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About hjcjones

  • 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. It's perhaps worth pointing out that a 40-button doesn't significantly extend the range - possibly by one or two notes at the squeaky end, if that. It think the only additional note on mine is a very high C, and it doesn't get used much. The advantage comes entirely from alternative reversals of the notes you'll find on a standard 30-button . Someone mentioned weight. Obviously more metal = more weight, but my Crabb has aluminium reed frames and weighs only 20g more than my 31-button G/D, which has brass frames.
  2. I don't think it's often claimed that chords are straightforward. The more usual claim is that the instrument is very well-suited to playing an accompaniment (which is not quite the same). Within the 20 core buttons, holding down pretty much any combination of buttons on the same row will produce an acceptable harmony. It may not be the correct chord according to music theory, but it will do. No knowledge of chords or music theory required. Equally usefully, as long as you keep away from the accidental row, hitting a wrong button won't be a disaster as it will probably harmonise. It's quite hard to play a really wrong note. The Anglo is also well set up for playing in octaves. Admittedly things do get more complicated if you do want to play "proper" chords, and if you move away from the major home keys. Then you're in similar territory to duet concertinas, where it does require some effort to learn the different chords and some awareness of how chords are formed. Even on the Hayden the chord shapes may be fairly easy, and you only have to learn a few, but you do have to learn them.
  3. It's a fair question. It didn't arise when I started, because I wasn't aware there were different types of concertina. I just bought what the shop had, which turned out to be an anglo. If I were starting again, I would seriously consider a duet. However (not having seriously tried to play one) I wonder how intuitive it is to play? Forming chords on anglo is very straightforward (in the home keys anyway) even with no knowledge of music theory. On the other hand, I think of chords as shapes rather than notes, and find them on the anglo by poking about until something sounds right, so I'd probably work it out. I wouldn't change now. Having a 40-button gives me the best of both worlds. I can play it like a duet (almost!) or like an anglo, as the mood takes or the nature of the tune suggests. The instrument (although not my talent) is capable of playing complicated polyphonic music, as John K, Cohen B-K and others demonstrate. Having to think about the push-pull thing isn't quite the obstacle it sometimes appears to players of other systems. It is something else to think about, and can be difficult at first for beginners, and some never take to it. However it soon becomes intuitive, and like changing gear when driving doesn't require much conscious thought most of the time. It can actually be a benefit when you're arranging a tune, because it forces you to explore alternative ways of playing a phrase.
  4. For Irish-style playing there is probably not much advantage in having more than 30, especially as many players seem to have quite specific ways of playing which are based on the 30 button instrument. The benefit comes when playing harmonic-style, as the left-hand chords often dictate the bellows direction. The additional reversals give you more options to match right-hand melody notes with the bellows direction of the chord or bass runs, and to play more legato when the tune calls for it.
  5. I wouldn't assume that. I learned by ear and don't know the note names which belong to most of the buttons. After playing this particular instrument for some 35 years I can more or less find my way around it, but I still rely on trial and error a lot of the time so anything like this is helpful.
  6. This app looks really useful. In my experience, once you get beyond the core 30 buttons then the idea of a 'standard' layout becomes increasingly remote. In my time I have owned a 40-button Lachenal, a 40-button Crabb, and a 38-button John Crabb G/D, and they all had differences. Whenever I play someone else's instrument I usually soon find a button which isn't what I am expecting. I recently had the opportunity to handle John Kirkpatrick's 40-button, made by Crabb only four years before mine, and most of the additional buttons on the right-hand side are different from mine (John's is close to, but not quite identical with, the Wheatstone layout in the app, so I guess mine must be the rogue). The option to create one's own layout would therefore be helpful.
  7. See my post above. £3400.00 + buyer's commission of £897.60 incl VAT. If the winner was bidding through The Saleroom or one of the other platforms, rather than in the room or on Gardiner Houlgate's own website, there may be additional commission on top of that. The seller also has to pay commission so they won't receive anything close to the figure the buyer paid. However it appears that the previous owner has passed away, and if this was sold by his executors they may have felt obliged to sell by auction to show complete transparency, although they would probably have got more from a private sale. The auction house has made £1258.00 in commission, so a good result for them. It was interesting to watch the auction, but I was able to resist the temptation to bid myself. I hope it's gone to a good home, it seems to be a good instrument.
  8. It's just gone for £3400.00 With buyer's commission at 20% + VAT the buyer will pay £4279.60, which I guess is a fair price for a Dipper, possibly even a bargain. The seller will receive £2788.00 after paying seller's commission at 15% + VAT, which doesn't look so good. There are sometimes good reasons to sell at auction, for example where an item is very difficult to value. Another reason is where there is a legal duty to demonstrate that the seller has obtained the best price, for example when a mortgagee sells a foreclosed property. A possibility here is that it may have been sold by executors of a will who needed to demonstrate full transparency to the beneficiaries. Another reason is where the item is expected to attract a lot of interest which might result in a bidding frenzy - bidders can sometimes get carried away. This one certainly attracted a fair amount of interest, and the auction was being watched worldwide with at least one bidder on this from Ireland. However whilst this quickly brought in bids it didn't get out of hand. The eventual price the purchaser will pay looks fair, but after the commissions are deducted the amount the seller actually receives doesn't look so attractive. I can't help thinking they might have done better through a private sale. I'm still unclear whether VAT will also be payable on the hammer price. The Saleroom's website shown in the original link says it should be, Gardiner Houlgate's own website is silent on VAT. I believe it should depend on the VAT status of the seller, and I would expect this is a private seller so I would assume not. If it is payable, the buyer will pay an additional £680.
