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Dave Prebble

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Posts posted by Dave Prebble

  1. ....... It's an interesting thought, isn't it ... I wonder where they all are now. ....... How many were just dumped or burned! :( ...





    Eh Up Dick,


    Glad to say I cannot recall personally ever having burned a concertina, though my playing has left scorch marks on a few B)


    I do look back with embarrassment on the wanton destruction I took part in in the sixties. At most village fetes around Sussex, there would be a competition for the adults to smash up pianos, by any means, into lumps small enough to pass through a toilet seat.

    The accompanying event for juniors was to smash up a concertina into pieces that would fit through an inch & a quarter napkin ring. I took part in this event more times than I now care to remember, and always recall just how tough Jeffries reed pans were to break up! ..... by contrast, Edeophones were a cinch :lol:


    Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa :ph34r:




    Dave P

  2. You're not going to believe me, but because it takes me a month or three to drink a case of G., it took a couple of years to collect enough bottles and a couple more to finally get around to doing it. Now that I've glued on bellows papers (with water soluble gum glue) I can say it isn't hard, and I may put some more serious papers on my Guens-Wakker baritone with the pretty green bellows.


    Hmmm, if you've modded yours for Irish, maybe I could do something similar for "Scotch"? :unsure:


    But the thought of drinking 112 bottles of Glenmorangie is rather daunting... :rolleyes:, never mind it would work out around 5,040 euro for a set of "papers"! :blink:


    Maybe I should get myself a hexagonal concertina... :huh:


    I'd better start saving Typhoo Tea labels ... for an ex Salvation Army box of course <_<


    My boozin days are over :(


    Cheers ?? :angry:


    better make that 'Regards'




    btw Stephen, been trying to get a PM through to you but your inbox is full...

  3. Hi,

    another handy tip is to get yourself a cheapo stethoscope - a couple of pounds on ebay.


    Remove the drum from the end of the tube and replace this with a short length of small bore plastic tube ( I use a bit stripped from an electical cable).


    This can then be inserted through the fretwork and can be used to check round all the pads etc. When the tip of the tube comes close to a leak you get a distinctive roaring sound. Not only can you identify which pad is leaking, but also which side of the pad.



  4. I'm always a bit scared of silicon, Frank; it sounds a really great idea except is it going to store up any other problems for the future?


    I think it's 'Pledge' that advertises having silicon in it; that would probably be enough, and now I think about it, what about using simple wax polish?


    It seems to be 'running off' at the moment; it really does feel like it was the air flight that made it worse.





    I would steer clear of any silicon products. It tends to sink into the wood and makes subsequent glueing or finishing almost impossible.



  5. Hi Folks,


    Just to clarify matter a little. It is not being sold as a playing instrument but as a box needing restoration. Paul has it right .... no 'major issues' for a restorer or, I would venture, for a competant and patient handyman in posession of Dave Elliott's Concertina Maintenance Manual and the humility to ask for advice if they are unsure about something.


    This instrument is exactly how restorers like to see them. Though it may look 'messy' now, importantly, It has not been badly messed about with, and is all there.


    The brass reeds look to be of good quality and in very good shape with a few steel replacements. Secondhand brass reeds are not hard to come by. It will, of course, need retuning.


    The bellows are reasonably sound with one previously repaired valley split and a few pinholes which will need patching. For preference I would probably rebind them and fit new papers but they can be made playable without this much work.


    The Rosewood ends have a few cracks to repair, as is the case with most concertinas of this age and type. End bolts will need some attention and two or three replacements may be needed. Sanded back, a little filler and refinishing would result in a beautiful box.


    The usual pads springs valves and bushes etc will need replacing.

    Thumbstraps need to be replaced but the original strap screws are both present.

    All parts needed to restore this instrument are available through Dave Leese and others.


    With care and attention this will make a sweet sounding and good looking box. It will never be a strident instrument, though what it might lack in volume should be made up for in mellow rounded tone.


    That is about as far as my memory takes me but if you have any other questions, feel free to drop me a PM and I'll do my best.





  6. Hi Ben.,


    Whilst not committing myself, although it is possible, one has to consider;

    1. The material that the originals are made of. If of unplated nickel silver, then a replacement may not be of the same alloy content and therefore there may be some colour difference.

