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Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posts posted by Łukasz Martynowicz

  1. On 11/2/2023 at 10:39 PM, David Lay said:

    I tried to research the archival qualities of PVA on-line without much success.  Are there age effects that might show up long-term with this plastic such as plasticizer loss?  Is it UV stabilized?

    It’s only „biodegradable” in an industrial process, it won’t spontantaneously fall apart or react badly to moisture in the air. However, PLA has two unfortunate qualities. Firstly, it has very low temperature resistance, around 45 deg.C, so beware direct sun exposure or even more a car trunk on a sunny day, otherwise it will irreversibly deform. Secondly, it is very stiff and has „just ok” layer adhesion, so be careful not to drop it/hit it too hard, or it may crack/delaminate. However, this concerns the outer shell only, as Ed prints all internal parts with carbon fiber infused PLA, which is highly durable. But the temperature concern stays the same.

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  2. Buy some cheap, crafts EVA foam (2mm thick) and stuff it into fretwork in an almost airtight manner. Leave only couple of square mm of gaps. The concertina should be 15-20dB quieter and this whole procedure us entirely reversible due to push-fit nature of it. If there is enough room under the fretwork you my simply glue a foam cutout under the entire fretwork (you have to have a glue seam all around though, including around buttons) and then poke some holes in it until reeds start speaking freely.

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  3. I’ve once built a MIDI Hayden for exact same reasons. With bellows and some bells and whistles like selectable pressure response curve, alternative piano mode, where bellows controlled velocity instead of volume, and both Hayden and (only partially working) Anglo modes. You only need a differential pressure sensor hooked to an analog input and link it to volume channel. The main problem is not in pressure sensitivity, it’s in buttons. You really need levers for Hayden MIDI, as there is no way to fit durable and responsive off the shelf switches. So all the typical concertina innards except for reedpan and reeds.

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  4. It is possible to lower the volume of a concertina with baffles. My Elise has been toned down from peak 105dB to peak 90dB, and my current box is set at comfortable peak 80dB. But not with felt. With EVA foam or solid baffles.


    In order to lower the volume the open area of the fretwork must be reduced, and it has to be reduced substantially. Original Elise „fretwork” had to be closed almost entirely - the area left open, so that the reeds could speak freely, was measured in square milimeters. My current concertina has two layers of fretwork. Outer, aesthetic wood one is very open and as a result piercingly bright and loud. The final tone is shaped by a second layer of 3D printed hard baffle, which both mellows the tone and decreases volume.


    The overal volume can also be lowered significantly by decreasing chamber holes aperture, and is typically used to balance relative reeds volumes.  This can be done in a reversible way by ring inserts and can lower the volume by 10-20dB, but has a serious impact on response and pitch stability of lower notes.


    Other than that, I can indeed confirm, that a closet with a lot of clothes on hangers is a great practice and recording space. I have one just like that and it can dampen clarinet, concertina, loud city noises and mobile air conditioning unit. Mine has about 10sq meters aperture of open hangers and shelves, which easily translates to dozens if not low hundreds sq meters of total sound dampening surface area. 

    Combined, my reduced volume boxes played in said closet are silent enough to not dominate over typical household sounds, normal music/movie/gaming volume etc. 

  5. 9 hours ago, DaveRo said:

    Can you expand on what you mean by 'more stable'. Do you mean the end is less likely to rotate - e.g. about the vertical axis - when you reach for a button far from the centre? I'd have thought you'd have to add a lot of weight to make a difference.


    This rotation, or twisting, is what knackered my wrists with the Stagi 46 - plus poor technique as a novice no doubt. As well as being lighter, the Peacock's buttons are all closer to the centre. It's why I'm a bit obsessed with weight and the size of the button field.

    Mostly because bellows is less affected by fingering. On light instruments I always have this feeling, that endplates try to escape from under my fingers. On a heavy instrument much less so. Rotation is way more related to button array and handrail/handstrap positions than weight. First iteration of Ed’s Hayden, with a central array and a handrail very far to the back is very wobbly. That is why there is the rectangular version now with more proper array/handrest positions.

