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Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posts posted by Łukasz Martynowicz

  1. 1 hour ago, Don Taylor said:

    But that is all that most folks want to play on a concertina! 


    If you want a button instrument with reeds that is much larger and more capable than a concertina then maybe a CBA would make more sense.  But then the compromise is size and weight. 


    The charm, for me, in the concertina has always been its small size - maybe that is not rational, but I doubt that I am alone in that feeling.  

    There is no condescending tone in my post, just a simple truth - small Haydens can’t handle as broad number of genres as large Haydens, and large duets in general, can. I have nothing against playing traditional music and I’m very well aware, that the dominance of Anglos stems exactly from trad-centric perspective of most players and that is perfectly fine by me. Since the very begining of existence of concertinas there were small ones snd there were big ones. German Anglos quickly evolved into Bandoneons and their musical ways split. With duet concertinas I think the same might happen, once the availability and recognition of duets grow. Duets are great exactly because they fill a niche in between of smallest Anglos or Englishes and smallest button accordions. Small accordion with similar capabilites to large duet weights more than twice as much and is three times as large. Large duets may lack the portability aspect when compared to Anglos or Englishes, but when compared to accordions, they are tiny. There is also one other aspect to consider - there are only two small Free Bass accordions  on the market, everything else up to concert level instruments is Stradella. Duets are Free Bass equivalents and so are less limited than accordions, provided enough buttons. 

    And you know best how reluctant I am to increasing the size of my 46/50b project beyond what is absolutely necessary.

  2. 13 minutes ago, Don Taylor said:

    I contacted Edward Jay a couple of months ago about making me a small 46 button Hayden. 


    He was not interested, he only seemed to want to make his large 74(!!!) button Hayden.


    Ed is an accordionist first, concertina builder second, and he simply didn't want any compromise when it came to musical utility of his Hayden. 74b Hayden is still many times lighter than even a small accordion and this number, 74, is only a result of his largest printer bed size being a hard limit. If he had a bigger one, he would make his Hayden the size of a Bandoneon. My box has 66 buttons and I would still add like 8 more, at least. Truth be told, 46b standard is a bare minimum when it comes to utility, with everything with less buttons being a teaser to the system at most. I'm designing a 46b box now, and it's just too much compromise. It's ok for traditional genres, but once you step out you momentarily run into range limitations. I'll be most likely including the upgrade option for 4 more buttons because of this. Beaumont (RIP) was way better "standard" than 46b is, and this is exactly why it was way more popular option than Peacock, even with so much higher price. 

  3. 7 hours ago, SmougyG said:

    Lord willing I am hoping to be ready to put in an order by early next year.

    Then you may want to hold your horses just yet, as there might be another option available then. I’m currently in the process of designing a small, about Troubadour sized, square 3D printed, 46-50b box with a price tag likely between a Stagi and Troubadour. Details yet to come, but the first pre-production prototype should be ready around May-June.

    • Like 3
  4. 19 hours ago, SmougyG said:

    Hello. I started playing the back in November. I have both an Elise and the Stagi Hayden. I like playing the Elise most of the time except for the rare times I find myself needing the extra range.


    I have noticed the quality in the reed performance between the two. With the Elise I need to use considerably more force to get the reeds to sing compared to the Stagi.


    I am looking to know what my next step will be in the future: the troubadour or the peacock. I like the size of the troubadour more and I don't mind the buttons as I am able to do a lot already with the Elise, however the peacock looks to come with better reeds based on the CC site.


    Are there any troubadour owners that can speak on the sensitivity of the reeds when playing?


    How far "in the future" are you thinking of this upgrade?

  5. 13 minutes ago, seanc said:

    Question.. And this may NOT be practical at all.. But what if you used the Bowden cables through out? IF you did that then would  the need of positioning of the reeds in relation to buttons go away?


    Could you then, potentially, extend the range way down in the bass as the relative positions are no an issue? And might you also be able to have substantially more notes on either side?


    Possibly  a radial pattern where the lowest reeds are along the outer most edge. and possibly add in highest notes where possible and have concentric hexagons/ octagons of reeds? 

