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Michael Marino

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  1. My suggestion would be to go to the root of what jigs reels and hornpipes are for. Rather than sessions, which can become a showcase for instrumentalists who play fast just be cause they can, try going to some dances, learn the dances, listen to the music and absorb the whole feel of the music. Its not just the speed, or the metronome setting, but the pulse of the music, which parts of the rhythm are stressed and so on, with the purpose of making it easy for the dancers to move. Then when you have the feel of the dance in your own body you will be ready to play a good tune. When I did this I was surprised to discover many things, for example, that for set dancing, the basic pulse of a reel (two beats per bar) is actually much slower than for a polka


    Grew up with country dancing out at the county fairgrounds every weekend and Mom taught us to waltz before I was ten years old. The Parish I went to as a kid used to have dances for youth (need to start those back up again) on some week nights

    to keep the kids from getting into trouble. What I am saying with way to many words is Theo is very right here. Once you get the idea of the music into you of any nature it will find its place and speed that is right, not for you but for it and for those that are interacting with it. Whether they be other players, dancers, or those listening. A tuned when played well find a speed natural to itself, this is not always just one speed as can be seen by playing "Oh when the Saints Go Marching In" (full version not the shorten one most people se these days). I enjoy playing "O Susanna" and my kids love it and the wife wonders how i can play that one at the speed I do and not play a few other pieces at that kind of a clip. It gets in you and well....


    I saw a thread on The Session which addressed the prevalence of cocaine and speed nowadays and its effects on session speed, much more widespread than I ever realised. Booze speeds you up then knocks you out! Look out for people who grind their teeth and walk away!


    I ran into a jam session (Bluegrass) where a couple a coke-heads were cockin' up the works. The idiots made regular visits the facilities. Doin' lines evidently on the back of the urinal. Mighty high class eh? They played fast enough...though not too clean in oh so many ways. Didn't bother to go back. My time on the right side o the sod is way too short for that.


    Amen to that one.


    Learn and progress find what clothes fit you and don't be afraid to enjoy something that is not your cup of tea in playing but might be something you enjoy listening to. On the other hand always try to learn and grow or some one might start throwing dirt on you.



  2. I find that on a long draw note that is easy sounding that if I use the air button with it I can get that volume that I need. It is an item of timing and I find it easier on my 30 button than on my twenty button Lachenal. Play on and let those who can not or won't appreciate the joys of experimentation and learning curves go bother someone else (so says the father of three children two who are learning harmonica from Dad, both bend notes better than I do at this time).



  3. I promised to give you an update on the situation regarding this book.

    It is now back in the UK with me.

    I am considering many options that have been offered to me with regards to making this book available as a total download.

    Juliette has kindly done as many pages as her circumstances have allowed.

    I think instead of scanning the pages a better option may be photographing them and then posting the photo of each page.Your advice is welcomed with regards this suggestion.

    One way or another this book will be available in total to you all as soon as arrangements can be made.





    The offers made by myself still stand as offered. If you where going to photograph the pages may I suggest doing so with a digital camera which would than allow for a more direct loading of the image to the net. I hope that Juliette's family is doing well and that her fathers health has improved (having not heard anything either way). I do have a 5Mpixel camera and the ability to direct link it computer if that would help (greater than 600 dpi quality would be best done as Pdf's to preserve image quality while keeping file size down).


    Again what ever your choice is. It is up to you and honored. I thank you for undertaking this work to make this music available to us.




    Edited to correct grammar

  4. Jon,


    Amen to that. Rebuilding a Lachenal English for the wife, in which includes new bellows, new mechanism and most of the reeds need new tongues.

    I'll be mapping the reed shoes so that I can use them as a basis for cutting my own in the future on the CNC mill I have (desk top version, 3 axis, gantry). Reed grinding I am looking at spending some time with some masters of that craft (harmonica reed makers) to get a better idea of what needs to be done to make the best shape and get the most stable response in balance with a reasonable life span.




    If you ever need some milling done let me know as while I am gearing the mill up for more use, if I can help with something will do what I can.




