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Simon H

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Everything posted by Simon H

  1. I have a Wheatstone English treble from 1915, in very similar sounding condition to yours. I bought thumb staps from David Leese, very swift and helpful service and the straps were perfectly matching. After a year they have lost a tiny bit of their obvious "newness and look and feel soft and lovely. I use occasional black shoe polish on the bellows and they look immaculate, I use a soft brush from time to time to get dust out of the folds, I also used simple black leather dye/polish stuff used for reblacking kids shoes. (liquid type with sponge applicator. Dries on and buffs to a shine. As advised above use very sparingly but it is very good for reblacking areas which show loss of black colour. Simon
  2. Couple of issues to deal with here really. Your present instrument has strap problems, you are a keen player and you don't want to stop playing, that's understandable. All of us get these hankerings after other instruments but they are diversions, there comes a point at which you home in on one and recognise it as the one you want to be most proficient at. But, you do have a new Tedrow anglo on order though, that will form the logical progression for you. Meantime, you can divert yourself if you must or carry on with the Scarlatti. I sense that you don't feel able to repair the strap(s) yourself. If you know any person that can wield a screwdriver, I promise you this can be fixed more easily than you can imagine. You will not be damaging a valuable instrument to do this. Take off the strap or have anyone do it for you. Take along the remains to a clothes shop and buy a soft wide leather belt of similar thickness to the existing strap. Cut new strap(s) using strong scissors/shears using old straps as templates. Punch holes, (any tool shop shoe repairer or horse tack shop will either do this for you or sell you a cheap tool to do it. Then simply reattach, adjust as necessary. I promise you, this job from start to finish should take no more than half an hour and cost less than a tenner. The person doing it does not have to know the first thing about concertinas to do it for you. You could even probably get the whole job done by a shoe repairer while you wait !!. Simon
  3. Am I missing something, I couldn't find any mention of dates...
  4. I've seldom seen a less attractive Wheatstone, the wood looks featureless and reminds me of old bakelite.
  5. Don't get me wrong - I'm interested, when I joined the forums I spent days and days searching old threads and picking up "the knowledge". My confusion was around your thread-restarting-methodology and purpose. I couldn't quite see why this thread had suddenly re-appeared with such a bizarre comment restarting it.
  6. Did you really revive a six year old thread to say that? I'm confused. There have been a few old threads revived lately, it would be good if the revivers would mention that the thread is old, as I go wiffling back through the responses thinking "where did alll this come from?" only to then see the date. Edit: I have though spent a happy half hour reading many of the old posts from this gentleman, (subsequently banned I note). The "activity" of discourse associated with his name is quite fascinating. Very interesting to see the discussions from a few years back.
  7. Samantha's gone down to the basement to check out the rulebook with one of the old members. She said its long and hard but she's working on it.
  8. I agree with Fer. Although I'v been playing for only 6 months a couple of months ago I invested in a quality instrument. I see it as a worthwhile investment, as it would have taken me much longer to reach the modest standard I have achieved using my cheap and cheerful Scarlatti. Apart from the initial, not inconsiderable, cost my concertina will maintain its' current value for ever therefore it really comes for free (sort of). Cheers Wally I second that. The transition from Stagi to Morse (Jeffries) is huge. My goal....to participate in sessions playing the concertina the same way I do playing the fiddle today:-) I guess, financially difficult though it is, the instrument change will make a big difference. I experienced the reverse of this a few days ago when I was walking past a music store and spotted a black English tenor treble in the window. I popped in and asked whether I could have a go. What I found myself holding was a Stagi. Now addmittedly the guy said the instrument hadn't been "set up" but I found it completely unplayable in comparison to my Wheatstone treble EC. Each button had a different feel in terms of spring pressure, the bellows pressure required to get the reeds to sound was significant, but moreover varied hugely from reed to reed, everything about the instrument just felt wrong. If this were the only instrument I had to play, it would have made learning so much more of a challenge. So much so that I suspect the instrument would be languishing in a cupboard after a week or two. Perseverence is one thing, and if you have maintained interest, then perhaps its time you rewarded your persistence with a step up the instrument ladder. Simon
