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Syncopepper

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Everything posted by Syncopepper

  1. It should be interesting to see how they hold up over time. I believe my Trinity cost me $600 - $700 When I bought it about 38 years ago. The leather bellows have held up just fine. I suspect these fabric based bellow won't last that long.
  2. I noticed entry level Trinity concertinas now come with "fabric covered bellows". I have a Trinity that I bought new 30+ years ago that has decent standard skived leather bellows. In the pictures the current ones have a fabric-like weave on the outer surface. I wonder if the fabric is just covering some other air-tight material or if these bellows use some kind of doped fabric which has been made air-tight? Anyone out there have any experience with, or information about them?
  3. I was playing the uke, the guitar, and the tenor banjo by the time I was twelve years old. Through most of the ‘60s and early ‘70s I was a member of a folk group that regularly played at resorts in the mid-west booked through the Old Town School of Folk Music. Later when living in the Washington DC area I ogled a cheap German mother-of-toilet seat anglo in a pawn shop window while out walking with my wife. When I moved on from the job I had at the time the anglo turned up as my parting gift from fellow workers. I played around with the anglo for a year learning a few songs when I had the privilege of eating dinner with Alistair Anderson when he appeared at my local folk club. While we ate Alistair suggested I might like the EC better and the reasons why. After his performance that night I was hooked on ECs and traded in the anglo on a Trinity Tenor and never looked back. Years later I moved up to an early New Model lovingly restored by Wim Wakker for his daughter. Now Wim has just finished a complete restoration on a Tenor Aeola I recently acquired and I am eager to soon get my hands on it. As the years have past arthritis and tendinitis have taken their toll and I have had to curtail playing my stringed instruments. I am very glad to have the more ergonomic concertinas to fall back on.
  4. You can take a rest for the last two years before retirement. They will go very slowly...
  5. I found this fascinating video about the Sheng including it's history, construction and much more. Of particular interest is the information about the free reeds and how they are made, prepared, tuned, and how they interact with the bamboo pipes.
  6. I damaged the finish on a guitar once with insect repellant sprayed on my forearm.
  7. I have been visiting chanty sings and folk clubs via Zoom in the US and UK about three time a week during the pandemic. I live in a part of Michigan where English and Maritime music are not popular. It's nice to meet more people with similar interests. Sound and lack of corroboration are Zoom shortcomings so they are more like open mics and listeners stay muted and play along if they wish. These sessions are well attended by both professional and non-professional musicians. It appears that some Zoom sessions are wholly online entities that did exist as pre-pandemic organizations. I wonder if some of these may have a life after the Pandemic's end? Some of these sessions have links to their non-profit web-sites, where one can easily donate. The donations heIp support musicians.
  8. My concertinas and other instruments have lived in a small room for decades. In my old house humidity was controlled by a whole house humidifier on the furnace and also a room humidifier to fine tune humidity to 50%. I use an evaporative humidifier after having bad experiences with ultrasonic ones that disperse a white sticky mineral dust over everything. A year and a half ago I moved from a newer house with forced air heat and central AC to an older home with hot water heat and separate central AC. I have found that hot water heat is much less drying than the forced air heat. Also with our previous well water went through a water softener but still had a lot of mineral salts collecting in the humidifier. Our current city water works quite well with the room humidifier.
  9. I had the cranked arm, worn pivot problem on my extended treble New Model. It was the longest, most convoluted lever in the box. I understand that long levers with lots of kinks are most susceptible to this problem. After much fooling around I had that action replaced with a riveted one and have had no further problems.
  10. Years ago I bought a concertina case cover from one of the UK suppliers. Unfortunately I don't remember which. I originally bought it because the hard case has only one hasp and I was worried about it accidently opening and dumping the concertina on the floor. It is made of heavy Cordura and a little larger than the hard case which fits into it. The two open halves zip together with a three sided zipper and it has a stout shoulder strap. I've used it for years at gigs and festivals and it works well for me - never a drop or a scratch. It's so handy I never bother taking the case out of the Cordura cover. If no longer available a sewer should be able to make one up with a few measurements of the hard case.
