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Crane Driver

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Everything posted by Crane Driver

  1. Yes, I started with a 35-key Crane back in 1971. For folksong accompanyment they're fine, and it's a good introduction to the system. Most of the song accompanyments I do now could fit within the 35 key instrument. Dance music is another thing, many tunes in the commonly used keys require the 'A' above the stave, which the 35's don't have. And of course more complex music will require the greater range and flexibility of the larger boxes. As a starting point though, the little 35's are a 'cheap & cheerful' way to find out if the system works for you - rather like a 20 button Anglo. Be prepared to 'lust after' a bigger box in a couple of years though. Andrew
  2. Delighted to be there, Crane akimbo. Anyone wanting a look at how the Crane works, come up to me and say "You are Crane Driver and I claim my prize" Should get yourself a reputation quite quickly Andrew McKay Crane Drivin' Music
  3. Was it worth making? Absolutely. My first concertina was a 35 key Crane. For song accompanyment, given my vocal range, it's fine. In fact, many of my song accompanyments still fit into the 35 key layout. It was only for dance tunes that it proved too restricting, mostly because of the lack of an 'A' above the stave, so I eventually traded up to a 48 key, and have recently made it to 55. But for someone who would like to try out the Crane, this would be very worth while. Note that ALL sizes of Cranes go down at least to middle 'C' in the right hand, unlike other types of duet. And yes, having compared it to English, Anglo and McCann duet, I certainly find the Crane the most logical, and easiest to play - for me. Your experience may differ. Andrew Crane Drivin' Music
  4. I'd guess that the idea that Duets are harder to learn started with people who tried to switch from English or Anglo to Duet, or to take up the Duet as a second box. The proper conclusion should probably have been that your second concertina system is hard to learn, as you have to unlearn the first one. I had the great good fortune to find a Crane Duet as my first concertina, way back when (took me ages to find out what it was), and though I've since tried Anglo, English and MacCann Duet, the difficulty of learning a different system hardly seemed worth it, given that the end-product sounded so similar. I taught myself to play, one hand at a time. Another percieved difficulty is the expectation that Duet players will use the system for really complex, sophisticated music, necessitating months of study. Fine, if that's what you want to play, but you don't have to. I mainly use the Crane for simple song accompanyments and dance tunes. I can read music onto the melody end, but I just fit something in on the other end that seems to suit. It does the job for me. Andrew
  5. Depends on the song, of course. I'll try to put something here, though I won't guarantee it'll work - first time I've tried it - 12_Childe.mp3 There are some sample clips on our website at http://www.cranedrivinmusic.com as well. Hope you find it of interest. Andrew
  6. No prizes for guessing my preference, but I have owned a (big) MacCann as well - I sold it on after a couple of years, as anything I could play on it was easier on the Crane. I recently picked up a 55 key Crane, having played a 48 for more years than I care to (or possibly can) remember - so far I haven't used the extra buttons much, but it's got a nice tone. Depends what sort of music you want to play - I mostly use mine to accompany folk songs, and I like to keep the accompanyment simple, so I don't need several octaves of melody-side. And, unlike the 46 key MacCann, the 48 key Crane does go down to middle C in the right hand - in fact, even the 35 key Crane goes down to middle C. Come to think of it, most of my accompanyments would fit onto the 35 key - I told you I like to keep things simple. I do also play some dance tunes, and that's when I need the extra range. Of course if you want to play complex classical pieces, the larger instruments are better, giving you more overlap between the two ends and a bigger overall range. Size, however, seems to be more of an issue with MacCanns than with Cranes - it's that middle C business, I guess. My vote is for the Crane! Andrew
