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Everything posted by W3DW

  1. "Big changes at Stagi" is, of course, great news - good starter instruments encourage new players. What specific changes have been made to bring about this improvement, Steve? What has been done to make the action quicker?
  2. At the St. Louis Tionól nearly two decades ago I took a first-evening workshop with a title something like "Irish Dance for Session Musicians". Besides teaching a few basic steps to non-dancers and having a good laugh as well, it demonstrated to us that jigs and reels are dance music that was initially intended to be played at a lively but survivable tempo.
  3. And assuming that it is possible to completely prevent even one drop of rain or condensation from contacting the concertina, what are the consequences of playing in 100% humidity?
  4. My forebearers are arthritic, and I'm no exception. I've played guitar and mandolin (and lots of other things!) since my early teens, and the arthritis at the base of my thumbs - only an an annoyance now - might make playing fretted instruments impractical in the future. Solution? Learn Hayden concertina! All I need to do is waggle my fingers a bit using rather little force and few complex motions, and with that I anticipate a fruitful musical dotage. I recently encountered a delightful EC and found that if I use wrist straps I don't infuriate my thumbs, so another fine musical challenge awaits me. Will these squeeze boxes vibrate my hands to greater musical longevity? I hope so - I'd like to accompany you on guitar in some future year. Daniel
  5. But, Wolf, how would I carry the mandolin and guitar cases! I'm looking for the proper fittings to attach a shoulder strap to my strong, secure concertina case. When I consider all the abuse my various hard cases have absorbed over the decades, I put the convenience of a double-concertina soft case aside.
  6. I had both carpal tunnels released in the mid '80s and couldn't be happier with the results. Of course, rest (including rest enforced by a splint), ice and NSAIDs came first. My neurologist told me the weight loss can eliminate CTS in larger folks - he himself controlled his CTS that way. My surgeon used intervenous regional anesthesia which allowed me to watch the procedure! Daniel
  7. It has disappeared from the BB site. I'm hoping you grabbed it, David - that way I'm sure to hear it. Daniel
  8. "I have looked at the layout of the basic SA Triumph, hoping they were on to something, but saw how haphazzard the notes were." This was my observation as well, and for this reason I chose a "large" 52 key Hayden, specifically a Morse Beaumont. It's schema is entirely regular and fully chromatic and allows playing in Eb and Ab, though not with the convenience of the simple pattern which is common the keys of A, Bb, C, D, E (almost), F, and G whose scales all follow the exact same pattern. The largest available Hayden, from the Concertina Connection, extends the unified basic scale pattern to Ab and Eb, and removes the "almost" from E. Since the Hayden system is quite recent, there aren't fine historical instruments available as for McCann and Craine/Triumph, and hybred construction is common until you reach the very finest levels of Haydendom. And, of course, the irregular fingering patterns of the older systems hasn't prevented the duet players of the last century from doing exactly what you plan to accomplish! Daniel
  9. Start with blue painter's masking take that leaves no residue and peels off easily, and apply it to the outside. Cover any areas that seem harsh or too loud while being played. You can cover quite a bit of the fretwork, and if you overdo it, the tone will announce the fact. It seems that by closing some of the fretwork the sound is obliged to bounce around more decreasing the output energy, and it seems to attenuate higher frequencies more. If you find a tape pattern you like, you can make a pattern from it and cut an internal baffle of a non porous material - I used a black colored manilla file folder because there was very little space available. Using a soft material to absorb sound is a useful strategy and can be used for both the manilla file area (to make the paper less reflective) and over the open areas if it does not restrict the already reduced air flow too much. And you can always drape a sweater over your hands and concertina!
  10. A pianist would find an EC to have a familiar pattern since the two central vertical columns on both sides are "white keys" with the outside columns providing the "black keys" adjacent to the appropriate white key. A Crane duet follows this pattern in its own way. Also, all the duets and anglos have the higher notes on the right side and lower notes for the left hand, a familiar pattern to pianists as well. However, I think that similarity to the piano is less important to your choice of instrument than choosing one that suits what you wish to play. For myself, I wanted to play melody and harmony together and chose a Hayden duet to accomplish that goal. It's button pattern is logical, but not at all similar to the piano, however I found it quicker to learn than the more piano-like EC. Listen to all the concertina types, and try to play them as well. We all seem to adapt to new instruments differently, and you'll see which one speaks to you. Enjoy the search! Daniel
  11. Can I think of a reason snug straps are a bad idea? In a word, no. If you can reach all those buttons comfortably, that should be excellent. "Loose" may not actually describe some straps that do not hold the hand snugly against the hand rest. There's a centimeter or so between most of my palm and the hand rest, but the natural arched position of my hand places the back of my hand securely against the strap to open the bellows easily. I suspect that your friend who uses his/her fifth finger to play is using it to take up slack between the back of the hand and the strap which wouldn't work for me. I wondered about that space between my palm and the hand rest and so I built taller rests for my Morse Beaumont to see if a better fit would improve my control. I created hand rests which accurately matched the contour of my palm and provided uniform contact with both the hand rest and the strap. It didn't work. Control of the bellows was not improved, and it was also harder to reach the buttons farthest from the hand rest, so the stock rests are back in place. While this set-up could be called "loose" on the palm side, the strap side is snug. For me, too snug makes it hard to curl my fingers comfortably to play the row nearest the hand rest - once this is easy to reach I have the strap just right.
