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About Mjolnir

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    San Francisco Bay Area

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  1. If you're in the SF area, Smythe's Accordion Center in Oakland should have a Rochelle you can try out. It's a pretty good instrument for the price, and if you ever decide to upgrade further, I believe Concertina Connection, who makes them, has a trade-in policy.
  2. I've had it for around four years, and no real quality issues in that time (though it doesn't get much use these days since I upgraded). There's maybe a note or two that sounds a little raspy, but if you're not listening for it, you probably wouldn't notice.
  3. I can't speak to the Weltmeister, but the Rochelle is a great instrument. Now the reasonable price does come at a cost. It's kinda bulky, the bellows are stiff, and the tone is nothing special. If you compare it to a $1500+ instrument, it's going to feel a bit like a toy. But that's in comparison. If you don't know what it's like to play on the expensive instrument, then you find you don't notice the bulk and the stiffness of the Rochelle after awhile. You start accounting for it automatically, and you can play fast jigs and reels along with the best of them. And it is nice to have the full 30
  4. I think a lot of the joy of the Anglo is in using it to play tunes it wasn't even remotely designed to play. Even Irish music isn't really what it's "for" - that's just what people use it for because once upon a time, it was a cheap and plentiful instrument, and now it's "traditional". So now you've got a bunch of people using a diatonic instrument in C and G to play fiddle tunes in D and A. It's absurd, but that's just a part of the fun. It's chromatic for enough of a range that you can play all manner of things - sometimes you just have to be a bit clever about it.
  5. I'm kind of curious what the difference is between the clover and the minstrel w/ all the various upgrades. I think the end up pretty close in price at that point.
  6. Re the Rochelle, it is a bit bulky, but it's something you notice more when switching between it and a more expensive hybrid. If you're just playing the Rochelle, you get used to it's own particular weight distribution fairly quickly. Actually, they main thing that annoys me about the Rochelle is that the hand straps are ridiculously loose, but that's easy enough to fix.
  7. Gary Coover's books are hard to beat. I think they're all technically for 30-button, but most the tunes in Civil War Concertina are playable on a 20 button, and the basic principles in Easy Anglo 1-2-3 will still apply - just skip the pages that say "and this is how to play a C#..."
  8. Hmm, well the note chart on their website seems to match what you were expecting: http://www.concertinaconnection.com/jackie layout.htm But if you got it used, maybe one of the previous owners made some modifications? When you say there are two G#'s, is one of them where the high C "should" be?
  9. For that price, the Concertina Connection Minstrel wouldn't be a bad bet. I haven't played one myself, but I've heard good things. You might also luck out and find mid-range vintage instrument for sale somewhere. Barleycorn Concertinas has a pretty large selection of vintage instruments, though they're based in the UK, so you'd have to consider shipping and import taxes when working out the final price.
  10. I mostly play contra dance tunes, which constitutes a mix of Irish, Scottish, old time, and really just about anything else that sounds vaguely folk-y and fits into 64 beats. I'm not yet good enough to play for actual dances, but some of the people I jam with are in contra dance bands.
  11. I haven't been playing as long as most of the people on here, but in my relatively short experience, a large part of the joy of a 30 button is working out optimal fingering 'paths' on the fly. For the most part, I'm going to play C#/D# with my index finger. There might be occasional exceptions, but not many. The trick then is arranging things so that you can get your index finger there on time. If I've got the note sequence G - E - C#, I'm going to play the G with my index finger, the E with my middle finger, and then while I'm playing that E, I'm going to move my index finger up to the C# so
  12. Smythe's Accordion Center has a cheap 20 button. I'm afraid I don't know if he ships, but if he does, it looks like a decent deal, and I believe he goes over all cheap instruments that come in, and makes sure they're in solid working order.
  13. Gah, wish I could attend. Unfortunately, I'm going to be down at a dance weekend in SoCal. Though maybe if I'm lucky, there'll be some concertina players there. One of these days I'll make one of the bay area meetups.
  14. Eh, everyone has different preferences. A left handed carpenter would be perfectly justified in blaming a tool made for right handed people. I haven't personally had issues with delrin, but I prefer larger buttons with domed tops, while other people prefer small buttons with flat tops. You could probably get used to delrin with practice, just as I could probably get used to narrow buttons. But if there are other options out there, like brass buttons that are more sticky, there's no harm in trying them and seeing if they feel better.
  15. If you're playing in C major, you should find that the direction of the notes often correspond to the direction of the chords you need, and that's by design. The first tune I tried to work out a score with accompaniment for on my own was Redwing / Union Maid. In G major, it would have been tricky, but I transposed up to C major, which put the melody mostly on the right hand, and magically made most of the chords fall right into place. Had to get a little creative when the melody crossed back down to the left hand, and made use of the G/A reversals on the accidental row in a few places, but the
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