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Paul Groff

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  1. Many memories of Bruce have surfaced since Ricky first posted this thread... I trust Peter Kasin and the Balclutha gang made the timbers ring remembering him. If you hear an old squeezebox as you sail along, just the wind in the rigging or Bruce with a song...
  2. Hi all, First, I don't want to interfere in any way with the sale. Second, I haven't seen this instrument since I sold it to the current seller so can't vouch for its current condition. But I would like to add two comments: 1) The seller has been very reliable and honest in all transactions and I recommend her to deal with. 2) This concertina's history with me: It was rebuilt very nicely as a student instrument and owned by a beginner, who came in later to "trade up." However, that owner had not kept it humidified and it had been subject to bad cracking of the ends, and then some amateur repairs. I got it working again but did not invest in redoing the cosmetics. The most cost-effective way to deal with that would probably be to find a similar Lachenal 20 key with uncracked ends that matches the button sizes and positions. There are hundreds if not thousands of those 20 key Lachenals around and unrestored, with brass reeds, they tend to sell for less than $300.... sometimes a *lot* less. I may even have ends myself that fit that instrument. The end result would probably be a much nicer looking instrument, than trying to repair those cracked and misglued ends. Having said all that, when I last sold it, the instrument was working and sounding *really* well so if priced to reflect its cosmetics, it could be a bargain for someone who values playability and sound more than looks. *All depending on what condition it is in right now, which I do not know.* PG
  3. Another quote (from Daniel Corkery) , I have seen used making a point in the context of virtuosity and Irish music: Peter, I love the Corkery quote. And yes, the word "virtuoso" has become contaminated and no longer is appropriate to indicate a high quality of overall musicianship and emotional communication. But even if we look at musicians and genres where we can recognize a simple-hearted, plain-speaking, honest, (maybe even gruff? rough-hewn? homespun?) technical vocabulary expressing powerful feelings, powerfully received by the audience.... Still, it takes *something* in the culture to make the young dedicate themselves to *that* standard of quality in art or musical craft. Why do people devote so much of their precious and formative early years of quickest learning, to *some* instruments and traditions? There have to be strong rewards in the culture -- sometimes the prospect of a successful livelihood, maybe fame, maybe a fad in the culture that makes such musicianship very attractive to the opposite sex -- to induce *a high proportion* of the young to try it out. Such as we have had (at some times in our history) with other musical instruments, or even with sports etc. Even in these days of youtube, mp3 file sharing, etc. it is still possible for quite a few people to make a living playing instruments like the piano, guitar, maybe even some doing it with the banjo or clavichord.... but how much support does the culture give someone who would like to make the concertina their craft for life? How many can do that? I fully recognize that (e.g. by monks in the Dark Ages) traditions can be nurtured despite overall cultural trends. And noncommercial traditions passed down and cherished among families and local friends can be among the most important and beautiful legacies of any generation. And that the measure of quality in an art or craft can have little to do with its economic value. Imagine if there were 100 concertina players making a living with their instrument in every city. And thousands of youngsters looking up to them, learning from them, struggling to compete with them (not necessarily in the athletic, "faster" etc dimensions, but to have an equal or greater emotional impact on the audience). And millions to listen appreciatively, understanding and responding to the music. Numbers are not the measure of quality as I said, but exposure is needed to capture the attention and motivate the efforts of that rare young person who might have the most to offer the instrument. Now for me, and for many adults who have tried to learn the concertina, its relative obscurity has a component of charm. Honestly, that's not why I play it. I just love the concertina, and it had to be a truly wonderful instrument to displace my love for (and the years I devoted to) the guitar and piano. But that is why some folks play it, I'm sure! Beyond that, there is a special cameraderie among some of us who recognize a passion ignored by a majority (at least in the US and I suspect even in Ireland and in the countries that first gave us this instrument). I do think the finest young, and not so young players of today are plenty good enough for me to admire and enjoy their music. I also really love the recordings of many players who have left us; whether they could