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Nathan

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  1. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Speak for yourself -- it's definitely giving me a hard time at the moment! But I suppose I'll just have to work through it. I've tried the phrase that way a few more times and that one pinky -> ring finger transition is the only awkward bit. Otherwise it flows nicely and seems to work well musically. I imagine the fingers will grow more cooperative with practice. Thanks for the very comprehensive reply! It was a big help.
  2. I've been playing Irish music on a C/G anglo for a few years now. Lately I've been working on a few reels that make heavy use of the D arpeggio in the first octave -- something that has mostly been absent from my small repertoire so far -- and I'm finding the fingering quite awkward. For a specific example, consider the A part of Cooley's reel. It has a phrase in the middle that goes like so: FDAD BD AD | FDFA FDFA | dBAF ... If I encountered these notes in isolation, I would typically play first octave D, A, and B on the C row, all on the pull, and second octave D on the G row. But the A->d jump means I have to use a different finger for one or the other. If I switch the upper d to the C row, I end up with 3 straight measures of pull notes. Air problems aside, it ends up sounding rather flat. The G-row d seems to work better for the latter part of the phrase, and it gives me a chance to move the bellows in. But to use that, I have to switch the A to the G row as well. That forces me to use my pinky and ring finger right next to each other, which I find physically very awkward. I can play either note alone without trouble, but I unconsciously shift my hand slightly for each one. To put both fingers down next to each other I have to bend the ring finger quite a lot. In this particular tune I might play some of the low Ds on push to break up the bellows direction a bit. But other tunes have the same awkward FAd figure without benefit of a low D (e.g. Silver Spear or Merry Blacksmith). I have considered shifting my left hand down by one key, since I have no trouble using the ring and middle fingers side-by-side. In the few tunes I've tried it works out nicely, but I'm wary of becoming dependent on such a trick, lest I discover down the road that I have to master the "proper" way regardless. Is there a typical way of getting around these kinds of phrases? They're dreadfully common in Irish music, so I imagine I'm not the first to have such difficulties.
  3. I have a Stagi 30-button C/G anglo that I'm no longer using. I bought it used from the Button Box, played it for about a year, and now it's gathering dust since I've bought a Morse. In good condition, plays as well as can be expected. $300 or best offer, includes shipping within the continental US. I don't have a picture, but it looks pretty much like this one. I removed the shiny foil stuff that's inside the ends -- one of the guys at the Button Box suggested it might improve the volume a bit, though I'm not sure it made a difference. Update: the Stagi is now sold.
  4. Thanks for all the recommendations... it would seem that, as Jim said right at the beginning, it's very subjective. The one thing that everyone agrees on is that the Morse is very light. Since I get most places by bicycle, and usually carry my instruments on my back, light is good. It also seems that everyone who owns an Edgley thinks they're a bit faster and more responsive than other hybrids. I suppose I can't really go wrong with any of them, so I guess I'll try what I can get my hands on and pick from those. Though I must admit I'm tempted to run off right away and order a Morse (the front-runner by default, since it's the only one I've tried). I'm getting impatient to have a new instrument. ;-)
  5. I thought the Tedrows were hybrids... at any rate, they're in my price range, which is the important thing. The website says "Antonelli steel reeds", which doesn't mean anything to me. But if Tedrow can make a traditional-reed instrument for $1850, how come everyone else is charging $3000 or more? The Wakker is at the very upper end of my price range, and I probably won't go that high unless I'm really blown away by it. But I want to at least test the waters of the higher-end instruments.
  6. After about a year of playing, I'm starting to feel held back by my Stagi, so I'm looking to upgrade. Given my ability and budget, I'm probably looking at a hybrid, though some of the more affordable traditional concertinas (Wakker, Kensington) might be possible if I really felt the need. My main problem is that there are so many makers out there, and they all seem to be equally well-regarded. How is an aspiring concertinist to decide? Obviously I am attempting to play as many as possible -- I live relatively near the Button Box, so I've tried a Morse, and am signing up to try a Wakker and a Tedrow through their concertina tours. But I'm not sure if I'll be able to get my hands on any other makes. Furthermore, given my lack of experience, I'm not sure that I can really evaluate a concertina all that well just from playing it. In addition to the Morse I briefly played my teacher's Dipper, and though the two instruments differ widely in price (and presumably quality), my reaction to both was about the same -- "wow, this is way better than my Stagi!". I suspect that all the hybrids are going to feel and sound great to me, and that I won't be able to perceive their limitations until I've had a lot more practice. So I'm looking for some advice to narrow down the options. What should I be looking at as I compare instruments? Are there generally agreed-upon pros and cons of the various models? Is there a better way to get my hands on a few to try? For the record, I am looking for an Anglo on which to play Irish music.
