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Roy M.

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About Roy M.

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    Member

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Interests
    Concertina, music, physics, mathematics, programming, artwork
  • Location
    Texas, USA
  1. Honestly, if money was no object then I'd rather invest in a material like bird's eye maple for the end caps and leave the rest of the concertina understated.
  2. In regards to your first point, if the instrument is in good condition and is less than a couple of thousand US dollars it is probably made with accordion reeds. Concertina reeds are not currently mass producible, so each individual reed needs to be manufactured by hand by a trained craftsman. In contrast accordion reeds are mass producible, although due to the nature of free reed instruments properly tuning one can be a laborious process. (Here's an example with an accordion.) For me a good concertina is one which can clearly produce the note you desire by pressing one of the buttons assigned to it and working the bellows in an appropriate manner. As of current for me the Rochelle fits my needs, which makes sense because it's specifically designed as an affordable entry-level instrument. In order to make it affordable certain design compromises were made to keep costs down. Those compromises affect it, but I do not have the experience to know how nor the skill for it to matter at the moment. Thankfully now early 21st century we have more options to acquire an instrument than we did during the mid to late 20th. I will likely order such an instrument this year to expect it by next year, as I am less likely to be absolutely devastated by its loss. However we tend to jump from mass produced directly into low production volume by skilled craftsmen, so costs go up accordingly. There does not appear to be the wide variety of grades available that were in years past, or with more popular instruments today such as guitars. This will likely keep our instrument limited to niche communities until higher production rates of acceptable instruments are achieved. A final note, from my (admittedly limited) scholarship into the history of the instrument when people talk about older concertinas being quality, there is a bit of survivorship bias going on. Those late 19th century/early 20th century concertinas which we handle have been so good because they were made well from the outset and worth preserving. These instruments were repaired, restored, preserved, and found their way to discerning modern professionals and prosperous amateurs. However they have practically disappeared in North America. The less expensive instruments served their purpose (make music accessible for the masses), when they broke they tended to be replaced by another instrument and eventually the gramophone.
  3. Roy M.

    Proper Position, Hand Soreness And Warm Ups

    Well, the soreness subsided after not playing for a whole night, so I decided to risk it today. I have found that by playing my Concertina Connection Rochelle "On Point" I can rotate it such that my wrists are in a fairly neutral position, and that it does make a difference, although it tends to take a fair bit of concentration to keep from rolling it back to its side as had been my habit. I think another part of it is that I am working on a song which focuses more on the right side than the left. Any other thoughts or comments will of course be appreciated.
  4. Roy M.

    Why ? - From A Tyro

    If I recall correctly, Concertina Connections started making their Rochelles, Jacks, etc. because there is a market for a less expensive model of reasonable quality that can see you to an intermediate stage of playing. About the only other new concertina of repute in that price range appears to be the Stagi, and if the things I read are right (which they may not be) they are hit or miss. For me at least having a Rochelle is a reasonable way for me to dip my toes, see if this isn't a fleeting passionate hobby, learn the basics and decide if I am willing to spend US$2k+ ordering a North American or European made concertina. Since I've reliably returned to it I might get a better one later.
  5. After some other adventures I've reached a point in my life where I finally both have a little bit of free time and a little bit of spending money. I expect for this state to continue until the corrosion industry picks up again, so I decided that now was the point to give the Anglo concertina another go and develop a firm foundation. For the past few days I have been following along with "Easy Anglo 1-2-3", playing somewhat regularly in the evenings and sometimes in the mornings. My play would consist of multiple sessions, about ten minutes in length, at which point I would do something else for a while. I can play the songs up to Frere Jacques now, following along with the tabs. (I know I should learn how to read and translate the notes on the staff, but I've already started one method and should probably see it through before starting another.) Unfortunately, this morning I began to experience soreness in my left hand. It has persisted until now (~6pm central time) so I am putting the instrument down for a while. I'm not sure if I could actually give myself carpal tunnel syndrome playing concertina at this level for around 30 minutes throughout the day, but I don't want to accidentally ruining my hands. I believe a part of this is not just using my weak hand in a new way, but also improper posture. When I played, I was playing with one side of the instrument's ends flat against my thigh. When looking up the video which accompanies the book I noticed that it was being played with the corner resting upon the thigh. I am wondering if this played a part. Another thing that I am wondering is if there are suggested warm up exercises for the concertina, or if they would even be relevant at this stage. Thank you, Roy
  6. Thanks everyone. I think the hardest part of going from no instrument to trying to master one is making it a part of your daily life. Especially when learning an instrument is an exercise in delayed gratification. I think it might be best for me to incorporate it into my evening routine. I'm on the move a lot, but it stays home. I've also gotten a good quality plastic tranverse orcarina (vessel flute) to have with me for music on the go. I'm just wanting music in my life at the moment, and being able to make it is very satisfying. ... I do seem to be drawn to obscure instruments, though.
  7. Today I recieved the parcel which contained my Concertina Connection Rochelle from The Button Box, and I thought I would share my first experience with a concertina in real life. It didn't have a 'new instrument smell' on account of being 'slightly used'. It had been used by someone for a few weeks at a camp, so there's already some wear on the paint and such. That was to be expected, and outside of some external wear everything looked good. (I am getting a little bit of a price break on it for if/when I purchase.) What I didn't expect was the dimensions. It's one thing to see instruments on Youtube or C-Net, it's another thing to pull it out of the box and have it in your hands. I certainly expected the buttons to be a bit bigger than they are. However, I'm fairly happy with it. Everything appears to work the way it is supposed to. I started to work on the included tutor, and I'm fairly amazed by the sounds I can make with three buttons and the bellows. It also sounds fairly bright and cheerful, which is what I like. I did have to stop after a bit of playing, but I think I'll be able to do more and more as I practice each day. I hope to get good enough that I'm not a drag at the Palistine meetup.
  8. Roy M.

