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Everything posted by synchopepper

  1. The fat cook story may be the one I posted about six years ago. http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=1283&st=0&p=12631&hl=maplewood&fromsearch=1entry12631
  2. When I was twelve years old I asked for a banjo for my birthday. My favorite great-uncle, who had been a well know musician and the member of a colorful religious sect that fielded famous vaudeville march and jazz bands from 1907 until 1927 gave me a really great banjo. Other than a couple of pairs of bones and a ukulele from my father it was my first folk instrument and is still one of my most prized possessions. Many years ago I wrote an article about this strange sect's musical traditions which can still be found here: http://israelitehouseofdavid.com/music.html In plate #37 of the article the banjo player second from the right in the back row is holding this banjo which is a Gibson Mastertone TB Grenada. The trumpet player second from the right in the front row was my great-uncle. This specific banjo is also featured twice in Gibson's 1926 Banjo Catalog. It was appraised last year at Elderly Instruments in Lansing, Michigan at $10,000. Now if someone would just give me a $10,000 EC!
  3. Since this topic bubbled back up due to recent posts I thought I would like to add a few updates after reviewing the threads - Several years ago after these threads were first posted I went to Philadelphia for their famous New Years Mummer's Parade. (why aren't there any concertina bands in the Mummer's Parade?) I also visited the Race Street Quakers Meeting House, the largest in the world and the oldest in the US. While there I meet one of the elders and during our conversation I brought up the George Fox song. The elder reached around and me, pulled a hymnal from the pew rack, and flipped it open to the song! I then told him the story about the Monk's March connection and a brief bio of General George Monk which was all news to him. He got a huge kick out of it and couldn't wait to tell the whole congregation! Regarding the point about "Lord of the Dance" not appearing in the Anglican Hymnal - sometime ago I attended a funeral in an American Methodist Church and "The Lord of the Dance" was part of the service and in their hymnal. Hat's off to Jim and his great rendition of Monk's March. I have to come clean and confess I perform George Fox with the banjo.
  4. I have been singing with instruments (EC, tenor and five string banjo, guitar, dulcimer and bones) for over 40 years. During a performance I will switch every few songs to another instrument and do very few instrumentals only. Over the years I have gotten more proficient in both singing and playing. I don't think I have ever run into a performer who was both a proficient singer and player who didn't do both simultaneously and always assumed that persons who could do both would have no problem doing them at the same time. How many players out there find this to be a problem?
  5. A member of one of our local folk clubs has asked me about including an article one of our newsletters about: "New UK legislation is threatening the practice of traditional dances involving swords and sticks. The Violent Crime Reduction Bill recognises and exempts historical re-enactment and sporting activity involving swords from the provisions of the bill, but there is no such exemption for traditional dance, some of which have been using props such as swords and sticks for hundreds of years. These dances are forms of art that are of great historical and cultural relevance. Banning the use of swords will inevitably cause them to die out. It is crucial that they are preserved and allowed to continue. Please show your support and sign the petition to get dance included so that we can continue preserving the beautiful art of sword dance. Whether you are a dancer or not, your support is needed! We desperately need more signatures! (Please note you must be a UK citizen to sign) Here is the link: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/dancers Can any of our UK friends involved in traditional dancing give me any information on this issue and also pictures of sword and/or stick dancing for the article?
  6. Love those crosspieces... the blocked end of one of the chambers on my 1880 era Lachnal New Model extended treble was an exact fit for a high reed I removed to make an air button and provides a perfect long term storage location where it will not get seperated from the rest of the reed set!
  7. I have a Lachenal New Model EC made in the 1880's. Compared to other concertinas I have played and heard and according to the expert judgment of others it has exceptionally fine sounding steel reeds. It was this quality that convinced me to purchase it. In other threads on this forum it has been mentioned that Lachenal obtained reeds from different reed makers over the years and some makers were better than others. I have learned from some of the excellent treatises posted on those threads about the construction techniques and mechanics involved in traditional concertina reeds and that many other factors play a part in the sound a reed produces when mounted inside a concertina. I am curious about these makers of vintage reeds and wonder what is known about them. Some questions - Were many of these reed makers independent (suppliers vs. employees) of the concertina makers? Did some reed makers produce reeds for multiple concertina manufacturers? Did some vintage concertina manufactures have more consistent quality of steel reeds in the same model line/time period than others? Can vintage steel reeds be identified today as the work of specific makers? Are these perceived differences in the quality of sound between different vintage steel reeds always traceable to demonstrable differences in construction, materials, design, etc? Is there any evidence regarding whether the original reed sets in vintage instruments were usually/always produced by the same maker or, conversely, that the concertina manufacturers may have ordered quantities of specific reeds in lots and made up reed sets for new instruments without regard to source? Is there really a noticeable difference between the sound qualities of steel reeds in different examples of one model, say New Models, manufactured during the same period?
