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About lukmanohnz

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    Advanced Member

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  • Gender
  • Interests
    Bluegrass, Celtic
  • Location
    Occidental, CA

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  1. lukmanohnz

    making a concertina

    There seem to be quite a few builders sustaining the art and craft of building quality concertinas across the world. You can look at the web sites of these builders and get some perspective about the build process. It seems to me there are two paths to follow: obtain examples of quality instruments, disassemble them and learn from that how they are constructed. Or apprentice with an experienced builder. One of the manufacturers at one time sold a kit for building your own concertina, but I thought it was discontinued. Here's a link to a retailer that shows the kit: http://hmi.homewood.net/cloverkit/. The same site has some online resources for builders like this one: http://hmi.homewood.net/bellows/ I have often thought it would be fun to build my own musical instrument. I play a variety of fretted stringed instruments in addition to concertina, and in years past have considered building a guitar or mandolin. But then I think about how much time and effort I would need to invest in developing the skills and I always conclude that I would rather invest that time into practicing and playing a quality instrument rather than building many 'clunkers' that would inevitably result until my skills had risen to the level that I was able to build a decent instrument that would satisfy me. The reeds seem to me to be one of the most challenging aspects of building a concertina from scratch. Though soup to nuts the whole thing looks like a lot of work. It would be quite an accomplishment if you manage to climb that mountain of effort and are able to make a quality instrument that satisfies a skilled player!
  2. I never had a traumatic tendon injury the likes of what you've described, Richard, but many years ago during a particularly stressful time in my life and while working long hours for several months at a workstation with poor ergonomics I sustained a quite severe repetitive strain injury. I had bilateral tendonitis at such a level of severity that I lost significant strength and endurance in both forearms and hands and feared I would permanently lose the ability to play guitar (which was and remains a passion of mine). I still have some residual scarring in my forearm tendons from that injury but through much physical therapy, Alexander Technique, cranial work and other traditional and non-traditional treatment modalities I did regain nearly full use of my forearms and hands, and I play music (and work at a computer workstation) pain-free and with full mobility. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Keep your eyes and your spirit focused there, find healers you connect with and trust, and you will play music again. That is a given if music is solidly imbuing your spirit - and even as briefly as I've known you I certainly sense that to be true.
  3. lukmanohnz


    Wow - how wonderful to see your post here, Caitlín. I was quite happy to learn you were offering an online course in Irish concertina. I wish I could subscribe but unfortunately I have abysmal internet service where I live currently. Hopefully someday I'll have decent broadband and will be able to watch videos without constant buffering and sign up for your course. But I wanted to respond and let you know that your self-titled album - and especially the song Heartstrings - is why I took up this instrument. Thank you for making such beautiful music - it's a joy to hear you play.
  4. lukmanohnz

    Used, excellent condition Minstrel available

    Hi Gen, 1) The Clover has more refined bellows than the Minstrel. My Minstrel's bellows (and I bought mine new) were fairly stiff and were still 'breaking in' by the time I upgraded to the Clover. The Clover's bellows - even brand new - open and close with less effort than my partially broken in Minstrel's. And just looking at the construction of them it is evident that the Clover's bellows are better made. 2) The metal-capped buttons on the Clover are more comfortable on my fingers than the delrin buttons on the Minstrel. Also, the buttons on the Clover have felted sleeves on both the outer and inner plates of the instrument, so the action of the buttons is better than the Minstrel's - the overall mechanism of the buttons and valves seems to me a noticeable step up in the Clover. 3) Sound-wise, I think they are quite similar since both have accordion reeds. Both instruments seemed to improve their responsiveness with the first week or two of playing. In that respect I hope my new-ish Clover will keep opening up with continued practice and play. The overall difference between Minstrel and Clover isn't dramatic but it's noticeable. I expect that I will upgrade again someday - perhaps to a Wakker. I would need to play one first. I would hope that my next upgrade will be my last. I hope that helps! Michael
  5. I played a Minstrel for several months before upgrading to a Clover. The Minstrel’s buttons are fairly small diameter and my finger tips got slightly tender during long practice sessions at the Noel Hill school earlier this month. I picked up my Clover shortly after returning from the week at Tilimuk. The Clover’s buttons are metal sleeved and somewhat larger diameter. They are noticeably more comfortable than the Minstrel’s. I’m also trying to pay attention to my playing technique and use no more force than necessary to depress the buttons.
  6. lukmanohnz

    Deposit Sent!

