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Everything posted by groeswenphil

  1. If you are still learning, then I'd advise you to get the tuning that matches the tuning in the tutor that you're using......or the same as a nice friend who's willing to help you. From my own point of view, it has taken me years to make much use of the third row, although I am making more use of it now. Yes, I'd agree, buy cheap and you buy twice........but believe me, you'll get a great concertina for about £1200 and it will last a lifetime. Oh, and by the way, if you go for a Marcus concertina, be warned.....he only takes money that folds. Phil Edwards
  2. Although I don't have an insight into your financial circumstances, I think I'd advise you to pop down to the listening bank and borrow enough for a Morse or a Marcus. Yes, there are no doubt better instruments available, but what sort of musician do you want to turn into? After all, somebody learning the violin wouldn't go out and buy a Stradivarius. Once you've caught the concertina bug, I don't think it will ever go away. Also, I've a feeling that the constant mental angst of working out the best fingering to play a particular tune will stave off the senility for a few years. I bought myself a Marcus a few months ago. I only had to wait a month for it. It suits my needs (I play for Cardiff Morris) perfectly. Nice and loud, gorgeous tone etc. Hope that helps? Phil Edwards
  3. I would tend to agree.........but on the other hand, I bet that a large proportion of us started with a Hohner instrument. I bought a 40 button Hohner Anglo about 20 years ago......and even after really heavy playing, nothing has ever gone wrong with it........but it came from SOuth Africa, and that's another story. You get what you pay for after all. Some years ago, I was asked to review a set of Hohner concertinas......they have a main distribution warehouse just down the road. At the time, they had a new design........sort of white unvarnished pine wood. They would have looked very much at home in the Seven Dwarves cottage. Anyway, on the whole, they were bad.........not desperately bad.......but bad all the same. I suggested some alterations, and thankfully, the ideas got back to the design team and they took up my suggestions. One that I remember was that the handstraps were so thin that they cut the back of your hands. One of the models actually had a whole octave missing ! The left hand side played in this wonderfully deep register, then you went over to the right........and went an octave higher than expected.
  4. Does it rattle when you shake it? From your symptoms, it sounds as though a pad has fallen off. Each button is linked to a spring loaded lever. At the other end of the lever, there's a little round pad, about the same size and shape as a penny coin. When you press the button, this pad lifts and lets air rush past the reed that lies in a chamber under the pad. If it has fallen off, you just need to carefully glue it back. Trust me........you need to get inside to see the mechanism. If it worries you, take pictures as you go...that way you'll remember where everything should go when you put it back together. Good luck, Phil
  5. I bought a Marcus Butler G/D about four months ago. I haven't touched my C/G since. I can play the tune, accompany myself with chords, join in with other sides.....all sorts. I would say this though. I play for two Morris sides. For one, there are usually two or three musicians........me, a melodeon and a flute. I really don't think I can be heard over the melodeon and I certainly can't hear the flute. For the other side, I play with another melodeon player. Here, I really feel like I'm doing something. Together we just complement each other nicely. What will your circumstances be? Phil Edwards
  6. Well, I play Anglo, but this simple method works for me. Cross your leg...........left leg over right. This creates a sort of hollow in the crotch region. Stick the left hand side of the concertina into that hollow. Now try playing. Have you achieved thedesired effect? Phil
  7. You know, we get an awful lot of queries of this nature. Perhaps we should set up a FAQ page that answers this eternal question. Until then, here 's my slant on should I buy an Anglo or an English. This is a big generalisation . I'll duck my head after posting as I'm sure somebody will take exception. If you fancy playing adapatations of classical pieces. If you fancy playing just the tune in a band.....but being able ultimately to play the tune really fast with lots of skill, and if you want to be able to play in any key, then go for an English concertina. If you fancy being able to play jolly, punchy dance tunes at barn dances, or for Morris and the like. If you want to be able to shorten the learning curve (whilst being aware of the fact that although the tunes that you play sound nice, but you probably have loads more to learn). If you prefer to play