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Simon H

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Everything posted by Simon H

  1. As a temporary, check out the bolts used to hold glasses frames together, you can pick up a glasses repair kit or a cheap pair of glasses/sunglasses with suitable bolts for very little money.
  2. "I can't help but thinking that participating in an instrument database is just providing potential robbers with a shopping list!" We're talking an instrument database not an address list of valuable concertinas with times when we will be at home or not and whether we leave a key under the plant pot. We've lists of names and members willingly supplied in different threads. Everyone here Ross, I expect owns a concertina of some sort. Some of the more active members probably own valuable instruments. Frankly I think such a resource as a database with details, photos etc would be useful to aid the recovery of stolen instruments as the listing with details and photos could be posted here, or printed off and passed around in folk clubs and sessions. How many of us have got a good detailed set of photos and descriptions of their instruments for insurance purposes? Something like a well managed database might encourage a few more to, and the other advantages of turning up interesting instruments and aiding research might be a useful thing. In reality many members both here and at photo sharing websites have made it clear what sort of instruments they own already. (look at Avatars, read posting, descriptions of purchases, repairs etc etc) I've not heard much about the resultant crime wave. Most concertinas get lifted in public by opportunistic thieves. I'm not convinced that there is a large concertina-theft-to-order racket out there. Most thieves would probably simply see a "squeezebox". I think you risk more theft taking your instrument out in public than you ever would putting it on an anonymised database.
  3. I can see issues with this, but perhaps a database set up with user names anonymous / optional. I love looking at pictures of concertinas and getting to understand their history. Also such a thing might provide data for historians, provide a record for owners against theft / insurance claims and provide a resource for missing concertinas. It might also help owners find out more about the history of their instruments if experts were able to provide information or fill out the fields. It might provide players an incentive to share photos, it might provide incentive to photographic types to do their best photogrpahing their cherished instruments. There are probably web platforms out there with all the functionality we might need.
  4. I don't mean to be rude but you know LDT revived this thread from 2004.... John, your suggestions might be four years too late for the concert....
  5. Its interesting to read a thread about keyboard skills and lack thereof, on a forum largely dedicated to keyboard skills of a different nature. we are all touch typers to a greater or lesser degree on concertina, i wonder how many of us are on PC. Even though I've been using qwerty keyboards since the 1970's i've never learned to touch type, even though my job is 90% sitting in front of a PC. Yet as soon as I pick up my EC I expect to be able to touch type ! Fascinating !
  6. A beauty, I'm with you Dick, this looks, to use a hackneyed expression - stunning. Amboyna and tortoiseshell are fine but do remind me of a type of OTT 1930's furniture which I don't particularly like. Somehow this just looks perfect. Problem is if i got it, it would still sound like it was being played by a learner.... Simon
  7. I just tried an hour practice - eyes closed nearly the whole time. Most, most pleasurable, I felt very connected to the instrument and to the music. Lots fewer mistakes, more expression and enjoyed every moment. I'll do that more often. Thanks. Its little tips like that that make this such a good place to come. Simon
  8. Here in Aberdeenshire we have Celtic Chords in Stonehaven - usually has a few concertinas in stock. http://www.celtic-chords.co.uk/cms/home.html Concertina players are not as thin on the ground as you might imagine in Scotland. I think in a recent survey here we came up with 40 odd players of EC alone, let alonne anglos.
  9. I think Frances comes in this list: http://cabrach.org.uk/whoweare/franceswilkins
  10. Why do I play? I occasionally feel that it is my concertina that is playing me, making me try again and again to get that tune out with no mistakes, to put that bit more expression in. Whatever, there is great compulsion involved and a feeling of betraying myself and the instument if I don't practice. I played (and still do) a few instruments over the years, but this last year with english concertina has felt most like "coming home", a feeling that this is the one I want to put my efforts into.
