, and also that duets are not often regarded as an 'entry' level instruments for those coming to the concertina afresh - so there is little 'new blood' coming into the market for their first duet.

  5. The metal buttons on my Excelsior (which is an early model) are flat topped and capped with German Silver - although with time and over a century of playing they have become a little rounded through wear. The relatively light springs make this no less comfortable to play than my Wheatstone which has rounded metal button tops.


    I have read or heard that glass buttons usually have rounded tops because flat topped ones are prone to chipping leaving a sharp edge that would render the key practically unplayable. Probably best to drop Chris and email via Ebay to double check if this matters to you.

  6. I have an extended treble [upwards] version of this instrument, although steel/nickel keys, not glass.


    I would echo the comments of Blue Eyed Sailor above - a good responsive instrument with a rounded sweet tone. Works well for me to accompany my singing. I have had mine 17 years and it has given me no problems and have played it on a fairly regular basis. The action is perhaps ever so slightly slower than that of a comparable Wheatstone, but not noticeably so, and that would cost perhaps double the price of this instrument.


    Can't comment on its comparison with the Geordie, unfortunately.

  7. What do people make of this strange beast listed on eBay? It has an almost DIY/prototype look about it. Whilst it follows the overall look of other early rectangular instruments, the arrangement of 5 keys on one side and 9+1 on the other is perhaps unusual.




    J W Moffat is not listed in Wes Williams survey of less well known makers. Is this the name of a dealer, here applied to a locally produced/imported instrument?

  8. I would agree with yankeeclipper - although alot of this may come down to personal learning style and perhaps even how our brains are hard wired (if that's the right term). I have always really liked the sound of the anglo and the idea of having the alternate push-pull notes/facility. I have, however, been quite unable to play one in practice, whilst the English system seems to come quite easily and flows relatively instinctively from printed noted to finger tip. No idea why this is, and can only put it down to the way my brain working in a resolutely chromatic way.


    As with Geoff I am learning Maccan duet at the moment. I haven't got to the stage where I can say it is particularly good for a specific styles of music yet, but it feels to have the versatility of an English concertina, and as Geoff says, the facility to play two parts opens up new worlds, although that may be more than is needed to join in a good Irish session. They do seem well suited to chordal accompaniment that would make them a good addition to a group scenario, or taking a step back in a session.


    Porbably no better solution to the question than trying a range of boxes - especially if you can find someone to rent/lend one for a few weeks.


    Incidently, David Cornell's arrangments at www.maccan-duet.com/cornell/ give some idea of what it is like to arrange/play the Maccan system duet.

  9. Considerably more scarce - Ebay listings, although hardly an objective source, would suggest a ratio of c.8-10 Maccans:1 Crane.

    The rather more straightforward key layout of the Crane system might be considered easier to play, particularly for those used to the English layout. Demand for Cranes and their relative rarity would seem to drive a higher price when they do appear.

  10. I was interested in this too, but the auction house were unable to send me an image of it. Particularly interesting to know if it was the original bill of sale or one for resale.


    At 5 guineas it reminds us how expensive these instruments were in their day. In the 1880s an agricultural labourer was paid around 13/- a week - so this concertina would have cost the equivalanet to eight week's wages. If we extrapolate forward, based on the UK national minimum wage of £6.08 and a 40 hour week, those eight weeks would earn £1945 (and never mind tax, NI etc!).

  11. The instrument would still seem to be for sale (same serial number), offered through the Preloved website:




    That pictured is indeed an English and a very nice looking box.


    I know that such websites are a prone to inadvertantly hosting scam adverts, although the location in Barnsley would tally with Galley Wench's location.

  12. Or sweet-talking his wife/or sweet talking her husband!


    It's a truly beautiful box, but I'm not sure I'd get away with buying it unless I had a secret concertina fund unknown to my infinitely better half!


    Seriously, do hope the buyer comes forward promptly - otherwise it is most unfair (to put it mildly) on the seller and underbidder(s).

  13. The following concertina is being offered by Bonhams auctioneers in a forthcoming sale. My initial thought on reading the description was that this was a dealers label applied to a Lachenal or Wheatstone - however the catalogue photo (see link below - my efforts at copying and pasting the image were unsuccessful) does not show the run of the mill such instruments. Does anyone recognise these ends?


    Perhaps it is by one of the smaller makers? The serial number quoted of 215 might support this. D'Almaine do crop us as sellers of their own/badged harmoniums and a host of woodwind instruments.




    Catalogue description is as follows:

    [Lot] 160Y

    Ceramics, Glass, Pictures and Works of Art

    An English forty eight button concertina

    With hexagonal, fretted mahogany endplates, ivory buttons, with the accidentals stained black and the C's stained red, with four-fold leather bellows with decorative papers, with label 'D'Almaine & Co, Manufacturers, 20, Soho Square, London', and with serial number 215 to the opposing end, 16cms diameter, in a lined, hexagonal mahogany case, together with auction catalogue where concertina was purchased in 1978 (2).


    £200 - 300

    US$ 310 - 470

    €260 - 380

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