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robert stewart

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  1. It might be helpful to post some pictures. Then the experts here can give you more information. RJ
  2. So I would guess from your name that you Play early English dance music, usually at a Ford? Great quote! Thank you.
  3. As I posted the original question, with a link to "Humidipaks" (which I did not invent, and do not promote, though I am trying them out with my instruments), I would like to add a couple of further thoughts. Firstly, as I come from Scotland and lived for years in England (for shame), I can confirm that the climate is just as damp as it probably was in the heyday of concertina making. So at least 50% humidity would be normal for much of the year, though less indoors with heating. As heating in the 19th and early 20th was mainly by coal fires and stoves (dry) or gas (very moist), the concertina must be tolerant instrument. Here in West Virginia there are quite staggering daily variations in humidity, until summer when it is extremely high, or the dead of winter which is deadly dry. The 40-45% up/down action of these strange goopy breathy gel packs keeps the humidity from dropping low enough in the case to cause damage to a musical instrument. It helps, in other words, when they are inside a case with the lid shut, to keep a workable minimum for protection. As soon as the concertina is out and standing or playing, the instrument is breathing the ambient humidity or lack of it. The worst thing would probably be to have a concertina, in a case for a period of time, where the humidity was locked in and could not reduce. Rust, mould, rot. But if we practice every day..... best wishes, RJ
  4. Does anyone have experience using humidification gel packs for keeping a concertina stable? They are usually used for other wooden instruments (which also have, of course, metal parts). Typical example here: https://www.daddario.com/products/accessories/humidification/automatic-humidipak/ What is interesting with these is that they are supposedly to keep a stable humidity of 40-45% inside a case. If humidity is high they draw it in. If low, they emit some humidity. Here in the northern panhandle of West Virginia humidity rises high, then suddenly drops low, often within a very short time. Depends on....everything. Robert
  5. Thank you Geoff for sharing your story. I was thinking of the theory that the left brain works the right side, and the right brain the left side, therefore the nerves, fingers, etc. There are quite a few items on this subject on the web that show up in a search. To be honest I have no idea if the theory is correct, but it is widely used in various ways. Whatever it was, and however it worked, I am glad to hear that the EC helped you, just as it helped me. I much prefer playing the concertina to doing rehabilitation exercises! best wishes, RJ
  6. Thinking of the concertina as a therapeutic assist. About 20 years ago I absorbed some mercury that had crept into an outdoor hot tub in a heavy rainstorm. The result was blinding headaches, loss of mobility, and so forth. As I began to recover, I found that reading street signs was erratic...they would read (to me) nothing like what they actually said. There were other bizarre symptoms....but you get the idea. However, I renewed my love for the English Concertina, which works with right and left hands in rapid alternation, and therefore stimulates left and right brain. After a couple of months of daily practice (not having played for some years), most road signs read correctly for me, my speech improved, and my concertina playing really benefited. Hooray for Sir Charles and Louis!
  7. Just out of interest, does anyone know who really has that Lachenal "stretch" tenor-treble, with the Wheatstone straps?
  8. I sent an Ebay message to the (supposed) seller of this item and of the uilleann pipes. The instruments do not appear in his/her listings when you go direct to them, only as the scam items. Maybe the seller can have the fake items taken down.
  9. https://www.ebay.com/itm/WHEATSTONE-LACHENAL-ENGLISH-CONCERTINA/312868472811?hash=item48d86a07eb:g:T9IAAOSwYjRd4p8r Is this a scam? An interesting tenor-treble, with a stretch shape. the seller seems to be accepting bids, but when you look at the full details, says "only accepting Buy It Now". The same seller has a set of uilleann pipes for sale...and surprise! the details are almost identical, with the same "only accepting BIN" even though the auction seems to be accepting bids (which would cancel out Buy It Now). Or am I paranoid?
  10. Thank you so much for the information! Yes, it has 56 keys. So 115 years (approx) old, and still playing. I can post some pics if anyone wants to to see the instrument. Just had the action overhauled and everything tuned by Concertina Connection which made a tremendous difference to the response and, interestingly, to both volume and tone quality. Should be good for another 100 years plus...still playing after I have departed. best wishes, Robert
  11. How about this instrument? : Lachenal Edeophone extended treble EC: number 42951. Has ebony or ebonized ends, metal keys, complex fretwork, fivefold bellows. Interestingly this instrument has an original (Wheatstone style) riveted action, not the Lachenal hook/lever action. Waiting in suspense....RJ
  12. I wonder if the "value" of this item is not as a modern tool, but as an antique special item from the historic Lachenal factory. This is probably the kind of tuning bellows, along with a test concertina, that the great Tommy Williams would have used when he was a freelance tuner for Lachenal, as described in his famous interview and recordings, where he says they told him his tuning was too good. While I would not pay $448 for it, especially with one reed plate missing, it is a genuine piece of concertina making history that might be worth bidding something for. RJ
  13. I also have had excellent communication with Wm Wakker at Concertina Connection. Right now they are working on 56 key Edeophone for me, and Wm advised that they have found it has an original Wheatstone riveted action already in place. There has been a good exchange of Q/A, with no mysterious delays...usually within 24 hrs. RJ
  14. I tried the Myers on string, wind, and reed instruments. Like others, I was not especially impressed. For most concertinas we have the "stereo" effect to consider if you are close-miking for playing in a session or band. You probably need two small mics, and if they are in really close such as directly on the instrument in some way, they may amplify action noise or specific (sometimes unwanted) overtones. For higher end concerts and recording , you can use two really good microphones set up at a small distance from either end...not too far. This requires rehearsal and careful sound engineering. You can also work with one really good mic set up in front of the concertina, and somewhat above it. The height can vary: for band work it probably needs to be right in front and close. Like a human listener standing or sitting in front of the player. This last option gives a very natural sound...ie what you actually hear if you are a nearby listener (but louder). Concertinas often have unusual acoustic properties, and can sometimes sound louder further off. Ultimately it depends on what you want, what you are using the instrument for. And, regrettably, what you are prepared to pay. There is a huge difference between the performance of average priced price mics and high end mics. Robert (RJ)
  15. Looks like my previous Ebay link, just posted, should work for everyone on the list. The instrument has certainly been played a lot, whoever may have played it. The inverted H looking like an N is distinctive. Are there any other comparative signatures?....the stage sig is certainly more florid, but with several similarities to the one in the auction. Variety Artistes often developed a florid signature for signing programs or autograph albums. My guess would be that the signature on the inside of the EC might be an owner's safety signature....proof of ownership? Presumably Honri did not repair instruments? RJ
  16. https://www.ebay.com/itm/C-WHEATSTONE-Co-1852-53-CONCERTINA-ENGLISH-48-BUTTON-SN-4126-LONDON/254323888867?hash=item3b36e292e3:g:GMgAAOSwb91dSzxj I think this should work.....
