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John Sylte

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Everything posted by John Sylte

  1. I emailed the seller last week, shortly after the auction had "ended". He paid good money for it years ago, in restored condition (or had it restored?). No one had placed a bid, and his reserve was set quite a bit higher than the opening bid. Discouraged by this, he pulled the auction. I believe it is still for sale.
  2. I used a very small dab of Shoe Goo to reattach a pad on my Renelli, my first concertina. I would definitely use it again. If ol' Chuck Wheatstone had a tube, I think it'd be standard issue
  3. Ahh yes, t'was a great time! I thoroughly enjoyed my first exposure to concertina instruction. And Friday Harbor is an ideal place for such an event. This camp is great for all instruments, fiddle, flute, whistle, guitar, box, and concertina. My sleep deprivation began the day I arrived. Nice write up Bruce, and nice to meet you!
  4. I think I may own a Tedrow Stagi. I tried to watch the YouTube video, but it was truncated halfway through and I saw no anglo. Is this just my computer giving me grief or is this happening to others? Is there another link to this performance with the anglo? Does anyone have any pics or other information about the Tedrow Stagis? Thanks-
  5. User error / dial up confusion... See post below. Can these be deleted?
  6. User error / dial up confusion... See post below.
  7. Gapper = one of those dealies you use to measure spark plug gaps and point gaps in older cars. Isn't that what everyone calls them? It's kinda like a short metal tongue depresser I guess. It's what you slip between the reed and the shoe to file the reed. I agree, if you're wanting a true G/D, I definitely wouldn't take that route. Now I'm curious what others will tell you about finding reeds. I've got an older three row Stagi that I'd like to convert to a D/C/G for kicks.
  8. If: - you want to leave the G row where it is (inside row -- i.e. D/G not G/D) - you don't want to drop the G row a full octave... - you're not interested in returning the instrument to C/G at any point... - you're resigned to replacing the reeds if necessary... - this isn't your only concertina... I'd just start tuning the C row up. You only need a gapper, a good file, an exacto knife, and a tuner to do the job. Be slow, careful, and deliberate with your work, and it'll probably take less than a couple hours. Best case scenario, you'll have your D/G by the end of the day. Worst case, you'll have to order a few less reeds than originally planned... That's what I'd do, with a cheap instrument. And if any of those "ifs" are unacceptable, it may be just as expensive to buy another (used?) Rochelle for donor reeds...
  9. Much thanks to all of you for your suggestions and help. I lucked out with the end bolts, having a decent set of 12 between the originals (I was able to clean) and my donor box. I followed Richard's advice over last weekend and scraped only what I could from the reeds, leaving the rest. The reeds are clean. The shoes look pretty ragged. It would be nice if they looked new and pretty, but the real test will be when I hear them. I am awaiting a new set of bellows for that test. For now I think I've done the best anyone could do with the reeds and the end bolts... I have a new question. The previous owner obviously had issues with leakage from one reed chamber to the next (between the reed chambers and the pad board). The chamois on the tops of three of the chambers was very dirty, and one even had a small old piece of cardboard glued to the top. So I took this garbage off to fix it properly only to find that two of the reed chamber walls were missing chunks of the wood. So the tops of the walls are no longer flat. I assume this cannot be fixed with chamois alone. How should I make these wall tops flat like their mates? Build them up with wood putty? Being so exposed on the top of a thin strip of wood, it seems like wood putty would crumble eventually. They are quite firmly attached still, so I'm reluctant to remove/replace them. The manual did not mention this obstacle... Also, I am curious... I have ordered a new set of bellows that I will (be learning how to) fit myself. I would like to learn about building bellows from scratch. I have looked all over the net, and have not found any resources. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks everyone!
  10. I've fixed up a couple lachenal 20 buttons I got on EBay recently and had a lot of fun learning. They're like volkswagons, made well and easy to work on...
