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About yankeeclipper

  • Birthday 12/18/1937

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    Bought a 1915 Wheatstone metal-ended treble EC in Glasgow back in 1982 for £100. Given new leather bellows and re-tuned to A=440, it has given me many years of joy!

    I'm a retired freelance writer, happily married more than half a century. In the 1980s Barb and I lived in the Northwest Highlands for three years, learned to clip sheep with blade shears, and hosted frequent ceilidhs at our croft house in Achiltibuie. Published a book about our Highland adventures; you can preview it free at our website: www.theweemadroad.com

    Let the video load and turn up your speakers for some good Highland music!

    Interests: reading, all kinds of music, travel anywhere, camping, bird hunting, people, whatever. Doing anything is better than watching anything, and boredom is not an option!
  • Location
    Saint Paul MN USA

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Chatty concertinist

Chatty concertinist (4/6)

  1. Is this instrument still for sale as of 12/28/17? Jack
  2. The Wheatstone treble is listed as a Model 21 Aeola - I have never seen a Model 21 with the eola designation. What exactly constitutes an 'Aeola'?
  3. It was a bright day, and I was wearing dark sunglasses - an item seldom needed or even seen in cloudy South Uist in the Outer Hebrides. We had settled in to a friend's caravan, with the help of a couple of local lads. After a welcoming bottle was passed, I brought out my EC and played a few tunes. One of our helpers turned to the other and said something in Scots Gaelic. I asked my Gaelic-speaking hostess what he had said. She smiled sweetly. "He said, you play very well - for a blind man."
  4. My first, last and only concertina is a metal-ended Wheatstone EC built in 1915. I bought it for 100 quid in 1981, had it re-tuned to concert pitch and new bellows by a Yorkshire chap in 1982, and had a few leaks attended to by Frank Edgley some time in the 1990s. I only play it a few times a week, but it stays in fine tune and continues to soothe my heart.
  5. bellowbelle - You don't need to join an organized group; start your own! It's great fun to play along with other instruments, or accompany people singing their favorite songs. There must be people in your neighborhood, or acquaintances or family members who like to make music. Invite them into your own home or get together at a local pub. You don't need a whole big group - start with one or two, and see where it takes you. Making music can be an adventure, small or great, if you just go ahead and do it. My personal definition of "folk music" is music that isn't copyrighted, and the composer is unknown.
  6. I've been using my EC for years in our neighborhood's monthly song sessions. The sessions are open to anyone willing to play an instrument (any instrument, including triangle, kazoo or comb-and-tissue), or sing a song, or just listen. Anywhere from 12 to 20 people gather in a willing host's house and make music from 7 to 9:30 pm, followed by an hour or so of refreshments and blather. Choice of music - which could be a group song (accompanied or a capella), a solo party piece, an instrumental, whatever - is passed around the room, one by one in turn, so everyone participates. We use the book 'Rise Up Singing' as a song resource, but people also bring printouts of other songs they want to introduce. Instruments have included guitar, mandolin, ukelele, banjo, fiddle, accordion, autoharp, string bass, piano, harmonica, electric bass, clarinet, oboe, saxophone and cello. Guitars, of course, dominate. The quality of playing ranges from rank beginner to professional, and that also goes for the singing. Newcomers and beginners are especially encouraged, and many have become stalwarts over time. Some people bring music they're still working on, and even if they only get partway through before falling apart, their efforts are appreciated. Musical genres at these sessions can be anything - classical, jazz, klezmer, folk, pop, golden oldies, you name it. Even new songs by local composers, several of whom are pretty good. It is seldom that I get through a session without hearing something new and interesting. Does this sound like chaos and cacophony? Well, sometimes it is. Sometimes it is comical. And sometimes it is beautiful, wondrous, inspiring. There are only two requirements: to share music with neighbors, and enjoy it. So where does the EC play a role? 'Rise Up Singing' only has lyrics and guitar chords, and sometimes people aren't quite certain of the melody, so the EC often helps get a song started. Other than that, I play an occasional party piece or newly discovered (to me) melody, or duets with other instruments (guitar, banjo or clarinet), or do a little bit of accompaniment when appropriate, or music bridges between song verses. But often I just put the squeezebox aside and enjoy the singing. We've been doing these sessions for about five years now, taking it in turns to be hosts, and everyone looks forward to them. It is the most friendly, tolerant, and delightful group of people, and a monthly reminder that making music is a natural part of everyone's life.
  7. The only times I take my EC out in public, it is either locked in my car boot or never out of my sight, so gadgets like this would be a waste of money for me. And at my skill level, I wouldn't play it in hospital for fear of making other patients even more miserable.
  8. What are the most common key tunings for anglo concertinas - and why?
  9. My 1915 Wheatstone #21 EC came with original wrist straps as well as thumbstraps. I found them awkward to use and removed them early on. My advice is to keep the thumbstraps loose around the first joint of the thumb, so you can easily move your hands forward and back to reach high- and low-end buttons, while the weight of the instrument is supported by your knee. The thumbstraps are all you need to open the bellows, and the sides of your thumbs and palms to close them. The pinkie tray is mostly for keeping your hand comfortably located, and becomes progressively less important as your playing skills develop.
  10. That's the problem with starting low. It's like learning to swim in a bathtub - you very quickly reach the limits.
  11. I enjoy playing folk, klezmer, ragtime, classical, just about anything that strikes my fancy. Being fully chromatic and mirroring the range of the violin, the treble EC gives you access to the whole world of sheet music. The custom-made ECs of today are superb, but costly to make. The factory-made ECs are, IMHO, not very good. If you can find and afford a decent pre-WWII Wheatstone or Lachenal in playable condition, I think you'll be happier in the long run.
  12. If you're thinking about an older, higher quality instrument, what you get will depend on what you can find and what you can pay for. A quality 48 key treble EC will be easier to find than baritone or 56 key models, and likely more affordable. After trying out several factory-made contemporary ECs, I'm thankful that I learned on a good, responsive older instrument (a 1915 Wheatstone Model 21) - it was a lot easier and more rewarding. You get what you pay for.
  13. The EC makes sight reading easy: notes on staff lines are on the left side of the instrument, notes on staff spaces are on the right. Even I could figure it out quickly. And don't worry about the bellows: whether you're pushing or pulling or running out of air, the EC is very tolerant of beginners.
  14. The beauty of the EC is that you can use any sheet music in the vast global repertoire for violin - gypsy, klezmer, classical, ragtime, jazz, folk, bluegrass, whatever. The treble EC mirrors the range, and the versatility, of the fiddle. The only downside is that good ECs are not cheap or easy to find - but they're well worth the effort!
  15. So can playing concertina really improve guitar playing? I play English concertina. It hasn't improved my wife's guitar playing.
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