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James McBee

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About James McBee

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    Advanced Member

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    Musically speaking: Irish, Scottish, classical, early acoustic blues, bluegrass, old time, medieval polyphony, soul, etc.
  • Location
    Baltimore, MD

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  1. I encountered two examples in recent weeks, neither particularly flattering to our chosen instrument. First, from Shirley Hazzard's book, "The Transit of Venus." She is describing down on their luck Australian WWI vets: What music they made, and how they sang, that ghastly orchestra in lopped and shiny serge, with unstrung fiddles and wheezing concertinas and the rusted mouth-organ grasped in the remaining and inexpert hand; the voices out of tune with everything but pitched extremity. How cruelly they wracked, for Depression pennies, an unwilling audience with their ex
  2. I didn't mean to imply that a half inch difference would greatly, or even perceptibly, effect the tone or playability. I guess I just don't see how it could be a beneficial in itself, unless it is to allow for longer scale reeds. I would think that, all other things being equal, a smaller diameter would be desirable. Perhaps someone with more knowledge would care to opine. And if, indeed, the reeds are scaled differently, that seems like something that could be established.
  3. I've been meaning to share for a while, but haven't found the time to take any decent pictures. But, I suppose, a few cell phone snaps will do. Kensington concertina, and the Kensington perched atop a two octave Harry Geuns basse aux pieds (or foot bass, if you prefer) inherited from my late father. I can't say that I am close to being able to play the two together, though I find the latter can be used as a sort of intermittent drone on 'Bonaparte's Retreat' to relatively pleasing effect.
  4. While I certainly agree that trying out the different systems in person would be ideal, in many, if not most places, that was an impossibility even before social distancing was in effect. I would recommend spending some serious hours watching Youtube videos. When I became interested in the concertina, I was a bit hung up on the anglo's apparent limitations. But the more I listened, the more I found that the players I enjoyed the most, all played anglo. I came to this realization initially based on recordings, but it has subsequently been borne out by in person listening. I absolutely agree wit
  5. Interesting. I had a concertina which used--I believe--the DIX reeds, and it had the opposite problem. The bass and mid-range were fairly convincing, but the treble notes required vastly more air, and were consequently swallowed up when playing chords. It was a deal breaker for me in the long run. As it was explained to me, this was a consequence of their shoe design, rather than the tongues themselves. I preferred it to the sound of accordion reedded instruments, but it didn't quite have the quality that made me fall in love with the concertina in the first place.
  6. Dana raises some interesting issues. I definitely wouldn't advocate making button material a principle factor in a purchasing decision. The difference between buttons is nothing like the difference between a fast instrument with high quality reeds, and a wheezy old Bastari, or the like. It's not even as significant as the difference between two different heights of hand rest. And of course, addressing ones technique will likely pay more dividends than changing button material. But as someone whose hands shake--especially when I'm nervous or on my third cup of coffee--I do believe that little b
  7. I had a concertina with Delrin buttons, and I found them to be too slick for my taste. I have essential tremor, and materials with a bit more purchase work better for me. Thankfully, when I ordered my Kensington from Dana Johnson--who usually uses Delrin--he was able to accommodate me by making some bone ones. (Thanks again Dana!) The bone had a lot of grip at first, but has been polished by my fingers over time. It is still nowhere near as slippery as Delrin, and provides a happy medium between purchase and speed. I had the same thought as you when I was playing my ol
  8. Here you are folks, as requested. I should add the disclaimer that this was recorded on my phone, so the sound quality leaves something to be desired. Also, the fact of recording tends to unnerve me a bit, so please excuse the odd flub. Still, should give you a general idea of the sound. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQuXUlt2Zyg&feature=youtu.be
  9. Alright folks. Asking $2,600. Considering an ebay listing, but would rather sell here.
  10. I'm offering my Edgley Heritage CG concertina for sale. This one is Ebony with bloodwood trim, a hand rubbed finish, and a custom fitted case. The buttons are Jeffries layout. Will entertain all reasonable offers. You can read more about these here: http://www.concertinas.ca/heritage.html Please feel free to message me with any questions.
  11. It's not my intention to stir the pot unnecessarily, or to stray into politics, but I wouldn't be too hasty to declare the policy insane. I'm sure it could be better, and that more accommodations could be made, but it wasn't the result of some nefarious plot hatched by thuggish bureaucrats intent on depriving the world of music. This subject pops up regularly on music forums, and it seems there is a great deal of resistance on the part of musicians to admit that they might be part of the problem. I'm not saying that buying a century old concertina with ivory buttons is in any way wrong, but I
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