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Łukasz Martynowicz

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Everything posted by Łukasz Martynowicz

  1. What Alex wrote. Go to the details page on the site you linked, there’s a picture with those reeds mounted. For at least a decade now, some reed manufacturers, like e.g. Harmonikas.cz make brass (and also zinc) plated accordion style reeds. I have such reeds mounted in my box. I would describe their tone as having more trumpet like character, full and „round”, compared to a bit more „dry” and „sharp” tone of aluminum reeds. To my ear it is much more pleasant. It can be then shaped further with the endbox/fretwork design to be either piercingly bright or mellow but deep (as opposed to more muted/dampened feel of mellow aluminum reeded instruments). They are a bit heavier though.
  2. I think this chirping you’re encountering is not an effect of slow cell action, but not implementing the valve equivalent, that is a pressure threshold that starts the reed. I had the exact same problem and it is a true acoustic concertina behaviour if you have extremely sensitive reed and a very light/thin plastic valve. In an acoustic box you regulate this by the stiffness and weight of the valve. So it is actually the other way around - the sensor is too sensitive and too unstable around zero point. When I tried to correct this with real pressure sensor it turned out, that the reading below about 6 out of 1024 levels was extremely unstable, both in value and sign so it had to be cut off by sending note on/off commands and not just volume commands around zero point (I was working on a duet, so initially sending on/off commands only on button down/up and a global volume seemed viable). As to your contraption - I don’t think it will survive a full, intense Irish session. Look at Cormac Begley’s playing style and how much lateral movement of the bellows and ends tilting there is. Preventing ends tilting also prevents doing a basic bellows tremolo.
  3. Seconded. We’re already hindered enough by immobilised thumb. That said, using pinky with traditional handstraps was a lot harder and less useful than with my antlers or with thumb strap+wrist strap setup.
  4. From my perspective, fixed finger designations don’t really work on a Hayden, even if you do as Don suggests, that is to fix on scale steps instead of notes. Scale structure with two rows, minor and major chords that use different fingers on shared steps, distant sharps/flats etc, force you to break from patterns just too often. And if you play fully chromatic pieces, you will find yourself playing variations of nearly same phrases with completely different fingerings, just to be able to stretch that pinky or index finger to reach an odd accidental. It is way better to train your fingers for common short phrases or passes and generally to think about intervals as geometric relationships between buttons, as this is how the layout is constructed. That way, it stops being about which finger go on which note, but what shapes you have to follow, with any finger that feels natural at the moment.
  5. I’m surprised, that no one mentioned drums yet. It is very easy on any free reed instrument to flood the rhytm with drones, multiple voices chords etc. It all sounds nice, organ like and all, but what I really miss is deep low drum rhytm. Or banjo/mandolin/guitar, but each if those defines a tune so much for me, that neither is s universal choice. Other than that, I only like combinations of multiple free reed instruments if they are complimentary, not overlapping. So a foot bass or a bass concertina is great, but a duet of two identical concertinas usually sounds cluttered. If the piece requires multiple legato voices, I really prefer combining concertina with fiddle.
  6. A word about „fretting”. From my personal experience of my various hobbies and interests, „fretting” about one’s passion is as important as following said passion. It is so, because bouncing your enthusiasm, ideas and achievements off of someone with similar interests is an additional source of both motivation and knowledge. When I bought my first concertina, a no-name 20b DDR Anglo, I knew nothing about concertinas and very little about music itself outside of natural singing an whistling. After just a year of „fretting” I knew enough about concertinas and music to build my first instrument - a MIDI Hayden, and then, after another couple of years, to start a very long, bumpy but rewarding journey of building my very own acoustic concertina. It would’t have happened if I had no community to „fret” about concertinas.
  7. One other reason is that concertinas are perceived mostly as traditional instruments and rarely played outside of folk music, in which Irish is the dominant one. So most people’s goal is to achieve this „Irish concertina” feel, which pretty much requires an Anglo. The other reason is historical. Concertinas had quite brief life as a mainstream instrument and were replaced by more versatile accordions. Even the largest duets are roughly an equivalent of the smallest free-bass/converter CBA’s, and there is nowhere to upgrade further except from switching to a chromatic bandoneon (Harry Geuns made a few Haydens recently). To sum up - duet concertinas are a niche within a niche, divided even further by overabundance of different duet systems, so there was never a ground or reason for them to gain traction.
  8. I can’t remember when or where I read the „origin story” of this design choice, but it is there in the button chart for H-2 on Wakker site.
