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Reed Rat

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Everything posted by Reed Rat

  1. Hello Conzertino, that is my AP James mini-anglo in G, APJ #4. I took it with me to the Toshiba Tall Ships festival at Dana Point and had it christened in Cannon smoke on board the ??? (darn the ship's name eludes me at the moment!), but it was ME who got most of the cannon smoke! Just about blew me off the deck, the very nice young woman working the cannon asked me if I "got it" thinking I was holding my camera, I was fine and enjoyed the puff of white smoke...I think that's what I went for. Anyway, my little box got quite a stir at the show. I have another picture of me with it on my Wix site at cball64.wixsite.com/gallery page down through my photos and you will see it. Its fun, but loud, and takes a lot of pushing and pulling.
  2. non intentional bump
  3. I have a 46 btn Lachenal McCaan Duet for sale. It was re-tuned to concert pitch and re-valved by the Button Box several years ago, hasn't been played much since then. I tried selling this on eBay several times and all I got was complaints about the cost. The Button box tuner said it had a "sweet" tone, but maybe he was just being nice. It sounds better than either of my Crane duets, and I kept it for possibly spare reeds or to do my own Hayden style analysis, but lately I need the money and think it would be better off being played. After reading Jody's comments on safe selling, I have decided to just put it up on eBay or Reverb. Chris
  4. Hello Conzertino, I realize this is an old post, but did you ever finish your MIDI concertina? I had thought about the same approach: retrofitting an old non-functional concertina. I like your idea of the pads with the magnets to activate the sensors for the switches. Now I'm just building it myself but I won't be using a real concertina action, just buttons. How much extension do you get with the coiled cable? I was considering that for left/right communication but thought I wouldn't get enough stretch without the slack falling into the bellows folds. I would like to hear how well it works as I was considering going wireless altogether and just having both halves transmit to a main module or one to the other. The 16 bit i2c you mention I think you must mean a shift register, how well did that work for your project? I found an online site where they showed using a diode matrix, and I had thought about shift registers but decided I wanted to keep the chip count low. I'm using an Arduino Nano on each side, because I just happen to have 2 of them, fortunately there's enough inputs the matrix method can work. I'm thinking that with the shift register method perhaps you don't need the diodes? But the main reason I'm writing is I think your idea of using the existing concertina buttons to make the patch/program changes is a great idea. I had been thinking about where I would put control buttons, but that is an elegant solution. I bet you could trigger specific midi sequences from the controller, maybe it could recognize the first few notes of a tune set you have and then begin to play some accompaniment.
  5. Ok I haven't tried this, but maybe one of those PZM "boundary mics" could be placed on the stage bellow your seat or in front of your feet if you don't stomp around a lot? They have a hemi-spherical pick up pattern but I currently do not have access to one or I would try it out. I think Radio Shack makes the low cost version of the Crown pzm. I was also thinking of trying one of those country man lavaliere mics they hide up in the cowgirls wigs, one for each side.
  6. I think your prof is right, go with simple. I think I would approach it with a more robust controller, like a the Beagle Bone, and then that sbc can control everything and mostly in software. That way parts are less. The Beagle Bone has some built in ADC and 2 dedicated micro-controllers, plus it uses Linux, so you should be able to run full 32bit programs, which could include sample playing, effects, etc . Its the size of an Altoids can. For my own design I looked at multiplexing inputs because I want a box with about 55 keys. It seems like overkill, but some of the boards have enough digital inputs to dedicate one to each button. I think a button switch using a hall effect sensor could be very easy to make: I can imagine the metal shaft of the button itself activating the hall effect switch. I had also considered an IR led for an optical button. Mechanical buttons tend to be unreliable and must be de-bounced. But to start I think I would just go with mechanical buttons and plan to replace then later. As for the pressure sensor I think I would replace it with an IR led photo-transistor combo and use it as a proximity switch right down the middle of the bellows - the amount of light received will change with distance between the sides (no change or relatively constant value of light would mean no notes playing, ie, bellows is not moving). That may not give perfect results but may be close enough for a learning box. However if you have a fully functional bellows I'm guessing you are also having pads to open up to allow air in to get that pressure sensor activated and to feel realistic? With most of the microcontrollers and SBC's I've seen USB is built in so I would plan to have a USB connector, you might even be able to charge its internal batteries that way.
