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John Sylte

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Everything posted by John Sylte

  1. Hello Everyone, I used to be a regular here, but stopped trolling the forums two or three years ago... I wanted to own a nice vintage anglo concertina back in 2005, but there was nowhere to shop for one in my area. At the time I worked for a software company and had decent paychecks coming in on a regular basis. The strategy I employed was to buy nice looking Lachenals on Ebay, fix them up, and turn them over. For a couple years I really enjoyed learning how to fix them up, and was proud of my work. When I finally found the beautiful metal ended Lachenal I wanted to call my own, I kept it and spent more time playing than fixing. I still play a lot, and I love my Lachenal. The problem is, I have three or four others I haven't finished fixing, and I don't ever seem to find the time to complete them. I have a considerable amount of money tied up in them and they're just sitting in my house. I would like to either fix them up and sell them, or possibly just sell them to someone who could finish fixing them up and put them back into circulation. I was good at fixing concertinas in many regards, but tuning the reeds took a bit of trial and error. I learned many important lessons, and now I am great! Unfortunately, I rendered a few reeds useless working my way through the learning curve... If I am to finish fixing these, I need to find a source for some replacement reeds. I'm not sure it makes sense to order a bunch of replacement reeds from Button Box or David Leese, because I would have to ask for quite a few. So a couple questions: Are there any repair persons here that would be interested in completing these projects? All of my concertinas have great bellows, fully functioning hardware, and all bodywork is in solid condition. Reedwork is primarily all that remains. I really don't want to sell these at rock bottom prices, but I would entertain reasonable offers. I would of course provide pictures and complete descriptions... I should probably just go ahead and do this for each one. My other option is to find some wrecked Lachenals that I could use as reed donors. Is anyone here sitting on some fixer upper projects with GOOD reeds that they would be willing to sell me for a reasonable price? Are there any other options I am not considering? Is anyone selling brand new reed sets that would fit in Lachenals? I would entertain bulk sale offers too, but I wouldn't expect any offers until complete photos and descriptions are available. This on it's own seems a daunting task... I'm just trying to dip my toe in the water here. I need to get these beautiful Mahagony ended Lachenals back into circulation. I have: -30 button steel reed Mahagony ended Lachenal with good original bellows -30 button brass reeded Mahagony ended Lachenal with good original bellows -26 button steel reeded Mahagony ended Lachenal with brand new Leese bellows -20 button Mahagony ended Lachenal with no reeds I would appreciate your feedback! Thanks-
  2. It's been a while since I hung out on this chat group... Hope you all are well! I play a lot of trad Irish and American music. I just finished an album with my American old timey fiddle group Dead Fiddlers Society. On it I play mostly fiddle, banjo, and harmonica. I don't use my concertina a lot in old time music, but on some tunes it works really well. Swannanoa Waltz is a tune written by Rayna Gellert that I recorded on concertina. It is the last track on our new album. You can preview some of our other tracks here... http://cdbaby.com/cd/DeadFiddlersSociety1 Enjoy! Swannanoa Waltz.mp3
  3. I'm on there. Same name. There's another Danish John Sylte who is a priest. I'm the gringo.
  4. Ah hah! Extensor tendon, the exact opposite of my injury. Now I understand! I thought you said flexor in your original post... Definitely do NOT try the rubber band trick! I can't believe this happened to you while pulling your socks off... Makes me wonder about the danger of all the mundane tasks I carry out on a daily basis. Let us know how/when it heals up! Good luck-
  5. Fiddler Joe Bob, So, you severed a flexor, and it's healing in a splint? I don't understand how a splint is going to fix a tendon that is not touching the bone anymore? I must be missing something... I severed mine at "the point of insertion" which is right where the tendon attaches to the bone. That's why it was so difficult for them to repair it. They ended up drilling a hole through my fingertip bone, up through my fingernail, and running my tendon through the hole in the bone, attached topside with a shirt button so it couldn't slip back through. After 6 weeks they took the button off... How did your doctor explain the tendon fixing itself? I'm not trying to trump your doctor by any means! I just don't quite understand how your tendon is supposed to fix itself without being reattached... Are you doing Physical Therapy? (After asking your doctor) Try a fatty rubber band (like those put on artichoke stems or lobster claws) to keep your finger curled. I showed my surgeon how I was using the rubber band and he said there was no better physical therapy than doing exactly what I was doing. Medical statistics predicted that I would never get full flexion after four surgeries, and today I can close my fist completely. I credit that to fiddling with my rubber band for over a year while my tendon was healing... You will fiddle again!