    Thank you, Thank you very very much for sharing that type of knowledge and information as it helps those of us climbing the learning curve to avoid going down blind alleyways before we start. It saves us huge amount of hours and allows to continue the learning curve to reach as high as we can. There are many "Giants" on this form and you are one of them; that we who are starting stand on the shoulders of. No, this is not flattery, just honesty.


    Considering the vast amount of improvement in quality control of alloy structure I am still looking at trying out some brass reeded instruments as a test bed to see how folks like them as there is a bit of a difference in the voice you get from them. Yes they won't last as long as Steel if both are treated with the same level of care, but 80+ years of playability is a long time. Many a steel reed instrument I have seen has had to deal with the problem of rust over that kind of time period and rust never sleeps.


    Good luck Jon and once I get some pics done will put them up on the web.



  5. I have sources for 100% cotton rag board of different thickness' but am running into a problem finding Linen or Hemp blend card stock. Which is what I would prefer to us in the higher end bellows that I am working on at present. If anyone knows a good source for such please let me know as it is driving me to a bit of distraction in trying to find a source for them.



  6. I am very blessed, as just a short train ride north of me there is an excellent lumbar yard that carries a very wide range of hardwoods and exotics with which to work with and the majority is quarter sawn. Right now setting things up to be able to Mill directly from a block of wood the reed pan with the mechanism board as part and parcel. Though looking at dealing with getting the sound to balance well as these current models are hybrid models. Once I get or build the g-code for making the shoes I have sources for both the reed steel and the high grade brass used in modern harmonicas (thinking of doing a brass reeded line as a 80+ year lifespan is not bad for a set of reeds).


    The nice thing is my wood sources have some beautiful Ebony and Brazilian Mahogany to work with for end pieces. The fun is making sure the filters can handle it for the rough work in cutting out the filigree (I do the finish work by hand as .5mm is still not fine enough for some of the points and corners in the end plate work). The fun I am having is finding a god source of Linen or hemp blend rag board for the bellows and deciding whether to use Richard Morse's style of bellows (and the expense of the frame to do them) or Bob Tedrow's.


    One thing I am playing with right now is building new bellows for my Rochelle and looking at the options of instead of using leather; using accordion cloth tape and seeing how it functions and it will hold up or a reasonable amount of time (As this is the Instrument I take out to functions where I don't know what the conditions are going to be).


    Back to the main topic; I have to very strongly agree with Dana as the type of wood will have a strong influence on the sound you get out of an instrument. The physics of it is long winded but very important. With any instrument the materials and their properties bring with them pluses and minuses that must be considered when working with the material. Experimentation, talking to those who work in wood from a generational knowledge base (Sorry, but academia lacks severely in the practical knowledge sense that is passed down through the trades, grandfather was a master wood wright and the knowledge he passed to us has served me well many a time and you can not find it in any book). Find one or two if you can and sit down and ask questions, ask to watch as there is much to learn that words will not tell you. It is like profiling a reed for an instrument or refining a bridge for one of my wifes violins, it is in looking, learning, asking, doing, making a mistake or three and learning from them and going at it again. I went through three blocks of wood before i got the first project my Grandfather had me do right and learned early to measure twice as there is no way to undo that cut and that costs time (which is all money is a commodity for anyways).


    I am working with maple, sycamore, and oak as the woods that I am experimenting at present. The casing and end woods are these and also looking at high density (hard to work, unfortunately) woods out of South Africa, Australia, as well as the traditional rosewood, mahogany, ebony, and a few others. It is work and must be done carefully as wood can get expensive quickly.


    Well that is my very ong winded two cents and need to get back to work.



