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Everything posted by pmmack

  1. Check out the Button Box link. They always have less expensive boxes in stock. I bought my first Hohner from them. It was in perfect working order and a beautiful little box. If you grow serious about playing (which is a very addictive instrument by the way!), you can always upgrade. You may or may not grow out of this box. I gave mine away to a close friend for a wedding gift and that little box still plays very well, after some very heavy playing. Their line of Stagis also come very well set up--that would be the next level up. The great thing about The Button Box is they back up what they sell. Music stores and even accordion shops many times do not, they can't because they are not a real specialty shop. It is also very easy to play on the rows and just switch boxes for those different keys, right hand melody and left hand chords/ drones. You can get some very pretty music, even on a basic 20 button box. If the session goes into a key that you cannot play in, that calls for a beer break! Good luck!
  2. I just could not take the haggling anymore and just told them to "forget it". They still have three different variants on their website, I have haggled for 4 days trying to get some resolve. Troy Laabs (that's the founder's son I believe) has stated that the warranty card was sent out today. I will find out next week. Boaz Rubin from Hohner USA is good about backing up the warranty on new instruments, so if anything does arise, I am sure it will be taken care of. The box plays brilliantly now, after the extensive repair of the F reedblock and optimizing the other reedblocks. Thanks to Theo over in England for the tips of repair! Let the buyer beware! Caveat Emptor!
  3. Yes, the price is too good to be true. I just purchased a Corona II FBbEb accordion from them. Here are the problems, overchaged credit card, wrong case included, rancid moldy smell from box, no warranty card, box was totally unplayable and required extensive repair to one of the reed blocks, shipped to wrong address and refusal to make amends. I wanted to replace the case with a less expensive Hohner bag, but they wanted to charge and additional $34, for reasons I have no idea. They also avoided the problem of the broken reed block and warranty card. I just alerted Hohner America of these problems. OK, it is days later and I am still haggling with these people. This is like going to an inner city used car lot. They have agreed to switch the case with the less expensive Hohner bag, but insist that the case get sent back first. Normally not a problem, but now their website has *mystically changed* to reflect this mistake, with a new accordion price of $599 (the price they charged me) with the Impact case included, even with a picture. http://www.jimlaabsmusic.com/scripts/prodV...?idproduct=5062 But yet they have the accordion, new for $597, with no case at this link: http://www.jimlaabs.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=6039 I ordered and received a floor sale model (obviously, because the accordion did not even work and was unplayable right out of the box, requiring extensive reed block repair). They still list the Floor Model Sale as $597, with the Hohner 12X case included. I wonder how long it will take them to adjust this? http://www.jimlaabsmusic.com/scripts/prodV...sp?idproduct=68 Now either they are very unorganized (I highly doubt this or they would be out of business by now) or they are very dishonest. This is just one example of how they work and they are matched by 3 other companies in WI, IN and NJ. I am not sure who they think they are dealing with, but there is a good chance that the person spending the money is a real musician and deals with the music industry every day. They cannot just assume that we are all *hacks* and that they can rip us off as they see fit. I see some really big names in the box industry posting here regularly, really top of the class and industry! I highly doubt that you all would tolerate this dishonest behavior either. I just cannot trust them to send the Hohner bag without addtional charges, which they still will not deny. I also cannot get a warranty card out of them--they "will see what they can do" is their response. That usually means no. Very, very dishonest shop IMO and perhaps the Better Business Bureau and my credit card company would like to hear of this as well. They are the only music store in their part of WI and I feel very sorry for the people that have no choice in buying their child's or their own instrument.
  4. Yes, the price is too good to be true. I just purchased a Corona II FBbEb accordion from them. Here are the problems, overchaged credit card, wrong case included, rancid moldy smell from box, no warranty card, box was totally unplayable and required extensive repair to one of the reed blocks, shipped to wrong address and refusal to make amends. I wanted to replace the case with a less expensive Hohner bag, but they wanted to charge and additional $34, for reasons I have no idea. They also avoided the problem of the broken reed block and warranty card. I just alerted Hohner America of these problems. Buyer definitely beware, especially if you plan to actually play music with one of their boxes. I you just want to *doodle* around and don't care if the box really works or not, then these are your guys. I have found out again how dishonest some music stores are. This would be a total of four different shops, all lying about product, upgrades, repairs, et al. It is worth it to pay the extra money, just to get a box that works and will be backed up if problems occur. Hope this sheds some light of truth for you!