  6. My opinion as a casual American is that the language is way overboard on sarcasm. I would even go so far as to call it unprofessional. However, I get a good chuckle imagining all the employees coughing and wheezing in the shipping room and laughing uncontrollably over the hilarity of their writings... Still, to an outsider, I'd say the writing is potentially offensive (or at least alienating) to most. In the last ten years there has been a HUGE wave of sarcasm in the evolution of America's collective sense of humor. So much so that I often feel I was born in the wrong century.
  7. One of the main reasons I picked up concertina was because of an injury to my left index finger that kept me from fiddling, my primary instrument. On Dec 19, 2005 I was screwing sheet metal roofing onto the roof of my two story home as it was nearing completion. When I started the task it was sunny out. My shoes were grippy and sticky and I was walking all over with no problems. Halfway through the project it started snowing. I was not roped up. To make matters worse I ran out of screws and had no screw heads to walk atop on my way back to the ladder. Fearing a quick slip followed by a long drop, I got on my hands and knees and began to brachiate like a crab, using the ridges of the corrugated metal to keep from sliding off. I traveled 20 feet in what took probably 15 minutes, got right next to the ladder, and my knees slipped, I fell to my stomach, and I began sliding backwards. I had only 3 feet to slide before falling. I grabbed the edge of the sheet metal roofing to prevent myself from going over the edge. In doing so I severed the flexor tendon and nerve in my left index finger. The first two surgeries failed to reconnect my tendon to the bone. After the 3rd surgery, my tendon was reconnected, but bound up in adhesions so it wasn't sliding which made my finger useless for fiddling. The concertina doesn't require the very tip of the fingers to curl, so at this time I decided to expand on my harmonica playing and pick up concertina. I discovered I could fiddle using an artichoke rubber band as a prosthetic flexor tendon, wrapping it around my curled finger. This worked quite well except that it turned my finger purple every couple minutes. 2 years after my accident I had a fourth surgery that freed the tendon from the adhesions, and now I'm fiddling again without any rubber bands. I can no longer straighten out my finger completely because my tendon got shorter and shorter each time they tried to reconnect it, but it bends all the way to make a closed fist, which is what we fiddlers need in order to hit the finger board at the right angle. So three years later, I'm basically fine! I certainly hope no one here has a worse story...
  8. A thing of beauty! And made here in the states no less. WAY TO GO! I absolutely LOVE the idea of having interchangeable reedpans. I have only once had the pleasure of holding and playing a Bb/f, and I loved the sound. I would prefer that tuning whenever I'm playing alone...
  9. I have taken a few standard 20 button C/G Lachenals and pitched the whole instrument up to D/A. You then have the benefit of a D row and an A row, and the whole thing is in the same relative tuning as the C/G. I keep one in C/G too of course.... I use the D/A mostly for old timey stuff anymore, and play most irish tunes (in all keys) on the C/G box. Because I played diatonic harmonicas before concertina, it made perfect sense to stick with the in-the-rows approach to playing and keep another instrument on hand for the other keys. Now that I've learned D tunes on the C/G box, I like it just fine and would rather not have to switch instruments in the middle of a set. I aspired to make new tongues for old reed frames, and after a few fruitless attempts, I opted for the soldering method, which works amazingly well. Better yet, buy a junker box (or two) for spare reeds and you won't have to do hardly any retuning! By the way, I believe the G row of a standard G/D concertina is an octave below the G row on a standard C/G concertina... Have fun and keep us posted!