  9. Well as we are using the Roman gated walls strategy I can only counter with Aldgate
  10. Firstly remember, the people who run out of the room, are probably those who you know, who have probably had to listen to endless practice. I'm afraid the repetitive practice that we have to do, to get a tune right, doth not a pleasing listening experience make, these people have heard it all before? I think your goals are fair. The evidence from your vids is that you are progressing. When I asked my teacher how long it took her to reach the standard she is at the answer was something like "five hours a day for 3 years and at least an hour a day ever since...." Learning to strum half a dozen chords to play along at a session on guitar is not the same as learning to play a melody instrument like concertina to speed. The challenge we all face here is significant and the big steps forward only come as a result of sustained practice. What you are going to have to do is start recognising that you are improving, stop beating yourself up about it and keep working. I recently took my 'tina on holiday with me, the weather was poor and I was able to practice for several hours intensively. The step change in my playing was most pleasing. Picking the instrument up for a few minutes isn't really the key to progress, I think it needs more. Simon
  11. A defence of the midi concertina and midi instruments in general. First point, a midi concertina is not in any way competing or attempting to oust the conventional concertina or be seen as an alternative to it. It is about as relevent a comparison as comparing a Hammond organ to a piano. Midi stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, and every one of these words in the acronym is important. It is a standardised way of having musical instruments interface digitally with other instruments and with other digital technology, computers, sequencers sysnthesisers etc. To attack midi instruments as though they are somehow worthless ersatz versions of real instruments is to miss the point of Midi so widely as to make it difficult to debate on similar terms. But let’s deal with some of the underlying issues here and I suspect these revolve around the “lack of expression” in Midi instruments. Midi is interesting in that the sound is not the message, the mechanics of the sound are the message. Midi transmits a host of information about the note being played, velocity, pitch, pressure, duration etc etc, but does not say what the sound should be like. Midi files played on a crappy PC with standard midi file player sound crappy, when played on a good system with high-end sound patches, sound amazing. But midi is so much more than this. It forms the core of much studio equipment, sequencing and controlling equipment. It allows composition on the fly directly into notation. It allows the control of instruments, sysnthesisers etc over 16 channels (or more) and over 128 voices in 16 note polyphony, it allows music files to be shared worldwide in very compressed file sizes, in detail and quality far in excess of what is achievable by ABC. (but I am not attacking ABC here, simply making a point). Midi will have played a greater or lesser role in much of the music you hear, its ability to tie instruments together, its sequencing abilities and it ability to make studio setups available to thousands of people around the world linking PC with sysnthesiser with simple cables and software has done more for amateur recording than you can believe. Midi has little to do with ersatz implementations of concertinas which have the trick of being able to play other instrument sounds. What it does for us is allows us access into a DIFFERENT world of music through the INTERFACE of the instrument we love. Incidentally, for the concertina player midi provides an instrument which can be played through headphones without bothering others. It provides an opening into a world of music where by using a search engine you can find a midi file of a tune you heard at a session (or convert ABC to midi using simple software if you can’t find midi) With software like Midi Illustrator or any of a load of others you can play along, record, notate your compositions, transpose, change instruments and generally learn a lot about the wider world of electronic music, which whether we like it or not, is here to stay. The midi, concertina, violin, etc are simply interfaces into the world of digital music, possibly poorly implemented and at the low end of the implementation ladder, but nonetheless a door into another world. To see them as inferior versions of the instrument is really to miss the point. I know we all love our traditional instruments here, and can argue the numbers of angels that can dance on the head of a pin over different sounds of reeds in vintage instruments. Nobody is going to come along to a session with a midi concertina and try and argue that their instrument can sound better in a session, that is not the purpose. For me music is about expanding my knowledge in all directions and if I can do that through the interface of my favourite instrument, that is a fantastic development, not a retrograde step. Simon (in process of converting a "scrap" Lachenal into a midi instrument.)
