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About LateToTheGame

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    Concertina, wooden flute, whistle et al
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  1. LateToTheGame

    In praise of a good hard case

    My dad used to make tool boxes out of 1/2 inch scrap plywood all the time. This was back in the day before every tool came in its own vacuum formed plastic box, and before strand board took over in the building trades. He'd come home from his carpentry jobs with "useless" pieces too good to throw out. When he needed a tool box he'd sort out the pile leaning next to the door in the garage. He'd just make a hollow square or rectangle the size he needed out of those scraps, cut around it wherever he thought it would open best, sand it down, slap down a latch and a couple of hinges and he'd be good to go. While they weren't elegant with their window sash handles, they were cheap and lasted forever. I think I parted with the last one a year ago. No, never mind... I've still got one in the basement with the Porter Cable belt sander he used for decades inside.
  2. LateToTheGame

    Anglo playing guidance needed

    I am a great fan of the Online Academy of Irish Music for their systematic approach to learning all the detailed ornamentation to play Irish Trad. Those skills would carry nicely into American fiddle tunes as well. They build skills starting with very simple tunes and giving you the opportunity to read music and also learn to play by ear. There are 4 extremely good teachers who build on each others teaching in the concertina courses. It is about $20 a month, which may seem pricey, but you can take as many lessons a month as you have time for, cancel for a while and go back at it later. A private teacher once a week would cost far more than that.
  3. LateToTheGame

    In praise of a good hard case

    I love my pelican case, and carry it in a Polar Bear thermal cooler designed to carry 24 cans of the beverage of your choice. This a super high quality thermal cooler is excellent protection with all it's padding. I also carry a flute and a whistle, and I live in Chicago where it is not uncommon to be 0 or 90. This seemed like an excellent choice to keep all my goodies in one easy to grab bag. Every now and then I am temped to replace the pelican case with the zippered gig bag I used to use around the house and rationalize the weight of the whole package would go down if I took my flute out of its hard case and into a roll as well. But somehow I ended up going one step further instead, making a hard case for my whistle from a piece of PVC pipe.
  4. LateToTheGame

    “Winterizing” the concertina

    Yes the topic Greg directed you to will be helpful. The bottom line is you need to humidify your instrument in the winter and monitor the humidity in the summer as well depending on where you live. Lots of good advice in that link. Good luck to you!
  5. When sound was bothering me on a metal ended concertina I used paper tape for bandages on a few spots on the outside of the grill. It is very low tack and doesn't leave a residue. It is a thin tape designed to hold gauze on wounds and not pull off your skin when removed. I never had it pull off any finish on my metal ended connor, but I wouldn't leave it on for more than a couple of days in a row. If you use any tape test it on something else to see if it leaves residue, something you don't want to deal with I was also encouraged by my teacher that sometimes, "playing like the babies are asleep in the next room" will actually help me work on dynamics. For my own personal protection when I really want to honk away I use ear protection. The modern ear plugs with silicone cups surrounding a rather complex small filter work really well. I have seen them marketed as Eargasms and I with other names. I find I can hear others speak to me in noisy sessions but no longer have ear pain should I find myself next to a banjo or bohran, let alone the volume I can get on my own instrument.
  6. LateToTheGame


    Thanks for this story. It's a good one.
  7. LateToTheGame

    Concertina care

    Ha. With modern central heating humidity seems to drop more. In smaller pre- WWII houses heated by coal or wood the temperatures were seldom as warm as we expect now with modern radiators or forced air central heating. Humidity was also added with the constant stream of moisture from cooking three meals a day in a small kitchen, not to mention the sheer number of bodies exhaling, and laundry air drying in the basement or kitchen. My parents built a 25 x 25 foot story and a half house with three bedrooms in 1939. They truly expected to raise 5 to 10 kids in there. And even the wealthy with more room to spare would seldom have their heat up to what we expect as normal today. Conditions have changed in the past 60 years.
  8. LateToTheGame

    Dipper For Irish Trad

    My dipper is a 34 key model with no drone. But most common would likely be the 31 button, with a drone of your choice, likely d. I particularly like the smaller size. Mine measures about 5 3/4, but I think that is due to the extra keys. It is still smaller than most other concertinas. I would tell the Dippers what you want and ask what they recommend. They are experts at this. The tone and action are amazing. I am a mediocre player, but have had a pro give it a whirl and astounding music bounced itself out. I have heard some express concern that they might end up pushing and pulling more due to the smaller size across the flats, but it have not experienced that. The instrument is so responsive and the action so well engineered that the air requirements are perfectly balanced. The button touch is so perfect I have never really focused on what size they are and wouldn't know how to measure. John Dipper is handling the email side of the business these days and is quick to respond. I asked for wooden ends. There are a couple of other Dippers that appear in sessions in Chicago and they both have wooden ends.
  9. My Dipper came in a pelican case lined and blocked in such a way compress the bellows completely while not touching the keys. I assume the Dippers know what they are doing. Pelican cases are known to be waterproof. If the air around you is damp enough to mildew things put on a shelf (like books or laundry) you may need silica gel, but I'd put a hydrometer in a case if i were messing with the humidity just to make sure you didn't go down too far. My humidity control is in the room given the swings in dry/humid air in the midwestern USA. I have humidfiers that run in the winter and dehumidifiers that run in the summer.
  10. LateToTheGame