  11. I promised to update the forum with a full rundown on my recent purchase of a tenor Aeola on eBay. The Aeola arrived yesterday without any shipping damage. As it was made in late 1942 I had worried that it might not be up to the quality of the older ones but I was pleasantly surprised. It was completely playable out of the box. While the ends have not been restored and show their age, they are solid and have only a few hairline age cracks. While not expert, I do not see that any of the fretwork has been rebuilt and it all looks in good shape to me. The bellows have some wear on the bottom edge that rests on the leg but are otherwise in good shape. The case the Aeola arrived in is unblocked and I noticed that when resting on a flat surface the bellows want to expand a little, unlike my Lachenal New Model which lives in a blocked case. When first playing I found myself sympathetically gasping as I kept running out of air before my usual bellow reversals as it is not as air tight as the New Model. The New Model was completely restored some years ago by Wim Wakker and it’s newer bellows are pretty air tight. Regarding the Wheatstone, I could not ascertain air leakage from the bellows but could feel some air escaping through the fretwork on the ends, primarily on the right side. Upon disassembly I found stamps (see pics) from Chris Alger and two other persons (anyone recognize them?) on the pad boards. The seller thought he had bought it from Barleycorn about ten years ago. Pads and leather valves look to be in good shape. The long tongue steel reeds are set in brass shoes. The keys are metal over plastic-like cores and all are of a consistent height. The action is the later hook and post but has improvements over my New Model (circa 1880’s). The cross section of the levers are rectangular instead of round and pivot on a different kind of post. As an extended treble the New Model a few years ago had “cranked arm syndrome” as discussed on this forum in the past. Some of the levers on the extended treble are quite long and kinky and one of those had worn down at the pivot so that it swiveled when it moved and the pad would sometimes not seal properly. Wim replaced that one with a riveted action and I have had no further problem. The Aeola, being a 48 key tenor, does not have the long kinky levers and the flat sided lever design seems to be more stable. I have tried many Aeolas in the past but not where I could do so side-by-side with my Lachenel and previously thought the New Model’s action was completely comparable to those Aeolas I have tried in the past. While the difference is subtle I think the action on this Aeola is a little more expressive. The reeds (which on the New Model Wim described as “Superb”) are very similar both in sound and design and I am hard pressed at this point to describe any sound differences between the two. Upon disassembly I was not able to find any obvious sources of the air leaks. Referring to the pictures of the edge of the right end cover, there were in two places where holes from the inner edge connected to the screw holes through which air passes. While I wouldn’t think air leaks from the action box to the reed chambers should be a problem I wonder if the screw-holes which continue down through the reed pan to the bellows frame could be a path for leaking air through these holes? If so what would be the recommend plug for the pierces - PVA glue? The other thing I noticed is that the black seals between the reed chambers, bellows frame and pad board seems to be thinner and less spongy than the usual chamois. I intend to put wrist straps on this Aeola which must have had some installed before as there are threaded inserts for them at the top and just holes in the wood on the bottom for each side where I assume just screws with grommets were used in the past.
  12. Thanks everyone for your advice, especially Geoff! I have made the plunge and, with trepidation and yearning, I await it's arrival.
