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Everything posted by Bullethead

  1. Most 1/8 note runs are your fingers on alternate hands taking alternate steps up or down the central 2 rows of buttons. Sometimes you pause to hit the same button twice in a row, but it's still simple. The EC is the easiest instrument to play lead with I've ever encountered. You don't really need to know ABC yourself at first, just have a computer program than can translate it into sheet music. I don't do Apple so can't be certain but looking at the forScore page, I don't see any mention of ABC. You don't need overlays. Just remember that in the treble clef, the lines of the staff are the left buttons and the spaces are the right buttons, and you're golden. When I started, I went to a lot to unnecessary time and trouble trying to remember the names of each line and space, but it turns out that was a waste until I started tweaking tunes in ABC to be easier to play on the EC. All you need do is check which key you're in, then recognize a note as a line or space (so left or right hand) and relative position on the staff (so which button). Then everything just flows and pretty soon you'll be improvising.
  2. Welcome to the madness. It's always nice to see another EC player. I often think we're the minority here . Anyway, as to getting started and trying out tunes, my 1st recommendation is not to be intimidated by sheet music that's black with 1/8 notes. The EC was made to rip through such runs without having to think much about it. Thus, even beginners can quickly get into playing rather up-tempo tunes. So my advice is to jump right into such things. My next recommendation, if you haven't do so already, is to get a good computer program that handles music files written in ABC notation. I use ABCexplorer myself. The beauty of such programs is that 1), they can translate ABC notation into normal sheet music, that you can see on your computer screen, save a PDF files, and print off. 2) they can create MIDI files from the ABC notation so can play the tune for you, so you know how it's supposed to sound if you're unfamiliar with it. 3) they allow you to edit ABC files to tweak tunes to your liking, or compose your own music (which can then be exported as sheet music and/or MIDI files) 4) they open up the whole massive internet world of ABC tunes for you. There are probably millions of them out there, both old and new tunes, which you can download for free. And then the program converts them to sheet music and/or MIDI files for you. Go to the home site of ABC notation to get started: http://abcnotation.com/
  3. OK, this is more of an engineering question than a musical question, so my Mousterian mind can handle it. A given pitch is produced by a vibrating thing (reed, guitar string, etc.) of a specific length, because its length dictates the frequency at which it vibrates. Compare reeds to guitar strings. With a guitar, you can pinch off the string at any of the many frets. This changes the string's effective length, so changes the pitch of the string. With concertinas, accordions, harmonicas, and whatnot, you can't change the length of the reed so each one plays a specific pitch, period end of story. Thus, these instruments require scads of reeds of different lengths, and a way to activate each reed individually because each reed always plays the same pitch because its length is constant. So, as to your question.... Accordion reeds come in pairs mounted side-by-side. Each has a check valve (usually a piece of plastic film), and within each pair of reeds these check valves are on opposite sides of the reeds' mounting plate. Thus, one valve closes on the push and the other on the pull, so regardless of which way you're moving the bellows, only 1 of the pair of reeds vibrates. This gives the instrument's designer the option of how to tune the reeds in each pair. For English concertinas and piano accordions, both reeds in the pair have the same length, so you get the same pitch whether on push or pull. For Anglo concertinas, button accordions, and melodions,, the reeds in the pair have different lengths so you get different notes on push and pull. The advantage of the same-length scheme is that you can make a chromatic instrument that can play in any key. The disadvantage is that you need twice as many reeds in total to cover that range of notes, which causes problems with packaging them in the instrument. It's pretty much the opposite for using reeds of different lengths. You can make a more compact instrument with fewer reeds in total, but it's generally limited on which keys it can play.
