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Greg Jowaisas

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About Greg Jowaisas

  • Rank
    Heavyweight Boxer
  • Birthday 03/03/1909

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  • Interests
    Traditional and Old-Time American folk music. Irish Trad.<br />Banjo, Anglo and english concertina.<br />Repairing and rebuilding concertinas.<br />Making concertina cases.
  • Location
    Kentucky, USA just south of Cincinnati and the Ohio River

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  1. Greg Jowaisas

    Disproportionally Loud Anglo Reed

    Robin. Often changing the reed tongue set to be lower toward the shoe will result in less volume. Changing to a thicker (or "fluffier") valve opposite (on the other side of the reed pan) the offending note can also mitigate a volume problem. The Carroll Concertina site has some very helpful maintenance and adjustment tips with videos including your specific problem. https://www.carrollconcertinas.com/repair-resources.html Greg
  2. Greg Jowaisas

    Strengthening Push and Pull Muscles

    As someone who has suffered connective tissue problems in pursuit of stronger concertina playing muscles I would counsel CAUTION. First of all i would have the "more difficult to play" instrument evaluated to see if lightening spring pressure or elevating hand rests or in extreme cases replacing bellows might not help. I also would advise slowly and incrementally building up playing time on the possibly improved difficult instrument. (By slowly i'm suggesting 5-10 minute non-challenging sessions once or twice a day, lots of rest or even a day's rest in between with perhaps adding another session every two to three weeks. As Paul Groff once wisely told me it takes months and months for the muscles to become acclimated and strength to develop when playing the anglo concertina. If you hurry the process it puts connective tissue at risk. If you are dead set on exercises I'd consult the physical therapy people. They seem to have a good idea of how the body works. Be safe. Play smart. Greg
  3. I'll finally be able to attend another NESI. Looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. I plan on offering several concertina repair workshops. Thought I'd do a general on troubleshooting common problems, setting up an instrument etc. I also thought I'd devote one workshop to bellows, seals and air leak problems. Do any of you, attendees or not, have suggestions for other repair issues or topics to be covered? Looking forward, Greg PS. I'll be able to bring a limited number of refurbished concertinas along with me. If you are looking for something in particular, personal message me.
  4. Greg Jowaisas

    Cormac Begley and Caitlin nic Gabhann (?)

    Wonderful!! How cool! Thanks for posting the link.
  5. Greg Jowaisas

    More Renaissance Polyphony on Anglo concertina

    Wow!! Again, excellent playing as we have come to expect from you. Thank you. A little bit about the instrument....?
  6. Greg Jowaisas

    synonym for "concertina player"

    Bellows driver. Button puncher. (for the cowboy theme)
  7. Greg Jowaisas

    Miniature Concertina Maintenance

    Stephen, Generally the lone screw is used to help remove the pan on a miniature. Sometimes there is room for fingers but yes, pliers are often necessary. The rail, i believe, is to give added purchase (grip) for the thumb. In my experience it is only a marginal help. I usually add thumb straps and sometimes scaled down finger plates for serious playing. Greg The valve material may or may not be overly done. Depends on the size of the vents they cover. The tan colored valves are consistent with the ones Wheatstone used during this period. (Doesn't mean there is no room for improvement.)
  8. Don't would be my first response. I've seen bellows ruined by generous applications of neatsfoot oil and other conditioners. The oil has penetrated the leather, soaked into the under laying card causing it to delaminate. The result is "talking puppets" which is the term Rosalie Dipper uses to describe bellows sections which no longer stay in synch on the push and pull. "Never" is a different case. An older concertina which has not been stored properly may have a bellows with leather that has dried out. The gussets are particularly vulnerable in this case and "could" benefit from a light and judicious application of shoe cream or "Fredelka compound". I can't emphasize enough that LESS is BEST. Even a product like Fredelka which helps control the penetration of oils into leather can compromise a bellows if used in excess. If you must recondition the leather on an old, dried out bellows stay away from the liquid, penetrating oils like neatsfoot and mink. For a new bellows NEVER condition them. There are no short cuts in breaking in a bellows other than playing them in. Greg
  9. Greg Jowaisas

