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About Mikefule

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    Heavyweight Boxer

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    Author of Bridge of Otherwhere, 2018, available on Kindle/Amazon. Dancer and occasional musician with Dolphin Morris Men of Nottingham, UK. I play Anglo concertina and harmonica and occasionally a bit of 1 row melodeon. My concertinas are a B flat/F Jeffries, a G/D Dipper and a G/D Marcus. I write a few simple tunes and also write songs for occasional performance at Morris events. Other hobbies include cross country unicycling, motorcycling (BMW F800S)and other outdoorsy stuff.
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    Lincolnshire, UK

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  1. The special charm of the 20b is its limitations. It was designed to provide easy access to 2 major keys and the related modes, and the harmonies are there, but sometimes take some finding. I get a great deal of pleasure from making the most of the 20b. When I want accidentals outside the standard 20b layout, I play my 30. That has been designed with the most useful accidentals (and duplicates) in the most convenient places. It's not just having the notes, but having them where they fall under your fingers "logically" in a tune. If it were simply a case of swapping a reed, as it would be with a melodeon, I could see some sense in experimenting with alternatives to the notes you never use. Hohner D/G melodeonists used to do it all the time*. However, as it would involve modifying the box, I think you'd be investing a lot of hard work or money into making a box that was not quite satisfactory to play, and which would be harder to sell. I am never a fan of the idea that "more = better" but when you have reached the stage where you actually need more, that's a good time to upgrade. I'd say get a 30, although getting a 20b D/A as well as your C/G would be another option. *I say "used to" because these days, the ones who were keen enough to modify their Hohners all seem to have Castagnarii and Dino Baffettii.
  2. I play harmonic style. If I pickup a box just for a play, Double Lead Through usually comes out early in the session, It's bright and lively, it modulates, and it offers plenty for the left hand..
  3. Mikefule

    Possible trade/exchange/swap?

    Ignore this post. Now sorted. I no longer own the Jeffries and I do own a baritone and, surprisingly, a piccolo. I have a beautiful Bb/F 38 button Jeffries Anglo, painstakingly restored by Alan Davies of Nottingham. One or two of the accidentals are in Wheatstone layout although I believe these can easily be swapped around. There's nothing wrong with the box, it's beaut, but I don't play it as much as my Dipper G/D. I have a hankering for a nice wooden-ended baritone in C/G. 30 buttons would satisfy me. I play mainly for Morris and Morris session tunes. I'm wary of getting involved in importing/exporting and worrying about VAT & duty, and apart from that, I'm a "try before you buy" person when it comes to instruments. I'm in the east midlands of England: Lincolnshire. Is there anyone out there who has a C/G wooden ended baritone who might prefer a nice 38 button metal ended Jeffries — albeit in the Salvation Army keys? Feel free to PM me. Thanks, Mike Wilkinson
  4. Mikefule