  8. After re-reading Bob Gaskins' excellent treatise on installing leather baffles I am considering giving it a try. I am put off, however, by the cost of purchasing an entire goat skin for the purpose. Does any one know of a source of goatskin blanks suitable for baffles in smaller (less costly) pieces?
  9. I hadn't thought about the bellows. Since mine has six folds the extra fold could account for the difference - maybe even when offset by the additional reeds. Considering the difference in age they sound very much alike.
  10. Very much enjoyed listening and playing along with Jim's sound clips on my New Model SN: 29161. Beautiful instrument, wonderful responsive sound and well worth the price. Money can't buy a better sounding instrument. (Of course I might be a little prejudiced) Out of curiosity I weighed mine (a 56 key extended treble w/Solid rosewood sides) and found it to weigh 2lbs 11oz. I wonder if ebony weighs more than rosewood?
  11. I was considering this very topic this weekend when during a two and a half hour performance I had occasion to hit more than one sour note. I did the same on the three other stringed instuments I was playing but those were much less noticable than on my EC. Part of the reason is that with the stringed instruments the missed note is often within the context of other strings playing a chord and go unnoticed. This is not the case with the EC. If it is within the context of a chord the whole chord is usually offset. Once offset on the buttons I will likely play several buttons before I get it corrected making the mistake all the more evident.
  12. Hats off to Richard on the suggestion on what to do with the reeds removed to provide an air button. I found that when paired with the right sized closed off upper section of a reed pan air chamber the reeds fit perfectly. No need to package or attach the reeds - they fit snugly with the reed blocks wedged in the pointed end and the chamois air chamber seal over the reed block screw heads keep the reeds assemblies from moving - no rattling (or falling out when exposed). Also if I am hit by a truck the next owner (or service provider) will immediately see the reeds when they examine the chamber from which they were removed. The perfect solution!!
  13. I removed two reed last night. While I have been inside many times to trim valve pads that were overlapping I hadn't noticed the reed plates were dovetailed mounted. Removing them was a breeze and the results just as I had hoped. I have wrapped the two reeds separately, then bagged together and put with the heirloom jewelry in the safety deposit. It would be a much better idea to find a good place to store them within the instrument so that they do not become permanently separated at some future date. Does anyone have the perfect storage location for extra reeds within the concertina?
  14. I have a Lachenal New Model Extended Treble EC. Other than for calling bats I seldom use the highest reeds. I do, however, play regularly in public and, try as I might, never seem to end a song with the bellows in the closed position. Invariably while struggling to get the EC back in its box it emits a series of loud complaints as I try to bleed out the air by pressing multiple buttons - much to the merriment of the audience. In the past I have relied on an air button to circumvent such situations and am thinking about removing a high reed on the right side to gain an air button. Does anyone have any experience in this procedure? I would appreciate advice about which reed, how to remove it, whether any additional adjustment need to be made, how to store the removed reed for safekeeping, etc.
  15. Speaking of Internet Radio don't forget Folk Alley, the Internet-only folk station from Kent State in Ohio. All music, no commercials 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I also like to listen to FolkWaves on BBC's Derby station. It broadcasts from 4:00pm to 6:00pm EST on Mondays and features a lot of British folk music including a generous share of EC. And, for the past 25 years, I have been a regular listener to Mary Cliff's Traditions program on WETA from Washington, D.C. on Saturday nights. Since moving to the mid-west I have been recording it via Replay Radio from the Internet. While I'm at it I also recommend Replay Radio for recording Internet radio. This great program lets you schedule to automatically record Internet radio programs and save them in a number of ways. I use it to record programs in 30 minute MP3 files that I can transfer to my MP3 player.
  16. I am seriously thinking about going to the Mystic Seaport Music Festival next month in Connecticut June 9-12. I play EC and banjo and am particularly interested in nautical folk music. Has anyone gone to this festival in previous years and, if so, what were your experiences? There are workshops and evening pub sings. Is it recommended to bring instruments for participation? Is anyone going this year? Also I am thinking about making a side trip to the Button Box on the way. Your thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated.
  17. A very interesting topic. I was fortunate to see Jacqueline du Pre perform about 37 years ago and was fascinated by her exaggerated angular movements while playing - I thought it had to do with her illness. I myself played and performed extensively when I was 12 to 23 years old. I then performed very little until I was in my 50's. Part of the reason for the hiatus was a problem with my hand that was finally corrected. All the same I have not found the physical aspects of playing instruments or singing to be much of a problem now. My big problem is lyrics. Even though I spend an inordinate amount of time memorizing them I am still likely to draw a blank in the middle of a performance. I hate to perform with a music stand but have been forced to on occasion. There does seem to be a point after a few months which must be when the lyrics must move from short to long term memory when the problem lessens. It has caused me real concern as I had recently had problems preparing for exams. I chalk it up to age and joke about it but I continue to work hard to learn new lyrics as I understand that exercising the memory improves it.
  18. Questions about this interesting concertina - From it's size is it a baratone or base? What are the ends so thick? Why are there "manufactured holes" in the bellows? Why would all notes not work in one direction of the bellow? Is it perhaps single action?
