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RP3

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Azalin, Regardless of which hand is your dominant or weak hand, each hand still has to play tones. The only direction Noel was providing was which side of the concertina to position firmly on a leg and he favors holding the left side on your left leg. Whether one plays along the rows or across the rows, tunes will fall comfortably into a range of buttons on the left and right side and you will still play those notes with the appropriate hand regardless of how you hold the concertina in place. I believe that the dominant hand is better prepared to play notes while moving the bellows. When I try to hold the concertina down on my left leg, then my "weaker" right hand has to play its notes, work the air valve and move the bellows. The result is less accurate fingering as well as other problems. When I instead use my normal and more comfortable position of holding the right side of the 'tina down, then things work better for me. You definitely do not want to be switching the bellows operation from one hand to another. The average brain has enough to deal with in playing the anglo and doesn't need to be complicated further by having to decide which side of the bellows is going to move with the next string of notes. If you learn to play across the rows, then is it common to play notes from side to side of the concertina in rapid succession and having to coordinate that with changing bellows operation will be a bear. Choose one side to remain fixed and stick with that, but let it be what works easiest for you. Good luck and let fly with any other questions that come to mind. Ross Schlabach
  14. Hi Azalin, This is a issue that has gotten me in "trouble" with Noel Hill at his NHICS. Noel has advocated keeping the left hand side of the instrument planted on the left leg near the knee with the instrument tipped up slightly (making a roughly straight line from your elbow to the tip of your middle finger) so that your wrist won't be in an awkward position that might lead to future carpal tunnel problems. Of course, for right handers, this keeps the stronger hand in control of the movement of the bellows. Noel also thinks that having the left hand side of the concertina fixed positions the instrument in a manner that helps to reinforce the lower notes since they will be reflected to some extent off your leg. I, on the other hand, am a leftie and find this left side fixed position very uncomfortable and so I have my instrument's right hand side fixed on my right leg with my dominant left hand handling the bellows movement. This comes very naturally to me and may be the same for other left handers. I do hear the tonal difference that Noel mentioned when I experiment with trying to keep the left side fixed, and after a discussion of this issue, Noel suggested that I might want to play with both legs square on the floor so that both ends of the concertina are in close proximity to their respective legs -- but with the right hand side of the 'tina still planted on my leg. I find this sometimes distracting and uncomfortable, so I continue to just plop the concertina down on my right leg. A nice side benefit of this is that my weaker right hand only has to worry about the notes and the air valve -- but no movement. What does all this mean? For my two cents worth, I say to position the instrument to be comfortable for you. A left hander may even be happy to put the left hand side down on the leg if that person is just starting with the concertina or never tried anything different. So do what works for you and don't worry another twit about it. Now if you haven't been playing long enough to establish a comfortable position, you might want to try it Noel's way. But do what makes sense for you. You don't want this to hamper your advancement with that new Dipper! Keep in mind that this whole issue assumes that you are going to play sitting down. For those that play standing up, this issue has no relevance. But they have my wonder and respect at how they do it and still hit all the right notes! Good luck, Ross Schlabach
  15. One of the reasons I took up the anglo concertina was that so much of the "action" seemed to take place on the left hand. As a leftie, I had fought for years with unfriendly guitars and banjos, so this was a breath of fresh air. My other main instrument is another that favored the leftie: hammer dulcimer. Only recently have I noticed important dulcimer makers realizing this fact and revising their stringing patterns to help out the righties in the crowd. I just hope they don't totally desert us of the sinistre persuasion. Ross Schlabach
  16. I doublechecked this listing against my 28 button Jeffries and the end plates are not similar to this eBay listing. As has been pointed out many times, there was a time when people would restamp ends with C. Jeffries Maker. I also wonder why the two reed pans look so different. One side is stamped R2 and the other isn't stamped at all. I think it is safe to say these two reed pans are from different instruments. Too bad cause this might make a decent basis for a restored instrument -- at a reasonable price. Of course the big worry would be what do the reeds sound like?? Ross Schlabach
  17. I looked at the listing and do not think that the ends are Jeffries make because the filigree work looks wrong. They don't match any of the Jeffries models I've ever owned or seen. Hopefully our resident experts will kick in later with a more definitive answer. Ross Schlabach
  18. During a recent eBay auction of a Dipper-restored Jeffries discussed in this forum, I opined that the opening price and Buy-It-Now price might have been too high given the current world financial meltdown. Well, needless to say the Jeffries brought the $10,500 Buy-It-Now price and I was mildly surprised and humbled. Now I am shocked! Another eBay auction, this time for an unrestored and pitiful looking 38 button Jeffries brought $8,460! Given that this instrument appears to need a full overhaul -- including a new bellows -- it looks like any Jeffries owners now need to increase their insurance coverage. I don't have anything more than a guess as to how much the restoration would cost, but I think it could easily top $3,000 making the Dipper-restored Jeffries a relative bargain at $10,500. Hate to think what Dippers are really worth now??!! And my sympathies go out to anybody currently on a Jeffries or Wheatstone hunt. I would think a better solution would be to get on Wally Carroll's/Dipper's/Suttner's (take your pick) waiting list . Ross Schlabach
  19. Well Greg, unfortunately the raising of FDIC or Irish deposit insurance doesn't increase the market's ability to fund loans -- especially given the current loan to capital limits in the US. It just may improve customer confidence in the safety of their money in banks. But my account is tapped out too. No more lendable funds here too; sorry. But if my Bb/F is any indication, you will love that Carroll flat pitch concertina. Rich tone, responsive reeds and smooth/crisp action; you can't ask for more. BTW, the web site is a bit behind. So what serial numbers are you folks working on now? As for Ed's auction, I'm happy for him if he's happy. Ross Schlabach