  7. I've recently taken up the anglo concertina after playing the Irish flute for a number of years. I'm starting to get comfortable with the melodies of a few tunes, but they still feel a little flat to me. On the flute, I add "lift" to a tune by emphasizing certain notes with my breath to create a rhythmic pulse underlying the music. Basically it amounts to playing some notes louder than others. I figured on the concertina, bellows = breath, so I started trying to emphasize some notes with bellows movement. But it feels a little awkward to do this unless I happen to be reversing the bellows at the same time. I've found I can also add emphasis by playing two notes at once, but I can't do this consistently yet. How do experienced concertina players approach this? Do you guys have any suggestions to get me started?
  8. Does this mean the CCE concertina class is definitely happening? I asked them to notify me when they knew one way or another, but haven't heard anything yet.
  9. Should you reverse this if you're left-handed? I tried playing as you describe, but after a few days switched the instrument to my right knee, because I tend to get a lot of tension in my right shoulder (a problem I've had since long before I took up the concertina). If I'm playing for a long time, I'll sometimes switch knees to give one arm a rest. As it turns out, I'm also left-handed, but that's not why I switched to the right knee.
  10. I emailed Tim O'Connell about the CCE music school -- he's promised to keep me posted on the concertina class. You might want to do the same. I imagine the more people who are interested, the better the chance of it actually happening. His email address is toconnell@irishabroad.com.
  11. Thanks guys. It sounds like I've basically got the right idea. I'll punch some new holes in the hand straps so I can get them a little tighter without being too tight, and try to keep my thumbs/hands more relaxed when I play.
  12. I've owned a Stagi for all of four days now, and am working through "The Anglo Concertina Demystified". The fingering stuff is all making sense, but he skips over the most basic information of all -- how do I hold the instrument? The hand straps adjust like a belt -- they have little holes in them and you stick a pin through one of the holes to hold them in place. The way the holes are placed, I can either leave the straps a little loose, or very snug. The latter quickly makes my hands go numb, so I've chosen the former for now. But with the straps looser, the instrument sort of flops around in my hands. I end up unconsciously pressing my thumbs down on the strap (pinching it against the side of my hand) in order to hold things steady. But my thumbs get tired pretty quickly, and this causes tension up through my arms. Due to RSI problems in the past, I'm very sensitive about excess tension, pain, and/or numbness. I know that now is the time to stop bad habits before they start. So what should I be doing with my thumbs? How do I hold the concertina steady while playing?
  13. Thanks for the info, Allan. I knew about the Green Briar and pre-dance slow sessions but had forgotten about them -- thanks for reminding me. I normally avoid the Briar since it's so crowded, but I might check out the slow session again once I've got a few tunes under my belt. I'm glad the hear the Comhaltas music school is lining up a concertina teacher. I've taken their flute class and it was a good experience, so I'll definitely get in touch with Tim O'Connor and let him know I'm interested. Thanks again, and maybe I'll see you around.
  14. I just bought a Stagi 30-key C/G Anglo, and am working my way through "The Anglo Concertina Demystified". It's going well so far, but eventually I'm going to want some more hands-on instruction. Can anyone recommend a teacher in my area? Ideally I'm looking for someone who teaches the Irish style, as that's what I'll be playing (I already play the Irish flute, and learning a new instrument is enough of a project without taking on a whole new repertoire as well). I live in Belmont (west of Cambridge), so Boston and points west/north are the most accessible to me.
  15. Thanks for all the advice. I think Richard's option #2 is the best choice (a 30-key stagi now, and upgrade later). It would be nice to start out on the better instrument, but the idea of racking up credit card debt for what is basically a luxury purchase doesn't sit well with me. Now the question is, where does one look for a used Stagi in good condition?
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