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John Sylte

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Everything posted by John Sylte

  1. I play a lot of old time / Appalachian music on fiddle, clawhammer banjo, and diatonic harmonica. When I started learning anglo concertina I experimentally substituted my harmonica playing with concertina at old time jams. All the tunes I could play on harmonica I was instantly able to play on concertina. It was a very straightforward switch. After I got through the "Wow I love my new instrument and have to play it all the time" phase, I went back to playing harmonica with old time music, and I like it much better. I think the difference is that the diatonic harmonica is exceptionally suitable for old time music. With note bending, vamping, and all the different dynamics that can be achieved on a harmonica, and these things being complementary with the old time style, I think the concertina takes second chair. Irish music on the other hand is much faster, rarely bluesy, and has lots of ornamentations. When I play a reel on a harmonica, I am totally winded by the end of the set. So, while the harmonica works for irish tunes (and sometimes quite well) I think the concertina is in general a more suitable instrument. Not sure if I've contributed anything useful to this conversation, but that's my $ .02.
  2. Here are some good instructions for fixing the leaks: http://www.concertina.net/gs_stagirepair.html Edited to remove my tangent...
  3. I love deals, don't get me wrong, and I've bought a lot on Ebay. This smells like a scam... Theoretically, even if the high bidder was bogus, it took someone else's second highest bid of $1199 (or so) to reach a final winning bid of $1200. Why did he not offer it to that person at that price? Maybe he's offering it to ALL bidders for a second chance... Using an escrow service for this one would be well worth the money. Just my $ .02
  4. I asked for pics and he sent me some. This is one of them. If anyone's near Florida it would be worth a look. Maybe an escrow deal? I don't have 2K...
  5. I just paid 25 pounds to ship a concertina from UK to the Northwest. There are no other fees that I'm aware of. I've never shipped anything the opposite direction.
  6. I've wondered about this a lot myself recently. As a matter of economics, it *seems* like there is a very spacious niche out there for someone who could make concertina reeds the way they used to be made. However, I'm sure if it were that easy, someone would already be doing it! But why isn't there? Is there? There must be something very special about the metal used? The technique? Is it a job for an alchemist? I just don't understand why the same quality reeds aren't being created today. It seems that our metalurgical and manufacturing technologies could only have improved since the 19th century... Is it perhaps that the quality of Italian steel reeds is comparable to 19th century English steel reeds and no one is willing to admit it? I'd really like to learn more about this!
  7. I searched for "Jedcertina" on here before I posted and only got two of the 15 or so hits that your link took me to. Not sure how my search was different than yours, it was obviously not the same though. Had I known it had been previously discussed at such length, I wouldn't have brought it to everyone's attention! Thanks Stephen-
  8. Same notes push and pull I presume? http://cgi.ebay.com/Very-Rare-Lachenal-Jed...1QQcmdZViewItem
  9. Is the Rochelle an Italian make? I play a C/G anglo Renelli, which is basically a Stagi from the 1960s, and I basically had the same problem, or rather, symptom. My real problem was that my thumb had to reach over the wooden handle to hit the air button, requiring a position that no longer allowed me to play melody with my right hand, especially on the inside G row. So I could only use the air button when my left hand took over melody on a pull note, or between notes altogether. These opportunities were infrequent in many irish tunes, causing my thumb to "dive" for the air button on an emergency basis, and stopping the momentum of the tune altogether. This may not be your problem. If not, someone else here can probably help you. If this IS your problem, I fixed mine really easily. Essentially, I extended my air button to make it more accessible, behind the wooden handle. I took my concertina apart, drilled an additional hole (behind the wooden handle) on the metal end plate, then used thin strips of electrical tape to connect a hex wrench to the air lever. The short 90 degree section of the hex wrench sticks out of the metal end plate, making a cheap, unsightly, yet perfectly functional extension of the air button. If this is your problem, and you'd like to try it (obviously it's a modification to your instrument, and I don't know how valuable the Rochelle is to you), let me know and I can take pictures to help. If the issue is simply with air management, I might encourage you to try playing the same tune(s) on a diatonic harmonica of the same key. You'll likely run out of air (or max out) in the same passages, then the trick (on both instruments) is anticipating these passages with the right amount of air in storage. Hope that helps-
  10. M3838, you bring up some good points. 1) If the 4th row of buttons requires the instrument to be bigger, that may be a "showstopper" right there. It may not though, right? Are English concertinas bigger than anglo concertinas? It's been a while since I've held an english, so I don't remember. Isn't it likely that the reed layout will determine that though, not the buttons? Also, the C and G rows on my layout play in the same register as a standard C/G concertina, so the notes would be squeeky in either format. I played a standard G/D concertina, and the G was an octave lower than on a C/G. I thought it was too low. I'm not trying to hit the high notes in the 4th octave necessarily, I'm just trying to get two chromatic octaves. 2) I would like to see the chromatic 10 hole harmonica layout. Without a valve though, there must be two rows of holes? Or maybe the chromatic octave is played over 6 holes? Either way, the advantage of all push notes being 1s, 3s, and 5s would be lost right? Maybe not. Sounds interesting! 3) I have been essentially trying to test my layout using software called the amazing slow downer to bend recordings of my tunes up or down to the keys of G, where I practice them on my Stagi. I figure any note that I have to deviate out of the G row to find on my Stagi is a note I will also have to find on my layout. So far I am most commonly needing to cross out of the G row to the C for the 6 note (E2). Luckily, by minding the fifths, this same note is available in the same relative position (on the C row), on my layout. By testing in this way, am I thoroughly exposing the need for accidentals? It's kinda like Fahrvergnugen! What is their word for "the joy of playing concertina?" Thank you M3838- Please keep the feedback coming everyone!
