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Richard Mellish

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  1. Richard Mellish

    Tortoise Shell Aeola Wheatstone 51 key Concertina

    Don't forget that "tortoiseshell" can be a description of appearance irrespective of material, e.g. "tortoiseshell cat".
  2. Richard Mellish

    Upcoming concertinas for sale

    And me, now almost another month later.
  3. Richard Mellish

    MIDI concertina project

    I would like to explore that. How would the prices compare for, say, a) a normal 30-button anglo b) the same 30-button anglo but with switches instead of reeds c) a MIDI keyboard laid out like a 30-button anglo but without bellows, levers, pads etc, just a strain gauge (or if necessary two or three) to monitor the direction and strength of the force applied by the player?
  4. Richard Mellish

    30 key anglo guides and tutorials

    By its nature, an anglo works best in its two basic keys and is immediately much harder even in the next adjacent keys (e.g. F and D on a C-G instrument); whereas most other musical instruments get gradually more difficult as one moves away from their basic keys. Some of us deal with this issue by having multiple anglos in different keys.
  5. Richard Mellish

    My introduction and question.

    I would echo the advice to go somewhere where you can try playing at least an anglo and an English, and preferably a duet (of one or other variety) as well, before spending much money and time on what might turn out not to be the best system for you. Even a few minutes twiddling may immediately tell you that one system makes sense for you and another doesn't. In my case I came across a 20 button cheap and nasty East German box. I had never played mouth organ seriously but had a general idea of suck/blow, so the German system made sense to me and I've stuck with it, though now on 40-button anglos.
  6. Richard Mellish

    MIDI concertina project

    Why are mechanical switches troublesome in this application? They work well enough in computer keyboards. And for a MIDI concertina you don't need them to be velocity sensitive as you do on a piano-style keyboard.
  7. Richard Mellish

    MIDI concertina project

    Correct! It's about playing a keyboard driving a synthesiser (separate or built in), just like lots of musicians do, except that the keyboard would be based on a concertina for the convenience of players of real concertinas. There can be various reasons for wanting such a keyboard, and it would be closer to the real thing in feel than a pure software interface on a touch screen.
  8. Richard Mellish

    MIDI concertina project

    I thought I had posted a reply just to that bit, but it seems not to have taken so I'm trying again. Learning to play trombone (or harp, or whatever) takes a lot of time and effort. Playing a MIDI keyboard is exactly what we're discussing, but off-the-shelf MIDI keyboards are laid out like pianos. I can play a concertina much better than I can play a piano, so I would like a MIDI keyboard that is laid out like a concertina. That implies some differences besides the layout. Loudness needs to depend on the force applied to the ends rather than on the speed with which the buttons are pressed, and of course for the anglo system each button needs to produce two different notes according to the inward or outward direction of the force. But that's all. I don't need a flow of air in and out of real bellows, so I don't need levers and pads attached to the buttons.
  9. Richard Mellish

    MIDI concertina project

    Although I've done a fair amount of electronics on and off for about 60 years I'm very dubious of my ability to build a midi concertina from scratch but I would certainly be in the market for a kit or a detailed construction guide. Personally I don't see a need for bellows actually passing air in and out: I would be quite happy with a simple system for sensing the inward or outward force and using that to determine the push or pull note for each button and the volume, with the advantage of obviating the problem of sometimes running out of air. That was a bone of contention when I discussed the ideas with Steve Simpson after I had had a brief twiddle on a prototype that he had built: he considered real bellows essential. I enjoyed being able to use familiar anglo fingering to play a Carolan tune with the sounds of a harp, but it goes much further; the sound of any instrument you choose and in any key.
  10. Richard Mellish

    Ab/Eb 20 Button Anglo Concertina for sale

    Is that not normal? These days I'm only familiar with the Wheatstone 40-key layout, but on that the lowest button on the inside row is (on push) the third for that key, so indeed G if that row is Eb. The low keynote (Eb in this case) is available on the other row, so duplicating it on the bottom row would be a waste, especially on a instrument with only 20 buttons altogether.
  11. Richard Mellish

    Finding new posts

    Thank you. > I'm moving this thread to the "Help" forum; "Official Business" is really for Paul to post items Fine, I stand corrected.
  12. Richard Mellish

    Finding new posts

    Apologies if this has been covered somewhere but I don't know where to look. For Mudcat there is an add-on that (inter alia), when you re-open a thread, takes you to the first new post since your last visit to that thread. Another web forum that I frequent not only shows threads with new content in bold (like here) but also has a "Go to first unread" feature. On here, the bold title shows that there is content that I have not yet read, but how do I get straight to it?
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.