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Ivan Viehoff

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Posts posted by Ivan Viehoff


  1. For flexibility, your concertina needs some overlap. But it also needs plenty of room either side of the overlap, so that you have enough room to play the tune above the accompaniment, and the accompaniment below the tune. Of course if you don't mind weight and a large instrument, you can have as many notes as you like, but presuming you want to keep things in proportion, then there is a degree of compromise. Very large Maccanns are not so popular, they start getting huge.

     

    OK, a few facts about Maccanns of different sizes.

     

    The 46-key Maccann goes down to G above middle-C in the right hand, and has an overlap of a 4th.

     

    The 55-key Maccann is precisely the same: it also goes down to G above middle-C in the right hand, and has an overlap of a 4th.

     

    So what's the diference between a 46 and a 55? The most important difference between them is that the 55 key has a complete 2 -octave range (25 keys) in the left hand. The 46-key has only 21 keys in the LH. Although it has the same 2 octave range, it is missing a few notes, especially lower down, including the very annoying missing D. This means that on the 42 key you have to play higher in the LH and use the overlap more, because there are missing notes lower down. This explains why many people playing the 46-key often treat it as a descant or sopranino instrument, using the RH to play an octave above written pitch. The alternative use of the 46-key is to play across the hands a lot, when you run out of keys in the RH, and have very light accompaniments, or even accompaniments above the tune.

     

    Thing change a lot with a 57 key. This goes down to middle C in the right hand, and has an overlap of an octave. (Overall, the 57-key has a narrower range than a 46-key! They have the same lowest note in the LH, and the highest note on a 57 key is actually lower than on a 46-key. But only rarely do you miss those high notes.)

     

    Oh, the 57-key is much nicer than the 46-key. (Well most people think that. There are others who like the small size of the 46-key.) You can play a lot of tunes in the right pitch now, and you will use that lower fifth constantly. But this means you only have an octave below the RH in the LH, which won't feel like a lot of room. But since people never have enough, you'll be wanting some even lower notes on the LH now.

     

    And that's what happens as you get to still larger instruments, you'll get some lower notes in the LH and some higher notes in teh RH, expanding the overall range, not the overlap. Some of them might give you a couple of extra low notes in the RH and increase the overlap to a 9th, but it is only when you get to really huge instruments that the overlap is substantially increased.

     

    The only problem is that a 57-key is a lot more expensive than a 46-key. And 46-keys are lying over all the place, but 57+ keys are hard to find. Especially since they come in so many varieties that if you have set your heart on a specific number of keys you can have a long weight for it to come up.

     

     


  2. The $250 non-refundable transaction between Jim and Wim is not such a rare thing. If we call it what it is, an "option", it becomes less mysterious. Although most of us have nothing to do with options trades, in certain areas of the economy they are frequent and make sense. Mostly they act as a kind of insurance against having to pay the spot price on the open market, which can be very volatile.

     

    Some options are explicitly "tradable", others are not. If Jim did not trade his option, he could simply go forward with his concertina purchase and hope to sell it on - people can make profits like that. Or he could find a customer for a Wakker concertina, and act as a front man buying the concertina to that customer's specifications.

     

    So even if Wim said the option isn't tradable, it seems hard to enforce it. Morally, it isn't really much different to the time I wandered up to the box office of a theatre for a long sold-out performance, but a few seconds ealier someone had returned some tickets, so I got them.


  3. There is another shakespeare crane (50b) at hobgoblin. There is a remarkable big difference between the shop (2500) and the auction price (620) . There may be some work on the 48b, but that doesn't need 1900 pound I suppose.

     

    What is the real street value of a 48b or 50b Shakespeare Crane?

     

    A typical 48b Crane (Lachenal, Wheatstone, etc), in good playing condition (but not an Aeola or anything special like that), sells at prices around about £900 to £1200, say, in private/dealer transactions. (Though maybe with the weak pound foreign demand can push prices up a bit.) But in general £620+buyers premium for one that, so far as we can tell, needs doing up is not necessarily specially cheap, even though it was sold at a little known auction house at a remote location where you might expect to get the occasional bargain.

     

    Now we expect things at shop-based retailers to cost rather more than the above prices, perhaps 50% more even. As far as I can see the 50b has its two extra buttons on the right hand, so is therefore limited to the standard 20b (C to G) on the left hand, in contrast to a 55 button which is usually 30+25, giving you the full two octaves in the right hand. So I can't see it is worth any special premium over a 48b unless it is a concertina of very special playing quality. So I don't know why Hobgoblin think they might get £2500 for it.