  6. 5 hours ago, vpo said:

    Just a thought here.. and fully understanding I know nothing of moving around the Hayden fingerboard but sometimes a fresh look doesn’t hurt…so….
    When I got my first English, I noticed that nearly everyone had their thumb stuck fairly deep in the Thumb support. I found this really uncomfortable and found I couldn’t move my wrist adequately to play comfortably and it also strained my thumbs. Now I play with my thumbs barely in the thumb support, hands/wrists free to move.. much more comfortable, instrument supported mostly by my knee and a bit by the pressure of other fingers playing notes, as well as a little by the pinky.


    When I got the bigger instrument it came with wrist straps. I tried them, felt constrained, immediately removed and never felt the need of them.


    From a Newbies point of view… When I tried Ed’s Hayden last week, I slipped my hands through the straps, likewise felt very constrained, wrist not really free to move when I tried to play a scale and some simple chords, so loosened them and found it much easier. Ed said Didier had explained to him that the instrument can be controlled by the tension on the strap between the base of the thumb and the soft tissue at the base of the forefinger, ( kind of gripped between the two if you know what I mean). I thought also this combined with the tension of the strap over the back of the hand.. so could perhaps be able to play with strap loosened as long as there is tension there. And perhaps less of a need to twist the instrument out of the vertical plane in order to reach notes. Worth a try perhaps. Maybe you’ve tried before. Apologies if I speak in ignorance.

    Exactly why I designed those:



    The thumb is only inserted as deep as the first joint, like in a thimble, and the antler-anvil combination immobilise the thumb only along the bellows axis, leaving all other degrees of freedom unaffected. This works similarly to what Didie explained, but in a completely passive manner.

  7. 4 hours ago, DaveRo said:

    I had asked @vpo whether he was concerned about the weight of the Bandotina:

    • Edward Jay's 74 button Haydon concertina - 2.3kg
    • Edward Jay's 74 button Bandotina - 2.8kg

    Those weights are from Edward's website.


    By contrast:

    • 42 button Peacock - 1.2kg
    • 46 button Stagi Haydon - 1.8kg
    • 52 button Beaumont - 1.4kg

    I bought a Peacock partly because I found the Stagi too heavy. I'd like a Beaumont if I could get hold of one!


    The extra reeds must account for much of the Jays' weight. Is a 'plastic' concertina like the Jays likely to be heavier or lighter than a hybrid wooden one, such as my Peacock, with the same number of buttons?

    My wooden 66b with brass shoed reeds, which are heavier than aluminum ones, weights 2.4kg. IIRC more than half of this weight comes from the reeds, with a significant contribution from brass action and a bit too thick button caps. My 3D printed 45b with oversized aluminum reeds and repurposed Elise bellows that has huge wooden frames weights 1.4kg. Here, most of this weight comes from the reeds and IIRC all plastic parts were about half of spool, so not more than 0,5kg. 


    As to plastic vs wood - 3D printed parts have 1-1.5 mm thick walls and typically 85% of the part’s volume is just air, making prints of anything, not just concertinas, lighter than those same parts made traditionally from other materials bar some lightest woods. In a lot of cases parts actually have to be additionally weighted with steel inserts.


    Now about the weight of duets overall - both me and Didie actually prefer heavier instruments (outside of traveling purposes) and Didie contemplated adding weights to his Beaumont. This is because playing accompaniment on a heavy and thus more stable box is way easier. You also most probably play such instrument seated, so there is no shoulder fatigue problem, and you do not work the bellows in bisonoric style, so there is no innertia problem.

  8. 2 hours ago, Don Taylor said:

    You might try your local pharmacy, I saw a 500ml bottle 0f 99.9% in ours a couple of days ago.  I am not sure what it is used for medicinally.