  4. Welcome to the madness. I'm pretty new at this myself (a bit over 1 calendar year with a few months off in the middle) but I've found this place quite helpful. I play (at) the English so we're going to end up speaking different languages when it comes to squeezeboxes, but the more the merrier
  5. Wow, it's been a bit over 1 year since I was last in here. I just wanted to pop in and say that the Neanderthal is still torturing his concertina and his cat still hates it, despite the ups and downs of the past year. Shortly after I posted the above, I developed some bad tendinitis on the back of my left hand, behind the index finger. Naturally, I at first blamed the concertina so quit playing for several months, but the condition got worse anyway and spread to my whole left forearm, then my right arm got into the act. Turns out I've taken to clenching my fists in my sleep, apparently due to deep-seated anger and frustration over things that are really beyond my control. It was so bad I was starting to give myself carpal tunnel. So, after some physical and mental therapy, and wearing wrist braces to bed, things improved to the point where I started playing again. I've just been too busy to say anything about it, or make a recording. Anyway, I suppose I should now leg this necro thread rest in peace. Just wanted you all to know I haven't abandoned the concertina.
  6. I haven't been in here in nearly a year (long story told elsewhere) so I decided I'd better bring a gift. In most dialects of Cajun French, "crapaud" is the moniker for what English-speakers in Louisiana call the "rain frog" (not "toad" as in the original French). These are small but very abundant little treefrogs who make a deafening chorus after every rain. Because most rain falls in the afternoon, these frogs are often up all night partying, so you might as well join them because you won't be able to sleep anyway . Thus, "Crapaud" is a lively traditional dance tune. I really like this tune. It's got that Cajun sound to it. It'll definitely give you a workout playing it at tempo, but isn't so complicated as to make playing it properly fast all that difficult. Enjoy. X:031801050 T:Crapaud C:Traditional O:South Louisiana Z:Transcribed from "Yé Yaille, Chère", by Raymond E. François Z:Generally tweaked by Jim "Bullethead" Weller M:4/4 L:1/4 Q:175 K:G z3/2 G/ "G" B/d/d/B/ |: d B/G/ B/d/d/B/ | A/G/G/A/ B/d/d/B/ | "D" A G/A/ B/A/G/A/ | "G" G B/G/ B/ d B/ | d B/G/ B/d/d/B/ | G B/G/ B/d/d/B/ | "D" A G/A/ B/A/G/A/ | [1 "G" G2 B/d/d/B/ :| [2 "G" G2 g/g/ b | |: !turn! g3/2 g/ a/g/f/e/ | d2 g/g/ b | g3/2 g/ a/g/e/d/ | g2 g/g/b | g3/2 g/ b/g/f/e/ | d2 g/g/ b |a/g/f/d/ c/d/f/a/ | [1g3/2 z/ g/g/ b :| [2 g .g .g z|
  7. Howdy Susan: I haven't been playing concertina long enough to offer much advice there but I can give you examples of the same thing happening in other fields. For example, my main time sink for many years has been primitive technology, especially flintknapping. I've been doing this so long that I usually make quite nice tools, prettier and better-executed than most of what we find in the archaeological record. But some days I shatter every rock I pick up, sometimes I struggle to make even functional but ugly things. Sometimes I cut or smash my fingers. Sometimes this really is the fault of some tragic flaw hidden in the rock but mostly it's me making some mistake. It's the same in every other field of endeavor, even the most trivial. Like this very morning, in between getting out of bed and arriving at work, I spilled my coffee, tripped over the dog, burned my finger on the toaster, attempted to put my left boot on my right foot, and got halfway to work before realizing I'd left my phone and pager behind and had to go back. I'm surprised I didn't have a wreck the way things were going. So don't get discouraged if you have similar streaky experiences with the concertina. It's just life, and if you let it get you down, that just encourages those little bastard gods in charge of petty annoyances to throw even more your way .
  8. Wow, thanks for the info. I have sometimes wondered how the valley got its name, and wondered if it was some corruption of "meander".
  9. That's a good idea, Don. I'll have to keep that in mind. I often wonder why ECs don't have more adjustments possible in their grippy parts. The ability to slide and rotate both the rests and the straps on the ends would seem a quite logical and natural feature. After all, so many other things can be adjusted to fit different people, why not ECs?
