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David Colpitts

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Everything posted by David Colpitts

  1. I "live" in the single-note melody, so to speak. I have sung a bit since childhood; the tunes that "live in my head" are primarily melodic lines, and my more recent concertina play has just expanded upon that. I suspect Irish and "Old Time" American music pull me that way. While I have always thought of my inability to "think" in chords or bass line accompaniment as a mild disability, I take heart when I read notes like yours. I still plan to diverge some (left hand chords on Anglo and my Hayden duet are actually beginning to creep in) but am glad to be able to play what I can hum or whistle as a tune. That's the main thing for me.
  2. Whenever I read an initial inquiry like this, I am reminded of my own first two instruments, which were old Stagis. My guess is you can find (probably with an "ask" on this site) a "vintage" Stagi 30 button, with leather bellows and sweet tone, reasonable (though not lightning fast) action, and fair price. I paid 95 and 125 USD for the first two, and still play the cheaper one, having passed on at cost to a friend the other one. Even with inflation, my guess is that someone here has one in your price range to re-home. I have also owned a newer 20-button Stagi (although the one with the "undivided" bellows) and it was OK, but not as easy to play as the older ones. In every case, I preferred the Stagis to the entry-level German products I have tried, though others have enjoyed them. And, the "Rochelle-level" Elise I have has provided excellent service, and again, someone here may a Rochelle for you..... Have a blast!
  3. Everyone's points are well-taken, and when even the Hayden players recommend Anglo for your described musical goals, well, there you go! I play both systems, though am merely approaching intermediate in each, and play by ear the sorts of tunes you mention. The Anglo was an almost instant "bond" with my pre-existing "harmonica brain" and it seems to be thus for most I've heard over the years. My Elise does make it "the same" to play in G, C, D, and requires less "concertina contortion" in the face, and also a bit easier to self-accompany if you are a singer. But many, many people do it all on an Anglo. I started on an old, beat-up Bastari, which preceded Stagis from their original manufacturers, I believe. I got 30 buttons in C/G for a little more than a hundred USD, and sold one two years ago for the same. Sweet toned and easy to play, but not honking, lightning fast, or without little quirky maintenance now and again. The new Stagis seem to me a bit heavier to play, and I owned a G/D, but swapped for a nicer old one. The Rochelle seems to be the new instrument in your price range, but unless flat-out speed and a particular sound are already in your requirement set, you will probably find an old one for less, to get you started. Of course, smart people here say, "get the best you can afford" and that's sensible. I suspect someone on this site has the used instrument for you, if you decide to go that way. It'll be fun, and your child will be a beneficiary!
  4. By the time I finish typing, you will probably have heard from more experienced players, but here are my quick thoughts: Don't know your budget, but is it "lower end" you seek because you want to pay the least, and not just because you want to try something you might not like? Most folks here seem to say you might get the best you can afford, and especially if it's a good used instrument, get most of your investment back in sale or trade. That said..... I have no experience with Wren, but lots of hours on old Stagis and the Elise (Hayden Duet) which is the same box and quality level as the Rochelle. Both are fine for the price; a new Rochelle is something in the low-$400 range, and Stagis can be had for that and a bit lower or higher. I should emphazsize that the Stagis I have are actually Bastaris, which are older iterations from that company, or its precursor. I prefer them to the newer ones with the marquetry veneer decorations. The Rochelle is pretty responsive, and a good "learner." I spend lots of Anglo time on the old Bastaris, and love the sweet, mellow sound, especially played solo or for recording. OTOH, I have a Morse Anglo that is much lighter, faster, and more responsive than either, but at more like mid $2000's. So, is there any vendor near you where you might try some? ButtonBox in MA may still ship rentals, so you could try for 3 months and purchse or return. It'll be great fun for you, I hope. Regards, David
  5. The iPad I use, and the "smart" phone had some kind of demonic self-filling while typing (not to mention when I use speech recognition) so when I read "hydride" I almost instantly made it "I tried!" Perhaps similar happens to you with your device? I turned 'em off, and live with my old-fashioned typos.