    2. If the tops have been plated then the replacement top will have to be plated and again the finish will be markedly different to the undamaged end.

    3. Could the end plate be repaired.

    4. Is the cost involved justified.


    Personally I would leave it as it is. What does intrigue me is what caused the hole?






    A mild attack of nickelworm - caught and treated in the nick of time :lol:


    Well camaflaged amongst all the other holes in the end of the concertina.


    Would not bother me in the least - I'd leave it





  7. I've had this problem with pads, and it was caused by the type of leather I'd used in making the pads. Changed back to my usual leather on a fresh set of pads and the problem disappeared.



    I had the same problem on one I repaired last year. That had been repadded a few years ago and the problem there was some sort of rubbery/placticky synthetic glue used in making the pads. I suspect it was one of the aerosol type fabric glues. Anyway, the glue had started to 'break down' and was bleeding through to the face of the pads.

    I stripped the pads, wiped the board clean with white spirit and then meths, gave it a dusting of french ckalk and repadded the instrument. Jobs a good'un !



  8. I've copied this to the members mailing list for the International Concertina Association. Hope you get it back.




    Locating it would be one thing; proving ownership after the passage of some years would be quite another.

    After, most likely, more than one change of ownership in that time, whoever has it now most likely paid good money for it and probably has very strong opinions as to who now 'owns' it - whatever that word might mean.


    I wish you good luck in your quest. There are still some good guys about so you never know.....


    I have added the details to my own list.





  9. Hello Susan, I won't comment on the Jeffries anglo because they're not my thing. The 48 button English is a very basic model with only four fold bellows and is in a particularly dreadful condition, goodness only knows what it's like inside. My best advice would be to put it on ebay and see what you get. You may get lucky.


    Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but I've done my best to give you an honest appraisal.





    Hi Pete,


    Maybe 'dreadful' from a players point of view, but fairly standard condition for a repairer/restorer. I like them like this - generally means they have not been faffed about with too much by well intentioned owners. Obviously the price would reflect the condition. I see nothing that cannot be easily fixed, but would want to see a picture of the heart of the instrument - the reeds. Assuming these are in reasonable order, this should make a nice instrument.


    Similarly, a picture of the reeds in the Jeffries would be helpful.



  10. Due to other intererests I cannot organise the 2009 Bradfield Traditional Weekend on the weekend of 7th,8th & 9th August(so ignore the email I sent to all those on my contact list)I am considering bringing it forward to the weekend of the 24th,25th & 26th July.The only event that I know of that it clashes with is the Cullerlie Traditional Singing Weekend in Scotland.It will no doubt clash with some "folk festival"or other in the UK but as I have no interest in "folk music"that is not a problem.Has anyone got any thoughts about this?



    Hi Mark,


    That weekend works fine for me.


    Might give the folks who have regular commitments at Sidmouth a chance to come and enjoy the Pennine sunshine ;)



  11. Another hugely successful weekend !


    Given the elevation of the farm and the interesting mix that the English weather seems to save especially for this weekend, I would definitely advise that the aged, infirm and, dare I say, 'wimps' (Dave now running for cover with a brolly :ph34r:) should book bed and breakfast early for next year. My admiration goes to

    those gritty folks who did battle with the Pennine weather and refused to give up. This particular wimp was safe and snug indoors, but even that brings its drawbacks. You have to compete with the dogs for every scrap of food. After demolishing a whole pack of biscuits, the foxhound took off with my loaf of bread while the Lurcher capitalized on this diversion and pinched my malt loaf. Where my last scone went I don't know, but the cat was looking very shifty to me :lol:

    All in all, honours even I'd say, since marginally more food was retrieved than was scoffed by the dogs.


    This lovely music weekend simply is not to be missed!

    The whole atmosphere is so different to any 'folk festival' that I have ever attended. This event is so much more than that !!

    Bradfield is, in essence, an informal and extremely friendly, almost 'family', gathering of friends old and new getting together to have great craic and share a vast variety of music and song in truly lovely surroundings.


    There is such a vast range of knowledge and skills on tap at Bradfield that, sadly, it is not possible to attend everything.

