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Łukasz Martynowicz

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Everything posted by Łukasz Martynowicz

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. You may want to check Edward Jay’s Tritone system readily available to purchase in his range of 3D printed instruments.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Analogue differential pressure sensor and normal bellows. My box was built around a repurposed cheap, german made anglo. This gives the full information about bellows expression and direction, which was then utilised for bisonoric functionality (I fiddled with a concept of bisonoric Hayden based layout for a bit) and volume modulation or MIDI velocity in case of piano mode. It was a nice experiment, but as Don wrote above, ultimately you need real action and hal switches to make a decent instrument, so unless you need MIDI input for music production it isn’t exactly worth it. Baffled acoustic ’tina played softly is way better as a quiet practice instrument than a ‚cut corners’ e-tina.
  14. I seriously doubt, that midi concertinas can be profitable enough to return the investment. One way to circumvent this is to release the end product in the form of downloadable plans for DIY/printable kits on etsy or other marketplace website. For a reasonable fee of course. As to MIDI tinas, I’ve made one myself using Arduino+Processing, with both uni- and bi- sonoric capabilities. But since I made it with mechanical switches it didn’t last too long and I never bothered to rebuild it for hal sensors, as e-free reed instruments lack this vibrating tactile feedback of acoustic ones and playing on it just wasn’t fun. But it was a great gateway drug into Haydens for me, as I built it mostly with a goal of testing the layout for cheap.
  15. One aspect, that hasn’t been mentioned here, is the difference in reed construction itself. Accordion reeds are suitable for modern manufacturing techniques. Because all shoe edges, including tongue slots are perpendicular to the shoe face, they can be made with electroabrasion, laser cutting or simple CNC. Traditional concertina reeds, with nearly all edges tapeted. require a lot more work per note. And there’s the rivet vs screws mount on top of that. Harmonikas.cz offer their DIX reeds in three shapes and the difference in price between a rectangular, double, accordion style reed vs a dovetailed with screws is two fold. Now, for other aspects of construction differences, irregular lever lengths and lever routing challenges, labour intensive button and bellows design and acoustic difficulties of flat mounted reeds vs reed blocks result in concertinas being much harder to not only build (per reed) but also to design. And while it is true, that if you compare the same quality level instruments they might end up close in price, when it comes to duets vs accordions, you get a LOT more „bang for a buck” with accordions - more range, registers, free bass converter, etc. You can get a fully competent CBA for the price of a very limited Wakker H-1, and pretty professional CBA for the price of H-2, the largest Hayden available. Now, a „hybrid” 64 button Hayden could cost about half of H-2, but it would still be overpriced for it’s musical capabilities when compared to equally priced accordion. What you gain with concertinas is portability and little else really.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. There is also a "building of" video for Crane duet with a bit better worksmanship on this channel and a sample music clip. So "lo-fi" concertinas are not a new concept and they do work, simply not for long/not too well.
  24. 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.
  25. 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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