  9. As I understand it, this bisonoric button is a result of classic handstrap reach limitations. I faintly recall it mentioned by Wim himself. The original H-2 had 64 buttons and ended on E. This Eb/F button is not only bisonoric, but also out of pattern, as those notes are played with the thumb. As such, this $9k instrument not only cannot be primed or closed without sounding a note, you also cannot increase the rate at which the bellows closes/opens to prepate it for the long phrase mid-tune - a feature of an air button (lever in my case) that I use quite often. As I said earlier on numerous occasions, I’m not exactly a fan of Wim’s design choices.
  10. Agreed, but what you are describing is a choice of an instrument type, while I'm talking about the limitations imposed by the instrument model. I'm perfectly aware, that I can't ever pull off, e.g. a glissando on a Hayden, or that Arvo Part's Alina is not something that would sound properly on a free reed instrument. But duet concertina that lacks the ability to perform proper duet arrangements, and this is largely the case with any of the offerings from Concertina Connection, is not something I can find an excuse for.
  11. Not really a viable solution if you are playing in a true duet style. Bellows reversals in odd places would interrupt the flow of many continuous accompaniments I play and the whole idea of unisonoric layout is to not have to care which direction you are playing in. With the amount of air in my 8 2/3 octagon, 8 fold box I pretty much don't care for the bellows direction, only for the bellows dynamics. With Elise, the most annoying thing about the design of this box, is that the same sized box, with the same type and grade of reeds can fit 40+ buttons easily, 45 if you push it to the limit. I did exactly that in my "single serving" 3d printed built around Elise's bellows. You just have to mount those reeds flat instead of wasting a lot of room by trying to fit reed blocks into the bellows opening.
  12. While obviously true, this is however a very backwards approach to being a musician if your repertoire is dictated by the instrument instead your taste in music and inner desires. 46+ and especially 64+ button Haydens are great for a vast spectrum of genres of accordion repertoire and it is really frustrating to be so limited by the maker’s choice to not include some notes vital to reach that potential. If you look closely at Troubadour and Pacock layouts, you will see, that Wim decided to exclude the LH A4 - lack of this single note, present even on Elise, closes those boxes to all sorts of modern french accordion repertoire and pop/rock songs „as written” and very often altogether, because it is a central note of the layout, and it’s existence on the RH side is not enough to compensate. There is a very good musical reason why the Beamont, not the Peacock, was the most common choice amongst Hayden players.
  13. As a former owner of an Elise, who grew so frustrated by it’s limited range that I’ve built my own 66 button Hayden I must say this - there are no good workarounds on this box if you want to play something outside of trad, diatonic music. Perhaps as many as two out of every three tunes I wanted to arrange run into unsolvable problems. This is because you miss two neighbouring accidentals on an instrument, that starts on c3 and ends on a5. You simply run out of space on the top or bottom of the range if you transpose too far. This is further emphasised by the intent of duets to accommodate for both melody and accompaniment - typical three chord or four chord songs will cover the entire LH range with no room to nudge and sacrifices and ommissions are usually glaringly obvious and intrusive to the flow of the tune. As to upgrades availability. Sadly, with the end of Beaumont there is only the Stagi. Troubadour is a joke for it’s price, Peacock is lacking in range, and Peacock XL doesn’t seem to happen anytime soon. Given Wim Wakker’s range choices I actually expect Peacock XL to let Hayden players down.
  14. Yes, it is a Hayden, but it was a „single serving” box designed and assembled in under two weeks, with a similar life expectancy It still works (kind of) and the design was a success, but it is far from presentable. I did have a plan to design a proper one, but those plans are now on hold, due to life happening (I’m from Poland and war in Ukraine has a profound impact on economy here, so currently my everyday job leaves me with very little time left for anything else).
  15. While I wouldn’t call myself a concertina maker, I have built a couple of them. My large, 66 button Hayden took me about 700 hours, but that count includes all of failed experimental ideas, reworks and doing some of the things three times (I hate valves with a passion) and a highly overdesigned, hand carved endplates, which took about 150hrs of tedious sculpting. If I knew what I’m doing from the beggining, with simple, traditional endplates, I could probably make it down to 350-400hrs using my universal workshop, not optimised for concertina building. This is with purchased reeds. Anglo could probably be done in 150-200hrs (not everything scales down proportionally with button count), so yes, a month for a single, fairly standardised box sounds about right. Assembling and tuning 3D printed 46 button box, not counting the time necessary to design it or print it, but including time to make the bellows, still took about 40 hrs.
  16. First - unnecessary/too stiff valves. Proper valves matter A LOT. Basically, you increase the pressure threshold to start the reed the stiffer/heavier the valve is. Second - wrong padhole position. Small reeds often work better when the padhole is over the tip of the tongue. Third - too deep chambers. Too much air coupled to the reed slows the response and weakens the tone of high reeds.
  17. My case is lined with raster foam with a snug fit around the box but with room for my hands, so that when puting the instrument in or taking out I have to squeze it fully to not rub against the foam (there is just a couple of mm clearance). This way when stored, there is an equlibrium between the foam and expanding bellows, so the instrument doesn’t move inside the case, but it is not unnaturally squezed all the time.
