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About hjcjones

  • Rank
    Heavyweight Boxer
  • Birthday 07/15/1954

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  • Gender
  • Interests
    Traditional music and song, especially English.

    I play Anglo: a C/G Crabb 40 key, a Dipper D/G 31 key, and Lachenal F/C baritone. Besides concertina, I play melodeon, guitar, hammered dulcimer and recorder, and sing.

    I used to be in the ceilidh band "The Electropathics" and now play with Albireo
  • Location
    Cheshire, UK

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  1. I also own an early 90s model saltarelle nuage and I agree that the single-reed sound isn't really the same as a concertina, however I am accustomed to concertina reeds rather than hybrids and I've not made a close comparison with one of them. Most hybrids I've come across also sound slightly different from a traditional concertina (which is not to say they don't sound good, and I hear that Edgeleys are very good although I don't think I've come across one). In most cases the difference isn't enough to matter, especially in a session. I quite understand your desire to play concertina. I am less clear why you want to try an unknown and untested layout, at considerable financial risk, rather than persevere with the standard anglo. I think it is unlikely that you would be able to replicate the authentic modem Irish style of playing, which to a large part derives from having to play outside the home keys an a C/G. Some purists won't even agree that Irish music can be played on an English concertina. However if you are not concerned with that level of authenticity, then in the concertina world it would be worth trying an English or one of the Duet systems. It might also depend on which type of music is your priority. If it is Irish, it would be worth persevering with a C/G anglo, which is the standard instrument and for which there are plenty of learning resources teaching proper Irish technique. If you really can't get to grips with that, a G/D is great for English music and can also be played in A.
  2. At first glance what you appear to be proposing is two melodeon layouts (fourth-apart and semi-tone apart) in a concertina body. However the D and G rows are the opposite way round so cross-rowing would be different, and the scale is split between two hands, so it will not play like a melodeon. Neither will it play like a conventional concertina. You say you already play melodeon, so if you want it all in a single box then why not adapt one of those? I have heard of at least one C#/D/G melodeon. This would allow you to play English music in the usual style on the D/G rows, and semi-tone apart Irish style on the C#/D rows. However this would mean learning two entirely different styles of playing, in order to sound authentic. Or get a 3-row A/D/G,. or a D/G/acc to allow you to play in A. If it is the concertina sound in particular you are after, then some melodeons have stops to select only a single bank of reeds, and some smaller models have only one set of reeds. An Edgeley would use accordion reeds so there is no difference there, other than very slight differences due to the different construction, but this is probably not noticeable unless you are very picky (and no two instruments sound the same anyway) What you are proposing is a very expensive experiment which could turn out to be unplayable. If you cannot get on with standard C/G what makes you think you could master this, especially with no teaching materials available? Even if you could learn to play it, you will have tied yourself to a unique system and would be unable to play a different instrument, and your instrument would have no value except as scrap as no one else could play it. It is a big risk, simply for the convenience of having to carry around only one box. Furthermore, whilst you may be able to play both Irish and English tunes on it, I doubt either style would sound authentic. If you are set on a concertina, you might consider the "franglo", based on a 2.5 row melodeon layout http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php?topic=22623.0 However I don't know if anyone is currently making them.
  3. MIS and Newmoon seem to be the popular choices. I've found them both very helpful although I've only had to make a claim once, for a broken mic. If you're relying only on household insurance be aware that this probably won't cover you playing for gigs, and in some cases this might include unpaid performances. Every policy wording is different so you need to check.
  4. A little can go a long way. I think drones are most effective when used to provide a contrast rather than as the main feature, although this can depend on the tune. I sometimes start off a tune with just a drone accompaniment and then bring in chords the next time through. I suggest cross-rowing as much as possible In order to sustain the drone without breaking it up any more than can be avoided. Frequent bellows changes will disrupt the drone effect even if you are still playing the same note. Try to change bellows direction at a point where where the interruption to the drone can reinforce rather than disrupt the effect, such as the end of a phrase, or at least on a firm beat in the music. However, as Wunks has suggested, deliberately lifting off the drone at times can also be effective.
  5. Playing by ear is easy. I never think about the names of the notes or the chords I play, so I don't have to mentally transpose when I pick up an instrument in a different key. If you are playing from notes then of course it is different, and you will have to consciously learn a different keyboard layout. However I think you are right that is it just a question of practice. Recorder players have a similar problem, the fingering is the same on all the sizes but the notes produced will be different depending on whether the instrument is in C or F. Most serious recorder players seem to get the hang of this.