  7. For my Wife it depends on which end of the Sofa she is sitting at or if she is holding the 7 week old in her arms while playing (puts the wee one to sleep every time). She plays an English. I play Anglo and Chemnitzer and with that it depends on the piece of music I am playing. I tend to move the side which has the less complex finger work which at times causes me to change which hand is doing the most of the bellows work. When standing I try to keep the weight even between the arms and wrists as I will tire way too quickly otherwise and I only get a bit of time to play that way as it is. I try to sit up right as that aids in being able to use the back muscles to work the bellows and take some of the stress off the arms (Good posture has many useful reasons for following). Right now working on a suspension brace for the wife that is a bit more supportive than around the neck and from that design build something that will help me as well. I like some of the ergonomic designs coming out of Sweden. The only problem is that i can see people resist them just due to the fact that it does change the visual idea of a concertina.



  8. imslp.org has it. You might have to go through their menus. Look under J.S. Bach and then cantatas (#147 as Yagi-san posted). It is a 44 page file. The choral starts in page 23 (pdf file).





    While I was out at a meeting the wife found it at the above web site, but still says thank you and that some of the fun starts much before page 23. My thanks to all and will let you know how things go as this is a bit of a long term project for her (having three children under five does demand a lot of time).



  9. Will have to get a picture of my son (not yet five) playing the 20 button lachenal we own. I would love him to play professionally and consider the art of a musican a hard but rewarding one. As far as off the beaten track, well that is life really happens is swimming against the common sophism and finding what makes you tick and not what some idiot marketing fool wants you to think.




    Going with the flow and just settling down are highly over rated.

  10. Steel shoes does sound like an experiment that was doomed to go wrong. Wood breathes and over time moisture moves through it (depending on the resistance of the wood to this movement which is why good hard wood is so highly valued). That and the fact that these are a form of mechanical wind instrument just is begging to have corrosion start taking a bite out of the steel. Though I would think that you would tend to get black oxide instead of red which would in fact seal the metal. Depending on the wood used the steel could also react with that as well.


    I have to agree with Dave in that there are many more properties that have a much more direct effect upon the voice of a reed before you ever get to the metal reed is fixed to. The fact that the reeds shoe is press fitted into the reed pan (in my knowledge to the majority of the British "traditional" reeded instruments) means the the pan itself acts to a limited degree as part of "frame" for the reed to sound against. One of the problem when stoning a harmonica reed plate smooth is that you really do not want to thin it very much as it will add an unwanted tinning to the voice of the instrument. Concertina shoes have a very unique shape that in function causes a minute amount of decrease in pressure on the reed as the throat of the reed well is beveled and not straight up and down as you will find in most other free reeded instruments. I wonder if the polishing that i do for harmonicas would have the same effect on concertina reeds in both voice and longevity of the reeds playability?



  11. Recently faced with a 30k metal-ended Lachenal whose end and action box frames came in kit form, I devised this hexagonal cramp which may help those of you who, like me, have only slightly more than the average number of hands.


    It consists of 6 identical pieces of hardwood, each with a length of threaded rod screwed directly into it. The rod then passes through a hole drilled in the next piece of wood, and its length is adjusted by a wing-nut. Note that at the apex of each frame joint, each piece of the cramp has had a hole drilled out before cutting began. This is to eliminate the possibility of any glue which is squeezed out of the joint coming into contact with the cramp.


    It is important to locate the pieces of frame on the bellows by means of the end-bolts before you start to tighten the cramp. Also, you should cut a paper mask to avoid contaminating the chamois leather seals with glue. All that being said, the device works very well, and allows you to achieve a perfect matching of the corner joints with minimum effort. And depending on the length of your rod (as it were) it is adaptable to fit any size of hexagonal concertina.



    Very nice job, Should help with alot of projects and I can see making one for eight sided beasties as well. Though Hide glue does help as once you get a nice glaze set it does tend to grab and hold as long as it gets a good five minutes to start setting up. Still will have to build me a set of those. One question how did you bed the rod in the block so that it won't start turning on you as you tighten it?



  12. Hi folks, I am new to this board and in the process of buying a concertina.


    As I can't get involved in any technical discussion or ask real questions until I get an instrument... I will ask a lame personal question...

    How long have most of you have been playing and why did you start playing in the first place?

    Why do you keep playing?




    Just passing the time until I can play along with you.




