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Everything posted by RP3

  1. David, we had a couple of tunes by Finbarr Dwyer, "Noel Hill's Fancy" by Jerry Holland and "Splendid Isolation" by Brendan McGlinchey as well as several others I can't quote off the top of my head. This last one, Splendid Isolation, is really an excellent tune and one that is giving my fingers fits. After years of teaching us the fingerings that he favors for G and D tunes (and related minors), this year Noel threw us a real curve with some C row based tunes. It was like Star Trek: my fingers were going where they had never been before! Once again no year goes by at Noel's school without you having an opportunity to learn something new. Noel challenged us with these tunes, and we now have plenty of work for the winter. On a related note, for those of you who considered coming to one of Noel's classes but didn't, we had room easily for 5-7 more students at the Mid West venue and you ought to think about joining us there next year. Happy squeezing, Ross Schlabach
  2. The photos are really nice. It looks like the new site is a big improvement over past years at the East Durham location. Hope everybody had a good time. It also looks like Noel is getting more like the rest of us with some "snow on the roof"!! I'm looking forward to heading out to my class tomorrow. Ross
  3. I too would be very worried about taking the Dipper on that kind of trip. In addition to the risk of theft, the issue of low humidity is very worrisome. Wood can lose moisture several times faster than it can absorb moisture, so exposure to low humidity conditions for any extended period for an instrument made in a high humidity environment would be risky. If you want to take a concertina with you to the Far East, I would recommend that you take a less valuable instrument instead -- something you could afford to lose. Several years ago, I took my Dipper just to Ireland, and knowing that nice concertinas had been stolen there, mine went with me virtually everywhere I went. It was nerve-wracking. In Asia I would go crazy over trying to protect it. I know you probably love our Dipper like I love mine, but I'd leave it home in the care of a very trusted relative or friend rather than taking it to exotic environments. Just my two cents...... Ross Schlabach
  4. Certainly not David. It would be an upgrade! Ross
  5. About this time each year, I'm getting antsy waiting for the annual NHICS classes to start. And this year is no different. On account of the much shorter drive (350 miles versus over 800 one way), I have been attending the Mid West class. I truly miss a bunch of old friends of the East Coast class but have made a nice batch of new ones in Erlanger. Dana, I for one would be delighted to see you and Becky and your little girl (bet she's grown a lot since last I saw her) if the spirit moves. What with Wally and the Carroll Concertina shop doings and Greg's incessant CAD and repairs, plus Randall's seemingly bottomless collection of miniatures and such, we have a great time and a delightful assortment of concertinas to view, play and listen to. Now if we could just get the folks to take up the carpet in the "class room" so we'd have a bit more lively acoustics, then it would be grand. So, yes I'll be there. You couldn't keep me away! Ross Schlabach
  6. My Dipper was delivered in 1991 and is serial number 406 (I've forgotten - it's not stamped on the outside), so the number assignments are apparently not a good way to judge Colin's production. I would also note that this instrument sounded "different to my ears" than some of the older Dippers I had played in the past. But that is merely personal opinion. One notable difference is that it seems that many more of Dipper's early Clare models had metal ends and these definitely changed the overall sound of the instrument -- with later wooden ended models like mine having a more mellow character. But they all have that wonderful bite and rich tone. And every one I played had a marvelous action that almost anticipated the notes you were about to play. As far as the price of Dippers are concerned, I think that Dipper set far too low a price to start with. I expect this has something to do with the size of his backlog. It's wonderful for concertina players around the world that he has done this, but it doesn't benefit him. The beneficiaries are those of us playing these fine instruments and those people who later decide to sell their instruments. I wish the seller the best success in selling your Dipper -- and don't apologize for your price objective. It's your instrument and you have the right to set the rules! Ross Schlabach
  7. I know this is a concertina website, but our members are interested in all things free reed, so here goes. I am selling a Castagnari Dinn III with what I thing is Swing tuning with LMM reeds. This is a custom model with stops for both the low reeds on the keyboard and a stop to remove the thirds from the bass notes. It also has a special "cutaway" feature on the bass side that makes the bass notes easier to reach. My being left-handed is inhibiting my my progress on this instrument -- but it is my old hands and not the instrument at fault. The accordion comes with both soft and hard cases and is in excellent, almost unused condition. Asking $2,300. Contact Ross Schlabach at rpsqueezer(no spam)@gmail.com or 828no894spam5504. http://picasaweb.google.com/delaney.ed/CastagnariDinnIII?feat=directlink
  8. As a very long-time student at Noel's classes and advocate for his program, I have made my opinion known here previously and won't bore you with it again. But you should know that some years ago, Noel was working on just the book that many of you seem to favor. One year he took that manuscript with him to Willie Week and someone stole it. Since that time, he has -- with fits and starts -- been working to recreate the project again, but it is slow going and often has to take a back seat to the daily grind of earning a living and raising a family as a single parent. There are also supposed to be people in Ireland helping him with the computer work to transcribe the appropriate tunes. Hopefully he will be able to bring this project to publication soon and we can put this recurring issue behind us. In the meantime, I would like to encourage anyone who is interested in learning anglo concertina from a master, to sign up for Noel's course. I've been doing them every year since 1996 -- save one -- and each year is a new treat for me. Best regards to all, Ross Schlabach