  18. For Haydens I’d say it is around 50 if you use normal handrest/handstrap handling. With my „antlers” handling? 66 buttons is completely transparent reach-wise. „Dry practicing” some larger layouts, I’d say I could play on nearly full 100+ buttons of original Wicki Bandoneon, with some limitation near thumbs only. BUT - even my 66 buttons, 8 2/3” box, is way closer in handling to a bandoneon, than to 30b Anglo or a typical treble English. Weight is one thing, but bellows cross section area changes the whole box mechanics a lot. Personally, I find sturdier, more „tanker like” box easier to play than my featherlight travel box, but I know most concertina players prefer it the other way around.
  19. A tip about voices in Musescore - you only have to keep strict pause notation for the first voice. You can delete any unwanted auto-generated pauses in other voices freely. So when arranging for a single instrument it is often better to assign voices of the tune to musescore voice slots in measure by measures fashion rather than globally sticking to how the piece is written.
  20. I voted „tabulature” as it didn’t allow me to use „none” selection. But I have to elaborate, as there is no option for what I use: a chromatic notation system called Parncutt tetragram. It is a single stave of a different line layout, extendable up and down continously, with „piano roll” like absolute pitch positions (natural, sharp and flat pitch have their own positions, not sharp/flat signs). Additionally, I use colour coded LH and RH and additional colour variations for sharps/flats to easily read key from without traditional key notation. This system is pretty much ideal for Hayden, as it follows the same logic of black/white keys division via specific line pattern. So while it is a proper musical notation, it also isn’t any staff related answer provided.
  21. I live in Poland. Here, street musicians almost solely play on guitars, with an occasional diembe here and there and accordions played very badly by very insistent gipsy beggars. So, from the personal experience as a passer by, there are very few occasions to actually appreciate any skill. But at the same time such reality lifts any competent musician way above the background. Even after two decades I still remember a brass quintet performing frequently and solely for pleasure on a bus stop near Warsaw music school. I would deliberately miss a bus or two listening and watching their pure enjoyment. But - I’m an exception among my friends and family, who may sometimes toss a coin, but never stop.
  22. Edward’s concertinas are printed in PLA, which will degrade in high humidity conditions. However, you might as him to print you one in PETg or other similar filament. The problem will be with the action, as Ed relies on carbon fiber infused PLA durability for all moving parts, which is still susceptible to humidity as all PLA filaments. So it would have to be a custom job. Ed also has experience with melodica/harmonica reeds, which are made from corrosion resistant steel, but this pushes customisation even further, as they are single reeds, not double.
  23. You may want to check Edward Jay’s Tritone system readily available to purchase in his range of 3D printed instruments.
  24. The same volume controlling effect can be achieved by installing o-rings in pad holes. I have regulated my two lowest basses this way after first drilling maximum diameter holes. Even 0.5mm ring made measurable difference. And since those can be friction mounted, it’s perfectly reversible while not changing button travel.
  25. This has everything to do with how the brain is organised broadly into distinct loops, two of which are important here: cortico-cortical (the analytical, sequential, highest level one) and cortico-thalamic (the parallel computing one, and the one that does emotional, sensory and memory integration). In one of the provious threads on a similar topic, I wrote my experience from a medicated epileptic perspective. Each of the drugs I have been on in the last 30 years alter the balance of those loops and in turn, alters how I perceive and perform the music. Due to this, I have been on both ends of this spectrum all of you are describing in your posts. On one medication, I mostly have the analytical loop involved in processing music, like Don - on this drug, I can easily hear harmonic structure of a tune and I have pretty much perfect musical memory, but I cannot, for the love of me, continue seamlessly after a mistake or restart playing from the middle of a phrase. I also have any kind of emotional attachment to the music dimmed to minimum, sometimes to the level of complete absence, so my performance is quite mechanical. On a different drug it’s the exact opposite - I’m deeply emotionally involved in both listening and playing, deeply expressive and spontaneous, I can skip over mistakes easily, but get succesively more angry after each one to the point when I must stop playing altogether after a few, and I don’t hear the structure. On yet a different one, I can, to some extent, switch between those loops, or at least prepare the right conditions for the one I need at the moment to rise to the top. Tricks involve not only focus related methods, but also things like stretching my back, or avoid playing for few hours after a meal etc. As to mental ones, the most efective one is focussing… on the muscles on back of my neck and overall on the sensory input from the body. This stops the analytical loop in my brain from „keeping an eye” on exact finger movements and let’s me hear the music as if someone else was performing it. This has a drawback however - if I play a piece with long parts, I sometimes get stuck on what part is next if I drift too far into the feel of a tune.
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