    Started out on Harmonica when very young (gift from a grandfather), than went the route of Violin, voice, recorder family, and came back to harmonica and found out what made that sound I loved that i could not peg down. Been playing a Anglo of one type or another since than (about 3 1/2 years ago now). Come from a family where is music is important and have a wife that is extremely musically talented (one of her instruments is the English Concertina). Teaching my son how to play a 20 button lachenal key of C/C that we own and going to build him a 20 button in the keys of F/A so that he can play the melody with us a lot easier. The oldest daughter is already bending notes on her harmonica and the cycle begins again.


    Best of luck and warning these are wonderfully addictive instruments and can play a good bit more than just folk music on them (I like trying out jazz scores on my anglo, makes the fingers work). Again best of luck and look around there are many fine instruments both new and used that can be had these days.



  13. This one on eBay is a good illustration of how the old hexagonal German 20-button concertinas look pretty similar to British-made ones on the outside but have radically different action and reed construction on the interior. I thought that this might be of interest to those who haven't seen German-style interiors before.




    Haven't changed much in 150 years since they started building them. A lot of folks forget that the Anglo was originally the "German-Anglo" and the German was dropped around WWI. I own a Chemnitzer that has a very similar design within it. One would almost have to say that a Englished reeded "Anglo" is the less traditional of the types; considering the amount of German styles ones that where exported around the world including to here in the UK. They are interesting and you can even still get them with two reed per direction with Lange tuning (Octave tuning). They have their own sound and it quiet unique and in it's own way pleasant. Will have to see what that one goes for.



  14. Than again these days there is alot of tripe getting published ....

    You can say that again. Witness your post. Wouldn't you at least have to spell to get a doctorate?

    I have a doctorate too. Big deal. All it means is that we did the work we were told to do.

    Looking back on it it I wish now that I'd spent more time playing music.


    Psychology is a science that is still very young and very arrogant.

    Perhaps. I sense you are too...


    Possibly can be considered that though at 41 not considered by many as young. I apologize for my spelling the hands don't work as well as they once did. Still I should have caught it. No, getting a Doctorate also requires the ability to dedicate the time and energy (though these days that can be argued, with online degrees and all). It still does not excuse a very poorly organized and structured piece of research that was than published at a level where the information there in could be used to support opinion in the public sector as it was done on this very site.


    Thank you but the only things i have had published where poetry and a few non peer reviewed articles on health and fitness.



  15. PS to Mark: did you read the article? Have you read Gladwell? I think you missed the pointed reference to the very young Mozart. That when he was a prodigy he had enormous encouragement and plamas from his father, even to the extent of his rewriting and editing WM's compositions.



    I've no use for studies by this cat or any other. Like the ignorant peckerwood I am, slogging along at being a musician and being damned lucky to have been allowed to make what passes for a living at it, I've come to know what I know. It is simply past me to lay aside my life experiences and except that anyone given the proper influence can do anything with hard work.


    You can keep bringing up Leopold beautifully guiding his son all ye want, but if Wolfgang had not one whit of talent or potental under the hood, they wouldn't have gotten very far now would they?


    What about our dear troubled Beethoven? Quite the freakin' peach of a soddened bugger his dad was! What a grand influence, beatin' the crap out of Ludwig every time he took a notion or suspected the lad hadn't spent enough time at his scales. Please, let's not go there.


    On this talent vs. hard work thing, we will never agree. You gotta have both.


    Mark I agree with you completely.


    I have read the article and a piece of well crafted spoiled tripe it is. They go to one of the highest musical schools in all of germany to start their study and than create the measures by which to ascertain their goal. In doing such they create a venue by which their rationalization will be seen as the logical end and to argue against them is to defy the authority of the all powerful academia.


    I have a Doctorate. I deal with lack of proper process in research and treatment on a more regular basis than I would like (myself being the current subject of such, not a victim though). Psychology is a science that is still very young and very arrogant. There is an equal amount of research that shows talent does exist and that it does require development to see it full possibilities. To argue that either talent is not or that a disciplined student will not go far for lack of it is a fool's game at best. To hide behind this kind of tripe is in my view worse yet as the study was very poorly done and set up and I am surprised it ever got published. Than again these days there is alot of tripe getting published as the quality of research and education takes a very deep nose dive (medical school without gross anatomy, shudder but real).