    I very much enjoyed Geoff Crabb's 'Toolbox talks' on various elements of concertina building and, as ever, learned much from him.

    The Anglo Hour, provided quite an insight into different approaches and styles for concertina playing. Introduced, chaired and generally 'kept in order' by Roger Digby, this session gave all of us a deeper understanding of the capabilities of the instrument and left us with plenty to think about. I was honoured to be asked to contribute and really enjoyed myself.


    I got involved in a most enjoyable workshop with Andrew & Margaret Watchorn. Unfortunately as a result, I missed some of Dan's well researched and I must say, extremely well received presentation, but hopefully I'll catch it all another time ?? Well done Dan.


    Likewise, I got entrenched in a cracking session at the Royal and arrived too late for Jody's workshop. He certainly must have got his ideas across as strains of unfamiliar transatlantic jazzy backbeat sounds were coming out of quite a few anglos over the remainder of the weekend


    Thanks to everyone, organisers, guests players/singers and the like, who all pulled together to make this such a wonderful weekend. Thanks as well to husbands and wives who allowed their spouses 'leave passes' to attend.


    A special thanks to our hosts Mark & Joan. They must be absolutely kn*ckered after all the preparations, running round and organising that was necessary to make things run so smoothly. THANK YOU


    Already looking forward to seeing everyone again next year.........oooh Yesss ! :lol:



  12. Yep sorry. I mean Ab/Eb. I saw that one alright. Lovely. Kind of looking for something that might need a bit of work.

    Ah, so it's an Ab Eb Bb?



    It's all Irish to me :ph34r:



  13. I am blissfully content now to settle for this sort of learning and reluctantly accept the limitations of being musically illiterate.


    Hold on Dave, music exists as music .. it's like language - it's an oral and aural thing. You don't need to be able to read or write music notation to play music anymore than you need to be able to write language in order to be able to talk. The word 'illiteracy' comes across as a putdown whereas in this context, it has no relevance. As far as I can see and hear there are many people out there who are limited and stunted as musicians because they have been taught to play by reading music notation. Instead of the music coming out like speech, they play in a stilted manner, often trying to remember sequences of notes GAB etc. rather than sounds and rhythms. For these, playing and learning by ear is a mystery and one they would dearly love to solve.


    Hi Tombilly,


    Very much agree with your comments. I used the word 'illiteracy' only because I felt it fairly accurately puts across my meaning. I certainly did not intend it to be any sort of a put down, but I can see your point. Perhaps I should have emphasised that I meant the word to apply, not to musical ability or appreciation as a whole, but rather to the inability to understand the conventional notations and glossary of terms etc. used in reading & writing music.


    That there are similar frustration amongst sight readers wishing to play by ear, I have no doubt at all.

    The main points I wished to get across were that folks should work hard to master both, before they get too set in their ways and that teachers should try to build both elements into their teaching methods and perhaps encourage and support a bit more ear learning, experimentation and self expression right from the early stages.


    I do feel that not being able to sight read probably made some aspects of learning somewhat more difficult for me, particularly in the early stages of learning. It does not bother me much now, but still leaves me with that vague feeling that I am somehow 'missing out' on new opportunities to expand. Playing by ear (or should that read 'flying by the seat of my pants' ?) has completely moulded the way my playing style has developed. How different this might have been, had I been able to read music, I simply have no idea.


    Perhaps those who do teach might like to comment on how such 'integration' of sight and ear playing might be achieved in practice?





  14. If you play by ear, learn to read notation. ........

    If you play from music, learn to play by ear. ...........

    They're both important skills to have. ..........


    All of the above bears repetition. I'm a "reader" but want to improve as an "ear" player. I can memorise tunes, and so am not totally dependent on having the dots in front of me.

    So ... if you want to develop your ear don't be afraid, at a session, of playing the little bits of melody that you can in a tune that's new to you (it may be just one note to start with) and leaving out the rest. Many folk tunes from many traditions have repeated sections - learn to listen out for them and play your little sequence of notes. Each time it comes round you may be able to add a little more, or just to play with a little more confidence. Perhaps you recognise a little run of notes, or perhaps you can play the first note in each bar - anything like this is useful. Build on this at every opportunity. It sounds as though some of the sessions that Chris Timson has described (with multiple repetitions of a tune) would be ideal for this.

