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Dave Prebble

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Everything posted by Dave Prebble

  1. I rather suspect McCabe's chances of success in the above matter might have been a lot better a few days ago than they are today. Folks here are generous and there are many more instruments out on free loan than you might suspect, indeed, I know of one who has quite a few top grade instruments out on very long term free loan, in the main, to up-and-coming young musicians. The sort of folks that are kind enough to do this are also the sort of folk who don't shout about it either. I will again add my (not inconsiderable) weight to advice given in this thread by experienced players, students and teachers of concertina alike, that you should buy as good a concertina as you can afford to learn on and progress with. For most folks, financial considerations will probably mean making few upgrades along the way, but I have no problems with someone who is fortunate enough to have a bit more money to start with. A Good quality responsive instrument really does make it easier to learn and gives far better feedback and encouragement to the aspiring player. Regards Dave
  2. Good on Yer LAFidel ! All you need is the will to do it, a little forethought and a pinch each of cunning and luck ! All the best ... and good hunting! Dave
  3. but my real reason for responding to your post: does burger king really have a four-patty cheeseburger? if so, that is disgusting. i didn't eat at mcdonalds for a month after seeing "supersize me". but there's nothing like a big-mac, so i fell off the wagon after just 30 days. Oh yes there is my friend .... but I couldn't possibly name it on a such a polite forum as this Dave
  4. It would seem to me from from what I have read above that if dpMcCabe had sufficient commitment to a future as a professional player and posessed half as much enthusiasm for the instrument as the amateurs and hobby players here, then by hook or by crook, he would have found and bought a suitable instrument by now. If anyone wishes to buy equipment to start any business, be it as a cabinet maker or musician, they either save their own money to do so, or produce a business plan to convince the bank manager that there is sufficient market demand which they can satisfy profitably, and that it is in the lender's interest to loan the stake money. In any such situation there is a degree of risk involved on both sides. For the player, I would suggest this is that he will be able to justify the increased cost by playing to a higher potential available on a quality instrument and that the 'market' will recognise this improvement by paying better appearance fees Put simply, If you want something enough and are prepared to make unpleasant sacrifices along the way, you can and will achieve your aims. If this means selling prized posessions, downsizing or getting rid of the car or busking... or as happens in Ireland, getting a second mortgage on the parents house....then so be it. We have heard of the growing numbers of young 'would be' professional concertina players in Ireland who will not be able to afford instruments of sufficient quality. Just how many concertina players can the market support? There will perhaps be room for maybe 1 in 50 of the most promising players to secure a full time living wage. As for the rest, youngsters being pushed on by overzealous parents will fast fall by the wayside, leaving those who really love the instrument and the music, to carry forward in the ranks of gifted amateurs and part time professionals. If a Suttner, a Dipper or the like is your particular 'ideal instrument', then you have no choice but to accept that the waiting list is long and meantime, to stump up the cash for as good a stop-gap instrument as you can find to suit your purposes. The demand for vintage and used concertinas will, for the forseeable future, outstrip supply and prices will be high. Although the supply of new instruments at all levels is improving, the overall shortfall is likely to continue. Jeffries, Wheatstones and other top instruments (both 'as found' and restored) are out there if you look hard enough and are prepared to make any necessary sacrifices (or loan arrangements) and pay the market price. They are not going to get any cheaper - quite the opposite! It is not just the poor 'professional musicians' who live in penury, 'enthusiasts' have quite possibly had to make huge sacrifices to fulfil their dream and have certainly had to buy in the same market as everyone else. Grit your teeth and accept that there are people out there far better placed financially than yourself albeit you might be a more proficient player than they are, and might play more often. Also accept that for every 'professional' player out there, there are many times more amateurs who play to an equal or higher standard. Not everyone wishes to be a professional, indeed the vast majority play for their own pleasure, be it alone at home, or in sessions. Neither you nor I have the right to make any kind of judgement on the enjoyment value that an instrument brings to a particular 'enthusiastic' owner, whether it is being played to its full potential or not....... still less do we have the right to suggest that they should settle for a 'second rate dream' in the form of a lesser quality instrument. I couldn't even start to describe the enjoyment I have derived from my own instruments. I am sorry if you don't like how the world works.... it is certainly not ideal.., but the mere fact of being a professional musician ( be it $100 or $100,000 a year ) does not endow any right whatsoever to have priority of access to an instrument be it in terms of waiting time or quality. If a musicians 'business' can't stand the expense of buying the most suitable instrument available at current market prices, then they have little choice but to learn to live with what they can afford. Regards Dave btw, "Right now, he has a Decent Wheatstone but is having trouble playing up-to-speed at the session" Most likely that session is one of the 'breakneck race to the finish' variety all too common these days. Far better to play a little slower, more accurately and with more feel for the music.....but that is a whole new argument entirely On the other hand, it could be the well known Wheatstone / Guinness effect