play in more than one key or not, their music still echoes powerfully. But I do believe if there were more respect for this instrument in the culture, youngsters that are not finding it now might find it, and that would be a wonderful thing. Why isn't the concertina getting that attention? So many instruments have gone through cycles of wide cultural appreciation, then infantilization and ridicule....the accordion, the banjo, the ukulele. You could write a thesis on each of them, or all of them. But it has to be said that publicly promoting music on an instrument, or in a musical idiom, that is unfamiliar to the culture, is harder when many of those promoted (or self-promoted) are not very successful musically. I am not talking here about a rough-edged technique, but (for example) not succeeding in producing a recognizable dance rhythm when the intent is to play dance music. Joe Derrane made this point in an interview in the old C & S magazine (NB I am paraphrasing here): "It bothers me that some of the people playing Irish music in public do it so poorly.... people ask me 'how can you stand that stuff?' If you are going to play Irish music, do it decently and represent it well." I feel the same about the concertina. It's great to see the really fine musicians on youtube (especially the young ones, and notably some of the young players in Ireland playing anglos). But it has to be said that the sight and sound of many an alleged "traditional" session has probably turned off young people who might potentially have taken an interest in the concertina, were the music right and powerful. As someone who has done his best to learn a little on this instrument as an adult, but with many many faults and limitations, I am surely guilty of this also. But I keep trying to play a little better in hopes that someone younger with more potential to offer the concertina will hear what I am trying to achieve, and at least consider that worth doing better than I can. PG
  4. There was one of these at the Dippers about 5 or 6 years ago when we had some fun looking at nonstandard designs. As I remember it, it was unsigned but I was speculating Nickolds & Crabb. I am pretty sure I posted about it on this forum somewhere, possibly in connection to a similar "new" one-plate-per-end english concertina prototype shown in the old Concertina & Squeezebox magazine. Anyway, unless the one Stephen bought is the same one that had been at the Dippers, there must have been at least three of the type shown in the OP. PG
  5. Hi guys, Larre and (Mark?), glad you are having some fun and challenges trying different ideas on the concertina. Those older players made some great music that still inspires me and I'm glad it caught your ear. ceemonster and Peter, FYI my main point was that if you listen to some of the excellent older players (not to mention many recent and current ones), in many cases a lot of creativity was stimulated by the challenge of playing the tunes along one row of a 10-key melodeon, or one row of a concertina, or even on the two rows of a german concertina. So-called "limitations" or rather constraints can be springboards to great craftsmanship and art. We listened to lovely settings by P. J. Conlon, William Sullivan, Mrs. Crotty, Mrs. O'Dwyer, and John Kelly. Not only the settings, but the way these musicians then delivered the tunes (their phrasing, timing, variations, octaves, chords, bellows control etc.) go into making music just as good - if not better - than you might hear in some performances of the "common settings" of these tunes. Peter, from her recordings I can tell your late friend Kitty Hayes was also able to control her instrument in a way enabling her to succeed making great music, with settings that also may seem "nonstandard" to some modern anglo players (for example, "G" tunes played in the fa mode of C - that is, "F more or less," on one or two rows of a C/G). Compare Willie Mullally's settings of G tunes.... So why not try those settings (and other similar ones) and techniques and see if you can learn to make them work. This will challenge you to control your instrument in a way that may be new to you. ceemonster, I like long phrases too, sometimes. On a 45 key concertina I sometimes play a tune in D (or in C for that matter) with very long sequences of notes all on the pull, or all on the push. It's handy learning to do that especially if you want to develop the ability to add drones, and to have them change direction when you want a phrase to end. But it's also worth learning to be able to control the bellows and buttons sufficiently that you can make changes in direction almost inaudible in the phrasing (when you want to do so). Then you can give the effect of a long phrase even though you might be changing bellows direction within it. Great players on the box (including the one row) and concertina can do that beautifully. I personally am still trying to get better at this, along with my many other technical struggles. But I can do it to a degree. One way to work on this is through the challenge provided by the beautiful, classic, and often neglected, settings of the great