    All the best



    Howard & Samantha,


    I very much agree with all the points you have made.

    I would very strongly recommend that beginners on the concertina start on the road to becoming proficient at both ear playing and sight reading, from the moment they first pick up a concertina. Both methods have a lot of advantages.


    As I said in a previous post, 'Old habits die hard'.

    It is so easy to either get dependant on one system or the other and ideally, both should be learned / taught together. Perhaps teachers might take some time to consider whether their own methods do enough to really integrate both elements.


    Over the last 30 years, I have put a great deal of effort into trying to relate the 'mysterious tadpoles' and later, abc notation to the notes played, so many times now that I have lost count. Frankly, I have finally given up on it. This will sound crazy, but if I want to know which note I am playing on the box, I need to start at one of the few reference points I know, like where the Gs and Ds are, and 'count up' the notes till I get to the one I require....... after 30 years, I would call that illiterate. It is a total mental block.


    I do seriously wonder if there is some real condition such as 'music notation dyslexia'. ........discuss!


    After 30 years playing the anglo, I am very much aware that there is something new to learn every time I pick up the box, or get in the company of other players and this is a never ending delight to me. After so many years 'banging my head against a brick wall' I am blissfully content now to settle for this sort of learning and reluctantly accept the limitations of being musically illiterate.


    " I learned to read music ... it's easy" I hear folks say ...... So it may be for you!


    Maybe the dyslexia idea is just a 'cop out' for lack of discipline & application or laziness & impatience (and the like) on my part, but it certainly does not feel like that to me. Short, perhaps of someone teaching me music under deep hypnosis, I fear I am a lost cause.

    I suspect there will be many others out there in the same boat as me, and an equal number of sight readers who have similar problems playing by ear.


    I cheat a lot by playing midi/abc/nwc files on the computer (such a handy tool) and can learn the bare bones of a new tune. I am then free to interpret / adapt / modify / arrange as my fancy takes me. I have no doubt that the end result is often musically impure, unconventional or approximate, but the one thing that it will be, is my expression of that piece of music.


    I do get most frustrated trying to teach others or explain what I am playing since, in musical terms, I don't really know myself. All I know is what the 'sound and rhythmic structure' is like and, often after quite a bit of self analysis, roughly how I achieve it in practice ..... Such vague descriptions are certainly not the best way to get something across to a beginner.


    Being able to read music would solve my problem of remembering how tunes go. It would be bliss to be able to read crib sheets of the first couple or three bars of a tune.


    So, if you are just starting out on the concertina, and 30 years on, wish to be free of the same frustrations and limitations that I experience, WORK HARD AT BOTH !



  15. Oh, and on topic:

    Don't forget to play softly...my biggest problem, I think. When working things out during practicing, it is easy just to honk like mad, and if you always play loud, you have no dynamics....something Jody stresses in his teaching.

    I second what Boney said on making faces when playing, at first...it is a tic that will do you no good, so best to nip it in the bud. Play in front of a mirror sometimes. Years back, when I was a bit younger, we played a St Patricks day thing at a local hotel. The neighborhood weekly paper had me on the front page, grimacing like mad. Lesson learned.


    I used to be a world gurning championship contender while playing - though I am told I am little better now... :wacko:


    a new point....

    Especially true if you have come to Anglo from Harmonica - Do remember to breathe normally!!

    If you find yourself breathing in and out with the bellows direction, break the habit early or, at best, you will never be able to sing with the instrument, and at worst, you will turn blue then grey and then find yourself playing celestial anglo with an angelic harp accompaniment :lol:




    PS Perhaps we could arrange a camera and have a concertina gurning event at Bradfield - I bet the Judge would win :ph34r: <_<

  16. Alan & Dave you can carry on this discussion at the Bradfield Traditional Music Weekend as cocusflute will be coming for the weekend together with Tom Driscoll.I have been receiving anti chopping lessons from cocusflute when I visit Ireland and very good they are to.I think chopping is more of a problem if you are playing Irish music.As I try to play both I need to try to get out of the habit.Not easy at my age!