  16. Thank you and am working in that direction. looking at using a design structure similar to the Stagi system and seeing if that can work (referring to Stagi's english models). Wish me luck and hope that things go well.

    Please don't copy that action mechanism - it's very uneven and degrades quickly. And those flat-on reedbanks-over-reedbanks are a good idea but are poorly balanced. The inboard reeds have a noticeably different volume and tonal color than the outer ones. You can make them closer but you have to put some R&D into the chamber sizes, access path sizes and padhole sizes. The Stagi's are too small. Oh yeah - and *don't* use foam reed gaskets as it robs a significant amount of volume and makes the reeds difficult to tune. And.... :wacko:


    Actually the only thing interesting about that English is flat-on layered reedbanks. For everything else I suggest that you go along the traditional route like the other hybrid makers do.


    -- Rich --


    Richard the flat on reed banks are the only part that I find of much interest and you right about needing to increase the bore of the flues and the depth of the reed chambers. Both of which I am working with at the moment as I have some interest from a few parties in an English made that way but with better mechanism and better seal. There is some good parts to a Stagi but there is also some real stinker and cheap shortcuts (the washers under the bolts and the type of bolt heads just to name a few). Upgrading the one I have got so the wife will be a bit more happy wit it's responsiveness and voicing (another project on the list :unsure: ).



  17. It's a Stagi.


    There are lots of diato players here in the south of France, so that's good news if a diato mender could deal with a Stagi. The thought of sending it off somewhere in the post - ouf, I'd have to spend a few months by the roadside, and it's far too cold for that!


    Thank you, Larry.



    reed tuning does not in reality vary that much from one type to another. There are some minor differences but not really huge in how one goes abut it. A Stagi English is a bit of fun in the positioning of the reeds make for a bit of fun in getting the voicing just right but other than that they are relatively easy to tune. Yes a good Accordion repair person should be able to both tune it and voice the instrument completely. Hope you find some one who is willing to work on it and that they do a good job.



  18. I suppose somewhere it says that these things are held together with earwax, but I must've missed it. I noticed that some of the reeds had fallen out (I live on an un-airconditioned sailboat in Florida).


    Well, I managed to get it back together, using a warm hobby screwdriver to re-melt all the earwax in place, but I made a mistake. The hot screwdriver touched the little flapper plastic bit on one of the reeds, causing it to melt enough that it doesn't actually do the job anymore.


    So, where can I get one of these little replacement parts, you think? Google didn't turn up much, but I don't actually know what they're called.


    I'm also hoping the vendor (buttonbox) will help me out on this.


    And, by god, keep these things air conditioned, somehow.


    They are mylar or acetate valves and Wim might be able to help or go to an accordion repair person and request the item needed you can attach the new one with either clear nail polish or varnish (varnish works better). If you can't get one any other way let me know and which reed you damaged and will send you one (since i have a good number of them around and they aren't that expensive (you buy them by the 10gram weight from most of the producers of them).




    PS not ear wax but a mix or pine rosin and bees wax works best. If you need any of that, let me know and can tell you where can get sticks of the stuff we use with accordions and such.

  19. I know that there is a lot of interest in the Hayden system, but I also know that Richard and Wim are pretty much on the way to covering those for present (who knows if the demand grows any bigger, I might try myself with either Accordion or concertina reeds). So anyone interested or having comment please feel free to speak, I don't have a thin skin most of the time.

    There's a good reason why Wakker, Tedrow, and Marcus have designed and produced Haydens (with accordion reeds in the latter two cases), and Morse has an ambition to make Haydens, rather than Maccanns and Cranes. It is because:

    - people want them

    - and there isn't a heavy overhang of vintage instruments available at modest price for high quality

    - Dippers and Wheatstones are as rare as rocking-horse dung.