    Congrats, Patrick! In the immortal words of the late, great Tom Petty, the waiting is the hardest part...
  7. lukmanohnz

    Used, excellent condition Minstrel available

    Here she is in all her metal-capped button and Wakker bellows glory...
  8. lukmanohnz

    Used, excellent condition Minstrel available

    I’ll post a pic shortly. It look exactly like the Clover photo at CC. Patrick - great news on the Suttner! What will you do with your Morse when the Suttner arrives? If I stick with this, I can tell that I’ll outgrow this Clover eventually. Not sure what my next step will be. And Mike it was great to meet you at Noel’s workshop last week. Keep practicing with that lovely Edgley of yours!
  9. I will be bringing my Minstrel to Smythe's Accordion Shop in Oakland (http://www.smythesaccordioncenter.com) this afternoon to upgrade for a Clover. The Minstrel served me perfectly as a starter and is of much higher quality than a Rochelle (but also ~$1000 more costly when purchased new). It is in very close to the same condition as it was when I purchased it new in March of this year. I will have no financial interest in this instrument once the trade-in is completed at Smythe's so contact them if you are interested. Photos of this instrument are posted here:
  10. lukmanohnz

    Noel Hill school

    Just finished attending this year's Noel Hill school in Newborn OR. Cost depends on whether or not you plan to stay on site or get accommodations off the camp grounds, and if you want to have meals during camp. I stayed with family in nearby Portland (~50 minute drive) and ate lunch with the class each day. Also stayed for dinner two nights during the week, including the evening of Noel's concert (exclusively for students and which was astounding). Total cost was about $550. I got my money's worth and then some.
  11. lukmanohnz

    What our concertinas look like?

    A member asked me some questions about my new Minstrel, so I thought I would post a few photos of it in case others were interested.
  12. lukmanohnz

    Rochelle Or Something Else? Beginner

    This description of how to open your concertina, clean a reed and reassemble was extremely helpful for me. But if you are in any doubt it might be best to have a qualified repair shop handle it for you. http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20230&p=188803
  13. lukmanohnz

    ‘Thin’ Sounding 4R Push

    Michael - glad to hear that you are getting on with your Anglo. I think you misunderstood me. I was not suggesting that your new Minstrel is junk. Not at all. I had a look on-line and it seems like a fine box. Rather, I was recalling the many times I have picked up a junker in a shop and although the quality and condition was poor, I could still get music to come out! I took no offense, Jody - I understood that your tongue was planted firmly in cheek.
  14. lukmanohnz

    ‘Thin’ Sounding 4R Push

    Success! Ted's highly detailed instructions were extremely helpful and I was able to open up the RH end of my Minstrel and carefully clean the edges of the silent reed with a one dollar bill (no Hamiltons or Grants in my wallet right now - and the only Lincolns were well worn). Reassembly was the only big challenge - it's very difficult to get all those buttons lined up with the holes in the end plate. After struggling a few times without managing to get every button in place, I cut little bits of Post-It, wrapped them into tubes and put the sticky ends of these paper tubes onto the buttons that were the most reluctant to align. Then I could pre-load these into their mating holes before lowering the end plate over the remaining buttons. Once the plate was in place the bits of Post-It popped off easily and I completed the reassembly. And now all the reeds sound out clearly. Quite pleased with myself - back to practicing! Here's a photo showing the exposed action board with the bits of Post-It on the errant buttons. How do other folks deal with this fiddly bit of the reassembly process?
  15. lukmanohnz

    ‘Thin’ Sounding 4R Push

    Wow Ted! What a delightful and detailed description of what I do every few weeks or months (or years if lucky). Often It's just a matter of cleaning the offending reeds with paper as you suggest to make them play cleanly and in tune. I prefer paper money for this task. The bigger the denomination the better. $100 dollar bills tend to be crisper and cleaner than ones. Instruments with proper concertina reeds in shoes and slots will afford better access, whereas the waxed in reeds or reeds on a zinc plate can be harder to get to. Still, the process is the same. Find the guilty reed and gently mess with it to clear the obstruction be it fluff or corrosion. This fixes 99% of the problems. As for the OP thin high reed sound. Don't worry too much about it. Someday you might get a better instrument... which will have it's own idiiosyncrasies. The concertina is a gathering of idiophones and though makers try to get the instrument to sound like one thing, that is an illusion or perhaps a goal, depending. Although you can clearly hear that the harmonics, volume and timbre are alarmingly different for your problem note... it is very likely that you are the only one who hears it. If you could step away from your instrument while playing it, the sound would get all mushed up by the environment and the offensiveness of those misguided reeds would pretty much disappear. Remarkably, he concertina sounds quite different to the player than to the audience. Try recording yourself and listen to the result and you will likely hear what I'm talking about. Or perhaps not, as every instrument is different. As always, the performance of your music trancends whatever piece of junk you are playing on. The energy you give to it is the conduit of your soul and the instrument is secondary. Thanks for your comments, Jody. I am enjoying learning about all these idiosyncrasies of the concertina. Hearing that these silent reed issues are not uncommon, easily resolved (I hope!) and just a normal part of concertina ownership is helpful to understand. I'll take your lighthearted summary in the spirit it was offered - though I must say this is one of the most expensive pieces of junk I've ever owned!