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Posts posted by Steve_freereeder

  1. .... if the G row on a G/D was raised an octave (to match the G row on a C/G) and then the rows were switched so that you actually had D/G (not G/D), wouldn't this put both rows in the same range as other traditional instruments playing the tunes (Irish reels, jigs, HPs, etc)? Also, with this switch of rows, wouldn't the cross-fingering on D tunes (and G tunes) be a real advantage since the pitch on both would be fairly close together? There would be lots of alternatives...a push or a pull for the same pitched note--at least on several of the buttons in the first two rows, and perhaps more in the 3rd (accidental) row.

    What you've just described (a D/G anglo) is in fact the same layout as a D/G melodeon. Such concertinas do exist, but as far as I'm aware they are extremely rare, with only a handful in existence made by Colin and Rosalie Dipper. They made the original "Franglo" for French melodeon maestro Emmanuel Pariselle, and he plays it brilliantly. I've been fortunate enough to have a go on it when he has been in England for melodeon workshops.


    See here and



    Going back to earlier posts about the respective suitability of G/D and C/G anglos for various styles of music, I am fortunate to have both instruments, but it's usually the G/D which gets used the most, especially playing in sessions, where most tunes seem to be in keys of G and D, with occasional excursions into Em and Am. If the anglo was being invented today, I'm certain it would be pitched in G/D right from the start :rolleyes:. Playing in G, D, Em and Am is a doddle, A major, C major, B minor slightly less so, but still easy enough.


    I'm also fairly sure that it was the relative availability of the C/G anglo in the last half-century or so which led to it's adoption for Irish music in the keys of G and D. Players of the instrument simply developed the necessary skills needed to play in those keys in the Irish style on the C/G anglo simply because of the general rarity of G/D instruments. In recent years, G/D anglos seem to be getting more common, but there is still a peculiar reluctance (sadly bordering on inverse snobbery in some cases) to accept the use of G/D anglos. A couple of times at sessions I've been told (half in jest, it's true) to put the G/D down and play the tune on the C/G instead - which I do, just to show that in fact I can - but I invariably pick up the G/D afterwards. It's just so comfortable for playing in all sorts of styles: fluid, ornamented Irish, chordal English, sensual, moody French, jazz, blues, etc.


    If I want to play in the keys of C, F and Bb, I'll pick up the C/G. Some A minor tunes go better on it too, but otherwise it's the G/D for me. :)


    (Edited to correct typo.)

  2. ...or speaking as I'm sure the term should be.

    I have a new (unused but over a year old) Concertina Connections Jack and the top A' requires a mighty suck to get it to speak on the pull...on the push its not to bad.

    Is this something that will eventually 'play in' and come to life or do I need to have that reed changed?

    If surgery is required my next question will be are there any box-doctors in the vicinity of West Berkshire?




    This instrument has accordion-type reeds and I suspect the gap on the reed tongue needs adjusting. Too narrow and the sound is weak or chokes off altogether, too wide and it will be breathy and hard to start. A bit of dust or fluff can also stop the reed from sounding altogether, but I suspect from your description that the gap is too wide. This is something which should be relatively easy to adjust with a bit of care and confidence. It is most unlikely that you will need to change the reed.


    The person who comes to mind who would be able to help is Lester Bailey over at Melodeon.net. He does repairs/tuning etc. and does not live too far away from you. A good guy. Highly recommended.



  3. A friend (now sadly departed) who used to make Northumbrian smallpipes used deer bone as an ivory substitute for the fittings and end caps on the drones and chanter. It works very well - the deer bone is firm and dense and can be turned nicely in a lathe. I guess suitable deer bone could be obtained from butchers who deal in venison.


    You could possibly try here.


    Edited to add hyperlink.


    Might I suggest your friend used Deer 'Horn' ? !

    No - it was definitely bone. I visited his workshop on several occasions and watched him saw lengths of bone from deer femurs and pelvis (as I recall) which he then mounted in a small lathe for turning the end caps.