    Of course some of the above also make English concertinas, where vintage prices are rather lower than for Anglos. But for a given quality of vintage instrument, Maccanns are the cheapest of all. Cranes are harder to come by, but with good 48-key Cranes fetching around UKP 1000, these are not super expensive instruments.


    I can understand your desire not to compete with all these makers putting their Haydens on the market, but I expect you will find that their output is tiny and they have waiting lists. Marcus does not advertise that he makes Haydens and has closed the waiting list. Making Cranes would, on the face of it, seem to be more rentable than Maccanns.


    On the other hand, there is a gap in the Maccann market. The 46-key instrument has annoying short-comings. But currently the only way to avoid them is to get a 57-key, which is probably rather larger/heavier than they would like to play, and also costs about twice the price of a 46-key. (Although 57-key Maccanns are generally Wheatstones, and therefore arguably a bargain at the price.) So what quite a lot of Maccann players would like would be an instrument:

    - of probably around about 48 to 50 keys

    - which goes down to middle C on the RH side (like a Crane)

    - doesn't have the annoying gaps in the LH keyboard (especially the low D) and

    - is either rather smaller and lighter than a standard 57-key (which is otherwise their only method of getting the above), or else rather cheaper, and preferably both.


    If you can make such an instrument, make it either lighter and smaller, or cheaper (and certainly no more expensive than) a vintage 57-key, preferably both, you might just have some willing takers.



    Thank you and am working in that direction. looking at using a design structure similar to the Stagi system and seeing if that can work (referring to Stagi's english models). Wish me luck and hope that things go well.



  20. Stephen,


    Would enjoy a long chat with you sometime if we ever cross paths as i have had a few e-mail conversations with Pat and he is a true fountain of knowledge that has helped me a lot with harmonicas and his site explains a lot of things that might seem arcane to many but with which I find much joy. From what i have read there was a lot of experimentation with free reed instruments at the beginning of the 19th century (1800's for those of us that prefer straight numbers).


    I find alot of information that smacks of bias from Seydel to Hohner to the Russians (whose claims all seem to come to the for front during the USSR, when they where trying to lay claim to inventing everything). So I read and take it with a grain of salt (large grain about a kilo in weight) and keep digging and hoping to learn more. It is sad that large portions of the research is being set aside or discredited by those with agendas (have run into that with the bandoneon already). Hopefully more honest research will hold the day and stand up the test of time. Best of luck and I will gladly buy you a pint if able when we meet sometime.



  21. Bob,


    Thank you, you have just made all the hours sitting and questioning the heck out of my beloved wife and getting the theory and practical into myself worth it. Dirge if you ever want a Maccan tuned in Meantone let me know and I will build one for you. The fun is deciding which one to use and we can have fun with that. The more I research into the different tuning (have to for my harmonica clients) the more interesting it gets. Also the more I am sure that I am going to keep two sets of reed plates for my old Lange Chemnitzer as the Meantone 1/5 A=435 is just such a mellow and warm tone to it.


    Thank you again, may God bless your hands and your list of orders.



  22. I've got to apologize for saying mean things about my Rochelle when I first got it. That whole push pull thing didn't make sense to me, and I blamed it on the concertina instead of figuring out where the notes were. :unsure:


    Anyway, on Friday, I took it out and had a good go on it over the entire weekend, and I'm in love. I love the way my fingers feel when I hit the right notes. I love the way my wife smiles when I play a cute major tune. I love the way my spirit smiles when I play a beautiful, sombre minor tune. And I love that I love the instrument that I bought.


    I have a question. This Rochelle is a C/G, and I've seen lots of talk of the different layouts, Wheatstone or Jeffries. Which is the layout on the Rochelle?


    Cheers from the guy who's loving stuff today!


    Wheatstone layout is used from what I remember and yes they are wonderful instruments to play. Just wait till the bellows get a little bit more flexable and you can really play the dickens out of it and get to a pretty fast tempo out of them. Than comes the fun of being able to doing complex chords and working out the best pattern of buttons for doing songs that repeat. The free reed family is a lot of fun and concertina in particular.



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