    Bowdens still require levers. Those could indeed be shorter and anywhere on the action board, but are still required. In fact, I was contemplating such solution to add Abs to my box. Bowdens also have to come out somewhere, where there’s no reed in the way. This indeed would be easier with levers that are detached from buttons, so can have posts anywhere. BUT the biggest limitation of bowdens is curvature - too tight and it doesn’t work or require springs set much harder than it is typical for concertinas. So they are only usable for outmost buttons and still require careful positioning of reeds. For the same reason however, they are perfect to add all enharmonic duplicates to a large enough box. I regret not inventing this solution before I designed my fretwork, because I would add all Abs for existing G# and maybe even Dbs, as my handle design makes those reachable.


    I’m currently occupied with designing a small, 46-50b, 3D printed box, but after that I’m tempted to make the largest box I can, that is one that has the entire available range of DIX reeds in it, from A1 to g6. With the size required to fit all those layered bass chambers, bowdens for all black keys in both enharmonic equivalents should be possible. 

    • Like 1
  6. Last year I wasn't ready to participate. This year I'm still not really ready as well, but hey, you only live once :D So here are my offerings. Those are first recordings made with my big box and first recordings after my 4 year break and re-learning everything pretty much from scratch. Playing concertinas is not like riding a bike at all :D

    The first one is a great tune I fell love in after listening to the performance of Luis Villegas on Bandoneon. It sqeezes nearly entire range out of my big box, and more (there is only E6 left out on the high end and my box is short of D2 on the low end).


    The second one is old but gold Roslin Castle, played as low as possible. However, despite my best efforts this recording doesn't do justice to those bass notes.


    Both recordings are ways from being perfect, both on my side and technical side, but I hope you'll enjoy them anyway :)

    • Like 8
  7. The process of French Polish I was taught goes like this:

    - first you prime with undiluted solution, wait 24hrs, lightly sand with fine grade steel wool and then rub filler into the pores with another coat of undiluted shellac and sand again

    - you then proceed to put on layers of gradually thinner dilution, starting with half up to 1/8 or even 1/16 for the last few

    - oil is there to ensure no friction of your pad. You add only a tiny amount to later layers, but since it is pure lineseed oil it will harden along with resin. Since concertinas are so small, it is not really needed, because you’ll still have a fresh load on your pad at the end of the current layer. You basically make one or two quick swipes and then wait for the layer to solidify for an hour or two.


    Final coat thickness is too low to even out pores, so no, even 30 layers is not enough to ensure glossy finish without filler. 

    If however a satin finish is the goal, it is way faster and simpler to apply shellac with flat, soft brush.

    • Like 1
  8. My personal experience is that concertina dB measured at 1m, exceeding 90dB hurt my ears. I think this is mostly about the energy caried by higher partials, because higher reeds hurt more and bass reeds don’t hurt no matter the meter readout. The box I made had very open fretwork originally and had to be baffled with carefully designed irregular baffle to cut those partialls. I first cut those and then continued with refinement of the baffle and then corrected padhole diameter to lower and even out the perceived loudness (perceived loudness differs greatly from measured loudness, so low reeds measure at different dB levels than high reeds).

    • Like 1
  9. 5 hours ago, luli said:

     I find that someone will change their handle.  But most of the people use the common handle。 Is it necessary for the big duet   Concertina player?


    You can see my custom handle design here. I give a detailed breakdown of how it works in a next post and you can see it in action a page earlier. The reason I made it, is because I wanted to play chord rhythms everywhere on the keyboard and minor chords on a Hayden force the hand into position that makes playing steady rhythms with a hand strap difficult, especially with fingers as long as mine.

    Is it necessary? Well, no, Bandoneon players play with stock handstraps on 71 button instruments. Is it helpful? Yes, certainly. 

    There is also another reason people swap traditional handles on even small concertinas. Many people have problems with their wrists and traditional handles forces the hand into position that exacerbate the problem.

    • Like 1
  10. Concertinas are loud. Very loud, which is then amplified by playing inside small rooms. I had to cover my CC Elise's "fretwork" with EVA foam inserts to stop my ears hurting after just a couple of tunes into practice session, because it peaked at >100dB, with >90dB being the norm. When creating my current box I designed it so it has ~70dB at typical pressure.

    What you can do, is install EVA foam baffle under the fretwork. You only need a thin line (around 1mm) of opening around the perimeter of the baffle for reeds to get enough air.

