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Posts posted by LateToTheGame

  1. 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.  

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. On 12/22/2018 at 1:33 AM, Geoff Wooff said:

    This  looks to be a 'New Model'   and should be  a nice player...


    At one time I was living in  a  region of Australia  where  potatoes  were grown  and, of course, they were  cheap  to buy.  During that period I visited friends  who lived in a much more tropical  area  and there it was Advocados  that were  giveaway prices....  One night I had the wonderfull dream  of  buying a truck, filling it with spuds, driving up to the  hot country, selling at a great profit and  returning with a load of  advocados... a great idea  until  I realised  that people were already  doing this for a living  since the beginning  of trade routes.

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

  5. On 11/2/2018 at 8:24 PM, Christian Husmann said:

    I was worrying once about the dry air in my flat during the winter. A friend of mine said this to me: „your instrument is 100 years old, survived two world wars, has been played in the winter and summer, pups and all different places. And you think it won’t survive the next  winter?“

    that helped me to relax. 

    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. :)

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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. 

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  10. 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.

  11. Take what ever time and Occupational Therapy you can.  No tendon damage here, but I had 2 fingers badly broken on my right hand and a third one sprained.  That was last June.  After surgically pinning one I got out of the splint by late August.  I was a highly motivated patient and did whatever my O.T. told me until I graduated in December of that year.  Take it easy, take it slow. Push it when they tell you to, how they tell you to.  Do whatever they tell you. Don't do stuff you're not supposed to. Your Occupational Therapist will be your guide.   Tendons are tricky.  Healing is possible.

  12. On 10/4/2018 at 6:26 PM, Ken_Coles said:

    The first hybrid I saw (and I'll guess this was true for some of the other people with me at the time, which includes Paul Schwarz) was at the 1998 Noel Hill school in Massachusetts in September. It was one of the first Herringtons (square, IIRC) brought by its owner, whose name escapes me. I missed 1999, from which Ross Schlabach reported to me that the Button Box production prototype for what is now the Ceili was passed around. I had most of the dates of my first observations of all these brands in an article on the vanished static side of C.net. Some day I'll have to fish around on the server and see if the info is there, as I'd like to archive it somewhere.


    Mark Tamsula, a local fiddler, told me a funny story that ties in here. He was the office manager three decades ago for the local folk music society (Calliope, yes namesake of the tune Calliope House, home of one of the founders, piper George Balderose). As such he fielded all the phone calls from hopeful acts that wanted to book a concert in Pittsburgh. He said there were all kinds of offers. One day a caller said he was the "world's fastest tapdancer," but Mark finally convinced him they weren't interested and the tapdancer hung up/rang off. Who was it? Michael Flatley, not long before he hit on the Riverdance idea (give credit for persistence where it is due).



    I was in Chicago, but not in the Irish Music scene when a 16 year old Michael Flatley danced alone on stage with an accordion. I assume it was Jimmy Keane but I didn't know him yet so I didn't focus on that detail. It was the University of Chicago's Folk Festival, a random group of folk and world music (before that was a term) fans who'd get together every year to listen acts that were old time Americana, immigrants celebrating their heritage players or non commercially known international acts.  Getting Michael Flatley's "fastest feet in the world" at 16 just squeaked into that "not commercial" window of time. 




    Riverdance and hybrids.   No, really.   I started playing Irish Trad in the early 90s. I had been looking around for instruction in the 80s and not finding much.  Even here in Chicago, if you weren't part of a certain generation of families who immigrated at just the right moment and ended up in the same neighborhoods, there was no guaranty that you'd find players or teachers.  Sessions in pubs around town were just on the cusp of starting and being noticed.  Earlier here were some social associations that kept up the music and raised a young generation of great players, most of whom you've heard of.  But even with Liz Carrol's All Ireland title in '75, Jimmy Keane, Seamus Egan, Michael Flatley and John Williams earning titles and the Bothy Band and Chieftains touring with reeded instruments,  Irish trad was an oddity you had to really look for.   Then came Riverdance and Bam!  kids were bugging their parents to take them to dance classes and music lessons. Cds were being sold.  Sessions popped up everywhere, but concertina's were still pretty hard to find. Stagis and old Lachenals were the beginner's options.  Then Bob Tedrow started making hybrids.   (Was he the first?  I don't know)  But the availability of playable concertinas and pop culture finding Irish dance through Riverdance set up an appetite for anglos.  Riverdance brought Irish music so deeply into the entertainment psyche, Third Rock-- I have a clear memory of John Lithgow with a necktie around his head doing his Flatley imiitation, The Simpsons- protestant heaven vs. Catholic heaven, Family Guy (I think) and others I can't remember.  Then there was Mike Meyer's playing Flatley on the MTV movie awards.  But I digress... Irish music became a movement.  What has this to do with anglo vs. english concertinas you ask... Visability. 

