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Parker135

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  • Interests
    Irish traditional music on mandolin, tenor banjo, and now Anglo concertina. Amateur repair and building of stringed instruments.
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    Yellow Springs, Ohio

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  1. And now, an update, just because. Yesterday, I received my custom Clover done up in English walnut, and it's a beauty. I was able to trade the R2 in for a full refund toward the purchase price, which really worked to my advantage in spreading out the investment. I enjoyed the R2 and could have continued with it for a long time, but I was eager to trade up after getting a chance to try a Wakker concertina. Compared to the Rochelle 2, the Clover is so much more responsive. The bellows are less stiff, right out of the box, and the nicely capped buttons are easier on the fingers. The tone is wonderful. Air control is easier as well. Some folks suggested I go straight for the Clover, but the R2 proved to be the perfect stepping stone for me. Concertina Connection was great all along the way.
  2. All very helpful replies. Good point about the Clover not being irreplaceable, but it will be the most expensive instrument I own so it's giving me a little pause. I guess if I had a Rochelle already, I'd probably take it on our trips, but I'm coming to the conclusion that the Clover will be probably fine and it's not worth the expense of buying a lesser quality instrument. Were I canoeing, I'd be looking for a Rochelle. I've done a fair bit of paddling, and I know how quickly one can transition from canoeist to swimmer.
  3. How many have a second-tier concertina that they take along to places where their "good" concertina (whatever that may be) would be a worry? We travel quite a bit with a small (20 ft) travel trailer, and I've usually taken along a banjo, mandolin, or once upon a time, mountain dulcimer, most often one that I wouldn't worry too much about if it something minor happened to it. Now that I've taken up concertina, I'm wondering whether to pack my Clover along, or pick up a used Rochelle. The nice thing about the concertina is that it's easy to play in a small space with sufficient care not to bang it on something, and they pack nicely into a protective case. I'm not too concerned about excess heat; if it's too hot for a musical instrument, we probably won't be there anyway. I know a lot of folks have their "session" instrument, and one that seldom leaves the house. Is this common in concertinas as well?
  4. LJ, this is exactly what I'm interested in. I will check it out in the few days. Thank you!
  5. I've definitely had that happen, playing mandolin in a local session. I've picked up tunes there that I play along with, but I certainly wouldn't say I really know the tune outside the session.
  6. To circle back to my original question, I'm not not getting the impression from the folks here that if the intention is to play by ear, that one retains the tune in memory better if learned by ear vs learned off notation. I do understand the importance of listening enough to be able to lilt or hum the tune before picking up an instrument, but no-one seems to be saying that I'm doing myself a disservice by using notation when it helps to learn the tune.
  7. More and more, I'm thinking a combination of the two methods makes sense, especially while I'm still working on muscle memory on the concertina. When learning a tune by ear on the mandolin or tenor banjo, I can pretty well go from hearing the note to fretting it. I don't have that yet on the concertina, which I think will take some time as a result of the less linear layout and push/pull factor. Thanks for your reply and for those of the others. Very interesting.
  8. I'm coming to Anglo concertina from a few years of Irish traditional music on mandolin and tenor banjo, where I learned almost exclusively by ear. I have heard from a number of players and instructors that I really respect, that people retain music better if learned by ear when it comes time to play without notation. Is anyone aware of any research on this? I can learn from notation, and with enough repetition, I can play without referring to the music, and I do seem to retain it over time as long as I keep the tunes in rotation. At least while I'm still new at the concertina, I spend a lot of time trying to find the notes, made more complicated by the push or pull factor...…time that could be spent playing from notation and getting the tune sorted. When learning by ear, I spend a lot of time listening to the tune before trying to play it. Then I use looping software, which is very helpful. So I can do this either way, but I'm interested in the most efficient, or maybe effective, way to learn for long-term retention. I appreciate advise from personal experience, and I would also be interested in any academic research along these lines.
  9. As I've continued to play the Rochelle 2, I've pretty much settled on using the right pinky to stabilize the instrument. I normally play with the left end resting on my left knee. I'm happy to hear that the concertina police are willing to look the other way on this one. I'm looking forward to a Clover to see if I still need to do the same with the lighter action.
  10. Steve and Simon, thank you for your comments. I did talk with my instructor about it, which was helpful. He let me try his Carroll, and I've since tried a Ceili, which has me thinking it's largely a matter of how stiff the bellows are on my Rochelle 2. They're getting better all the time (and I really like the R2 for beginning this adventure) but they're still significantly stiffer than his. So I think I've just been doing what it takes to keep the ends roughly parallel without thinking about it...until I thought about it. I have a Clover on order, which may well solve the problem. I just wanted to post this for comment in case I'm developing a habit that will be difficult to un-do later.
  11. To reply to myself, I'm getting the idea that this is an ill-posed question, or maybe it doesn't matter where I press on one side, or how I hold the concertina, while playing a string of notes on the other.
  12. I've been taking concertina lessons for a couple of months now, currently playing a Concertina Connection Rochelle 2. I have noticed when playing a string of notes on the left side that I'm pushing primarily with the side of my right thumb on the hand rest (actually on the outside of the strap) and a couple of fingers reaching across the buttons to the body of the concertina in order to keep the right side parallel with the left. Is this an acceptable habit? My instructor let me try his Carroll concertina which requires much less effort with the bellows, so maybe my current technique is just what it's going to take with the stiffer bellows on the R2 (which are getting easier as I continue). I see some players curl their fingers up along the inside of the hand rest, but it seems like it's better to have the fingers out over the buttons, same as the fretting hand on a stringed instrument. I've noticed that I can also twist my hand a little to put pressure on the hand rest from my thumb while twisting my hand under the strap to maintain alignment, but that doesn't feel comfortable to maintain. Thanks for any suggestions.
  13. I was curious about electrolysis for rust removal and came across this interesting video. (If you don't mind the guy shouting through the entire thing). My thinking was that perhaps multiple reeds could be processed at the same time, but it looks like Evapo-Rust gets good marks anyway.
  14. Thought I might loop back to this discussion to say that I decided to slow down a little and order the Rochelle 2 from Concertina Connection. I just wasn't certain enough to make the leap all the way to the Clover, and with their trade-in program it seemed like the prudent way to proceed. I've had the R2 for a little over a week now and I've been playing the wheels off it. It had one reed that was a little high and allowing a bit of air to pass through before sounding, and Wim talked me through the process of bending it down a little to match the others. It was quite easy to do, and it plays perfectly now. His customer support has been great, including some interesting emails about the inner workings of the concertina. Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. Parker
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