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Jim Bayliss

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Everything posted by Jim Bayliss

  1. The sound difference between the two instruments is what I would expect between a wood and a metal end plate. The Wheatstone 46 with the metal end plate is loud and bright (as you know), and the Wakker with the Paduk end plate is more mellow and sweet. It would be interesting to hear a Wakker with a metal end plate. The Wakker has flat buttons. The Wakker is 8-sided and the Wheatstone is 6 sided. Construction-wise, the Wakker has 6 reed-plates positioned in the center on both ends, whereas all the reed plates are on the sides in the Wheatstone. Aesthetically, I am enjoying the tree patterned fretwork on the Wakker.
  2. I recently took possession of my new 46 key Wakker Hayden duet, made by my request with the handrest parallel to the key rows as in the 1896 Kaspar Wicki design. My rationale for this is here (Nov. 18, 2007). I find that this set-up gives more room to the little finger, and some players might find this feels more natural than the 11 degree slant. Wim is planning to offer this as an option on his new website, which should go online in about a month. The instrument is pictured on my profile as my personal photo. It will be at the Palestine (Texas) Old Time Music Festival at the end of the month if anyone is interested in trying it out.
  3. I am shocked and greatly saddened by this news. I first corresponded with Rich back in the mid-80s because of a mutual interest in the Hayden duet concertina, when the Button Box wasn't much more than a two man operation. He gave me a lift to Bucksteep Manor for my first NESI, and put me up at his house a couple of years ago on my most recent concertina venture to western Massachusetts for NCW. His contributions to <concertina.net> were always courteous, helpful, and thoughtful. His knowledge and spirit of honesty and fairness have been infused into the Button Box, a business I hold in great respect. I hope his plan for a Morse Hayden can still go forward. My condolences to his family, all the folks at the Button Box, and all his many friends and acquaintances. The concertina world has lost a great friend.
  4. I might add here that Dan is going to teach a workshop in the concertina at the Austin Friends of Traditional Music's Mid-Winter Festival, coming up Sunday, Feb. 15th (info available on the web). This is a festival I look forward to every year, features some of the Austin area's best traditional music performers, and will be a good prelude to Palestine.
  5. Larry Miller is semi-retired and his grandson Jay has taken over the accordion making.
  6. I've never seen or heard of a concertina being used in a true zydeco band (not enough volume). This instrument was most likely a one row melodeon or button accordion, although three row button and piano accordions are also sometimes used. You can search the web for "Cajun accordion builders" to find a list of makers. The three major Cajun accordion builders are Mark Savoy (Acadian), Junior Martin, and Jay Miller (Bon Cajun), but there are several others who make comparably fine instruments.
  7. On the advice of a well-respected concertina maker, I have used small drops of oil on the coils of springs whose lever arms aren't closing properly, and this has been very helpful for me in resolving the problem of pads not fully closing when there is no other more obvious reason for this to be happening. I guess the reason for this is that there is friction in the coil keeping the spring from functioning properly. A toothpick can be used in the application of the minidrop, and anybody doing this might want to practice a time or two to avoid applying excess oil.
  8. The most commonly used Norteno 3 row button accordion tuning is C-F-G, but it is not unusual for Norteno accordionists to use the E flat-A flat-B flat tuning. Mariachi music frequently uses the flatted keys to accomodate the wind instruments. When faced with learning a tune from ear which is outside of the normal range of my instrument, I usually learn the tune very well in my head and then mentally transpose it into the range of my instrument, using the chords on the instrument to guide me. I hope this helps.
  9. I think that Rich's definition of the distinction between the accordion and the concertina is the clearest and most helpful. However, I would point out that the keys on accordions are not always exactly perpindicular to the bellows (i.e., the bass side of a piano accordion). For simplicity's sake, I usually tell people that that the keys of an accordion are on the front and the keys of a concertina are on the side. I know of no exceptions to this. I'll also mention that the French harmoneon (a type of accordion) uses the Bassetti fingering system on both the bass and treble sides.
  10. I'm excited. I've learned (on Hayden duet) a couple of the tangos in Myriam Mees's "Tango Time-12 Easy Tangos for Accordion".
  11. The instrument that has given me the most trouble in this regard is my Holmwood English, which has heavy brass buttons and two end plates on each side. I do the process lying on the floor, looking up at the action, first to get the buttons visually in place and then to put the inner end plate on, jiggling it toward any uncaptured buttons. This can be quite a puzzle and frequently entails a few tries for me, since the heavy buttons tend to hang precariously on the lever arms and fall off. I've thought of devising a rig (in lieu of my arms and hands) to hold the action above me, but, so far, haven't been that frustrated to do so. Once the inner end plate is on, the outside end plate is easy. Fortunately, I don't have to do this very often.
  12. Another possibility is coming to the the concertina gathering at the Palestine Old Time Music and Dulcimer Festival held in Palestine, TX in late March/early April each year. Steve Mills and I both play Hayden and usually attend this, along with Gary Coover (also from Arkansas on Jefferies Duet) and Kurt Braun (Crane Duet). Easy piano arrangements can be a good starting point for playing the Hayden as well as David Cornell's duet arrangements on <concertina.com>.