  5. It is a good job they did all sit in closets and attics for donkeys years after the concertina had 'fallen out of fashion' or there would be virtually none left for us to squabble over today ! Very few instruments have been in regular use since they were first made. I am currently restoring a top grade instrument thay has not been played since 1936 and up to yet, it 'owes me' about 120 hours work and is still some way off completion. I shall chose who to sell it to when the time comes for us to part company and I require no direction from others in making this choice. When I got my first Jeffries nearly 30 years ago it cost me about 6 weeks salary at a time when I was very much a beginner. To borrow that much money was a very serious commitment indeed. I had been struggling along for some while with a fairly low grade unrestored Lachenal and progress was slow. I bought my new instrumant from a renowned dealer who made it quite clear that I did not deserve to have it. He was quite honest and straight, saying that the only reason he was selling it to me, and reluctantly at that, was that he was a bit short of cash to make some new purchases. The step up in quality gave me such a jolt in enthusiasm that progress grew exponentially and within 3 months I was playing solo spots at clubs and concerts. The quality concertina was simply so much easier to play and offered much greater rewards. That concertina is still my main instrument and, aside from my family, is the only thing on this earth that I would kill a man to protect. When I met up with the seller a few months later he was amazed at my playing, 'took back' his previous comments and stumped up for the beers. By 'McCabe' reasoning, It would seem that I should not have been allowed to buy it in the first place.... ? Regards Dave
  6. The answer may be in the 'organ pipes' - looks like it may be a box full of whistles to me Dave
  7. Hi, I am rebuilding an Edophone at presesnt which has, at some point, been fitted with a non-standard end bolt and nutplate. The bolt did not come with the instrument and none of my spares will fit it. Has anyone out there got a spare Edeophone nickel end bolt and plate they could be persuaded to part with ?? I may live in hope though I'll surely die in despair Regards Dave
  8. Think that's bad ?? ..... wait till you get your sweaty mitts on a Jeffries Dave
  9. Hi Larry, A 'Jeffries Layout' is very much a 'moveable feast'. I have three .... all with minor differences in the layout. If you are buying the Norman you will be fine. Do take the trouble to draw up a chart to mark out the push and pull notes for each button. This is a great way to get to know your instrument and will prove an invaluable aid when working out fingering alternatives and chords. Good luck, have fun....oh yes ... and welcome to the madhouse fraternity of concertinaholics.....there is no way back ! Regards Dave
  10. Hi Mark, I shall be there as ever. I did note at the last weekend there seemed to be considerable interest in changing the date to earlier in the season. Always a risk with the weather I know, but when you live in the clouds there are no garruantees at any time of the year. Regards Dave
  11. Hi My apologies to all. My first attempt to edit out the last paragraph clearly did not work. Just as I clicked on the 'post edit' button my internet connection crashed. That paragraph regarding the instrument 'being on sale in 2004' was posted in error following a mix up of photos due solely to my own ineptitude. Regarding the question of what wood it is, I have done as others here, and posted my own honest opinion based on my experience. No more, no less. Regards Dave
  12. Referring to the original posting, Instrument 1 is a typical rosewood ended Lachenal. The grain is heavily obscured by the dark red/brown polish so common on these instruments. The rosewood grain is most evident in the areas on the palm rest where the polish has worn off. I have seen a lot of these instruments either with a veneered top surface or cut from the solid. Instrument 2 is undoubtably Mahogany look carefully at the very light colour where the finish has chipped off and in the holes where the fret has been cut. Also, the alternate broad light & dark bandings where the grain reverses (so characteristic of mahoganies) are clearly evident, if not accentuated. I suspect that this box has been re-finished in the not too distant past and that a fairly penetrating stain was applied prior to the varnish being applied. Possibly when the bellows were tidied up and non-standard fancy papers were fitted ? The dark element of grain in rosewood is typically much narrower than this 'banding'. I have spent years piano polishing and restoring both antiques and concertinas and have polished acres of rosewood and mahogany and to my eye, this bears little or no resemblance to Brazillian rosewood. Regards Dave edited to remove last paragraph, posted in error.