  7. Well, despite the name, I have owned both. I sold the MacCann. Nevertheless, both have their advantages and drawbacks. The Crane is probably more strictly logical, but is awkward in keys with lots of accidentals, because they're all in the outside rows. The MacCann has some accidentals in the middle. But hey, I can play most of what I want in easier keys. Size depends on what you want to do. I could play most of my song accompanyments on a smaller Crane, I only really need the 48 key for dance tunes, though I've now got a 55, which gives more scope on the left hand. Smaller MacCanns, I believe, are more restricted as they only go down to the 'G' above middle 'C' in the right hand, whereas even the smallest Cranes go down to middle 'C'. For a lighter instrument, a 48 key Crane beats a 46 key MacCann for most things. Try both. Speak to people who play both. Then get the best instrument you can afford. Whatever it is, you'll have to learn to play around its drawbacks and use its advantages. I'm still glad I found a Crane as my first concertina. Andrew
  8. Hi guys - Apologies for messing up the link - must have been tired. Thanks for fixing it. I'll have to look at the design of the recordings pages again, try to make the MP3 player more obvious. And thanks for the comments on the music - it's nice to be appreciated. Andrew
  9. Well, I've been playing Crane Duet since 1971, and I've never learnt to read notation for the left hand. I mainly use the box to accompany singing and play from memory, though it's useful to have the tune notated to learn from. I do also play in a ceilidh band, and use notation for the tune (right hand) because there's too many tunes to learn and I find it hard to retain tunes if there's no words attached. What I do, for fun as much as practice, is to run up and down scales on the right hand, varying the timing to make it sound like a tune, and try to fit in something on the left - simple chords to begin with, then more complex runs and riffs. I've got to the stage where I can concentrate my attention on the right hand, playing from memory or notation, and let my left hand get on with what it does. Sometimes I amaze myself with what my left hand comes up with, and have to stop and work out what I did. The idea of trying to read two staves, one for each hand, while trying to keep up with a fiddler ripping into a set of jigs, doesn't bear thinking about. 'Keep it simple' - that's my motto. Listen to some samples of what I do on our website Crane Drivin' Music. All the best, Andrew
  10. I've been playing a 48 key Crane for over 30 years and it's done me proud. I was in a bidding war for a 55 key on ebay a bit over a year ago (it went over my limit), but I luckily found an almost identical instrument through this forum. I'm still working on things to do with the extra buttons. I use it mainly for song accompanyment (see website Crane Drivin' Music for a few samples), so my playing tends to be fairly simple. Definitely not trying to sound like a church organ! They do come up on ebay from time to time, but most people who take the time to get into the instrument don't want to part from it. Andrew
  11. Robust dark ale AND a single malt - that's why they're called DUETS!! Andrew
  12. We (Andrew McKay and Carole Etherton) have just launched our website Crane Drivin' Music - we'd like people's feedback as it's the first time we've done anything like this. The site features a brace of Crane Duet concertinas, and includes sound clips from our two CDs 'Pennbucky to Llangenny' and 'Characters', both available through the site. Sign our guestbook (especially if you've got something nice to say ) Thanks Andrew
  13. In other words - the only way to be a good musician, is to be a bad musician. If you're not playing, however badly, you're not getting better. All good musicians started out bad. Andrew
  14. When I was in Sydney a couple of years ago I met a guy called Bob Bolton at a barbeque - he played Anglo and was very much involved in Bush Music - contact him on bobbolton@netspace.net.au Andrew
  15. Sorry, Theo - just me jumping to conclusions. You did say the first two digits were so obscured by dirt and old varnish that you couldn't tell what they were, or even if they were two or three digits. I thought they might not be digits at all, but 'C&S', as on my boxes. On that slender basis, I built a whole structure out of moonshine! Not the first time, I'm sure! Andrew
  16. Further to the above - I have just had a look at my 'second squeeze', a black 55k 'New Model' Crane with a Lachenal badge and the serial number 693. On the left handrail is stamped C&S 08808 (the last number is indistinct due to wear). So we have: Lachenal 82 = C&S 399 (1898?) Lachenal 256 = C&S 844 (1900?) Lachenal 693 = C&S 8808 (1905?) Q. What sort of maths is in use here? I assume that C&S stands for 'Crane and Sons', but is that so? No 693 is not badged Crane & Sons but Lachenal, although I suppose Crane & Sons may still have been the dealer. Is the C&S number a serial of all the concertinas Crane sold, of which only a subset were Lachenal-made duets? Perhaps they sold imported German concertinas as well? Or is it even the total number of instruments of all types that Crane sold? That seems unlikely. We need more information - any other Craniacs able to add anything? Andrew