  10. Hi there, I have two 30 button Mahagony Lachenals, one with steel reeds and the other with brass reeds. They are both being refurbished at the moment but will likely be finished in the next month or so. The brass reeded instrument is actually the more responsive of the two, but of course it is not as loud. I'll probably be selling them in the area of $1500 US when complete. Final prices will be determined by the quality of the final products. If you want a deal, you're better off buying your own fixer upper on Ebay ($800 - $1100US) and learning how to/doing the work yourself. I can tell you first hand, after doing alll the work, the labor overhead on a refurbishment cannot be undervalued. So the original question is likely the most important, what is your definition of cheap? Happy Hunting!
  11. Incredible. Love it! Anyone else notice he doesn't seem to use the air button at all?
  12. I changed my left thumb C drone to a D drone for the same reasons. It's not a Low D mind you, just one step above middle C... It's redundant of course because there is a push D on the G row and a pull D on the C row on a standard C/G box, but it does give your thumb something to do. A Low D would be cool too... I had no use for a C drone.
  13. Excellent concession speech McCain. Inspiring victory speech Obama. This concertinist is proud to be an American tonight!
  14. I have the Tascam DR-1 unit and love it. I have recorded fiddles, concertinas, banjos, acappella... It captures exactly whats going on in the room with high sensitivity. The mics are directional too. If the guitar is too loud, then it's too close to the mic. With some trial and error with regard to positioning, you can make very high quality recordings.
  15. Great advice everyone, especially Wally, thank you. I taped all of the holes up expecting to find my leak but instead found that, thanks to freshly rebound bellows, it was very airtight. I untaped a couple holes and they both shreiked at me a little under higher pressure. So I was wrong in assuming the pads weren't the problem. Then I isolated a couple other holes, and a couple others, and it turns out most of the pads are allowing air to pass under higher pressure... It makes sense that if you push hard enough, air will have to escape through the pads at some point, but I am not convinced I am simply pressing too hard. My other Lachenals have not allowed air to pass so easily. The springs are the stock lachenal jobbers and seem to be doing a fine job. I just replaced the pads with materials from david leese. It all looks sharp and ready to go but for this leakiness. I'm stumped? Bigger springs?
  16. Hi everyone. I have been working on a 20 button Lachenal lately and have run into a problem I am having difficulty troubleshooting. The left side leaks. When I press rather lightly on the bellows without pushing a button, I can hear air escaping the left hand side (from inside the concertina ends). In the past, if air is escaping from a leaky pad (or a button that is too tall) I can barely touch the offending button and the note will continue to sound as I release the button and continue pressing the bellows... That is not the case this time. My pads are all airtight. I replaced the reed pan chamois leather (on the inside of the frames) and thought this would fix it, but I still am having trouble. What I hear is multiple high-pitched harmonics, so somehow air must be passing through multiple reeds, right? I think I did a pretty good chamois job, but maybe not? How do I pinpoint the leak? Certainly someone here has run into this before... HELP!? Thanks-
  17. Beautiful Billcro! With bushed metal buttons even!!! i would love to see before and after pics of the 26er you just bought when it is finished. If ever there is a testament to a restorers skill, that would be it... Inspiring work!
