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Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posts posted by Łukasz Martynowicz

  1. I don’t think I have ever played using „periodical movement”. „Phrase movement” is natural and becomes transparent really quick. As David wrote, focussing on bellows position (and sometimes also a direction) is important mostly before long legato phrases, where there simply is no good moment to reverse bellows direction mid-phrase. One other case, where bellows direction is important, is that despite fingering patterns on push and pull are identical, muscle work on the pull is different than on the push and some note sequences can be easier to finger in one direction. This is especially true with hand straps and awkward pinky finger sequences. „Periodical movement” can result in unnecessary increase in difficulty of such phrases. There is also little point in trying to establish rigid spots for bellows reversals in a tune, as the air supply will last you for longer when you practice the tune quietly and then you’ll find yourself „gasping” when you play the same tune on full volume. Unless of course, you’ll always phrase bellows movement as if played at full volume, but then you close yourself to a single interpretation. Personally, my bellows movement pattern depends strongly on my momentary mood and „flow”, so I tend to make up for discrepancies as I go - if I stress a note/phrase a bit more than usual, then I will reverse bellows one more time somewhere else - there are usually more good spots to reverse the bellows than necessary, and there is always an air button to speed up the bellows extension/contraction before reversal, to make more room for the next phrase. 


    That said, I’m currently so spoiled with abundance of air in my „big box” that I hardly think about bellows position anymore and only change bellows for accent/expression purposes.

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  2. I guess you are ordering from harmonikas.cz? If so, you can ask them to send you samples, so you can hear the difference for yourself. The difference in tone is a result of each of the materials ephasizing/cutting different harmonics. Brass ones sound honky, „round” and a bit deeper than aluminum. Zinc have this distinct harsher, bandoneon „tin” sound and aluminum ones have the same sound as any other accordion reed out there - full and equalised, but somewhat boring. There is also one other difference, not sound related - brass and zinc plated reeds are significantly heavier than aluminum ones.

  3. 3 hours ago, David Barnert said:


    Almost. I play a 46-key Hayden and when I pick up a Peacock I really miss having an A4 on the left. But it’s probably not a deal breaker.

    Exactly this, but for me it is a deal breaker. Especially as an upgrade to Elise, both Troubadour and Peacock lacking LH A4 is baffling to say the least, as you utilise this button on Elise in most of what you can play on this little box. So when you „upgrade” you must rearrange everything.

  4. Just to add my two cents - I can whistle any tune by ear, but I can hardly whistle from notation. I can play from notation, but I can hardly play by ear. And one other thing - "playing from notation" has two completely separate modes in my case. If I learn to play by following notation in real time/focussing on it, I can't play that tune without notation. But If I only decipher phrases and then the entire learning process is notation-free, I can play it from memory, but I can't follow notation.

    Now, a fact that some may find interesting. I'm an epileptic, and as such I'm anticonvulsants, but on different in different periods of my life. Since I picked up concertina, I've been on 5 different ones. On each one, my musical sense and ability to play music is vastly different in character and extent. The two border cases are pretty much opposites - on one medication I have absolute musical memory and I hear structure, but playing the tune is mechanical and I can not resume from mid phrase after mistake, I must start from the beginning. I can also play in long sessions, as mistakes do not accumulate. On the other one though, I don't hear structure, but my playing is deeply expressive and emotional, I can continue after a mistake, but each mistake makes me more and more angry and at some point I can't play a single, coherent phrase anymore and I must stop the session.

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  5. 40 minutes ago, gerardo1000 said:

    When I look at people playing concertinas on youtube,  I only listen to Irish and English folk music. That's all? So if I buy and learn concertina I will be limited to this ? What if I want to play, just as an example, the Godfather theme, or Libertango by Astot Piazzolla, or some songs from  the Amelie movie? No chances? Is the accordion the only solution?


    First of all, the blanket term "concertina" encompasses very different instruments, with very different capabilities. While you could attempt waltzes from Amelie or Libertango on an English or an Anglo, the arrangements will be limited. But on a large enough duet, those will sound similar to renditions on small accordions. So if you are more into music outside of folk tradition, you may want to focus on duets.

  6. 1 hour ago, Anglo-Irishman said:


    An Autoharping friend of mine - a button-presser like us concertinists - says that she memorises a piece of music as a series of finger movements among the buttons. It's a dance that the fingers perform to produce the musical sounds you want - and the choreography of this dance is stored in muscle memory.



