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Pete Dunk

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Everything posted by Pete Dunk

  1. Yes, me too; everything I learn to play is a hard won battle against my lack of talent/ability. I also find some styles of music utterly baffling, I love ragtime but can I play it? I wouldn't beat yourself up about it, things like this happen. I've done hundreds of gigs 'doing the clubs' with a pop band (stop laughing at the back there!) and sometimes the performance was very flat. The venue didn't 'feel' right, one of us was in a bad mood or preoccupied with problems at work, that kind of thing. It's surprising how one persons lack of concentration can sweep through the whole band in a matter of seconds and give everyone a real downer. As you know I was at both of the Morris events, the first was a real stonker, thoroughly enjoyable. The second performance wasn't as good but you weren't on your own, the other melodeon player wasn't playing anything like as fluently and didn't seem as jolly in himself as the last time I saw him. To be fair things got better as they went along and although this performance wasn't as good as the previous one it was far from being poor. Just let it wash over you, there'll be another day.
  2. We've just booked a room for the Sunday night, see you there.
  3. As the owner (and maker) of a hammered dulcimer I must say I find its position in the list somewhat bizarre. The thing is truly alien and deserves second place behind the pipes!
  4. Now that is gorgeous! I'd just been looking at the Concertina Connection site and wishing there was a picture of the aeola model. Better start saving my pennies!
  5. Hello Anna, welcome to the forum. If you can stretch your budget just a little further I would recommend the Rochelle, it's a serious instrument at a very reasonable price. If you are keen to learn I would avoid complete cheapos because the poor playing action will defeat you before you get started. The Rochelle is made by Wim Wakker who posts here regularly and his company offers excellent support. Once you've reached a standard that requires a better instrument you can trade the Rochelle in at its' full purchase price against a better model. The concertina is supplied in a soft case with a tutor to get you started. The Music Room in Cleckheaton, Yorkshire sells the Rochelle at £210 including delivery. Hope this helps. ETA. The other advantage with a Rochelle is that they hold their price well so if things didn't work out you'd be able to sell it on for a pretty good price.
  6. Concertina button layouts are available here . As you already have other intruments to hand it shouldn't be too hard to figure out the keys your anglo plays in from there. A number of makers/repairers post on this board and offer spare parts for sale so new straps shouldn't be a problem. I don't play an anglo (yet) so I don't know how difficult chord playing is; depending on the layout you can always fall back on 'power chords' - playing the root and fifth and skipping the third. I don't think describing the sound of a concertina as cool will ruffle any feathers but if you think a Stagi sounds nice wait until you hear a good 'un! Happy playing!
  7. Serious, Moi? Now look 'ere, the design of an off centre hinged pedal that depresses a vertically mounted bellows when pressed with the front of the foot and draws the bellows open when rocked back with the heel is simplicity itself; although this is a greatly simplified explanation of the design. It may even be that I resort to the use of pneumatic cylinders (air rams) to bring the contraption into the 21st century.. This would mean that the instruments' bellows would be replaced with a divided air chamber to drive the reeds and the concertina ends could be hinged to swing in and out, controlling air volume via dampers - a hand operated 'expression pedal' much like the 'swell' pedal you alluded to. I shall now apply my considerable intellect to devising universal endplates on the air chamber that will allow any doner concertina ends to be fitted in minutes. This way lies madness.
  8. It seems to me that there are several possible adaptations to this instrument. Concern about the stability could be resolved by redesigning the centre board support. A height adjustable monopod with folding foot plates at the bottom would transfer the weight to the floor and allow the feet to provide a firm anchor point; add to this an adjustable length sliding ‘T’ bar (which could fold up for convenience) terminating with either a pad for the player to sit on or a padded clamp to grip the front of the players seat. This would provide a stable, comfortable playing position for all and take the additional weight of the instrument out of the equation. I may be back with a working idea which includes foot operated bellows for the hybrid Bisonoric Anglo Duet Harmoniatina.
  9. Some may say this isn't concertina related but in reality it is because it's to do with our fellow concertina players. I'd like to be the first to wish a very Happy Birthday to RoyJanik and Stephen Chambers.
  10. I should have kept quiet too. Reading Dave P's post reminded me that no Aeola would have left the Wheatstone factory with an action like that - I doubt they would have even have made it as a special commission. I didn't realise that you were talking about a duet either, not that it would have made a difference. I waxed lyrical about the action on my 48 button English Aeola elsewhere so I should have known better. I'm truly sorry if I muddied the waters here. Pete.
  11. You could use Herringbone Purfling around the edge of the plywood for decoration, it should look good with black and nickel. Luthiers supply companies will also stock less fussy purfling designs. If the experiment works and the action is improved I would have thought that the long term cure is to have a repairman shorten the individual buttons, or for a reversible repair, make a complete new set and keep the existing ones.