  5. I am a piper, so the idea of keeping the same fingering system is an advantage, at least for me. I also relate to playing along with whichever piper is there, so certain keys/ boxes work well for certain pipers. They also *require* in many cases the flat 7th or mixolydian mode, which can be avoided just by using that note as a breather note or omitting it. Just like the pipes, the effort of making the tune come out without all the proper notes is a challenge, but makes it more interesting! I also tend to get "workhorse" boxes, that I do not have to worry about spilt Guinness, cigar ash and harsh pub treatment damaging a museum piece. Not the cheapest mind you, but certainly not multi-thousand dollar ones either! Have fun and let us know how things go!
  6. I found the English to be hard to relate to. I much preferred the Anglo, and the 20 button is fine, so long as you play on the row and do not cross row. I read somewhere that you just pick up a box in the key you want and keep the same fingering system, which is quite true. Now if you want one instrument to do it all, the 30b is a must, unless you don't mind mixolydian mode and the flat 7th. The accidental row gives you more keys and the sharps/ flats you need, but requires cross row fingering. Do you want to play or do you want to practice all the scales needed to be proficient first? The anglo played on the row is very easy to figure out, play by ear and read music with, as the fingering is very basic and stays the same. Good Luck!
  7. Hello, I have some items for sale, including a couple of very lightly used C/G boxes. Please visit the URL listed below for more info. Time to make room for some upgrades! For Sale http://www.madmajor.com/forsale.html
  8. Enjoy and make the most out of the box that you have! Do not mind the "flat 7th" and skip the notes that cannot be played quite right. Just make the thing sing and no bother about cross rowing and the like, yet. How many times have we heard about "The Greats" playing upon small boxes and making great music? Go for it!
  9. I think it depends on your circles you hang out in. You should see the looks from my smallpipers when I break into something Irish! Or God forbid, Wooden Heart!!! They seem to like the Cajun stuff and American folk, although they will only join in on the Scottish tunes. Go figure! They are pipers, after all!
  10. That is one of the saddest things I have seen posted in some time. I hate doing funerals and am quite lucky to have over 20 pipers to job out and avoid doing these engagements anymore. The toughest was for a very good brother of mine, who marched in the Racine Kilties with me. His mother adored me (after all, I was the drum major of the Mighty "Mad Plaid", hence the Mad Major website and all) and was just like a real mother, maybe a bit more as she was one of our most beloved corps moms. My adopted mum who raised me up had just passed a couple of years previous, so playing my friend's mum's funeral was very tough. Of course, they wanted Danny Boy and Amazing Grace at the gravesite, on a bright but bitter cold morn. The other brother is a Marine from Nam and knew I would make it, but my buddy Joey knew me better. I almost broke down, but played steadfastly, gave my salute and marched off to the car to cry my eyes out for about 15 minutes or so. No one saw, but everybody was choked up at this loss. Working the honor guard was also tough, but had to be done (a brother Kilty at the head and foot of the casket during the entire viewing at the funeral home). We have always buried our honored dead this way, since the 1930s when we were founded, but not always with the piper and never the Pipe Major/ DM on pipes. Funerals are tough, most especially when it is someone dear.
  11. It is working now, with Opera and Execpc. I just posted.
  12. You are in the US, so anything Barney is cool for the very little ones. Eensy Weensy Spider, Little Rabbit Foo Foo, Yankee Doodle, Fais Do Do for le' Francois mon ami, Old King Cole, Three Little Fishies, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, La Cucaracha for los ninos, Wooden Heart for die Deutch kinder--just jazz them up a bit and maybe dance a little along with them! Most kids will just dance to anything. You should have seen my little ones at school clapping and having a hard time staying in their seats when our ceilidh band came for an assembly last Thursday. 1000+ little ones, in the gymnatorium, with all the HS, K3, K4 and K5 huddled around us on the floor (there is about 300+ of them!). The adults and principals were even amazed, Amazing Grace made the gym teacher cry. We had a kid come up and sit in "The Scattering" on a toy set of pipes (teachers and his class thought he was really playing too!). I cheated and have been teaching my band drummers bodhran and spoons, so I had my studio really playing along! It was a hit and fun for all!!! Good Luck!