  10. Well, thank you sir . "Groaner moments" are going to happen regularly. I've only been doing this 3 weeks, I have about zero musical talent, and if my mind wanders for a moment, my fingers run off on autopilot running the length of the keyboard or some other such thing. But I'm not ashamed to record them for posterity. They're entertaining . I'm really enjoying this thing so far, at least now that I've figured a comfortable way to hold it. The video has a pretty good look at how my pinky is in the angled rest, which I find very comfortable and keeps it out of the way of the playing fingers. But I admit that I'm already considering an upgrade. That, however, brings up the subject of customizing it to suit my hands, which really are more comfortable chipping flint projectile points than doing anything else. As I'd never modify an antique, I'd have to get a new-built one. However, all the new-made mid-range ECs I've seen have mesh-like ends that don't offer many options on where to mount the pinky rests. It looks like they'd need major surgery. Maybe I could convince somebody to build the ends to my specs, maybe I'd have to make my own set of ends. There's another issue. As I've said, I learned to type on a manual typewriter so early on got into the habit of hitting my keys hard. As such, for decades I was wearing out a normal computer keyboards every few months until I got a Siig metal keyboard which so far has lasted about 2 years but is showing signs of age. I figure I'll destroy the action of most concertinas in short order, even when I'm trying to play legato. And I like to customize my tools. So for the nonce I figure I'm better off with cheap things I can abuse, modify, and make crude duct tape repairs on myself without too much of an investment in them.
  11. Thanks for the compliment, Ted. I worked on that synchopation for a while, especially the last few bars ("J'ai passé dedan la porte d'en arrière"). I firmly believe this song wasn't written down until long after it was being performed . I look forward to your future contributions to this thread.
  12. A keyboard would be useful - maybe I should look at ABC explorer. The tabbing I have started to use in the last few days is very basic, is "hand-crafted", and is therefore a little clunky. I simply insert a quoted text field in front of each note, indicating what button to press/pull. The text fields then appear above the relevant notes in the score. The following short example should make it clear how I do this: Thanks for the explanation of your tabs. I was envisioning something like Daddy Long Les developed. Anyway, if you want to look at ABCexplorer, here are a few pointers.... The overall layout is pretty much the same: list of tunes in the left column, ABC code in the upper right, sheet music in the lower right. You can drag the dividers between these windows however you want. To edit the ABC code, hit F5. when you do this, a virtual keyboard and many buttons appears on the divider between the ABC code and the sheet music. One button above the keyboard brings up a pop-up with a number of features, including transposition. NOTE: I have found that sometimes the transposition function bugs out, I have no idea why, but EasyABC doesn't on the tunes that ABCexplorer does. So it's sometimes useful to have both. The file manipulation isn't entirely intuitive to start with but once you figure it out, it's very powerful and flexible. The main difference is that ABCexplorer lets you open many ABC files at once in the same window and arranges them all in the tree structure in the left column. And if an ABC file as multiple tunes in it, you only see the ABC code for the tune your working on in the text editor window instead of all the tunes in that one file. This is nice because it keeps you from accidentally screwing up Tune A with a stray keystroke while actually working on Tune B.
  13. That's 2 fiddles doing a sliding finger in harmony, exploiting their analog tone production. Concertinas, even the chromatic ones, are pretty digital, tone-wise, so it would be hard to do that even with multiple concertinas.
  14. Bienvenue! Your advice on doing fiddle tunes, ça c'est bon, ça. I agree, even on an EC with accordion reeds, it's better to do the fiddle parts. "The Back Door" is more of a fiddle tune than accordion, at least as originally done, and I've got a Cajun fiddle book on order so we'll see. I'm especially looking for "La Sud de la Louisiane", which is one of the few I can sing in Cajun karaoke with my Neanderthal jaw and have the audience sing along instead of pelting me with tomatoes .