    A very apt description of how playing on a Hayden feels like, especially in "wrapped keys", very different experience to playing on an Anglo, especially 20b.

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  7. My experience is that it is pointless to practice a single tune more than a couple of repetitions in one session, as each next repetition is usually less smooth. But then on the next session, it is suddenly a lot better. So, when only learning one tune, practice 2-3 times a day in separate sessions.


    Now about distractions and playing in other space than recording/target environment. Those are two separate problems. The latter is a problem of acoustics - your brain interprets the sound in a new room as entirely different tune (due to reverb, spectrum changes due to sound absorption etc), so it doesn't follow the muscle memory from the previous place. The remedy for that is to practice in as many different spaces as possible. Sometimes even playing with your doors closed vs your doors open makes the difference. Once your brain "calibrates" the tune for various environments this problem ends. As to distractions - what I found works best for me is a bit counterintuitive - once you learn how the tune goes... stop thinking about the tune when you play, let your mind wander, decouple your hands from conscious thoughts. This way there are no distractions anymore, because you are simply not overly focused on playing.

    Another advice - learn in phrases. When you talk/write, you don't think with letters. You are not even thinking with words most of the time, you are thinking with universal constructs couple of words long. So practice phrases and once one phrase is smooth enough that you usually don't make mistakes, learn another, and another. Most folk tunes are following the repeated parts construction anyways. When you find a particularly difficult fingerings, focus on those for a bit, then practice transition in and out of such phrase.

    And last but not least - the session structure should go like this: first you try to play as relaxed as you can what you already know how to play. Then practice a new difficult part/new tune, and then at the end of the session try to play relaxed again, possibly something entirely different or what you know best. This way, between the sessions, your brain will remember the joy of playing instead of hardships of learning new tunes.


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  8. 21 hours ago, Penny Borg said:

    I see you’re working on a 46-button duet. Do you have an idea when that might be ready and what price range it might be?  I’m a complete beginner looking to start with a duet who was advised to have a look at this thread regarding your 3D model. It seems as though the Elise falls a bit short, even for a beginner. Thank you!


    Mine 46: As to when - no sooner than fall. As to price point - anything between Stagi and Troubadour, it is too soon to tell.

    Ed's box - no idea, anything between weeks to months, and the price will depend on the final size of the instrument. At this point one of the variants entertained is a large, 70 buttons square box.

    • Like 1
  9. 29 minutes ago, Steve Schulteis said:


    My understanding is that the "DIX", "DIX concertina", and "DIX concertina original" reeds all have effectively the same tongues, and none have tapered slots. I have some of the "original" reeds (I really need to get that build going), so I can double check them later if anyone cares.


    I'm curious why you say the concertina reeds are more cumbersome. I figured they would be faster/easier to swap in and out for final tuning. Is it a matter of reed pan production? I realize the reed price difference renders this question kind of irrelevant - I'm just wondering what I'm missing.


    I think both of these Hayden projects are great, and I'm looking forward to watching them progress.


    I've just looked more closely at technical drawings on harmonikas.cz and indeed DIX concertina original also have trapezoid tongues, but strangely, have tongue scaling 2mm longer than DIX/DIX concertina reeds of the same size number.

    As to "more cumbersome" - printing reedpan for a hybrid is straightforward once you establish chamber dimensions, printing reedpan for dovetail reeds isn't. I'm not even sure it is possible to print one that won't require machining or gluing from two parts. Mounting valves on accordion reeds is also easier than with traditional concertina construction, especially with plastic reedpan, where mounting valve pins is not as easy as in wood. Unscrewing a screw and loosening one doesn't really take that much time than removing a dovetail reed.

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  10. 1 hour ago, Don Taylor said:

    I was assuming you meant either of the two DIX concertina style reeds.


    Those are 2x and 2.5x more expensive than plain DIX and only come in brass flavour. There is also no musical benefit from using "DIX concertina" over plain DIX, those have exactly same tongues and slots, "DIX concertina" are just heavier (more brass per two tongues) and more cumbersome to use, so contradict the "affordable" goal. "DIX concertina original" have straight tongues, however I don't know if they have tapered slots.

  11. 2 minutes ago, Don Taylor said:

    Have you considered using the ready-made bellows from Sandylaneman who sells on eBay? 


    This would result in a 6 1/4" hexagonal box which, I suspect, would be an easier fit for a 46 button Hayden made using DIX reeds.


