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    Anglo concertina, harmonica, historical reenactment, sailing
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    Terrell, TX, USA

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  1. Just took a look at this thread again after a few months. I noted you're from Lancashire. Anyone unfamiliar with woods and in North American might note that wood called sycamore in Europe and wood called sycamore in America are different woods. Sycamore in Europe is sycamore maple. Sycamore in America is actually buttonwood, lacewood plane, or American planetree.
  2. Tried some burl white oak, but not for a concertina for woodcarving. Terribly chippy. If I can get Osage orange I would be trying to use it as buttons.
  3. Thanks for that tip about not using solid wood for the ends. Maybe I'll try some nice maple plywood. And yes, I'd like to experiment with something to speed up the action. I have some delrin to turn some buttons and could probably try aluminum, brass, and bronze. Right now someone is getting a wood I'm curious about, Osage Orange (variously known in the U.S. as horse-apple, hedge apple, or bois d'arc). It's extremely hard and springy wood that is a very bright yellow color, but cracks unless dried carefully.
  4. I haven't been here for a while but have an urge to start a project I've been thinking about. I have several cheap concertinas, including a cheap, common, Stagi/Bastari 20 button Anglo that had the average sticking buttons problem when I bought it off of E-bay. I've been wondering if I could do anything to improve the design and the way that it plays. I have access to a very nice wood shop and have done some woodworking in my spare time, including some woodcarving. I also have access to a jewelry shop where I work with and cast metal and I have plenty of jewelry files, saws, and shaping equipment. Last, but not least, I have access to a nice CNC laser and I've already drawn up a computer drawing for an alternate cover for the 20 button. I'm thinking my first step at learning about concertina work should be replacing the plywood covers with some nice hardwood. Maybe maple or walnut. Cherry if I can find a big enough piece in the scrap bin. Does anyone have any suggestions? Incidently, when I first started coming here I was at first overjoyed to find that I lived near Mr. Herrington in Rowlett, TX, but then saddened to find he had passed away a few months before my first visit to this site. He sounds like a great guy and I would have loved to have met him. Terrence in Terrell, TX
  5. This wasn't actually said to me at a gig but it was heard over the loudspeaker and it still makes me laugh. "Would all the musicians and the drummer come to the front of the stage, please."
  6. Bending notes on a harmonica? There are several videos on Youtube that cover it pretty well, but the ones I've seen leave out the first step which is that you have to be playing a good harmonica and the right harmonica. There are several good brands besides Hohner, such as Lee Oskar, Seydel, Hering, and Suzuki, but to get one that you can bend notes reliably you need to spend around $25 US to $40 US. If you are trying to bend notes on the $4.95 harmonica that you bought at the gift shop in Cracker Barrel it might not be possible. I can't say it is impossible, but might not be possible. It also needs to be a diatonic harmonica. I can imagine there are people out there playing chromatic harmonicas that can bend notes, but that's out of the realm of a beginner. Likewise don't buy a tremolo or octave tuned harmonica and expect to bend notes on it. Stick with a good quality 10 hole diatonic harmonica. Once you have a good harmonica close your lips down small enough so that you are only blowing one note, put your lips over the 4th hole, and inhale to play a draw note. As you inhale to play the note move your tongue to form the vowels "A-E-I-O-U" very slowly. Somewhere between "O" and "U" you might hear the note dip slightly in pitch. Do this several times and practice making the movement with your tongue so that the note dips in pitch. After practice you should be able to make the note dip by nearly an entire pitch. Now practice doing the same thing at will and on different notes. You will find you can bend draw notes on the first 6 holes. You might also notice it takes varying amounts of pressure and tongue movement to bend other notes and also that some holes can't bend notes as far as others. You might try bending the 7th hole also, but you will most likely not be able to. Instead that note will end with a high pitch squeal that is referred to as "choking" the note. Holes 7 through 10 will bend on the blow note. Do this very carefully as you don't need anywhere near as much air pressure to bend blow notes. It takes almost the same tongue movement, though. Don't be embarassed if you can't bend a blow note, though, that is usually done by more advanced harmonica players. Terrence
  7. John D- on the fast attacks we usually practiced in the Sonar Equipment Space (SES). Lots of electronic equipment and hardly anyone ever in there. Seems like I knew someone on your ship around 1980 but can't remember who. Juan Ortiz, maybe? Been singing ever since I can remember in church Sunday school. Took piano for a year, since my two sisters played, but had no talent for it. That or maybe it was because I preferred playing football or riding bicycles to practicing. Two years high school band playing the bassoon. Also was forced to play recorder in elementary school. Gave up everything for years then after the Navy had a job where I drove a lot, so took up playing a harmonica. If anyone asks how good I am I tell them I'm the best harmonica player they've ever met and I'm only half kidding. Took up guitar when my daughter was trying to learn but only ever learned to play a few things and chord a bit. Eventually wound up playing in a little bluegrass band, mostly for my harmonica. Have jammed with a few rock and blues groups, too. Been playing 20b Anglo for 3 months and enjoying it. The note pattern is exactly like harmonica only one goes higher and the other goes lower. Also I can't bend concertina notes. Terrence
  8. I agree with Geoff above. I'm just beginning with the concertina, but have been playing guitar and singing for a long time. I also play harmonica a lot. I will sometimes get to the end of a song and wonder if I did it correctly, because I won't remember how I sang it. I often have to wonder whether I skipped any verses. I practice to the point that I can play and sing a song without paying attention. This works for me, of course I'm just singing simple songs to friends around a campfire. A real virtuoso playing a difficult piece probably has to give his performance his full attention. Terrence
  9. Yes, I agree, $200 is too much. I was just looking for the identity as I didn't know any of the low end makers were making anything like it. Thanks for the help! T.
  10. Sorry for having to ask, but this concertina on E-bay isn't familiar to me. I don't think it is any of the better makes like Wheatstone, Crabb, or Lachenal, but it doesn't look like your typical Scholer, Bastari/Stagi/Brunner, or cheap Chinese. It does have a mother-of-toilet seat finish. It's here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/36-Button-Anglo-Concertina-/161050185760pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item257f56d020#ht_159wt_1255 Terrence
  11. Pearwood is used in woodwind instruments mostly because it is resistant to moisture and saliva. Terrence
  12. The cheap concertinas that I have (old Bastari) are made using plywood. I don't have the idea that using a different wood would have any appreciable change in the sound on them, but does the wood on the better concertinas have any affect on the sound? I seem to remember noticing that the reed plate in one of the pictures seemed to be beech. Does type of wood have as much difference on a concertina as it does in a guitar or a violin? Terrence PS. I just found the thread from 2006 discussing tonewoods. Additional information, though, would be welcome.
  13. Beautiful picture! Maybe it was taken with some ambient light coming though a north facing window to tint the shadows blue. Terrence
  14. I tried to post this link earlier from our friends at Concertina Connection. http://www.concertinaconnection.com/concertina%20reeds.htm Great explanation with illustrations. Terrence
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