  12. Guess you feel about midi instruments the way I feel about text littered with crappy animated smileys. We're all luddites in one way or another.... Simon (tongue planted firmly in cheek)
  13. You can play any melody you choose and there are millions to choose from, the EC is chromatic so the notes are all there. Essentially (and I think the point Misha makes) is that it won't sound much like the tune you are looking for - it will sound like a concertina playing it. I've been playing old Beatles stuff on my EC, some of them sound good. The distinctive voice of the concertina is its strength and weakness, it matches well and sounds good playing traditional music. Moved away from the genre it can work but it will always sound like a concertina.
  14. I've been using Flickr for some time now for all sorts of photos, and had posted some concertina photos, it was nice to see a specific group formed just a few days ago. I guess like any passion whether train spotting or whatever, it is nice to see pictures associated with that passion. Of course following through to the photostream of the poster can broaden your view and insight into the life of the poster. Simon
  15. I thought recently I'd put up a vid on youtube of myself playing a tune I'd finally mastered. It took me a few "takes" to get one where there were no mistakes. Then I realised the video was unusable due to the face. No contorted expression, just total blankness, unfocussed eyes, slack jaw and a demeanour suggesting total passive understanding of the horror of mankind's collective mortality ! So having practiced the tune, I'm now faced with practicing a face that can go with it that doesn't frighten everyone that sees it. Simon
  16. The Tascam DR1 will record and slow down for you plus a whole lot more (overdub, effects, tuner, metronome ) http://www.solidstatesound.co.uk/tascam_dr-1.htm
  17. I think one of my biggest disappointments with learning has been how tunes that I have learnt really well can fade to borderline incompetance if they are not practiced for a few weeks. It makes practice a bit tedious, because as well as doing new stuff there is a constant need to go back and refresh the old tunes too. But I suppose this process helps finesse them... When I discovered that my memory for tunes was not permanent I decided to write the title and first two bars of each tune I know in a notebook which I carry with my concertina. That way I have a list I can draw on to practice tunes that I might otherwise have forgotten for too long. it also reminds me of my progress and gives me ideas for tunes in our little sessions. As for learning I'm trying to be as wide as possible - I use sheet music (slowly) ABC, Midi ( I can't recommend Midi Illustrator highly enough), slowdowners (Tascam DR1), recordings from sessions etc. Plus I have a fantastic teacher for weekly lessons. Simon
  18. The product of a musical instrument is the sounds it makes, whilst playability is very important don't sacrifice sound quality for playability. Go for both. The best new instruments do have a couple of drawbacks - price and waiting time. Older instruments come in great variety and if you take your time buying you can get something very very special.
  19. http://blogfiles.wfmu.org/KF/2007/01/note/...dDeathWaltz.jpg
  20. You're probably better served doing a Youtube search for Sheng - there you'll find some vids of players who have mastered it. At the moment I suspect I need to do some adjusting to get all the reeds to sound at the same air pressure as a couple are barely sounding. Also despite going round it with my chromatic tuner and marking each tube with a paper dot telling me the note, I'm not at the point of remembering or understanding the sequence. So even getting a basic tune is a laborious process. It is tuned in d with a couple of extra accidentals. (at least that's how it seems). It definitely is brand new and needs some working in. Nonetheless what a party piece to turn up and play a couple of tunes with at our local session!! If other concertina historians or those like me who have an interest in unusual musical instruments are interested I know these can be had on ebay, (the usual way for things like this, a low buy-it-now price but postage about £80) or I might be able to get my daughter to send a couple over when she goes back in a week or two. PM me if you are interested. Simon
  21. If you are at all interested in the ancestry of concertinas it is worth looking up the sheng. I dates back at least 2500 years....
  22. I had a free reed Christmas. My daughter who curently lives in China, came home to Scotland for Christmas with a 17 reed Sheng for me. Fascinating, incredible instrument, at times it sounds so similar to my Wheatstone, its uncanny.
  23. From your description and the fact that it was restored, you probably have a desirable instrument. as you are already a musician, you have a head start on many here who take up concertina as a first instrument. Why not make the effort to give it a go. A week or two of diligent learning practice and you will be bemoaning the wasted 27 years. There are good vids on Youtube to get you started, and there is a whole community here that would will you on. I think you can be pretty sure there are people here who will be enquiring about the instrument too, if you do decide to sell.
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