  18. If I had the proper equipment to fix the fretwork, I would buy the rosewood lachenal for sure. But I'll pass on the 26 button jobby. When I first started teaching myself how to restore vintage concertinas, I would have snapped it up with the best of intentions. But after I've fixed up a few distressed Lachenals, I've come to appreciate the relatively small increase in cost for a box in much better condition. I look at the Ebay pictures and laugh to myself at the frustration and misery I was once so willing to subject myself to. But that's how you learn... I think when you're hungry for experience, such a fixer upper is just what the doctor ordered, but only once or twice. There are better boxes to buy for reeds alone. Maybe if you can pick something like this up in person and avoid shipping costs it would be worth it? And if I had a complete workshop, I might buy something like this and try building a new concertina around the reedpans, reeds, and bellows frames... That would be fun. But then, why not start with a 30 button? I feel a strange attraction to these old boxes, because I can see so much fascinating history in their wretched condition. And I have bought a few of them based on this attraction alone. But fixing up these beaters and putting your signature on your work is a wake up call. I've come to learn that, like old houses, I think it's probably easier to fix up a box that was well cared for (or build a high quality product from scratch) rather than invest your time and energy into a well loved / beat up old shack. One thing that amazes me about some of these instruments that pop up on ebay (like the 26er linked above)... How on earth do they get SO USED!? As a musician, I can't imagine overlooking so many requisite repairs and continuing to play an instrument. Do you know what I mean? It's like coming across a car for sale that has a bad engine, bad wheels, bad brakes, bad steering... ALL AT ONCE. How could you drive without brakes? How could you roll without steering? How could you steer without a running engine? How did it ever even make it to the car lot? It seems once the bellows give up, the instrument would no longer be useful and it would then sit until someone fixed the bellows. But you see so many of these ancient boxes that appear to have been played for billions of hours with multiple repair issues all at the same time. Bad bellows, bad reeds, bad action, cracked pad boards, missing chamois... Some boxes have clearly sat and sat and sat, and then they just deteriorate, but others seem to have fallen prey to excessive love. I always imagine some very talented musician, some long dead virtuouso that we'll never get to hear, making beautiful music on one of these wrecks, and being pleased as punch to simply have the instrument to play. And then he/she died and some great grandchild sold the instrument a hundred years later on Ebay (to some nut like me)... It makes me wonder how much we take for granted todays high standard of quality. Anyway, I'll move along now. Just my $ .02 ...
  19. It's a whole tone up then, there won't be much metal left on the high reeds if you have them all tuned up. There are Bb/F anglos around, it would be worth looking for something already in that tuning that you could do a trade with before you embark on heavy retuning. Hi There. I have been tuning up 20 button Lachenals from C/G to D/A and I imagine tuning down to Bb/F would be just as easy. I swap reeds as much as possible (I have a collection of extras/spares), and when inevitable I apply sparing amounts of solder to reed ends before retuning them so as not to compromise the stability of the reed tongues (especially the small ones). I personally think the 20 button Lachenals are great little boxes for just such a thing. I keep a 30 button C/G that I use for most tunes, and have another 20 button D/A box that I usually bring along for playing old time tunes in D and A. I have a couple 20 button Lachenals that are ready to be restored and retuned, a 26 button Lachenal ready to be retuned, and a couple 30 button Lachenals that are also ready to be retuned... If you are interested in such a box, let me know.
  20. Whats your time worth spent learning overcomplicated programs? Get the Amazing Slow Downer. I have been using it for years and years.
  21. If you have a wooden ended concertina, and you can hear your nails clacking when you play, over a significant amount of time you will end up with wear pattens/gouges around each button. It's not really a big deal that affects the performance of the instrument, just affects aesthetics in the long run. Just a word of caution...
  22. I have had 7 Lachenals and all but one have played a C on the pull on that lowest button. A draw C is of little use to me. I changed all mine to A.
  23. I play anglo with old time music and I love it, it works very well. I am a fiddler primarily, and I play a lot of old time tunes. I also play clawhammer banjo and diatonic harmonica... The trick for me is definitely playing in the rows. I basically play the anglo as a harmonica, which presents a few added bonuses... the first and most significant of which is not having to breathe into the thing. It's also nice to be able to play chords and octaves. Sometimes I wear a neck rack and play harmonica and anglo at the same time, which offers a very cajun-esque quality. I tuned up a 20 button C/G Lachenal into D/A, and I travel to jams with my C/G and my D/A. By far, most of the tunes I play are in A and D, so the extra box is nice.
  24. I know of two on Bainbridge Island, five in the close Seattle area, and of ........................ Bruce I live in the Methow Valley, east slope of the Cascades in the town of Twisp. Mostly bluegrassers over this way, gets kind of lonesome, would love to connect with some like minded folks. I started to organize a 'Northwest Squeezefest' some years ago, but circumstances required that I abandon the project, and I have not had the time to make another attempt. Since there are a good sized group here in the Northwest, we should make an attempt to get together, no matter how informally. Cheers.......Forrest <:{!!!!!}:> Hi there. I am in Rathdrum Idaho, not too far from Spokane. I play lots of irish (anglo) and old time tunes. Feel free to ring me up for tunes sometime...
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