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Everything posted by Ken_Coles

  1. What Jim and Aaron say I also heard from the late Rich Morse; that in New England a smooth fast fiddle tune in 4/4 (or cut time, take your pick) was known as a hornpipe, even though that is not the usage elsewhere. The "common definition" is subject to regional variations. Like many other terms we use (e.g. "concertina"!). Who knows why, it must have been long ago that the usage changed. The tunes Jim mentions are ones I started on a quarter century ago on anglo - I was hanging out with an old-time/folk music bunch of guitarists and fiddlers in the Midwestern U.S. When I got to sit in on contras years later I knew some of the tunes already. I do "Soldier's" on C/G anglo. Start on the left hand, but I often get my fourth-line D on the right hand. The curse/blessing of the confusing anglo - a dozen ways you could do things. Ken
  2. Ceili reeds are waxed, not screwed down, but removing and replacing them is not difficult. I'm all thumbs and I've managed it on other instruments. Ken
  3. If you are somewhere that you can afford to/where it is practical to/ telephone to the Button Box, I'm sure they'd help you as much as they can over a phone connection. Ken
  4. I've only played with local friend Bill Geiger a couple of times so far (he is a new but prodigious player of EC, I play AC) and have had a hint of the same experience of contrast in approach partly dictated by the instrument. Ken
  5. You could even get two old piano accordions, take them apart, and suture the two bass ends together (the bellows/ends would have to be the same cross-section. Bingo - dirt cheap test-of-concept before you commission a custom instrument. Ken
  6. This may not be the direction you're after, but your description makes me think of a Stradella bass layout. I don't know where you are, but in the US old piano accordions can be had for almost nothing - try garage/tag sales or the online classified ads. Try a smaller one, say 48 or 72 buttons on the bass side, to experiment with. And there must be books or web sites that explain how it is laid out - it is a brilliant system for western/pop music, really. You could use the bass button and counterbass button together, reach across rows (which are on the cycle of fifths like many three-chord songs), in addition to the buttons that give major, minor chords, etc. I once saw the group "Those Darn Accordions" perform at Fitzgerald's night club in Chicago. Three of them (I think) had huge piano accordions and on most of the songs all they did was riff on the bass buttons now and then, between vocals - never used the treble-side piano keys. So you can even make a living this way. 😎 Ken
  7. 20 years ago, when I was writing lots of articles for the old static pages on this site, I began collecting 40-button layouts to do a survey article. I found the same thing - they vary enough that trying to classify them even into groups was not very useful and I gave up. They are all in a file folder somewhere! Ken
  8. This is one for the expert - Paul. Let's see if he has any advice here. Ken
  9. Have you read through the concertina FAQ yet? It is maintained by C.netter Chris Timson and covers many historical aspects of the instrument...it may address this choice of Sir Charles Wheatstone (IIRC, basically that a cylindrical shape was sonically ideal to him). www.concertina.info Ken Edited to add: Sorry I misunderstood your question! Indeed the hex cases are an oddity - too many old instruments were stored on end as a result, causing the valves to curl and stop working. Happy case hunting.
  10. Bill, Another thing is to let me watch you play sometime soon and be sure your hands are in a neutral position. [Speaking as someone sidelined from playing for a whole year by repetitive stress injury two decades ago.] But arthritis can also do this (an x-ray can be diagnostic). As Greg says, knowing the cause will help zero in on the treatment faster without trial and error. And maybe you should try my Lachenal with the wrist straps again to see how that feels. You have lots of company here I suspect (which will produce a great variety of proposed solutions - that's the Concertina.net response to every question). Ken
  11. It is just a lovely, low-souding pitch. That's enough reason for me to have my Lachenal A/E (it is my wife's favorite instrument). Ken
  12. Someone who would know is Rachel Hall in eastern Pennsylvania. For some years after 2001 she borrowed DoN's bass and brought it to the concertina orchestra at the North East Squeeze In each September. Plenty of fun squeezing in those years! Ken
  13. Mark, It is entirely appropriate to post this here. Makes me wish i lived in Kent so I could volunteer! Best of luck. Ken
  14. Something like this happened on my Ceili (after many years of hard playing). The post had pulled out of the action board, and the official advice was to glue it back in with a tiny bit of epoxy. No problems since. So that is worth checking also. Good luck; this tinkering is part of concertina ownership for most of us. Ken
  15. Where are you? Best answer is someone here who knows concertinas should take a look at it for you. If it is a basic, brass-reeded model in need of an overhaul, $300 may even be a bit much. Ken
  16. Most of the yanks I know over here say "LASH en awl" or LAW shen awl" but this is just a regionalism. I have no idea what we should say. Ken
  17. Stephen, I just moved that thread to Concertina History. I didn't merge this into it as it doesn't appear to add anything to the story - tell me if I'm mistaken. Ken
  18. Moving thread to Concertina History (where it belongs, a decade after the sale that started all this) at suggestion of Stephen Chambers. I added a couple of words to the topic title as well.