  6. An instrument which has been properly restored shouldn't need much doing to it, although an older instrument might need a bit more tlc than a new one. However they are mechanical instruments with a lot of moving parts, and things can occasionally need attention. Usually these are fairly minor things such as a broken spring or dust in a reed, which can be easily fixed, with a little knowledge without needing to go to a repairer. Dave Elliott's Concertina Maintenance Manual is well worth getting and well help you to diagnose problems as well as show you how to fix them. Apart from age, the only substantial difference between a hybrid and a traditional concertina is the reeds used and how they are mounted. Tuning should be left to an expert, but should only be needed very occasionally if the instrument is handled carefully. If you will be playing for morris and trying to maximise volume outdoors in adverse weather conditions then reeds may need more frequent attention! Worn bellows can also be a problem and best left to the experts (unless you are confident DIYer), but assuming the bellows are in good condition to start with it is far better to take care of them in the first place and play in a way which will minimise damage and wear. I think there are more important things to consider when choosing between a restored vintage and a new hybrid, the most important (in my opinion) being how it sounds and how responsive it to play. You will know when an instrument feels right for you.
  7. Neil, you need to understand there are a lot of scams around concertina sales, often using photos taken from a genuine sale, so people here are by default suspicious of any new advertisements which appear inconsistent or contain obvious errors, as this one does, and especially when posted by a new member who has provided no other information about themselves.
  8. Someone on melodeon.net has pointed out that the same concertina is apparently being offered on Gumtree by "Gillian". https://www.gumtree.com/p/other-instruments/1870-concertina-lachenal-excelsior-48-key-anglo-in-concert-pitch-fully-restored-ready-to-play/1354953608 The OP in this thread is a new member with no profile. This may be entirely genuine, but they don't appear to know much about concertinas.
  9. The Irish took an instrument which was not obviously suited to their music when that is played in its most common keys, and found a way to make it work. This style is far from intuitive and needs to be studied carefully, but has developed in a way which suits the music and allows suitable decoration, so much so that there is now considerable resistance to letting it be played on other types of concertina because that is not the 'proper' style. However if anglos had been most commonly manufactured in other keys rather than C/G (for example, if Salvation Army concertinas had been the ones most widely available) then no doubt the Irish would have come up with a different but equally effective way of playing in the fiddle keys, and this would now be regarded as the only proper style. It's simply an accident of history due to C/G instruments being most widely available, rather than musical reasons.
  10. As someone who plays both, I couldn't agree more. There is a superficial similarity when playing up and down the rows which will at least get you started, and you will already be accustomed to thinking about use of bellows and the air button. Other than that they're quite different, and thinking of either instrument in terms of the other will only confuse.
  11. It's ironic that in the communications age it has become increasingly difficult to communicate. I belong to a climbing club. Back in the dark ages we used to meet weekly in the pub to plan activities for the weekend. Simple, admittedly not always convenient, but effective. Now we have to communicate everything several times via email, text, Facebook, Whatsapp etc, and even then we can't be sure of contacting everyone. Like others, I can't quite see what this new group brings to the party. If it were purely local, to help players in a particular area get together then I could see the point, but not just another discussion group.
  12. I wish I'd known that when I started playing. I usually play sitting down, and from playing other instruments I learned to use the pinkie a lot. I was only when I tried to play standing that I discovered the limitations. I feel it's a bit late to relearn my technique now, and if I have to play standing I usually adopt the other methods you've suggested. John Kirkpatrick also often uses his pinkie to support the instrument (but he has large hands) Brian Peters seems to manage without.
  13. In the real world, I doubt any theoretical differences in pressure make any difference, at least not one that is noticeable to players or listenerss. Similarly with dexterity, as players of all systems play with equal facility in both directions (although individual players may have a preference). There are only two possible arrangements, push-start or pull-start scales, and both have been tried. The flutina (pull-start) didn't catch on. The reasons why push-start was more successful is probably for physiological or psychological reasons than musical ones.
  14. Which is precisely the point of a G/D. And whilst the the C/G may pack more punch, the higher notes are approaching dog-whistle territory, and dropping an octave whilst still playing chords can be tricky with some tunes. I am not for a moment suggesting that English session tunes can't be played on C/G, only that G/D is a better fit where G and D are the predominant playing keys. I am lucky enough to have both at my disposal, and in a session it is the G/D which invariably gets more use. Unless there are one-row melodeons in C ...
  15. I think the majority of G/D players I know started out on C/G and simply adapted their playing. If you play by ear this is more or less effortless, if you play from music then it may be more difficult to relearn the keyboard. Playing in G on the G/D is the same fingering as playing in C on the C/G There aren't many tutors for C/G, come to that, at least compared with other instruments. Numerically, C/Gs must vastly outnumber G/Ds so it is to be expected that most tutors are aimed at them.
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