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About Ubizmo

  • Birthday 08/17/1953

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    Philosophy, AI, fiction, Esperanto, and of course, music.
  • Location
    Philadelphia PA, USA

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  1. I have not. But I tried some ointment I found in the bathroom cabinet. Something called "EmuaidMAX." I think it's meant for surface skin conditions, but for whatever reason, it helped a lot. I just took a little dab and rubbed it into my where the biceps joins the elbow. It reduces the pain about 90 percent and lasts for hours. This makes a real difference.
  2. Happy to talk about it, and thanks. These are the kinds of problems I didn't have to think about not so many years ago. But I'm not complaining; plenty of people have worse.
  3. I'm going to try to get used to controlling the bellows with my right hand, as some have suggested. And I'm taking some time off. As I said at in the original post, this injury was there for months before I ever picked up a concertina. I don't know exactly how long, but at least six months. It never goes away, although some days are worse than others. It never occurred to me that playing for an hour would be excessive. Generally, when I play I devote the first twenty minutes to working on something new, while I'm focused. Then I go back over things I've already learned and just enjoy them. And somewhere in there, I just improvise and explore the instrument, not trying to play anything specific. In any case, I don't play for an hour every day--not the concertina alone, anyway. I'm still trying to learn more tunes, and refresh old ones. For that I turn to the whistle. Unfortunately, I haven't been doing much with the sax. I'll see how it goes. My goal was to be able to play the concertina in sessions. But even if I can't do that, I can still enjoy playing on my own.
  4. I haven't posted in a while, but the short summary is: I started playing Anglo last October. I had a Rochelle 2 and then got a Minstrel with Wakker bellows and Jeffries layout, which felt like a very substantial improvement. But there has been one fairly serious problem. I have an injured distal biceps tendon. The injury was the result of lifting a dumbbell in the gym. This happened months before I started playing the concertina. I went to the doctor and also to a physical therapist, and while the pain did decrease a bit, it never went entirely away. I feel this pain mostly when my left arm is swinging inwards, toward my center axis. As you can imagine, this impacts my playing. I use my left arm to move the bellows. When I start to play, there's not much pain, but as I keep playing it increases. I tried switching to using my right hand to move the bellows, but that still puts tension on my left arm, and the pain is still there. I called the PT again and was told, "Well, you're 70. Healing is a lot slower than it used to be, and your playing may be interfering with it." Right. If I play for an hour or so, I can still feel the increased pain the next morning. If I stop playing altogether, how long might it take to heal completely? Hard to say, since this is a movement that is not rare in everyday life. I'm pretty careful not to stress that arm lifting things, but of course there are times when I forget. If I don't play at all, the pain diminishes but it never goes away completely. The doctor tells me I should consider playing a different instrument. Of course, I do play the whistle, which doesn't bother the arm at all. I enjoy the concertina, but I don't enjoy the pain, nor do I want to be constantly aggravating whatever the damage to my arm is. As of now, I haven't played for ten days or so. Well, I just felt like sharing that. I realize that pain issues can keep people from playing instruments. I know someone who can't play the flute anymore, due to shoulder issues. This stuff happens. I have grown fond of the fixed-reed sound. I suppose I could play the Melodica...
  5. I have a CC Minstrel, and the distance from the side of the handrail to the center inside row button (The 8 button, using Coover tablature) is about 47mm. The surrounding buttons, in their curved array, are somewhat closer. I have large hands. These are the same distances on the CC Rochelle 2. On the R2 I tried raising the handrails by gluing some half round to them (and painting it), and this helped. I no longer own the Stagi/CI Anglo, so I can't measure it, but I can say with certainty that the distance from the handrail to the buttons on it was greater. The curvature of the buttons was also less. These differences made it very comfortable for my hands. Too bad its reeds were untrustworthy. I haven't yet tried raising the handrails of the Minstrel. I also haven't yet attempted to move the handrails, but this is something I'm considering. I need to be cautious. I'm still a beginning player, and I don't yet have much use for the 1a-3a buttons (left hand) and 3a-5a buttons (right hand), but I don't want to put them out of easy reach. At some point, I'll want to use them. So for the time being, I'm just trying to play the Minstrel as is.