  13. Hi Doug, Yes I would always advise removing the old papers before fitting new. Looks like a dog's breakfast otherwise. In old instruments papers are nearly always attached with water soluble gum or hide glue. Trouble often is that the surface of the paper absorbs grease, wax, tar, a variety of varnishes and heaven knows what else over the years and often seems to have become fairly waterproof. In theory, you apply a little water with a rag or fine brush, wait a few minutes and hey presto ! ...they just slide off. In practice it often takes a little more persuasion. If water is left waiting to be absorbed for too long this increases the chances of it running off and escaping onto the leather. Do remember that the glues that hold your bellows together are also water soluble. When I come across awkward papers, in order to 'break the waterproof 'seal' and allow the water to get down to the glue layer, I dampen the paper and dip a small (1" x 1/2") piece of wet & dry sandpaper in some water and very carefully rub this over the paper to 'de-glaze' the surface a little. Avoid the extreme edges and do take care not to scratch the leather. After you have done the 'sandpapering', another application of water and a few minutes patience will usually do the trick. I use a round flat spade ended clay modelling tool to lift the papers, though any similar smooth ended implement would do. Once the paper is off, use a lint free damp cloth to remove all the old gum from the where the paper was taken. Do take care to check for, and immediately mop up, any water runs that occur during this process. It is easy for gravity to work it's evil way and water will collect at the bottom of the bellows where you can't see it and could cause significant problems. Take care and it will be fine. Don't be in a rush. Until you really get the hang of it, don't work on more than one or two papers at once. It is also a good idea after removing a couple of papers, to turn it over and do a couple on the other side. This will give a chance for any excess water to dry off from where you have been working. Eventually you will have removed all the papers and will be sat there thinking ' I can't believe how many papers there were on this concertina'. Now is the time to check the bellows thoroughly for any pinholes or cracks etc that need repairing. Once repairs have been done, you can apply a * light * dressing of proprietory leather treatment. . Most of these are based on soft wax and lanolin and if you apply too much, it will eventually bleed through and discolour the new papers. To bring back colour I use french polishers spirit stains but these are not so easy to find and are pretty unforgiving if you get things wrong. I would suggest you try a leather dye from a craft shop. Black is fine but Green may need a touch of black blending in if it is not to look too garish. Read the instructions and do test it out on some scrap leather first... the wife/hubbys designer shoes perhaps ??..... You will have better control if you don a surgical glove and apply by wiping it on thinly with a bit of rag stretched over the index finger. The 'mops' they often supply with the leather dyes are clumsy and hold far too much stain. You really don't need much at all. I would suggest that you do this work with the concertina ends off. This will avoid staining the wood and also please note that the solvents used in the stains may well attack the wood polish. Let the stain dry thoroughly before the next stage. To seal the stain and impart a little bit of a shine. I use a very thin wipe of french polish diluted 50:50 with methyl alcohol, again applied with a rag on the finger. Don't apply to much or you will end up with glossy looking leather that would stop an arrow from Robin Hood. Again experiment first till you feel confident. Don't be alarmed if it the black dye seems to look a bit 'coppery' when it dries out, the application of polish will turn it black - try it first on scrap leather and see. Once the polish is dried, you can fit the new papers. You will have gone to a lot of trouble to get this far so don't 'spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar', buy good quality papers with a good surface finish, not photocopied imitations. Use a simple water soluble natural gum to fix the papers, available in craft shops and stationers. Take your time and work your way longways along each side of the bellows doing the 'left hand slopes' all in one pass, then reversing the bellows and doing all the 'right hand slopes' If you carefully fix the two end ones first, you can use these to 'sight in' the others as you position them. Be careful to centre them carefully and also ensure they are all at the same depth from the peaks of the folds. Once this is done, re-assemble and finish off with a light application of soft beeswax polish applies with a cloth. If you have taken your time and experimented along the way, you will now be a shade older that you were when you started, and will be pretty pleased with yourself. Enjoy the feeling.. You will have earned it! Regards Dave
