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Posts posted by wunks

  1. A regular item in the news cycle here (USA) is the miming street violinist.  We're supposed to be outraged at such solicitation of funds under false pretense, but we give a pass to lip-syncing rock bands, solo performers with back up tracs and such.  Canned music is everywhere, it is what it is.  Put on a goofy hat and enjoy the show !

  2. I have limited experience with other instruments but I do have both a Jeffries duet and a Wheatstone JD.  I play a wide range of music at I would say an intermediate/improving level.  I'm playing some classical and I find the Wheatstone to be reedier and preferable to the Jeffries which has a much clearer sound.  I think it would depend on the piece though.  Think oboe as opposed to French horn.  In addition the Wheatstone is chromatic down to the cello Bb which is advantageous, while the Jeffries skips down to low G.  I know you're talking anglos but I hope this helps.

    • Like 2
  3. I've just been contemplating such an instrument having recently acquired a beautiful silver(ish) tipped (both ends) rosewood (ebony?) whistle at a local shop.  Its appointed like a fife but the whistle mouthpiece twists for tuning.  Bb when reasonably snug.  Since I play mostly on the left hand, and I have 2 octaves in Bb, I wonder....🤔

  4. Without delving too deeply into the physiology involved (careful, there's a can of worms lying about...😄) , it might be helpful to remember that the hands serve at the pleasure of the two halves of the brain generally, left brain/right hand, right brain /left hand and that these two brains are much more complex in their differences than our hands are.  

  5. All of the above but some things that work for me on the Jeffries:


    -Play as much of the melody as possible with the left hand working into the overlap   zone including the melody notes in the chord structure.  Chase the melody with the harmony.


    -Use the overlap zone like an EC for a smoother transition of the melody to the right hand.  


    -As the melody moves higher on the scale, use more base runs rather than block chords.


    -Use the low octave note for harmony.   It may be louder but seems to compete less.


    -Use three finger combinations surrounding but not simultaneous with the embedded melody note.  






    • Like 1
  6. Clive, I think wrongly is too strong a word.  There seem to be different standards for different types of music and for different audiences.  I don't quite understand why but when I work on playing the "Bee's Wing" I fret over not getting it exactly as written but with "Fishers" I'm shamelessly all over the place.  We contra dance musicians take vast liberties with all kinds of tunes but my (limited) experience with Morris and English Country Dancing is of a much stricter approach.  When I listen to a Bach sarabande as played by some utube virtuosos, It sounds interesting but lifeless to me.  I can't help hearing it as dance music and the way I'm playing it would get me thrown off the stage and into the back row of the orchestra pit!

  7. Not only, but that's my go to for a non competitive back up.  It's probably because (1) I learned fiddle in a Quebecois style with an up bow/lift on the down beat for a strong accent.  This up bow becomes the return (air) stroke for my down beat chug which I play as a down bow with the very tip.  (2) Most of my playing has been for dance music with a piano or upright string bass which need little help hammering out the down beat line.  It's something I instinctively began doing also to complement the vocalist in a discreet manner.  On the duet concertina I like to play with the melody centered in the overlap zone rather than right lead, left accompaniment.  Using the zone I can generally have enough free fingers (2) for my chug and I'm getting so I can tap a bass lead as well.


  8. I'm not a facebook subscriber or a fettler but I see on Facebook Marketplace this morning someone is selling a quantity of leather "sides" including goat skins in Bridgeport NY which is north of Syracuse NY.  It says pick up only, probably a long shot but who knows?  

