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Bruce McCaskey

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About Bruce McCaskey

  • Rank
    Heavyweight Boxer

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Seattle Area

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  1. Bruce McCaskey

    MIDI Concertina

    Just saw a new news item about this English Midi concertina that provides a little more information.
  2. Bruce McCaskey

    MIDI Concertina

    Three things about this project were of particular interest to me. First, this looks like something that might not be as expensive as a custom built traditional style instrument. Admittedly that's only a guess and I may be well off the mark, but I like to imagine that someone with access to a Glowforge might be able to cut the needed pieces and put together a full kit of parts with instructions and market it for under $1,000. Second, it connects by Bluetooth, thus eliminating dangling wires and making the connection process very simple. Third, he mentions that he’s using Fluidsynth on a phone for the sound synthesizer, eliminating the need for another piece of hardware and making the whole setup very portable. I assume at this point one could easily route the sound to headphones for quiet practice in the presence of others, or to a speaker system if a louder sound is desired. I don’t play English, but I assume that if an English model of this sort ever becomes available commercially an Anglo version won’t be far behind. I don't think something like this would be satisfactory as a replacement for a traditional instrument, but if the price wasn’t too prohibitive I could see it being a fun novelty or secondary instrument.
  3. Bruce McCaskey

    MIDI Concertina

    I knew nothing beyond what I'd posted, but today after stumbling around in the links within the story I found some additional details of the construction and the author's name, Dave Ehnebuske. I've run across a couple of ways of contacting him by email if you are a member of certain groups, and also one that doesn’t require membership but uses a business email. I don’t think it is appropriate for me to post those details here, but I will send you a PM. i was going to check to see if he might be a forum member here but can’t find a way to do that. I know there used to be a way but I suppose it may have gone away in more recent years - or maybe it’s still there and I just don’t recognize it.
  4. Bruce McCaskey

    MIDI Concertina

    The general concept has been explored and implemented in recent years, but I don’t think this particular story about a glowforge approach has been otherwise highlighted here. https://community.glowforge.com/t/concertina-midi-controller/43946/14 This related video offers some practical perspective. https://vimeo.com/354102197
  5. Bruce McCaskey

    30 key anglo guides and tutorials

    I should mention that while it is an excellent resource, Bertram’s second tutor “American Fiddlestyles for the Anglo Concertina” is not intended as a beginner's first guide. It assumes the student knows the basics of the instrument and can read music. An absolute beginner would likely be lost, but someone who can already play a dozen or more tunes would be able to work with it. It is targeted at intermediate level players but I dare say many that consider themselves proficient would still find it beneficial. What I like best about it is that it really explores the fingering possibilities on the Anglo. Coming from an Irish Crossrow approach this book was eye-opening for me. Bertram's website has some issues as mentioned above, but this link will take you to the page to purchase this book: http://bertramlevy.com/concertina-tutor
  6. Have a great St. Paddy’s Day weekend! 

  7. Michael Arraide has an accordion shop in Kent (south of Seattle) that Bertram Levy goes to for tuning his concertinas and bandoneons. Bertram speaks highly of him and has recommended him to me multiple times. A few years ago I sent Randal Bays there to have his son's concertina tuned and Randal reported he was pleased with result. I've never met Michael but feel comfortable recommending him based on Bertram’s strong endorsement. http://www.expertaccordionrepair.com/
  8. Bruce McCaskey

    The demise of the English concertina.

    I am occasionally contacted by people in the Seattle area looking for English concertina instruction and I have no idea where to direct them. I’ve seen a few English players around over the years, but don’t have a way to contact them now. It's difficult to build the ranks if you can’t find people to teach and share what they know. I'm not saying they don’t happen, but I don’t know of any English concertina workshops in the US where one could learn the basics either. The next time I encounter an English player I intend to ask what they know of learning opportunities so that I can pass it on. In the meantime, would anyone care to recommend a particular English concertina instructor, a favored tutor book or perhaps a well presented YouTube series that might get the non-player started? I suspect the information might be of interest to some here, and I'll be happy to have something to pass on the next time I'm asked.
  9. Bruce McCaskey