    To make cheap sterilising solution, that is safe to use on skin. Just add water to dilute it to 70% and voila. It is the cheapest option I have found and have been using it throughout the entire COVID period. It is 3x cheaper than buying branded solutions like Skinman etc… 

  9. 9 hours ago, alex_holden said:


    The original complicated jigs took me a few days of work each to make. I made two because my first instrument had four sides and my second had six. When my third instrument had eight sides I couldn't be bothered making another complicated jig and, for a while, I made my bellows with no jig at all. With my instruments all being bespoke I have probably made about ten different sizes/shapes of bellows so far and I expect that trend to continue. I now feel the simple dowel jigs are a reasonable compromise between speed of manufacture and ease of use. If I was running a production line that was constantly making identical bellows every day then a more complicated jig might be worth the effort.


    It does help to attach the bellows frames to the end boards so they don't flop around during assembly. It's a bit hard to explain but the spacing sort of works itself out if the core is the right size and you set the distance between the ends such that the valleys are loosely resting on the core.


    The difficult part has to do with the difference in depth between the inner cards and the end cards which gives you the inset - I've got that wrong more than once. It's a good idea to take the bellows off the jig and check they look and move as they should after attaching the linen hinges but before attaching any leather parts.

    Exactly my experience with making bellows that are attached to the frames - you only need the jig size to be exact and frames mounted dead center - folds space out evenly by themselves. I used simple octagonal prism cut from MDF. I can’t be sure, but I suppose that „Wakker bellows” are made with similar „freeform” setups. 

  10. 5 hours ago, vpo said:

    Wonderful.. Thanks David.
    With respect to you and your instruments, Lucasz, I’m also rather interested in Ed Jays instruments.. in particular his Bandotina ( no shortage of notes there!)... but he doesn’t seem to be responding via his website email. Perhaps I’m ending up in his junk mail. Might anyone know how otherwise he can be contacted, I wonder.

    He’s active on facebook concertina groups, you can try there. And I can very much recommend his Haydens - I helped him develop them :D He is currently working on extending the range of his Bandotin down to F2 (current iteration goes down only to A2, which is greatly limiting accompaniment capabilities).

  11. As to my personal slant/no slant preference. I have a couple of years of slanted experience on Elise vs current no slant 66b and I vastly prefer no slant. Especially on RH, where it greatly increases pinky usability. Overall ease of navigation is also increased due to symmetrical vertical alignment of rows. 

  12. 1 hour ago, vpo said:

    Yes, The Troubadours seem to be offered mirrored or not as per preference, the others not so… but it’ll makes sense to go with what is commonly found, I’m sure. DaveRo, thanks for your very kind offer. I’m a bit tied up at the moment, but may pm you and take you up on that offer. Thanks a lot. I’m probably going to be selling my little Wheatstone Pinhole Aeola Treble English.. (will appear here in due course)  and Freebase accordion to part fund this so I suspect it’s going to take a little while unless exactly the right thing presents itself quickly. Thanks again to you both… if anyone hears of anyone selling secondhand, please point them my way:) Vince

    Apart from the difference in fingering, mirrored layout also changes bellows behaviour, so there is that to consider. 

    As to my to-be instrument: 6 1/4 or 6 1/3”, square, 3D printed, harmonikas.cz brass DIX reeds (accordion style), probably three options - 40, 46 and 50b in the same box (upgradeable later on). 40b version will have RH Troubadour layout and the same repeated for the LH (octave lower of course), 46 is „standard” and 50 will extend the standard down to Bb key (however, there will be mixed Eb/D# positions due to lever routing restrictions in such a small box, so it won’t be easy-peasy key). No slant, non-mirrored (however mirrored could probably be made to order, as it doesn’t require any layout redesign).


    Prices yet to be established, but somewhere between Stagi and Troubadour probably.

  13. 2 hours ago, DaveRo said:

    Concertina Connection sell the 36-key Troubadour - Wim Wakker introduced it in this thread

    He also mentioned the proposed Peacock XL in that thresd - but he hasn't mentioned it since.


    Where in the world are you? I think most Beaumonts are in the US - but I'm guessing. Does anybody know how many were made?


    Is it a Hayden or Wicki layout - or haven't you decided

    There will be no slant if that is what you ask. Original Wicki layout also had mirrored fingering. 