  6. Something else I've noticed... Playing the Rochelle, I was starting to experience tingling and slight numbness in my fingertips. Since switching to the Minstrel, this has subsided. I believe the cause is/was that the need to exert strong hand pressure to play the Rochelle at all--especially middle G and C--was causing me to stab the buttons far more forcefully than was needed. At any rate, although it didn't stop overnight, it did stop.
  7. Another update: After more grinding with the Rochelle 2, I found a decent deal of a CC Minstrel with Jeffries layout and Wakker bellows and bought it. I'll sell the Rochelle 2 when I can. The difference is just mind-blowing. Although the Rochelle 2 and the Minstrel look very similar, the difference in feel and ease of play is just amazing. Every note on the Minstrel is clear and free-blowing; no lag or resistance. I can play without feeling like I've been doing wrist curls. Even the leather hand straps are better: a slightly wider, slightly stiffer leather that slides over the backs of my hands without any trouble. I may still do the modification of raising the hand rails, but I'm not sure. On the Rochelle 2 I needed that in order to maintain tight enough contact with the instrument to play it at all. With the Minstrel I may be able to get by without that. I'm not sure yet. The Minstrel has 6 bellows folds to the Rochelle's 7, but the ease of play more than makes up for that. It'll take a bit to get used to the Jeffries layout. In other news, I'm dabbling a bit more in harmony...
  8. As I mentioned in other threads, I'm a beginner player (not quite two months). I bought a Rochelle-2, had some difficulties with it, and soon traded up to a Concertine Italia/Stagi (traded "up" in terms of cost), which I soon had to return due to what I perceived as build quality issues. I did like the ergonomics of the CI/Stagi, though. I have big hands, and the button spread felt more spacious. Also, the hand rails were at least a centimeter higher. This was very comfortable for me. Getting the CI/Stagi back, it feels a bit cramped. Someone mentioned to me in a private message some time back that I might consider modifying the hand rails. Today, I did just that. I bought a length of half round trim and cut two 3.5-inch pieces and sanded the ends. Since the stock trim is a bit wider than the existing hand rails, I used a Dremel to grind the sides down a bit, to get them to fit. I'm not very handy with this sort of thing, but I was able to do this without too much trouble. I sanded the pieces down, roughed the surface of the existing hand rails, and glued the half rounds in place, using "oily welding glue". As you can see in the photo, I didn't paint them yet. I'll do that tomorrow. I checked some model building web sites and the consensus seems to be to glue first, then paint. I'm going to let it cure overnight before trying it, but the new height is almost exactly what it was on the CI/Stagi, so I should feel a bit less constricted on the inner row of buttons. It isn't expert joinery, but I'm not too worried about the aesthetics of it. After this, I doubt I'll ever be selling it. I just thought I'd post it for anyone who might be curious. Also, I've read here that some people find the Concertina Connection Minstrel also a bit confining for larger hands.
  9. The one I recently bought was stamped 14 July 2023 inside. I had to return it, due to problems with notes not sounding, or intermittently failing. After taking it back to the retailer twice for adjustments, I felt that my confidence in the build quality was too reduced for me to feel comfortable keeping it. In other respects, I quite liked it, and I sincerely hope my experience was an exception to the norm.
