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Posts posted by inventor

  1. My advice is that you should avoid 46 button Maccann concertinas. They start much too high on the right hand side and are missing an essential low D above the tenor C on the left. It doesn't matter what quality or how cheap, compared with other concertinas with a similar number of buttons they may be. If you wish to learn a Maccann don't consider anything with less than 57 buttons starting on middle C on the right hand side.

    I have taken many beginners classes over the years for "All Systems" Duets at Kilve for the WCCP. I have been forced to tailor my classes to take this into account; so that the Beginners who turn up with the smaller Maccanns are not at a disadvantage compared to the Crane and Hayden Duet beginners. (45 button Cranes, and 46 button Haydens do not have the two problems mentioned above). My advice to these people is always the same; "if you like the Maccann system part exchange it for a 57(+) button instrument as soon as you can afford to do so". A 57 button Maccann is very unlikely to be a poor quality instrument no matter what the ends are made of, or how many sides it has.


  2. Hi Highplainsman


    First of all - Welcome to concertina.net. It's nice to hear from New members who enjoy playing a Hayden Duet.


    Regards (2) fingering: There is no set in stone "correct" fingering on this type of concertina, play it which ever way you feel comfortable with. Any suggestions that I and other people have made are merely reccomendations, not "Rules".

    Regards developing the left hand a couple of suggestions for the moment: When you have worked out a sequence of chords for the left hand, consider changing a major chord to its relative minor, or vice-versa. this only involves moving one finger to the next adjacent button along the same row, or turning the triangle of the chord upside down, (eg G major [gdb] to E minor [geb]). Or play a small run of notes instead of a chord, (eg for G major play the notes g, a, b in sequence); again it only involves moving the middle finger to an adjacent button. With both of these you have the fingers hovering over the standard G major buttons.

    In April there is the North East (USA) concertina meet (details from Button Box) where you can meet other players of Hayden Duets, Anglos and other types of concertina, which you should go to if you possibly can.


    Very best wishes,


  3. P.S. With regard to ceemonsters coments about the vertical rows of buttons (at right-angles to the line of the hand rests) causing problems with the ergonomics of Maccan duets, (which also occur on Crane Duets and English Concertinas): this does not happen on Hayden Duets, (or on Anglos and Jeffries Duets).

    Indeed one of the reasons that the rows of buttons on a Hayden Duet are tipped over at a slight angle (10.5 degrees to the line of the hand rests), is so that buttons on alternate rows of notes are not immediately above each other.

    This allows those buttons (which are an octave apart) to be played by 2 adjacent fingers, either together or alternately more easily.


  4. 1) Regards the Jeffries Duet system mentioned much earlier as a common system. In fact it is a very uncommon system indeed; Crane & Hayden Duets are much more common.

    2) [is the layout on the basses on a piano accordion any easier to learn than (insert favourite concertina system here)?] If as Dirge has done you inserted "Maccann" then it is true "hugely no comparison"! However the chording on a Crane Duet is not at all difficult. Chording on an English Concertina is quite easy, however playing melody and piano-accordion type bass together is quite difficult. On Anglo Concertinas the home keys are quite easily accompanyed, however you may have to play the melody quite high on the right hand side or cope with the melody invading the left hand side at the same time as you are accompaning on the left. Outside the home keys things become increasingly more difficult and some chords are only partially available. Jeffries duets are probably nearly as difficult the Maccann, however they are as mentioned above very uncommon.

    3) This leaves me with the Hayden Duet with which I can give a very direct comparison with the "Stradella" (piano-accordion) Bass.

    The chords on the Hayden Duet (HD) are in the same order from left to right as those on the Stradella Bass (SB), both follow the Harmonic Cycle; however the HB this is "concertinaed" into half the width of the SB. To play a chord on the HD you have to play 3 or 4 buttons together on SB just 1 button (80 bass 2 buttons for a 4 note Dominant 7th); but you only need to use 2 fingers for major and minor chords and 3 for 4 note dominant 7ths on the HD. However on the HD you may play these sequentially (arpeggios and broken chords) which is not possible on the SB.

