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    I'm learning the Anglo concertina (Wren) at the moment through self-study and books. I'm a classically trained violinist.
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    near Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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sleepymonk's Achievements

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  1. You’re right. I was temporarily using foam pads to help form a good hand position (curved, not flat). Now I don’t need the foam, so I can use the air button and reach all the rows. I saw a fantastic video on youTube of a guitar, bandoneon, and orchestra. The bandoneon player used a concert piano stool as a footstool to play standing up, with his left knee raised way up.
  2. Update: the foam grip helpers came off yesterday. As I progressed this week, I found that the left hand foam was interfering. As for the right hand, my fingers are now nicely curved, and I can both reach the far row and the air button without the foam. I did try an intermediary step of carving the foam away from the pinky sides to see if that helped with support. I’ve got the left strap fastened on a fretwork anchor point and the right strap is back screwed into the hand rest. I’ve tightened the straps so they feel secure but with some wiggle room for the index & second fingers. The scrapbook tape came away nicely, without residue. In the violin world, there are bow hold “jigs” for beginners. I would call the foam grips a useful temporary mod for beginners, like training wheels on a bike. Next step is to sand the left grip corner so it’s not as sharp where the strap used to anchor. It’s a bit irritating to my thumb (yes, I’ll remove the end before sanding, mask the fretwork, and do it in my woodworking shop away from the instrument). Thanks for all the suggestions in this thread!
  3. That accordion link says the server is down. I noticed a listing for Wilson Music who service accordions - I bought a blues harmonica there a few years back, so that’s who I would start with for repairs. Thanks for clarifying this for me!
  4. Thank you for looking that up for me. It’s good to know. I looked at Edgley instruments online when I was first considering buying one, but didn’t think I wanted a more expensive instrument as a beginner. I didn’t think I’d become proficient enough to warrant the purchase.
  5. I remember why I briefly looked inside the concertina before and closed it back up. Here are two photos of the left hand reed pan (iphone photos so distorted). I'm not sure what I'm looking at, whether it's push or pull valves. Assuming I'm looking at valve 10 E (pull) on the far right (second photo), it is open, and would explain the gurgles. I also have some minor clicking on valve 4 F (pull) but nothing looks out of place there. I can't see the opposite reeds at all as they are enclosed in these wooden blocks. The valves themselves appear to be some kind of thin plastic. I don't know what I could do to close the gap, but I can live with it. I don't think it's bad enough to ship it back to MacNeela for a fix. I've no idea who repairs concertinas near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, so I hope I don't need any other repairs on this instrument. Some food for thought as I ponder which concertina might be next for me.
  6. I just tried it (seated, feet flat, one end on each thigh), and it helps with stability. Of course, the legs don’t control the bellows, but the ends can freely move as needed since I’m not pressing downward. I had been playing with my left leg propped up, and sometimes crossed over the right on a lab stool, so I guess the softer tone is now due to the instrument being further away on my lap. I wear jeans.
  7. I’m getting better at more efficient use of air. The biggest handicap is needing hand rest padding for my right, and moving the strap anchoring point so it’s over my knuckles. I’ll have to keep playing with that as general fingering skills improve. I realize the air button is going to be needed. I like the idea of moving it elsewhere, though. I wonder if anyone has tried resting an end on each leg, and using leg muscles to control the bellows?! The ultimate in stability ..
  8. I phrase as if I’m playing with a bow. A bit frustrated when I can’t add more pressure when approaching fully open or fully closed bellows. In watching online, players don’t seem to have the bellows open very far (generally), that is, they seem to work within a smaller range of the bellows.
  9. I am just a beginner, so trying out different technical things on my Wren. I am slightly ambidextrous. I find that I am most comfortable resting the instrument on my left thigh. Changing to the opposite thigh seems unstable. This may have something to do with being a violinist and using the bow right-handed. The further the bellows open, the less stable it feels, perhaps because I worry about running out of air (my air button is out of reach due to right hand placement). It all feels really unstable if I play standing up!
  10. I have a Wren, a beginner’s instrument. Bought a year or so ago, but I’ve only been practicing and making more progress recently. I’ve opened one side enough to check a problem with a valve or tongue (clicking, gurgling), but didn’t remove the pan. I’ve been reading the repair forum here, and have the concertina maintenance book, so will probably open it up again to look and maybe tinker with it. I have some minor valve and button issues that are more evident as I learn to navigate around some more difficult tunes. One vanished button popped back out when I merely loosened two long screws (and tightened them back up). That’s too difficult a maneuver while in the middle of a tune ... I’m probably going to want to upgrade to a better instrument, but not sure what at the moment.
  11. I don’t think the conversation got side-tracked at all. I learned a few new things.
  12. Therein lies one of the many challenges of bowing: maintaining an equal pressure and tone from one end of the bow to the other, regardless of bow direction. Depends on the music being performed. I’m trying to draw on my experience as a violinist (where possible) in phrasing and articulation on the concertina, without pushing my luck.
  13. I was reading the link that Howard Mitchell provided in his response, and read a bit of the reference to Wheatstone’s Letters Patent in the 1840s. Wheatstone’s fourth improvement was a tongue that would produce the same note on a push or pull, using a self-acting valve. Is this what you had in mind?
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