  10. Well... Another button on the CI/Stagi abruptly choked, and yet another got strangely thin. I threw in the towel. I went back to Liberty Bellows and said I'd go back to the Rochelle-2. I felt like I couldn't have confidence in the CI/Stagi, and even though it was a much better fit for my hands, and sounded better (when notes didn't fail) I just didn't trust the build quality. I was a day late for the return window but they didn't give me any trouble and refunded the money in full, with no "restocking fee". So, back to the Rochelle-2 until such a time as I'm able to afford something actually decent. As I play it again, and I understand the instrument a little better, I realize that what I interpreted as "stiffness" of the bellows isn't that at all. It's resistance in the air flow, for whatever reason. But that's for another thread.
  11. An update: Although I was making fair progress on my own, just working out various tunes, I finally decided to try the highly recommended CaitlĂ­n Nic Gabhann course. I wanted some structure, and the experience of having to get something to sound pretty clean before moving on to the next thing. I think this was a good decision. I appreciate how from the very beginning she gets the pupil using different buttons for the same note, depending on the surrounding context. I was doing some of this on my own, but she's definitely pushing me past my comfort zone.
  12. Here's another couple of questions: On this CI/Stagi concertina, the bellows are less stiff than on the Rochelle-2 that I had, but if I push the bellows all the way in, there's a significant "rebound" of at least an inch; the same was true on the Rochelle-2. This, I take it, is just a result of the way the bellows are built, and not something that's going to change as the concertina is played more, right? There's no strap to secure this concertina in the fully closed position. There wasn't one on the Rochelle-2 either, but I see in pictures that some concertinas have them. In fact, if I'm not mistake, in that video about the Concertine Italia factory, I think one of the ladies said it was important to secure the concertina in the fully closed position when not playing it (but I may be misremembering that). I noticed that some of the other Stagi/CI concertinas at Liberty Bellows had that strap; others didn't. Does this really matter? When I'm not playing, I tend to leave the concertina out, on my desk, as in the picture above. I use the air button to put it into a "relaxed" state, not especially compressed or stretched, so there is no tendency to leave air pressure in it. I think on a better quality concertina, this relaxed state would be just about any bellows position other than overstretched, but these lower-end ones are more like springs, is that about right?
  13. "Britches Full Of Stitches" played in D.
  14. I went back to Liberty Bellows today, to ask them to made an adjustment to the middle B reed, which was a bit laggy. They did so, and it made such a difference! But while the technician was working, I sat in the "concertina corner" of the shop (pictured) and played a few of the concertinas. I was struck by the different "fit" of the various instruments. I mentioned how the Concertine Italia (Stagi) W-15 LN that I bought has quite a distance from the rail to the inner row of keys, which is a good fit for my hands. I picked up another CI 30- button and found quite the opposite. The buttons were so close to the rail that I had to curl my fingers under a bit to get to the inside row--or back my hand out of the straps quite a bit. I know this has been mentioned elsewhere, but this really should be a measurement that's given in listings, since most people won't have the opportunity to go into a shop and try out different concertinas. My hands aren't as huge as some, but I wear an XL glove. The Rochelle-2 that I had was okay, but I did have a tendency to overshoot the buttons sometimes. And on the Rochelle, I couldn't stick my hands all the way through the straps, for this exact reason. But I'd say that the instrument I now have (also pictured) would be unsuitable for most women, and many men with less than XL glove size. Even for me, reaching the 1A button, with my hands thrust fully into the straps, is doable but a definite reach. A lot of people would have to twist their hand around to get to it, which I don't think is optimal. In another thread, someone suggested movable hand rails. That would be good but, failing that, a sizing system based on glove size would be helpful to people buying online. The main measurement I've seen is the "key to key" width, which is better than nothing, but not the only measure that matters. Incidentally, the diameter of the CI/Stagi is almost exactly the same as the Rochelle-2, at 6.25"
  15. "Fretwork" is the word I was looking for. I think some kind of cover would at least keep flies or moths from venturing in there. As I look at the foil or whatever it is that's in there, I imagine that replacing it with something like fabric or screen mesh would reduce air resistance. That could be a good thing. I imagine it would change the timbre a bit as well, though I can't predict what effect it would have.
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