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About hjcjones

  • Rank
    Heavyweight Boxer
  • Birthday 07/15/1954

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  • 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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 ...
  10. 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.
  11. A session isn't really the place for complex arrangements. The cacophony you describe can be minimised where all the players are used to listening to what other players are doing and are adept at adapting their own playing in response. However you have to be lucky to find a session where all the players can do this. Admittedly, even then if there are too many players it is difficult to avoid clashes and misunderstandings.
  12. What I meant by this was that playing in the instrument's home keys allows easier playing of accompanying chords and runs in those keys than when playing in G or D on a C/G anglo. If you want to play English music in the harmonic style (or whatever you may wish to call it), which for many is the preferred style for this music, it makes more sense to choose a G/D rather than a C/G. I'm not sure what you mean by the C/D making more sense musically - the instruments are identical to play, they are simply in different pitches. The context is of course the playing of English music in sessions, which for reasons already explained tend to be mostly in the keys of G and D.
  13. I don't know the numbers, but historically most anglos were made in C/G (also large numbers in the flat keys for brass band music) and I would say the majority of concertinas you see in sessions are C/G. However G/D is becoming increasingly common in order to play in the preferred session keys, and of my instruments that is the one which gets used most in sessions. The issue of keys is a thorny one. We have become locked into G and D, and this is usually blamed on melodeons, with some justification. However the D/G melodeon is a relatively recent introduction, from the 1950s or 60s, and was introduced in order to play alongside fiddles, who favour D, G and A to make best use of the open strings. The D/G is the highest-pitched of the melodeon family, and most players think the lower-pitched boxes sound better. If melodeonists really did dominate, we'd have you all playing in Bb/Eb. So it's really all the fault of the fiddlers Tunes in old fiddlers' manuscripts were in all keys. Modern collections tend to transpose them into session-friendly keys, so they can't be treated as truly representative. However we are where we are, and in the world where D G and A are the predominant keys then a G/D anglo makes more sense than the traditional C/G. This is of course in the context of playing English music. The Irish have found a different solution to using the C/G to play in fiddle keys. There is no reason not to use this approach for English music as well, but most players seem to want to play in the harmonic style so an instrument based on those keys works best for that.
  14. The death has been announced of Johnny Clegg, the "white Zulu" South African squashbox player. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-49011161
  15. That may be true for players in the Irish style, not for those who play in a harmonic style where the melody is mostly in the right hand, only occasionally dropping onto the left to get low notes.
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