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About bill_mchale

  • Birthday 07/02/1970

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  • Interests
    Irish Music, Anglo Concertina, History, Philosophy, Theology, Astronomy, Cosmology and various other fun intellectual pursuits... most involving where we came from and where we are going :).
  • Location
    Bowie, MD, USA

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  1. Hi, Use to be rather active on here, but young kids make free time scarce :). Anyway, I have a Suttner Concertina that I really enjoy playing, unfortunately the pad for the middle row g/a managed to detach itself from the lever it was mounted to. Examining the pad, it is almost like it was never glued on in the first place... though I can see the glue (rubber cement?) still on the lever. So, my question is, what is the best way to fix this? Thanks for any help. -- Bill
  2. Jumping on this thread late, but I am with Dana on this one. D tunes, as a rule, are not tricky on a C/G anglo. And in my experience if an Irish Concertina player has a second 'tina, it will be in C#/G# to play with players who play a half step up. -- Bill
  3. Which helps prove that he deserves the awards and it is good to see him receive the recognition while he is around to enjoy it. -- Bill
  4. Great to see that you are now formally back in business. Hope your health remains strong! -- Bill
  5. Ummm... well.. 1. Was a hot-rodded stagi. It can mostly be considered a gateway drug. It let me try concertina out, but made me want a better instrument. 2. Was a Marcus. It was quite nice and I made quite a bit of progress on that little box, but I was wondering if some of the other hybrid instruments might be better which lead to. 3. An Edgley. This was, for quite a few years, my goto instrument. Very responsive and a nice tone (if not quite a traditional instrument). 4. After I ordered the Edgley but before I received it, I found out about Kensington Concertinas. Dana lives about 5 miles from my house, so I had to order one from him... its just being neighborly . It is also quite responsive, and a more authentic tone than than the Edgley. 5. A couple of years later, a friend convinced me to go in with him on two Suttners. I figured it would be my 40th birthday present to myself. Sure enough it arrived that year. It is a magnificent instrument and my goto instrument 90% of the time now. The Edgley is my choice if I think my 2 and 4 year old will want to press buttons while I am trying to play. The Stagi was given to another musician who wanted to try concerntinas. I told them when they were done with it to pass it on to someone else. The Marcus is currently on loan to an Irish Box player. I expect I will get it back this year some time. Ideally I would like to get down to two instruments. The second instrument will serve as a backup instrument and will also cover the need if one of my kids becomes interested in concertina one day (Though right now they seem more interested in the button accordion... perhaps because they like to see the action which you can't really do on a concertina). BTW, in case you are wondering... why did he stop at 5? Simple, I got married. Its a lot harder to justify such purchases to a wife who likes your playing but can barely tell the difference between the instruments. . -- Bill
  6. Actually, wait tiimes for Concertinas can be pretty long for established makers. I waited 4 years for my Suttner. Remember these are mostly hand made instruments, and even if they use accordion reeds, and there is no waiting list, it can take several months or more to get your instrument. I think (though I am not sure because it has been a while) I waited close to a year for my Kensington, and I got in on the ground floor relatively speaking (#12). That was also before Dana got sick. If you don't want to wait too long for an instrument, you can always look on the used market. Sometimes you can find real bargains. My own personal assesment of the instrument is that it is a lovely instrument. Definitely a little heavy, but part of that is based on Dana's choice of materials; he designs his instruments to last for generations. That being said, they are quite responsive and in my personal opinion the weight might only be an issue if you play standing up. I never quite clicked with mine, but that should not be taken as a reflection of the instrument, bur rather my own personal preferences. -- Bill
  7. True, although for a "beginner's" class I'm not too sure how much style would enter into the equation. I'm at the stage where I'm delighted at getting successfully through "Hot Cross Buns". Maybe some fingering choices, even at the basic level, are more idiomatic of one style than the other? Well I am not sure it would be fair to say that there is even one ITM style... that being said, if you want to sound like Noel Hill (or any other particular player) its probably important to start learning his system early. Once you learn to play a tune one way it can be very difficult to train yourself to play them a different way. Further more, playing a tune one way will result in different phrasing and different possible ornaments and variations. If you want to sound like a modern Irish concertina player, you want to start playing across the rows as soon as possible. If you want to sound like a more old school player (like Chris Droney), you will want to play along the rows. Obviously there is no clear right and wrong in our musical journey. All any of us can do is show what worked for us, as none of us can say what will work for you . Good luck. -- Bill
