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Posts posted by Parker135

  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.


    • Like 2
  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. 18 minutes ago, David Barnert said:


    If I learn a tune by ear, I don’t consider it “mine” until I’ve seen the notation and made sure I heard it correctly, didn’t leave anything out, etc. It’s one thing to learn a tune on the fly at a session and pay along, another to know that you know a standard version.

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 2 hours ago, David Barnert said:


    I can’t give you any academic research (except from the “School of Hard Knocks”), but you may find my personal experience interesting.


    I play several instruments. My first was the cello, at a young age, and I learned to read music quite proficiently (more than once I have heard someone say “You read like the wind” when sight-reading chamber music). Later in life (but still decades ago), I started picking up “folkie” instruments (banjo, hammered dulcimer, penny whistle) and learned to play them by ear (and with absolutely no fluency reading music on them). Many of the people I played them with were fiddlers, and many of those were actually violinists who could not play by ear (I started hearing the expression, “paper-trained”). I was tempted to be critical of these violinists who couldn’t play “off book” until it occurred to me that “I can’t do that on the cello, either.” So I made an attempt to learn, both to play the cello by ear and to play from music on the others, with varying degrees of success.


    By the time I started on the concertina (much later than all the other instruments mentioned, but now more than 30 years ago), I recognized the importance  of both approaches and made sure that I could tackle them both, successfully, I might add. But it really is two different mind sets, two different skill sets.


    BTW, once I found the concertina, all the other folkie instruments (with the exception of the recorder) went on the back burner. The concertina was what I had been looking for all along.

    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.

  7. 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.


  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    • Like 1
  10. 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.

  11. On 3/11/2022 at 2:46 PM, Rod Pearce said:

    Alex, Clive


    Thank you. I have ordered some Evapo Rust and will see how that goes



    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.


  12. 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.



    • Like 2
  13. 1 hour ago, gtotani said:



    P.S. I don’t know why, but email response from Concertina Connection (Wim Walker) is quite slow these days. I have not got reply from Wim for months. You may have to be patient.

    Hi Totani,


    I've been getting email replies from William at Concertina Connection within a couple of days.  I guess maybe that's Wim?  So far he's been very responsive and helpful.



    • Like 1
  14. I have had the good fortune to begin (Irish Trad) concertina lessons on a Stagi loaner.  I'm having a lot of fun and I think it's going to take.  With Button Box closing shop, it appears that my best prospect for an upper mid-range concertina is a Clover.  Is the Rochelle 2 a significant enough jump above the Stagi to justify its purchase, with the idea of trading it in for credit toward the Clover or just go ahead and make the leap to the Clover?  If the Rochelle 2 is a significant jump in quality from the Stagi, it seems like it would be a safe way to proceed, but if there is little difference I might as well stick with the Stagi for a while yet and then move to the Clover.  Thanks for any advice.

  15. 2 hours ago, Nabio said:


    Parker, I started (not that long ago) on a Stagi (thanks to a very kind member of the community, thank you again), and the difference is night and day.  You're actually better off learning on the Stagi, because if you can control your air on it then you'll find the Ceili always has more.  The buttons themselves require much less effort/pressure to push which did take some time to get used to.  Because it's so easy to play, you find yourself trying to catch up to it because of how responsive it is.  In that sense, it takes almost a finer motor skill than the Stagi which is so fun to smash the buttons on.  I think this will be the biggest difference, aside from the sound itself.  The Ceili is much brighter, and louder (at least mine is).  It also took some time for my ears to adapt to it, but when switching back to the Stagi, it's almost as if the sound is muffled in the latter.  The appearance, weight, and size are also significantly better in the Ceili's favor.  With that said, I love and play both for different reasons, but I'm very very happy to have found my Ceili (ahem, thanks again, you know who).  



    Nabio, that's certainly a ringing endorsement of the Ceili.  It will probably be between one of those or a Clover when the time comes.  For now, I am really thankful to have the Stagi on loan to get me started.  I probably would have bought a Wren or similar and then be wanting to trade up.  Thanks for your comments.

    • Like 1
  16. I've been following this discussion with interest, as a Ceili is on my short list to consider as an upgrade from the loaner Stagi I'm using for my beginning lessons.  Is wax installation a common procedure for this class of concertina?  Is it because the accordion reeds come mounted on the reed plates which are then installed with the wax?  I'm curious why hot hide glue would not be suitable for this.  The reed plates could still be removed if necessary with a little heat.   


    With the uncertain future of new Cailis being made and serviced, should I be concerned about buying one?  I assume other concertina repair services could do any necessary repairs, but I'm just not yet familiar enough know what I might be getting into.      

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