one-row melodeon players such as Conlon. Not that there is anything wrong with short phrases, either, and I like those too in many situations. Odd as it might seem in the context of this discussion, it often makes sense to me to make short phrases with finger (button) articulation and rests, rather than changing bellows direction. Back to the best classic settings of the one-row players, they have this to recommend them: 1) The basic notes/buttons/directions/fingers are easy to communicate to total beginners since they lack confusing "multiple options," 2) Still, they can be used to make great traditional music as the old players proved, 3) The technical skills (timing, bellows control, etc) needed to make them successful musically are worth mastering for any musician, and in fact may still be a challenge for some experienced players who have been used to fingering in a different way, and 4) The slight humoring or re-working of the tunes that was sometimes used to fit them to the one-row scale can be positively refreshing to the ear of experienced players. Oh, 5) In some cases the one-row settings actually offer better options for adding octaves and other traditional effects, compared to the so-called "ergonomic or fast" fingerings that some modern players prefer. So, learn to play the concertina every different way if you have the time and motivation... at least, every way that makes the music sound good. But a lot of beginners, and possibly some experienced players, could do worse than to learn to make some of the "simple" one-row settings sound good. Just some ideas to consider. PG
  6. They only used those wide buttons in the mid 1930s, which would agree with the style of name badge on the instrument too. Hi Stephen, That's interesting.... for some years I owned a superb Linota whose serial number put it at 1928. This came to me in high pitch, and seemingly very original condition. But it came to me with the wide buttons, which I always assumed were original to the instrument. This was a brilliant sounding 36 key ebonized-end C/G, and miles above some other prewar Linotas I have seen. Sycamore soundboards. Looked similar if not identical to the one played in this youtube video, and a very similar sound. Lovely music available these days.... I will have to try to get a computer at home someday. PG
  7. Steven, You might know the answer to the related question, what concertinas did John use on the Topic/Free Reed LP (now reissued as a cd)? I think there is at least one track that sounds like the Crabb and is in the right pitch for it (as also the tracks on the old Seoda Ceoil LP also featuring Willie Clancy). From the tone and pitches, I always assumed that some other tracks on the Topic LP were made on a high-pitch Bb/F concertina rather than John's 1960s Crabb. Of course this is leaving aside the tracks that are identified as "double-reeded concertina" (which may be a couple of different German instruments, or possibly one of those tracks identified as on the German concertina is actually on a London-made one). When I asked James Kelly about this, he thought that his father might have been playing a Bb/F instrument loaned to him for the recording, possibly by Neil Wayne. But the liner notes to the new cd reissue specifically state that the recordings, where not on the double-reeded instrument, used John's 1960s Crabb. ?? I think I remember Aoife, John Jr's daughter, mentioning that she had both her grandfather's Crabb and his Jeffries, so maybe that solves the mystery. A related issue is that some of the tracks on the Free Reed recordings may possibly have been shifted in pitch, if alternative instruments were not used (only speculating here, but compare the two tracks of "The Blue Gentian Waltz" included on the reissue cd of Chris Droney's "The Flowing Tide"). PG
  8. Thanks, Larre, This should be a lot of fun. I do have some ideas on playing the concertina, and some tunes, that may be new to some of you, but those of you who are more expert can share your different ideas too. It would be great for everyone to play a little and to listen and try to learn some things by ear ... if you need it I can give some guidance about which buttons and which bellows directions to try. Learning by ear is a crucial skill that only develops if you practice it. But later I will make some written music available to those who like that for reference (keeping in mind that traditional notation doesn't encode all that is communicated when we play). A tape recorder might be helpful and/or pencils and paper for notes. Some other student in the class may play something you would want to hear again. If there is a blackboard I will use it; otherwise I'll pass out some handouts. BTW, although if demanded I can keep some of you busy using all 3 or 4 rows of a fancy anglo-chromatic concertina, much of the music I have in mind will fit on a 20 key concertina and could be played on a decent German instrument.