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Henri VIII

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Posts posted by Henri VIII

  1. Dr. Bones,


    Welcome to the Crane side of the street. Life is a little different here but you'll come to like it.


    May I recommend that you check out the Concertina.com website. It's about Duets, primarily Maccanns, but there's some very valuable information for all Duet systems.


    You may find this page of particular interest:




    I'll have to change my Signature line -- I'm no longer the only Crane player in Florida! The world just got considerably smaller.


    Again, welcome,

    Henri VIII

    48 button Lachenal "Sally Army" Crane / Triumph

    Deltona, Florida, USA

  2. It's been explained to me by hardcore Irish Traditional musicians that the blending is the important thing, including concertinas and fiddles. Being only half Irish, I respectfully beg to differ. I grew up hearing my Dutch Father playing Big Band and earlier jazz LPs and while I appreciated their fine ensemble "blended" playing, I definitely preferred the instrumental solos. When I was playing bluegrass music years ago in my pre-free reed days, I noticed the same "ensemble then solo" phenomenon. For me, when a fiddle and concertina are playing the same line, the concertina always loses out to the louder strains of the fiddle and might as well have just sat out the tune and enjoyed a beverage instead.



    Henri, who always follows that different drummer as exhibited by being perhaps the only Crane Duet player in Florida

  3. Question for Dirge:


    My hat's off to you since you say that you use all of your 71 keys. I play a 48 key Sally Army Crane and I'll have to admit that I would like to try a 55 but that's it, at least, I hope so.


    Have you ever recorded your Maccan playing? I daresay that you may well be one of the only large Maccan players alive and I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to hear you.




    Henri van Wandelen

    near Daytona Beach, Florida, USA

  4. I have a rosewood-ended, 48 button Lachenal Crane / Truimph Salvation Army 'tina #3754 with six fold bellows -- without an air release button.


    Any thoughts on why my Crane doesn't have an air button when other Lachenals do (please be nice ;^)


    I'd appreciate having the option of being able to use an air button -- would those of you that don't use your air button mind if I borrowed said button for those chordy tunes every once in a while?





    P.S. If anyone is considering selling their 55 button Crane, please let me know!

  5. Hi Jeff,


    You might enjoy dropping in on Gibson's workshop / store in the Opry Mills Mall in Nashville:




    I believe that they make all their mandolins, banjos, and Dobros there and you can see the luthiers performing their magic if you go on a weekday. We saw lots of pretty shavings on the Sunday that we went, alas, the only day we could manage.


    Please keep recording your wonderfully entertaining videos on your Hayden Duet, bones, and upon whatever else you'd care to treat us to. I'm sorting life out on my Crane Duet and it's inspirational to watch and listen to a fine Duet player.


    Happy Trails,

    Henri VIII

  6. Having just finished a fine dinner here at home, I thought I'd play a representative of each family of Free Reed instruments that we own. I started with our 1895 Estey Reed Organ (also called a Pump Organ and related to the Harmonium) then moved to my Hohner Blues Harp Harmonica, and finished with my 1915 Lachenal Crane / Triumph Concertina. We don't (as yet!) own an accordion or I'd have played that, too.


    I trust I'm not alone in my love of the Free Reed sound, am I?


    What say you, good concertinists?


    Happy Trails,

    Henri in Central Florida

  7. John,


    Ask and you shall receive:


    There's a small Crane on Ebay as we speak, # 120279452237


    I play a 48 key Lachenal Crane that I'm very happy with. As you're an Anglo player, you'll find a Crane somewhat different but you'll figure it out without difficulty. I find this system very intuitive and pleasant to play. Playing a 35 key instrument will limit you but it should be a reasonably painless way to test the waters. I won't mention that I'm lusting after a 55 key instrument, in order to better play that Baroque polyphony you mentioned ;)


    Small Cranes, as you've probably noticed, don't attract much interest, so if you do purchase one, plan to keep it. When you later move up to 48 or more keys, you'll have a nice little 35 to use to teach your first Crane student.


    Good luck and let us know what happens.



