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Everything posted by RP3

  1. Kim, I Too have big hands and find Lachenal and Wheatstone concertinas generally too small for my hands. But Crabb, Ball Beavon and Jeffries concertinas work just fine. Surprisingly, the sizes of these three brands is usually about 1/4" smaller across than the Lachenal and Wheatstones, but the button layout on the Crabbs, etc are more open. This is what helps with big hands, not the overall size of the instrument. In fact I am more comfortable playing my Jeffries than a Wheatstone sized concertina. So unless your hands are really much bigger than my "farmers hands", concertina size is not the issue. Now, if you are sure you want lots of extra buttons, then size can be an issue.
  2. Alex, you put the green marks in the wrong place. If you look carefully on either side of his second finger, you can see the edges of two buttons which would properly align with the rest of your green marks to create a uniformly spaced outer row. When Jeffries created 28 or 26 button instruments, he left off the top button on each outer row and shifted the remaining buttons toward the upper side (closest to the thumbs). I have a 28 button Bb/F and had a 28 button C/G with that pattern, have friends with 26 button models and I never have seen any <30 button Anglo Jeffries with the uneven button spacing you have suggested. Though I haven’t seen it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but I believe it is highly unlikely. Ross Schlabach
  3. While i cannot personally confirm that it was exactly 5” across, there was a small 30 button Jeffries concertina at the 1997 NE Squeeze-In IIRC and that instrument belonged to Noel Hill. That same instrument was featured at the time in Big Nick’s Concertina Guide on the web but the guide is no longer posted. Never heard it play but I can vouch for it’s existence. Ross Schlabach
  4. I remember that Mark Bickford had a 26 button A/E that Noel Hill played at our 1996 NHICS class at Bucksteep. He was able to play some wonderful tunes on that old box, and I agree with Larry that this pitch combination was delightful. Ross Schlabach
  5. While my session playing days are now over and I was never that good, I can say fairly that “using dots” is not just frowned on in many sessions, but it has the ability to ruin a session. There are several reasons. Unless you only play in a single session with just people who play the tune exactly as your dots represent it, your following the dots can leave you out of step with any changes or variations that arise. And what do you do when they switch to a second or third tune in a set? Do you madly flip pages? Irish music in sessions is, in most instances, fluid while dots are not. Following dots, you aren't able to adapt because you can’t listen, play, and read at the same time. I imagine there are fixed sessions where Dots can find a place, but I would encourage you to develop your ear and learn as many tunes by ear as possible. Sit out for the tunes you don't know or are not yet comfortable with, and cheerfully join in on the tunes that are truly in your fingers. Then you can really sit in and enjoy participating in a session. Ross Schlabach
  6. Thanks to all for suggestions. Distance doesn’t help: he has good hearing and kicks off when I do! The conditioning option is the only real hope. So before I open the concertina case, I put on my dog treat pouch. As soon as I start playing and Finney starts to sing along, I tell him to be quiet. If He does, he gets a treat. Of course to give him the treat, I have to stop playing so he gets double reinforcement. So I am not sure who is training who. But at least I’ve been able to squeeze out a few tunes - in peace and quiet! Ross Schlabach
  7. Gosh Greg! How is Suzanne going to deal with your ego now! And the fishing. What with that glowing halo, you will never be able to sneak up on a choice rainbow or brown again. ? Ross Schlabach PS: I own several Jowaisas-restored Fine concertinas and I have to second the glowing kudos being bestowed - even if he is supposed to be retired and out fly fishing!!