  11. Hi everyone, After two successful restorations of 20B Lachenals, I was feeling pretty confident and bought a 26 button on Ebay that looks as if it spent the last 80 years in the damp trunk of someone's car.... It took me two hours to get one end off. 3 of the 6 bolt heads were already fouled and one was completely seized (requiring the use of a drill to remove). It's a miracle that I now have both ends off and all bolts out without damage to the ends. Of the 12 end bolts, I am looking at 7 or 8 of them being usable. Of those, all have significant rust and/or corrosion, and only half of them are still perfectly straight. I have an instrument I can use as a donor, with 8 good screws that match, so I have the potential of a complete vintage set. I'm wondering what the best way is to clean the corrosion off of the surviving bolts? Is there an acid or something I should use? Gas? I've also considered a complete replacement set, with hex heads or something. I want them to work well, and to look nice. It doesn't have to be an authentic repair. Also... All of the steel reeds are also engulfed in rust and corrosion. My plan is to clean each one by hand, simply scraping and filing the shoes and the reeds free of the junk, but that won't work for the areas around the two screws that secure each tongue. Maybe that doesn't matter. but I'm wondering if soaking the reeds in something might do a more complete job with less effort? If all I do is learn from the experience, that's okay with me, but I want to do a good job if a good job can be done. All help appreciated!
  12. I have a 1GB I River that I bought for listening to music about 3 years ago. After I bought it I discovered it made "voice recordings" too. After some experimentation, I decided that the recording function was cooler than the music playing! It takes 1 AA battery, and (when no music is in storage) I can record for up to 8 hours. In fact the 8 hour limit was imposed by the single battery, not the memory. I hook it up to USB on my PC, offload everything, then I used the provided software to convert the files into MP3 format on my computer. Later I bought an external mic for it, compared it with the built-in mic, and decided it was better, so I don't even use the external mic. The coolest thing about these is that you don't have to bother with stopping (or pausing) and starting again. Just record the whole dang thing, then weed out what you don't want later. Way better than cassettes...
  13. I agree. In my experience, if you start chasing a high bid at the last minute, you're more likely to end up feeling like you made a bad decision. The right way to use Ebay is to bid what an item is worth to you and let Ebay handle the automatic bidding for you. If you don't know what an item is worth *to you*, don't bid. Place a bid that, if you lose you can sleep at night knowing you didn't pay too much, and if you win you feel like you got a good deal. I don't care who is bidding against me, real or fictitous. Let shill bidders win their own auctions trying to outsmart the system...
  14. As a matter of personal preferences, I have to agree with Doug. In irish sessions, as a melody player I find it very annoying when another melody instrument joins along without actually knowing the melody. If they are carefully and quietly trying to figure out and piece the melody together, sessioneers are usually pretty patient. All too often though a musician (with their heart in the right place) picks up a pennywhistle of the right key (or some other melody instrument) and plays along enthusiastically with random abandon. Then I have to decide if it bothers me enough to say something (after all, it's not MY session...), and if so, how to say something constructive (tips?). If you're playing with a bunch of passive personalities, the situation may never be confronted, and the session can become quite unsatisfying for everyone. As a matter of self improvement, I also think Doug is right on the money. Every time you go to a session and hear a tune you like, ask about the title and possibly the source, then go home and learn it note for note! Record it at the session if you have to. If you learn at least one tune you really like from every session, you will quickly find yourself acquiring a satisfying arsenal of tunes. Scales are GREAT practice, but when a tune is being played, I think only a rhythm instrument (guitar/bouzouki) can get away with scales, and only if they are used very infrequently. And you can't really learn a tune until you can hum or sing the melody to yourself. All you need to do is listen to it carefully a few more times, then try it again. It will come.
  15. I started with a second hand 30B Stagi, which I brought up to as new playable condition, it was a great start. I paid $120 for it on Ebay, then put about 4 hours into fixing bellows and buttons. Shortly afterwards I bought a 20B Lachenal, and the Stagi NEVER gets played anymore. I bought my Lachenal on Ebay for about $300, and it is far more satisfying to play then the Stagi. I had to fix it up too, but nothing major. I would never recommend paying full retail price for a Stagi. If you're not into fixing things up, buy one that's already refurbished. They go for about $400 - $500. Just my opinion...
  16. I saw the ad too, and I immediately thought of concertinas. I'm curious about the software/interface, if it's using some proprietary program, or if you can import DXF/DWG drawings...