* You don't have to have an expensive english-made concertina to join us. I may even bring a couple extras of these 20-key instruments along for last-minute recruits. It has always impressed me that some concertinists (especially in the older generation) could create music of very high quality on just the main two rows of a Lachenal or Crabb anglo, or even on a brass-reeded German 20 key, just like the fine melodeon players of yesterday and today with their 10 key, 1-row boxes.... The names Mrs. Crotty, John Kelly Sr., P.J. Conlon, and many more come to mind. Willie Mullally was mentioned by Larre and elsewhere recently. Although I'm sure he used at least 2 rows (plus the LH thumb button?), the style is heavily colored by certain effects of "along the row" playing, common to melodeon players. The version of "Green Groves of Erin" played by Paddy Murphy (and available on the wonderful Celtic Crossings cd, "In Good Hands") is interesting to compare with Mullally's, and also with the more "A minor" version played by Sonny Murray and others. There are some important differences between concertina and melodeon settings of tunes but also many points in common and I thought it would be interesting to discuss and show them. Some lovely traditional "concertina settings" of tunes are not too far from the "melodeon settings" -- and though accessible to beginners and the owners of very inexpensive concertinas, it is still a challenge to get the most music out of these settings even for players like me who have been at it a while. I presented a couple of these settings as part of a short workshop on "unusual keys and settings" a few years ago and some of the participants seemed to enjoy them. Best of all may be the opportunity to hear some of Jack Conroy's superb box playing on his 1 1/2 row and 1 row accordions, if he is able to come down to join us as planned. Anyone with further questions is welcome to email me directly: groff (at) bio (dot) miami (dot) edu. See you in Gainesville, PG * Yes, I mean a Scholer or similar, not necessarily a Suttner! Nice as they are.
  9. Frank, I agree with you that the chambers and slots for the RH side accidental row (draw) reeds of a Wheatstone Linota are not big enough to allow you to move the original reeds around, to get the Jeffries system. On the draw RH side a Wheatstone 30 key has eb, g, bb, eb, f whereas the Jeffries has c#, eb, g, bb, d -- bigger reeds in each comparable chamber and slot. What I would suggest would be to pull the original Wheatstone reeds for the notes you *really must change* and save them (with a diagram explaining their original location) with the instrument. Then, without modifying the reedpan in any way, I would suggest fitting some customized reeds to the original slots to give the pitches you want. Personally, I can usually get by without an eb in Irish music and don't mind a slightly different location for the draw g, so I would only need to fit a couple of additional reeds. ( I can also live without the press a on the RH side; if you really want that note in its Jeffries position, my suggestion may be trickier). The additional reeds could be modified from vintage reeds or newly made by a concertina maker. They will be a little short for their pitch (or a little flat for their length) but if carefully made and/or retuned from quality reeds, and if the shoes are carefully filed to fit the existing slots, they will work just fine. A very slight loss of volume on these notes should be the only compromise. The originality of the instrument will be completely restorable to its condition before the modification, and the instrument may be much more useful to its owner if he or she really prefers the Jeffries system. PG
  10. I remember seeing a photo on the cover of Mr. Bellamy's LP, "Both sides then" that showed the clips, attached to the endbolts, that could pivot to hold down buttons (retuned as drones, I think). This answered some questions for me about the anglo style I was hearing from his recordings. To my ears, he got a beautiful effect from this set-up. As always, it's the mind and heart of the musician that determines the quality of the results, not the gear. PG
  11. Hi Roger, Thanks for the clarification and sorry if I confused anyone. Unfortunately most of my cds are boxed up and inaccessible to me right now so it is sometimes hard to check these things. I agree that there is something special about all the recordings we have discussed in this thread, starting with Mike's excellent choice. Even when the players were technically brilliant (as many on these recordings were) there is a fearlessness and sometimes a rough texture that may seem unfamiliar to new listeners. The more you listen to these the more you will hear. I think the priorities for these musicians were rhythm, phrasing, expressiveness, and a tension between respect for the tradition they received and their own boldness in personalizing it. Many musicians working today seem to be communicating something else.... or maybe the music has just undergone a shift in dialect that makes the same meanings less intelligible to those of us who are older. Some traditional-music historians (of all kinds of traditional music) distinguish the sounds made by the earliest musicians recorded in the twentieth century from those made by later musicians who had come