  14. 51 minutes ago, vpo said:

    Hello everyone. I’m looking to obtain a Hayden Duet, preferably a Beaumont or Peacock ( which I realise will be hard to find ) but will consider anything with at least 36 keys but preferably more. I currently play mostly jazz ballads and folk on my 2 Wheatstone English concertinas. Will appreciate any information if anyone knows someone who might be interested to sell. Thanks to all.


    If you're not in too much hurry, I may be releasing 40-50b 3D printed Hayden later this year (late fall probably). The higher button count variant will cover similar range as Beaumont.

  15. 15 hours ago, SmougyG said:


    How is that prototype working out? Any updates ?

    Waiting for the reeds to arrive I started renovating my workshop and it prooved more labourous than I thought (115 years old building is full of surprises). The concept phase is done however, I just can’t start printing it for another month or so. But while my schedule is delayed, my goal stands firm. 

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  16. 2 hours ago, Narvitopia said:

    Never mind, figured it out!

    I’m really interested in hearing what you came up with, as this piece covers pretty much an entire range of my 66b. Even the melody part stretches over the whole RH…


    You should hovever be able to play the third part in full IIRC. Given it is similar to the first part, you can skip the range problem by playing the end of the third part in place of the ending of the first part. I sometimes do this by mistake if I’m not focussed enough.


    There is no way however to play the middle part on anything smaller than 46 „standard” and it still requires crossing to the LH with the melody.

  17. 43 minutes ago, DaveRo said:

    I did - right at the start! I read your posts and looked at your examples. I was certainly attracted to the concept.


    But I concluded that I needed to know the old system to find stuff to play. And once I start learning that I might as well live with it.


    There is always an option to be "bilingual" :)

  18. 1 hour ago, DaveRo said:


    Having bought a concertina in my 70s, having never played an instrument (apart from a bit of piano before I was 10) I decided that learning a bare minimum of dots, and then playing those dots, was a way forward. So far it works for me - ish. I'm finding that I'm beginning to relate the dots on the staff to the button layout. But if I look at a dot, I don't readily recall the name of the note A,B,C...


    Perhaps in ten or twenty years I'll be able to do what you describe.


    By contrast, having 50 years experience of computers, I find transposing ABC or sheet music a doddle. My choice of a Hayden was predictable: I'm an engineer not a musician.

    As you probably figured out by now, playing on a Hayden is all about geometry, not note names. So if you decipher the series of finger movements in one key, the same series of finger movements apply in any other key. 

    If you’re just beginning learning dots you may want to look at a specific alternative notation system, Parncut 6-6 Tetragram. It has a „built in” reference to Hayden rows layout and is way easier to sight read than traditional dots.

  19. 8 hours ago, DaveRo said:

    I often transpose a tune to fit within the compass of my 42-button Peacock duet. These are usually 2-part tunes. Sometimes I have to choose between the accompaniment going off the bottom or the melody going off the top. If I can find the music in ABC it's easy, as several people have said. I change the bass clef to treble-8 at the same time.


    If I only have staff notation I use an Android app - Music Scanner by David Zemsky - to convert it to MusicXML, which Easy ABC can import, and then transpose it. The app will work from a pdf, a screenshot from a website, or by photographing sheet music. And it will play it - which is a feature I often come back to when trying to learn it!

    Why exactly you need any written transposition to transpose on a Hayden? Simply „relabel” buttons mentally to „shift” the layout to a desired key and play. Geometry of the music stays the same, unless you’re aiming at a „wrap around” key. This is one of the main features of all isomorphic layouts. 

  20. Given the goal of this excercise, I would skip it entirely. As Alex wrote, replacing accordion style reedpan for flat mounted one means you have to replace entire interior. With your listed workshop capabilities, I would save only the bellows and made entire new endboxes+innards from scratch. This way you can continue to play this instrument while you’re building the new one. You then switch the bellows and reeds to the new one and start building yet another instrument. This time around entirely from scratch and less bad, since you will now have enough knowledge about concertina building basics, to at least know what you are doing :D An old quote from the first Matrix movie is very adequate here: „Everybody fails the first time” :D 

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