  17. I just realized that I had an appropriate contribution to this topic! I already posted this link in another thread... My blue heeler Ruben cracks me up. I first learned that he was a singer when he was just a furball. Whenever I played my harmonicas he would point his head skyward and join in. We live on a cattle ranch and at the end of most days he's quite spent. If he isn't absolutely exhausted his singing often degenerates into barking, and I have to say "no bark, Ruben, NO BARK." Then instead of playing melody lines I'll just play one sustained note and tell him, "Ruben, SING!" and he does. He is beginning to understand the difference between singing and barking, although he's much more keen on matching the style of my playing than listening to my verbal commands. I have not had the heart to discourage him from singing. He doesn't stop until he's finished, which is usually after about 10 minutes. Sometimes he sings a lot longer though, and I just have to mentally tune him out or stop playing. Fortunately for us, we have no neighbors My stepbrother Rory lost a brown suede cap in our cattle pasture when we had been imbibing a few years ago. We were out trying to see if cows could really be tipped (as far as we could tell, our cows don't sleep). He didn't realize until we got back that his hat was not on his head. Based on our adventure, we could only narrow down our search area to about 200 acres. It was a couple years later that our ranch hand found it when he was out feeding. Some bovine had tactfully concealed it's position by dropping a large load right on top of it! I gave it back to my step brother almost 4 years later, and it was half sunbleached and half yellowed by being preserved in... well... you get the idea. This is a true story!
  18. I just bought myself a new camera for christmas. Here's our contribution.
  19. I recommend you learn simple tunes that you already know on fiddle and mandolin. Jigs are a nice starting speed. I'd stick with the G row at first, the row closest to your palms. Ignore the others for now. I'd start with a couple tunes in the major mode then move on to the other modes. All these can be played on just the G row of your concertina. G Major tunes = Old Favorite, Over the Ocean, Willie Colemans, Saddle the Pony, Con Cassidys E Minor tunes = Gallaghers Frolics, Morrisons, Road to Lisdoonvarna A Dorian tunes = Lilting Banshee, Pipe on the Hob, Hardimann the Fiddler D Mixolydian tunes = I Buried My Wife..., Tatter Jack Walsh, Blarney Pilgrim Through the note charts on your tutorials you should be able to figure out how to play a G major scale on your concertina (starts with hole #3 push on left hand side, or hole #1 push on right hand side), E minor scale starts with hole #1 pull on left hand side, A Dorian starts with hole #3 pull on left hand side, D Mixolydian starts with hole #1 push left hand side. From there, expand to the C row with C Major tunes, A minor tunes, D Dorian tunes, and G Mixolydian tunes. I should offer my disclaimer that this may not be how others would tell you to learn the concertina as this sets the foundation for learning how to play "in the rows". Personally, I made the decision when I began that this was how I wanted to play. It is very simple and intuitive. I learned new tunes quickly and have always been eager for the next. I play diatonic harmonicas too, so I'd rather play "in the rows", which allows me to play all the same tunes I know on concertina on a diatonic harmonica of the same key. I also have an A/D concertina which I use for the other keys that can't be played out of the G or C rows. That's my solution. However, John Williams appears (on his instructional video) to play everything out of the C row, even G tunes. Too much work for me, but a system that I'm sure pays off when you want to start playing D tunes on your C/G 30 button. So... I'd recommend you ignore this last paragraph and dive in to playing "in the rows". You can always learn the other methods later. Just be aware that there are other paths, and that you may go to a session someday with another concertina player and be absolutely baffled by their fingering. And don't forget the most important part... Have fun! P.S. - It ocurred to me after posting this that my response was a little "Irish centric". Perhaps you don't play any irish tunes. If that's the case, I'd suggest that you learn tunes that are familiar to your ear in those recommended keys and modes... Any tune/song that is in the key of G (one sharp) can be played on the G row of your concertina. Any accidentals can be picked up on the second or third row of your concertina.
