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Simon H

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  1. A very useful final check is to go through the whole assembled instrument listening to pairs of notes an octave apart, and on both bellows directions. There should be no detectable beat on any of the octaves. Then do the same thing with 5ths. Assuming you are tuning in equal temperament there should be a very slight beat on all the fifths, but for each pair of notes the sound should be the same on both bellows directions. Thanks for this Theo, at the moment I'm pleased to be nearly there, I will work through this probably next weekend.
  2. Suckling asses, interesting choice Alan It was either bathing in asses milk or slaughtering suckling pigs, but money was tight so and the asses were making a mess so I thought....
  3. After a few weeks of research and endless trepidation, I made the libations to the gods, sacrificed a dozen suckling asses, and proceeded to tune my Wheatstone which had not been touched for about 40 years. Probably never tuned in all its 80 odd years. Anyway a real discordant banshee which I've been steadily restoring, the last job was tuning. Last things first I got every note within 1 or 2 cents of modern pitch - most spot on. Some had to be raised as much as 60 cents, the average was 15 to 20. What I wanted to share was my tuning jig. A Scarlatti GR4100 kids accordian (as sold by Hobgoblin for £29.95) I got mine for £25 locally. http://www.hobgoblin.com/local/scarlatti.htm I'd bought one of these for fun some months ago, and suddenly realised a day or two ago that it would make an ideal tuning jig/bellows. With a slot cut in suitable location (a bit of measuring required) and a reed holding plate fashioned from a bit of 3mm ply, screwed on , and a couple of wooden slip wedges for the different sized reeds. I used AP tune 3.06 on my laptop which I like, a decent microphone, some tables to mark down the measured pitches on the concertina, the measured pitches on the jig and the target pitch for each reed, I was able to work systematically through the production line. Each end of 48 reeds took an afternoon, each reed got a clean (the grime of 80 years)as all were flat they each got the relevent tip filing to get into tune . I was very careful in the process and every reed was check, check, file, measure, check, file, measure again before it was done, and then more checking. Reason for posting this - whilst it was a daunting task for a beginner like myself, and the instrument is valuable, I felt handy enough to do it. I had a few old scrap flutina reeds to practice on first. I was able to correct the angle of a few reeds and thankfully messed nothing up. I wouldn't have gone near doing it without David Elliot's book. Thanks for a great book David. A sense of achievement. If anyone else would like details of how to make the Scarlatti into a tuning jig, I'm happy to help. The surgery is totally reversible, a bit of duct tape will fix it.... Meantime my Wheatstone sounds a million dollars, (well a thousand or two or three anyway.) Here's a couple of pics of the set up. Simon with a flutina reed in the jig:
  4. Thanks for that, a very perceptive analogy. I remember our daughter at 3-4 was constantly experimenting with words, sounds and phrases: "Take a look, take a book, take a wook, wake a took....." and so on ad infinitum. That reminds me so much of the repetitions required to get some phrases off pat on the instrument. The analogy of unlocking facility in language is great, I think the analogy stretches well to cover the need for reading as a means to opening up the wider world of knowledge, and being able to read music too is a way to getting and storing more tunes than the brain can easily hold. Fluent sight reading then has real value too. But as you infer - getting to first understand the language of the instrument fluently is vital. Thanks all for the comments, keep them coming, this really is interesting for me.
  5. Here’s a question (somewhere near the end of this great long spiel...) I’ve been wanting to ask for some time as its been bothering me and I have a lot of interest in how the brain works in learning and trying to work out efficient learning techniques. I’m a “beginner” English concertina player of about 6 months, largely self taught but just started also taking some lessons. Played around a lot over recent years with other instruments, but settling down with EC. At the moment my playing feels like it is in an extended transition stage, where I can play a tune in several mental modes, but only learn in one or two. Here is what I mean. The first difficult tunes I learned, I did a phrase at a time from workshop recordings, playing over and over again until I had each whole tune off pat. They were learned by positional memory, my fingers just find the notes reasonably automatically, and if I were to actually think about which notes I’m playing I would grind to a halt. Great, tunes hard wired in to tactile memory so to speak. Certainly seems like a good way to learn some tunes. Next I have tunes which I know but as I learned them from the sheet music, I feel unconfident playing them without the music in front of me and need to picture the notes on the stave. Lastly there is a wealth of tunes I know from the folk tradition, which I kind of figure out by ear each time I think of them and play in hit or miss ways, a few phrases right, then get lost and give up. My point here is that when I analyse what I’m doing it seems like I’m using different parts of my mind to play different ways, and they appear to be compartmentalised. I’ve heard tell that many sight musicians can’t easily play by ear, and many who play by ear can’t read music. I don’t want to be constrained that way as I improve, and would like ultimately to be able to play reasonably intuitively from music (or ABC), or improvise, or play by ear. Lastly when playing from music I seem to have to go from the note, through the note name (A-G), to the key in my mind, which feels like one step too many, I’m finding it hard to go from dots to buttons directly, even though I’m playing EC which should be easy. Maybe this will just come in time. My question is really for experienced intuitive players. Does you mind remain compartmentalised like this or do the brain’s barriers fall away as intuitive playing takes over? Do you have regrets about not learning a particular way, or method? Do you still have tunes you learned one way and not another? Do you have any tried and tested short cuts to breaking down the brain’s barriers? thanks Simon
  6. It's worth looking on Youtube for Sandy Denny, there are a couple of memorable recordings on there. Even now, so sadly missed.
