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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. hjcjones

    DG Melodeon to GD Anglo?

    Easy? No. A concertina isn't a tiny melodeon. But the instruments are complementary, and playing melodeon will give you a head start over someone who has never played one of this family of instruments. If you want to try concertina, don't be put off, but don't expect to be able to play it immediately. Will it complicate your life? Learning any new instrument, indeed taking up anything new, will do that. Is it worth it? Definitely. However be warned that Concertina Acquisition Disease is just as contagious as MAD, and considerably more expensive!
  2. hjcjones

    Playing Standing

    One of our members, who posts as Spectacled Warbler, uses a camera chest harness. She plays a Hayden duet, but the same issues arise.
  3. hjcjones

    DG Melodeon to GD Anglo?

    I play both. There's definitely a relationship between the two, especially playing straight up and down the rows. However I assume you're aim is to play harmonic style with melody on the right hand and chords on the left. The right hand on the concertina is equivalent to playing in the upper octave on the melodeon., but the D/G is usually played in the lower octave, so you may find that some of the fingering is slightly different. Playing across the rows is also different because the relationship between the rows is different. On melodeon, the G row is higher than the D row. On the concertina the D row is higher than the G row. This makes for different cross-fingering patterns. However I don't find I ever get confused between melodeon fingerings and concertina. While you will find some similarities, it is not as simple as transferring melodeon fingering to the concertina. However you should already be familiar with the push-pull concept, bellows control, using the air button etc and these translate more or less directly. Give it a go, playing melodeon will give you a head start, but you will need to think of it as a different instrument.
  4. hjcjones

    Playing Standing

    John Kirkpatrick braces his concertina with his little finger, but he has hands like shovels. I can just about reach, but find that it constricts the movement of my other fingers. Brian Peters seems to manage just relying on the hand straps. I prefer to have my straps loose enough to reach all the buttons, but they are then too loose to support the instrument comfortably. I find it very difficult to play standing. For gigs I take my own high folding stool. Otherwise I'll use the case as a footrest or brace it against the top of my thigh, around the area of a jeans pocket.
  5. hjcjones

    tuning choice for an anglo

    But players of English music don't want it to sound Irish. As I said before,. G/D is favoured by English players because it makes it easier to play full chordal accompaniments in those keys. This doesn't have to mean sounding like a melodeon, there are other ways of playing chords beside oom-pah (but that goes for melodeon too). If you don't want chords then a C/G is fine for English music, and it's perfectly possible to pay chordally in those keys on a C/G (listen to John Kirkpatrick or Brian Peters), however G/D allows a few more options as you're then playing in the instrument's home keys. G/D is of course also suitable in terms of keys for Irish music. However the modern Noel Hill style of playing is based on a C/G played across the rows. There were older styles of Irish playing which were played up and down the rows, and a G/D would allow you to play in this style in sessions, but I think that would be an unusual (but interesting) choice for a modern player.
  6. hjcjones

    tuning choice for an anglo

    What do you mean by 'general use'? The conventional style of Irish concertina playing assumes a C/G, playing across the rows as the tunes are usually in D, G and A. G/D has become popular with English style players who want to play full chord accompaniments, as these are the common keys for English music. If you want to play only the melody then most keys should be achievable on any 30 key instrument, at least in theory - in practice some keys might be awkward to play. To play with chords you are more limited to the home keys and those nearby (although some players can manage the most unlikely keys) If you want to accompany singing, then the singer's preferred key is then a factor. There's no simple answer. You mention Irish, so that points to a C/G. You'll be able to play most other things on that too, but other keys might mean making some compromises, especially where chords are concerned
  7. hjcjones


