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pentaprism

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About pentaprism

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    Anglo Concertina
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    California

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  1. I also played with "modifying" the air button, but for a different purpose. As a beginner, I'm learning "air feathering." The reeds of my new Kensington (thank you, Dana) needs very little air to make sound. That makes the learning process easier. But controlling the thumb to exert the exact amount of pressure is still a challenge. Most of the times, when I press the air button, the concertina goes quiet. It's frustrating 😟 My thumb needs a "training wheel." I glue a rubber spacer around the air button. The tip of the air button barely sticks out above the spacer. This significantly helps my thumbs to control the pressure.
  2. First, you need to specify what kind of concertina....
  3. I received this from Dana Johnson, the maker of Kensington Concertina. I hope Dana doesn't mind me posting it here, where it can help many new comers such as myself. "One of the skills you learn when playing is what I call feathering the air button. Here you purposely open the air valve slightly while playing on notes that are in the direction you want the bellows to go. The idea is to keep the note sounding even with the air button slightly open. Ideally most of your playing should be with the bellows about 1/3 open. This gives the best response and physical control of the bellows shape while leaving room for a series of notes in either direction. Good players look like they are hardly moving the bellows because they constantly correct to get back to that 1/3 state. The trick is to get used to keeping the notes sounding while gaining or dumping air. Once you learn how to do it, no one can tell you are using the air button at all. There is much more you can do with the air button to control expression, but this is the main thing. If you play while singing, or play slower music, or music where you accompany melody with full left hand chords, that can consume more air and make a seven fold more useful. I do either 7 or 8 fold bellows for low pitch instruments that eat a lot of air with their big reeds, but a c/g especially with Irish traditional music doesn’t really need it. Sometimes early players want more bellows because they play slowly and haven’t yet learned to control the bellows. The feathering comes quickly though once you learn that that is how you control the bellows. Usually people get it first for press notes, since that is the direction you push the button. Feathering on the draw is less automatic at first since you are pulling the bellows while pushing the button. Still soon you do it without thinking. At first, getting used to spotting or planning which notes in a tune are in useful places to gain or lose air is a good thing to do."
  4. No wonder I couldn't find it on YouTube. I will play it this evening, and I'm sure that I'll play it more expressively than ever. Thank you, Gary.
  5. 2 "normal treble clefs" is OK (I'm learning a piano piece that uses 2 treble clefs). For "real pitch" and 2 "normal treble clefs," most of the melody will be in the upper part and most of the harmony will be in the lower part of the respective clef. I think that looks OK. Since I have you here, Gary, I have a question I meant to ask but kept forgetting: in Easy Anglo 1-2-3, page 51, there is a link "https://youtu.be/otoDX5EstAY" but I couldn't get to it. YouTube says "Video unavailable - The video is private."
  6. My experience with AC doesn't count; it's next to nothing. But here's my opinion: I vote for real pitch. I also like "normal treble and bass clefs." Disclosure 1: I also play a little bit of piano. "Wrong" pitch annoys me. Disclosure 2: I played classical guitar in my previous life, util my left thumb decided not to cooperate. The printed music for guitar is an octave high. But somehow that didn't bother me.
  7. I'm a newcomer to AC. I have a 30-button but am still in the "20-button" section of Gary Coover's Easy Anglo 1-2-3. It's best if you can get a good 30-button AC. By "good" I mean the Morse Céilí, or the Clover, or something comparable, or a vintage from a reputable restorer. Realistically, we are talking about $1500 and up. But for whatever reason you can't or you don't want to spend that much, get a good 20-(or 26-/28-) button. I'd rather have a good 20-button than a so-so 30-button. But from that I know, there is no new hybrid 20-button, thus you're limited to "vintage" for a 20-button. I've seen good 20-/26-/28-button vintages for less than $1000.
  8. I think "reeds coming adrift when shipping to the US from Europe" doesn't always happen. But when it does, it can make the buyer to think they didn't get the quality they expect. Chris (Barleycorn) expressed concern about shipping a concertina to the US, and asked me if I would be willing to correct the possible problem (myself with his help from afar). He didn't say he wouldn't ship to the US. I think his concern is justified. Say a concertina has been sitting on a shelf amid the humidity of the summer in England. And now it is shipped to a dry climate as in California. There is a good chance that some of the reeds may come loose. It's an easy fix. But it doesn't give a good impression, especially if the buyer doesn't want to or doesn't know how to open up the "new" instrument. I didn't buy from Chris because the concertina I was interested in had been sold, not because of Chris' concern. I once had an almost new accordion shipped to me from Boston, from a professional accordionist/teacher. The accordion was packed very carefully. But it took me 30 min to fix a bass key getting stuck open during transit. I was pretty handy (my other hobby is furniture making, and I have access to a full workshop), but for other people, that might require a trip to an accordion shop. That is, if one was available in the area.
  9. Bushings are some sort of felt. They are in the actions and around the button holes. The purposes are to quiet the actions and to keep the buttons stable. You can see them here: http://www.concertinaconnection.com/bushing felt.htm
  10. Hello Breve, About 6 months ago, I asked Chris about buying a G/D from him and received the same concern from him re. the reeds might be disturbed from rough handling in transit because they were kept in place only be friction. I ended up with a used Morse Ceili, which I really like. Re. a new Swan and a used Minstrel, I would stretch the budget for the latter. I did own a new Swan for a few months. It’s a decent concertina for beginners but my biggest problem with it is the lack of bushings. From the description on Concertina Connection’s website, the Minstrel doesn’t have this shortcoming.
  11. From what I know, the Swan does not have Jeffries layout. My first AC is a Swan. It was a decent concertina and is sufficient to start with. My unscientific guess ("guess" because I didn't keep it that long) is that if you are serious about learning AC, and make decent progress, you can feel its limitations and the need to upgrade after about 1 year. I used the Swan for about two months and was lucky to be able to get a pre-owned Morse Ceili. The Swan then sat lonely in the case. I sold it a few months back. I would have kept the Swan as a "mobile" instrument (when traveling/in the car/in the office) had it had Jeffries layout. In my experience, the limitations of the Swan are: (1) stiff bellows, (2) buttons having no bushings, (3) uneven button pressures. It's difficult to compare the sound, but I feel the Ceili sounds much "sweeter." Again, the Swan is a decent starting AC. Its limitations are in comparison with the Morse Ceili, which costs almost 3 times as much.
  12. I'm interested, Bernie. Please check your PM.
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