    If you don't want to modify your concertina from the inside, you can simply tack a cutout from the foam for practice sessions from the outside. It will not be pretty, but it will work if it is near airtight. Other than that, you can play outside. Concertinas project the sound sideways, away from the player. Playing outside, away from solid walls, no sound bounces back to you. 

    • Like 1
  11. 51 minutes ago, RAc said:

    I believe the above subclause is more or less the key - "the right tool for the right job." With my "bread and butter repertoire," there are considerable advantages to reducing the number of buttons, for both logistic (weight and size) and playability (reduction of getting lost potential) reasons, acknowledging that your mechanical immobilization device may or may not relieve my "getting lost problem," but I need the mobility for sound effect generation reasons.


    So to summarize, may I quote you from your earlier contrib in this thread:


    "It all boils down to desired repertoire really. If you want to play rich accordion-like arrangements or classical music, larger box is better. If you want to play mostly trad music, smaller box will likely be enough and come in a lightweight and small package."



    You are very right of course. I just wanted to comment on my "mechanical immobilization device" here - only the tip of the thumb is immobilised completely, the rest of the thumb movement is restricted to a single plane, and the rest of the hand has more freedom, than on an English with pinky rest. I don't know any technique, neither fingering nor bellows, that is impaired by this "device".

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  12. 8 hours ago, seanc said:

    I am definitely finding quite a lot of times where due to lacking lows. And then inverting chords. I am running the left hands chords into the melody line. Or just as often, I am diving onto the left side I find myself diving onto the left side to complete right hand chords.



    …and to complete melody as well. This is the second biggest annoyance with to few buttons - when you play a steady rhythm on the LH but must interrupt it or grow new fingers for those few odd melody notes that go below C4… One of the tunes I play is „Two guitars”, where melody line goes up to D6 and down to A3. Same with the „Riverside” mentioned above, down to A3… Or another tune, „Last Waltz” from Oldboy movie, where on 46b I’m missing just a single Eb4 on the RH. I can dive in on the LH for those, but at the expense of accompaniment fluidity. 

    With my desired repertoire there is simply no such thing as „too many buttons”.


    And a word about getting lost - this is where my rigid thumb „thimble” and antler handling system beats both handstrap and thumbstrap/wrist strap solutions - it has no play, what you feel on your palm, together with the angles in the thumb give you absolute positioning. I’m only having some troubles with a single, really long jump from Eb to G#, everything else is precise enough.

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  13. 3 hours ago, seanc said:

    There are all valid considerations .


    but IMO. Hands down the biggest advantage to more buttons is if you are reading and playing from a sheet is to be able to play as written. and there is far less chance of getting lost as you are not trying to transpose on the fly.

    There are many instances where I find a 5-1-3, moving to a 1-3-5 and then 3-5-1. Or 7-1-3, 7-1-4 to 7-1-5. Places where flipping just does not sound right. And numerous times where doing a walk down is what you really need  5,4,3,2,1 not 5,4,3,9,8.



    Exactly this. With less buttons I often had to move entire accompaniment up an octave to preserve those walkdowns, but it often comes with it’s own can of worms. Inversions also can go so close to the melody line, that a perfectly good large interval becomes too dissonant to work well, so you have to cut down. Because of this I will probably build an even larger box (in some rather distant future), going all way down to C2. I simply hate incomplete accompaniments. 

    But I agree, that this kind of box would be unsuitable for typical concertina trad genres.


    @gcarrere I agree, that larger boxes are more static bellows movement wise, but you can very much compensate for that with more dynamic fingerings, especially on LH side, BUT it requires dropping a traditional handstrap for more ergonomic handling system, that allows for independent wrist movement. After all, accordions, which are way heavier and more cumbersome than concertinas are perfectly capable of really dynamic play. 

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  14. 3 hours ago, TinkerPhil said:

    Wow a cornucopia of different observations - and your reward?  More questions 😀


    Hayden?  Is that a method or a tutor? Sigh - I will google this too but I have other questions I want to ask!


    One day will I be playing chords on my concertina - and will they be 3 button chords?

    (I've tried and I do not seem to be able to use 1 finger to press two keys - let alone 3!  I play an English concertina- maybe chords are easier on an Anglo?)


    "Accompaniment"?  Are you playing the melody and the chords - ie up to 4 keys at a time?? Wow!