to understand and learn from recorded music. There is an idea out there that a kind of "mistake avoidance," (among other differences) may have taken root among many professional musicians that risks robbing the music of its power and spontaneity. IMO the situation is complicated and gradated with many traditional musicians right up to the present learning and playing most of their music "live," and also with some truly great 20th century musicians being highly influenced by recordings. More important may be that the standards and expectations of some of the audience (and dancers where there still are such) for dance music may have changed, pulling musicians in certain directions if they are to be "successful." Roger, there still are great, spontaneous and fearless musicians playing all kinds of traditional music. Even some great recordings of them are still being made. But these may struggle to find an audience today, with so many listeners (today's "market" for traditional music?) accustomed to highly glossy production, modern intonation, sweet flawless technical surfaces, and less understanding of the deep gutsy dance rhythms and phrasing that were at the heart of "great honest music even when rough." PG
  12. Not to mention the old LP "Paddy in the Smoke," which I think was released on cd in at least two versions ("Paddy in the Smoke" and "In the Smoke"). Great recordings of Bobby Casey, Martin Byrnes and many more with great sleeve notes -- and steady uncluttered piano driving -- from Mr. Hall. PG
  13. Hi Mike, I'm sure you know about Reg's work with the Scan Tester recordings. He has published some great research over the years. The LP you mention was re-released as a cd some years back. I agree with you that the original LP is priceless and so is the cd -- in fact, since each has tracks that the other lacks it is worth having both. IIRC the LP has two tracks each from the original Ballinakill Traditional Dance Players and the Belhavel Trio, the cd only one.... but the new tracks added to the cd are also lovely, as are the new notes with great pictures. PG
  14. Hi Larre, We can talk about these Mullally settings next month at the Gainesville tionol and I will bring Harry Bradshaw's tape for you to hear. As you and I discussed, before I noticed this topic on the forum, in the workshop I want to focus on a number of nice settings of tunes for concertina influenced by the playing of one-row melodeon players including Conlon, William Sullivan, etc. Many fine concertina players such as Mrs. Crotty and John Kelly sr (and more recently, the late Kitty Hayes) also played much of their repertoire in this way, but when playing in this style on the middle row of a C/G box their settings come out in C, Dm, G mixolydian and F (F hexatonic, or alternatively in a mode with a sharp 4th note of the scale) instead of D, Em, A mixolydian, and G. For example, compare John Kelly's setting of the Bag of Potatoes with the setting by William Sullivan .... John Kelly's setting is "inflected," using both F# and F natural, and is in the key of G (if played on a C/G anglo) but otherwise very similar to William Sullivan's version in A mixolydian on the 1 row D melodeon. Mullally's "Jackson's Thought" (a version of Cherish the Ladies) with an apparent thumb D drone that continues (though "breathing") with bellows changes in the melody notes, and the *two button* (not three button) C#BA triplets I mentioned earlier are very suggestive of his concertina system. Further evidence, if you need it, comes from his frequent and effortless choice of C# passing tones in G tunes, just as in Conlon's "Flogging Reel," "Banks of Newfoundland," etc. PG edited for spelling and (I hoped...) clarity
  15. I have often found Mullally's "C#BA" triplets, and the settings of some of Mullally's tunes, that are very similar to those used by D melodeon players such as P. J. Conlon and his contemporaries, interesting... Obviously these can be played easily on a 36 or 40 key Wheatstone C/G, and the frequent use of C# in places where today we might expect C natural was "in the air" at that time (for example in many of the 78s by fiddlers and pipers). But I have often wondered if Mullally's concertina had a D row. PG
  16. Hi, Yes, mine has the same accidental notes, though I haven't gotten the high Eb to sound yet... Jon Hi Jon, This may be just an issue of cleaning a little dust or rust between the steel reed tongue and the frame. Very thin stainless shim stock can be cut or torn into little bits that are perfect for this -- a little more power than the traditional paper money method. Try not to disturb the position of the reed tongue relative to the frame (at least initially). But the failure to sound could possibly be a misalignment of the tongue to the frame, or could also be an issue of the slight clearance above the frame to which the reed tongue should be set. For the high reeds this clearance is pretty low, but the Jones broad reeds can be a little tricky to set. Often the original tuner for Jones has curled up one corner of the reed tongue a tiny amount as I have also seen in some reed organs. That curling should not be necessary if it is not already present, but if it is present I leave it and try to work around it if tuning is needed. But another possibility is the valving or lack of it. The high reeds in many concertinas work better with no valves at all (absence of a valve for the highest little reeds results in only a little loss of air through the reed that is not sounding, unlike for the lower reeds, but presence of a valve here can lead to "choking"), but if a valve is present its dimensions and action can be critical. PG