  9. A method I find useful for learning a tune "on the Fly" is to play the melody as an outgrowth of the chord or harmonic structure.  I started doing this from a sense of panic when stepping in on fiddle with a bluegrass band.  At the onset of an unfamiliar tune I would (and still do) play a soft 2 note chug or pulse on the back beat (or "pah").  I try to keep it just below the range of notes in the melody and gradually invade until I'm confidant I can blast the banjo player off the stage, then let 'er rip!  A parallel might be moving from a flat pick bass/brush guitar accompaniment to a lead.  When I become frustrated with lack of progress with melodies on concertina I shift to a similar mode using 2 or 3 fingers (flexible 3 chord trick) to root the tune.  This produces a different fingering approach to any tune for a pleasing effect....🙂

  10. Try watching something lite but engaging on TV while you play say, "The Honeymooners", to distract the CEO.  Even if you can't manage a tune keep moving your fingers and hitting buttons It may take some time for your subconscious to break free....🙂

  11. Somewhere along this spectrum is a "composition" mode which is more than just playing random notes and rhythms but also relaxing one's mind to deconstruct and reassemble familiar patterns.  For me, this is a very powerful learning mode.  Riffs created this way seem to easily "stick" in the mind.  Because your mind can anticipate and perform faster than you can play, this can be done "on the fly".  I guess this can be called "improvisation mode"....🙂 

  12. 10 hours ago, Anglo-Irishman said:


    But what about people like pianists and organists? They just have to play what's there! 


    20 minutes ago, Clive Thorne said:

    At least a piano always has the notes in the same places!

    An in tune piano is a delight for a dance, but an increasing rarity if playing out and about, despite what the hosting hall mavens proclaim.  Best to toss a plug in keyboard in the trunk.

  13. I have a mid range F on both side of my duet.  On the RHS it is conveniently located next to the air button.  I can use it as an embedded drone for an effect somewhat like that of a lap dulcimer.  Many notes that would sound discordant with other harmonies sound hauntingly beautiful this way if they don't linger on the tonic (F).

    • Like 1
  14. I'm contemplating a modified Jeff duet prototype build starting with a nice pair of 6" Shakespeare ends I purchased not long ago.  I have a woodworker friend who is interested and feels capable with his skills and tools of doing a first rate job.  We're going to start with the bellows and frames.  I've looked at some of the very helpful online tutorials but find nothing concerning how the inside edge of the frame is modified to accept the bellows themselves.  All the best quality boxes I see have some degree of rounding or chamfer and a truncation of the corners to make a nice transition.  Is there a standard for this and how are the bellows cut to fit?  Also if the ends and action board frames are 6" the bellows frames must be slightly shy of that to account for the thickness of the leather.  Is that correct?  One method that seems to have been used on my own instruments is to use a veneer strip to come up to the finished dimension.  Any suggestions will be appreciated....🙂

  15. On 5/12/2022 at 8:15 PM, Owen Anderson said:

    Another, perhaps basic, question inspired by trying to arrange for Anglo.


    I'm working on an Anglo arrangement starting from a melody + guitar chords, and running into a measure that is giving me trouble. 

    So, what is the guitar doing?  If it sounds good try that, maybe deconstruct the chord a bit.  What kind of a tune is it?  


    On 7/15/2022 at 6:48 AM, Mikefule said:

    There are many options including playing an "Oom oom" (2 bass notes) or a "pah pah" (2 pairs of notes).


    Try this sequence;  "oom pah, oom pah, oom oom oom pah!

    • Like 2
  16. 19 minutes ago, Martin Essery said:

    I think I could French polish a concertina 🙂 Come to think of it, I could carve/engrave the sides and fill with gold leaf 🙂 Quite a tempting thought 🙂 When I find the concertina I want to live with, I might well give it some loving attention 🙂

    Beware of bling.  I've used French polish to repair the finish on a fiddle but wouldn't dream of stripping one and redoing it.  I wouldn't add decorative papers or embossment either.  Such things are best left to jewelry boxes, cheap furniture, accordions and banjos but not musical instruments.....😏

    • Like 1
  17. I'm curious as to what kind of music folks play on a Bb Jeff duet.  Bb is easy on a C core instrument as are the keys of C,F,G and their relative minors.  Nice to have that low F!


    By easy I mean at my level of play...🙂

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