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Jim Besser

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Everything posted by Jim Besser

  1. I have a few Morse anglos and really like them. I've played a couple of Clovers, and think they're pretty equivalent in terms of sound and playability. What sets the Ceilis apart, IMO, is their light weight and their extreme durability. I use mine mostly for Morris dance playing, which means they get jostled, banged and rained on. In 15 years, only one has required service, and that was minor.
  2. Where (in the US) can I buy leather to make new hand straps for an Anglo? And what should I look for? (type of leather, thickness, etc.)? I need to design new straps to accommodate the brace I'm wearing for my arthritic thumb!
  3. Just messing around the other day with tunes from old John Kirkpatrick CDs. Old Towler is apparently an English or Scottish song first published in the 1790s. Played on a 30 button Morse hybrid Anglo.
  4. A sweet tune, Jody, and I really like the way you and CIndy play together. The stately pace is perfect.
  5. JK uses a variety of techniques to get this unique punch on Anglo; the best way to plumb the depths of his playing is to take one on one lessons (he's doing them on Zoom) or one of his workshops. It's useful to note that in his recorded Anglo playing, he plays almost exclusively along the rows, not cross row; this greatly facilitates the assorted techniques (like the aforementioned 'zip") he uses. It's much harder to get some of the punchy effects he gets playing in D, for example, on a CG.
  6. You know how some tunes are just so much fun to play you can't seem to stop? This week I was messing around with 'Vasen,' by Kjell-Erik Eriksson of the band Hoven Droven, and it's definitely one of them. It was last month's tune of the month on melodeon.net. Played on a 30 button GD Morse Anglo concertina. https://soundcloud.com/concertinist/vasen-jb-march-5
  7. Yes, he's a terrific musician and has picked up the Harpejji very quickly. He got it after our bass player died; his plan was to take up some of the functions of the electric bass, while also doing some chording and melody. It's an incredibly adaptable instrument. And i have heard the comparison to the Hayden before. I've actually thought about buying one, mostly to have something to play when the arthritis in my thumbs makes concertina playing impossible. From my observation of our guy playing, it involves very little stress on the hands and wrists. I think you have to buy direct from the manufacturer in Glen Arm, Md; I'm not sure they've found their way into stores.
  8. In this band, my main job is to play the basic tune; the sax and accordion players are wonderful improvisors, and they do the creative stuff. And the accordionist (and these days the Harpejji player) draw from a palette of chords not available to a lowly Anglo player.
  9. Well, in my band Frog Hammer I play alongside a fantastic piano accordionist, but with the general mayhem of the band, you don't really hear us together.
  10. Exactly. JK plays concertina almost entirely along the rows, not cross row. And on a CG, almost always in C. So most the tunes he plays on concertina - and that's a minority of his tunes, since mostly he plays accordion - are very accessible to 20 button players.
  11. Continuing my recent John Kirkpatrick kick: "Fair Play," from his great Duck Race CD. Written, I believe, by his late ex-wife. Played on a 30 button Lachenal / Dipper Anglo
  12. That complicates things a bit. A decent handheld should do fine for you.
  13. There are several options. A good handheld recorder like the Zoom H4n is incredibly convenient, and makes very good quality recordings; that's what I used to prefer, and still use to record band rehearsals and the like. A potential step up in quality but down in convenience: using your computer, good mics and an audio interface. Like David, I use a Scarlett 2i2, which enables me to use decent mics (Shure sm57s) with my Mac. The crossed mic arrangement pictured above helps with the problem of sound bouncing from side to side in stereo recordings, but in my experience you get better sound quality by having one mic on each side of the instrument, pointed to the end and placed close. Software - there are many digital audio apps, many fairly expensive, but the free ones (Garageband comes with the Mac OS, Audacity works on all platforms) are fine for most purposes. The handheld is a great all in one solution; if you don't already have good mics, it's certainly the most cost effective one. If you are recording in an environment with some background noise - a furnace fan, for example, or a noisy computer fan - the handheld is more prone to picking it up.
  14. I once was told that "7th chords don't belong in English music, and especially not Morris music." Advice I have cheerfully avoided over the years. I learned much of my current morris repertoire from Nick Robertshaw, who was prolific in his use of 7th, 9th, and for all I know 85th chords.
  15. Fascinating information. It's very cool how these tunes migrate and change. Yes, a Morris / English ceilidh touch; it clings to me like dog hair. I do hear the tune as inherently chunky, and I admit to being influenced by the amazing melodeon playing of Will Allen, whose recent recording reminded me of this great tune:
  16. Interesting research, for sure! Fascinating how tunes migrate and change until the origins become murky. And yes, I have a strong penchant for adding Bm chords with reckless abandon.
  17. What Ken said. A quick try suggested something more than a typical 30 button layout is critical. Plus talent, of course.
  18. Splendid! Thanks. I can't tell you how much I miss playing tunes with you.
  19. The last two parts are cool; I'll give them a try. Turns out it's also a favorite tune for pipe bands, as in this:
  20. Hi Robin - no, I never saw this - is it in the Toronto book? Mostly, I don't look at notation, and had no idea there were 2 more parts. I've heard the tune on and off for years, and think I played it at a London session or two, but only decided to play it this week after hearing the high energy version by melodeon player Will Allen. So is it english or french canadian? One Web source says it "first appears in manuscripts on both sides of the Atlantic in the mid-18th century." It doesn't sound quebecois to me. I love stories like this.
  21. Just hacking around on a dreary winters day. This: the Sussex Cotillion. A great tune for playing around with different left hand stuff. Played on a Jeffries 30 button GD Anglo
  22. That's really interesting. I love these stories of convoluted musical provenance.
  23. Berendanse. Just messing around today. I played this one years ago and quickly forgot it. I always heard that it's Flemish in origin, which may or may not be true; you know how these things go. The A part is almost identical to the 'Bear Dance' used for some border dances. Played on a 30 button Jeffries GD Anglo concertina.
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