    Looking forward to your weekend Mark - Old habits certainly die hard :(



  17. Well I certainly would not have mentioned "Chopping" as it is something I have never heard of before. For base runs I use my little finger for certain notes and the ring finger for others. If the base notes require my little finger to move over then I do chop.



    Hi Al,

    Like you, I had never heard it called 'chopping' nor do I remember really giving it much thought, but it seems to me not to merit that name if you can do it proficiently. Just played a few tunes through and realise that my little fingers both 'chop' for England, especially, the left. Doesn't end there, since just about all my fingers do at some time in one tune or another. OK so alternatives are available, but like yourself, I prefer the fuller chorded sound so accept the fact that I need to 'chop' to achieve the chord sound I want. I don't have any problem with it but can see the advantages of avoiding it in nonchordal melodic playing, indeed I do automatically tend to minimize chopping when playing in this style.


    'Horses for courses' as they say


    I would suggest that moving the whole hand up the row by one button and back again at the appropriate point would likely cause beginners more problems than chopping ?? This is however a technique more likely to be encountered in English style playing.


    Not so much 'bad habits to be avoided' perhaps, but more as useful techniques to master ... but maybe not in week one of playing


    Bad Habits ?? Immersing your concertina in Canals they don't like it



  18. As I live in a remote location and am learning Anglo (and maybe soon English) via cd/dvd tutors, there is often reference to the dreaded "Bad Habits". As well I have looked into camps and seen various instructors like to get beginners before they develop "Bad Habits".


    Can the 'concertina.net collective' list and define what I shouldn't be doing in the beginning throes of learning. So I can attempt to not develop BH's.





    Hi Rusty,


    Great advice from Jody - especially about rhythm and drive being the key.


    Don't rely too much on following written music. By all means use it to pick up the bare bones of a tune, but try early on to develop the habit of committing the melody to memory (again as Jody says - short snatches of tune) and as soon as your fingers can find the right buttons to order, play in a dark room from memory and that is when you will be able to make the music really sing. LISTEN TO WHAT YOU ARE PLAYING - Let your ears tell you what is right.


    Unless a brilliant sight reader with an intuitive feel for the type of music you are playing, the dots can tend to make delivery rather mechanical. Music on a page is only a suggested route map. How you travel that route and all the interesting diversions short cuts and 'scenic route interludes' along the way, are up to you. In short, express yourself and develop your own unique style.


    While tutors are excellent aids in the early stages, do try and experiment with different fingering patterns etc. Remember, such tutors only represent the ideas of what suits that particular author and are not 'golden rules' never to be broken.






    PS make really good friends with the air button as soon as possible.

  19. There are lots of tunes I can only play in sessions - when someone starts them up, I know them instantly and can play along, no problem, but afterwards they completely slip out of the memory banks again.


    All too often, when I'm struggling to think of something different to play in my local session, a tune will pop into my head and I'll start off. Halfway through, it will dawn on me that I don't actually know it, or else I know it but play it on a different instrument. I'm not sure which is worse, but they're both challenging situations!


    Hi Howard


    Oh boy - do I know that feeling !


    One reason I love sessions is the number of long 'forgotten' tunes that rise up to the communal surface. It never ceases to amaze me that they are still in the old memory banks and need just a gentle nudge from someone else to resurrect them ..... and all this from the same brain that often can't remember what I had for dinner half an hour ago :(


    The most frustrating part for this totally musically illiterate ear player, is my all too regular failure to remember how a tune starts or to remember the name of a tune..... give me the first bar and I'm usually straight in....


    wierd things these brain boxes :lol:



  20. "bodger" is a traditional English name for one who makes simple furniture, mainly chairs, from unseasoned timber.


    Googling for "chair bodger" will turn up lots of information.


    The current, pejorative, use of the word describes someone who takes shorcuts in making or repairing. For example using a screwdriver as a chisel, or another English favourite "the Birmingham screwdriver"




    Or in Mining Terms, a 'pit spanner' was a 14 pound sledgehammer



  21. hi dave

    you over looked the vat of canal water.ho.ho!!!



    Oh? what's that used for?




    Accidental 'deep clean' of my Jeffries G/G in the Macclesfield Canal about 28 years ago. (Some folks have long memories eh Trooper ? )


    I have since mastered more sophisticated techniques of restoration ;)



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