    Variations on The Abbess

    VERY nice!!
  10. Greg Jowaisas

    Noel Hill Midwest 2019

    Perhaps not too early to be thinking about and making plans for summer concertina camps. Noel hill Midwest camp is July 28-August 2 this year. Location is at a very nice retreat/school complex (Transfiguration Spirituality Center) in the northern Cincinnati, OH suburbs. Private rooms and baths, good, hearty meals and of course the concertina instruction is intense but fun. Midwest camp had tried a number of locations and even different cities for a few years before finding this very comfortable location. The class sizes have been small compared to the East and West coast camps. If you are looking for a concertina camp with a feeling of personal attention, in a very nice setting I'd be hard pressed to recommend a better one. Oh yeah, the instructor is the one and only, indomitable Mr. Hill. Greg
  11. It is fairly uncommon for Edeophones to have factory rivet action. The three or four I have come across that had rivet action also had the early aluminum reed shoes that often came with their own set of problems. Given a standard Lachenal action in decent shape a good repair person should be able to set up the hook and arm action to have a light touch. It takes some time and persistence. I've had numerous successes with Edeos and other Lachenals. Please remember that after 1934 Wheatstone abandoned rivet action and went to its own hook and arm set up. I think it is ill advised to pass up a good sounding, responsive instrument simply because it does not have rivet action. There are a number of accomplished players and concertina cognoscenti who prefer the sound of the Edeophone over the Aeola. I've also heard several veteran repair people say that Edeo bellows were superior to Wheatstone Aeolas. I tend to agree. If necessary someone like Wim Wakker could replace a worn or compromised action with his own rivet action. In the end different horses for different courses. Greg
  12. Greg Jowaisas

    Brand New Wheatstone vs what?

    Perhaps a pilgrimage south to Chris Algar's (aka Barleycorn Concertinas) is in order. My understanding is Chris' garden shed has the most concertinas in any one place on the planet and therefore a great place to compare many different concertinas. And, of course, Mr. Algar will always be ready to sell you one. In addition, Chris is very good in "placing" concertinas. If something comes in that fits the description of what you are looking for then he will be calling you. You could talk with him and get on his list. By all accounts Steve Dickenson's work is fantastic. But he is one man and single handed carrying on the Wheatstone banner. However he also does restoration and refurbishment. (Which could happen light years ahead of a new instrument) There are some wonderful vintage english concertinas out there just waiting for a skillful repairer's restoration, touch and set up to "wake up" make a remarkable instrument "sing" again. If you come across a concertina with great potential that might be an option. Greg
  13. Greg Jowaisas

    Aluminium for reed frames

    My take is that the early Edeophones with aluminum reed shoes were consistent with Lachenal as a concertina innovator. We think of Wheatstone (often justly) as the gold standard in concertinas but in many ways Lachenal was out in front, on the cutting edge with Wheatstone responding to Lachenal's lead. Lachenal was making anglos for 50 years prior to the death of Edward Chidley and Wheatstones entry into that market. Lachenal's New Model was the first raised end concertina (I believe...) Lachenal's Edeophone and its success moved Wheatstone to respond with the Aeola a few years later. Unfortunately the early use of "pure" aluminum came with problems. Many of the early Lachenal Edeos with aluminum shoes suffered from oxidation which in worst cases clogged the tongue or reduced the metal shoes to powder! Aluminum alloys dealt with this problem and Wheatstone's Durel models were successful examples of aluminum use as were later Edeophones. While such concertina luminaries as Geoff Crabb (if memory serves) have told me there is no appreciable tonal different between aluminum and brass shoes I have a personal preference for brass. I can't offer any scientific evidence but to my ear the brass shoes have a slightly richer(?) mid range. I also have a suspicion that after a decade and a half of concertina repair of how important the snug, tight fit of a reed shoe in a reed pan is to overall sound and performance. Does a brass shoe and its added density and rigidity come with a better chance of seating better than lighter less dense aluminum? Are the deeper, heavier Jeffries shoes (well broached I might add) set in deeper reed pan slots partially responsible for the "Jeffries" sound and volume? (Whomever did the routing for the Jeffries reed pans "got it right" in my opinion.) Aluminum certainly makes for a lighter instrument. If that is a consideration it might trump some slight differences in sound for certain players. Greg
  14. Greg Jowaisas

    Lachenal EC with riveted action

    Several rivet action Edeos (with aluminum reed shoes) have been through the workshop. No doubt original actions.
  15. Greg Jowaisas

    Suggestions on an Anglo Concertina Upgrade

    Insight email address no longer viable. Use: gjowaisas(type "at" symbol)fioptics.com Or pm me through concertina.net's personal messenger. Thank you for the reference, Mike. I try my best to help folks with their concertina adventures. I usaully recommend/encourage scheduling a visit for anyone in the Midwest or for anyone who feels a trip is worth it in order to try out a number of concertinas in person. I'm 15 minutes from the CVG (Cincinnati/N. KY airport) and can pick you up. Cincinnati, OH can be a a very lovely city to visit in conjunction with a concertina expedition. Greg