  4. A friend (now sadly departed) who used to make Northumbrian smallpipes used deer bone as an ivory substitute for the fittings and end caps on the drones and chanter. It works very well - the deer bone is firm and dense and can be turned nicely in a lathe. I guess suitable deer bone could be obtained from butchers who deal in venison.


    You could possibly try here.


    Edited to add hyperlink.

  5. What really intrigues me about the single row is the four stops & the ability to fiddle about with them for different sound affects, also its often just me playing by myself or with a guitar playing friend.



    On a 1-row 4-stop instrument you can indeed obtain different sound effects through the stop combinations, and it's nice to play around with that for a while, but speaking personally the novelty soon wears off. The main feature of the 1R 4S is its glorious richness of sound when all four stops are selected. There's nothing quite like it!



    By all means try a one row, if you can get hold of one relatively cheaply; they are fun. But be aware that you may find the restricted range and lack of a complete diatonic scale at the low pitched end frustrating, which is where a 2-row instrument scores.


    Having said all that, I actually have a Hohner 1-row 4-stop in G which is surplus to requirements and which I would be willing to sell for around £350. It's in excellent condition, tuning is good, bellows are sound with hardly any wear. Contact me by Private Message if you are interested.



  6. Just did a quick check on your previous posts to see what sort of concertina you play, and find that it is an anglo. The anglo and the melodeon are very closely related and many of us play both, so my initial advice is to dive in with confidence and get yourself a melodeon. However, there are some important issues to consider...


    Firstly, although you seem to have been looking at the possibility of a one-row melodeon, don't make the mistake of thinking that these are beginner's instruments. They are not. Yes - you can play up-and down the row, and get a tune out of it, but really the one-row melodeon needs playing with a different style/technique which you would be better coming to after some probationary time spent on a standard two-row instrument.


    You say that you are mainly interested in English traditional music. In that case, without further ado, I strongly recommend getting a two-row D/G melodeon such as a Hohner Pokerwork or Erica. They are relatively cheap and easy to obtain, and importantly, easy to play in terms of action, response etc. The Hohner one-row four-stop instruments which you showed in your post are often very stiff when new. The 2-row Pokerwork or Erica instruments are played by beginners and professionals alike and its sound has become quintessentially associated with English music. If it's good enough for John Kirkpatrick.... etc.


    The key of your intended melodeon is also important. I highly recommend an instrument in D/G because that's what just about everyone else plays in England, and there is nothing like playing with other people to bring your playing along nicely. Melodeon technique also involves getting to know the interaction between the two rows - it's not just two 1-row instruments stuck together, and at the lower-pitched end of the instrument, you need both rows to give you all the notes used in English music. Playing a one-row instrument in C is virtually guaranteed to alienate you from any other players, unless you intend sticking to East Anglian music and playing only in parts of Suffolk.*


    I might get flamed for this, but avoid Scarlatti instruments, however cheap they may seem. False economy. No doubt they may have their supporters but the construction methods make them harder to fix any problems which might occur. For a beginner, stick to a standard two-row D/G Hohner Pokerwork or Erica and you won't go far wrong. If your melodeon playing takes off, you can always branch out to other instruments at a later date.



    Edited to add link to a nice 2nd-hand Erica on Theo's website here:


    Theo is a member of his forum and you can buy from him with complete confidence that you will be getting a good instrument.


    Also, don't forget to look in at the companion forum to this one:


    Lots of friendly people and plenty of good advice.




    *Make no mistake - I love playing East Anglian music and I love playing in C, but in terms of practicality, I need a D/G instrument as well.

  7. In his orchestral scores, the composer Percy Grainger (1882 - 1961) often referred to violins, violas and cellos idiosyncratically as 'fiddles', 'middle-fiddles' and 'bass-fiddles'.


    In my own classical chamber orchestra the violinists often refer to their instruments affectionately as 'fiddles'.

  8. The OP, if I understood correctly, was asking about converting a conventional G/D to a conventional C/G




    There is an ethical element to this, which I think is what Steve alluded to. Concertinas aren't that easy to come by, and it is questionable whether anyone should make irreversible alterations to create a personalised layout which may make the instrument unplayable by anyone else. It's different with melodeons, which are easily obtainable and where there is no reason to regard an individual instrument as in any way special.