  7. 50 years, that's a lot of concertina squeezing. Just read that Chuck Berry is putting out an album at 90. Maybe you could record your concerts and put out a video? I like watching concert footage and have lots of instructional videos. I live in the US and a trip 'across the pond' would be great if I could afford it, and wasn't afraid of the plane going down or landing in the Ukraine. Good luck with your concerts. Any chance we can get a teaser sample of one of your performances?
  8. I have a Zoom H4n and use it with Cubase. The H4n makes very good recordings at 24/96, I've never tried the lower settings. I record to mine through a Mackie mixer and have several mics. You might consider investing in some audio software where you can do more than just speed/slow down passages for study. At some point you might want to record so having the tools already and knowing how to use them may help you out. If that's years away them hold off on major software expenses, especially if you have no need for the latest and greatest features. Cubase is kind of pricey, its just what I have and where I started. I think you could probably get a Zoom used on eBay if you are budget strapped. I've heard a lot about Audacity but have never tried it.
  9. I love my crane duet and would be willing to take over the site. I plan to play my duet for another 20 years now that I can read music for it. Chris
  10. While trying to glue it a small hole made itself known via extruding glue, but I'm going to just glue it and see how well it works. I removed it from the reed plate and its being glued held under weight. I'm getting some end bolts, pads and straps but I'm not touching tuning. Update 9/25/16: it works just fine. Thanks for all your suggestions.
  11. Hello, I'm trying to do some restoration on a small George Jones concertina. It needs alot of work but first up is the non-functioning air button. I think this could be very easy. Here is a picture of the sprung air-button hinge. Perhaps all I need to do is re-glue that leather to the block? Or should I replace that piece of leather hinge altogether? It looks to me like the leather is in still usable shape but kinked from being off for so long. The concertina needs at least 1 pad and has no straps or strap buttons, but I see those readily on eBay. Everything else is there. (slightly off my own topic but the inside of my Wheatstone looks a lot nicer than the George Jones) Chris
  12. I have learned a lot by watching other players, including live performance and video. There is no music to see only the players actions and the resulting music. For concertina this can be a bit difficult as you need to find someone to watch though youtube is full of concertina videos. I think playing (or attempting to play) over the song is useful and I have figured out songs this way, usually I try to find the key first then the progression and/or melody. Often its when the music is off and I'm just goofing around I stumble upon fragments of songs I've heard. For example, the song "The Highland Widow" I have created an arrangement for by recalling the notes while playing around in C. Concertina playing has improved my ear considerably, and after many years of playing around on synthes, guitars, the music score is finally becoming 2nd nature. The irony being that now I can read the music I need glasses to do it..
  13. Size and weight can vary depending on make, model, and materials. I've mentioned before that my 48-button rosewood(?) Crane & Sons is exactly the same size and weight as my 55-button "ebony" Lachenal New Model. thanks for the information on the Crane size/weight. I only have my 2 boxes to compare, so I mistakenly believed they were representative of all Crane style concertinas. If I ever get another one I will pay closer attention to material and size.
  14. Thanks for the replies: I didn't realize Crabb made any 35 button boxes. I like my high A, though as mentioned 48 key solves that issue. So as per suggestion it stays as is and when I sell it I'll tell them the person from the Salvation army who ordered it had it modified to have a high A. (It could be true!). I wonder if its possible to find the person who ordered it, it was made in the mid 30's so maybe they are still alive. Then of course they may tell me it was stolen from the SA band room...
  15. I have heard several anglos and they have sounded quite different. I attended the Tall ships Festival at Dana Point California in 2015. There I met one of the crew of the Californian and he was playing a 20 button Stagi and I brought my newly acquired A.P. James mini-anglo to be christened by cannon fire on board one of the tall ships. The mini-anglo sounds very bright and pierces through the air well. The Stagi had a very nice mellowed out sound, it took me by surprise as I have never heard a Stagi in person only seen pictures. His sounded far deeper and more resonant than I would have expected. I also own a 20 button Lachanel: compared to the Crane Duet I own the anglo sounds very similar, different from both the APJ Mini and the Stagi.
