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About frogspawn

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    Chatty concertinist

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  • Interests
    Traditional English and Irish folk music.
  • Location
    south-east England

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  1. Just caught up with this thread and am most grateful for the more recent contributions from Kurt and Geoff. My return to concertina playing was delayed for personal reasons but I'm reasonably confident I can make a better job of it this time. Rik
  2. I'd expect any English tunes session in the UK to be heavily G and D biased and wouldn't want it any other way!
  3. As the OP probably most responsible for kickstarting the current round of interest in this area (even if I never get round to following it up myself), I am also disappointed that this is not receiving more support. When I came back to CNet after my years away from the concertina I was a little concerned that nothing much had appeared to change, particularly in the area of modern tutorial literature. The concertina cannot be that obscure. For all other instruments, YouTube and the web in general is packed with free instructional videos of the highest quality and there is plenty of s
  4. When I first started learning the Crane - which was really my first serious instrument - my practice approach was seriously flawed. Alan Day certainly put me right on some aspects but the damage had already been done. I had wasted years of effort which could have been used more efficiently. I made a better job of the Mandolin, working out some of my errors for myself. Then I came across 'The Practice of Practice: Get Better Faster' by Jonathan Harnum which I think is a vital book to escape the potential errors in being self-taught. I don't know if it's been duscussed he
  5. It’s good to see things moving forward in this area. There is definitely a gap in the market. The tunes in Nick Barber’s collections are excellent. Another collection popular in south-east England is the Lewes Favourites. Rik
  6. The first thing I'm trying is an accompaniment on the left. I'm hitting the root note of the chord on the first and third beats and then the 3rd and 5th notes of the chord together on the second and fourth beats. It's like an oom-pah but doesn't use bass notes. The song I'm working on is in C, so for the C chord I'm alternating C4 with E4+G4. Following the way mandolin chords are described but starting at the bottom end of the keyboard, I notate this chord shape as X443X or 443 if not using the outside columns. To keep things simple I use the same shape for F (554) and G (332).
  7. Thanks to all for the suggestions. Kurt, I found that hitting bass notes and high chords on the left (as I believe you originally advocated and demonstrated some years ago) was too much of a jump for me, but bass notes on the left and chords on the right should be easier to find. It also means my right hand will be actively engaged and ready to switch to melody for the fills. I try to learn from both Andrew McKay and Geoff Lakeman, both of whom I've met and spoken to in the past. I have their recordings and access to videos of Geoff on Youtube but still find it hard
  8. Don I hesitate to digress, but since you ask... The Crane is a brilliantly logical and versatile design. You can play it from dots and all the notes are there. The downside is that your fingers need to do a lot of running around to reach them. I guess it's good for hymns, but it's hard to keep up in sessions. The other problem is volume.
  9. While searching through old threads on this forum I realised I had asked the same question four years ago! Well four years is a long time when you've been doing other things, but it does show that the Anglo keeps drawing me back. I see that I got much the same response then but I didn't follow it up, possibly because the pros and cons are not entirely straightforward...
  10. If you use a C/G tutor for a G/D, the Standard Notation becomes completely misleading and you will need to relearn it when you go beyond the tutor. Just using tab also raises questions. If, say, a G tune is played melodically entirely along one row, then transferring it from G on a C/G to G on a G/D is reasonably straightforward, but if any chords or cross-rowing is involved the experience will be different. Different C/G tutors also use different systems of tablature, adding to the complications. Perhaps none of this really matters. If you are only learning
  11. One thing puzzles me. If the G/D, played harmonically, is the instrument of choice for English sessions, why aren't there any tutors for that? I understand Pip Ives' book is for G/D tuning but addresses only melody playing. Otherwise everything seems C/G orientated and requires some degree of translation. Whilst I appreciate that a G/D can be played as a transposing instrument, it becomes very confusing when you want to follow new scores in the real world keys.
  12. Trying options and making them sound good remains uncharted territory. More popular instruments enjoy a wealth of video instruction detailing every note and finger movement, but AFAIK nobody is going to tell me note by note, button by button and finger by finger how to pull this off on a duet concertina. You have to make that up for yourself which is exciting if you make progress but frustrating if you don't. I feel slightly more confident this time round, but specifically how to get the sort of sound I want is currently a mystery, although I have a number of ideas I want to exper
  13. I've been taking a sabbatical from the concertina to play the mandolin. This has hugely improved my sense of rhythm and feel for chords. Now I want to try the concertina again. The Crane requires a lot of finger movement and I find it hard to play tunes fast enough without fumbling, so this is partly why I'm looking at the Anglo (the system I originally started with) for English instrumental sessions. I do, however, want to revive my use of the Crane for song accompaniment, but I need to find a completely new method. My old style involved playing the full melody with fu
  14. Thanks to everyone for your responses which strongly point to a G/D for English sessions. My first concertina was an Anglo but then I went down the Crane route...
  15. Numbers and acoustics can be important, but in my experience the most important factor is attitude. There’s a big session I go to at a particular festival which is usually excellent but one day a show-off fiddler turned up who tried to dominate the whole room. Happily the MC put him in his place. In contrast, at a certain squeezebox session I could easily get to on a regular basis, everyone seems to play as fast and as loud as they possibly can... I currently play mandolin in Old Time / Bluegrass sessions. Strings are, of course, not as loud as boxes but there also seem
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