  8. As some of you already know, I have been playing the Anglo for better or worse since 1996. I have acquired some wonderful instruments and even enjoy practicing. But something unexpected has drastically affected my relationship with the concertina. In late July, I brought home a wonderful furry new friend - our latest Australian Shepherd - Fintan. And to my shock, when I took my concertina out for some long overdue practice, with the first note my playing was immediately accompanied by the joyful howl of my puppy dog. I tried different pitch models, I tried moving to the other end of the house from the dog, but his impeccable hearing allowed him to chime in no matter where, no matter when. Since that day I have not been able to play a single tune unaccompanied. What do I do - short of parting with our otherwise adorable pooch? Ross Schlabach
  9. I would like to touch on two issues: one mentioned in previous responses and one not. First, as mentioned, the C/G offers the user the ability to cross rows on account of note duplication between the keys of C and G. This is a big deal. I have attempted to play tunes along the rows as might be done on a G/D, and I recognize that this was a style used in Ireland some time ago - and there may still be some adherents to this method. But the compactness of playing available when playing across the rows which allows one to make the best use of their first two fingers of each hand - the strongest ones with the most inherent dexterity - is the key to speed and timing which is integral to really good playing. The other thing is that C/G was not as prevalent as previous posters might have you believe. The first concertinas to make it into Ireland came from Germany and were more likely D/G. Later, many of the vintage C/G concertinas players rely on today started out in their lives other keys with Bb/F being a common tuning, and these concertinas were frequently retuned to C/G once the benefits of that latter tuning became known and accepted. The Salvation Army were known to order groups of Anglo concertinas and many of these concertinas were ordered in Bb/F but today many of those same instruments have been retuned to C/G. In this Chicken vs the Egg argument, it is hard to prove what came first but I suspect that C/G became the tuning of choice through trail and error where the speed and fingering advantages showed up. And when 30 button anglos started to become available, then the deal was sealed. One man's opinion. Ross Schlabach
  10. Tony, another possibility. Do you have the reedpans that the C/G reeds will be coming from? If so, and you can not use the donor concertina body/bellows anyhow, then there is the possibility that you can fit the C/G reedpans into the Bb/F concertina with the C/G reeds in their original slots. The fit may not be precise but occasionally the judicious addition of more chamois in the recipient concertina bellows frames will allow the C/G reedpans to fit. Otherwise as everybody else has already told you, your suggested plan will be difficult. Ross Schlabach
  11. I am pretty sure that Rushworth & Dreaper was a retailer of concertinas. For a number of years, I owned a nice concertina bought from Paul Groff that had a brass plate engraved with the “Rushworth & Dreaper” name and the address “Islington”. The instrument was identified as a Crabb concertina, had metal ends with the fretwork usually associated with Crabb & Jeffries and bellows papers and gold stamping also associated with the same two makers. This instrument was also the spitting image of Anglo concertinas that are labeled as Ball Beavons. i wish I had some photos of the label but don't. Nevertheless, I feel comfortable saying that R & D retailed concertinas that were supplied by the “usual suspects” of famous makers. And the concertina shown in the original post was very likely made by Lachenal. Ross Schlabach
  12. Over the years, it has been common for sellers of modern made instruments to market their instruments with a premium for not having to wait a certain number of years for delivery of a new concertina. BUT, that was when the Irish Tiger was roaring, demand was very high and the supply low. However, circumstances have changed dramatically. Today there are several builders filling the void for quality concertinas, builder backlogs are much shorter, and the demand has lessened significantly. Carroll Concertinas are now down to a backlog of just 12 months or a bit more. Just try to sell a quality vintage instrument for $6,500 or more in today’s market and you will see clear evidence of lower demand or higher supply or both. The last factor in trying to earn a premium price is rarity or desireability. Demand has always been highest in anglos for C/G instruments while flat pitch or other tunings bring less money because of less demand. (Dipper instruments are probably an exception to all that I've outlined above but the relative rarity of his concertinas, his age, and his tremendous backlog mean that you can't order one realistically and expect to see it before he retires.) So for all the reasons I've mentioned, I think Doug is right. It is highly unlikely that the seller will get his premium price although I wish him well with the sale. Ross Schlabach
  13. I have a wonderful Sean Fallon two concertina case. He has retired but Frank Edgely took over Sean's concertina case business. Back in 2011 Frank said he initially was only going to make the single cases, but he may have changed his mind since then. You could check with him to see if he has expanded his offerings to once again offer two concertina cases. Ross Schlabach
  14. Yep, best to cover all your bases. Ross Schlabach
  15. You will likely have better success trying to sell this instrument over on Melodeon.net. But good luck in any case. Ross Schlabach
  16. One thing to consider that no one has mentioned so far is responsiveness. Even with the better quality instruments, the lower in pitch you go, the more air it takes to move the now longer and heavier reeds. So you can not expect to play as fast on a G/D or an Ab/Eb as you can play on a C/G. The difference between a C/G and a Bb/F will be much smaller. Of course, if you are Cormac Begley, it hardly matters! Put another way, if you hope to play this new instrument in lively sessions, then a Bb/F might be the better choice than one of the lower pitched instruments. It's just something else to consider. Ross Schlabach
