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David Colpitts

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About David Colpitts

  • Rank
    Chatty concertinist
  • Birthday 01/05/1951

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  • Interests
    "Americana" and traditional folk music, Anglo concertina,
  • Location
    Hartford, CT USA

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  1. As so often happens, I am again humbled by the wealth of information explaining so clearly why C/G rules for ITM. I must agree with all said, but take some gentle exception to the notion that it’s a straightforward process to learn how to play in that way. It really is daunting to some, including me, perhaps due to years of straight up and down 1st position harmonica. When I had to choose between some years of learning new scales and those same years getting some tunes I could play right away, I chose the quicker and easier (to me) route. I get positive feedback from my session cohorts, and while I may never be the “leader of the pack” I do have tunes in G, D, and sometimes A coming along nicely. But I can’t even sing along with my play, since every time I pull for the next higher note, I find myself inhaling, a la harmonica! FWIW, the same kind of neurological (or, yes, even ambition) differences comes into play when I try the box. I have two sweet semitone boxes, a D/C# and a B/C, and I am stuck in their home keys, too. What I may need to do is save for a better (than my Elise) Hayden duet, to allow play in all (or almost all) keys. Anyway, I always like the discussions here, and learn a ton. Regards to all, David
  2. Hello, Jack. As a 7 or so year “rookie” in ITM with Anglo concertina, I have asked myself-and this great forum- this sort of question in the past. In my case, I have taken the contrarian road, and play almost exclusively G/D. More in a minute. From my reading and talking to players (quite a lot in both cases) I believe it distills down to 2 major points. One, as you correctly surmise, is the relative surfeit of C/G instruments when the concertina was becoming increasingly popular for Irish trad music. So, many more to choose among, and much more tutorial information. And yes, much inertia. The second point, which no doubt adds to the inertia, is that serious (and, really, almost all, it seems) Irish music session players and aspirants find the C/G has significant playability advantages once mastered. Across the rows as the default; more continuous runs/arpeggios, more “on the pull” playing; “that” sound; etc. This forum and others should be full of reasons. I, on the other hand, started with harmonicas and Anglos were the logical extension from there. They represent two-plus harmonicas in my hands, and I play them almost exclusively on the rows. So, guess what? The G/D let me get tunes far more easily than the other, albeit at some cost in chromaticity, etc. Kind folk here have gently but consistently suggested I turn back before it’s too late, but, it’s too late. I am getting somewhere along the rows. As a matter of fact, I sat at a session with an English concertina player. They are known for full-tilt fast play, using both hands for all work. She looked over at me during a break and said, “I am so impressed by how you manage to get all those notes so well with all the pushing and pulling.” She didn’t care if I was playing C/G or G/D, but merely appreciated that I could “get all those notes.” That was one of the biggest compliments I have gotten about the concertina. So, the “smart money” says C/G. A small minority of us took the other path, for better and worse. Either way, great for the brain and soul! Regards, David
  3. I am excited, and will see you all in a couple of days! Regards, David
  4. And I say, hooray for the G/D Anglo, no matter what the initial experience. Although I started with the Anglo, I found the combination of the two no trouble at all. But as others have said, less trouble for the simpler along-the-rows style, which is why I got the G/D anyway. I have “harmonica brain” and usually play “the keys stamped on the instrument.” And, for Irish, Quebecois, Old Timey, and probably (but I don’t really know) English session tunes, it’s a natural. Plus, the more-or-less can’t miss simple harmonies with the left hand make it a real winner. Weighs less than a kilogram, too! Have a great time! David
  5. As a very happy Morse G/D owner, I support that choice. I have had mine for about three years, and it gets better and faster all the time! It weighs less than any others, keeps its tune, and plays like a dream. And, apparently, it can be loud, too! I also have a Stagi 40 button G/D, which I will keep as a spare. It got me going. Good luck. David
