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March Hare

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    Folk songs, tunes, concertinas
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    W Midlands

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  1. Thank you Ken - I have been using your brilliant idea since I read your article in 2000 - so that is a quarter of a century. I had some more lessons recently and changed my LH chord playing, so the shape of the foam was altered to suit and the straps adjusted. It's a gift that keeps on giving. For a touch of luxury I sometimes cover the foam with thin, soft black leather. What a great forum for sharing ideas.
  2. Hi Latzenpratz, Here's a tip I got from con.net years ago that works for me. As an anglo player with long fingers I use foam pipe insulation (cheap, comfortable, easy to cut etc). Just cut one piece the length of your handset. Then split it lengthways (like a bun for a hot dog). Put one on each handset. Then adjust your straps as you need. (You may need to lengthen yours with cord, leather strip, string or whatever.) If they feel good then put a bit of double sided tape between foam and handrest. (Personally, my middle fingers are long but my fifth fingers are not, so I slope my foam pieces to give the full thickness at the thumb end, and very little thickness at the little finger end. This foam is very easy to work with, and so cheap that you can try different styles. Surprisingly long-lasting, though.) Hope this is helpful.
  3. Thank you for your message Karen. Sorry but the Dickinson is sold - I should have amended the title. I hope you find a nice instrument. Best wishes, March
  4. Thank you - that's brilliant. And very sweet playing too.
  5. May I say 4to5to6 that you have made a great job of fitting your felt - tidier that I can manage - but a pity that it didn't solve your problem. And it looks like a wonderful instrument. I enjoyed your other suggestions for absorbing the sound, particularly the rugged industrial ones. Some of my songs work best with a Bb treble EC - and I have a nice metal-ended 1960s Crabb rebuild using a great set of 1920s Wheatstone reeds. However the sound is a bit too robust for my voice. I tried playing it inside a pair of thick corduroy trousers and it worked very well. Ideal, except that I wasn't brave enough to go the club to sing like that. It really does look a bit bizarre, as you will know if you have tried it. And when you stand up the slightly worn and shiny seat of the pants catches the light, which is unbecoming and a bit distracting for listeners. So I made a pair of external baffles from two layers of felt and thin leather edging. When I sang out recently I was very pleased with the effect on the sound, and no-one made any remarks about the concertina in its garb. I am getting quite used to the look. The baffles just slide off so very quick to remove - but I keep them on anyway as I like the mellower sound. Whether or not this would placate family and neighbours when practising late at night I couldn't say. But I can revert to the trousers in the privacy of my own home.
  6. Ah yes - sorry - Planxty Irwin (as you all know). Lapsed viola player - same tuning as cello. Thank you Wolf - working at the Bach was a lockdown project. Bach solo cello on EC deserves a new thread - (perhaps there already is one). And thanks for all the positive comments - it is a lovely concertina.
  7. A couple of rough and ready recordings. Planxty Irwin.m4a Bach Sarabande.m4a Bach Gigue.m4a
  8. For Sale: Dickinson Wheatstone 36 key treble English concertina number 60024. Steel reeds, concert pitch, recently re-valved and fine-tuned by Concertinas UK. Excellent condition. £1650 plus £20 carriage (UK only) For further information see the Concertina Museum Collection Ref:C-114, and the Concertina Doctor 7th April 2022. It is a lovely instrument, the sound is full and rich but not at all harsh. Great feel and action, it is the most comfortable and user-friendly EC I have ever played, with all the notes that I use and without the high ones that I don’t. The images show that the condition is great, with hardly a blemish, and the bellows have no scuffing or wear and still have the smell of new leather. It has metal ends, and the wooden frames are rippled oak veneer. Range is from the usual low G3 up to D6 (2 octaves and a fifth). No low G sharp on the RHS so no key for a low F (but there is of course a low A flat on the LHS). It has fittings for wrist straps. I bought it last year because it was a rare chance to own a concertina from one of the great modern makers and it has been a joy. The folk clubs closed during lockdown so I worked on some solo Bach - and it is ideal for that. Now that I can sing out again I will go back to a Lachenal that I have sung with for nearly four decades. The Dickinson is just too good to have as a spare on the shelf - that would be a crime. I live in East Devon, and will, of course, donate to cnet if it sells from this site. (Sound files to post, below).
  9. Hello Jason, I think the felt is worth trying. I have glued a layer of thin felt (ordinary craft felt, probably polyester rather than wool) to the inside of the fretwork on lots of concertinas. It works for me, reducing the high overtones and taking the edge off the sound. I just brush a few small smears of weak pva on the inside, no stand-offs, to cover the holes. In my experience it doesn’t shed fibres or choke the airflow, and it pulls off easily leaving negligible residue. When I sing with concertina accompaniment the felt helps my words to come across, and I feel that the instrument is supporting my voice not getting in the way. I think that this is the result of a lucky coincidence: thin felt absorbs sound noticeably above about 1000Hz but not much below that frequency. Human hearing is much more sensitive in the range from roughly 1000Hz to around 3000Hz which is (naturally) the range needed to hear the consonants in our speech, particularly T, S, K, D etc which enable us to understand what is said. So the felt baffle helps to prevent the high frequencies from the reeds from covering up the words of the song. As the listeners’ hearing is sensitive in that range the accompaniment sounds less intrusive (although the loudness measured by a meter would probably not show much difference, as the thin felt has little effect on the fundamental notes of the music). This is my rough and ready theory - the only way to find out if it works for you and your instrument is to try it. Some years back on the forum there was a post from Wim Wakker, saying that Edeophones had mahogany innards which reduced the high overtones to mellow the sound. My favourite concertina to sing with is an Edeophone and I have never wanted to add any sort of baffle. Also a New Model tenor with mahogany structure - same applies. Hope this helps.
  10. And these are more like Marais, I think. But, I imagine that holding a gamba like a cello is more typical.
  11. This style is interesting too......
  12. Another try at attaching Staffs Hornpipe: Staffordshire Hornpipe.m4a
  13. A tuned-up 20 key can be a good option. I bought a basic mahogany Lachenal CG from a stall at Sidmouth a while back and Concertinas UK fettled it and put it up to DA. It plays well and is quite bright. I did a quick recording of Staffs Hornpipe on my phone: Staffordshire Hornpipe.m4a So, as suggested above, worth thinking about. Good luck.
  14. Hello Mikefule and thank you for opening this thread. I am a devoted 20k player and Barleycorn customer so, over some decades, I have worked up from mahogany ended Lachenals, RW ended-, to an early Jeffries/Crabb instrument - early, basic and lovely to play. More recently I saw a Wheatstone 20k on the Barleycorn site and thought it was too good to miss. It is a Linota from 1929, with RW ends and metal buttons in vg condition - it plays superbly as the very best Wheatstones of that era do, and I am very lucky to have it. So I agree with your findings: top quality 20k anglos are rare but worth waiting for. If you are looking you will find what you want eventually, I'm sure. Perhaps I should add that I have owned Anglos with more keys and, for me, they have their places and uses. But for English tunes my home is a 20k anglo, and that is where I spend many hours, and never get bored. Best wishes to all.
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