    Morse Ceili CG - SOLD

    I checked with Clint and he reports that this instrument has been sold.
  10. Bruce McCaskey

    Anglo playing guidance needed

    I often have difficulty with Bertram’s website, but I know he offers direct sales of his “American Fiddle Styles” concertina tutor and will ship to the UK and other countries. I suggest you contact him directly at this site if you’d like to purchase a copy. http://bertramlevy.com/contact
  11. Bruce McCaskey

    Niall Vallely

    I spoke with Niall's wife at a Childsplay performance in Seattle a few days ago. I asked if there was any chance he might some day accompany her on a tour that would come to the west coast and she said they were thinking that they might do a tour about April of next year. No commitment, but at least they are thinking that direction. I'd love to see him play in person. By the way, the Childsplay group is on their last tour and they are featuring Karen Casey as the vocalist. While I'm not a fiddle fan overall, this group, including about a dozen people playing fiddles made by Bob Child’s and a mix of other instruments (cellos, harp, guitar, banjo, keyboard, flute and whistle), put on a very entertaining show. It also included dancers and a “Hambone” performance. Google the group name “Childsplay” to get tour information, and I'll close this with a YouTube link to an example video of the Hambone performance - something I found quite unique. There are also many YouTube videos of Childsplay performances from recent years. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CO9KFkeYj68
  12. Bruce McCaskey

    Irish Concertina Lessons

    I'm anticipating good things from Caitlín's new website: https://www.irishconcertinalessons.com/
  13. Bruce McCaskey

    Concertina Bow Arm

    Bertram Levy addresses his approach to incorporating bow techniques in his second concertina tutor, “American Fiddle Styles for the Anglo Concertina.”
  14. Bruce McCaskey

    Harmonica Based Anglo

    I was reading a tribute today to recently passed local musician Allen Hart, and a comment in the fifth paragraph from the end caught my attention. It mentions that one project he had been pursuing was a changeable key concertina, based on being able to swap out harmonicas. The source is here: https://folkworks.org/features/passings/46726-rip-al-hart No detail is offered beyond that, but the notion does catch my attention. I'm imagining a twenty button Anglo design with a harmonica for each button row. Perhaps a latch on each end, and the ends hinged with appropriate edge seals) to permit quick access to the internals and the harmonicas in some sort of ducted (for air passages) frame with a quick release holder. There are several mechanical issues that come to mind, not the least of which is that you might need two harmonicas for each button row. One on the left side for the low note buttons and one right for the high note buttons of that key to cover the full range without needing to resort to complex flexible internal tubing across the bellows. Or maybe he was planning to have all the buttons on each end all one key, so that you might have G on the left and C on the right. I did not know Allen, but it would have been interesting to see his prototype.
  15. Bruce McCaskey

    For sale: Dipper County Clare C/G

    I can tell you how this turned out. I bought this concertina from Meg, can't place the date by memory, but essentially shortly after her last post on the topic. At the time, Meg had a solid offer of $7,000 from Ireland, but she was uncomfortable with the financial and shipping aspects of an international sale. Since I'd tried it before, she reached out to me to ask if I'd make a counter offer. I lived within 40 miles of her, so it was no trouble to visit again. I set $6,500 cash on the table and she accepted it. I've never regretted the purchase, and in fact, it sold for less than it is currently worth to me. I'd happily pay $7,500 for it now, perhaps even $8,000, knowing it as I do, if it were for sale from another today. It has a distinctive, slightly strident sound that I'm quite fond of. I own other premium instruments but this Dipper is my favorite. I discussed it with Colin after buying it. Meg had purchased it through Lark in the Morning in Seattle and they listed it as a Professional County Clare, with a price about $1,000 higher than the standard County Clare that they also listed in their catalog. Colin said that he had an agreement with the owner of the business in those days and provided two instruments a year to Lark for them to sell. He said that the Professional model has better reeds than the standard County Clare, in fact his exact words were that he put his very best reed-work in that model. I had owned a standard model County Clare previously and I could clearly hear the difference. I also noted that this Professional model has longer reeds for the lowest notes. I seem to recall that the lowest reeds on my standard Clare were weighted. I'm very happy with this instrument.
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