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Posts posted by pentaprism

  1. I finally gave up and paid $200 to UPS to get the concertina.  If I wanted to challenge that, I'd have to fight with UPS Billing Department and I'm not sure it would be worth the effort. Over my friend’s objection, I contributed the payment as my birthday gift to her husband (I'll also find something for his "proper" birthday). That's a big chunk of changes, but I figured I wouldn't be any poorer or richer for $200.


    We finally received the concertina. It is good, but has some very minor issues. The seller said he would take care of it.


    Note that this was not the seller's fault. He was just as frustrated as we were. He told me it would be OK if I wanted to cancel the whole thing, and offered some compensation for the trouble. But I didn't take any of that. I didn't want him to pay for someone else's fault.


    Thank you all for your thoughts.


    >> can we start a campaign to get dates written properly so they read down the first column more readily


    Yes. My choice is YYYYMMDDHHMMSS (e.g. 20200914110532 for Sep. 14, 2020 at 11:05:32 AM).

  2. This is more of a shipping issue, but it is related to a concertina....


    A friend of mine is about to celebrate his 60th birthday, and his wife wants to give him a surprise present.


    She asked me to buy on her behalf a high-end concertina from Ireland. The concertina has been on her husband's wish list for quite some time. She couldn't order it herself because the charge would show up in the credit card bill. The man would see it and that would spoil the surprise.


    So I ordered the concertina for her. The seller is very accommodating. He customized the concertina, and shipped promptly.


    But here is where the nice part of the story ended. The next part is better told by the tracking data from UPS website, in chronological order (I trimmed off the insignificant parts):


    08/27/2020 12:46 P.M.     Dublin, Ireland    Pickup Scan

    08/27/2020 6:10 P.M.    Dublin, Ireland    Origin Scan


    08/28/2020 12:10 A.M.    Koeln, Germany    Arrived at Facility

    08/29/2020 2:02 A.M.    Koeln, Germany    Departed from Facility

    08/29/2020 3:40 A.M.    Louisville, KY, United States    Arrived at Facility

    08/30/2020 9:31 A.M.    Louisville, KY, United States    Import Scan 

    08/31/2020 11:33 P.M.    Louisville, KY, United States    Import Scan 

    09/01/2020 10:58 P.M.    Louisville, KY, United States    Import Scan 

    09/02/2020 11:25 P.M.    Louisville, KY, United States    Import Scan 

    09/03/2020 11:17 P.M.    Louisville, KY, United States    Import Scan 

    09/04/2020 6:23 P.M.    -    A valid ID # (tax, personal, deferment) required for clearance is missing. ....

    09/05/2020 12:37 A.M.    Louisville, KY, United States    Import Scan 

    Cleared Customs    09/05/2020 10:54 A.M.     -    Your package was released by the customs agency. 

    09/05/2020 12:19 P.M.    Louisville, KY, United States    Departed from Facility 

    09/05/2020 7:17 P.M.    Buffalo, NY, United States    Arrived at Facility 

    09/06/2020 4:24 P.M.    Mount Hope, ON, Canada    Arrived at Facility 

    09/07/2020 11:28 P.M.    Buffalo, NY, United States    Departed from Facility 

    09/08/2020 4:10 A.M.    -    Duties or taxes are due on this package. 

    09/08/2020 4:10 A.M.    -    Import C.O.D. charges are due for this package. Select Pay Now. 

    09/08/2020 7:28 A.M.    -    Your package is being processed at the clearance agency. / Delivery will be rescheduled.

    09/08/2020 7:28 A.M.    Mount Hope, ON, Canada    Warehouse Scan 

    09/09/2020 3:40 A.M.    Mount Hope, ON, Canada    Warehouse Scan 

    09/09/2020 8:45 P.M.    Mount Hope, ON, Canada    Export Scan 

    09/09/2020 11:00 P.M.     -    Severe weather conditions have delayed delivery. 



    - From Aug. 30 to  Sep. 05, the package was stuck in Louisville, KY, with the status "Import Scan," which according to UPS, means "The shipment has cleared import procedures in the receiving country."