  11. It is that time of year when you get to play tunes you know every note of. It is amazing how easily christmas carols come to your fingers compared with traditional tunes you only hear occasionally. Here are the ones I've been tripping out this last few days: O come all ye faithfull O come Emmanuel God rest ye merry gentlemen silent night O little town of bethlehem Good king Wencleslas etc None of them took very long to learn, and the great thing is - your friends and significant others know them right away and can sing along. If your concertina is ex Salvation Army, it will play the tunes itself almost ! Simon
  12. Welcome Matt, I find this board one of the places I stop off on without fail on my internet travels each day. I find the encouragement of all here helps me along. I'm just over a year into the voyage of discovery of learning English concertina. I have the benefit of weeekly lessons which have helped things greatly. One of the things I've noted, (along with all the other points raised in this thread) which I don't think anyone else mentioned are the difficult days when you pick up the instrument and you simply cannot play a tune right. I think this can be dealt with. I have my lessons after work, and I was noticing that I was incredibly ham fisted, and making too many mistakes and being muddle-headed, getting lot among the buttons and simply not understanding where I was in a tune, it was making for slow progress in lessons. My discovery was this: After a long afternoon at work sustained by coffee, I would go along for my lesson, and be offered a coffee before we started. As an experiment a couple of months ago, I had my last coffee at lunchtime - drank water through the afternoon, and 10 minutes before the lesson, had a Mars bar for blood sugar. The difference this made to my lessons and lucidity, understanding and number of mistakes was quite significant. For me at least, caffeine is the enemy of playing, blood sugar to the brain helps. Since making this discovery I have been able to practice at best times for me, when my mind is at its best, alert but also smooth and relaxed and relatively low on caffeine. So enjoy your playing but when things don't go right it might be down to this sort of factor. I'd be interested in others experience of this, I was going to start a new thread on it but got carried away here. Simon
  13. This one feels somehow less contentious in many ways than the talent question. For many years I've been painting pictures and for the last three years have started selling my paintings. For a while my self-effacing comment when people asked about my work was that I "dabble from time to time". But a point came, aroud the time a local gallery took my work, that I made a mental switch and decided to call myself an artist. Galleries do not like to project the image that their artists are merely hobbyists, and there is a need to be professional and put together artist's statements for catalogues, exhibitions and the like. Making this mental step was a big deal, a very big deal. So is this leading me to say that being a musician is a defined as the point at which you go public and professional? No the point I am making is that there is a point at which you decide if you are a musician, that point can be defined by making money, semi- pro or external recognition. Or it can be defined by yourself, you have the permission to call yourself a musician if you wish whether it consumes your life or you play half an hour a day. My point is that "musician", like "artist" is a word one can use to describe oneself. If the world is at odds with that view, you will probably know soon enough. It requires self-honesty and self-knowledge but once you start to use that name for yourself, it has considerable ramifications in the way you look at your work. The best I can do at the moment is to call myself an aspiring musician. I wholeheartedly wish to be a musician, though not professional.
  14. The Tascam DR1 is a quite amazing device, I've used minidic and olympus digital recorders, but the DR1 is in a class of its own as a musicians' device because of the combination of features it has. It combines high quality digital recording with a slow downer, looper, transposer, metronome, tuner, effects, overdub etc etc. You can record a session tune, slow it down, play it back phrase by phrase. If you want to connect it to a PC you can - transferring mp3's and wav's to and from is a breeze. But you don't need a PC to use it. It has a long battery life, recharging is by USB, but that is not a problem if you don't have a pc, you can pick up a usb mains charging adapter on the web for a few pounds (£3.99 on Amazon). Consider this a high quality swiss army knife for musicians who are learning and wanting to pick up and practice new tunes.
  15. Wooden ended 6 fold Lachenal 1360g Metal ended Wheatstone 5 fold 1072g I suspect the number of bellows folds makes quite a difference...?
  16. Once again your question has the potential albeit small for misinterpretation, do you mean (I'm sure you do) players of English Concertinas in Ireland? Or do you mean concertina players hailing from England living in Ireland? Seem to remember your Scotland question was worded similarly.
  17. Think it was a Lachenal nice but - needed a heap of work.
  18. I used clear plastic sheet taped on and a marker pen.
  19. This is really no different to the nature vs nurture debate, and similarly the answer does not lie fully in either camp. There will be partly heritable traits which predispose the individual to the riogour of endless hours of practice, and the small intangible stepwise rewards that that can bring. Whilst those traits may have nothing to do with the common concept of talent, they may in fact distinguish the so called talented individual from the one who prefers to spend his or her time out in the sun climbing trees. To simply say that all it takes is 10,000 hrs is to assume that we are all the same - ready to be moulded. That has been demonstrated to be patently false. Its the individual being hard-wired to do the 10,000 hours that differentiates. I note too that recently published studies are wiping away the nonsense of gender similarity in mental function. Girls need different educational processes to boys through adolescent years to achieve their potential. So while talent may be the wrong word, an innate ability and willingness to learn may predispose musicians to go that extra few thousand hours, just so someone can come up to them in the pub, clap them on the shoulder and say, "see you, that wash magicc you got talent, you have, its a gift you've got, you know that man, a gift, bless you, that wash boooootiful."