traditional country dance and folk music. If you'd like to be able to accompany yourself .....and not take too long to learn how to do this, and if you don't mind being limited to a couple of keys, then go for the Anglo.....30 button. You'll really struggle if you buy a Duet system unless you know somebody who can teach and advise you. As I said, this is a big generalisation.....I've no doubt that there are Anglo players who can do most of what I suggested for English......and I've seen loads of English systems playing for Morris....but for anybody new to the instrument, then I feel that they are pretty good guidelines. Oh......and don't buy a cheap Hohner instrument. It will last just long enough for you to fall in love with concertinas and then you'll have to buy another. If you buy cheap instruments, you'll end up buying two. All the best, Phil
  8. Years and years ago, when I started to get interested in buying a concertina, I was faced with the same choice. I asked a friend who played Anglo, "are they hard to learn?" His answer was, "Do you play the harmonica?" "No," i answered, "Why?" "because if you can play harmonica, you'll have no problem playing the Anglo." Years later, after learning the basics of Anglo, a child passed me a harmonica and asked whether I could play it. Remembering what my friend had told me years earlier, I put it to my lips and had a go..........and to my amazement, I could play the harmonica. I'd never ever touched one before. Something else you should consider. If you learn the Anglo, it's not that hard to learn English Button Melodeon. System is very similar. Try to get a good Anglo though. Avoid those cheap ones that you often see in music shops or on E Bay.....also, if you buy a twenty button, you'll soon wish you had a thirty button. Phil
  9. The other point is, I am for my sins a primary school teacher. Then you are not alone. I play Anglo and Melodeon at my school.....I play pian but I'm really not that good. Kids love hearing the box.....it always makes them smile. Take my advice...learn a few songs that the kids can sing to.....you'll always enjoy the experience and so will they. Phil
  10. Nothing to do with concertinas, but I once taught a lad who was ambidexterous. He was perfectly happy working either left or right handed with anything at all.......except that he couldn't do maths with his left hand ! Phil
  11. I used to play up and down the rows, accompanying myself on the left hand with some chords. Over the years though, I've discovered certain places where crossing rows provides the opportunity for some faster runs. Say you're playing on the middle row. You'll find that the two uppermost buttons, left hand side. (G row on a CG box. D row on a DG box are incredibly useful. Try the old classical music trick....practise playing scales. Using those two extra buttons.....oh and another favourite is the left hand fourth button on the third row. This plays G & A on a CG box D & E ( I think ) on a G D box....but with opposite belows direction. Just learning that little pattern opens up a whole new world. These days, if I'm playing a slow, sensitive balad, I try to phrase my playing so that the belows moves with the phrases of the song...usually with the bars and chords of the song. People have said to me that I play the Anglo but can make it sound like an English system. On the other hand, for dance music, the punchy effect that you get from changing belows direction gives the dancers something to hang on to. Hope that helps? Phil Edwards
  12. Something similar happened to me a few years ago.........only the request came from a guy that I'd taught as a child at school. I ended up playing a sort of heavy metal, funky jiggy sort of number. I actually couldn't play it at anything close to the speed that he wanted, but he just recorded it bar by bar and stuck it all together....and it sounded brilliant. I didn't get a bean for it, and I don't think the CD did very well, but it sits in pride of place in my CD collection. It was an event that I'll always treasure. My advice....don't miss it. Phil
  13. try thinking of each note as a pearl on a string. Mine sound more like pickled onions threaded onto old rope. Phil
  14. Fantastic tunes !!! I was instantly transported to a little cafe besides a canal in Amsterdam Have you got them written down in dots? All the best, Phil
  15. I bought a 40 button Anglo about 20 years ago anglo about 20 years ago. It was always my main instrument. I never, ever, well hardly ever played the extra buttons. Mine has an extra row of three buttons on both ends....placed at the ends of the three main rows. I have a C drone button on my right hand thumb. I also have two buttons on my right hand placed just under the bottom G row. I only found out last week that one of those buttons plays the same notes in the same directions as my index finger left hand G row button. Pesonally........and this is my opinion, which I must say counts for little. a) You would have to be a REALLY REALLY good player to make all those extra notes make any difference at all. Have you considered the fact that the instrument is bound to be heavier? c) How old are you? I mean, if you're young enough, you'll have time in your life to get to know such an instrument....if you're getting on, then personally, I'd get to know a 30 button really well....and possibly spend all of that cash on something else. Hope that helps? Phil