  11. Again, thank you all for your insightful feedback! Dana, you make an excellent suggestion about not cramping the left side. I was flexing my brain too hard trying to figure out where those three extra buttons belonged. I wanted them to be near the other buttons they were most likely to be played with, so I didn't have to reach too far... It didn't occur to me that I could put them on the right hand side, freeing up the left hand altogether, as well as balancing out the requisite reed real estate on the left. (See attached pic) I realize there are many redundant notes. Fortunately they all offer push and pull alternates (and many of those are even redundant). Without knowing what the maker thinks, or whether or not so many reeds will even fit, I feel that being able to play so many common keys in just one row is well worth the trade off. I appreciate the benefits and importance of sticking with convention. I play Old Time Appalachian fiddle using many different tunings, and switching from one tuning to the next is never a problem, I just retune. I think the early Scotch/Irish immigrants that spawned the convention of retuning the fiddle for different keys were right on track. It's not so much about laziness as not wanting to work any harder than you have to I'm having fun thinking about the all-in-one solution for concertina. With so many keys available on one instrument, I think it could be quite slick. I figure I'll hold on to my C/G Stagi for videos and/or workshops... Anyone else care to share their opinions about this design? Thanks everyone!
  12. I appreciate the great feedback so far. It has helped me hatch a new idea that I want to share with you all. Please read this carefully and try to follow my logic. I'll try to keep this clear and to a minimum... I have been thinking about what you said Richard, about the left hand often being favored over the right on account of the note layout. While I have learned to play many tunes on both the upper and lower octaves, I am more comfortable playing on the lower octave. The layout is more natural. Holes 4 - 7 of the typical diatonic harmonica play exactly like buttons 3 - 6 on a concertina. Then holes 7 - 10 on the harmonica do the same switcharoo (pull note lower than push) that the concertina does on buttons 6-10. Chromatic harmonicas have overcome this by incorporating solo tuning. This means the note layout on holes 1-4 (same as 3 - 6 on a concertina) is the same as the note layout on holes 5 - 8, and holes 9-12. This results in a double tonic, so holes 4 and 5 push are both Cs (on a C Chromonica), as well as holes 8 and 9. This is nice when playing a chromatic harmonica in a major key, because you get three octaves using the same exact push/pull pattern. When playing in a non-major mode though, it's easy to get lost in the pattern at the double tonic. I was thinking, incorporating solo tuning on the concertina, this double tonic could be broken by the bellows and may seem more natural. Solo tuning the right and left octaves offers two immediate benefits. A complete (major) scale can be played on either side without crossing over to the other (using the same note pattern). Also, octaves can be played in unison without the staggered fingering. So using a 3 x 4 pattern with 12 buttons on either side I can get a GDA concertina with a two octave range. (See Pic 1 - Top left) This looked good. With only 24 buttons though I was thinking it would be nice to add a C row, for the D Dorian tunes like Maids of Mitchelstown, the A Aeloian tunes like the Price of My Pig, and of course the C major tunes (which there are plenty of in old time music). So, I added a C row, following the circle of Fifths, the logical layout would be CGDA. (See Pic 2 - Top right) Bass notes make me happy. By adding a button to the beginning of each row on the left hand side I can push a major bass note for each row. And I can utilize the pull to access the Aeolian and Dorian bass notes for all four keys D, A, E, and B, which are pull intensive modes on the concertina anyway. The only one I can't get is the F# Aeolian - who cares! (See Pic 3 - Bottom left ) So I realized no longer had three chromatic octaves, which honestly didn't bother me so much. In 21 years, I don't ever recall playing B flats and E flats on my fiddle. But then I got to looking at it, and realized that with three more buttons I could cover the C#, G#, and the two B flats and E flats. It's not three chromatic octaves, but it's two. That leaves me with four rows. 22 buttons on the left, 17 buttons on the right, for 39 total. (See Pic 4 - Bottom right ) Notice the duplicates for A, B, C, C#, D, E, F#, and G notes. All of these offer push and pull alternates. This layout gives me access to Major keys CGDA, Dorian keys DAEB, Aeolian keys AEB, and Mixolydian keys GDAE. And all these keys can be played in one row (not the same row, obviously). I looked through my repertoire, and those keys cover all my tunes. I think this would be ideal, or as we say in the states, "the Shizzle". (In France I think they call this "Le Dookie".) If I lived in an area where there were other concertina players to listen to, learn from, and play with, I would probably be reluctant to reinvent the wheel. But, alas, I live in North Idaho. Concertina players are as common here as wilderbeasts. I figure if I want a cup holder on my concertina, I'm going for it. Whaddya all think?