  13. Scottish pipe marches are sometimes in 5/4. Cullen Bay comes to mind, but there are many others. A retreat march in 3/4 sounds similiar, such as Green Hills and Battle's O'er.
  14. I am located near Milwaukee. Thanks for the tip. Karen http://www.artsconcertinabar.com/ BTW, his name is Art Altenburg and this is the home of the mighty Chemnitzer! Come down on Thursdays and see the open jam session or go on Friday/ Saturday and hear live polka bands both nights, every week. They also offer dance lessons, I think now on Tuesdays. NO ACCORDIONS ALLOWED!!! Art's sister actually played with The Lawrence Welk Band, but has NEVER been allowed to play her accordion in there! I did get special dispensation for my Cajun button box and got to play along with Art this past winter at his only night that his actual band was featured. Lot's of fun, very old timey and very friendly! Located right here on Milwaukee's southside, 37th street, just south of Burnam. Tell him Dale sent you! Martin's Pub is also a fun spot, with sessions on the second Tuesday of each month. Located at the corner of Racine/ Hwy Y and National, in New Berlin. He can tell you most anything about the Chemnitzer too and you can bring accordions into his little pub. It looks like a storefront house--his mother ran it for many decades. Sometimes totally dead in there and other times almost no room to even come in. Don't go there during crop season, as he is a full time farmer and always says "when it is time to bail hay, you bail hay". Real old'-timey and like sitting at home having a Miller out of your own fridge!
  15. Button Box is great! http://www.buttonbox.com/ First off, they are box specialists and retune/rebuild any instrument you buy before they ship it out. They also offer and great service and advice. I actually bought my little Hohner 20b from them and found it solid airtight and well set up, which is rare for a low end box. Elderly, out of Grand Rapids, also has very good quality and sends out immaculate boxes! http://www.elderly.com/new_instruments/cats/160N.html Spend a little more if you can, but even a basic 20b can play good music, although you lack the C# and have to play around that note, which kind of makes it a bit of a challenge (I am a piper, so am used to the Mixolydian mode and flat 7th). Be open to the use of different boxes and different keys, as you can use the same learned fingering and just pick up another box to play in the different key (as opposed to playing across the rows, which is confusing to the beginner). Right hand melody and left hand chording/ drone works nicely and is very simple to do. Depending on your area, you may be the only box player and quite unique, so just add whatever sounds you can to the tunes and enjoy! No, you don't need to read or understand theory, but do need to get the tunes in your head well and just go for it! Good luck and welcome to the Brotherhood!
  16. A nice PA system seems to be exactly what we need, although our amplification requirements are not that much yet. Four inputs would cover us very well. I think the Pignose series might be good, but each musician would need his own amp, which is fine as we all do solo gigs too. Thanks for the info!
  17. Our ceilidh band is looking for our first sound system. Something not too expensive and easily portable, to use when pure acoustic is just not enough. What do you recommend? Each musician needs his own mic, as the one mic system does not afford enough volume, especially for the smallpipes. Would a system with two jacks be OK to use by two musicians?
  18. NO GREEN BEER! Gave up drinking for Lent, but will be enjoying some Guinness and Tullamore Dew on the day AFTER the last playtime Friday. It is a Feast Day after all! http://www.madmajor.com/news.html Forest Home School Featuring "The Ceilidh Band" Thursday 3/16 @ 1pm The school gig went very well. Over 1000 cheering little ones is quite a sight. They actually clapped through most every tune we played. I had my bodhran studio come up and play at "The Scattering" and the piper had a toy set that he let one of the little ones jam along with just for show. A couple of teachers actually thought he was playing--the effect was a success! The kindergarten were right on the floor in front of us and were spell bound the whole time. Amazing what Rowan Tree and Bonnie Lass o' Fyvie can do to about 300 little people!
  19. Dawning of the Day, right off of St. Laurance O'Toole's CD. OK, I learned the tune years ago from the Royal Irish Rangers album. Just not on the 'tina, which I just took up after Xmas.