  6. I agree with all the positive comments regarding what you and your colleagues have provided to us, Doug. Thanks so much....Without your help, I'd've been just another "straignt harp" harmonica player. With your help, I am a chronic novice in diatonic button accordion, anglo 'tina, and Hayden duet. I better get there before you hand off, since I still haven't ever owned an English, or a CBA! In all seriousness, it has been a tremendous pleasure to make my "quarterly pilgrimage" to Sunderland, and to get to know you and some of your staff a bit over the years. I have only bought/traded/rented/had repaired perhaps 10 or a dozen of these machines at the Button Box, and still have at least five with your "mark" on them, including the best among them, the Morse G/D. I do hope some worthy successor awaits, and that you have a much-deserved and lengthy retirement.
  7. Hello, Mick. In my experience, the answer is "absolutely." I play only by ear, and started as a simple harmonica player with no sight-reading, but a "couple of good ears" are all one needs to start. In fact, the Anglo 'tina is really a couple of hands full of harmonicas (in two keys) so my guess is that familiar tunes will come to you in, literally, minutes, at least in the "home" keys. No doubt a bit longer on English or Duet. OTOH, the chromatic harmonica is very like the semi-tone button accordions, which you may already have considered. Anway, it's fun!
  8. Went through a brief "search" for button accordions, and that led to a look at concertinas, and it hit me that Anglos are virtually identical in scales to the harmonica, which I had played for about 30 years, albeit "the same 2 years repeated 15 times" might best describe the level of play....And now, with 8 years on Anglo, it's probably the same single year repeated 8 times, but what the heck...it's a lot of fun!
  9. As a fan of Bakelite and concertinas I must say I am duly impressed! Have you had a look inside? Bakelite sidenote: I used to teach Technology Education ("shop") to seventh and eighth graders, and we had a 1950's vintage phenolic molding setup that, with heat, pressure, and some stink made "coasters for your cold drinks in the summer time." Said "coasters," upon close inspection, had little rim-dents molded in that made the coaster surprisingly reemble ashtrays. And, thanks to Dr. Baekeland, they'll probably show up in archeolgogical digs in central Connecticut in a few thousand years. The first, and best "synthetic" for industrial applications!
  10. I read it that way too! It reminded me of a crime my wife would like to committ, against my small collection of, say, 30-40 of the pocket intruments! And, I can't find the thread about your "project" although it rings a bell. Can you kindly post a link (unless it's a trade secret)?
  11. And, an early update: Used PlayScore2 for a song in a hundred-year-old book, basement-stained and faded, yellowed, partly crumbled. It was almost instant (10 seconds processing, maybe) and perfectly read the 2-staff, multi-part tune. Mind boggling, as a free app! Of course, 3-staff would require a subscription, and so on, but this does what I had hoped for. And, it also plays the file with a moving red line, which will (collateral benefit) even help me learn the sounds when sight-reading! I can turn off multiple voice, so can learn one part or another "solo" and even has a few "OK" sounding instruments, so the accordion evokes concertina, etc. Wow!
  12. And, thanks to RAc, who also (I just realized) pointed me to PlayScore....I just didn't try that link because I was too excited by seeing it in Paul's post...Much appreciated, RAc, et al!
  13. Thanks, Paul H.! What a difference a day makes! I was busy last evening, and came back to look this morning....so many more, and thoughtful comments. Not to mention: A HOME RUN! Paul, particular thanks to you for the tip on PlayScore2! It took about 1 minute to download to the iPad, and worked the first time I tried it, on a tune I know well. Absolutely exactly what I had hoped for, and as David B. so astutely noted, I don't care about editing or transcribing or any of that....I simply want to shoot a picture of sheet music and see how it sounds. PlayScore2 does that, elegantly! The "ABC" part of my original post was, it turns out, unnecessary and unintentional clutter on my part. All I knew 'til this morning was that I could play an ABC file as sound, to hear the tune. PlayScore2 lets me do just that playing, without the ABC part. Tres Elegant! So thanks to you all, and especially to you, Paul. David
  14. I knew this was the place for such discussion! Yes, Moll, I mostly play Anglo, though I am picking up Hayden. But for me, it really isn't about mapping the paper note to the key/button. Rather, it's mapping the paper note to the sound in my head, and then I'll just find the note on the buttons with a bit of practice. And, Simon, I smiled at your trip up the "Stairway to Heaven!" But, if I can play it on my mandolin, I won't need so much the ABC. The ABC for me is just an efficient way to get a sound file (created on the fly in my Tunebook app) to learn the tune to begin with. So far, I am getting the sense there isn't what I asked about in the first post: A cheap, simple "scan the sheet music (to PDF or?) and easy conversion to ABC files." I do appreciate the thoughtful responses here! Thanks!