    Auctions are possibly not the best way to sell a concertina. To get the best price at auction depends on as many potential purchasers as possible knowing about the sale. Many auction houses don't seem to do very much to publicise concertina sales to players (often when news of an auction appears here it has been posted by a member rather than the auctioneer), so in many cases they are probably bought by dealers rather than players. If more players were aware of the sale and were bidding for something for their own use the prices might be higher. Whatever the faults of ebay, it is more likely to be seen by players than something in the catalogue of an auction house. The other issue is that even specialist instrument auctioneers may not be very knowledgeable about concertinas and may undervalue them, or in some cases have over-optimistic ideas about value. The original seller may have grounds for complaint against the original auctioneer if they weren't properly advised. The other thing to bear in mind is that auction houses charge a commission to the purchaser as well as to the seller, so what the purchaser actually pays will be higher than the hammer price, which is what gets reported. It is common practice to start with a low asking price to get the bidding moving but to have a higher reserve price.
  8. hjcjones

    Concertina perceptions

    I wonder if the association with clowns is more of a continental European thing? It's not an association that I'm at all familiar with, as a Brit. My main recollection of musical clowns is of the white face clown but he would usually be playing a trumpet. Of course, the UK had a number of musical hall performers on the concertina, both serious and comedic, but that is an entirely different tradition. Also, perhaps concertinas were less common in some continental countries than in the UK, and many people would only come across them when they were being used by clowns, whereas in the UK they were at one time ubiquitous.
  9. hjcjones

    Pierced Metal Sides

    I used to own a Lachenal anglo with metal ends on wooden frames. Nothing unusual there. However the edges of the frames were pierced, if I recall correctly with pair of small f holes on each side. To my regret I don't seem to have a photo of it now. I've never seen another one quite like it.
  10. hjcjones

    Jeffries Bros Praed St, Anglo.

    There are a number of online calculators which claim to convert 1935 prices to today's values, but they all come up with wildly different figures! All I can say with confidence is £3/10/- in 1935 is equivalent to to just a few hundred pounds today. I think we can safely say this instrument will be worth a lot more than that. Interesting too that it was bought from a general outfitter rather than a music shop.
  11. I'm not sure you can take concertina.net as faithfully representing the entire concertina community. Its members appear to come largely from the folk music community, and it originally had a very strong bias towards Irish music although this seems to have widened out in more recent years. That would account for the large numbers of Anglo players here. There is, or used to be a separate (and probably older) community who preferred to play classical and other forms, and they played mostly EC and duet. They had little to do with the folk community, and vice versa, and I suspect only a few have found there way onto here. Also, the non-anglophone communities hardly feature at all here, unless someone posts a video. The distribution of instruments you find on here may not be typical of concertina players world-wide.
  12. hjcjones

    Concertina Bow Arm

    I am indeed. In this style, the melody is mainly played with the right hand, with the left hand providing chords. This contrasts with the Irish style of Anglo playing where the melody is shared by both hands, or of course the EC where this is a consequence of the keyboard layout. I think it does. Admittedly you have to move several fingers simultaneously to form chords, and this is a challenge for beginners (as it is on guitar and other instruments) but once you have overcome that the left hand is far less busy than the right, which is usually having to play lots of notes while the left hand is holding down a single chord. Of course, you can make the left-hand accompaniment more complicated once that hand has acquired more dexterity through practice (or should that be sinisterity?) As you go on to say, with stringed instruments the left hand fingers the notes, and while this might appear to be the more difficult task what the right hand is doing is providing the musicality, through fingering or bowing the strings. This requires more sensitivity and control, in order to transmit this to the strings. I'm not entirely sure how this translates to the concertina - perhaps Noel's logic is that fine control of the bellows is better achieved with the dominant hand, which for most people is the right.
  13. hjcjones

    Concertina Bow Arm

    I'm right handed and play in the "English" harmonic style, and I support the instrument on my right knee and use the left hand to drive the bellows. I think many other players in this style do the same, although there are many who use the left knee. I'm not sure there's a particular reason for this, except that with this style the melody is mostly played with the right hand whereas the left is playing simpler chords, so it makes sense to support the hand which is doing the most complicated work. I played concertina before I took up melodeon, so I can't blame it on this. With the Irish style the melody is more evenly divided between hands. In this case it might make sense to support the left hand, which for right-handers (ie most people) is usually less dexterous. I can see the analogy between bellows use and fiddle bowing, but unless you are taking this extremely literally I don't see why it should matter which hand is doing it. However it cannot be denied that Noel Hill knows what he is doing and is probably worth listening to!