  4. It's not going to make you rich. It's a 46-key Maccann duet, the most common kind of duet concertina. At one end of the scale, you can see Hobgoblin http://www.hobgoblin.com/local/contentsfra...d%20Instruments currently have a Wheatstone 46-key Maccann described as "excellent" on their list for £1195. That price would include their overheads for running a range of city centre shops - I think you have to knock a quarter to a third off a price like that for an understanding of what such a concertina in excellent condition might fetch in a private sale. At the other end, ebay prices for unrestored 46-key Maccanns (of all qualities) have historically been in the range of £250-500: a nice one like yours might hope for a price towards the upper end of that range, carefully presented, though ebay is very fickle. Though given economic conditions you might want to watch ebay yourself and see what happens: they come up quite often, once or a month or so. Since you aren't a leading concertina dealer, I think you could be better off selling it as is and leaving your purchaser to choose the exact scope of restoration. The cost of commissioning a restoration could well be about £300, so there certainly isn't a guaranteed profit on commissioning the restoration yourself.


  5. Can you explain what you mean by "Double Duett"? In the early history of duets, Wheatstone made a "Duett" (which was an early type of Maccann) and a "Double Duet" (which has 4 columns of keys like an English, and didn't catch on). It looks like neither of those.

     

    At first glance it looks like a Crane system duet. A high quality 60-key Crane would be much sought after. The Salvation Army book is an instruction book to play Crane system.


  6. with the low C on the right hand

     

    Presuming you mean Maccann, as those are standard Maccann sizes, that would be the 58 key (57 sounding keys plus air button) then. Standard pattern 56 key (55 sounding keys plus air button) Maccanns do not have the low C (and not all the 58s). Whilst these were originally marketed as 56 and 58, normally they are called 55 and 57 these days.

     

    From experience, I can say that it can take a while to find a 57-key Wheatstone Maccann, without also requiring it to be Aeola and ebony ended, so you might have some wait. Boxes with numbers of keys in the 60s are a bit more commonly for sale. On the other hand, there have been quite a few Maccanns put up for sale over the last year or two that didn't sell, at least not at the first attempt, so maybe there are a few still waiting for a customer.


  7. The reed won't sound when the bellows are pulled but it does when the bellows are pushed.

    There should be two reeds per button, one each for push and pull. I'd have a look to check the pull reeds are actually present. Someone might have taken them out to use in another concertina. There are also rare single action instruments with only one set of reeds, but obviously not Anglos.


  8. Does each button sound the same note on the push as on the pull?

    He said nothing sounds on the pull at the moment so he doesn't know.

     

    "4 rows of 6 reeds", if an accurate description, is not a good description of any usual kind of Duet, though it comes closest to a Jeffries Duet. Jeffries Duets do often have keys in 4 rows, but do not usually have the same number of keys each end, the row-lenghts are usually uneven, and 46 keys is most usual: see http://www.concertina.com/jeffries-duet/index.htm.

     

    "4 rows of 6 reeds" is a perfect description of a common English concertina, though normally we would say 4 columns. This shows it as 6765 on one end, but 6666 is also possible: http://www.concertina.com/english/index.htm

     

    Since Jeffries made very few English concertinas, and 48 keys is unusually many for an Anglo, it all seems a bit of a mystery so far.


  9. In the olden days the fluorescent lights in the School of Music at Florida State University hummed at a flat B flat. That came in handy a time or two.

    The chorus master of the choir I sing in (and former member of the Kings Singers) blows his nose in Bb. He uses this when he has no more accurate alternative available.


  10. Is it best to always practice both sides together once I've got the common scales worked out?

    One should ultimately aim to become accustomed to being able to play hands together much of the time, from the start of picking up a piece. But let's not run before we can walk, and acknowledge that there are often going to be tricky corners, and tricky long bits, that we can't play hands together well at the start. When you can't play a bit smoothly hands together (which might be rather a lot of it to start with, but hopefully should reduce) then I think it is a very good idea to play each hand separately to ensure it is entirely fluent and as near "automatic" as possible, and then put them together. Don't play long sections hands apart, just short sections (eg a bar+first note of next bar), then put them together. You are trying to poke this stuff into your brain's auto-pilot, and long bits won't go in very easily. Even top concert pianists practice in this way, and I don't see any essential difference between piano and duet concertina in this regard. Even if you have to go bar by bar through a whole piece, eventually it will come together. And you'll often find what you have learned to do will be useful for many future pieces.

     

    Whilst I agree it is a way forward to play 3 note LH chords plus a tune, and good for learning chord fingerings, it does tend to sound rather heavy, drown the tune, and swallow the air in the bellows quickly. I think it is better to use a lighter texture a lot of the time. You can, for example omit the 5th, omit any out bass notes which is doubled in the tune, form the chords as arpeggio or oompah, etc, all to lighten the texture. It is worth observing that in David Cornell's arrangements he sounds only two or three notes together a lot of the time, and when he sounds more it is usually for effect or emphasis.

     

    You would not retune a reed more than a semitone usually (though maybe a large flattening can be done with tip weighting, though it will sound different form the adjacent reeds). In general, we would want to change a reed. If you give up the low F# for it, well you probably want the F# to go with the D. The low G# seems more likely a thing to give up. But whether a D reed will fit in the slot for a G# half an octave away, I do not know. The chamber etc, may also be wrong for it, so may need a bit of woodwork. I think all this explains why so few people have done it. Another option is actually to give up the low C for it, after all there are 3 Cs on the LH of a Maccann, so you can afford to give one up, perhaps. But a tone is a bit much to retune. Maybe you can just replace the reed, and keep the C reeds for the day you need them. There are also people who have put in one D so it is one on the push and one on the pull, but that is rather tricky to manage. But in general, not many people have done such things, so far as I am aware.