  15. And, thanks to all since last look.....Moll, it sounds like two or three steps from what I can do now (play ABCs to listen to) and what I want (yes, old songbooks) and not simple. Wunks, a good idea, but not an impulse or mass-production (like my whole songbook collection) in my mind. And, of course, Don and David, you are right. It's a mental block I'd best get past. I will try, but it looks so darned "foreign," despite the fact I was "OK" at it up to middle school. I'll really look for ways to learn, though I am reminded of how easy French was to learn when I was 12, and how difficult Spanish was, at 50! David
  16. And, thanks, JimmyG. I read yours after my previous reply. I will investigate Sibelius and Photoscore, but it sounds more "iffy" and complicated than I had hoped. OTOH, you are probably right in your suggestion I learn to read standard notation, but until (unless) I can read and simultaneously "hear" the tune in realtime in my head, I still need the aural crutch(es) that have gotten me this far.
  17. Unless there's an easy way to get to those files from the printed page of standard notation, I don't think so. Basically, I have old songbooks I'd like to simply and quickly be able to make ABC files from, and need to go from a picture or scan of a page from the book to an ABC file I can then open in Tunebook, etc., for playback as audio. So, PDF (which I can make) to ABC? Thanks for the thought.
  18. Hello, all. I have seen much about how to turn ABC back to standard notation, but can't seem to find a simple way to go in the other direction. As an ear-only learner, the ABC files let me play tunes, change speed, etc. I use Tunebook all the time for that. So, the question is: Isn't there an easy-to-use, reasonably-priced app that would let me scan a page from a standard printed score, for example, and automatically convert that to an ABC file? If it matters, my usual technology is iPhone and iPad, but could use PC if that's the only platform for something great. And, I can readily scan the print to a PDF file, which might make a difference? Thanks for any advice. David
  19. Jim, I was at ButtonBox once and wanted a piece of leather to make a strap for one of the toy melodions I had. Doug sold me a bit at a reasonable price. Might have been goat? it was about an eighth-inch (or even 3/16) thick, as I recall. Worked fine, gone now, through no fault of the leather. At any rate, I'd call Doug for a start, though plenty of folk on this site will know, for sure. From an engineering standpoint, I'd like to see what the brace looks like.
  20. Well, I bet one accordion would make room for 2, 3, or 4 concertinas.....Could be a net spatial gain, if you only swap one-for-one! David
  21. Looks splendid! All I can do is shake my head in admiration....just cutting "112 pieces with a scalpel" is reason enough for me to either hire a pro or play with leaky bellows....and that looks like the simple part! Are we awaiting the first "Tiposx 'Tina" release? Regards, David
  22. Now, this is the very question many of us faced as we began to grapple with these devilish little machines. I agree with the great suggestion that Tim E. is a role model for playing ITM on a box stamped "D/G" but he's a dedicated long-term practioner, who has genius on his side, I suspect. At the other extreme, I represent the small percentage of concertina players too thick-headed (some say lazy, but I think we are all neurologically differently wired) to get very far in cross-row play. So, to play Irish, I got Anglos in G and D. I'll never be great, but I can keep up to session speed on a few tunes, and practicing yields progress. The collateral benefit is for all other genres I dabble in, like Quebecois, "Old-Timey," "Americana" and other folk stuff. As long as the key is G or D, my ear and fingers pretty quickly find the melody (mostly right side, but not always) and the chords on the other hand can be, dare I say, simple and automatic. Singers seem to like the sound as accompaniment, which pleases me. If you started with the harmonica, that may make a difference....it did for me. Older ITM players did play more "along the rows," and I take some comfort in that. If you've the time, energy, aptitude and ambition, C/G for ITM is the standard. G/D for some of us fits the (different) bill. Mostly, have great fun. David
  23. If you already play harmonicas, then the "home rows" of an anglo 'tina will be familiar; the ins/outs are the same. However, I believe very few serious ITM concertinists play that way, but go "cross row" for most keys, and that confused me enough to not stick with C/G anglos. Rather, I got some in G/D, which fit my harmonica brain. They mightn't give the smooth, fluid rapidity that mastery of the cross-row play on a C/G does, but they have their charm, and I could start playing in sessions much sooner, in G and D. But that's just the way my brain seems wired. You are certainly in the right place, here, for information and real expert advice. Have fun! David
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