  8. In my experiences, if you can find a good tutor (possibly taking lessons over skype?), then that probably will benefit you more at first because you are right, a workshop will give you an awful lot to process in a single week. That being said, workshops do have certain advantages that might be hard to match. 1. At the better ones, you often have some of the most highly regarded musicians in the world to learn from. Noel Hill is just one example; I have taken lessons from Mícheál O’Raghallaigh, Edel Fox, Tim Collins, and Gearoid O'hAllmhurain at the Catskills Irish Arts Week (okay, technically I didn't take Tim Collins class, but the last class of the week was joined up between him and Gearoid O'hAllmhurain. Unless you happen to live in Clare, it is hard to imagine access to players of such quality where you are are. 2. They can give you insight in how different styles of the music are played. 3. The workshops are fun. I can't speak about Noel Hill's class since I have never been there, but if you like a good party, Irish Arts Week certainly applies. Informal sessions start up all over the place, and often there is at least one session that goes far too late for people who have a 10:00 AM class to stay at... but you do anyway because the music is just that good. About the only thing I regret about being married and having kids is that I have not been able to make it for the last 5 years. Ultimately, I generally have lots of pointers away from these workshops and between that and my earlier knowledge of the Button Accordion, it has enabled me to learn to play without a regular teacher. That being said, I think I would have learned faster from a regular teacher . Of course I am in no rush, I am doing this for fun, not profit. -- Bill
  9. I come from a piano accordion background as well, and tried Anglo first, but ended up happier with English concertina. Not to start a concertina war or anything. Patrick I have never tried and english concertina or a piano (or Chromatic Button) accordion, so I can't comment on them, but in my own experience, I did find the transition from Button Accordion to be somewhat straight forward... except for one minor thing. With a B/C accordion and a C/G anglo, playing along the C row, I would reach for the B row on the concertina and the G row on the Button accordion, The easiest solution was to play tunes as differently as possible on both instruments (which is good for playing the concertina properly ). I suspect that the C/G anglo will be so different from your experience on the Piano accordion as to prevent this from being a problem. -- Bill
  10. I would point out that that there are other opportunities as well. I have never been to Noel Hill's camp, but those who have highly recommend them. That being said, they are very concertina focused. That can be a good or a bad thing depending on your individual needs and situation. The Catskills Irish Arts Week and other multi-instrument weeks can afford nice opportunities in practicing with other instruments (and if you know a fair number of tunes on your Piano Accordion to play that as well). -- Bill
  11. The "someone" in this clip is Chris Stevens, an excellent player and teacher from Maine. Thanks for filling in that detail. Always good to give credit where credit is due. -- Bill
  12. Sorry I forgot to include a few details, in large part because Kensington only makes one model of instrument, but I forgot that not everyone is familiar with the brand. The instrument is in c/g tuning, 30 buttons, 6 fold bellows, and fingering that is a hybrid between Wheatstone and Jefferies systems (Generally, at least for Irish Music, players of either system should be quickly at home with it) . It also has concertina reeds, not accordion reeds. -- Bill
  13. I hate to do this, but I have too many concertinas. The Kensington is a lovely instrument, but me and it never clicked quite the way that I have with my Suttner or Edgley. So as much as I hate to do it, I am putting it up for sale. Here is a video of someone (not me) playing a Kensington (not mine, but it sounds the same). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P36WA3yI99w Anyway, I am looking to get $2500 off of it. I would prefer a local sale (Since that way the person can try before they buy) but could be persuaded otherwise. I am located in Silver Spring, Maryland. -- Bill
  14. Hi Jeff, Welcome to the world of diatonic free reed instruments . This site got me hooked on concertinas (originally a B/C player) You didn't mention what specific sort of music you are interested in playing. From your suggestion that the alternative was a B/C accordion, I am willing to bet it was Irish music, but I could be wrong. The lucky thing about today is that there are so many resources available for beginning concertina players now (especially for those interested in playing in the Irish Style) than there were even 10 years ago. Heck, its getting to the point where I think concertinas are going to over take Button accordions in popularity in Irish Music! That being said, it might pay to look into getting a tutor. The Bramich book is okay (far better than the nearest equivalent for B/C accordion), but it will only take you so far. A teacher can also help you figure out the best fingerings for tunes. I started teaching myself based off of what I knew about B/C accordion, and thus initially tried to play everything on the C row and just used the G row for accidentals and my playing suffered for it. I later had to relearn a number of tunes to improve how I played them on the concertina. Final thought. As you start working on the G scale, I would suggest trying very hard to play it with just your index fingers. That will start getting you to think about playing across the rows and working on trying to keep as much of the tune as possible under your strongest fingers. -- Bill
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