  17. Dan, I have known Dana since my first year In NHICS way back in 1996. Not only is he a wonderful person to deal with, but I consider him a modern day Ben Franklin with curiosity, interest and knowledge in a myriad of disciplines. And it is this curiosity and unending desire to learn that makes him a highly talented concertina maker. I know you will be delighted with your Kensington when it arrives. See you next year back in Cincy! Ross Schlabach
  18. Well, Wunks I have another possible alternative, but first you have to answer a question. If all the other musicians have tunable instruments like guitar, fiddle and such, then it should not be great burden to ask them to tune to you. That way, you never have to risk losing that wonderful honk. Just sayin.... Ross Schlabach
  19. Oh yes, thanks for the memory. I now remember that you were able to give us a geology lesson along the way! That was my second class. Seems so long ago that it was another lifetime! Over the intervening years, I have missed two classes. But to me the total count is far less important than the fact that I haven't given up. Of course, now my class experience is more about renewing friendships and getting my musical batteries recharged than it is about trying to become the next concertina virtuoso. The added benefit is that each year I discover a new special tune or two which will become part of my repertoire. Ross Schlabach
  20. I'm in my 21st or 22nd year at NHICS - I'm getting too old to remember which - and the vast majority have been at the Midwest Class. So I will be looking forward to seeing both of you there starting on Sunday. We don't have the monster contingent that both the East Coast and the West Coast classes generate but that's much the better for us for one-on-one Class time with Noel. I always get my musical batteries recharged at NHICS. I'm just not looking forward to the drive. It is only about 7-1/2 hours but much of it is in a straight line up Interstate 75 to Cincinnati, and both RSI and arthritis tend to crop up when hanging on to the steering wheel for that long at my age. Nevertheless, there’s Tylenol to help me recover so by half 9 on Monday I'll be raring to go. For any Anglo player who would like to learn as much as possible in just 5 days and have a great experience while doing it should consider attending one of the NHICS classes. The cost is exceptionally reasonable - especially when compared to some of the workshops offered in other disciplines. I've seen a significant number of weekend painting classes that cost more and give you so much less. To quote an old TV ad: “Try it, you’ll like it!” Ross Schlabach
  21. Dan, I should have mentioned earlier to be sure to bring a good recording device with lots of memory cards, and batteries or a recharger as appropriate. There will be lots to record. If you like having munchies around, you might want to bring some. There are not any stores in walking distance. As for the guitar, suit yourself. We usually have a session or two, and folks have brought guitars to it. More than a guitar or two will likely raise eyebrows. Besides, you're there to learn concertina. Ross
  22. As an aside, I think the language normally associated with tango as it comes from Argentina is Portuguese and not Spanish. And if you think that the Bandoneon for tango is where you might want to go, search on the internet for “The Last Bandoneon” which is a film about the Bandoneon and tango. Wonderful film and fabulous music! Ross Schlabach
  23. In another hobby which will remain nameless, I have made lots of cases for carrying these heavy items. The material I find best is Baltic birch plywood. It has many layers, even in thinner sizes, is well laid up and glued, and cuts cleanly. While I am aware that our concertinas are very small and light, I wouldn't in good conscience ever recommend Luann plywood. That the material is light is about its only redeeming feature other than maybe its mahogany color. Luann plywood is made cheaply, and is frequently only three layers with poor quality wood at its core - making it prone to warpage. Voids are common and because it is soft and light, it can be difficult to cut cleanly. Laser cutting can solve the clean cut issue, but I would be concerned about warpage and general weakness of the material. My recommendation would be to search out a plywood supplier, like Wurth here in the Southeast US, and see the wide range of better quality materials available. As for Masonite, don't get me started! All the same, good luck with your project. Ross Schlabach
  24. The Small Dipper Cotswold that I ordered new from Colin and received around 2000 had, as Dana suspected, a Cuban Mahogany action pan and raised action board. Even this pan had opposing double tapered dovetail joints of sycamore or similar material for additional stability and they were finished on their outer surface with some kind of lacquer or varnish. The Reed pans appeared to be sycamore or a very similar looking wood. The whole thing was very stable throughout the year to humidity changes. The only time there was any observable change was one of the years when the Noel Hill August class was held at Pete Gibbons' home and we were forced by lack of space to practice outside in the very humid New York heat, and my reed pans swelled up - choking a couple of reeds. But with a return the following week to more hospitable conditions in western North Carolina, the Dipper returned to its happy self. In a similar case of re-claimed materials, I purchased from Jürgen Suttner an Ab/Eb with ends and sides made from ebony salvaged, so I was told, from the door of an old church in Germany. While CITIES would not be friendly to such a move these days, it was quite special to receive that instrument back in the day. Nevertheless, I think folks like Jake and Jürgen are to be applauded for keeping rare stocks of wood from going to waste - even it if it means the resulting instruments can never leave home. Ross Schlabach
  25. Dear Magpie, just a note of caution. The old original leather concertina cases when upright placed the instruments on one end, and this could result in all the valves on the other end sagging. And the cases were frequently so tight that they would rub on the bellows and wooden ends. So if you intend to have one for regular use with a Concertina (not advisable), you should make sure the case has plenty of clearance for your instrument and make a reliable and safe modification to the case so that the case and concertina will instead sit on its side. Good luck with your hunt. Ross Schlabach
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