    Relative minors on the HD are at the same position (just move one finger) as it's major chord, on the SB they are the next three diagonals to the right. This involves a lot less hand jumping on the HD than the SB if you like to intersperce relative minors into an accompaniment. Equally on a pure Relative minor tune you can jump to the relative major chord more easily on the HD than the SB. On a Harmonic Minor however this may be easier to accompany on the SB, but because of the "concertinaing" of the width of the harmonic cycle this presents no real problem,(or you can cheat on the HD and play the Dominant 7th chord as Root Fith and Seventh [2 adjacent fingers] which doesn't need any movement of the hand !).

    So far as deep bass notes are concerned; I would say that Major Counterbasses are easier though not much on the SB and Minor Counterbasses are much easier on the HD, indeed some piano-accordionists are unaware that minor counterbasses are even possible on any less than a 140 bass model.

    The smaller 46 button Hayden Concertinas may be seen as roughly the equivalent of a 48 bass piano-accordion and the larger 65 button the equivalent of a 72 bass piano-accordion.

    So all in all I think that the Hayden Duet left hand may easily compared directly with the Accordion Stradella Bass, there are plusses and minuses. Note I have played an 80 bass Stradella (in conjunction with a developed melodeon type right hand) years ago, and then changed to a Hayden Duet: the transition was easy!

    5) As you already play the Piano have you looked at some of the modern compact 60 Bass (12 X 5 row) that are available nowadays?


  5. I often hear of things in the planning stages that never come to fruition soon. Then suddenly appear years later.

    I hope Wim will be making a mid-priced hybrid soon; it would be especially nice if it could be a 44 button 6.25" build it yourself model.

    I didn't hear about the Button Box 54 Button instrument directly, a "little bird" told me! It should be on display at the BB concertina weekend in April.


  6. I am pleased to say that Button Box has recently completed their first production model, hybrid (accordion reeded) Hayden concertina. 54 buttons 7" across the flats. Don't ask me about the price, ask them.

    They make very good light weight Anglo and English hybrids at reasonable prices. This model should sit nicely between the "Elise" and the 65 Button Wakker Hayden Duet (real concertina reeds).


  7. Looking through the comprehensive collections of traditional tunes these are the following conclusions.

    1) Scottish tunes "Kerr's Merry Melodies" 4 books nearly 450 in each. Very few go above the high d"', though a few go up to the high e"' (one or two d#"' & e"'} None go any higher than that.

    2) American Contra dance "Cole's 1000 American Fiddle Tunes" is exactly the same total compass with the exception of one tune which goes up to the very high a"'.

    3) Irish Trad tunes "O'Neil's 1850 Irish Tunes": I don't remember any that go above the high d"'; which is the highest note that can be played on the Irish Uillean Pipes.

    4) English Cotswold Morris Tunes mostly have quite a small compass as they were originally played on the 3 hole pipe, (& tabor). Jinkey Wells (fiddle) of Bampton in the Bush played a few with a wider compass but none that could not be played on an Albion. William Kimber who played (C/G anglo) didn't play any Morris Tune above the high d"', and he was playing his tunes a fourth higher than most Morris musicians play nowadays.


  8. It must be over 20 years ago since John Holman ceased to make concertina bellows and cases. At that time he took up making Videos (mainly of weddings), which paid very much more than making bellows. As you say this was a great loss to the Concertina World.

    At about the same time Robin Scard started working with Colin and Rosalie Dipper, and he made me a really good leather concertina case for my larger concertina. In the intervening years he has gone on to become a really excelent concertina maker; I don't know if he would still be willing to make you a case. He can be contacted via Colin Dipper.


  9. There is a saying in the Antiques Trade that "the first profit is the best profit" !


    Jeffries Anglo Concertinas in any condition are like gold dust, but a premium price is most likely to be paid by a player in the Republic of Ireland or a collector/dealer in the UK.


    Either way they will have to pay Duty and V.A.T. on their purchase, (between 25% & 40%). If it is restored in Canada (and I could reccomend a highly reputable one in Canada, and several in the USA); they will effectively be paying extra tax on the cost of restoration as well as the cost of the instrument; which would affect the maximum price a bidder was willing to pay.


