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John Sylte

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Everything posted by John Sylte

  1. It was a blast everyone! Good on you Bruce for posting the pic
  2. Cross harp techniques rely heavily on bending notes using the shape of your throat and mouth cavity, and many of the notes that give blues harmonica it's unique sound are found in between the notes of the diatonic scale. Notes cannot be bent on a concertina. Ask someone who can play blues harmonica to do so without bending any notes at all, and that's probably as bluesy as the concertina could ever sound... I like the idea, that's just my two cents.
  3. Very nice tune! Am I allowed to say that?
  4. Hi Patrick, I go, and it's definitely a fiddle-centric event. It's the type of gathering where the different fiddle factions break off and gather with one another. The Appalachian (true old timey) fiddlers gather in "Stickerville", and every once in a blue moon an irish session is sparked up there. In other areas, the bluegrassers gather, and in yet another, the texas swing style fiddlers gather... It's a blast for sure, especially if you're a fiddler. I wouldn't expect to meet any other concertinists there, unless you and I arrange something...
  5. Billcro, you have done a very nice job with these. I have been watching the auction, but I'm afraid the going price is already more than I can afford. However, I have everything I need to make myself a set, except the brass reed jigs. Where did you get those? Where can I find a set of these? All help appreciated. Thanks-
  6. Ruben my blue heeler sings when I play concertina and/or harmonica... I play fiddle and banjo too, and he doesn't seem to respond to either. The free reeds get him going everytime, although in this video, it was the third or fourth take, and he's actually a little subdued. He especially responds to octave playing, when I add the left hand melody notes to the right... I found this on YouTube too (among MANY other singing dog videos)... Notice the pup only sings when his owner is singing, and not during instrumental breaks
  7. Thank you everyone, this has been a very worthwhile challenge! I contacted the Button Box and they were able to send me replacements at a reasonable price. But by the time they came in the mail, I had already solved my own problem with help from Dana's post. The information he shared about the profile of the reed and the trade off between strength and responsiveness made it all click. I decided to try again at fitting a new tongue from another reed. IT WORKED! The only problem was that I had to cannibalize the tongue from a larger reed to fix the smaller reed. So, on my second attempt (actually 5th or 6th), instead of robbing Peter to pay Paul, I looked to other metal sources. I heard that clock springs work, but I couldn't find any of those in my digital clocks Instead I have an old burned up chainsaw that has a similar spring for the pull start recoil mechanism, and I tried using that on another reed frame, and that worked too. The profile was way too thick, but at the same time it occurred to me that a chainsaw file, which is quite a bit more abrasive than my harmonica tuning file, would remove metal much quicker, so I used that and it saved me quite a bit of elbow grease. The only problem is that the chainsaw file is round and not flat, so I had to be very careful with my filing technique to not create any weak spots. It hadn't occured to me to use a feeler gauge. I thought of using a harmonica reed tongue, which I have plenty of, but then I was concerned it may not be robust enough, because they are brass and they eventually all go flat... In any case, I have fixed a couple of these myself now, and I'm feeling quite confident that my work will only improve as time goes on. David, thank you for your detailed response here, as well as all the help you have compiled in your book. My copy is well worn! My original failures were due to a combination of problems. My side clearance was too great, my tip clearance was too great, my tongue profile was still too thick in the middle, and the reed tongue sat too high above the top of the frame. So basically, way too much air could pass through the reed before setting off the note. I could make it sound with my mouth, but the bellows could not duplicate this pressure. I am curious about your suggestion to use a flame to weaken the metal. I am intimidated to say the least. Until I try it myself though, I guess I have no reason to believe I couldn't make this work. It just seems a little too much like Alchemy! Up until now, I haven't concerned myself with the amount of time it took me to fit a new tongue. I was just looking forward to success of any kind. But I am now curious if there are any special techniques that make it easier to size the new reed tongue shape so that it fits snugly inside the frame with minimal side and tip tolerance. My technique involved a lot of trial and error, and my finished product, though it works, is not exactly perfect. The gaps between the sides of my reed tongue and the reed frame varies along the tongue's length. Because I didn't want to remove too much material, I would only file away a little at a time before comparing the tongue with the frame, and this took me forever. Do any of you have any tricks, or are there special tools I need to purchase or make? Again, thank you all for your help!