  9. I have known Greg for a number of years from the Noel Hill school and highly regard his skills with concertina repairs and tuning. It was great to see him again and participate in his repair clinic. We hardy had enough time to scratch the surface, but the session was very informative. He also seems to have a real knack for finding and fixing up worthy instruments which he then offers for sale. Larry wasn't the only one drooling!! The concertina workshops at the Tionol were an enjoyable experience and I hope they will be repeated again next year at Orlando. I know I want to attend again. Ross Schlabach
  10. The SE Tionol was well organized, had great instructors and performers, was a very good value for the money and lots of fun. It was my first but won't be my last. Hat's off to Gary White and team for a great weekend. And Florence was a very well prepared and delightful teacher - plus an excellent player with very nice tunes. I hope they invite her back again next year. Can you tell I enjoyed myself?? Try it, you'll like it! Ross Schlabach
  11. I'm signed up too!! See ya there. Glad Wally is going to have you bring the new compact model "Carroll". Can't wait to compare it to my Dipper. Ross Schlabach
  12. Hi Laurence. My tinas and I will be heading to the Tionol at the end of this month and hope to see you there. If you have any recommendation as to which hotel most attendees are heading for, I'd appreciate it. Ross Schlabach
  13. Normally "high-pitch" is a way of telling the reader that the instrument has not been retuned to the modern standard of A=440. So a Bb/F instrument that is described as high pitch will probably have A=446 or something close to that. If I remember correctly, the modern tuning was not adopted until somewhere around 1921. So instruments made before that date will likely be "high pitch" unless they have been retuned after the musical world accepted A=440 as the standard concert pitch. Ross Schlabach
  14. Ian, you might want to consider putting your foreign exchange concerns into perspective when considering your concertina plans. Yes, the pound is down from an abnormally high exchange rate of about $2.00 to the pound, but the British pound is still up more than 15% against the dollar over the last 13 years. Make no mistake, the dollar is still seriously down against virtually all the major world currencies with little hope of major recovery. Your cost of buying a Morse are probably as good now as they'll ever be -- current situation considered. Good luck and good squeezing. Ross Schlabach
  15. Michael, I have a 28 button Jeffries and faced the same dilemma some time back. I would recommend that you find a top repairman to find, tune and install a second C# on that button. As for the proper place for that Eb; I would recommend in a drawer -- safely stored and labeled in case you ever want it back. But in the 10 or so years since I made the change, I've never questioned my decision. Good luck -- and you'll enjoy having that second C#. Of course it kinda makes your anglo into a partial English with the same note in both directions, but I won't tell if you don't! Ross Schlabach
  16. This morning's news included a report that passengers on in-bound flights from Canada may no longer carry cameras in their carry-on luggage and that remaining items allowed to be carried on have been restricted even further. But laptops still can be carried on! My initial thoughts are that this ridiculous step won't stop terrorists. But it will impact everybody else and for us there is the more worrisome question about our musical instruments?? Will we have to surrender our concertinas to the cargo hold -- possibly never to be seen again? I don't know who is a greater danger to American travelers: the terrorists or the idiots at TSA charged with protecting us? With this latest step, they have probably ended meaningful tourist travel to the US -- and even from the US since even if we could take a camera or a concertina on an outbound flight, we could never safely bring it back. This may present a serious problem for Noel since likely, if these rules are extended to musical instruments as is now logical to expect from our DIDC (damned idiots in DC), he won't be able to travel with his concertinas. I hope that cooler heads soon prevail, but our security folks have not shown a lick of sense yet. They may succeed in destroying our country where the terrorists have not. It's a sad situation. Ross Schlabach
  17. Gee Dana, thanks for reminding me! In my defense, when the Button Box offered it to me, it was still in pieces -- before they restored it. But Dana is right. This is an excellent Jeffries (and I would be scooping it up if I didn't already have that Carroll -- which now also has a C/G reed pan set in addition to the Bb/F reeds.) The tone and playability on the Jeffries are excellent. I have a nice recording of Noel Hill playing it back in 1996. Somebody will get themselves a really nice flat pitch concertina with this one. Ross Schlabach
