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David Colpitts

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Everything posted by David Colpitts

  1. I also suggest the Morse. The people are the best, and they are the key. But, if this particular instrument has been hacked by amteurs, as Jim suggested there may be some damage. Button Box folks will steer you straight.
  2. Re-veneering might be your elegant solution, but if you want to repair (as I think you asked?) the pearloid is probably cellulose nitrate or cellulose acetate, early plastics. Acetone is probably a solvent, and can be used to dissolve chunks of new stuff to patch the old, as I recall. But beware of fumes, flames, and potential skin reaction. Personally, I am less affected by those chems than by epoxy, urethane, or satinwood. I get a horrible pustulent rash from sanding satinwood, or lacewood, or zebra.
  3. More experienced and knowledgeable folks have more to add, for sure, but my simple take (as an Elise owner who also added a 46 button Hayden to the fleet) is that Don's suggestion about the left hand is the only way to get the 3-octave range. Personally, I can easily get lost on those odd notes, since the octave overlap means it's usually not the bottom row I need to find with my left. But they are there (save for the key of A?) and the Elise remains, IMHO, an excellent "mini-chromatic-accordion" for a great price. I play the 46 button more now, and the right hand has a larger compass that minimizes the need to switch sides. Do I remember you from the NESI Squeeze-In?
  4. Yes, indeed....great playing, Jim, and thanks, David for the link to Jim's YouTube channel. It's good to have inspirational role models such as the two of you!
  5. Yes, indeed. Jim has since divested himself of a full pair of Bastari Haydens; one playable to some lucky pilgrim, and one for parts/repair, to me. As I figure it, David, you and I between us have about 10% of the world's complement of that first-edition Bastari Hayden! In fact, I was imagining having to take parts from the "parts machine" until I realized nothing was really broken or missing on my playable one. And, Jim or David, any extant copy of that Georgy Girl recording?
  6. Hi, Jim. I can imagine having used some thinner tool (like light wire) and saved a couple of attempts, even upside down. But, as David B. says, upside down is the only way to do it, at least on our old Bastaris.
  7. Thanks, Wunks. I bet you have! And, Don, I scoured the kitchen for just such a bamboo tool, but sadly only had metal skewers and chopsticks; both were too thick to do the job without creating so much collateral clearance that others fell out....
  8. Thanks, Stephen. That makes me feel better....I can't imagine doing it if I didn't turn the whole thing upside down....maybe the rivets, when new, would have helped the buttons stay upright, but in my instrument's case, they just fell off to the sides when placed down that way. David B...We didn't do so badly, eh? After all, she's the professional! And Simon, she struggled doing it "your" way.
  9. That's the feeling. And, my guess is "concertina face" was on me the whole time I fussed with it. My dear wife asked if there was any way she could help....My guess is an articulated adjustable boom arrangement to hold the thing about 6 feet in the air, and perfectly horizontal. My biggest problem was that after one (even slightly) imperfect approach, one or more buttons would be knocked crooked, and had to be jostled back to vertical for the next try....I wonder if Mr. Snopes can do it on the first try, after years of practice?
  10. Oh, sure...the left side! So, the main batch of reeds does have the shared "axle" like the Anglo, no? And, just for "true confessions" here.....Did it take 5 tries? 10? I think I was on number 12 or 15, but was worried about hyperventilation and about to quit when, voila! And, for what it's worth, the buttons are, at least for now, way less akimbo than they always were/are. Maybe just "flexing" them around their pivots loosened 'em up a bit, so gravity can play its role?