    Put it on international eBay as it is, preferably with internal photographs to show that there are no important bits missing, and with the note that a Canadian restorer has quoted $2500 for restoration.


    I would endorse everything that Theo has said above, good luck,


  10. It's going back many years now, but my late father told me that this episode was inspired by the First Squire of the East Kent Morris Men who was a Bank Manager in Folkstone Kent. My father who worked for a Bank in the City (of London) was a member of the short Lived Medway Morris Men, and used to chat to him about boring Bank things when there were Kent Morrismens' gatherings (Hartley Morrismen also included).


  11. I have obtained the following imformation from Semley Auctioneers (tel 01747 855122)

    Auction Date 17 September at 10.30, viewing on the previous 3 days.

    Crabb Serial Number 10021.


    The picture in the Blackmoor Vale Magazine clearly shows the right hand side of a Crane System Duet with 31 buttons on it. 6 chevrons plus one extra button at the bottom. My guess is that would be the usual middle C to an F 2.5 octaves above, plus a bonus B below the middle C. This would leave 28 on the Left hand side. My guess is that this is the usual tenor C to the c an octave above middle C, plus a bonus 3 notes below the tenor C. Without a picture of the left hand side I cannot say if this might be A, Bb, B; or G, A, B. perhaps the serial number might give more imformation ?


    It is obviously a very high quality instrument, together with the Salvation Army book and the wider compass of notes, suggests that it was made specially for a Salvation Army virtuoso musician. I think that the Auction Estimate of £1,500 vastly underestimates the true value of this instrument.



  12. Concertinas with chord buttons are quite rare, however you should look at Hayden System Duet concertinas.

    These are set up in a regular harmonic fashion.

    Major chords are like this:

    . ( - ) . ( 5 ) . ( - )

    ..... ( R ) . ( - ) . ( 3 )


    Minor chords are like this:

    . (m3 ) . ( - ) . ( 5 )

    .........( - ) . ( R ) . ( - )


    On both of these you can see that the Root note and the 5th can be played with only one finger, so many Major or Minor chords can be played with only two fingers.

    Once you have learned these two patterns You will be able to play many different Major and Minor chords on this type of concertina. In addition these patterns are in the harmonic cycle, like on an accordion stradella bass, but "concertinered" into half the width. Other chords have regular repeating patterns.



  13. I agree with all that has been said about Replacing/retuning and voicing the reeds. However with regard to replacing the buttons: why not ? I use 6mm flat top buttons on my concertina, it doesn't half make a difference to the playability of the instrument. Two finger reitterations are so much easier; as is double pegging (one finger playing two buttons at the same time) to play fourths or fifths. You could also enlarge the holes and bush them properly, and felt the join to the action levers at the same time. In an earlier thread Wim Wakker pointed out that if he had this done as standard it would considerably up the very reasonable price of these instruments, but if you do it yourself for your own instrument that wouldn't be a consideration.

    Charlie Marshall (CGM Musical services) does all sorts of buttons for Accordion basses, perhaps you might modify some to suit yourself.


  14. I have heard several very good reports regarding the prototype Button Box Hybrid Hayden. However I am very well aware that Button Box had to make many hard commercial decisions after the tragic death of Rich Morse.

    I was always trying to persuade Rich Morse to get an accordion reeded Hayden up and running before he attempted to go for a traditional reeded instrument; being most impressed with the quality and sheer lightness in the hand of their accordion reeded English and Anglo concertinas. Rich was however adamant that when Button Box made Hayden duets that they were to be traditionaly reeded instruments.

    Remember that Button Box's main business is retailing Folk Music instruments especially Melodeons from around the World, and they are very good at that; concertina making is just a sideline which I suspect may be subsidized by the Main Shop.

    Wim Wakker (Concertina Connection) on the other hand is a dedicated concertina maker, he seems to get things up and running in double quick time. I look forward to seeing his Accordion reeded Hayden Duets, especially if he also does a Do-It-Yourself kit as on the Clover Anglos.

    Coming back to the original question of Elise and Stagi concertinas. A couple of years ago I played an Elise on the "Music Room" stall at the Sidmouth Festival; and was most impressed with the instrument especially at the price it was selling at. Upgrading from that I would reccomend going for a Tedrow instrument or waiting for a Wakker or Button box hybrid, hopefully in a years time.