  20. I advise that you not graduate. Stay in school as long as possible! I suspect most here would recommend a Button Box Stagi over a Rochelle, if the budget allows. If not, it sounds like the Rochelle is a perfect beginning instrument. This is a pretty common inquiry. Search for "Rochelle" and "Stagi" on these forums and you'll be flooded with info. Good luck-
  21. I am just reading this thread for the first time, so I'm a late comer here. I ruptured my C6-7 two years ago in a snowboarding accident. The result was total numbness in the tip of my left index finger. The fix was a microdiscectomy and a hemilaminotomy of my C6-7 vertebrae. Basically, they went in (thru the back of my neck) and removed a portion of my bulged disc, the portion that was cutting off the nerve to my left hand. No fusion. It was a miserable week of recovery, but after I got through the worst of it, I healed quickly. Feeling in my finger came back within 6 weeks, and I feel normal now. The gel treatment sounds interesting, I had not heard of that when I had my accident. They fixed me up using tried and tested technologies, and I have no complaints. An MRI and a good doctor to interpret it should explain whatever numbness is going on in your case. This is the 21st century now. We've come a long way in medicine. There's no sense in tolerating physical discomfort if you don't have to. Best of Luck-
  22. Ruben, my blue heeler pup goes nuts. He only sings when I play a reed instrument, harmonica or concertina. Never with my banjo or fiddle. And I'm quite certain he's actually trying to sing along with me when I play, not complaining or crying. Sometimes he just goes berserk, and his singing degenerates into barking. Other times, when he's feeling more subdued, he sings along quite nicely and carefully. He also has a squeeky turtle that he often takes into his mouth and squeeks quite nicely whilst singing when I play. If any of you care to hear him singing along with me on harmonica, you can listen to the song on his myspace page. Yes, despite not having opposable thumbs, my dog has a myspace page! It helps to have a high speed connection... http://www.myspace.com/67198734
  23. Here are some good instructions for fixing leaks. You may not want to do it yourself using this method if it's a vintage concertina. http://www.concertina.net/gs_stagirepair.html
  24. Harmonica and old time, now that's a nice combination. I've been looking for an excuse to recommend a couple of CD's: Thought I Heard It Blow Fiddle Tunes, Blues, Rags, Traditional & Original Songs with Banjo & Harmonica Mark Graham, harmonica and Tom Sauber, banjo. This is a beautiful CD. I had the pleasure of having Skip Gorman and his Waddie Pals come to the college for a concert last year and Tom was playing banjo and fiddle for him. Tom gave me this CD and I have just been enthralled. Not a clinker on the thing. For you Irish only folks they do a version of The Star of Munster out of the c scale with a old banjo with a 12 inch pot and man oh man that reel sounds like a clipper ship tacking against the wind looks. The second is: Ways of the World fiddle tunes from Appalachia & Texas with Ruthie Dornfeld, fiddle, JKoel Bernstein, harmonica and banjo, and Keith Murphy guitar and vocals. Fine, fine music making as you'll ever want to hear. Ruthie was playing fiddle for Skip on that date and man, can she do it all....in tune. YES YES YES!!! I love both of these albums. Joel Bernstein is amazing on Ways of the World. And Ruthie Dornfeld is absolutely incredible. Their interpretations of American standards on this album are firmly grounded in the tunes, yet completely up in the stratosphere at times. I love their version of Breaking Up Christmas. Joel also recently played on an album called Pleasant Hill which is American tunes, another album where there's not a bad track on the whole thing. He recorded it with Andrea Cooper on banjo and Dave MArshall on fiddle. Great music, really fun people. The first album I heard of Joel Bernstein's was Pigtown Fling, which includes Randal Bays on fiddle. This is all irish tunes and Joel Bernstein is playing primarily chromatic harmonicas in the Eddie Clarke style. He's absolutely fantastic. There is one track where he plays English concertina too. I wish there was more. I think everyone on this board would love the playing of Joel Bernstein. I've got all his albums on my computer at work, great productivity music. And Mark Graham and Tom Sauber - Thought I Heard it Blow... When I first heard this album I turned inside out. I love all of it, especially the track Going Back to Hamburg. I'm sure you've also heard "Southern Old Time Harmonica" and his recordings with Open House (Kevin Burke fiddling). Great Stuff!
  25. I'm sure Irish chepherds could use harmonica quite well in Irish style, and Appalachian lumberjacks could have used the concertina in very appalachian style. Which brings us to the regularly rotating topic of the style. I agree that much of irish music today sounds like it's been cooked from the same recipe. I think that reflects the musicians behind the instruments though, and their influences, not just the instrumentation standardized by precedent. Why is there no tuba in irish music? I'm sure it's been attempted. I think some tools are more suitable for some jobs than others. There are good reasons why lumberjacks don't use staffs and shepherds don't use axes. I don't think that makes the tools or the work cliche. If you could chop down a tree with a staff you'd have a marketable skill only if you could do it better than with an axe. And that wouldn't necessarily make you a better lumberjack either, just a bit odd. This is the lumberjack forum isn't it? Anyway... I guess I'm up to $ .04 now, unless someone has change for me.
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