  20. Stephen, thanks for the correction about the 23 Praed Street being the unrestored Jeffries model. As to the demand for Stradivarius, yes they do continue to go up, but in the Concertina world I don't see well-heeled (read"rich") people banding together in a syndicate to buy a Jeffries or Wheatstone for some "deserving" musician. So my hypothesis may yet stand. And Ed, since you are enjoying the continued use of the instrument, maybe it won't sell and then you can continue to play it in peace!! And surely this pogrom isn't an effort to rid your home of traditional Irish music or the like?? We now return you to your regularly scheduled program........................................... Ross Schlabach
  21. Well, now we may see a real personal impact of the current economic crisis. The fact that no one on this normally very acquisitive forum was sufficiently motivated to purchase this instrument may be an indication that we have reached a tipping point. I may very well be proven wrong, but I think that the market is beginning to realize that the prices recently being paid for Jeffries and Wheatstone concertinas have gotten out of hand. True, the difference in exchange rates have given British, Irish and other European customers an upper hand in eBay auctions and other sales of these instruments, but now even those markets are feeling the pinch as foreign banks have been failing too in recent days and economic activity wanes. Here in the US, banks are curtailing Equity Lines, cutting credit card limits, and denying new loan applications at an alarming rate. Car sales are plummeting at double-digit rates for the same reason and I expect that other consumer purchases are showing similar downturns. Home mortgage qualification guidelines have returned to standards I have not seen since I purchased my first home in 1974 (can you tell I'm a retired banker?). Can concertinas be next to feel the pain of downward prices and sales? It will be interesting to see if this instrument brings the price its seller (possibly the seller's wife) thinks it should command. (Please understand that I'm not picking on Ed or this instrument but I feel there is are greater issues here to be considered and this instrument auction brings these issues to mind.) I, for one, believe the difference between the prices on these vintage instruments and the prices for quality modern instruments (Dipper, Suttner, Carroll, Kensington, and others) have reached an unreasonable spread. I have a fine Jeffries and yet find both my Carroll and Dipper concertinas offer greater playability plus equal responsiveness with different but just as appealing tone. I do not deny the enjoyment I derive from playing the Jeffries which derives from its wonderful tone. But I would find it impossible to justify the difference in cost in today's market. Admittedly, the seeming world focus on immediate gratification may result in an eBay buyer offering $9,500 or more; but the economics of such a purchase are now questionable, have been for some time, and seem unfathomable during the current world financial situation. And to spend this much money without the opportunity to first try the instrument out first seems real folly. And if I remember correctly, the experts have opined that 23 Praed Street Jeffries were made after the death of Jeffries himself. So, what will it be? A "NO SALE" or another unbelievable auction result? Now we wait and see. Or the bigger surprise may be the price offered for that un-restored Jeffries also on offer at eBay Ross Schlabach
  22. Hi all. I was very fortunate to get in Wally's queue early on. I ordered the first Bb/F and was not disappointed. This instrument has a great dynamic range, rich tone, and more than a bit of power when you need it. I also play a Dipper plus a Jeffries too but Wally's instrument is right up there with them. I'm not going to tell you that a Carroll sounds better than a good Jeffries cause that is a subjective statement, but damn it is just as satisfying to hear and the action is much better. Wally's instruments do have top quality construction, excellent action, and delightful tone. I've visited Wally's new shop and I can safely say that Wally is probably doing the best to innovate concertina construction. He has re-engineered the instrument to design out some of the problems the old instruments faced, and he is making the construction more modular so that components can be swapped out easily when necessary. I think this constant search to do things better is helping to improve his output while providing each buyer with a higher quality, more precisely made concertina. AFAIK Wally was the first builder to offer an adjustable palmrest and people with "non-standard" hands will sure appreciate that flexibility. And if you are not needing a C/G for session playing, a Bb/F is IMHO the best range for overall enjoyment of the concertina: rich organ-like bass and bright but not piercing treble. Like the old Alka Seltzer recommended: "Try it, you'll like it!" Oh and Dave, 30 button Anglos are all that Wally makes. Squeeze on........... Ross Schlabach Proud owner of #10!
  23. Hi Gang, Keep in mind that, even with free shipping (if that even applies to the US since these folks are in Cork, Ireland), the dollar price of their CDs is $24 +/- given recent exchange rates. You have to really want that CD bad at that price. Ross Schlabach
  24. A few years ago Wally hosted another Noel Hill house concert during the MidWest class week and it was a great time. This will be a great improvement over the acoustics of last year's basement concert at Marydale. And I bet Wally's A/C works a whole lot better. Wally, you and your wife are real gems to host this and deserve our special thanks. I expect that just about all of the Midwest class will be there, but any other concertina fans in the area should make a special effort to be there too. You will be glad you did! Ross
  25. The only things covered by the NHICS non-disclosure agreement for 2008 are the copying of any printed, audio, or video materials made during the class. The agreement is very simple and merely requires that you not re-distribute anything you get from the class -- videos, recordings and sheet music included. I doubt that the non-disclosure restrictions would apply to other family members. It's focus is only to inhibit the unauthorized commercial reuse of his performances, his teaching methodologies, and his arrangements of traditional Irish tunes. Now, if we can stop kicking this dead horse, I'm going to pack my bags and head off for the Mid-West class. This is my twelfth year and I'm sure I'll enjoy it as much as I did my first one. And with luck, it won't be my last either!! Ross Schlabach
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