    (Actually that is so awesome I think I am slightly deflated I will never get to such dizzy heights)


    I will try and practise the "extension" trick - but it is my little fingers that hurt because they take much of the wright of my concertina - perhaps this is wrong.  Also, my concertine is a Concertina Connection Jackie and I'm beginning to realise it is rather heavy!



    Like David wrote, Hayden is a type of duet concertina layout, which is very chord and music theory centric. It is way harder to play accompaniment and melody simultaneously on an English. 


    1 hour ago, David Barnert said:

    I hope not. Except on rare occasions, play as few notes simultaneously as you can get away with. If the melody has the 3rd, leave it out of the chord. Play chord notes sequentially instead of simultaneously. See any of my YouTube videos for examples (I’m playing a Hayden).


    Well, in my case "as few as you can get away with" typically means 2-3 notes at once, but the number of simultaneous notes I play heavily depends on what exactly I play and what I want to achieve. So, if I play a moody tune, like Agnes Obel's Riverside, then verses indeed have alternating single note accompaniment, but the chorus has a 1+2 rhythm on the LH, because 1+1 rhythm is just too thin. If I play a rock cover/accompaniment, then I can go with as many as 6 simultaneous notes to achieve the required punch. Same goes for polyphony pieces - I currently learn a piece which peaks at 5 simultaneous lines, one of which is a high drone. BUT, and it is a big but, I do high number of simultanous notes only on my big box, where those notes are spread over three or four octaves. On a 46b it is indeed hard not to drown RH with the LH, as on many occasions accompaniment will overlap in the same octave as the melody.

  15. 2 hours ago, gcoover said:

    From my experience with various sizes of Jeffries Duets, the smaller ones are much more nimble, the larger ones more stately - think motorboat versus ocean liner. 


    More buttons give you more range, but take a hard look to see if you actually need that additional range. For example, on the music I play on my English concertina, I never play the higher squeaky buttons so they just sit there pretty much unused.




    I don't know about other systems, but with Haydens buttons are extended downwards and sideways, and very little upwards. That is you get lower notes and more accidentals/enharmonics/overlap. The highest note available is F6, on Wakker H-2, while the highest note on a "standard" is D6. My large box goes from F2 to E6 and I could use couple of bass notes more and those four Ab links I'm missing.

    It all boils down to desired repertoire really. If you want to play rich accordion-like arrangements or classical music, larger box is better. If you want to play mostly trad music, smaller box will likely be enough and come in a lightweight and small package.


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  16. To what David wrote, I would only add, that heavier and larger box isn’t a straightforward disadvantage. I have two boxes: 8 2/3” 66b button heavy one and 7” 45b featherlight one. The larger one is way easier to play accordion arrangments on, because heavier means sturdy and LH side simple doesn’t move at all. This makes large jumps between chords way easier. Also - larger diameter bellows indeed requires a bit more effort to move, but also provides enormous amounts of air. I don’t have to think about phrase lengths and reversal points at all on my big box, because phrases are typically way shorter than my bellows travel and there is always a margin left. I can also feed large chords or four note legato poliphony without any problems. 

    From my perspective the main disadvantage is price, and second important disadvantage is reduced portability. They are still smaller than melodeons, but significantly harder to travel with.

    • Like 1
  17. 3 hours ago, DaveRo said:

    Unless I misunderstand binaural recording, the 'dummy head' used for the recording is in a fixed position. The listener will only hear the effect of moving around if the head moved around. Which would be disconcerting if the listener is sitting still.


    The point, surely, of binaural recording is fidelity of the sound heard by a (single) member of the audience. Whether a solo concertina should be recorded 'faithfully' - or whether it would sound 'better' recorded in mono is quite another question. As well as the sound coming out of both ends, on my duet the left is much louder.


    (And it occurs to me that an active sound-cancelling speaker might be an alternative to a baffle to quieten the accompaniment from the point of view - or hearing - of me, the player. I expect it's been tried.)