  15. Update #6: It being 3 weeks since the Neanderthal experiment began, I decided this was a good point to show progress so far. It being a beautiful day après une déluge (9.75" of rain in a 36-hr period!), I let the Neanderthal out of his cage temporarily. The result was a musical atrocity but does show that the Neanderthal is still making some progress with the instrument. Fortunately, the traffic on the busy dual carriageway nearby covered most of the more hideous noises the Neanderthal produced. https://youtu.be/qqE606TRudQ --------------------------------------------------- Sometimes I can play this tune perfectly, sometimes can't even get started, but most times it's kinda like this with more or less mistakes scattered at random. I find it requires intense concentration. Some strains are physically easy but mentally challenging, and sometimes I forget where I am .
  16. Hmmm, in an effort to be helpful, I downloaded the current version and gave it a go. I use ABCexplorer myself so it was interesting to compare them. They seem in most ways very similar but I prefer ABCexplorer for several reasons (straightforward typing of ABC without funky autocorrect, general file handling, a virtual keyboard for finding the right tone when writing/tweaking tunes, etc.). But OTOH, EasyABC's MIDI playback is more flexible and predictable. But, I couldn't find anything that makes EasyABC do tablature. I'd like to play with that if you could tell me how to work it . For comparison, ABCexplorer only does whistle fingering tabs that I can tell.
  17. That sounds like a good idea. However, at least with my particular Jackie, this would require some care with the left end, where many of the rocker arms only stick a few millimeters beyond their holes in the button stems. Thus, tipping the action unit in most directions causes the buttons to fall off the arms.
  18. Howdy Ken- Yeah, it's occurred to met that some sort of jig or "pool rack" as you say would be a big help. I just haven't envisioned a good way of making one that isn't as difficult to put on itself as the actual end cap. I figure it would help to countersink the undersides of the holes so the buttons would funnel into the correct position as you lowered the template. I guess next time (which hopefully won't be any time soon) I open my box up, I'll make a pattern off the holes in the end caps. That way I can make the tool at my leisure so it will be ready for the time after that. When I've had to get into my Jackie so far, it's because strap nuts have come off during playing, so I was just wanting to get it back going ASAP to keep playing. I'm afraid of leaving the thing sitting there disassembled for any time due to fear of curious cats .
  19. That's a good idea, Matt. If, God forbid, I have to get back in my Jackie, I'll remember it. One help with the Jackie is that that the buttons are domed so you only really need to get them slightly more than 1/2way properly aligned, not dead-nuts perfect, and they'll self-center. But OTOH they're also loose enough on their rockers that any contact is likely to make them swing too far the other way.
  20. This thread is intended for folks like me: total concertina newbies who have recently gotten a Jackie from Concertina Connection. While this box has a good sound and plays easily enough, it does have some durability issues that will manifest themselves after a relatively short time. I've had mine about 2 weeks now, probably putting about 30 hours on it, and already I've had to open it up twice. I suspect that I'm not alone in this, so I'm posting this to give some confidence to those who are afraid to do their own minor repairs. First off, check out this video by Daddy Long Les where he's got his Jackie taken apart. This will show you what's inside better than I can explain it. Now that you're familiar with the general anatomy, here are key details: DO NOT OVER-TIGHTEN THE SCREWS. The wood is all very soft so there's a real threat of stripping threads. USE THE CORRECT SIZE OF SCREWDRIVER. The screw metal is very soft so there's a real threat of wallowing out the heads if your screwdriver is the wrong size or not applied forcefully enough down into the screw. The concertina consists of 3 main assemblies: the central bellows and the 2 nearly identical end assemblies. The end assemblies are each attached to the bellows by 6 small Philips screws and washers, and come off the bellows as unitsWhen reassembling the ends to bellows, fasten the screws as you would the lug nuts on a car tire, in a star pattern working them all slightly tighter over several sequences. This is to make sure the end fits evenly and snugly on the bellows. Otherwise you get air leaks through the joint and the concertina won't play well or at all. The end assemblies consist of 2 major parts held together by 2 tiny Philips screws on the underside: The outer black end cap to which the strap and rest are attached The action, which consists of