    Sadly, 46 DIX does not fit in 6 1/4" hex. That is why I plan a square one. Hex must be 6" 3/4 - 7" if all reeds are mounted flat. Keep in mind, that I'm talking about accordion style, rectangular, double tongue DIX, not DIX concertina or DIX concertina original reeds.


  12. 13 minutes ago, Don Taylor said:

    I own a Beaumont and, on the whole, am pretty happy with the buttons that are already there.  I would like a D#3 on the LHS, but maybe that can be achieved by linking to the Eb3 that is already there?


    I would not want a bigger and heavier concertina than the Beaumont and I find that the low accordion reeded notes are pretty harsh sounding already so adding three big, low reeds (and another row on the LHS) would not be my choice.


    Maybe using DIX reeds would result in a smaller, less accordion-sounding concertina than is proposed?


    I try very hard to convince Ed to try DIX reeds for a long time now, but he has only tried melodica ones, which are aluminum, and compared to Binci he's using have a worse tone.

    Harsh sound of low notes is a chamber size problem that can be managed in a large box. But LH side is not layed out yet. 

    Linking is an option, I have instructed Ed on how they work and he already ordered necessary supplies, but it may still be difficult to implement links in a crowded box. 

  13. 30 minutes ago, Kaleb Kuan said:

    Just for my own understanding, the current Beaumont notechart shows 52 buttons, with 23 on the left and 29 on the right. So this new 55 button Hayden that is in the works would add 2 notes to the left and 1 to the right?

    That is the current goal, yes. But since reed placement is not a trivial task, it may end with less than 55 buttons, but I don’t think it will be less than Beaumont’s 52. 

  14. 1 hour ago, Don Taylor said:

    Care to elaborate a bit on this?  Are these leather bellows or fabric?


    Accordion style, pre-folded papers, leather gussets and fabric top runs, like Elise has.

    This is just a preliminary concept stage at this point. I'm assessing what is financially viable, as making concertinas will never be my main job and it is more of an ambition project, so it has to make me at least my main job wage while being as affordable as I can make it, which is quite a challenge. Of course I am aware, that accordion style bellows will have to be reflected in the lower price and I'm open to making option for concertina style bellows upgrade. One of the goals on this is developing a process that leaves a room for some flexibility/customisation while being as easy and straightforward as I can make it. So, for example, I'm certain that it won't have riveted action, as it is unprintable, even partially, but there can be a choice of durable plastic endplates and more fragile but prettier faux wood endplates. Musically speaking, since I'm aiming at DIX reeds, there can be a choice of timbre - accordion like (aluminum frame reeds), concertina like (brass frame reeds) and bandoneon like (zinc frame reeds), plus a choice of more open or cassotto endplates, etc.

    Hopefully, I'll have a prototype around summer, as I need a travel box and I don't want to make another "single serving" concertina at the last notice as I did last year :D 

  15. 2 minutes ago, Don Taylor said:

    I would be very interested  in one of these as a small (robust?) travel concertina.  I spend most of my summer on a sailboat but am reluctant to take my Beaumont.  As far as price is concerned, maybe somewhere between an Elise and a Troubador is what I might be want to pay.

    I'm aiming at something between Stagi and Troubadour price tag myself, so your reply is well in line with it. Thanks :)

    6 minutes ago, David Barnert said:


    Sorry. Yes, 46. I misspoke.

    Happens to the best of us :)

  16. 33 minutes ago, David Barnert said:

    For those not familiar with Edward Jay’s work, he makes concertinas with leather bellows and straps, accordion reeds, and pretty much everything else 3-D printed. Website here, demo video:



    I might very well be interested in his Hayden-55, but I would definitely want the B and the D# (and all the other notes included in the standard 48 which I now play). E flats and more B flats would be nice, other additions less important, even if it comes to less than 55 keys.


    Some questions:

    • Will it be available with your thumb-mount alternative to the hand strap?
    • Will it be available with the standard “Hayden” slant?

    I have been out of the market for many years and have no idea what to expect it to cost.


    Wait, standard 48? Isn't the standard 46 as H-1? 

    As to my antler alternative to hand strap I think that is something that would be a straightforward option to implement as soon as I'll find a good way to make my design an "universal fit". 

  17. As a person who switched from the buttons sticking out to the buttons going all in, the difference is HUGELY in favour of "deep buttons" for me.


    First of all, my fingers no longer hurt after a long session, because the full depression force is spread out and there is no button edge to act on the same area of the finger repeatedly. Paradoxically, this have lead to even lighter touch.


