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Bruce McCaskey

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Everything posted by Bruce McCaskey

  1. 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
  2. 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/
  3. 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.
  4. Bruce McCaskey

    Morse Ceili CG - SOLD

    I checked with Clint and he reports that this instrument has been sold.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Bruce McCaskey

    Irish Concertina Lessons

    I'm anticipating good things from Caitlín's new website: https://www.irishconcertinalessons.com/
  8. 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.”
  9. 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.
  10. Bruce McCaskey

    Mrs. Crotty

    Although it's not a recent YouTube posting, I ran across a nice TG4 feature on Mrs. Crotty today. I've done a content search here and don't see any indication that it's been highlighted previously so I'm going to do that now. The video has some flaws; there's almost four minutes of unrelated content at the start, it ends abruptly during the playing of an Air and the sound seems a little out of sync at times, but all in all I found it to be interesting and worthwhile to watch. http://youtu.be/NrkMTCRzj0g
  11. 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.
  12. Bruce McCaskey

    Arthur: A Mazurka

    Listened to it this morning, sounds great!
  13. Bruce McCaskey

    Hohner Factory Video

    Interesting to watch the assembly sequences.
  14. I've tried both but several years apart so I can't really compare them. Just recently sold a C/G Marcus Deluxe and thought it was a nice concertina. Good response, easy to play, nice sound and never a problem. Only sold it because I've come to own some high end instruments and it was redundant.
  15. Not too difficult in the upper octave of the left side so long as you use your ring finger on the inner (G) row button for your G's and A's if they are adjacent (just before or just after) any Bb's. This permits you to avoid jumping your index finger to play those notes on the middle © row in ordered sequence with a Bb. For the lowest Bb you'll likely use the little or ring finger, depending on whether you have C or lower note immediately before or after the Bb. You may need to swap to using the middle finger on the C to free up both the ring and little fingers to play lower note sequences in some tunes. I find that Bb's are rarely an issue on the right side once you figure out where the correct button is located on the outside (sometimes called "accidental") row and learn to reach your ring finger over to it. As with so many things about learning Anglo, you just have to identify where you need to make an fingering adjustment, decide on the best approach and then get used to it. You can pretty much use your default approach for the other notes in tunes.
  16. Bruce McCaskey

    Turning End Bolts

    Impressive work Alex.
  17. Bruce McCaskey

    Tassie Tiger G/d 5 5/8 Inch

    Love the end plate designs.
  18. Bruce McCaskey

    Key Pressure!?

    I've found a few "Force Gauges" online that are similar. Thanks for the insights.
  19. Bruce McCaskey

    Key Pressure!?

    I have an interest in being able to measure button pressure. It seems to me that you want more than just sufficient pressure to keep the pad from leaking. A little extra pressure makes the difference between a soft close and an abrupt interruption of air flow. The latter, in my opinion, is essential to supporting crisp cuts and other ornamentation. On the other hand, too much button pressure and it's more of a challenge (when playing fast) to depress the button sufficiently to ensure that the reed actually sounds. How about some more information about this pressure messing device? What is it called if one were to go looking to purchase such a thing?
  20. In addition to Ken's link, here's one to Michael's website: http://www.michaeleskin.com/irish.html
  21. I like Frank's book and always recommend it. A quick orientation to start and then lots of good Irish tunes and recordings to go with them.
  22. Bruce McCaskey


    I was thinking it took 5,000 posts for that lofty designation, but that said, surely recognition is due for 1,000 posts too.
  23. Bruce McCaskey

    Ringo Starr With Ec

    The lads were very young. Reminds me of the old Marx brothers photo with the concertina and harp. We have multiple harps in this household and I shudder at the way John is stretching those strings, I hope they were de-tensioned first.
  24. Bruce McCaskey

    One-Handed Concertina

    I recall some posts here many years ago regarding an old Anglo with buttons on one side only. It came back to mind today as I saw this post on Facebook from a current maker. I hadn't heard of the One Handed Musical Instrument Trust but glad to see someone offering such a model. Never tried to do a Facebook link before but here goes: https://www.facebook.com/acnormanandco/posts/1289883941089669