  20. Thanks! That answers my question. I am getting better at playing across the rows, but still prefer to stick to the home keys. Accidentals are great, but I just enjoy playing around whatever notes are lacking. Makes so much more sense to my "piper brain", as we do the same thing to get certain tunes on the Highland pipes, whether Great or smallpipes.
  21. Wow, that's the exact same thing I said when taking up the 'tina and melodeon. I do not and will not take a $2-4000 instrument into the pub, for sessions and solo, just to get cigar smoke and stout bumped and poured in/on/around my boxes. I also use them every day at school and do not want that little K5 child to touch or bump or heaven forbid actually break an expensive box. I wanted and still use, basic workhorses that play well, but will not break the bank or cause undo stress if messed up a bit. Likewise, I do not take my $4000 Cerveny tuba anywhere but symphony band practice. I have a smaller horn to take the bumps with.
  22. Ok, so now it is time to expand my keys! On a C/G box, C is the outer-20b/middle-30b row and G in the inner row. So, on a D/G box, which is really the outer/middle row? How about on the A/D box? It would seem that the boxes would still remain tuned in 5ths, which would make them C/G, G/D and D/A. This would make the G/D box lower than the C/G and reedier sounding and the D/A box rather high and thin. Is this correct? I see refernces back and forth: http://www.hmtrad.com/sbx-info/sbx-pick.html "The 20 button instruments only have the notes from 2 major scales, usually C on the top row and G on the bottom row. (Other common tunings are G/D and D/A)." http://www.elderly.com/new_instruments/cats/160N.html CASTIGLIONE C1 20-BUTTON ANGLO CONCERTINA keys of G & C keys of D & G keys of A & D
  23. NO GREEN BEER! Gave up drinking for Lent, but will be enjoying some Guinness and Tullamore Dew on the day AFTER the last playtime Friday. It is a Feast Day after all! http://www.madmajor.com/news.html Forest Home School Featuring "The Ceilidh Band" Thursday 3/16 @ 1pm St. Patrick's Day Pub Crawl Friday 3/17 6pm Lynch's Pub 8:30pm Kneisler's White House 9pm Bay St. Pub Milwaukee, although no Chicago, still does it up right, so long as you go to the right places. Co. Clare, House of Guinness, Packy's Pub are the mainstays. Avoid Bluemound Ave.!!!! Pipers and bands will be playing all day, but the Big Band's gigs are exclusive, listed above! This is a chance to play for our sponsors, one of which has sponsored the band twice to go to Scotland and one other who has sponsored pipe bands since the 80's. Do Mo Chara Maith! Slainte Mhor!
  24. All I get is a "O items found for" message. Here is the link: http://search.ebay.com/739763020_W0QQfromZR40 How much do you want for it and where are you located?
  25. Do the little ones all have 'tinas??? Did the school purchase them? More details, please! Allison-the-grade-schoo-music-teacher No, they just pass the extra two boxes around the room. I only have 8 students, with dozens more trying to join, but I just do not have the instruments yet. And no, they are using my Hohner and Stagi and I stick to my newest Casti. I let them take the boxes home over the weekend, which really gives them a chance to doodle around on their own tunes. As for the pizza, well I enjoy that as much as they do and it gives a real break from the cafeteria food! BTW, we have about 80 kids in band, some which were featured last year on the VH1 Honors Convocation. They were on cable TV all summer. This is a Music Festival year, so our 4 and 5 graders will be in the Elementary Chorus of about 2800 kids, 200 of which will be mine! About a dozen 2nd years will be in the elementary honors band, which for the convocation last year had about 180 or so (with about 250 in the elementary orchestra!). Half the trombone line last spring was from my school and my studio. I really have to thank VH1 for providing grants for our public schools, to reinstitute grade school band programs in our community! I am very lucky to have not only another band director under me (who works with the woodwinds, leaving me the brass and percussion), but also a very good piano person who works with the younger students. Tests scores are improving, as research has shown, most especially with the younger grades, now that they have exposure to good music and vocal training! Next Thursday my ceilidh band is coming to school to put on a concert for St. Patrick's Day. You think the baby 'tina players are cute?, you should see the baby bodhran and spoon players who will be sitting in with us at "The Scattering". It is a sight to behold and great exposure for them. Opens up a whole new world of music, especially when they see their teacher up there backing up the piper on melodeon and bodhran!
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