    New Project: Songs Of The Wwi Era.

    I remember reading the verses to "Oh! How I Hate To Get Up in the Morning" while I was in scouting. It did somewhat resonate with me during that time. However, whenever I was at annual training there was seldom ever any actual need for a bugalar. The quietly loud sound of twenty to thirty men shuffling around, shaving, getting dressed, talking and complaining, etc. would be enough to wake me up physically, although I only really woke up mentally sometime between the march to the chow hall and after breakfast.
  9. Well, I'm using the Button Box to get the Concertina Connection "Rochelle", which I'm waiting on... One advantage is that you can rent the instrument. The rental on that level of instrument is ~$30 a month, paid in three month intervals. So the initial fee would be ~$120 with S&H. I think they're willing to exchange instruments on the rental (within reason), so you can try out a couple of things. As long as you are renting, you will get 1/2 credit twoards purchase of the instrument, with the remaining days of that rental period pro-rated twoards the purchase. For a Concertina Connection instrument from the Button Box you can choose at a later date to exchange it for full purchase price credit twoards an R. Morse & Co. concertina. $425 is not an inconsiquential chunk out of the purchase. Just throwing that out there.
  10. Didn't realize innards was a word unique to the dialect. So there wouldn't be any other noticable weight savings or difference in feel (aside from if the instruments were foolishly left in the cold or sun)?
  11. I realize this is probably a newbie question, and one that is not of immediate importance to my own situation. (I now await my Rochelle, whom I intend to become well antiquated with...) I was looking at various concertinas. I noticed that many of the surviving models of Wheatstones and Jefferies tend to have metal ends. I browse The Button Box's website, and notice very handsome mid-range instruments from Concertina Connection and R. Morse & Co. whose ends are of wood. I have also discovered the website of Mr. Frank Edgely, whose concertinas are also features ends of wood and of metal. Now, let us suppose that we have two concertinas. Both are of the same system, using for the most part the same components, and are made in the same production chains by the same groups of artisans to the same level of quality. The woods are the same as well. However, one has ends of metal while the other has ends made of wood. If one was to compare the two instruments, would there be any significant in weight, tone, feel, cost, etc.? Are the differences significant enough to merit consideration, or would the difference be mostly aesthetic?
  12. Roy M.

    Resources For The Anglo Concertina?

    Perhaps this is the most appropriate place to put in an update... I have ordered the concertina, and the first three month's rent+S&H should be paid upon shipping. It should arrive at my home either Friday or Monday, which is fair considering the distance it's travelling. I have also ordered "Easy Anglo 1-2-3" to use with the provided tutor. (Gary, does that book come with Youtube videos like "Anglo Concertina in the Harmonic Style"?) I have discovered concertina.com, which is providing reading material. I have also discovered a site which proports to preserve the folk music of the Australian Brush. I'm looking forward to starting.
  13. Roy M.

    Resources For The Anglo Concertina?

    Gary: I'll try to make the Palestine event, although I am getting ready to start my career and do not know where it will take me or what my time constraints are going to be. (For example, I do not know if my first job will keep me in the Greater Houston Area or take me north to Wyoming.) That is part of the appeal of the concertina to me, in that it is more handy and portable than a keyboard. I'll give Easy Concertina 1-2-3 a try. John: That's sound advice. Unfortunately my own research skills are not the greatest. My undergrad schoolwork tended twoards doing enough problems that I could be able to solve the physics problems presented in most cases and be confident in my answer, and getting to the point where one can do so of their own initiative instead of being told to do so. I don't have very many other life experiences at the moment beyond volunteering to do emergency management work via the TXSG.
  14. So I will soon begin the process of getting a Concertina Connection “Rochelle” from the Button Box, under their rental program. I know that there will a tutor with it, although I do not know how 'in depth' that tutor might be, so to speak. Both “The Irish Concertina: A Tutor for the Anglo Concertina in the Irish Style” by Mick Bramich and “Anglo Concertina in the Harmonic Style” by Gary Cooper look promising and desirable, although according to the Amazon review they might not be appropriate for a completely new player. The DVD “How to Play Anglo Concertina” by Frank Edgley also looks promising, and may be of more help, but then it may be going over territory that's already presented in the Concertina Connection tutor. Alternatively, it may be useful to see these techniques demonstrated. A good body of sheet music to study from and master with the Anglo Concertina would also likely be helpful. It seems natural to master the Irish sessions, as that's the area where the concertina seems most actively used these days, but I'd like to be able to study other styles as well so that I might eventually make my own compositions. What resources do you use?
  15. I stumbled upon Concertina by accident while looking into accordions. I found videos from Dr. Toru KATO to be particularly cheerful, and got hooked on the sound. I have delayed the decision to start playing due to various life circumstances. I intend to start learning the Anglo system by renting a Concertina Connection "Rochelle" from the Button Box soon, hopefully getting the process started next week. (I'm fairly certain there's paperwork to sign and stuff.)
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