  13. Thanks Geoff, I really appreciate your expertise and help. I have been to the Button Box and to Barleycorn and played many EC's. I currently play a New Model extended treble (circa 1880s) with solid rosewood ends. Most of my repertory is UK folk and maritime music. I play more in D than other keys as it fits my vocal range and spend a lot of my time in the lower range on the extended treble. Here is a recent clip of my playing style: https://youtu.be/PH256RgxRoU After playing many Aeolas I have decided that the metal ended ones are too loud and I think a little harsh for my taste. I started on a Trinity 48 key tenor years ago which I still own and have no problems staying within the top range of a tenor. I very seldom use any of the bat-squeak keys at the top of the extended treble. Having the extra eight keys at the bottom would be good but my primary reason for leaving the New Model, which I love, is tendonitis and arthritis that I have developed over the last few years and that is exacerbated when playing at the bottom of the keyboard on the Lachenal due to it's thumb strap positions. I need to get thumb straps relatively lower on the key board and plan to add wrist straps. At this time it is more comfortable to play my old Trinity tenor but, of course, much inferior in many ways to the New Model. The ebony ended Aeola I am looking at on ebay looks like it fits my bill. I am concerned, however, on the build quality of an Aeola made in late 1942.
  14. The tenor wooden ended Aeola (sn: 35364) that I am looking at was manufactured late in 1942 according to the ledgers. Can anyone advise on the quality of workmanship during that period? Can I assume good quality long tongue steel reeds at A440 pitch?
  15. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=324393896838 This Aeola looks like what I have been looking for to replace my New Model extended treble. I have never bought a big ticket item on eBay and am worried about the pitfalls of doing so. The seller lists the early 1940s for manufacture. The seller also states "No Returns". Can anyone with experience give me any advice? Is this a good period for Aeolas? I would think the $3,500 asking price is a good price?
  16. Thanks to everyone for good advice and recommendations. These forums have been a source of a lot of great information over the years. Here are some of my reflections - Very interesting approach to ergonomics. I am used to the standard angle of attack on the EC (having played that way for more than 35 years), it’s the deep reach to the lowest keys on the extended treble layout that is problematic for me now. Geoff’s thoughts seem to fit my situation pretty well. The Trinity 48 key tenor learner that I still have is more comfortable regarding thumb position - first because I am used to the treble range and do not often go to the bottom eight keys, and second, the thumb strap position is a little closer to the lowest keys than on the New Model. Like Geoff my twisted thumb straps have started to tear. My days of playing stand up are pretty much over due to wrist tendon problems I have developed over the past few years so the weight of the instrument is not a big issue. My optimum solution would be to trade up to a restored wooden ended Aeola, preferably a tenor or possibly a baritone, and install wrist straps. Unfortunately these instruments seem to be in short supply and I would like to go to a good dealer where I can also negotiate a trade-in on the New Model. I saw mentioned here lately that Wim Wakker has a thicker reinforced thumb strap available. Wim originally restored my New Model for his daughter and has done the work on it over the years for me. Can anyone review these straps for me? It has occurred to me that a thumb strap designed for mounting on a traditional concertina that had a swivel base that would more easily rotate the thumb downward might be a great idea. Has anyone run into a device like that? Regarding the discussion about procuring or jury rigging wrist/hand straps. Does anyone know of where one could get straps professionally installed or find details about how and where to attach them? If I can come up with a better thumb/wrist/hand strap configuration I might think about holding onto the New Model as I am very happy with it otherwise.
  17. As this post touches on multiple topics that individually could better go in other forums, I thought is best to put them in the general forum to be considered together. I have been playing a Lachenal New Model 56 key extended-treble for many years. As it is used for accompaniment to my vocal range, I play mostly at the bottom range of this instrument. I have noted that the thumb straps are now wearing out and it appears that the wear is due to twisting to reach the lower buttons. When I traded up in quality years ago I moved from a cheaper tenor instrument which I still own. Losing the lower range was a consideration when I purchased the New Model but the lost lower range has not really been an issue except for the ergonomic problems with thumb strap wear, and recently, arthritis in my left thumb which I think has been caused, or exasperated, by my concertina playing. The thumb problem has reached the point where I must do something to continue playing and I have considered two possible options. The first would be to replace the thumb straps on the New Model with thicker and/or more flexible straps and have wrist straps installed to relieve pulling pressure on the thumbs. The second option would be to trade up to a tenor, baritone, or treble (with an extended downward range) to better position my hand in the lower range (and probably also wrist straps). My intention is to trade up to a comparable or better quality instrument as the current New Model. Fortunately in the past few years I have sat down at both the Button Box and at Barleycorn and played many concertinas allowing me to have some idea of what I am looking for. My big take-a-ways from trying so many instruments is that I do not like the harsh loud sound of metal ended instruments and that some of the more modern ECs, many of which are hybrids, are better than I expected. As this will be my big chance to do a trade up, I’m considering Aeolas, Ediophones, and other ECs of that caliber or one step below, depending on what I can get for trade in value on the New Model. I am also considering the possibility of a more modern EC but would still want to move on from the current New Model so might have to then sell it separately. If anyone has suggestions or thoughts or other options I should be considering please let me know. I could use some advice. Thanks!