  12. Thanks for the info John, we hope to be there.
  13. Ah well, it couldn't last you see. The general idea of getting Jack and Jackie together was so my other half could learn to play too. Temptation overcame us and they're out of the boxes now! I must say that my first impression is very favourable, they're obviously built to a price but I reckon they're as good as they could be for the money and easily good enough to get someone playing. I was a bit surprised that the treble is the same size as the baritone but that's another way to keep the cost down I guess. I remember very little about playing the EC to be honest but it didn't take long for me to be able to run up and down the C scale with a fair turn of speed and find a few chord triads. I'm going to force myself do it properly this time, learn to play from the dots and heed the advice about technique etc. The problem is that I can get a tune out of almost anything within a few minutes (except other concertina systems!) and I go rushing off ahead without really taking in the basics. That's fine for a while but sooner or later you run into that brick wall that demands proper technique and understanding of the instrument before you can move on to the next level. Thanks to John and Chris for the welcome. I did go to the clubs/organisations FAQ page on Chris' website but I'll be blessed if I can see anything for Canterbury.
  14. Yes I have, well it's been bought for me, it arrived today. Sorry, it took me a day or two to write my first post - pressure of work etc, so it's now a little out of context. It's my birthday next Tuesday and Jackie - along with Jack the baritone (!) are my presents. Only four days left to stare at the wrapping paper.
  15. Hello, my name is Pete and I live in the middle of nowhere some twenty minutes or so from Ashford on the Kent/East Sussex border. I’m just deciding which English concertina to buy after a gap of twenty five years since I last played! First a little background story… I was inspired to buy and play a concertina after seeing a Lancastrian folk trio called Jolly Jack playing in the local folk clubs (I lived in Yorkshire then), so I decided to have a look in a few antique shops to see what I could pick up. The first place I went in had a concertina! It was pretty boring to look at, being all black with just the 48 nickel silver buttons and finger rests to relieve the sombre hue. I was standing on top of its battered black leather case and priced at £65. This was 1977 remember, that was more than a weeks wages and I knew nothing about concertinas so that seemed like quite a lot of money. The shop owner had done a little research and proclaimed that the maker, Wheatstone, had invented the concertina; the thing looked well made and in reasonable condition. An inscription on the thumb strap screws proclaimed it to be First Prize in a concertina competition held in September 1911 which gave it a little provenance so he thought the price fair. After several minutes of bargaining I bought the instrument for £60, most of which was borrowed from my girlfriend, and took it home to gloat. One note didn’t play and although I hadn’t a clue how to play it I was musician enough to realise that it needed tuning. I popped into a large music shop in Leeds to see if their repairman could do anything with it and it turned out he was a bit of a specialist. The repair and tuning cost me another £32 and when I called in to collect it the repairman came out from the back of the shop to see me. “Nice Aeola” he said, “don’t see many like that these days” I left the shop feeling a little glum that I hadn’t even managed to buy a proper concertina! I learned to play to a moderate standard and accompanied myself whilst singing in the local folk clubs, eventually using the concertina more often than the guitar. Then one day a spring broke, so I trotted off to the same shop to buy a replacement. The old repairman had retired and the new chap said he needed the concertina in the workshop to make a new spring that was weighted like the rest so as to maintain a balanced action. I picked it up the following week and was disappointed to find that the new spring was much heavier than the others but I persevered thinking that the new spring would need time to bed in. After several weeks I returned it to the shop for adjustment because it wasn’t any better but it still wasn’t right when I got it back. My playing declined after that and I found myself back playing guitar more and more ending up playing with a band making a few quid ‘playing the clubs’. In the meantime I’d amassed quite a collection of old concertinas at flea markets, mostly tutor model Lachenal anglos in six sided rosewood cases but I also bought a 30 button Jeffries with metal ends for £42 and a battered black duet in pretty poor condition. When I spotted a newspaper ad for old concertinas I decided it was time for a bit of a clearout. I got £150 for the Jeffries and £200 or so in total for most of the old wrecks as a job lot. In a moment of madness I took £400 for the Wheatstone, it was a hell of a lot of money at the time and all in cash. I thought I would be able to find another but this was a time when the supply was drying up and of course I never saw another. Now I have itchy fingers and a real desire to play concertina again but I’m not sure I want to invest in a vintage concertina again at the moment. So am I mad to buy a Jackie just to get back into playing? I remember the Aeola had a lightening fast action and pretty short button stroke compared to others I tried but I doubt my hands will remember the feel of it after all these years. I’ve enjoyed reading through umpteen threads on here and I’m really surprised there isn’t a pinned ‘Hello’ thread for newbies to introduce themselves instead of starting a new thread. I’ll let you know how I get on with the Jackie.
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