  13. Rich graciously did one of these Stradella to Hayden piano accordion bass conversions for me over 10 years ago, and my opinion is that, as a player, it doesn't work very well. Accordions require players to reach around from the side to play the bass buttons on the front, and this constricts the fingers and makes playing more than one button at a time much more difficult than on the concertina.
  14. This is an 82 key Wheatstone Hayden duet built by Steve Dickinson in the early 1990s.
  15. My first concertina was an East German anglo I bought 30+ years ago at a pawn shop in Ft Worth for $20. I never accomplished much with it, but it was a beginning. If you can make it, consider coming to the concertina gathering at the Palestine (TX) Dulcimer and Old-Time Music Festival coming up in late March and you will get exposed to some of what these instruments can accomplish. I hope to see you there.
  16. Actually, to correct myself, the convention is in Richardson, just north of Dallas, but still very close to Denton. Brave Combo is on the bill this year. The National Accordion Association was formerly the Texas Accordion Association, which had to change its name when a disgruntled member legally hijacked the name.
  17. If you haven't already, you might consider attending the National Accordion Association convention, which is in Denton coming up this March 13-15. I attend this frequently (and probably will this year), and I don't often see other concertina players there. There's a lot that concertina players can learn from accordion players (and many fool around with both). I recently saw Myron Floren on a French themed Lawrence Welk re-run, and it appeared that he was actually playing a nice accompaniment on an Anglo. Bradley Williams (Chemnitzer concertina) is on the bill this year with his Polkasonics.
  18. I will vouch for the Fallon cases. I bought one for my Holmwood English concertina as I was concerned about the pressure exerted by the tight plastic case it came in. If you have a quality concertina, you will want a quality case to protect it.
  19. This instrument is of great interest to Hayden duet players. I've met Jim Plamondon, creator of the Thummer, as he's a fellow Austin, Texas resident, and I'm looking forward to a workable model of this instrument.
  20. The matter of the best slant angle of the Hayden duet keyboard is, I think, worthy of discussion and something that different people might have different opinions on. In my playing, I try to follow, as much as I can, "correct fingering." By this, I mean using, on the left side, the little finger for the 4-fa button, the ring finger for the 1-do and 5-so buttons, the middle finger for the 2-re and 6-la buttons, and the index finger for the 3-mi and 7-ti buttons, in whatever key is being played. Correspondingly, on the right side, the index finger plays the 1-do and 4-fa, the middle finger plays the 2-re and 5-so, the ring finger plays the 3-mi and 6-la, and the little finger plays the 7-ti. This is the way, I think, most people instinctively play the instrument, although I'm aware from this forum, that some people have a different "correct fingering" (and that's fine). Any variation from correct fingering, I would call "fudging", and there are many reasons to fudge, which would include vamping, playing accidentals, awkward fingering situations, finger competition, keyboard position, etc. But, in the midst of fudging, it's important to stay centered and not get lost on the keyboard. I think the ideal keyboard would be one which would minimize fudging for the reason of keyboard position. A problem with the 11 degree angle is that it tends to crowd the little finger on the lower (position-wise, as you play it) ends of the keyboard. As an example of this, try playing the second inversion of the F chord on the left side, with the little finger on B flat and the ring finger on the lower F. Also, try a G sharp minor chord on the right side, using the little finger on the D sharp. The crowdedness of the fingering is worsened by the slant, and, for me, usually necessitates a fudge. I might also mention that, as a fortunate owner of an 82 key Wheatstone Hayden, the slant makes the uppermost rows more difficult to reach with the little finger, less of a problem on the smaller instruments. A few years ago, I drilled a few holes in my Stagi Hayden and changed the hand rests to a position parallel to the button rows, and found I liked this and was less likely to have to fudge because of keyboard position. The negative of doing this with an instrument designed for an 11 degree slant is that the instrument wasn't built for it. It throws the playing center somewhat off balance, and I was playing the instrument with a corner on my knee, as opposed to a side on my knee. Ultimately, I'd like to some day to have an instrument built to try out the parallel positioning of the hand rests and key rows, and hopefully better balance the use of correct fingering on both ends of the keyboards.
  21. My Dickinson Wheatstone Hayden's slant physically measures about 11 degrees (a far cry from ~25 degrees) which is within measuring margin-of-error using my adjustable protractor. I stand corrected. The Wheatstone Hayden's slant is indeed about 11 degrees. It's been a long time since I used a protractor. Jim B.
  22. I learned and played on the 6-sided Bastari Hayden duet models for 10+ years before finally acquiring a used 46 key Wheatstone Hayden. When the first Bastari became inoperable, I bought a second and keep it alive with spare parts from the first. The critical weak spot (not to mention the bellows) for me in these Bastaris was the action, where the rivet connection between the button and the soft aluminum rod arms would wear through and become irreparable. The buttons have little bushing and are like loose teeth in the end plate. In this respect, the Stagi Haydens are an improvement over the 6-sided Bastaris as the buttons are much more secure and there's no weak rivet connection. Now that you have a Bastari, you will notice more and more the difference between the symmetric Hayden/Wicki and the asymmetric Stagi button placements. For me, the Stagi arrangement violates the principle of "Keep It Simple".
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