  19. I noticed this 40 key Wheatstone, SN: 1502 for sale on eBay. Does anyone have the early Wheatstone ledgers handy for a date of manufacture? Also is this a baritone model? Any other info would be appreciated.
  20. Based on my experience I think concertina playing is definitely related to Geezers - especially ones with facial hair. I have played the guitar, banjo, mandolin, etc for over 40 years. I have had a concertina for only about 15 years and didn't get serious about playing it until about a year ago. At about the time I got serious about the concertina I got back together with another musician I played with professionally many many years ago. We resurrected our old group and started playing vintage American and English folk music from the 1950s and 60s. We play up the geezer part calling our music "geezer folk" and our audience loves it. Most of our audience is in the 50+ range. We have parlayed the Geezer Folk angle into a whole act. We have a big blowup of a publicity photo of our group from early 1960s we use as a backdrop on stage and we play a lot of songs about getting old. Here are a few of our definitions of Geezer Folk - Geezer Folk: Its more about the change of life than about life's changes. Geezer Folk: The unforgettable songs of a whole generation who can't remember. Geezer Folk: The voice of those more in touch with what passes through their bodies than through their minds. As a spokesman for "Geezer Folk" I can vouch that our audiences love the concertina. It must be some collective generational memory passed down from our forbearers having to do with polkas and Myron Florin on the accordion.
  21. As Jim mentioned WETA in Washington, D.C. is the best local folk programming in that area. I used to record it to HiFi VCR years ago and then edit out the choice bits to cassette 90-minute tapes. I still have them – about 168 tapes I think – recorded over a period of about ten years. Unfortunately I don’t listen to tapes anymore but I have actually converted some of my favorite cuts that I can’t get elsewhere to MP3. When I moved from Washington 15 years ago I lost even that source. In Southwestern Michigan where I now reside we do have a few local stations within my reception area that have weekly folk programs but generally the folk has to compete as stepchild to Bluegrass. English folk music is practically unknown. I was pleasantly surprised when the local radio station here started a local one-hour traditional Irish music program on Sunday evenings. They even played concertina music last week from the Branch Line CD! For those with high speed Internet access I would suggest Internet Radio. There is much available via Internet feed. In my case I cannot get high-speed access at home but have found a great way to get programming from Internet Radio anyway- Replay Radio. Replay Radio (which I may have originally heard of on this forum) is Windows Software that allows you to set up recording sessions to capture Internet Radio programs. Replay Radio has a lot of features. One of it’s best is a downloadable program guide that you can use to search for, and set up to record programs. You can also configure recording sessions manually. Here is what I do: I have set up to record several programs over the weekend on my office PC where I have high-spped Internet access and automatically save them to 30-minute MP3 files. I then burn the weekend’s harvest to CD during the following week and then listen to them at my convenience. The weather and news breaks are out of date as are the events calendars – but hey – they aren’t from my neck of the woods anyway. If I find a song or tune I can’t live without I use an editing tool to cut it out of the 30 minute MP3 files and save it as individual files in my MP3 library. Replay Radio cleans up the signal so the recordings sounds better than the original feed did – usually as good as local broadcast quality. I have, through experience found the best settings for myself. If anyone would like details please let me know. I now record Traditions every week from WETA in Washington via their Internet feed. I also record a good program on KUNI out of Iowa every week. My favorite Internet feed though is Folk Alley. Folk Alley is run out of the Public Station at Kent State in Ohio where my daughter goes to school. The feed is high quality, 24 hours, 7 days a week. Another benefit I have gained from the Replay Radio software is its ability to digitally capture anything run through my PC sound card. I have a new Sony Hi-MD recorder. Sony managed to screw up a great piece of hardware by making it impossible to transfer your own live digital recordings. Replay Radio allows me to do that. If you have high-speed Internet access Internet Radio is the way to go. Can you folks on the other side of the Atlantic give me advice about folk music via Internet radio over there?
  22. I am thinking about putting hinges on my Lachenal so I can store my lunch in it when going to gigs. I wonder what kind of reeds they used? tin?
  23. Rose - Its good to hear there really is another English Concertina player in Michigan. I'm from the southwest corner myself and have a Lachenal New Model circa 1890. Even more rare is that you are a traditional Irish music musician playing an English!
  24. I make a point of practicing regularly in front of a mirror. It helps keep ticks, grimaces, frowns, etc to a minimum when I perform in front of audiences. Now if I can just get ride of all the Uhs in my patter!
  25. I have also noticed this fan affect and find that it is much more pronounced with my concertina that with my banjo or guitar. I think the reason is that the note decays much faster when a string is plucked that the sustained note of a reed making the phenomena harder to define. I do find the perceived degradation in sound simular for plucked strings even if it is harder to figure out why. I surmise the fluctuation of the echos returning to the player's ear are averaged out by the brain and have the effect of changing the perceived pitch slightly. (how's that for off-the-cuff BS?)
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