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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. A device which helped me develop speed and enabled me to "play through mistakes with others" is a slow downer device or program. Many digital recording devices have this feature and there are various downloads of it for your computer. My favorite is "The Amazing Slowdowner". These programs allow you to take a recording or CD and adjust the speed without changing the pitch. (Or, vary the speed AND pitch to match your instrument) It is also possible to take a troublesome section of a tune and loop it to hear or practice it over and over. Some things that can happen using a slow downer. You can adjust the speed of the recording so you can play along comfortably. The recording will help you keep good time in your playing. (You will know when you break time, speed up or slow down) If you make a mistake you can join back into the recording asap without embarrassing yourself or throwing someone else off (as at a session). Gradually, over time, you can incrementally increase the speed of the recording until you are playing at session speed. While not the same energy or chance of distractions as at a live session, playing with a recording will get you accustomed to hearing your instrument in the context of others. I'd also suggest being patient with your progress and not let expectations get in the way of enjoying yourself. It is a musical journey. People start in different places with different amounts of experience. Yours is unique. Enjoy the adventure! Greg
  2. I would guess that the liquid electrical tape would make it very difficult to impossible to do further (proper) repairs in that area of application. Obtaining some skived leather from concertina.spares or making your own leather patches to affect a proper repair is not impossible. The trick is to start with thin goat leather (sheepskin is alright for the valleys or internal gusset patches) and patiently work it down as thin as possible especially toward the edges. Possible to do with a skiving knife or another sharp blade. Sandpaper taped to a flat board is another way. A belt sander is quicker, just watch your finger tips.😲 Greg
  3. I'm getting ready to pack for the NE Squeeze In. I'll be there September 20th and 21st and bringing several 20b C/G anglos, several englishes priced below $850, a few top notch New Models and several nice Aeolas. I may be able to fit in a Crane and MaCann as well. If you can't attend NESI you can personal message or email me for a list of available instruments. Cnet will get a donation for any instrument sold through this post. I hope to hold three workshops dealing with concertina repair and maintenance: One concerning bellows repair and air tightness. Another on trouble shooting and alleviating common problems. The third will cover setting up a concertina so it plays to its full potential. Hope to see you there. Greg gjowaisas(type the "at" symbol)fioptics.com
  4. Seth, Do check the underside of the fret work. The baffles, perhaps removed were glued to small cork or leather spacers. If by some unlucky chance it lines up with the action arm in question it could interfere with proper pad closure. If you get a good seal with the top half of the action box removed and then lose it once the top is in place then chances are the part of the action arm between the pivot and the button rides a bit too high. Adjust as necessary. And of course check to make sure the pivot is secure and flush with the action board. Been there; done a lot of it. Patience and persistence building. Greg
  5. Good suggestions from Dave and RWL. I have brought a sickly, unrefurbished concertina to some past workshops and at the conclusion of the presentation had the participants "diagnose" possible problems from exhibited symptoms armed with the knowledge hopefully gained in the workshop. I usually have copies of a checklist of symptoms, possible causes and possible remedies that I distribute. And thanks for the reminder that theory is fine but how to effect a necessary emergency repair might be as improtant.
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. Wonderful!! How cool! Thanks for posting the link.
  10. Wow!! Again, excellent playing as we have come to expect from you. Thank you. A little bit about the instrument....?
  11. Bellows driver. Button puncher. (for the cowboy theme)
  12. 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.)
  13. 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
  14. 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
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