  15. Nevertheless I would like to point out that on Hayden Duets because of the consistant proximity of 4ths and 5ths in adjacent rows of buttons, it is possible to play any Major or Minor chord with only two fingers. So if you play a double chord with 4 fingers on the left hand and a double chord with 4 fingers on the right hand you can play 4 octave chords on a Hayden Duet. This is also possible for some chords on both the Maccann & Crane Duets.

    Personally I do not chose to do this myself as it does not suit the type of music that I like playing; however I have sometimes ended a performance with a 7 note chord playing 3 buttons with my right hand forefinger !


  16. Lintons 2 daughters also played them so there must have been at least 3 instruments, and I seem to remember seeing a picture of him and his daughters with a pile of 4 or 5. He was said to be a brilliant musician playing Wagner with loads of heavy chords in several octaves; and claimed to be able to outplay any Duett Concertina player. As you say it is not a Duet system, but rather a split octave system like the English Concertina. I believe there were other people who attempted to play the Linton System, but this might have been on instruments that had previously belonged to the Linton family.


  17. In direct answer to your question "Can you play melody and chords on an English"; the answer is yes you can. However in over 40 years of meeting hundreds of English Concertina players I have met less than a dozen who did. Many of these, who I regret are now dead were Classical Music players and came from a generation who expected to work hard at music (or anything else for that matter). However one fine example of English Concertina playing with full chordal accompaniment is Rollo Woods, who learned this style from a celebrated Anglo Concertina player William Kimber of Headington. Yes it's possible but difficult.

    You should look at an "Elise" at Button Box which is made by the same maker as the "Jackie" and costs about the same price. You will find that chords which use only a few simple patterns on the left hand side are in the same order as they occur on an Accordion Stradella bass,but "concertinered" into half the width.


  18. I have heard several Elises both live and on the internet, and have been surprised at how good the sound is. Wim Wakker has gone to great lengths to produce a very good, useful product for an amazingly reasonable price.

    User Improvements:-

    1)The action is OK (especially at the price they sell for new); but I feel it could be much improved if the buttons were replaced with standard concertina buttons, and felt bushed into the ends.

    2)Elises at 7" are quite large by concertina standards, and I feel that there is sufficient space around the edges to take a few more notes, to take it up to 44 buttons. This would not only add another couple of "easy-peasy" keys but would also make the instrument more or less chromatic. You would have to add individual tone chambers flat on the deck for each button added. I am well aware that this would not be a cost effective thing for a concertina manufacturer to do, if they wished to keep the price down.

    3)The sound of accordion reeded concertinas is considerably improved if the reed plates are laid out parallel to the ends rather than at right angles to the ends. However this would involve a complete rebuild of the whole instrument, and do not recommend it for an Elise.

    4)I don't think that it is a good idea to change the accordion reed plates for traditional individual concertina reeds. Concertina reeds cost the earth compared even to "hand made" Accordion reed-plates!

    Wishing you the very best of luck with your project, let us know how it works out.


  19. The 1930s depression did bring out a bit of a revival of Rapper dancing in the North-east, with a number of teams including for instance Prudhoe, and Mickley who weren't around in Cecil Sharp's collecting days. It was a case of anything you could do for a few pennies to buy food to keep your family from starvation!

    Fred Foster from High Spen Rapper told us of how they danced all the way down to London, and being very well received and accomodated by EFDSS groups. They made very much more than they could have made "doon the pit".


  20. I was at King's College Newcastle 1958-62, and an enthusiastic member of the Morris Dance Club. During my time there the Squire, Bill Cassie (Professor of Civil Engineering) brought along the Musician who had played for the Westerhope rapper dancers, with his English-concertina. I don't remember his name but I guess it was the musician named above. At that time we performed the North Wallbottle dance with the Tommy and Bessie joining in at the end. The Westerhope dance differed slightly from the N-W dance, in particular a spare dancer joined in at the end not the T & B. This musician no longer played, and presented his instrument to Bill Cassie.


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