  6. Someone very wise on this site suggested spending a very few dollars on a cheap harmonica to see if you will be able to fathom the in and out of an Anglo. Sorry I can’t remember who it was (or maybe on the melodeon site) but brilliant advice, IMHO. If you can, the longer (12 holes at least) Chinese tremolo models are probably more accessible to a real rookie than the ten hole “blues” harps, but either will give you the idea: inhaling and exhaling give you adjacent scale notes, two per spot, as do expanding the bellows and compressing them. The “trick” is that the pattern of blow/draw reverses at the top end of a scale, so doh-re-mi etc. is: out in out in out in in out. Voila. Ten dollars or less, to help decide. My guess is that if you ever got that far (under an hour for most people, I bet) you will take to an Anglo. If not, and the harmonica takes more than a few days of casual noodling without “getting” that much, then it wouldn’t make a huge difference which you started on; by that I mean any of the systems will be a possibility, but the Anglo won’t already have a real head start, as it did for me and many others who previously played harmonica. Because of harmonica background, it took minutes to pick out simple tunes with the right hand, and simultaneous harmony notes with left. Mind you, I don’t read music, or know the names of chords, but can make reasonably pleasant noise with the Anglo intuitively, and better every month. Another wise one said, “the first thirty years are the hardest!” Mostly, try whatever you can, and something will grab you. Have fun, and make a joyful noise! Regards, David
  7. Thanks, Mikefule! What a great bunch of new to do. I will try in the morning, as soon as herself is off to work. Regards, David
  8. Thanks, lumanohnz. Feels like coming full circle; this is exactly what I’ve been resisting in my hardheaded way (or, maybe just so stuck in my “harmonica along the rows” mindset) for years. I am going to try “baby steps” as in this discussion, before I brave the “deep end.” Thank, Mikefule. That seems to sum up the answer to my original question! And, thanks, too, Wunks. Something to add to the mix. Regards to all, David
  9. Thanks again. I have my work cut out for me. Thankfully, it’s fun, and I am retired, so have time. Regards, David
  10. Thanks, Bill. That about says what I will try: I’ll learn to play “A” on my G/D, as if I were playing “D” on my C/G. Come to think of it, then I’d be able to play “D” on my C/G, like everybody else! If I can get fluent in the one more key, then I may not need to go get an accordion in ADG so I can play all three at the Irish, Quebecois and Old-Time sessions I frequent. So far “A” has made me reach for the harmonica with that stamped into the comb! As a true non-sophisticate, I don’t even know the names of the buttons, but just find the tune when I know what key it’s in. More work I better try to do.... And, Graham, thanks. Nice playing (and a great instrument) What key? Thanks for the offer of a slower version, but my task now is clear to me: Mary Had a Little Lamb, etc., in A until I can reliably “sing A with my fingers” in that key. What a great resource this site is. I appreciate the thoughtful responses very much. Regards, David
  11. Thank you, Mory. I suspected as much, but didn’t really know it, nor want to believe it. But, the option you suggest is enough to move me off square one, I think. I bet if the available instructions talk about “playing the key of A on the GC, then I can learn it and I’ll be actually playing in the Key of X on my G/D. That it? I’ll give it a try. Thanks again, and regards, David
  12. Thanks, Wolf. I suspect you’re correct, and I guess I would settle for more fluency to add to my “along the rows,” but adding keys (A and?) on my D/G would be a boon. And, perhaps ornamentation help, too. Really, I wonder how Tim does what he does, I guess, and if anybody “stuck” to G/D can play Anglo like he plays accordion. I know it’s apples and oranges, but.... Regards, David
  13. Hello, All. I am some 6 years in to my Anglo journey, and play G/D along the rows exclusively, despite all the thoughtful suggestions (warnings?) early on about how limiting that choice would be, particularly for Irish music. Now, while I am very pleased with my progress on the instrument, and quite comfortable with my choice (rather than going with G/C in traditional way) I recently re-discovered the (to me) mad genius of Tim Edey playing amazing music on a D/G melodeon. This led to a link offering his teaching DVD, wherein he shows how to do lots of interesting stuff on a thus-tuned box. So.....Does anyone (probably who plays both accordions and concertinas) have any idea if that kind of instruction might have “cross-platform” applicability for the Anglo? I am beginning to think I might just do some cross-row as a modest expansion, but can in no way imagine starting completely over in G/C to do it the “right” way, exclusively. I am at-to-near-session speed on some polkas and hornpipes in D and G, and of course can also play simple (automatic, almost) harmonies when I play other genres, so I am (as my Italian friend says) “just a keepa go” on the G/D, but curious. Thanks for any input, and regards, David
  14. Thanks, Brian. I am, as usual, amazed by your ability and your presence. I can barely sing and play at the same time, but this encourages me to keep at it. Regards, David
  15. Randy, this is amazing stuff, IMHO. I was lucky enough to be there for the live performance (in fact, I suspect it is my voice saying “Wow!” at the end.) It was a highlight of a tremendous concert, and makes me sort of wish I’d started on English. Great work, and, “Wow” encore, M’sieur. David
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