  16. Something that keeps me going is playing along with a recording or a midi file. If there's a tune I fancy learning, I try to find a midi file for it on-line then play along. Thing I find about the concertina, is it sort of fits in with solitude quite nicely....I find it a thoughtful process trying to find the best fingering for any tune. I know that this isn't scientifically proven.....but I've a feeling that concertina playing just might help fight senility? Phil Edwards
  17. but I believe that the tradition has been strongest in Ireland, followed by Scotland, then Wales. You know..........being a Cardiff boy, I've got to sort of disagree here. There's a fantastic musical tradition here in Wales..........but it's quite different to Scotland and Ireland. In Wales, the choral / chapel tradition was far more important than the sort of informal session / dance style folk music that we accept today as traditional music. Yes........if you think of traditional folk music in that sort of definition, then I suppose Scotland and Ireland might be ahead..........but if you think of traditional music as a whole.......then you must also consider all of the beautiful Welsh hymns that were written over the last few hundred years...all of the wonderful stuff written for harp.........oh I could go on and on. Yes, Welsh dance tunes might not go diddly dee quite as fast as the rest...and there might not be an awful lot of them either, but there's a wealth of musical tradition in these hills.....although sadly it's quite difficult to play most of it on a concertina. All the best, Phil Edwards Oh and another thing.....yes, Mick Tems id suffer a serious stroke a few years ago. Most people would remember him playing melodeon I suppose, but he could also play Anglo rather well. I once heard him play "The Dam Busters March" on Anglo.....amazing. There's a recording also of him and Pat Smith playing a really amazing two part round on Anglo...called Y Gwr a'i farch. .............although some people swear that its a Scottish tune
  18. My mother died back in 2000. Did she leave a request for me to play something at the funeral? Did she buggery! Instead, she left a request for me to play her favourite LP record.....selections from the Desert Song.........My Desert is Waiting !!!!!!!!!!! Leaving everybody totally flummoxed. Still, mustn't talk ill of the dead. Phil Edwards
  19. why did you order a G/D instead of a C/G? I'm looking at upgrading and am curious. I already have a C/G concertina.........a 40 button beast that sometime in the past came over from South Africa. I play for a local Morris side. Most of the time, they play in G...........and I wanted to play concertina in G with more options of playing some left hand chords at the same time. Also it's significantly louder than my colonial concertina........and deeper. It actually sounds much like a clarinet in tone. All the best, Phil Edwards
  20. It has arrived. I wonder how many other members can order a concertina and just wander up to the workshop when it is ready for collection? Anyway, it's powerful and strong and I can't wait for Morris practice next Tuesday to give it a go. Also, by the way, I have it on very good authority....straight from the horses mouth in fact that Marcus' daughter hasn't recently divorced. All the best, Phil Edwards
  21. http://www.btinternet.com/~groeswenphil/sun/sun.html Tell me how you get on. Phil
  22. Try this link http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/index.php then type in 'concertina' Some treasures here? Phil Edwards
  23. Thanks Barbara........ You know, there's a couple of EXTRA pages.......that I don't advertise too loudly because I'm not too sure about copyright. http://www.btinternet.com/~groeswenphil/Bl...edStranger.html http://www.btinternet.com/~groeswenphil/gl...loccamorra.html http://www.btinternet.com/~groeswenphil/to...w/tomorrow.html http://www.btinternet.com/~groeswenphil/summer/summer.html Tell me how you get on. Phil
  24. Dear Group, I ordered a new D/G concertina from Marcus a couple of weeks ago. Today, I decided to pop over and visit, with a midn to seeing my new concertina. So far, both ends have been built although the reeds and the action haven't been fitted. The workmanship is stunning. I just wish that I could have a job where you can create such wonderful things. Delivery is expected in three weeks........and I'm trembling with anticipation. All the best, Phil
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