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Jim Besser

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About Jim Besser

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    Heavyweight Boxer

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  • Gender
  • Interests
    Contra and English ceilidh dance music, Morris music, traditional French dance music, playing for any and all dancers.
  • Location
    Washington DC metro area

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  1. Jim Besser

    "Top Ten" session tunes?

    I should add that the sessions I've attended during several UK visits have been incredibly welcoming. The important thing is to understand what kind of session it is, and to know that before you jump in.
  2. Jim Besser

    "Top Ten" session tunes?

    It varies a lot from session to session. I was at three in England last summer and the variety of tunes was considerable. I know a lot of English tunes, but most of the tunes we played were unfamiliar to me. Which was great - I came home with a long list of new favorites. One piece of advice: listen first, get a sense of the tenor of the session. The sessions I attended were all very much focused on English music - which is what I wanted - and two different players told me they aren't real happy with visiting Americans who seem to want to play Irish. There are Irish sessions for those inclined in that direction. That said, at ever session, someone would ask me to play something quintessentially American ("Play one of those Appalachian tunes," I heard a few times). Given your locale, I have a suggestion: Yellow Rose of Texas! (The oldtime dance version, not the sung one)
  3. Jim Besser

    Sessions In London

    It was a fine session indeed, as was Chris Shaw's the following evening at The George. Wish I was going again this year.
  4. Recently I sent my Jeffries G/D Anglo to Greg Jowaisas for some tuning. I also asked him to do what he could to lighten the action, and give it a general once over. This was a good Jeffries before the repairs, but the difference when I got it back was instantly apparent. It's brighter, the chords sound better and it's much easier to play. A bandmate immediately noticed the improvement. Greg has done most of the maintenance on my good boxes, including new bellows on both, and he continues to demonstrate why so many of us trust him with our valued instruments.
  5. Jim Besser

    Sweet Jenny Jones, Anglo

    I've played it for years for several dancers doing a waltz clog routine. It's a wonderful tune.
  6. Jim Besser

    Tangling With The Tango On The Anglo

    Sorry, I don't have a clue - and at one point I searched for information on the composer, to no avail.
  7. Jim Besser

    Tangling With The Tango On The Anglo

    Tango Caliente works very nicely on a C/G Anglo: http://abcnotation.com/tunePage?a=trillian.mit.edu/~jc/music/abc/Argentina/TangoCaliente/0003
  8. Jim Besser

    Pentangle.....concertina !

    Me. I was one of countless young people who slavishly learned his version of Angie on guitar.
  9. Jim Besser

    In Ear Monitors

    I know you're in the US but this is a link to Thomann in Germany with their range of wired iems https://www.thomann.de/gb/wired_in_ear_monitors.html?oa=pra Mitch Ah, I see that in the US, Thomamm is badged as PreSonus. This looks like it could be just the thing: https://www.thomannmusic.com/presonus_hp2.htm I like the option of having a stereo mix, with more of me in one ear, more of the band in the other.
  10. Jim Besser

    In Ear Monitors

    What I've learned with sound equipment is, the more of what you personally use that you own and bring with you, the better off you are generally. It's the rare venue or engineer who owns exactly what you want or need, especially for a more unusual instrument. (I still need to tinker with my microphone mounts as a side issue, but having everything I need and being able to give the engineer my XLR cables and say "just plug these in" makes my life so much more predictable and makes any sound engineer's job easier, too. I'm sure the same is true with monitors as it is with microphones.) Yep. I'm moving in that direction myself. I'm still going back and forth on the issue of mics (no need to revisit that issue here!). Generally, I find that the widest variability when using other peoples' equipment is in the area of monitoring. Hence my desire to take matters into my own hands.
  11. Jim Besser

    In Ear Monitors

    Jim, I've heard very similar things to what Howard said about how the major drawback is the isolation and the challenges to communication with / from bandmates. You have to really concentrate on looking at each other and using really obvious legs for tune changes as the traditional English "HUP!" from the band leader will be inaudible. Establishing solid visual cues with the caller before the dance is also useful. Though maybe having an ambient input (as a supplementary second input) mitigates that problem sufficiently. I'd not heard of anyone who does that before, but I really like the idea. It's something I'd like to explore if I get back into playing for ceilidhs. IT's all about visual cues for me, since I can't really hear anything the band leader says (and I don't do well processing verbal input while playing). An added problem for me: the band also includes an accordion. Often, isolating the noise I'm making from Andrew's noise isn't easy. I know from experience that better monitoring minimizes that problem, but in my little world, "better monitoring" is not easily attainable, since we are usually working with someone else's setup. Periodically I'll get my own floor monitor, with a personalized mix, and then I can hear just fine, but that's rare. In the real world, I'm working with inadequate monitors, so I'm thinking the in-ear route might be a solution.
  12. Jim Besser

    In Ear Monitors

    Thanks, that's very useful information. I hadn't thought about the isolation issue. I'm wondering about the wired option; I've had problems with cordless mics in the past, and know the technology can be flaky. When you hear the concertina in your ear bud: is the sound quality OK? Not too tinny?
  13. Jim Besser

    French Bagpipe + Concertina

    Thanks, that is outstanding.
  14. Jim Besser

    In Ear Monitors

    I'm wondering if anybody has experience using in-ear monitor systems with a concertina in a live band situation. We are a very loud band, with brass, drums and electric guitar, and it's rare that floor monitors provide clear enough audio of the concertina for me to really hear myself. The fact that I have hearing loss is an added factor. I have tried small hotspot monitors right next to me, but in my experience they are a feedback nightmare. A couple of sound guys I've worked with have suggested in-ear systems. Does anybody have experience with such systems? Any recommendations for brands/models? I see systems ranging from $150 to $2000. I'm not ready to go to the high end of that scale, but am always wary of inexpensive sound gear. Anybody?
  15. Jodie just posted his version of the wonderful tune River Stay Away from my Door. I love tunes like this that work in so many different genres - in this case everything from blues to Brubeck jazz to Frank Sinatra to bluegrass. I'm wondering: what other tunes can you think of that are so easily and pleasantly adaptable, and work well on various concertina systems? On my own playlist, I have things like American Patrol, an 1885 march popularized as a swing number by Glen Miller and sometimes heard by bluegrass and contra dance bands; Redwing, a Tin Pan Alley song with silly lyrics that is so much a part of the traditional dance band repertoire that for a long time I thought it was traditional (and also the tune for the labor anthem Union Maid). Other examples?