  20. That's Alan Egan (CNet username: skinsegan). See: Online Concertina Lessons Yes I was aware of Alan's lessons, I was more thinking people just signing up for "sessions" (for want of a better word) working on a tune, not necessarily in a teacher/pupil mode, more working a tune, or "do you know this one" "so what were those chords again, play the second part again slowly" etc etc etc . It would be great to put faces and characters to some of the folks around here. Simon
  21. I'd guessed as much - but the potential for one-on-ones, lessons etc must be pretty good.
  22. In the "Beginnings" thread Rusty H mentioned a weekly Skype session. I have Skype on my PC which I've used on occasion to contact far flung relatives. I've never used it for music/tuition but am fascinated at the idea. I'm not sure how well this would work and how well Skype works and maybe it is only suited for one-on-one over fast broadband, but I like the idea of holding a workshop or a session based on a tune(s) that everyone could pick up a week before, get the ABC or mp3 of it being played well (provided by a tutor/organiser, and all get together to workshop it, either in pairs or if Skype allows, as a group. It could easily be set up through the Teaching and learning sub-forum. Any thoughts? Or is this just not possible? If nothing else I'd be interested in others' experience of Skype for such purposes, as I have a guitarist friend about 400 miles away I'd love to work on some tunes with. Simon
  23. It would be good to consider keeping this in the family, better still to make the decision to learn to play it. Consider this. The learning of a musical instrument can be difficult, but this in many cases is circumstantial, expectations, the learning environment, the encouragement, the teacher etc all conspiring to make it a poor experience. Seeking to learn to play an instrument that is a treasured family heirloom with connections to family members who have passed on, is a real link to the past in many many ways. It sets in place a self-affirming mode of learning. I can almost guarantee that if you put a week of effort into starting to learn the instrument, (and the Youtube videos mentioned are a great help) you will find yourself falling in love with the concertina. Within a few days you will feel bereft if you cannot spend time each day with it. The benefits you feel extend into all sorts of areas. I too was hopeless on guitar, but have found recently that it makes more sense to me. I believe that anything that creates new neuronal pathways is beneficial to menatal well-being too. Obviously if you decide to sell it will make a tidy sum, but money is money, and somehow paint on walls is not the same as having the heirloom and giving it new life. The sounds you make with it will have absolutely direct connection with the sounds made by your late uncle and father. Remember too that a lot of people collect concertinas, a lot play them. You may need to decide, if you care about the fate of the instrument, what is to happen to it. A passionate player wanting to graduate from an inferior instrument might breathe more life into this than a collector/player who might want to add it to their collection. Lots to think about. Good luck.
  24. OK, I'm game - rather than post here, here is a link to a pic of my Wheatstone during its overhaul. http://www.flickr.com/photos/23765997@N00/2321516565/ The picture title is "The smoke of fires long ago burned and tunes long ago played"
  25. Music is an amazing and endlessly rewarding subject, first thing is not to see it as a hopeless challenge. Many, many fine players have little understanding of the theory, many fine players do not read a note of music. The great thing, unlike many fields of human endeavour, music is one area that you do not have to understand the theory before being able to enjoy it. The difficulty is that many musical theory descriptions get very deep very quick, and you can find yourself feeling swamped with obscure jargon. I have a real difficulty at the moment understanding intervals and as soon as the descriptions get into quality, harmonic and melodic, etc etc I start to glaze over. Then I pick up the concertina and play some tunes, not caring a damn what the intervals are. One of my favourite ways of learning is to play tunes on midi or ABC software and watch the notes highlighted as the tune plays. simple scales, understanding keys, and some basic rythym and chord theoory will be enough to keep up with the fast pace of your progress. Discussions on esoterics of tunings, modes, and so on are not necessary for you to understand to be a good player.
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