  18. I would like to know aproximate date on my 56 key extended treble New Model with solid rosewood ends, SN: 29161. It was restored by Wim Wakker some years ago and featured on his web site for years. I am guessing mid 1880"s? Thanks;
  19. For many years I lived near the Chesapeake Bay area but now live near Lake Michigan. Over the years I have been to Maritime Music Festivals and am a folk club regular. I play several instruments including EC. Early this year I was organizing a Chanty Sing at the Michigan Maritime Museum Campus during the annual South Haven, MI Harbor Fest in June. Of course that didn't happen - maybe next year. Chanty Sings are held monthly in some metropolitan areas. Usually there is a Sing leader who performs the dual role of master of ceremonies and sponsoring representative for the Sing. The Sing leader coordinates with individual song leaders who volunteer to lead the rest of the participants in a song. Sometimes the Sing leader leads some or all of the songs. These songs are often call and response work songs with the leader singing the calls or refrains. Ideally this all happens in a large backroom of a pub. These days some are doing Zoom but with the delay they are just doing round robin.
  20. During the summer I went to several outdoor folk club and open mic social distancing events. As the weather has cooled down and the Covid has heated up, I do not do so now. I am interested in traditional maritime music and some of chanty sings are now via zoom. Of course with Zoom they are more like open mics. While a poor substitute for live, they do tend to draw participants from all over the country and many from the UK. South Street Seaport in NY hosts a monthly one as does the Portsmouth Maritime Music Festival in NH. I continue to monitor other traditional venues looking for more Zoom opportunities including ones in Minneapolis. Seattle and San Francisco. Does anyone know of other Zoom open mic type opportunities?
  21. After many years of playing an EC extended treble New Model I have recently developed arthritis in the second joint of my left thumb in addition to previous tendonitis on the other side of that hand that has curtailed playing stringed instruments. I'm not sure what factors contribute most to the thumb problem (other than age) but suspect it's partially the strain of playing mostly in the bottom of EC's range. This has also caused my right thumb strap to wear out and I am considering having wrist straps installed when I get the thumb straps replaced. The three options I have been considering are: wrist straps; neck strap or wrist splints like those David Coffin wears when playing. I would appreciate any advice as to these possible options. I switched from Anglo to EC a long time ago and would think that the constant bellows reversals on the Anglo would not be an advantage for thumbs over the EC.
  22. Some years ago I went to Philadelphia for the Mummer's Parade and while there, visited the historic Arch Street Quaker Meeting House. I had an interesting conversation with one of the meeting house Clerks who are administrators in leu of clergy. During our conversation I asked him if he was familiar with Sydney Carter? In answer he reached around me, pulled a hymnal out of the pew, and opened it to "Walk in The Light" which Sydney composed using, "a traditional folk tune" as is explained in Quaker literature. When I told him the tune Sydney used was "Moncks March" and the military record of General Monck for which it was named he was both beguiled and appalled.
  23. Instrument genealogy and history can be fascinating. I have an old tenor banjo with an interesting story.
  24. In addition to some social distancing jams I have been working on a song ( w\EC) for submission in a maritime music festival song competition.
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