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Richard Mellish

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  1. Richard Mellish

    Fully Restored George Jones 42-button

    With only 6 hours to go there are 20 watchers but no bids. Presumably this will be a classic eBay auction with many bids in the last few seconds. I'm half tempted myself but realistically I wouldn't play it as I already have two C-Gs, both 40-key Wheatstone layout which I am very familiar with, and one of them a very good quality instrument.
  2. Richard Mellish

    South Africa Wheatstone

    Several years ago, shortly after I had bought a very nice Wheatstone 40-key C-G from Chris Algar, a Koot Brits (South African) 40-key C-G came up on eBay at a much lower price than the Wheatstone and I thought I might as well have that too, then eventually sell one or the other. When it arrived I immediately recognised some faults, notably that it uses much more air than the Wheatstone for the same amount of sound. I decided to seek Steve Dickinson's advice, but eventually visited him only last Thursday, the same day this thread started. Steve confirmed my supposition that the reeds have too large air gaps and pointed out several other faults including solid pads rather than having felt cushioning. He believes that it is basically a 1950s Wheatstone model either rebuilt in South Africa or built new from some Wheatstone components with re-used Wheatstone and Lachenal reeds. It is mostly playable as it stands, and would be perfectly playable with a modicum of work, but it would need a total rebuild to turn it into a good instrument. It is big: 12-sided and 7" / 180 mm across the flats. I am now wondering what to do with it. Essentially the options are to sell it as is or maybe to pay someone to do a bit of work on it first.
  3. On that last point, I had the same thought myself at the start of this thread, but on reflection I think what matters is only that the gap should be as small as possible without risk of fouling, not whether it is at the corner of the slot or inside the slot, because the part of a reed near the clamp hardly moves anyway. Further along, the reed moves into and out of the slot, so some of the time there are large gaps and some of the time just the tiny clearance at the sides. But others know more about how a reed works than I do, even if my background was as a physicist.
  4. Richard Mellish

    The Ballad of the Button Box

    I taught myself to type at the age of 11 because my handwriting was already bad, though since then it has continued to get worse and worse. Fairly early in my time of playing the concertina I also had a thesis to type -- twice, once a rough copy for my supervisor to comment on and then again a fair copy to be submitted. I have always believed that those two activites helped each other. I'm not entirely a touch-typist but I do use most of my fingers. I tried Hayden Duet for a bit but missed having an obvious home position, as one has on an Anglo (my usual instrument) and is supposed to have on a typewriter or computer keyboard.
  5. Richard Mellish


    I suggest this thread be moved to the ergonomics section. Apropos curved handrests: my Dipper came with those and I got Colin Dipper to modify the handrests of my Wheatstone to a similar curved shape. Perhaps not quite so curved as the Wolverton example, but similar.
  6. Richard Mellish

    40 button anglo concertina range.

    I think (without checking every note) that that is a standard Wheatstone 40-key layout. FWIW here's my own chart of my Wheatstone G-D, which has exactly the same layout with everything a fourth lower. Wheatstone G-D.pdf
  7. That paragraph appears to contradict itself, referring to the "false conception of the mean tone as a major second that is half the size of a major third" but then working out that it is SQRT(5/4), which is indeed half of a major third. I'm sure the reviewer didn't intend to contradict himself, but I'm blowed if I understand what he did intend.
  8. That may deserve a thread of its own, but I'm posting here to be going on with. With Anglos, few of us stray far from the basic keys and very few of us stray very far, so the benefit of equal temperament is largely lost, while the harmonic structure of the reed sound can make the somewhat discordant major thirds a significant drawback. I have long thought that for Anglos mean-tone would be more appropriate than equal temperament. "Just" tuning is even better for a single key but introduces problems with even an Anglo's two keys and worse problems with the relative minors.
  9. Richard Mellish

    Which is suitable for me?

    Definitely try to get your hands on an Anglo to see how you get on with that system. If you can borrow one for a few days that's ideal, otherwise visit a dealer or a player who will let you try one for an hour or two. At that stage, to get a quick idea of how you get on with the fingering system, pretty well any Anglo will do, cheap and cheerful, top quality, or anywhere in between. I started with a 20 key East German made concertina: not strictly an "Anglo" at all but the same diatonic arrangement of the notes and I got on with it so I've stuck with that system. Quite soon afterwards my parents bought me a McCann duet, which I dabbled with for a while but never got far with, though I do still have it.
  10. Richard Mellish

    Beginning player, need purchase advice

    Which system is easiest depends on how your brain works. Pete's experience playing harmonica suggests that he's likely to find Anglo easiest, but I'd still recommend having a quick go on an English and a duet if he gets a chance, before committing to one system. They are all suitable for accompanying songs, as demonstrated by various established performers.
  11. I agree with most of the above, but for two reasons I believe that the change in bellows volume resulting from the change of pressure is negligible. One reason is experience: changing from push to pull doesn't instantly produce a perceptible change of distance between the ends. The other reason is that the applied force, divided by the bellows area, represents a very small fraction of atmospheric pressure. (I've been playing anglo for almost 50 years but never got around to signing up here until now.)