  14. Not really - that would be about £800 and on a par with ebay prices over the last 12 months. I'm sure Chris Algar would buy them all day long at that price. Ebay has pretty much levelled the market and in these days of google and auction tracking and the like, the chances of finding one that has slipped through the net are slim indeed...... not that it stops us trying Dave
  15. I'm just hoping that it means expectoration, not impaling. No Jim, You are thinking of his Great Grandfather, the 'Bayan impaler' ...... Old Vlad Elliotowski....one 'T' back then, of course Dave P
  16. " a Spitit of Defiance "...... what a delightful phrase Dave. my imagination is working overtime on that one. Dave P
  17. Don't fret lad.... get yourself a 'tea' and relax Dave Treble
  18. ???? Edited to add the exta ' T ' Dave ???? Dave
  19. Hi Steve, Perfectly valid point and in the circumstances your careful attention will keep it playing and hopefully this will, one happy day lead on to upgrading. If you do ever decide to go further with tuning or repairing another concertina, I would be only too glad to offer any advice or help where I can. Regards Dave
  20. Hi Steve, Personally I strictly reserve this type of tuning for piano accordions and, being a little more confident in achieving my 'desired outcome', I prefer to use a ten inch 2200W angle grinder Seriously though, this 'Dremel' idea does seem to have come from the accordion world, I suspect via the squeezebox newsgroup, where it remains a subject of extremely heated, unpleasant and personaly abusive argument. It seems to me that a large majority of accordion repairers remain very strongly against the practice. It has been discussed here in the past (in a far more gentlemanly manner, I might add) but I rather think it pre-dates the new (well, 3 years old) format forum and if so the thread is probably inaccessible to us. I have never used this method on concertina reeds as I consider that proper use of appropriate files achieves all the objectives of reed profiling and tuning. I am sure that, for speed alone, grinding has been used in the past (and probably is today) but only for 'roughing out' ie initial profiling of bulk reed stock, and then only in a strictly controlled and accurate mechanised production process. So far as I am aware though, in all but 'toy instruments' final profiling and tuning has always done by hand with the file. Changing the pitch of a reed is easy - remove metal from anywhere near the tip to raise the pitch or anywhere near the root to lower it. 'Tuning' as opposed to 'changing the pitch' however, requires that this be carried out in a controlled and correct manner ie :- * Removing metal in the right areas avoiding overthinning particularly at the tip, which controls reed starting or response and towards the root of the reed where the greatest flexure and stress occurs. * Preventing the formation of a convex or tapered reed cross section by level and consistent filing, thus avoiding the reed twisting when it sounds. *Maintaining a smooth progression from thinner to thicker areas of the reed ie ensuring a correct smooth reed profile. * Avoiding localised grooves, steps, scratches and the like which not only cause the reed to oscillate in a different way (to the detriment of sound quality) but will also reduce the life of the reed due to stress concentration. I would freely accept that through lack of skill or practice, it is possible to inadvertantly create any or all of the above faults by either filing or rotary grinding but generations of makers and tuners have found by practice that skilful, careful and patient application of a top quality smooth grade file cannot be bettered. The Dremel and it's like have been around for many years now and if there were any advantage to be gained, rest assured, todays makers would use it extensively for finishing and tuning - they do not ! From your post Steve, I am heartened that you appear to be adopting the right cautious approach to the job by patiently using a very low powered tool and by lightly stroking the reed to grade in changes in profile and I suspect that you are able to work within the above parameters and thus should able to achieve good results. I still think that you would be better with a file. You seem to have an open mind, so if you intend to be doing much tuning work, or wish to tune instruments down from old pitch, I would ask you to consider my previous suggestion (see above - 19th Aug) of undertaking some serious file practice on 'sacrificial reeds'. Even better if you can get someone with experience to guide you along the way. Despite all my joking, I do not hate accordions ! ( I blame the players ) In the UK at least, there are any number of mass produced low quality 1930s/40s instruments, usually hopelessly out of tune and way, way beyond economic repair. Accordion technology and quality has changed a great deal since these were made and there is virtually no market for them now. Try a wanted ad in the local paper and, if my experience is anything to go by, the phone