    For Armistice Day

    I just opened this. It downloaded quickly for me.
  11. I like to keep my straps very snug as it gives the right balance between an anchor for my hands and the arch to get around the keyboard. My hand feels the rail more near the little finger end, and the strap more on the forfeinger end, if that makes any sense. I have seen great players with "looser" straps, but on close viewing of their hand position they are arching in such a way that at least a part of the hand is anchored firmly and the rest is held down by the strap. For at least a nano second between notes all our fingers are up in the air. The concertina has to be stablized by either wasting a finger or using the base of your hand. The flat of your hand may not make contact with the rail all the time, or at least mine doesn't. I need some arching in there to reach around the buttons. I have two good concertinas and find the one with tighter straps gives me more stability. Just pay attention to what your fingers tell you. If you are experiencing any pain consider if there are any issues regarding the straps. Though pain can come for different reasons. I recently had a lot of finger pain after I learned a Angela Carrberry and Martin Quinn set. In that case I realized It was because I was trying to duplicate the banjo triplets too specifically and began to hone in to the accordion instead. So pain can come from multiple sources. So, in answering your question from my limited experience, if you can reach everything you want and don't have any pain you are likely fine.
  12. LateToTheGame

    Colin Dipper Pride of Albion Anglo

    Make sure both you and your buyers do homework regarding their country's systems on Cites II restrictions for exporting and importing woods if you are selling outside your home country. Rosewood is currently on the restricted list, though they are talking about changing that for musical instruments in 2019. It would be a shame to have this purchased only to be destroyed at customs. Antique instruments are exempt, but not used ones. I think antiques are more than 40 years old, but I can't remember now. I would check with your country's agency for specifics. In the US the agency in charge of this is U.S. Fish and Wildlife. The agency will vary country to country. There was a used Cocobo flute shipped from the US to the UK early this year. The seller did not realize Cocobo was on the restricted list and the instrument was confiscated, gone for ever. I was told by U.S. Fish and Wildlife's Chicago office over a year ago that an instrument sold became a commercial transaction as of the date of the sale, whether it was made pre-cites II or not. This was right after the law came into effect and interpretations may have changed. You will likely need an import and export permit for the wood for both the shipper and receiver. There is a lot of info on this on the Chiff and Fipple Flute forum as blackwood was also restricted. Flutemakers have a lot more paperwork to do making sure they have a paper trail that the wood they use was sustainably harvested. As I said, they are reviewing these rules (at the Hague?) with the idea they may exclude musical instruments next year. As it currently reads you can travel with your personal instrument containing up to 15 kilos of restricted wood. So would you be skirting the rules if you took a trip and brought it home? I don't know and I'd hate to find out by seeing my Dipper walk down the hall under a customs person's arm never to be seen again. At least one Canadian lost his personal hybrid after a gathering in the US because the Canadian Customs agent thought it looked "too new". It was assumed he was trying to get around the rules. So people are encouraged to travel with their old reciepts if they have them. Again, if the powers that be make the exception for instruments this may no longer be a problem in a year or two. These rules are taken very seriously. I recently had a new Dipper shipped to the US. It spend a couple of days in "Homeland Security" where it was opened and viewed. In my case the woods were all Cites II compliant and clearly listed on the customs declaration. Chris Algar may have some info on this.
  13. Thanks for the glue advice. I am thinking water soluble is best since I want to experiment with something reversible. But it does need some strength or I'd end up with a rag rolling inside my concertina. I bet that would slow things down a bit.
  14. LateToTheGame

    Concertina care

    Getting back to the original poster's question. I have a question of my own. Do you have a friend you can trust who has played violin for quite some time? If their house is humidified properly to keep the violin alive perhaps they could baby sit your concertina. The issues are different as mentioned above by Greg J.. A violin responds to in case humidfiers, as well as room humidity, but even those need refilling weekly. So most violinists have at least one room with a room humidifier. With winter in Maine and the possibility of frozen pipes keeping you from turning your thermostat waaaayyy down your whole house could drop to 10% or less. it could be a struggle even with a concertina in a plastic bag. If you go the bag route make sure it is a zip lock or taped firmly shut and keep it away from any heat source or direct sunlight. Make note of where the sun tracks in your house during this season. You don't want to have it getting a direct shot of sun. This changes seasonally as the sun dips lower in the winter and higher in the summer. So pay attention to how it is going the week before you leave.. Good luck to you. I live in an urban area and most of us with instruments get a neighbor who understands the issues to come in and fill our humidifiers every few days.
  15. What sort of glue did you use for the various lining materials mentioned in this thread?