  14. This may or may not be a direct answer to your question, but I sometimes I discover as I gain speed in a tune that I need to rethink my fingering.  I may have too many changes in bellows direction that become distracting musically or just plain hard as I increase in speed, for example.  Also, I have begun to play more chords for accent and find I may need to be in a certain bellows direction or on one or another hand to make the tune make sense.  The a and g on the top row are becoming more useful to me after years, and I wished I had familiarized myself with them earlier.   So I definitely move out of the rows more. 

  15. On 9/11/2018 at 2:26 AM, papawemba said:

    I love to play this Mazurka




    Thanks, I never heard this one before.  Any yes, I probably did post this in the wrong forum.  I am less than organized on occasion.  Thanks everybody.

    On 9/11/2018 at 4:15 AM, Kelteglow said:

    Are there any tunes people like to play on the C/G  with a good harmony ? Bob

    Joe Bann's Barndance was the first tune I learned with harmony.  I was sure I couldn't after a couple of weeks, but after about 3 it all made sense.  John Williams plays this with Joseph Sobel and Martin Hayes in Joseph Sobel's Citernity CD.  On that CD it is titled Bill Malley's.  Of course they are not playing in a key that translates well to a C/G.  So I listen to it a lot then try to play it from memory.  If you have the Amazing Slow Downer you can tune it, but I never became good at that.  John's playing is exquisite on that track which includes Gypsy Princess as the second tune.

  16. There are some tunes that sort of fall off my fingers.  Five Mile Chase, Joe Banns Barndance, Gypsy Princess, Man of the House AKA McCarthy's ( though the other two tunes Noel HIll plays on that set on his CD are more awkward for me: Anderson's and Sweeney's Dream).  Slow tunes like Liz Carroll's Dita and Island in the Woods are cool. And for some reason I am drawn to the Ace and Deuce of Pipering as well as King of the Fairies. Those two tunes I found on together played back in the day by a fiddle player Frank O'Higgins on a recording called Masters at the Garden.  But I have listened to many CDs and never felt compelled to sit down and learn a specific set. But those seem to want to be played on the concertina.  Reels like Sally Gardens and Swinging on the Gate seem like they are a perfect match for the concertina as well. Are there any tunes you finds magically fun to play? 

  17. 19 hours ago, Doro said:

    The first concertina, the one i started playing on, was a Marcus Music Concertina, borrowed from a friend. I then bought my first one, an old Wheatstone with wooden ends, which i still like very much. It has a beatiful sound, very warm. I played it for 6 years. Then Ralf Schlimm started building his Sevenmounts and since he does live near to where i live and we're good friends, i followed his work and played quite some Concertinas from him and it was obvious that they were (he was) improving fast. A year later I then told him, that when the right one came along i'd say yes and so it was. I can totally relate to the "feeling" thing you described. I had a good feel with all of his, from the very start, and i kind of "linked" with the one i now can call my own. The thing is, it's sound and feel together. And then there's good action, as a very big part of feel. And i was missing this one a little on my Wheatstone. It was very hard to play at higher speed on sessions. The Sevenmount does it pretty much on it's own, i think. (No, i don't get payed saying so! ? )
    Hope that helps,



  18. Thanks.  I have been trying to advise a young player looking to upgrade and these looked very good to me.  Before I realized I was at the top of Colin Dipper's list I put my name in for a 7mount. But when that particular ship came in I couldn't justify the expense of two concertinas.  I wish I could see a few or even one here in the Midwest US.  There are so many factors that go into the play of a concertina.  I recently had a chance to try an instrument from a highly regarded maker I had been interested in and found I didn't like the feel of it, though I liked the sound. But I think the feel thing is something a player can get used to as the hands and the instrument get to know each other.  


    Thanks particularly for the comment from Doro, a player of a 7mount.  Anyone else out there with personal in hand experience?  And Doro, If you see this, can you share if this was your first concertina or an upgrade from another one? 

    9 hours ago, Doro said:

    Ah, i read your question, then i couldn't find it when i wanted to respond, that's why i commented in the thread pointed to above.
    But let me tell you again, the sevenmount concertinas are awesome! I own one for 1 1/2 years now and have tried a few of them before, they are a joy to play.


    Cheers, Doro


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