    Henri in stormy Florida

  8. Hello Lars,


    Three points to consider:


    1) Since concertinas are not inexpensive, most concertina players begin with the less-expensive instruments and, as their playing skills and budgets increase, they acquire better instruments. This is pretty much a fact of life for concertina players. I'd wager you that Guinness you spoke of that each of the players who have responded to you on this forum is no longer playing their first instrument. A poor analogy is that you're more likely to learn to drive a car in a Yugo rather than in a Ferrari, no?


    2) Danny Chapman is not a novice concertina player by any means. It will require patient practice and time to learn to play as he does. I've found that playing the tin whistle in a rapid tempo was easier to learn than playing a concertina at a similar speed but both can certain be played fast.


    3) There was an American television series several years ago where a young man was training to be a Chinese monk. His instructor said that "when you can snatch the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave" the school. A concertina player knows that "it is time" for a better instrument when his or her playing is slowed by their particular instrument -- it will be quite clear when that time arrives. This may take years, so don't worry yourself about not getting that Lamborghini during your first week of driving.


    That said, I'd recommend that you purchase the inexpensive English concertina and get to playing. Try to meet other concertina players, listen to them play, and gently ask to try their instruments. If you later decide that you'd prefer to play an Anglo, then get one of those -- many players here play more than one system -- I'm no expert but even I can manage a tune or two on English, Anglo, and now my favorite Crane Duet.


    Forgive the hack phrase but "just do it".


    Henri in Central Florida

  9. Dear Wim,


    I hope that you'll be half as happy moving to Washington as my Father was moving from Rotterdam to San Francisco back in 1950. Washington is a wondrous place though I think you may have trouble finding "green herring".


    Be sure to look up David Daye in Langley, Washington -- his innovations have helped the recent Uilleann Pipe revival. His website is:




    Again, Welcome to the USA,


    Henri van Wandelen, Jr.

  10. Dear OCD,


    Thanks -- Robert Gaskins certainly has something to say on the subject of baffles.


    I had baffles fitted on my Crane to reduce the volume ... on both sides equally. I'm pleased with my current sound but it's interesting to know how the balance had been modified "back in the day".


    Henri in Central Florida

  11. Greetings,


    Is there any evidence that a Duet Concertinas had intentionally been voiced by the maker differently in the left and right hands? For instance, does anyone know of any example where the left hand reeds are voiced relatively more "mellow" and the right hand reeds "brighter"?


    Henri in Central Florida

  12. Caroline,


    First, I'm by no means an expert player but I'll offer my observations accordingly.


    I prefer the sound of the lower end of these concertinas to the higher end, so I tend to play the lower available notes of each hand, if that makes any sense.


    Caroline, here's some additional "duet concertina anatomy" information that you may not be aware of or that you might not appreciate the utility of. The highest notes on the left hand are the same as the lowest notes on the right hand -- this is typically called "overlap" and allows refreshing flexibility in choosing the fingerings of various arrangements of music. Cranes, Maccanns, and even Anglos, include overlap, all in somewhat different arrangements. For example, the left hand on a 48-button Crane goes from the Ivan's valuable C below Middle C up a full octave to C and then it continues to the G above that. This second, higher C on the left hand plays the same pitch as the lowest note on the right hand, on it's own reed, of course -- so this higher half octave on the left hand duplicates the lowest half octave on the right hand, note for note. I find that I tend to play notes in this range quite frequently and having the choice of fingers and left / right hands is a definite "nice to have" for me. With a 55-button Crane, this "overlap" is be the full chromatic octave, which is something I'm looking forward to exploring down the line "when my ship comes in" and I'm able to trade up.


    Good luck and keep us informed of your Duet Adventures!


    Henri in Central Florida, where we had a few snow flurries last night for the first time in five years which caused only minimal damage to our citrus crops, thank goodness

  13. Hi Caroline,


    I can highly recommend buying a Lachenal Crane from Chris Algar -- he was very patient and helpful with me a couple of years ago when I bought my "Salvation Army Triumph" Lachenal 48 from him. I've found the Crane layout quite logical though I'll have to agree with Andrew that Cranes seem happier in simpler keys. A 48 would be fine but I think a 55 key would be even better, if they're neither heavier nor larger. Notice that many Cranes / Triumphs are from the Salvation Army and have wooden ends but plain black bellows. I hope you'll enjoy your Crane / Triumph as much as I do and please give Chris my best.


    Henri in Central Florida

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