  12. Very well! Kindly submit a review once you get to know your new box.
  13. The Rochelle by Concertina Connection was designed by a renowned company as a satisfactory introductory instrument. They have the technical know-how and experience to know which corners could be cut and which should not, and many of us, myself included, have started out successfully on the Rochelle and it's English and duet counterparts. Concertina Connection has an enviable reputation to protect, and the Rochelle will get you started properly just as they say it will. Who designed and built this bargain concertina? Do they stand behind it? Will those thin bellows folds hold up? Is it in tune? I don't know, and I think your odds of having a very sad introduction to the concertina are high. Why not purchase an instrument expressly designed for your situation, or rent one as suggested above? My best to you as you start your new musical adventure.
  14. I think an Anglo would a good choice. The push-pull nature of the right hand scale will be familiar, and that would be a big help. No concertina features the bass-note-and-chord pattern she is accustomed to, but this doesn't sound like a big problem. The left hand side of an Anglo offers a lower version of the right hand schema, so picking out your bass notes and chords would be a new skill, but on a keyboard with a familiar pattern, she wouldn't be starting from scratch. I'm thinking of a CG 30 button instrument because they are the most common Anglo configuration and would be capable of playing in many keys as can the button accordian. The button accordion has a nice logical plan for locating the chromatic scale, and the Angelo's third row will be new, but it features its own logic. Another advantage of an Anglo is it's size and weight. English and duet concertina both play the same note on push and pull, and while that presents a number of advantages, it requires twice as many reeds and more buttons and hardware for instruments of similar compass. Smaller and lighter would be a particular advantage in your case. Finally, Anglos are loved and played by many (well, many concertina owners anyway!) so music, instruction and encouragement is more readily available than in the duet world.
  15. I'm presently in Ontario, too. Kindly post the location if you are unable to go there.
  16. I read somewhere on this forum that the Elise follows Mr. Hayden's carefully selected slant, spacing and button size, and I began on this instrument feeling that this would be the best place to start. Why not walk in the footsteps of giants? When I switched to the Beaumont - no slant, and larger buttons - I barely felt the bump. We're all different, but I wouldn't regard the construction differences among Haydens to be a major stumbling block if you later choose another configuration. And while expressing personal opinions, I feel that Mr. Hayden's keyboard concept is brilliant. Talented musicians play well in all systems, but the predictable and functional layout of this system is a joy under my fingers. Thank you!
  17. Button Box in the US has a Beaumont which they keep on hand because they know people need to try them. Contact them to see if can arrange to send it to you. I played it and it was love at first squeeze - I traded my Elise on the spot and I'm still delighted with my Beaumont.
  18. The only flaw I see is that Vlad should be playing a bayan. B griff, of course.
  19. I had the same problem when I started with a duet concertina, which has 4 rows and the same design "wrist" strap as your Anglo. The closest row felt cramped, and slipping my hand out of the strap a little bit felt insecure. I found that I had my straps too tight. Once set a bit looser, I can keep the strap where it belongs on the back of my hand, but I can advance my hand somewhat toward the farthest row or draw my hand back to access the closest row. Yes, I felt like I had a bit less control of the box with looser straps but I think I learned how to compensate with how I used my hand and wrist generally. And partly I think I just got used to it! I tried tightening the straps again after several months and didn't like it at all. I hope this helps, Ann. Daniel
  20. I recalled another fact from last summer: we traveled the whole summer in our RV and the Elise traveled along. While we have air conditioning while we camp, the trailer gets pretty hot while we were pulling it. The trailer thermometer maintains a minimum and maximum reading, and the trailer reached 101F at some point, and the Elise was fine. My Beaumont accompanies me on our travels this summer. Perhaps I'll bring it into our tow vehicle on our hottest travel days. Daniel
  21. My memory (!) of my Elise is that the internal wood is plywood, not likely to go wonky in the heat or humidity. Mine got into the 80's F with no hint of trouble. I'd have taken mine if we were camping together. Usual precautions - use the case, no sudden changes of temp or humidity, and no sunbathing! Glad you ordered the Beaumont. My first hours with my Beaumont after enjoying the Elise were magical. What a difference! Daniel
  22. I find that the discomfort I have in this area isn't contact with the metal loop, but rather the skin near my thumb knuckle gets pinched between the strap and the side of the wooden palm rest after the strap emerges front the loop on its way to the back of my hand. It's most evident when I play my Beaumont duet in Bb because my hand moves thumbward to play on that side of the keyboard. Could this be your problem as well? And if so, I can't offer a perfect solution, because I haven't addressed the issue as yet. However, if it annoys me enough to fix it, I would probably put a screw through the strap into the side of the palm rest. That would make the adjustment mechanism non-functional, but I don't change it any longer as the strap is where I want it. If it IS the loop, that same screw could be used, and the loop removed. If you ever wanted to adjust it a bit, leave a bit of the leather so the screw could use another hole. You might not want to modify a valuable antique, but a new wrist strap and some filler for the hole that would lie under the new strap would set it all back to factory specs. Daniel
  23. Our audiences are our musical partners as well, and few members here would recognize the unmixed ITM session if it were presented. They will be happy to hear Scarborough Fair, and may enjoy the less familiar Drowsy Maggie and Fig for a Kiss as well.
  24. The proper title is Shaking of the Sheets, recorded by Steel Eye Span. The lyrics begin: Dance, dance the shaking of the sheets, Dance, dance when you hear the piper. I've attached the music from www.thedancemacabe.org. The music is written "square" but is played with a strong swing like a hornpipe. Daniel
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