    - The destination is CA, USA, yet the package took a scenic route Louisville, KY, USA -> Buffalo, NY, USA -> Mount Hope, ON, Canada -> Buffalo, NY, USA -> Mount Hope, ON, Canada, and got stuck in Mount Hope, ON, Canada.

    - Everyday since Aug. 29 after the package allegedly arrived in Louisville, KY, the "Scheduled Delivery" on UPS website was "by 10:30 AM of the next day" (e.g. on Sep. 01, the scheduled delivery would be by 10:30 AM Sep. 02). That was until today when they claimed "Severe weather conditions have delayed delivery." I checked the weather in Mount Hope, ON, Canada, there were no severe weather conditions (73°/48° light drizzle).

    - I called UPS a few times, and was given conflicting answers by different people. Now UPS wants me to pay about $200 "Import Fees," which according to UPS, are included in the original UPS Express shipping charge already paid for by the shipper. I refused to do so. No matter how much I pushed, they wouldn't tell me why the concertina was imported to and then exported from Mount Hope, ON, Canada ( I kwow that "import fees" is a Canada thing, not a USA thing).


    I have a feeling the saga will continue....


    Please wish me (and the wife of the birthday boy) luck. We need it!

    • Sad 1
  3. >> I equated them on the other forum as the accordion reeds sounding a bit more like a brass band, while the concertina reeds sound more like woodwinds.


    Interesting. I came to the same conclusion when comparing a Morse Céilí and a Kensington. But the difference is much more pronounced in "live" listening. 


    Sometimes I prefer brass, sometimes woodwind.

    • Like 1
  4. >> CBA will be impossible to find literature for....


    I use this book:  Complete Accordion Method


    I have this but dropped it for the one above: Metodo Complete for Accordion (it's OK. but the left hand fingering doesn't suit me).


    They have both PA and CBA fingering.


    I think that's sufficient, and then you develop your own fingering, styles, .....


    Note that bellows techniques and the left side are the same for PA and for CBA.


    The only thing CBA can't do (or to be exact, I don't know how to do) is glissando. But how often do you need that?


    >> an instrument that has more help available online.


    How much help do you need? Take a look at this forum: The Accordionists Forum


    I've never counted; but I think for each PA contributor, there's at least one CBA contributor.

  5. If you decide to go with accordion.....


    I started with PA, just because used ones are abundant and inexpensive on local Craigslist.


    A year later, I switched to CBA and never looked back. I know of many people switching from PA to CBA but I don't know of anyone switching the other way around. There must be reasons why. To me, the main reason is the CBA's compactness (and me being an engineer, its "logical" button board).


    Do a quick comparison of two comparable Roland accordions: FR-1X and FR-1Xb. They are identical except for the keyboard (2 octaves) vs the button board (3 octaves).


    I have no regret starting with PA (otherwise I wouldn't have started with accordion at all). But had I consulted the Oracle, I would have been told to go with CBA in the first place.

  6. Hello David,


    IMHO, if this is a professional version, it's not too much. I would have ordered one in G/D from Frank last year had I not found a good used Morse Ceili.


    If it is a professional, you should state so. Also, a note chart would help the potential buyer to make the decision (I don't know what's a "Wheatstone layout with 2 F# buttons" looks like).


  7. On 7/14/2020 at 3:17 AM, Jeremy Sienkiewicz said:

    I think if I spend more money I want something Irish or UK made.

    Not necessarily. It depends where you are.


    There are excellent concertina makers/restorers in the US and in Canada. A nice thing (to me at least) is that if you ever need service/support, you don't have to ship across the pond.

  8. 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.


  9. 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."


  10. 1 hour ago, gcoover said:

    Japanese group The Corona along with Tricolor, playing "The Kesh Set" with an absolutely  beautiful and soulful version of "The Sweetness of Mary" played by Yuka Nakafuji on Anglo concertina.

    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.

  11. 14 minutes ago, gcoover said:

    The big problem with real pitch and bass clef together for AC is that pretty much everything in the bass clef would be way up in unreadable "ledger line hell". 

    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."

  12. 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.



  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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