  7. Well the CD/DVD arrived yesterday, and i have to say this is a great package. A good CD rom of Celtic facts and info plus some tunes to play along to (reels/polkas) The DVD is a filmed "session", to which you can play along or substitute for one of the musicians. 3 jigs, 2 slip jigs, 2 hornpipes, 3 reels 2 "scottish tunes", 2 breton tunes, 1 song and 3 polkas. There's a book of dots, chord charts and demo pieces and all sorts. Whilst I've not had time to get much into this as yet, it is very much the motivational tool I was looking for. well done to http://www.musicroom.com for rapid dispatch. and well done to http://www.noexcusesguides.com for a well realised package.The guide is at: http://www.noexcusesguides.com/02celtic.htm I'm happy.
  8. Not sure whether this is the sort of thing that you are looking for - I've never seen the CDrom in action, but it sounds like this 'No excuses' package might potentially solve the problem? http://www.bigwhistle.co.uk/shop_results.a...47&search=1 Wow - that looks like it is exactly what I was after !! I can't believe how well the description matched my needs. now all I've got to do is find someone with it in stock! Thanks a million. Edit : found at http://www.musicroom.com/
  9. As a beginning EC player, I'm constantly looking for ideas for learning, (anything that will keep me away from actually learning scales and theory and improving my technique). There are very few sessions locally, and none of them which would welcome a player of my standard spoiling their music. Luckily I do have a couple of friends I play with who can tolerate my awful play. It would be nice if there were such a thing as a DVD, or set of DVD's which had session tunes, possibly with scrolling melody notation along the bottom, or sheet music provided. all packaged so you could join in and play along to, all done with a nice filmed pub scene with musicians smiling and nodding encouragement... ok maybe I'm going too far ! Not all of us can go to County Clare or wherever and expend the months required getting to know the music and getting to know the local musicians enough to be welcomed with open arms as anything other than a "tourist", but how good it would be to sit in front of a widescreen TV with a surround sound system and tootle along and have players smiling at me as I hit a hundred duff notes in a row! I know, artificial, not as good as playing in a session, but we don't all have those options. This would be an infinitely better way of learning a few good session tunes than sitting alone trying to motivate myself to play tunes from midi files and sheet music and so on. So - video sessions for learners with some clever menu options, like "show sheet music, remove bodhran etc !!". Has anyone done it, (where are the DVD's on Amazon), and if not, who's going to make these for me ! ? (and one or two other learners out there). I can see the titles "Play-along shanty session, filmed at the Ship inn - 30 shanty tunes for you to play along to" and so on. I suppose youtube would provide a lower grade platform for such a thing, I already have tried playing along with some Youtube stuff, with varying degrees of success. You don't have to just be a concertina player to see a market for this. Or am I missing something ? Simon
  10. You could call at celtic chords in Stonehaven on your way, about 16 miles south of Aberdeen. The owner is very knowledgable and will let you try things out, has a range of 'tinas of both types in a good range of prices. Lots of CD's too to inspire. http://www.celtic-chords.co.uk/cms/index.php I too am a beginner and for many of the usual reasons chose english, was luck enough to get a nice restored 48b Lachenal. 3 weeks in and the tunes are just starting to come, haltingly, its been a struggle but every minute of practice is worth it. My background was piano/harmonium and for me the thought of non-chromatic didn't register. Simon
  11. The reeds do slide out, but are quite a tight fit in mine so I took a lot of care easing out from the inboard end with a rounded blunt butter knife. So far the pads are fine though I might consider replacing the felts and pads later on, the red felt is so faded, it would look nicer with new. As for the valves, I've managed to improve matters a little following some tips I'd read on these forums, I've got our local accordian repair man looking for matching quality leather. He thinks he's got some suitable at home, so after a rummage..... The handstrap waas clearly not an original. but I've replaced it as its helping me a lot at this stage of learning to play it. Thanks for the links. There is definitely something special about these old instuments. I can't leave mine alone.
  12. I've been having a lot of fun getting my flutina going, I managed to pick up a second in worse condition which gave me a replacement reed. Lots of work and gentle cleaning and sealing and now the good one is playable. I took a lot of photos which ended up on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23765997@N00/...57600700875760/ Happy to share experiences, research, tips etc. Mine had a strap each end and thumb loop, none of which appear to be original, and one of which I've had to replace. I've found the diagram at : http://www.abdn.ac.uk/scottskinner/display.php?ID=JSS0503 useful.
  13. My first post to concertina net - what a great place for all advice ! I was the lucky purchaser of this flutina or more properly French accordian I guess, (I'm no expert) Apart from some minor damage and the need for extensive but gentle cleaning of the dust and grime of ages it is in excellent condition. There is no makers name found yet, though the name "D. Lapworth - Tusses Bridge" is loosely written as though with a blunt scriber in the wood under the action plate. A couple of badly curled valves and one problematic reed, and it is very playable. My research leans me towards Stephen's conclusion that it is one of Busson's. Do you have a suggested date? Tusses bridge is on the Oxford canal and was a tiny hamlet at the time this was made, I wonder if there was a waterway's connection? Anyone who can cast light on this or the name D. Lapworth I'd love to know more. Simon
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