will ring off the hook. We are all individuals and each have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, some can draw naturally, some can learn to draw given tuition and time and some will never be able to create anything recognisable even after years of great personal effort under the best tuition but will excel at some other activity. It is not uncommon to find that excessive self confidence (denial?) and the strong will to succeed often leads folks in the last category to view their work as being perfect. The same range of abilities hold true when considering the open-mindedness, aptitude, patience, good ear, good eye and steady hand required to acquire and constantly improve on the skills necessary for tuning a concertina well - be it by Dremel or file. Perhaps for many folks the most readily available weapon likely to be wielded would be the little used birthday present from 5 years ago, namely the Dremel (or similar) multi-tool sitting in dust on the garage shelf. These are far more powerful than the 'ladies fan' mentioned above and are too unwieldy for the fine work required. With such a tool it is difficult to keep really accurate control over the pressure applied, whilst maintaining the bit in a level plane and at the same time moving the grinder along the reed to create a smooth profile. Unrectifiable mistakes happen way too fast and you cannot glue the filings back on. It takes but a second of inattention to 'dig in' with the grinder and create a 'U' shaped depression which would affect the character of the reed forever and is most likely irrepairable. On a different subject - Holding the ends tight to the instrument to test sound the reed in the box is quite usual practice but just one word of caution here, make sure your fingernails are trimmed and the fingers grip along the top edge of the bellows end frame and not down in the bellows fold. I made this mistake once and put a finger right through a somewhat ancient gusset. Replacing a gusset is a fiddly task indeed and, touch wood, I have never repeated the error. Well, I certainly did not intend to go on at this length when I started this reply, but I do hope it will be of some interest and use to you. Regards and ' happy filing ' Dave edit - copied from text file so line spacing all over the place
  21. Well Folks, I have just spent the last hour sat in the car in mental anguish ! To put my concertinas through the scrap yard crusher and thus save myself, or any future owner, a lifetime of agony .....or to risk continue playing them, hopefully for another thirty years ?? Having read your last post m3838, it was a mighty close run thing...but then I had an inspired thought.... if concertinas really were in the least dangerous, our illustrious and esteemed leader Tony Blair and his clique of nannies would have already passed a law outlawing their very existence or at least taxed and limited the playing time of each individual box with a microchip and satellite uplink - 'pay as you play' . I do so hope Tony has got this one right. There is a valid point that beginners, or folks with particular physiological make up or injuries can, and do, encounter problems but the membership numbers and the tiny proportion of posts to this site related to health problems indicates that by far the majority of us do not have such problems at all. Looking back over the threads shows the ergonomics discussion forum to be a most useful resource for those who have got a particular problem and that there are folks here who all are happy to share their own experiences, give good advice and offer assistance. There is certainly nothing in those posts or in my experience of many years, to indicate to me that the concertina, as an instrument, could by any stretch of the imagination be regarded as ergonomically unhealthy. If carrying out any activity is causing an individual pain or health problems then stop doing it and seek advice .... I worked that one out quite easily btw. Peering over the edge of the final abyss serves well to remind one that life is too da*n short for negative thinking. I would wish no-one ill. As for enemies, I wouldn't know one if they came up and smacked me in the gob. Peace, love and the best of health to all Concertinas Rule OK ! Dave
  22. m3838 said << Sorry to hear about your headaches. All too familiar. Do you play piano? It's known for it's therapeutic effect. I guess the combination of the sound, sitting position and symmetry, plus long established school of learning, relaxation of shoulders. Don't want to sound like concertina hater, but playing concertina is not ergonomically healthy. At least we should try hard to be aware of this. >> I couldn't disagreee more !! Playing the concertina has proved an absolute Godsend to me in the long and extremely painful recuperation from my illness last year. I can see that it might not be physically or mentally relaxing if one played Irish reels at some maniac breakneck speed and volume but if one is feeling ill that is not the sort of tune you would feel like playing. I will sit back comfortably