  17. Jon, The low G# press, rather than the low E press as found on many other makes of anglos, was common for Jones anglos and IIRC is shown in the diagram in his anglo tutor. I loaned out my copy of the reprint of the Jones tutor and never got it back, but I bet copies are floating around. The reprints were published by Joel Cowan and/or by Concertina & Squeezebox in the 1980s. You would want the G# on press to use as an octave with the other G# (actually the other two G#s ) on the instrument, and similarly the low F ought to be in the same direction as the other F notes, which are on the draw. If you need a low E, you can probably get a spare one and file it to fit the slot in the pan where the G# was. Jones anglos also very often have the low notes G (press) /D (draw) on the lowest button of the G row, rather than the B/D, B/A, or B/C that are commonly found on Lachenals, Wheatstones, Crabbs, and Jeffries in that position. PG Edited to add: I found one version of Jones' anglo tutor (from 1946) at www.concertina.com, and it does *not* show the low G# press. But maybe the version of Jones' tutor that I had was a reprint of one of the earlier editions. By 1946, the old Jones layout would not likely have been used on any new instruments. Possibly my memory of having seen the low G# in the reprinted tutor was wrong. In any event, I have seen *many* original Jones C/G anglos (with 30 + buttons) that had the G#/F as the lowest button on the accidental row.
  18. Tragic Hi Theo, I am glad to hear you voice this view. I have met quite a few Jeffries owners from Ireland who have the same issue with thin tone/ reeds thinned at the tips. This note-for note repitching used to be quite common not so long ago. My first great concertina, purchased from a very well-known dealer, was retuned by him from Bb/F to C/G the week before I bought it. A truly great model of Jeffries 31 key. A couple years later when Noel Hill looked it over, he pointed out to me that some of the high reeds had "windows" (steel filed right through) in them.... This experience was a big influence on my subsequent interest in originality of reedwork in the finest concertinas, and in learning to tune myself. On the one hand, that concertina was still fast and responsive and I learned a lot from it, though often frustrated by its tone (timbre) ... learned both how to play on a Jeffries and what not to ever let a tuner do to a fine concertina.... The late Paul Davies actually considered that it made some concertina reeds "faster" to respond if they were tuned up from their value in *original high pitch Bb/F* to concert pitch C/G. This would be less than a whole tone higher. But both Paul and I agreed in preferring the reed profile of very original Jeffries -- for both of us, for our own taste, the compromise of timbre (the "depth" or gravity of tone) made repitching upward by 3/4 of a full tone a bad idea.... even from the selfish perspective of one concertina owner's wishes. WHen you consider (as Chris Timson, among others, has noted) that the useful life of a concertina can be two or more times the playing life of any one owner, other ethical considerations come into play. I will never know, but from the file marks on the reeds I suspect that sometime in the history of my own first Jeffries it was first repitched down from high pitch Bb/F to A 440 Bb/F, and then this well-known (and on this forum, often praised) dealer tried to get each reed back up a full tone to A 440 C/G. The worst reeds have now been replaced with excellent ones, and it is still a very fine concertina, but having since learned how original Jeffries reedwork *should* respond and sound, I will always be aware of what has been compromised. I believe this dealer no longer tunes up concertinas in this way. And I will always be grateful that he got an instrument into my hands that helped me learn. And it was sold (though doubtless at a good profit for him) at a small fraction of what these models command today. In that bigger perspective the dealer did me a great service, and my first Jeffries was one of the best bargains ever.... though if I could turn back the clock with what I know now, I would have bought a different one or tried to get that one a week earlier while it was still in Bb/F. IMO a better way to repitch a concertina from Bb/F to C/G, which can only be done by a pro with the ability to make reeds or with access to many high quality spare ones, is to shift reeds around so that they require less retuning. Some reeds not original to the concertina will usually have to be added, and some will be left over. Even better, if the