    What is more - 6mm, flat buttons with a very soft edge (I have flattened button caps that were originally made round) that go all in enable playing triplets with a three finger technique, where the previous finger slides to the side and up, not only upwards. It doesn't go any faster than this. Even when not playing triplets, switching the finger on the button is way easier and can even be made seamless, because when fully depressed, there is basically no coupling between the finger and the button sidewise. I play Hayden, so there is basically no fixed fingering pattern and with long jumps and strange finger configurations any improvement on the ergonomy had a direct impact on the level of play.

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  18. So, as I mentioned in a different thread, I'm helping Ed develop a new Hayden model. At this point we are discussing the range and size of the box, with Edward preferring the range over size. The current iteration is 55 button, hexagonal, 8 1/4" flat to flat box with Italian accordion reeds. The large size is due to Edward not being open to mounting accordion blocks and wanting to stick to flat, reedpan arrangement. He already made a Crane duet of this size and the owner is reportedly happy with both the feel and the sound of the instrument (is it someone on this site perhaps and is willing to share his experience first hand?).


    Now for the layout. The basis is the current Beaumont. There is room for 25 notes on the LH side and 30 on the RH side, but basses are unlikely without some sacrifices. This is a quick reference chart to start the discussion. The left B4 and the right D#5 are half covered because those are IMHO the buttons which could be sacrificed for a bass note or increased range. Orange notes are my picks, coded for preference with the colour intensity. There might be a room for my style of button links, but that is to be established only after the reed layout is finalised.


    Additional and a bit unrelated question. I'm recently doing some concept work on eventual small batch of 3d printed Haydens of my own to fill in yet another gap in the market, that is affordable "46 standard" box. Currently I'm leaning towards a 6-6 1/4" square box with accordion style bellows, built around DIX reeds. 


    So, what are the hive mind opinions on those two options. 

    As a bonus, a question about acceptable price point for Ed's instrument, given a method of production but having his proven quality of sound in mind.  And when you're at it, the acceptable price point for my eventual box.

    Screenshot 2022-02-24 at 15.37.42.png

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  19. I first learned about the existence of concertinas on shanties concert when I was 11 and was immediately hooked. But I never saw one up close until I was 25 and it took me 19 years to get my hands on my first, DDR made Anglo-German...

    The problem is the entry price (and in case of Poland, up until internet shopping era, availability of instruments or even any written sources on concertinas). Even nowadays, entry level Rochelle/Jackie/Elise is 3 times more expensive than an entry level acoustic guitar. Then, in case of duets, there is a very, very steep price curve to get your hands on an instrument large enough for a serious repertoire. Few days ago I had a long chat with a fellow polish Anglo player, who recently switched to melodeon, because he could find a decent one for a fraction of a price of a decent Anglo.


    I'm perfectly aware why concertinas are as expensive as they are, but if you don't have a box in your family or very supportive parents it is very hard to get that kind of money before your first proper job.

  20. 1 hour ago, Wally Carroll said:

    I've made two metal ended instruments and over three hundred wood ended instruments and haven't noticed much difference between the two.  What I do notice a difference in is the amount and size of openings in the fretwork.  Getting this balance correct is very important.  I'm not convinced that the finish makes any difference on a concertina as the vibrating fretwork is a much smaller component of the sound than the vibrating internal woods.  In addition, I don't believe the endplate wood or side veneers makes any noticeable difference as well.  However, I recommend not using solid wood for the endplates due to expansion and contraction issues which can result in cracks in the fretwork and/or the endplates separating from the frames.  


    Interestingly, the best sounding instruments (2 to date) that I've made have used a poured resin in place of wood.  My own observation in this regard was confirmed by a sound test as judged by a very prominent player who was asked to choose which of three of my small size instruments sounded best.  This person did not know there was a resin instrument in the bunch and after going back and forth playing the three, chose the resin instrument as the best sounding.  


    The point in all of this is to say that the internal materials are more important than the external ones.  




    It had resin for the endplates or resin for the reedpan?

  21. 6 hours ago, Jake Middleton-Metcalfe said:


    It sounds like we came to the same conclusion. 


    I have been listening to the recording I made and at points in the tune there do appear to be subtle differences but it is very very subtle. What do you make of this recording?


    First time through I thought that the metal one was slightly brighter, but then I switched between the middle fragments of each recording and the effect was significantly less prominent without the initial few notes of the wood version, where I think the mic position or other situational factor might had have a decisive influence on the resulting tone. I think, that this was a blinded trial, the result would be close to 50-50 split.

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