in an armchair with the concertina snug in my lap, often with the lights out and quietly explore tunes or passages from tunes and experimenting with different chord patterns bass runs and the like often with a great deal of repetition. This induces an almost trance like state after a while. Without any conscious effort, the tunes 'chose themselves' and tend to be slow airs, waltzes and the like or will be a jig or reel slowed right back to a slow air tempo and ornamented. This is an extremely soothing process that I find most helpful in dealing with pain, and after anything from ten minutes to an hour will have the almost inevitable result - sleep. I have done this on countless occasions and have never dropped the concertina whilst sleeping.... some sort of sixth sense i guess.... nor have I ever suffered any ill effects from playing the concertina. Each to their own as they say, but that is what works for me m3838. If for some special reason the concertina is 'ergonomicaly unhealthy' for you, perhaps it might be wiser for you to stick to the piano? Keep up the good work Wendy, playing does you more good than you realise at the time and please, no more delays, see the Doc and do get well soon. I kept putting things off and as a direct result came within a gnat's whisker of 'cashing in my chips' .... I'm older and far wiser now ... with a 14" Zip front as a reminder Regards to all ....and a special 'e-cuddle' for you Wendy Dave
  23. Hi Dave, I would suggest that the only 'advantage, of a G/D is that you will find it a lot more sociable if you find yourself playing alongside a melodeon. I will not raise here my preference for a solo musician for morris as opposed to the all too common 5 or more piece band we see these days, but at ales or other Morris social gatherings you might feel quite 'left out' a lot of the time with a C/G box. The important thing for the musician is to be heard clearly by the dancers. Here in general, the C/G instrument scores well. The higher pitch carries well outside and also the smaller reeds tend to be more responsive and perhaps makes 'crisp' playing easier to achieve. Hope this is of help to you Dave
  24. Hi, I recall playing an instrument a few years ago, made with perspex reed pans. It is, I believe, still owned by Mark Davies. This instrument was made in South Africa but my feeble brain just will not give up the maker's name. What I do remember is that it was a more than passable instrument and extremely well made. I was quite surprised at the tone and volume but could not escape the feeling that it would have been better with traditional wooden pans - a far from objective comment I know - mea culpa It does go to show that it can be done and that there are folks out there experimenting with different materials. Perhaps you would care to add some information and comment Mark ??? Regards Dave
  25. Sorry m3838 but Dana is correct in all he said. Any significant change in tuning that does not occur over a long period of time is due to either mechanical change such as reed seating or a displaced valve or is due reed tongue failure very often invisible to the naked eye. Cracking can be an abrupt event ie playing normally then ...Snap!. More usual in my experience is a reed that starts to develop a microscopic crack that, over the course of anything from a few minutes to a few days, will extend and steadily flatten the note. Out of curiosity, I have tracked the progress of such a crack (visible with a Jewellers loupe) over the course of an evening's playing till it finally failed. I would suggest that a common cause of such cracking is slipshod amateur tuning leading to scoring across the tongue or localised thinning which causes a weak point and stress concentration. I am not against folks having a go at tuning but I do all too often see the results - often significantly and irreversibly reducing the potential of an instrument. For anyone seeking to 'try their hand' I would suggest getting hold of an old accordion , stripping out all the reeds and try tuning them half of them sharp and half flat in multiple stages of say 30 cents. Aim for accuracy in the results at all times and inspect the reeds closely after each tuning. If you keep doing this, almost to destruction of the tongue, you will have learned more about file control, setting a good reed profile realligning reeds and avoiding damage to the tongue, than you will ever learn by just reading posts here. Allow a lot of time for this excercise as there are an awful lot of reeds in an accordion and it is surprising just how much you can change the pitch of a reed! It is easy to tune a concertina - but requires a lot of practice to do it well and to maximise the potential of an instrument. Given his eyesight and his clear uncertainty as to the cause, Jeff decision to send it off for repair is a wise one. All the best with your box Jeff and please remember to resurrect this thread and report back what the problem was, once Bob Tedrow has sorted it out. Regards to all Dave
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