the reeds, valves, buttons, springs, and rocker arms all mounted on 1 big mass of various wood pieces all glued together. Just undo the 2 tiny screws enough to separate the end cap from the action, without removing the screws from the action. This helps prevent losing them. Without the end cap attached, the buttons are free to wobble around and have a tendency to fall off their rocker arms, have their tails come out of their holes, and otherwise not be where they should be. This makes reassembling the end cap to the action a frustrating, fiddly process, the most difficult single thing in the whole process. Fortunately, the buttons all seem to be identical so if several fall completely off, it shouldn't matter which rocker you put them back on. The ends of the thumb straps are held in place by a knob that screws into the edge of the end cap. To adjust the strap, unscrew and remove this knob, stick it through a different hole in the strap, and screw it back into the end cap. TOOLS: Jewelers Philips screwdrivers of several sizes Needlenose pliers Tweezers Magnifying lens or glasses (depending on your eyesight) Lok-Tite or similar product to keep nuts on bolts COMMON PROBLEMS 1. Straps or Rests Coming Loose The straps and rests are attached to the end caps by tiny countersunk Philips screws with nuts and washers on the inside. These nuts tend to loosen or come off completely. When the nuts come off, they will rattle around inside the action but can be shaken out the sound holes. Be careful not to lose them. To fix: Remove the end with the loose part from the bellows. Remove the end cap from the action. Reassemble the strap/rest fasteners using Lok-Tite. While you're in there, tighten up and apply Lok-Tite to all other strap/rest fasteners so you don't have to do this again. Getting a screwdriver on the strap screws will require unscrewing the strap-adjustment knob. 2. Stretching Straps The thumb straps are made from some very cheap fake leather, basically a roll of vinyl with some spongy white fabric inside. This quickly stretches, especially if you play with the concertina on your knee and only move 1 end of it routinely. If you're already on the last hole provided and the strap is too loose, poke a new hole with an ice pick. You don't want or need a very big hole because the strap knob's shaft is only a couple millimeters wide. OTHER POINTS The rocker arms can easily pivot side-to-side as well as up-and-down. Thus, when finagling the buttons into proper formation for reassembling the end cap to the action, it's possible that pushing a button sideways will push its valve the same amount in the opposite direction, which can cause the valve not to completely cover its hole. So before putting the cap back on, be sure all the valves are properly covering their holes. Once you've managed to get the end cap back over all the buttons at once and have the action seated fully into the end cap, you can no longer see any of the action nor even the holes and valves. Therefore, before screwing the end cap back onto the action, test each button for proper springiness. If it springs back up and stays straight, then it's on its rocker arm OK and all SHOULD be well (unless you've moved a valve sideways, which you can't see). If the button has no spring, then you have to take the end cap back off and put the button back on its rocker arm. It's a good idea to only remove 1 end assembly from the bellows at a time. This way, you can be sure you put the end back on the bellows with the same orientation as before. This is important because the screw holes don't line up if you've rotated the end assembly relative to the bellows. If you must remove both ends at once, apply some masking tape to the bellows ends where the thumb straps go, so you can properly orient the end assemblies when you put them back on. Also write on the masking tape which end is left and right. As mentioned above, make sure there are no gaps between the end assembly and the bellows. When reattaching the end assembly, get all the screws in the end assembly until their tips are flush with the bottom of the end cap before placing the assembly on the bellows. Make sure the end cap is oriented correctly and then partially tighten all the screws in a star pattern as with lug nuts until fully seated.
  21. That's cool, Jody. When the NDA gets lifted (I assume when the movie comes out), be sure to tell us so we can go watch.
  22. That tune is so familiar that I wonder if I don't remember it from before I discovered folk music. I know my memory doesn't have that name attached to it, though I don't have another name for it, either. It reminds me a lot of the "Looney Tunes" theme music from all the Bugs Bunny cartoons (the real ones, not the modern abortions).
  23. Nice selection. I like them all. I think this is a great way to broaden my horizons and hope to get decent at whichever one ends of being TOTM.
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