  19. Ken Sweeney in the northeast US also does this (two instruments at once). I once asked him if he had considered adding a foot bass to make three, and he said he had no interest whatsoever in doing that! Ken
  20. To add to what @seanc says...after years as a Luddite (no smart phone) I got my first tablet (an iPad air) two weeks ago. Which apps to get first was obvious: Michael Eskin's; he offers several concertinas and a bunch of other instruments. Just a couple of bucks to download if you happen to have an iOS device. You could get some idea of how the fingering works if that is an option for you. Ken
  21. @vosWell, I got my first concertina, a red MOTS (Mother-of-Toilet-Seat, i.e. celluloid) 20-button Italian anglo in C/G from Bruce Cunningham, an instrument repairman in Battleground, Indiana in 1992 for 50 dollars. Played it for four years and really learned where the notes and partial chords are, played across the rows, and so on. Using it for so long really got it all into my head, though I'm still finding new possibilities (now on 30-button C/G) today. As you can see below my name I have reason to travel across Ohio between PA and IN a lot. I may pass close to you or far away; I'm perhaps 3 hours from Cleveland and at least 5 from Toledo. After three trips in the last few weeks, however, I'm taking a break from that to catch up on work. 😎 If I get anywhere near you I can share with you sometime; I have examples of three systems (Anglo, English, an Elise) hereabouts. Ken
  22. vos, For song accompaniment, I think the perceived key limitations of anglo are a bit of a red herring. Some years ago I learned a song off a record, working out open chords (2 notes) that worked and gave a nice arrangement (to my ear). When I was done, I asked myself, "What key is this song in?" Turns out it was in Bb minor (5 flats)! On a C/G anglo. Mind you, have I haven't done this many times, but it was telling for me. Every instrument has limitations, and part of using one musically is working within the limitations and finding the corresponding strengths of that instrument. I don't think it is much of a stretch to play melodies in Bb, F, C, G, D, and A on C/G anglo, which is chromatic from the A below middle C up more than two octaves (just how high depends on the layout of accidentals, Wheatstone vs. Jeffries, etc.). As Chris Timson says, every kind of music has been played on every kind of concertina. Another bit of experience in many other threads here is that your brain may work better with some systems than others. There is no substitute for holding and trying various types of concertinas (anglo, english, etc.) - it is very individual. What part of the world are you in? We may have members nearby who can give you a try for free. It is hard to intellectualize one's way through this choice. I wish _I_ could read neumes! (Gregorian notation) As for the thread title, our host and owner here, Paul Schwarz, many years ago called a related malady Concertina Obsessive Acquisition Disorder (COAD). I definitely had it for a while myself, but it took me 12 years (long before the internet) of looking to find my first concertina. Hope the hunt for your next musical step is shorter for you. Ken
  23. I got carpal inflammation from playing my first Lachenal in 1999. I had the straps a bit too loose and had to flex my hands back to control the bellows = pressure on the carpal nerve = lost most of a year of playing waiting for it to recover. Take this seriously, and get a medical professional to watch you play. They may spot it right away - my doctor did. More of my story is in old C.net static pages here and here. Ken
  24. I tried all 3 at NESI, and while I'm not much of an EC player, I can verify that they are indeed nice instruments. So many instruments, so little lifetime.... Ken
  25. 45 years ago a good friend from high school (in southern California) went to San Diego State U. and did a degree in piano accordion with some well-known (in that world) teacher. So it does happen. Ken
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