    This was just an analogy trying to illustrate the level of sound scene detail achievable by binaural recording when compared to other methods. The main difference between binaural and stereo/dolby surround is that stereo/dolby try to reproduce the location of the sound source, while binaural recording tries to achieve „holographic” recording fidelity of phase shifts and volume differences at listener position so that our hearing sense can deconstruct directions faithfully. And it works. You hear exactly where the sound is coming from. If the recording is done in real environment, you also hear how exactly the sound bounces from the environment, which is the quality that all other methods lack (you only hear that it bounces, not how it bounces), giving you 3D space rendering that is comparable to „looking around the corner”, since hearing is not a synthesis of a series of 2D slices, like sight is, but an „everything at once” sense, that is then computationally deconstructed.

  18. 12 minutes ago, Richard Mellish said:

    My understanding of binaural recording is that it is intended as an improvement on conventional stereo recording, giving more realistic spatial imaging. Given the nature of a concertina, with sound coming out of the ends in opposite directions, I am somewhat bemused as to the virtue of any sterophonic imaging at all. With a Duet, or with an Anglo if playing mostly melody on one end and chords or harmonies on the other, a case could be made for allowing the listener to hear the two ends separately. With an English, or with an Anglo played in the Irish style, don't you want all the notes to seem to come from roughly the same place?


    I think the following analogy is a good one:
    - monophonic recording lets you look into the room from across the street - you see a flat image behind a window glass

    - stereophonic recording places you just outside the window, so you can get a better look, with some limited perspective, but you are still behind the glass
    - surround systems put you on a chair inside the room, but you can only look around a bit

    - binaural recording let you move around the room freely and closely examine everything, but at the same time exaggerates everything in a kind of hangover intensity

  19. As a Hayden player myself and a former Elise player, I can vouch for the system, but would advice for careful study if Elise has the notes you need. I have used it for a mix of trad, rock and accordion covers, but it is very limited. It is however good enough as a learning box. You can also easily use it with a makeshift thumb strap due to how hand straps are designed and how the screws are made, so it can be easily adjusted for wrist problems. 

    And regarding availabilty of 46+ boxes, things might change in not so distant future, so if you like the logic of Haydens, go with it. You can always trade both Elise and Stagi and English is a poor choice for rock covers.


    One last word of advice - if you get Elise, get some 1mm EVA foam sheet from crafts store as well and make foam inserts for Elise’s „fretwork”. It is a very loud instrument with piercing tone, that made my healthy ears hurt. The EVA modification is fully reversible, straightforward and efficient with both softening the tone and reducing volume.

  20. 10 hours ago, aeolina said:

    I found this in a Google search. Not sure what is happening here other than two traditional stereo recording set ups.


    The dummy or real head in the middle shields microphones from sounds coming from the other side, separating channels, but what is even more important, physical spacing and fields of microphones in binaural setup match natural ones, so it reproduces spatial distribution of sound sources perfectly. This creates effect of physical presence. This is why binaural recordings should be listened via headphoned and with your sight blocked (blindfolds work better than simply closed eyes, because closing eyes changes the context to „inner eye” while blindfolds allow you to keep looking but not seeing anything, increasing the strength of illusion).

  21. 5 minutes ago, David Barnert said:


    Listening to the examples with ear buds, what I hear sounds like exaggerated separation of the right and left sides, much more than what one would hear if listening directly.

    Read my reply above. Binaural recordings separate sides way more than they should for natural effect.

  22. A word of warning - binaural recordings can be epileptogenic. Binaural concertina recordings can be even more epileptogenic, because of the nature of free reed sound. If you have a history of neurological problems, do not listen to those recordings on headphones.

    The reason for that is that binaural recording separate sides more than in nature, as they do not take bone conductivity into account. Effectively, English concertina ornamentation in binaural recording is an equivalent of police car strobes. 

  23. 4 hours ago, Bassconcertina.net said:

    Thanks! I want to do it because a double action bass can be slow to speak and quiet compared to single action. I don’t have one yet but I’m curious.


    As Alex wrote, the main reason those are slow to speak and quiet is probably that chambers are too short. You need a lot of length between the tip of the tongue and the padhole to improve that, like 200-250% of the tongue length. Setting of the reed and stiffness of the valve may also play a role, but to lesser extent. Increasing stiffness of the valve above what ensures airtightness only increases the pressure offset required to operate the reed - the attack of the reed may be steeper, but it will operate only if you push bellows harder. Plastic valves do not really work with bass reeds, because the larger/stiffer plastic valve is, the more noisy it is.

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