  16. I have a 35 button Wheatstone and I think its great. I also now have access to a 48 key Lachenal. What I notice the most is while learning to play songs I find the 35 button "easier" since I have only 3 notes of overlap, so the choice as to which note to play is not an issue. On my 48 key I now have to think about it since there's more duplicate notes. Eventually I want to get a 55 key just for all that extra overlap. The 35 key concertina is 6.25 inches across the flats whereas the 48 key is slightly larger at 6.5. Even though its only a little bigger and has only 13 extra notes the 48 key is noticeably heavier. I notice that for my 2 boxes that the Wheatstone sounds more informal, or gruff, for lack of better terms, and the Lachenal sounds more uptight, nasal, but in very good tune, almost like a formal sound.
  17. I would love to have a MIDI concertina to play at night, plus I bet it would be great if you played live on stage, though I would prefer the real thing. For education, I remember my brother studying trombone and the students rented the instruments from the school. I wonder how much a saxophone or clarinet costs to the school? I bet its more than a $100 each. MIDI Concertina I am planning my own 57 key MIDI concertina modeled cosmetically after the Crane box I was offered a few weeks ago. I plan to use an Arduino to control the switch inputs but I haven't worked out which Arduino to use, more digital inputs makes it easier but I may try to multiplex the inputs. I have a MIDI chip which also plays MP3, I still haven't fired it up yet as this is a completely back-burner project. I may build a mock up bellows out of cardboard and tape just to have a bellows-like interface between the left and right sides, though I like that "gadget" described and the hinge. It may only last a few weeks, but it would be practice for the real thing. For the buttons I have been designing an optical switch which uses IR light instead of a physical contact, this will last longer and I believe be more reliable than a physical switch, plus you can then adjust it to get the throw and feel you want. For a valve I think an electrically activated valve could work, maybe using NiTinol springs or other small solenoid/motor to open/close the valve to simulate air flow when a button is pushed. I think only one valve would be needed on each side. But don't hold your breath, if I make it I'll post it, but I have a whole new vintage box to play with so a MIDI box is pure luxury.
  18. Hello, I'm sorry I did not respond sooner. I now have a 48 key Lachenal. So thank you for all your great offers. I know I will get a 55 at some point but for now and for at least a year I'm guessing I'll be pushing away on this 48 key. thanks again, this thread is now closed Chris (edit: removed transaction details)
  19. I was trying to find some good examples of ragtime playing, but got lost in all the videos.. I saw John Williams, the famous anglo player, once up close. All I really remember was the playing was good and he was more or less carrying the tunes. He did have his band, which was in this case was guitar and I think some percussion. Maybe I just like Doc Watson, but when it comes to multiple parts, especially the alternating bass heard on guitar, I think of players like Doc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VAbrnjdtYw though the piano gives you a note for every finger or more, on guitar, its all of 6 note polyphony, but those 6 notes can do a lot. Reverend Gary Davis:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlQZwHcBqyQ It might be fun to try to play a piece for a quartet on my duet, but I'm happy to stumble out a melody and broken chords. I sort of play anglo too, but my anglos are both small boxes, one is a sub-mini Lachenal C/G, the other a modern mini-anglo in G. With those, I'm still just getting mostly the oompah chords and a melody if I try to accompany myself. But my focus is on the Crane duet - to me its a lot like a piano keyboard.
  20. the sounds from that ipad app are really good and his playing is a nice demonstration of the English system. Even a box with no working bellows would probably make a nice compact MIDI controller. Good luck with your project
  21. Thanks for the offer, but what happened with the mini English was I decided to get a used mini-anglo which was a modern build from A.P. James. Right now I'm focusing on getting a bigger Duet. Although I would be happier with more buttons, including 42 if it was a good sounding box, I am really after a 55 key if I can find one. I want those extra keys on the left side though I imagine the 55 key concertina will be a lot bigger than my 35 key.
  22. Here is a photo of the reed. Its a bit faint in the photo but on the reed shoe is stamped "A". The shoe looks a bit small, as if the hole had been routed for a larger reed. So I'm leaning toward "mistake" or should say "creative restoration"? The high "A" does come in handy if you like A minor, its been fun playing with it like that.
  23. I will get a photo and post here. Yes, I agree: the SA used a lot of brass and they would prefer the Eb for the A I'm sure, though I do know a lot of secular music is played in C (not me though). Thought it might be a selling point, but may be just a selling flaw, as I try to get more keys, I'm hoping to find a 55 key but will settle for less.. I'll get that photo soon as I can, but I wonder now if I should leave it as is, or try to get a hold of a same period/manufacturer replacement? thanks for your comments Chris
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