    I've always said Lashenarl. A bit of searching shows that the question has been asked i these forums before. It's a Swiss name, so anyone with a bit of knowledge of Swiss would be able to give a definitive answer. Unhelpfully, Wikipedia does not give phonetics for any of the various famous Lachenals, or the plants called Lachenalia!
  5. Indeed, but not as hilarious as the moist garden building definition. Similarly, "Shed load" as in, "The A46 is closed due to a shed load of bricks." I know it means "a load of bricks that has been shed by a lorry" but the expression "shed load" (and, by extension, "sh*t load") has been taken by many ignorami to mean "a huge amount" – presumably thinking in terms of, "enough to fill a large shed". PS, I agree with you about miniature. A miniature has the same proportions as a normal item, but is smaller. In effect, a scale model.
  6. It is crazy when you think about it, because everywhere else in the English language, the meaning of each word is clear, logical and consistent. This is why we use telescopic motorcycle forks to look at things that are a long way away, and only ever play the black notes on a piano by accident. Bombay ducks go quack, and a watershed is a very moist garden building. I could go on, and frequently do. But, defiantly, concertinists insist on counting the obvious ridges and not counting the valleys (which are invisible when the bellows are closed) and, seeing that those valleys are created by folding (a method of putting sheep into small walled or fenced enclosures) we call them "folds". Zany, that's what we are.
  7. The number of buttons shows the range and versatility of the instrument and is crucial. For example, on an Anglo, 20 buttons has all the notes for 2 major keys, but no extras, which makes some tunes difficult or impossible to play. A 30 button Anglo has all the notes for 2 major keys, plus 10 buttons (= 20 notes) that provide some accidentals and alternative fingering options. Not only can you play more complex tunes, but you can harmonise them more imaginatively, or play them faster and more smoothly, or explore a wider range of keys. A 38 button has even more accidentals and alternative fingering options so it is much more versatile, but at the expense of weight and cost. I don't play English or Duet, but broadly similar considerations would apply. "Across the flats" describes the distance from the centre of one flat side to the centre of the opposite flat side. So if you lay the concertina on its side, that would be its height in that position. The size gives some idea of the likely weight and quality of the instrument and is also useful if you want to choose hard case. However, it is not a statistic which, alone, would influence my choice of instrument. Bellows are described by the number of folds, not in inches. If you open the bellows, you see a series of ridges and valleys like this: []\/\/\/\/\/[]. The number of ridges is the number of folds. A basic Lachenal 20 button Anglo typically has 5 fold bellows. 7 is more common on bigger and better instruments, but there is some variation. The number of folds gives some indication of how much air will be available before you need to change bellows direction. So 7 fold bellows are a bit more expensive and a bit heavier, but give you more ability to play long notes or chords without reaching the end of the bellows' travel.
  8. I've looked closely at all the photos and I can say I've seen worse looking instruments. External appearance is not much to go by, but I hope the money they have saved by not adding unnecessary sparkly decoration has gone instead into the quality and action and reeds. It is a better looking box than my old Rochelle, although this is purely a mater of personal taste. I've read the advert which strikes me as having been written by someone who knows a little bit about concertinas, but not much about restrained use of language to describe items for sale. I doubt it is "beyond perfect" as they suggest. If it arrives and is absolutely awful, try straight away to get your consumer rights. If it is OK, then well done for making the decision. In this forum, we always recommend the Rochelle, with good reason, but it would be good for us all to know of a decent alternative for a beginner. You get what you pay for, and a $3,000 instrument is incredibly better to play than a $300 instrument. A good beginner's instrument will encourage you to save or borrow to get a better one. The only danger is that a bad beginner's instrument may discourage you. Good luck, and please let us know how you get on with it.
  9. Mikefule

    Jamie Allen

    I have changed the description of the video to say that it is a Northumbrian pipe tune. I had only assumed it was New England because that is what I had seen on one or more other videos of people playing the tune.
  10. Mikefule

    Jamie Allen

    You're probably right. I only called it a New England tune because that appeared to be the accepted wisdom (probably of people from New England). I certainly learned it in an English traditional music environment.
  11. Mikefule

    Jamie Allen

    You're playing it in G, definitely. That is the usual key it's played it and it starts and ends on G with only one sharp, which is F#. My point was that I play it in G on a G/D box and you play it in G on a C/G box. That means I can easily play it mainly on the middle row of 3 (the "outside row") and borrow from the other two rows only for the benefit of easier and more varied harmonies. If I were to play it in G on a C/G box, as you do, the melody would sound the same, but the fingering would be completely different and some of the harmonic opportunities would be different too. It's part of the quirky charm of this instrument that, apart from a few simple tunes played along the row within one octave, you need to rework the fingering if you transpose to a different key on the same box, or the same key on a different box. I've had a quick go at Jamie Allen in D on my GD box this afternoon. That will be the equivalent fingering to you playing it in G on a C/G box. I can't simply move the tune 1 row across onto the G row of a C/G because part of the B music needs a note that isn;t there. Therefore, the whole needs to be played in the lower register. I would do that starting on the low G that you find on the 4th button pull left hand of the accidental row. The melody then fits easily enough, but it's just a case of working through the options to find the best fit and best accompaniment. It's interesting (to me!) and if I get a convincing harmonic version out of it, I'll share it.
  12. Mikefule

    Jamie Allen

    Thank you. I have more time on my hands at the moment as I'm nominally retired.
  13. Mikefule

    Jamie Allen

    Interesting. You play it in G on a CG; I play it in G on a GD. Some tunes translate to the "higher key" better than others when you play harmonically. Let me think about that and I'll get back to you.
  14. Mikefule

    Jamie Allen

    Thank you. I hope you'll find it encouraging. I'm at a stage now where I'm getting as much or more pleasure from finding alternative arrangements for simple tunes as I am from learning more complex tunes. It's such a versatile instrument. It's on a DG Anglo, in G. Tell me what you play and I can give you my chords and some details of the fingering if you're interested, adjusted for a different key if required.