  18. I'm an anglo player so the following comments only reflect my experience with anglos. The shape of button tops seems to vary, and for me it really makes a difference. Some Wheatstones have what looks to be a full curve on the tops of the buttons while early Crabbs and some Jeffries have arched top buttons. Some 30 Button metal buttoned Jeffries did have fully rounded tops while my 28 button Jeffries had flat top bone buttons but those tend to round off over time. My Dipper has almost fully rounded buttons but the button diameter is a bit on the large side. Carroll concertinas have arched top buttons but button diameters are relatively small. I'm sure some of our experts can provide more definitive info on button shapes. With the following, I will probably create a firestorm of criticism, but please read this carefully before you attack. IMHO, the flat or slightly domed buttons are most comfortable because the resistance from the button spring is spread across a larger area of your finger while the fully rounded button tends to create a smaller, concentrated spot of pressure against your finger. For the same reason, smaller diameter buttons like those seen on the 48 button Jeffries and even some of the 38 button Jeffries are even less enjoyable to play regardless of being flat topped or rounded because that same spring resistance is applied to an even smaller area on your finger. For those of you with guitar player fingers, it may not be an issue, but for some (like me), it can really affect the enjoyment of playing. So if you are looking to buy a new (to you) concertina, I would suggest that you try it out before you buy -- not just for the judging the tone and action, but also for playing comfort. What feels fine for a few minutes may become uncomfortable when playing for a long set or session. In fact Dipper allows choice of button diameter and may even let you specify the shape of the button top. It can't hurt to ask. Happy Holidays, Ross Schlabach
  19. This one is strange since the listing is on eBay UK but the item is supposed to be in Tampa, Florida. If so, why not list it in the US? Smells like rotten fish to me. Ross Schlabach
  20. I have a 28 button Jeffries and have replaced the Eb with a second C#. I very seldom miss the Eb but love the second C#. In fact I have standardized all my 30 button concertinas with the 28 button Jeffries by using the standard Jeffries layout but having both C#s on the second outside button RH and both Ebs on the first button RH. So for D tunes especially, all the instruments play the same. No changes have been made to the LH side on the Jeffries but I would like a low draw A on the fifth button G row. My other 30 button tinas have that low A and I love it. Ross Schlabach
  21. I too own a small 5-5/8" Dipper. While everyone who sees it calls it a County Clare, inside it has a label that says Cotswold. But regardless of what you call it, it puts out a strong a clear voice. IMHO it has a wider dynamic range than my larger 28 button Jeffries and is definitely more easily heard in session playing. It also holds its own against my Carroll in terms of dynamics and volume. All three have different tonal characteristics, but I find each exciting in its own way. I believe that the smaller Dipper is -- for whatever reason -- easier to manage in playing: either fast or slow. Also, unlike some might expect, the Dipper is very seldom short of air; and large bellows movements are not normally needed. Just about everyone who has tried it, really enjoys playing it. Possibly the larger instruments might have a slightly richer bottom end, but I'd almost challenge anyone to really hear and be able to distinguish the difference -- in a blind test of course. So if anyone is thinking about a small concertina like a Dipper, go for it. I doubt that you will be disappointed -- whether it's a Dipper or one of the upcoming new small concertinas that Wally Carroll is working on. Squeeze on............. Ross Schlabach
  22. I already have one of these, so I don't need another. But I will tell our group that this is an awesome recorder. It is is easy and quick to use, and unlike other recorders, it already has 4 gigs of built-in memory. So you don't even need to buy a memory stick to use it -- just use whatever headphones you have that have the small jack, and you're in business. As they say on eBay....."Highly recommended"! Ross Schlabach
  23. Wow! I've listened to lots of concertina playing and that recording had some really outstanding playing. Can't wait to get my hands on her CD. Now I just have to find it somewhere. Ross Schlabach
  24. I will undoubtedly catch a lot of flak for this but I have a strong opinion on this topic, so I strongly advise against a 38 button and in favor of a 30 button Suttner. Do not underestimate the impact of that extra weight and do not overestimate the value of the extra buttons. A while back, I ordered a 30 button Ab/Eb from Jurgen. While waiting for delivery, I changed my mind and my order to a 38 button model instead. That was a big mistake. There is nothing wrong with the Suttner 38 button but if you are not used to a 38 button instrument, you are potentially in for a big shock. The keyboard is much more crowded and the weight difference is definitely notable. To give it its due, Jurgen builds a wonderful instrument -- regardless of the number of buttons you choose. The 38 button model will offer additional chord opportunities and can provide alternative note locations and bellows directions for notes and chords that may be of value to some players. Just don't expect miracles. Should you switch to a 38 button model, there will be lots of months of learning and relearning to take advantages of the extra notes -- and that benefit will only come if you are not put off by the tighter button layout and the extra weight. I was so disappointed at the lack of a real perceived benefit to me that I sold it and later ordered a Carroll 30 button Bb/F and I've never regretted this last switch -- no weight penalty, no cramped keyboard and I still got a nice flat pitch instrument. Had I instead left my Suttner order in its original 30 button configuration, I would likely still have that Suttner to this day. But I would have the Carroll too!! It's that good. Now, I will put on my combat helmet and hunker down in my foxhole as criticism is lobbed my way. But I thought you should hear an opposing opinion from someone who had some skin in the game, made that same decision that you are considering and experienced the differences first hand. Ross Schlabach
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