  8. Thanks Dana, that is a wealth of information. I think much of what I have been experienceing has come from filing away the reed at the "neutral zone". In most cases, I have simply weakened the reeds when trying to raise the pitch. I have tried to avoid making the tip paper thin, because it will just fold right over, making the reed useless. In avoiding this, I have assumed I could file to approximately the reed's halfway point to raise the pitch, yet this has not been the case. It makes sense to me now why that might not work, when the center of the reeds mass does not correlate with the center of the reed's length... I hadn't considered the profile of the reed. Sticking to the outer 1/6th makes sense. Your suggestion to reduce the paper thin tip, then push the entire reed tongue forward a little makes good sense too. I will try those things. I have also noticed it is easy to make a reed too thin at the base, where it will fold just as easily if you're not careful. I get the feeling that getting good experience with these small reeds will help me with the larger reeds as well. "Along the length of the reed there is an area where the weakening produced by thinning is balanced by the weight reduction and nothing happens. This is the area where you control the reed's overall stiffness. A reed that is thicker here will be stiffer, more powerful and less responsive. A reed that is thin here will be sensitive and weaker sounding." Thank you for this... great stuff! I am making this D/A for a friend as a special order, but I already have one of my own that I converted a while back, and I love it. I can play the D major and A major scales on my 30 button C/G, but I have to think really hard about it, the scales are not intuitive to me at all. I'm getting better with D, but A puts me in knots. I'm originally a fiddler, which of course plays in any key, without having to think too hard about it. Then I learned how to play diatonic harmonicas and got very comfortable with that layout, which is exactly the same as a concertina when playing "in the rows". That in, out, in, out, in, out, out, in pattern feels very intuitive to me, with all of the 1s, 3s, and 5s produced on the push and the 2s, 4s, 6s, and 7s, produced on the pull. I have found it very rewarding to have a simple 20 button D/A available for some D Major, A major, B Minor, and some E major tunes. I know some may consider this cheating, or some breach of tradition, but it works great for me... Thank you all for your help.
  9. Thank you Greg for your response. I have switched reeds in slots whenever possible, and I have a collection of odds and end reeds for such purposes, so my first priority is to minimize the amount of retuning I am doing for any one instrument. However, these teeny tiny reeds are hard to come by, and they are absent in my collection of odds and ends... So I had no choice but to try tuning them. Well, I guess I did have a choice, to not tune them at all, and buy replacements. Then I would be left with the unadulterated originals... That would have been smarter. But I was anxious to finish the job, and well, that's how it is being me sometimes. Now I have a collection of small reed frames without tongues! I wish I knew what to use for tongues to salvage these frames I've got... I have been using the same file on the small reeds as I use on the large reeds, going about it ever-so-gently and cautiously, checking the pitch every two or three strokes... it's a file I use for tuning harmonicas too, so it's not too large. But I like your idea about the sandpaper and tongue depressor. What you describe about them "hanging up" is exactly what I've been experiencing. They go nowhere in pitch, and then all of a sudden, they are WAY too sharp. Then when I try to bring the pitch back down, the reed gives up on me. It just gets too thin... I also use a gapper, or what I have been told is called a "feeler gauge" to reinforce the reed while filing. Is that what you are suggesting with the glorified tin foil? I'm not sure I understand what you were describing there... It's a relief to know others struggle with this too! I had about pulled all my hair out last night when finally I realized I needed to have a glass of wine and put the project to rest for the night... Thanks-
  10. Hello Everyone, I have been tuning a set of C/G reeds from a 20 button Lachenal into D/A. I have done this before with good results, but over the last couple days I have encountered some bad luck. I have fouled up the smallest reeds, from the G row, right hand side, buttons 4 and 5 pull and push (the notes many refer to as the "squeekers")... I have discovered that these little suckers can be stubborn about changing pitch, and then, if I'm not careful, they just give up and stop working altogether. I then turned to another complete box (which I was quite reluctant to do) to "borrow" these same reeds, and wouldn't you know it, I screwed them up too. After that, I tried fitting new tongues to the small frames, using tongues from larger reeds and filing them down.... But they seemed to require a LOT of air to sound them, and they never quite sat right in the frame. I'm not sure what to do next. I need a couple sets of replacements for these squeekers. I contacted David Leese, and he may (or may not) be able to help me, but he is on holiday at the moment, and I am anxious to find a solution to this. Short of buying a wreck box on Ebay for donor reeds, do any of you have any other ideas? Have any of you had this problem before? What I need is: Anglo 20 button C/G, right hand side, G row, 4th button, Push = G (x3) Anglo 20 button C/G, right hand side, G row, 4th button, Pull = E (x2) Anglo 20 button C/G, right hand side, G row, 5th button, Pull = F# (x4) Anglo 20 button D/A, right hand side, A row, 5th button, Pull = G# (x3) Anglo 20 button D/A, right hand side, A row, 4th button, Push = A (x4) Thanks in advance for your ideas and help!
  11. There's a Guillaume that lives in Montreal, cool guy. Nice guy. I don't know where he is exactly though... Maybe he'll see your post. He plays an Edgely and knows a boatload of tunes.