  11. Well, Simon and David...some similarities to the Anglo, but some things not so similar. Of course, I fogot to take a picture, so some things hazy already. Basically, David, the pins I looked at in addition to the offending displaced one I only checked to see if they were firmly seated. All those I touched to test were indeed firmly seated. They all looked like they were just sharpened on the "business end" and plain round wire (paper clip thickness, or so) at the end that stuck out. And, Simon, because of the more "radial" pattern of the Hayden layout, there were not (or at least not as many) straight-line sharings of a longer "axle" rod, as in your Anglo. In fact, 26 holes, levers, pads, buttons on that side alone, so about twice the complexity and crowding. And, no tubes....metal-to-metal with teeny rivets, and the pivot pins up the arms a bit from the rivets. The springs were like tiny coils dropped into small holes, with the bottom of the lever arm fitting into the slot above the springs, and the assembly held by the little bent pins. I am glad to hear you haven't taken the Bastari Hayden apart in a long time, David. That's a good omen.... I also have an old Bastari 40 button G/D Anglo, which I suspect will be apart in the next year or so, with an eye towards what I think is tubing going funky.... To be continued
  12. Well, last night just before bed I thought I was really in for it: the much-loved and heavily-used-before-it-came-to-me "first generation" Bastari 46 button Hayden Duet got a stuck note and a button hanging out. I had read a bit about the older Bastaris' aluminum wear-out on the lever, and didn't quite know what to expect. I imagined removing the button, taping the reed hole, and going to the ButtonBox Repair Shop for some fancy metal repair. When I got it apart, I discovered a short, thin right-angle brass pin sitting on the dining room table. Turns out it's a pivot pin keeping the button lever in place in a slot over a spring, and it had just fallen out. I was able to replace it with needle-nose, and then of course spent 20 minutes on the "upside down button dance" to get all the buttons back in their holes. Even with several times' worth of prior experience, it required quite a few attempts, with gentler and gentler approaches before I got them where they belonged. Sometimes, as my late Dad would say, "you just have to hold your mouth right." Should I have put a drop of some sort of glue on the outside bend of the brass pin to prevent another fall-out? Anyway, just thought I'd share my relief, and of course my continued enjoyment of the Hayden.
  13. I'll check out the Bismark, too. Thanks, Paul.
  14. As I mentioned in my post, I never even saw ThumbJam until early this month. There may be other IOS synths/etc. that would work, but for the money, TJam gives great sounds. Now I can pretend to play any instrument, with the Hayden or Janko keyboard. Like cello, David B.?
  15. I don't start many threads, since I am but moderately experienced, at best. And please excuse any redundancy, since these have been mentioned otherwhere on these fora, for sure. But, the recent thread started by Randy Stein, regarding teaching concertina to children motivated me. I have 5 grandchildren, and two particularly show interest in the squeeze. They are 7 and 4 as I write this, and both make "nice" noises on the Anglo and, particularly, on the Hayden Elise. Of course, this can lead to the "why can't you practice so you don't disturb the family?" questions. Imagine that! So, here's my "silent practice" (and more expansive musical exploration) suggestion: If you are iPad or iPhone users, download 2 apps: MusixPro and ThumbJam. I think they cost 5 or ten dollars each, but are more than worth it, to me. MusixPro has the ability to play in many isomorphic keyboard arrangements, but we use Hayden and Janko, which are easy for the kids (and the Grandpa) to learn, and play, as you all know, all keys with similar fingering shapes. Sadly, the built-in sounds are, well, simple and not that exciting. Not "real" concertina, or anything. But, it will output MIDI information with simple settings and controls, including touch and velocity adjustments. Enter ThumbJam (and a shout-out to regular contributor here, Michael Eskin for his great instrumental samples for lots of free-reed devices) which allows terrific-sounding music to be made, with or without headphones, and really provides excellent practice without. I have enjoyed MusixPro for years, but for some reason only just discovered ThumbJam and put the two together early this month. Now, while someone else watches endless Masterpiece series I can be 6 feet away playing whatever I like, and when the kids are here (or we, there) they can play softly enough for gentle sharing, or silently for their own amusement. It's a winner, for us. MusixPro and ThumbJam combination lets me access those great Eskin sounds (and myriad others) with the to-me-more-approachable isomorphic keyboard. Great practice, and great fun, with perhaps even ultimate performance possibilities, although a more tactile (Striso? Melodicade?) interface would be a blast.
  16. 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.
  17. 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!
  18. 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!
  19. 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
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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!
  23. 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!
  24. 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!
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