  17. I have a 48k Crane made by Lachenal but badged 'Crane & Sons' - rosewood with Lachenal paper bellows, so presumably not for the Sally Ann, who I believe preferred their boxes a sober black. The right handrail is stamped on one side with the Lachenal 'English Made' steel reed trade mark, but the other side is stamped 'C&S 844'. This isn't the Lachenal serial number, which is on the reed pan (256), but is possibly a Crane & Sons serial number (maybe they started at a higher number to make it look as though they'd sold lots of them). Or maybe not - if yours is 'C&S 399' and Lachenal serial 82, whereas mine is C&S 844 and Lachenal serial 256, that doesn't add up - unless Crane & Sons were selling other concertinas as well as the Lachenal/Crane series. Crane & Sons still exist - as Crane Music, they've got a shop in Cardiff and just opened one in Swansea - has anyone contacted them to see if they still have the records of their end of the contract with Lachenal? It might give an insight into the missing ledgers of Lachenal. Andrew
  18. My Crane (48k) is likewise a Lachenal, but badged 'Crane & Sons, Patent-Concertina, London & Liverpool'. The Lachenal serial number inside is 256, so it must be very early. The right-hand support bar, stamped on one side with the Lachenal 'English Made' steel reed trade mark, is stamped on the other side 'C&S 844'. I don't know what that means. Andrew
  19. Well, I've never attempted to read bass clef, but I'm a folk singer, not a classical musician. After playing with the instrument for N years, where N is more than I care to recall, my left hand is sufficiently attuned to find something that fits what the right is playing, most of the time. So I don't really think about it, except when it goes horribly wrong. While you can treat the duet like a miniature piano, you don't have to. Is the link Jeffries? Andrew
  20. Yeah - the division between English, Anglo and Duet players is just superficial - what matters is whether you're a left-knee or a right-knee player! FWIW, I'm a left-knee player. Left end of the box too. Andrew
  21. My personal preference should be obvious I agree that its very much 'horses for courses' - and in my experience, finding a decent quality concertina at an affordable price is much harder than learning to play it, whatever the system. The Crane duet is the first system I found, way back in 19*mumble mumble* (and you really don't want to know how cheap they were back then). I had only heard of the English and Anglo, so I had no idea what this was, except that it was neither of them. I bought it anyway. Fortunately that meant I had heard no preconcieved ideas about how to play it or what it was good for, so I used it for everything. I do song accompanyments, play in a ceilidh band, have played for Morris dancing and even (once) played fast jigs for a Rapper sword dance team - not something I'd recommend too often. I've developed a fairly 'anglo' type style, using frequent changes of bellows direction to add emphasis, but it still doesn't sound like an anglo - it's another duet style. Over the years, I've also owned an English, an Anglo and a McCann Duet. I've sold them all on. Anything I want to play, I can play on my Crane easier and better than on anything else. I'm sure others will say the same about their system of choice. I certainly wouldn't say that everyone should play Crane (that would push the price up too much!) Incidentally, I have twice been at (non-concertina) events where five different systems have been on show. One was a folk club in Scotland, where in addition to my Crane, there were an English, an Anglo, a McCann and a Jeffries duet turned up. Some years later I was at a shanty festival in the North of England where we had Crane, English, Anglo, McCann and Hayden. I've never seen all six in the same room. Something to look forward to. Andrew
  22. Lacking a receipt, or ledgers of Lachenal production, we can never be sure. But the highest serial number that I know of is 5960, which makes #693 pretty early, perhaps about 1900, a centenarian anyway ! <{POST_SNAPBACK}> Well, my 48 key Lachenal Crane is number 256 according to the reed pan. It has a "Crane & Sons" pot-metal label on the end, instead of the Lachenal mark, but it's obviously a Lachenal. John Butterworth, who patented what became known as the Crane system, was a piano tuner from Cheshire. Crane & Sons were (still are) piano makers and sellers from Liverpool, just across the river Mersey from Cheshire, so Butterworth almost certainly knew them and sold them the rights to his system, around 1896/7. Lachenal were obviously brought in to make them, under license. Lachenal probably only got to put their own name on "Cranes" once Crane & Sons gave up the monopoly - maybe C&S have records/ledgers from then which would help to date this. Nice looking instrument, anyway!
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