  11. The auction description, and I think photos, have now been revised. It is now described as a Maccann, but no indication of the range of the two sides. We can now see (or perhaps we always could) both reed pans. Any clues from the sizes of the reeds? Curiously both ends look rather full.

     

    What is curious about this one is that all larger Maccanns I've seen before have been instruments of obvious quality. But at the right price this one could be a useful starter instrument, recognising it will need a lot of work.


  12. [

    And, if the "Duet Messiah" can't scarf up $8550 for a Wakker 65, he's in the wrong religion :P

     

    Ah, poo. I perform at least twice a week on the Hayden (other days I perform on upright bass) playing everything from jazz to pop to classical, and there's no way I can shell out $8550. Maybe a rich hobbyist can, but I'm a working musician ( == not quite homeless :) )

    That calls to mind two things. One is an encounter with a "working musician" my father had, which I have mentioned before. Said musician had recently remortgaged his house to buy an 18th century violin, and sold his car to buy a bow, because he reckoned you just couldn't progress as a professional violinist without such instruments these days. Makes me think one is blessed if a top quality realisation of one's chosen instrument can be bought for a 4-figure sum of dollars. The other thing is what Brian's mum said in that film. All together now...


  13. Looks a genuine enough sale to me, but the same instrument (No. 631) changed hands on ebay only a couple of months ago for £370

    I don't know how you value a 35-button Crane (in excess of its spare part value), because I've never heard of anyone actively wanting one. A similar thing can be said about a 39-key Maccann. If I was an impecunious wannabe Crane learner, I think I'd be attracted by £370 for a 42 key, provided it was in fair playable condition.


  14. Many other "fiddle tunes" in C, D, F, and G can be played with a decent accompaniment. Looking at some of my arrangements, I'd might have to adjust for the missing left hand high B for several of them, but that's quite easy. Adjusting for those that go up to B on the right side would be trickier and less satisfactory. But for something like Morris playing, I think the "Elise" would be practically all you'd need. It'd also be a good instrument for someone who can afford a full-sized instrument, but wants to try out the layout first.

     

    If you want to play in a (true) minor key, it will have to be D. Though in practice some tunes at first glance in the other relative minors of the above 4 keys might work if they are actually in somewhat modal tonality rather than true minor (ie, don't sharpen the leading note).

     

    But the truth is quite a lot of the time you don't touch a G# or Eb in a "simple" piece, so I suspect that this is probably the best compromise available for a 34-key Hayden. I'm prepared to guess it will prove a much more useful instrument than a 39-key Maccann or 35-key Crane. In fact it has certain advantages for the beginner over a 46-key Maccann.


  15. I'm trying to figure out how to put felt bushings around the buttons. What is the traditional way or just a good way to do it? My big problem is how to get the felt to stick to the wood.

     

    Gum Arabic will glue it in, as for the rest it's about time you invested in a copy of Dave Elliott's book and all will be revealed.

    ...or follow the thread "HOW I DID IT" which shows in detailed pictures how the bushings are done.

    What's not in the book, and which I learned when I had felt bushings retrofitted into my first concertina, is that they sometimes need "ironing", if they are stiff around the buttons. You do this with a metal rod a bit smaller than the hole, which you heat up on the cooker, and then manage with some object that you can hold it securely with, like a mole wrench. I used the "wrong end" of a drill bit, a convenient source of metal rods in variable diameters. It retains its heat long enough to do about 5 or 10 dozen bushings. Probably a soldering iron would be too hot.


  16. Depending on the type of duet it is, he may get more for it than $800

    Indeed. But we are told it is rosewood with bone buttons, so most likely it is a 46-key. In which case it if it really is in fairly good condition, concert pitch, and only a few niggles, then $800 is in the right ballpark.


  17. Your posting Annl reminds me of a notice in a builders yard in Battersea (SW London)

    "Trespassers will be Dealt With"

    That is actually much more accurate than "Trespassers will be prosecuted", since, as a matter of civil law, they never are. If I ever had reason to put up a similar sign myself, it would probably say "Trespassers will be persecuted".

     

    Incidentally, Angel seems to be holding something with something written on it, which looks like it is in Cyrillic script. I can't work out the left hand end of it, as there is a reflection on it, and then it bends out of sight at the right hand end. Do you know anything about that?


  18. Where I disagree is on teh availability of Duet learning material - there's a Crane tutor online for download at the Concertina Library.

    Most people think those old tutors are not much more use to anyone than is a bicycle to a fish.

     

    Certainly there is something - Brian Hayden has some any-system duet beginners' materials, and David Cornell has some arrangements useful provided you have middle C in the right, etc, all at Concertina.com. But it isn't doesn't really add up to complete adequate materials for learning, without using your own ingenuity in addition.

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