    My view exactly, Howard!



  9. Here's one I made earlier in the East Anglian style...

    (Yes I know this is a concertina discussion board, but I was asked to play a one-row four-stop melodeon for this video!)



    I actually found your video before your note...I've watched it about 15 times....awesome playing on that one row!

    I feel quite lucky to have found it...now it's just learning that unique B part.





    Thanks James! I'm pleased you like the tune and my playing. smile.gif

    (PM sent)

  10. ............I played this anglo once........did anyone else ?


    Yes - I had a go on it when it belonged to Gavin Davenport. It was very nice, although a bit on the heavy side. Lovely tone and good responsive reeds. The extra drone buttons gave you all sorts of opportunities for rich harmonies.


    I wish it hadn't been sold to the current owner, who doesn't appear to want to do anything with it other than create paranoid e-bay listings and never actually sell it to anyone who could really make good use of it. sad.gif

  11. Further to my last...


    Actually one of the joys of playing a tune like Old Lancashire is that you can experiment with the emphasis and stresses in the tune, sometimes having two stresses in a bar ('jig' rhythm) or three stresses ('triple-time hornpipe' rhythm), mixing them up at will and how the fancy takes you. These old TTHs are wonderful! smile.gif

  12. Very good and thought-provoking article, Mike. Thanks for posting.

    I am especially interested in the idea that a tune such as Old Lancashire Hornpipe was (and could still be today) played as a jig. It makes much more sense of the 6/4 time signature frequently found in these old manuscripts.


    I echo your thoughts about moving away from the tyranny of the dots and playing tunes in sessions more than three times through, in order to explore the nuances and intricacies of the basic tune. Unfortunately some people can't or won't play a tune in any other form other than that which they originally learnt it. sad.gif

    Let me know if you find a session where exploring a tune in this way doesn't cause consternation, raised eyebrows, and somehow the implication that to do so is to 'play it wrong'.

  13. I previously dealt with Basjan regarding the 40-key Crabb anglo. I found him to be completely fine to deal with: helpful and trustworthy, so have no fear with this seller.

    In the end I didn't buy the Crabb as it wasn't the right instrument for me at that time. Not sure whether it went to someone else in the UK.

  14. Beautiful Rosewood Wheatstone Linota, dated 26th April 1916, for sale. In great condition and playing beautifully. Valued at £8000 sterling- valuation can be seen and instrument seen. Contact 087 1322268.


    Presumably 30-key in C/G. Any photos? Does it still have the Wheatstone layout on the third row, or has it been modified to Jeffries layout?

    No doubt it is a great instrument but £8K? Ouch! Even for a Linota that is a bit steep. You may well have been given that as a valuation, but I doubt whether you will achieve that price. £5K - £6K maybe. But good luck with your sale.



  15. post-1365-0-67781900-1331324972_thumb.jpg

    Not the most recent, but at least I'm holding an Anglo and have a smile on my face. Lost that T-shirt though, dmammit.


    Nice photo, Brian!


    Where was Howard Jones' photo taken?


    Yes - I've been wondering that, too. It's like the Guess Where UK group on Flickr!

    Definitely in the Peak District - gritstone edges. I get the impression that it is on the western side, perhaps near the Goyt Valley/Wildboarclough/Roaches way. The view is looking to the west or south-west. I've had a quick try at finding the field boundaries on Google Earth, but not had time to do a proper search.

  16. I've found this Staples liquid glue very good for attaching valves. I think it may be gum arabic based. Just don't try to apply it with the glue pen it come in!


    Since Gloy Gum has disappeared, the only other alternative that I know of is the gum arabic crystals. You can get them from the wicca sites, just dont put a hex on the concertina, although the are already hex-agonal, or at least most are. (sorry)



    You can also obtain Gum Arabic from artists' suppliers, e.g. Winsor and Newton:




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