  12. I don't date them personally, but in any case, I would play it cautiously. Maybe a 3 star restaurant, a proper movie, and then a quick nightcap before the walk home. I estimate success! I would follow that up with a phone call every 3 or 4 days at first, maybe a visit once a week. And then, if you feel her taking a liking to you, after say, 5 or 6 weeks, take a road trip together! By then you'll know if... Oh, you mean THAT kind of dating... Here's a start. http://www.concertina.net/wes_williams_dating.html
  13. I would love to mess with this guy, and I'm not banned from bidding, yet. However, the possibility remains (does it not?), that if this auction closes full term, I win, and do not pay, that this wingnut could give me negative feedback, right?
  14. I am not involved with organizing this event at all, but I have been to it a couple times now. I went last year and it's a fantastic music retreat in a wonderful location. It's on San Juan island, north of Seattle Washington and it's taking place March 3 - 9, 2008. Gearoid OhAllmhurain will be returning as the concertina instructor, which is GREAT NEWS! And, put on your seatbelts, for those of you who also fiddle, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh is coming this year!!!! http://www.fridayharborirish.com/ If you're at all inclined, I encourage you to come check it out. I'll be there...
  15. I have 6 Lachenals, all bought on Ebay, and all at a very reasonable price. 4 of them I am in the process of fixing up and turning over, and when I'm done, I will sell them on Ebay. I love Ebay. I decide what my highest bid is before bidding at all. And if someone outbids me, let them have it. I really like the 20 button Lachenals... And there seem to be plenty of them.
  16. HA! That's too funny!!! Be careful folks... This is why it's so important to always look at BOTH ends of your concertina at the same time, otherwise we'll just evolve into halibut.
  17. I'm in Idaho, not exactly California, but not too far away either. I've worked on quite a few Lachenals and would be happy to help. Feel free to email me or instant message me if you are interested.
  18. Okay, well... I still have a few concertinas that need to be tuned, but I haven't found the time to try to make one of these jigs. I have a set of airtight bellows I could use, and I have an old warped Lachenal reedpan I could cannibalize, but I haven't made the leap. Just curious, does anyone have one of these jigs they'd sell me? Or, does anyone have the necessary parts to make one, and the time to do it? I recently got a beautiful metal ended Lachenal and (lucky for me) it's made it harder to find time for fixing because I'm spending most of it playing!
  19. Very interesting. Coming from a harmonica background, I favor a single row style, playing C major tunes and G major tunes in those respective rows (including of course their related modes), but I still very much struggle with D tunes. I waffle between playing the D scale on the G row, borrowing the E from the C row, and playing it on the C row, borrowing the F# from the G row. It is encouraging to imagine that at some point I may actually prefer the D scale over the others! It still seems to require too much thinking on my part. I guess I need to just keep muscling through more D tunes... Anyway, I am now officially finished with this inquiry, thank you Peter for your explanation, and thank you Michael -- you may have your thread back now!
  20. I'm afraid I can't help you find what you're looking for, and I don't want to run your thread off on a tangent, but I don't understand why you would want a Bb/F for a session in C? Wouldn't a C/G instrument be the best suited for tunes in C? How would that work...? Would you play Bb as your "home row" then? Is it generally accepted that Bb/F instrument is best suited for C sessions, or is that a personal preference based on your technique, or...?
  21. G--- I mean, Az... It's comforting to know I can conjur your presence by simply playing a tune an octave up!I'm sure you'll be quite impressed to note that I am playing a D tune on a C/G box... Peter, that chair is my favorite. 1 old milk can + 1 old tractor seat = 1 well ventilated and extremely comfortable music chair!
  22. Impressive lifestyle changes! Two years ago I built a house that's 600 sq ft, and it feels quite spacious and comfortable. My dog thinks it's a palace. Before that I lived in a fifth wheel trailer for 8 years, so my house is a major upgrade... I eat bad food still though. And I'm on the grid. Anyway, not about me, YOU are inspiring. I think that's great. If we all made such changes, future generations would be proud. And Humboldt county must be a great place to be. They grow wonderful, uh... well... Lovely produce. I second the advice to hold on to at least one concertina and to also let us know how your new life is going. I would very much like to hear about it. You should keep a journal, if you're not already. Good luck!
  23. FYI, the answer is Google Videos... So, as requested, My New Old Lachenal If that doesn't work as a link, copy and paste this feller... http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8...&pr=goog-sl Enjoy!
  24. I have made a video to share with you all, but it is 106 MB. Photobucket and You Tube allow a maximum of 100MB. Do any of you know of a free video host that allows 200MB? Please feel free to IM me, or shoot me an email if that's easier. Thanks!
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