  13. As a melodeon (english term for button accordion) player as well as an anglo concertina player I'm not sure why you don't just buy a 3 row melodeon tuned to GDA with 12 bases - or am I missing the whole point? Hi Peter, I appreciate your response. I have a three row GDA button accordion. I like being able to play in the rows, but it's very large and I'm not too fond of it's sound. I also have a B/C black dot, and while the sound is a little more palatable, it still turns me off in group settings. And (when playing by myself) I find myself playing everything out of the C row. I like the simple sound of a single reed and the compactness of a concertina. And since I rarely use the row of accidentals on my C/G adding an A row seems a worthy trade-off, at least in my case. That's the point that I am aiming for. Maybe I'm missing a point? What problems would you anticipate with my layout? Thank you for your thoughts.
  14. Hi All, I'm a 32 year old fiddler (of 21 years) turned diatonic harmonica player turned concertina player... I have been playing traditional irish tunes since 1995 and started playing American old time music in 2001. I have a C/G Stagi that I mainly play "in the rows". Having played harmonica, this is quite natural to me. When I go to sessions I only take a G, Low D, and an A harmonica, and those keys suit me just fine. I recently sat down and charted out what I am thinking is a perfect GDA concertina. With threee extra buttons I figured out how to make it fully chromatic. I have made a down payment on a custom concertina, but I have not finalized the button layout. I would like some feedback. This seems like a viable layout to me. Is there something else I should be considering? I'd rather that my bubble be burst now than when the instrument is on my lap... Thanks All-
  15. Hello Everyone, I've been playing a Renelli (Stagi) C/G anglo for a little while now, but some of the buttons stick and the bellows wheeze. Plus, my fingers are moving quicker then the concertina can respond, so I think I'm ready to move up. I've decided I'd like a G/D 30 button. I would love to have a 30 button G/D Lachenal/Wheatstone/Crabb with metal ends, in known good condition, but I don't expect I'll find any of those for less than 2000 bucks. I don't necessarily want to pay a small fortune for a used instrument, then find out it needs more work either. I've looked at those available through the button box (Morse) and Tedrow. I'm wondering, between these two models, do any of you have opinions and/or experience I should take into consideration? Does anyone here have a G/D 30 button for sale? Are there other makers I should consider? Another factor is that I don't really want to wait 2 years... Thanks in advance for your help!
  16. Oops, I didn't realize this was an anglo. I just recognized the brand Suttner. My mistake...
  17. S2maur, so sorry to hear about the numbness in your fingers... I have had some experience with this also. I am 31, a fiddler of 21 years, and last year I had a snowboardintg accident and ruptured my C6/7 disc, which gave me numbness in my left index finger. I had neck surgery to fix that, and it did. Then less than a year later I had another accident involving sheet metal and completely severed the flexor tendon and nerve in the same left index finger. I have had three surgeries to reconnect both nerve and tendon, and although the nerve was fixed and I have feeling again (after 4 months of completely discouraging deadness), I still cannot bend the tip of my finger, which makes it useless for fiddling. The good news is that a fourth surgery in October should fix this for me. In the meantime, I also became a harmonica player and have found it to be a great instrument all it's own, and a worthy substitute for the fiddle. I think that despite my accident and condition, that I would be playing harmonica by choice. It has also helped me to understand more about music theory in general. So... I am dreadfully sorry to hear about your condition, but I encourage you to make the most of it, and DON'T GIVE UP ON MODERN MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY! I have paid over 20,000 US dollars to get function of my finger tip back again, and at this point, the prognosis looks good. By the way, I love your Suttner. I saw it on Ebay and wish I could afford it. Maybe after I get my hospital bills paid. Best of luck!
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