original reeds in the Bb/F are really superb and original examples, would be to make or find a complete alternative set in C/G, fit those with no alterations to the concertina's reedpans, and preserve the original reeds as a complete set so they could be re-installed without alteration. The latter approach is so expensive that it is not usually done, but I have done it in some cases, especially with my own instruments. The result is a completely reversible repitching that preserves the option of returning to complete originality while making the concertina very useful in the meantime. Owners of very valuable ($10K - 100K) vintage banjos often carry out a similar "reversible conversion" by making a new 5 string neck and preserving the original neck of a tenor banjo. Maybe a more important message is simply: caveat emptor to those buying fine vintage concertinas, especially the (hundreds? of) ones that were restored in the 1970s and 1980s. Many of them may have had such a repitching job that has drastically thinned the tips of the original reeds. Paul Groff
  19. Hi Larre, Thanks for inviting me. It should be a good weekend for concertinas. After not having a concert pitch concertina for a while, by February I will either have one or be able to borrow one to use in teaching, but I also will hope to bring up an old-pitch one. Hi Alan, You are too kind as always. Never "one of the great players," I'm still and will always be a student ... and always expect to learn from every player I meet. By the way, I got out the A.I. cd just today. Thanks to you and Graham, Fred Kilroy and many others are still sharing their music. Hi Daniel, I remember that concertina very well. It would be fun to hear it again. That one may turn out to have company, with other concertinas I once owned also turning up for the tionol. Looking forward to meeting you as well. PG
  20. I don't think that's correct.... It seems that few people know that English Sycamore is the same tree as the American Maple. They're both Acer Pseudoplatanus, just their "familiar" names are different across the ocean. Maples are one of the most common trees in the US and widely available in quartersawn. Sycamore trees (Platanus species) in the US are called Plane trees in England, and are considerably different from the Acer Pseudoplatanus. -- Rich -- Hi Rich, True that english "sycamore" is a species of the genus Acer (often called "maples"), but this species is not one of the common, native, "American Maples" as you suggest. Common names of plants are not standardized in the way ornithologists have tried to standardize bird names. "Cedar" or "pine" as well as "sycamore" can mean many different species. That's why it can be very helpful to determine the "scientific name" as a link to accurate technical information about a plant species and its characteristics (including wood properties and availability). But important to have the right scientific name. Here is a good source of links to information about Acer pseudoplatanus (called "sycamore" in England and sometimes called "sycamore maple" in the US), as it occurs in the US: http://plants.usda.gov/java/nameSearch?key...amp;submit.y=11 And here is more general information about the various species of the genus Acer in the US: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACER As well as the Platanus species that are called "sycamore" in the US, there are also species not in the genus Acer that sometimes have "maple" in their common name. I would think most people mean Acer saccharum (commonest common name, "sugar maple") when talking about "American maple." Actually, however, many different native American species of Acer have useable wood as does the non-native, introduced "sycamore maple." PG
  21. Dan has it right. Ben Otto's comments are reasonable re: the "non-Mayfair Wheatstone" concertinas of the 1950s and 1960s, but the Mayfairs are not as well-made as those -- and actually not as well-made as some modern "accordion-style-reeded concertinas." Having said that, Mayfairs really can play pretty well and don't sound too bad. This wooden-ended anglo with f-holes had a warm, slightly boxed-in but strong and reedy sound that wasn't half bad for a student instrument. Before it acquired its current bad karma, a wonderful Irish musician (mostly known as a brilliant whistle player in New England) borrowed it from me as her first concertina, and *her* friend Micheal O'Raghallaigh told her it would be fine for her to learn on.... I don't know its current condition but if still in the condition as when I last saw it, I reckon it might be worth half as much as a new Morse Ceili. Good luck and caveat emptor. My (amateur) reading of US law informs me that "you can't get title -- legal ownership -- from a thief." Any real lawyers here may be able to clarify or correct that, or explain any exceptions. PG
  22. drbones, The ebay seller of this concertina is well aware that he is in the wrong here and knows who he is. Anyone considering bidding on it is welcome to email me for further information (groff (at) bio (dot) miami (d0t) edu). PG
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