  9. I think this is almost certainly to do with technique rather than the instrument. Even if it is a bit more leaky than is desirable, provided the instrument is playable it should usually be possible to compensate for this with the air button. Most notes on the Anglo are duplicated elsewhere, so as Gary has said look to find notes in the other direction to even out use of the bellows. You can use the air button at the same time as playing a note - you might need to slightly increase pressure to maintain volume, but this isn't a problem since the purpose of this is to open (or close) the bellows more quickly than in normal playing. The idea is to set up the bellows ready for the next phrase - if you know there is a long section which will be all on (say) the pull, use the air button on the push in the phrase leading up to this to make sure the bellows are nearly closed. This does need the ability to think ahead when playing, but it comes with practice. It is often said that the air-button is the most important button on the instrument. Working out when and how much to use it should be as much a part of learning a tune as the actual notes.
  10. That seems to be a hefty additional premium just for bidding online. Even if a buyer pays the lower rate of commission this will still be nearly £800 on a hammer price of £3000. Add 20% VAT as well and they are looking at paying nearly £1400 on top of the figure they actually bid. The VAT is confusing. The terms I referred to before clearly state that 20% VAT is payable on the hammer price. That is nothing to do with Gardiner Houlgate - they are only agents for the seller. They must charge VAT on their services that they provide themselves ie their fees and commission, but if VAT is payable on the sale itself that can only be because the seller is VAT-registered. However it's a further trap for the unwary, since it isn't very apparent that VAT will be charged until you start digging. Taking commission from both sides of the deal is, as you say, standard for auction houses. There may be cases where they earn it. There are some situations where auctions really are the best way to go. One is where it is genuinely difficult to value the item, but I don't think that can apply here. Another is where the item is expected to generate a lot of interest, and with these a good auctioneer can really drive up the price. However, again I'm not sure that's the case here. It's true that Dippers are highly sought-after, and this one may well attract a lot of interest, but the auction house doesn't seem to be doing much to push it. They've provided only a brief, even perfunctory, description, and not even mentioned important details such as what keys it is in. I wonder whether they really understand what they've got?
  11. Next to the price it says "Additional fees apply". If you click on the question mark for more information it says: Additional Fees: Commissions*: 32.34% Inc.VAT/sales tax VAT/sales tax on hammer: 20.00% *Includes buyer's premium and online commission. For more information please read the auctioneer's T&Cs. Whether or not VAT is payable will depend on the VAT status of the seller. This suggests (if it is not an error) that the seller is VAT-registered, which is perhaps unusual but not impossible. This is definitely something I would want to clarify if I were going to bid. 20% makes quite a difference. If they are VAT-registered this would alter the amount they would receive from a private sale, where they would also have to charge VAT. Nevertheless, the seller is paying a considerable price for selling at auction rather than privately. I wonder how many sellers at auction understand that as well as paying seller's commission they also bear the buyer's commission too, since it reduces the amount the buyer is able to bid?
  12. Just of of curiosity I've been running the figures. If I'm reading it correctly, the purchaser will pay 20% VAT and 32.34% buyer's commission on the hammer price, so more than half as much again. If it sells at the top of the guide range (£3000) that means the buyer hands over £4570.20, which is probably not excessive for a Dipper in decent condition (assuming it is). However the seller doesn't receive that £3000, they will have to pay seller's commission of 15% + VAT. The seller ends up with £2460 for an instrument they might have sold privately for £4500 or more. The auctioneer will take more than £1250 net of VAT in commission for putting it on a website, and a few minutes of bidding in the auction room. I think I've been in the wrong job all these years.
  13. Steinberg do an Android version of Cubase called Cubasis https://www.steinberg.net/cubasis/ I've not used it (although I have Cubase LE Elements on my PC), and I imagine that for the price it is cut down considerably from the desktop DAW, but it still seems to have a lot of capability. I don't have the knowledge to use the desktop DAW to more than a fraction of its potential, so I don't think this would trouble me. With any tablet/phone based DAW I wonder if physical size could be a problem? I find need all the screen space I can get with the desktop DAW, and at times would like to have a second monitor. Even on one of the larger tablets it wonder if it could be too small and too fiddly. I don't find a touch screen is as precise as a mouse, and editing audio can require considerable precision. You'd also need some way to connect mics. I can it see it has its uses for recording away from your PC, but I suspect you'd want to import it into a desktop DAW for the final editing and mixing. I'd be interested to know users' experiences with these.
  14. For me that style does not appear to exploit the advantages of the duet system, which is that it facilitates the playing of chords and countermelodies. The very ease of mirroring what the other hand is doing could, it seems to me, be a disadvantage if you wish to play anything more complex. This is not of course a criticism of how you choose to play it. I agree that a less common layout could be more difficult to sell on.
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