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Everything posted by RP3

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. This website and forum is focused on the concertina and not accordions, so I'm afraid that the expertise you need is most likely not here. I would suggest instead that you pose your question on the Melodeon.Net forum. That's their area of knowledge. And good luck, Ross Schlabach
  12. Before everybody takes a potshot at my original posting, I should clarify my original statement. I should have said that Jeffries anglos are hard to play well. And before you all jump on that statement too, it came directly from Noel Hill himself. At the time, he didn't elaborate, so I can provide no more enlightenment about his reasoning for that statement. I personally find my Dipper-restored 28 button Jeffries a delight to play, but that doesn't mean it's easy to do well. With reeds that respond as quickly as Jeffries reeds do, your timing on ornaments must be that much more precise or they sound awful. Then there's the dynamic range of the instrument. Some players just honk away on their concertinas. But, for instance, to play an air well on a Jeffries requires a bit more finesse with the bellows than with some less responsive instruments. Ross Schlabach
  13. After a day's reflection, I have concluded that parts of this thread -- in which I too participated -- while good-naturedly directed at a beloved member of our small fraternity, may have inadvertently done some unintended harm to Carroll Concertinas. Wally has slaved, at his own expense of time and money, to create one of if not the finest anglo concertina in the world. Any suggestions, in jest or not, that if taken out of context might be construed to devalue that reputation, should be avoided at all costs. For this reason, I personally apologize to Wally and his crew and sincerely hope that no harm has been done. I proudly own a Carroll concertina and I wholeheartedly support the Carroll Concertina team in their efforts to create a quality instrument: crafted in America. And I urge Ken or Paul to remove this thread from the forum. Ross Schlabach
  14. Box, it is hard to set a value on an instrument -- especially in the current economic environment. But similar Jeffries C/G models have exceeded $7,500 and some have surpassed $10,000. And then there's the wooden ended flat pitch Jeffries model that the Button Box recently sold that had an asking price of $13,000. So you can see that you probably have a valuable instrument on your hands. Many people find Jeffries more difficult to play than other anglos, and so they don't play them much. Even if that is your situation, I would recommend having the instrument fixed up and hang on to it. You may never have another chance to own one. I have a 28 button C/G that is not in concert pitch, so it doesn't get as much play as my other C/G anglo. But when I do play it, the Jeffries offers real enjoyment and wonderful tone. Well worth keeping. That's my two-cents worth.......... Ross Schlabach
  15. I think Jim has completely missed the point of this thread. It is not a matter of anyone trying to sound like Noel. It is more an issue of trying to develop good fingering habits. In imitating Noel on certain fingering issues, one can develop one's skills beyond their current level and most likely learn good fingering habits in the process. Here's an example. Just cause something doesn't "work for YOU" isn't necessarily a good reason not to pursue it. When I was much less experienced with the concertina, I couldn't get my pinkie to go for the draw F# on the G row. So it didn't work for me - THEN. But I needed to learn to work that pinkie to advance. Nowadays I work on reaching the draw A way down at the bottom of G row. I like Greg's analogy to the "triangle of pinkie death". This fingering comes up in a number of tunes. Also, there is the A,F#,A, ornament using the pinkie and the index finger. This would be preferable to trying to play the same notes exclusively on the G row -- unless using the index finger and the C row draw A creates some other problems with the fingering of successive notes. And, even then, you may find it better to stick with the index finger A and jump the next note - if ncessary. So, whether you can use that pinkie or not, there is every reason to practice a lot until that pinkie becomes stronger and can be used as a more integral part of your playing. Ross Schlabach
  16. I can't believe you had to disembowel it the very first day! If you bought a new car, would you immediately take it apart? I think not. I would have thought you'd instead have spent hours and hours enjoying the dulcet tones that instrument can yield. Now that your curiosity has been sated, I imagine that Noel expects you to start practicing those tunes you've been accumulating for all these years of NHICS. So, get to work! And enjoy, Ross
  17. David has given you a very thorough and accurate postgraduate dissertation explanation. (Sorry David, I couldn't resist!) Regardless of what you think of Noel's personal style, he is an excellent teacher and will give you a wonderfully balanced week of concertina tutoring. Go with an open mind and you will have a very rewarding time; go with a closed mind and you will be miserable. The vast majority of the students find the week so beneficial that they keep coming back year after year. I think you can have a great learning experience, but your own attitude will determine your actual experience. Learning is about change. Over the years I've seen some people come to NHICS and fight to not change. Those folks probably left with nothing but bad memories. I fought in my second year not to work by ear, and I hurt only myself. Fortunately I later learned from my mistake and I now look forward to only working by ear at NHICS -- forsaking sheet music for all but the most challenging passages if at all possible. Others came and took in all they could and left with more than a year's worth of training materials. As Noel says, the winter is long. We leave each year's class with plenty of tunes, recordings and instruction to keep us busy throughout that winter. Getting to one of your specific questions, Noel does teach the entire tune, ornaments and all; but there is no pressure to include them -- until you're ready. Getting the basic tune down with the proper rhythm comes first, but Noel will try to make you stretch -- to learn all you can. Try it; you may like it. Ross Schlabach