  17. eBay item number: 254323888867 is the Ebay number https://www.ebay.com/itm/C-WHEATSTONE-Co-1852-53-CONCERTINA-ENGLISH-48-BUTTON-SN-4126-LONDON/254323888867
  18. yes, I am aware of the sizable historic content on Honri. there are some great old short films of him playing a huge Duet, and also some dramatic movies in which he acted and played. I was thinking more of any research or document evidence regarding his signature. Many of the great Duet players also played, or started with, the English. RJ
  19. On Ebay today is an antique EC, Wheatstone, that appears to have the name Percy Honri in pencil on the inside. If this is a genuine signature, wasn't he one of the great concertina players? Any thoughts on research and proof?
  20. How to play a Freudian Slip Jig (R J Stewart) Last night I heard the keenest Anglo German concertinist In an Irish session in an English bar; Then, to play a minuet, He took out a large Duet The biggest one I’d ever seen by far Then an Aussi, up from Bondi, Said “Let’s all play some Regondi…! ” And we put our squeezers down in dark despair, Until a Scotsman, named Jock Cameron, Played every darn Hexameron On his teeny weeny Wheatstone, With great flair. I have a tenor-treble Boyd That once was owned by Sigmund Freud, His bellows-envy theories are the best, Yes, he really was no slouch At playing hornpipes to the couch If the patient fell asleep or tried to rest. So don’t forget to flex those bellows Lovely ladies and stout fellows Let us praise our concertinas to the skies Don’t pause to take a breath Or be deterred by death, Keep on playing…… Umm…er…dammit, lost the fingering again… Can we rewind? RJ
  21. The great maestro of 19th century classical English concertina was Regondi, who also played (and started with) guitar, playing with great skill and creative verve on both instruments. Why is this relevant here? Because both the English concertina and the guitar share something else, which is that so many of the instruments out there are of shockingly low playability. A beginner has a difficult path to travel....many good and dedicated beginners are put off because so many (vintage) ECs in a somewhat lower price range, if you can find one, are discouraging to play. The early basic tutor models were mass produced for a craze that swept Britain in the 19th C...just like guitars from the 1960s onward. The tutor models (ECs) were intentionally inexpensive, and the enthusiastic amateur might soon move on to a better instrument in a culture riddled, blessed, with many concertinas. Today these old starter instruments are still, in effect, what they were made to be, cheap try-it-out instruments, but now become Expensive Vintage or Antique, with a hundred years or so of wear, and various restorations. They were intended for the beginner to learn scales and fingering, usually from read-the-dots tutor books, to decide if this complex and beautiful type of instrument was for them. Today vintage "starters" have a cachet which is, perhaps, somewhat inflated. The newcomer (to any instrument) should buy the best possible even it means stretching the budget. The better the instrument, the more chance the beginner has to value and respect his/her concertina, rather than struggle with its limitations. Then the concertina can be sold onward with no, or little loss of money, either to upgrade or give up(grade). I am sure that this advice, or variants thereof, will come flying in from all the directions in response to the questions. To hell with prudence...it's only money. Get the best concertina you can...sell the I-phone or the giant flat screen. A good concertina will be your friend... R J Stewart
  22. Any thoughts on the best levels of temperature and humidity for concertinas? For example, Ireland and Britain have (or used to have) cool humid climates, otherwise known as Chill & Damp. So period concertinas from the 19th and early 20th centuries were made and played in conditions where the average humidity was around 50% and average temperature in the 60s F. Until the mid-1970s a temperature over 70F was regarded as extremely hot in Britain ! Here on the east coast of the US the temperature today is 90+F and humidity over 60%, sometimes higher through the summer. There is air conditioning, of course. But it hardly needs to be said that concertinas were also played in high temperatures and high humidity with no Acs as soon as they left temperate Britain, Ireland, or Europe. (the reason for all this is probably because my AC has broken down and will not be fixed for a few days...but it prompted the thoughts....) And what about all those beautiful button accordions in France right now...over 100F this week? RJ (and I do not wish to change my Edeophone steel reeds for brass, thank you).
  23. Well, there is fast playing that is beautiful and fast playing that is just....fast. But loudness? The great (late) jazz-swing guitarist Diz Disley was asked during an interview, what should a musician do when his guitar or other instrument is out of tune in a live performance? Disley said, without hesitation, "Play louder". RJS
  24. This reminds of the (true) story of an orchestral conductor (somebody famous whose name I have forgotten); when the orchestra arrived for rehearsals, the brass section began opening their cases to bring out their instruments. The conductor rapped his baton on the rostrum and shouted "Brass Section! Already too loud!". RJS
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