  18. Ah David! I knew someone would have the exact amount. But as a retired banker, I'm done with all that recordkeeping -- at least on anything not required to do one's taxes! Looking forward to seeing you and the rest of the gang in Erlanger this summer. Regards, Ross
  19. As was pointed out, contact Linda for the latest 2009 info. But if memory serves, the Midwest class in 2008 cost about $800-$850 for tuition plus room/meals. That normally also gets you one evening concert too. Do allow for memory lapses on my part and possible repricing from last year. Linda will require about a $150 deposit now and the balance around May 1st, so that lets you know when you have to ante up. Good luck and I know you'll have a great time if you go. I'm headed back for my 13th year! Ross Schlabach
  20. I got 97.2% right on the Tonedeaf test but it doesn't do a damned thing to make my concertina playing any better! Bummer. Ross Schlabach
  21. Gosh Dick, I truly wonder if there are many concertina players whose playing would be considered "relaxing". Maybe this is cause for a whole new thread, but David's original question focused on whether the NH fingering scheme allowed or encouraged jumps using the same finger. It does -- whether the tune "Out on the Ocean" requires it or not. And he politely commented that he wasn't interested in responses from advocates of other systems/techniques. Before anybody who hasn't attended one of Noel's classes gets too worked up, Noel's teaching is directed at learning how to play the concertina -- primarily using certain cross-row fingerings when appropriate and departing from those patterns also whenever appropriate. I can't ever remember anybody saying this system is better than along the rows -- it is just different. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method. I prefer the method that Noel has taught me and I'm able to apply it to most new tunes that come my way. As for the notes G/B/D, they are easily played cross-row press/pull/press and in most/many cases you don't need or want to use the draw D on the right hand of the C row, but there are ocassional exceptions. This makes a quick, pick-up, triplet when needed and the fingering plus bellows reversals add lots of bounce. So whatever way you play to float your boat -- have at it. Ross Schlabach
  22. As Dick has surmised, Noel does break his own technique (I wouldn't call them rules) from time to time. Sometimes this is to allow chord combinations on a 30 button anglo and other times just to facilitate the playing of the tune. And in class he doesn't force any of us to do the fingering of a tune exactly as he has taught it, but he does encourage us to try his way rather than to just fall back on old, bad habits. That's one of the reasons why I keep going back year-after-year. If memory serves, 2009 will be my 13th year at NHICS. Regards, Ross
  23. Hi David, I learned that tune by ear so I can't guarantee that I am playing it the way you do. Normally I transition to the B part with pickup notes b & d so I don't normally have the index finger jump problem you are asking about, but I can tell you that Noel has had us do first finger jumps on at least one tune he taught years ago - please don't ask which one cause those gray cells have already died! While it sounds strange, sometimes Noel favors an odd fingering or two because it helps to create the bounce or lift in a tune. As I play Out on the Ocean, there seems to be lots of time between the 3Gs and the efe combination (hence my use of the pickup notes) so I don't see anything gained by a jump, but maybe it works in your rendition. My suggestion would be to listen how it sounds with the first finger jump from the 3Gs and compare that to using the 3rd finger Gs. My hunch is that the former sounds better and Noel probably wouldn't make you stand in a corner for playing it that way!!! See you in August I hope. Best regards, Ross
  24. I can't help but thinking that participating in an instrument database is just providing potential robbers with a shopping list! I realize that there is no reason to suspect nefarious activity by any of our members, but anyone can get on and look at our postings so I for one will keep my cards close to my vest - and I recommend others do the same. Just as thieves use Obituaries to know when people won't be home because of the funeral -- and I have family members who have been victims of this crime -- thieves should not be expected to pass up a useful shopping list like this would be. So don't be naive and make their work easy for them! Ross Schlabach
  25. Hi Steve, I would suggest that you get on Wally Carroll's list instead of Suttner's for several reasons. I own or have owned one or more instruments from both makers and personally consider Wally's instruments every bit the equal of Suttner's -- if not better. My last instrument from Suttner was nicely made but the reeds were poorly adjusted and the reed set had to be adjusted so that in reeds would start uniformly. Also his bellows are far too stiff when new and take a long time to become more playable. Then there's the issue of waiting list time. Wally has recently updated his site to indicate that his production has increased and waiting time has dropped down to 2-1/2 years. I add to that the serious efforts that Wally is making in concertina design innovation to improve the reliability and serviceability of concertinas. And he's easily accessible here in the states and you won't have to deal with foreign exchange (which has expensive fees) and I think that your decision should be clear. Good luck and Happy Holidays, Ross Schlabach
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