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RP3

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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!
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. I think all the responses have been very well restrained and on-point, but I am inclined to believe that the question was intended to "wind us up"! If not, accept my apology but understand that many instruments that reside more in the folk than the classic realm are disregarded by classic music's self-appointed critics and gurus. Hence, there is little emphasis in "our" world on applying labels such as virtuoso. We know who some/most of the premier concertina players are but most of the outside world does not. It doesn't bother us much but then again it probably keeps these folks from earning the kind of living that they should from their music. All the more reason for us to support them at concerts and through the sales of their self-produced CDs, and the like. I now relinquish the soapbox to someone else. Ross Schlabach
  15. Hi Lawrence, Being as I retired last August and am not that far away from you in western NC, put me on the list. I would like to learn more about the event, so if there is a website with any information about past events, I'd like to have a look at it if you can direct me accordingly. Hope it all comes together well, and if needed I can chip in with an additional contribution for expenses. Ross Schlabach
  16. I too remember that thread -- and not very fondly either. This idea sounds good but then many of the Socialists' ideas sounded good but never worked -- or failed miserably. We tried a similar thing in having a scholarship fund that would be used to support "deserving" students help attend Noel Hill's school. To my knowledge we only did it a limited number of times and IMHO it didn't really work out as well as intended -- and consequently died. As far as this proposed fund is concerned, who is going to decide who gets the money/instrument? At best we will have one hopefully happy person but many more disgruntled people who were not chosen -- and their parents/relatives. There are many instances where people with means or extra concertinas will make a grand gesture and loan an instrument to someone they consider deserving. This is probably the best way to go with such a decision based on a one-to-one personal relationship. If you follow classic music at all, there are a number of instances where virtuosos have lost very valuable instruments that are on loan to them. One has to ask if they would have lost that same instrument if they had had to come up with the money for it? Or put another way, you will never have as much appreciation for something that is given to you as something you have worked to EARN. I will admit there are undoubtedly exceptions to this statement, but the underlying truth remains. I suggest that each person truly interested in the concertina will find a way to get one that suits his/her needs, talents, and/or means. If individuals want to help individuals, go for it. But don't try to institutionalize something like this; it will create more anger and harm than good. And the recipient will come to feel "entitled" which is just what many of us felt was so outrageous about the ideas set forth in the former thread. Ross Schlabach
  17. Hi Jerry, You didn't say what kind of concertina you have gotten. I live in Tryon and have played Anglo for 13 years and participated in noel Hill's classes here in the states for 12 years. I don't consider myself any great expert, but if you are starting out on anglo, I could probably get you going in the right direction for while. Drop me a message off-line if I can be of help. Best regards, Ross Schlabach 828 no 894 spam 5504
  18. Hi Jerry, You didn't say what kind of concertina you have gotten. I live in Tryon and have played Anglo for 13 years and participated in noel Hill's classes here in the states for 12 years. I don't consider myself any great expert, but if you are starting out on anglo, I could probably get you going in the right direction for while. Drop me a message off-line if I can be of help. Best regards, Ross Schlabach 828 no 894 spam 5504
  19. RP3

    Wtb: Bc Accordion

    Since many of us concertina players can't limit our free-reed obsessions to just concertinas, I'm hoping that this crowd can help me find a quality 3 reed flat keyboard BC box. Right now my attention is focused on a Cairdin or a Castagnari Dinn III - preferrably in Swing tuning. In case you are wondering, I've already checked out the Button Box. If you have one that you'd like to sell or know of someone who does, please contact me via the PM. Thanks, Ross Schlabach
  20. A lot of the replies have touched on key issues both in favor and against the 38 button instruments (weight, need for chords, it was the only thing available, etc.) but I don't think anyone has mentioned crowded keyboard. I have big fingers and they don't handle 38 button layouts well. I made the mistake some years ago of changing my order with Suttner from a 30 button to a 38 button A/E. Big mistake! So if you think you "need" 38 buttons for whatever reason, do make an effort to try several 38 button instruments to be sure that you are comfortable with the button sizes and layout -- to see if it fits your hands. On a different part of this same thread I can remember conversations with Noel Hill where he has said that 30 buttons is plenty and more aren't needed. Now I expect that his response was from his point of view and playing style. And he has backed this up by playing tunes in a wide variety of keys on the same 30 button C/G instrument. But we're not Noel Hill and styles do differ and players who do a lot of chord work may find a 38 button instrument offers more chord opportunities than a 30 button -- taking into account the push and pull issues of the instrument's layout. So it seems that there is no right or wrong answer to the original question. It boils down to style, preferences, and instrument availability. We all must go our own ways on this one. Ross Schlabach
  21. I have attended Noel's classes since 1996 and have grown to believe that his school is very beneficial to all who attend and work to really absorb what has been taught. Never in all these years did I feel that Noel was unreasonable in asking the students not to share his teaching materials or methods. Otherwise what would stop someone from attending one year and then attempt to open one's own school using the information learned -- very much akin to Ken's experience. Never in all these years and with all the other students I have met did I hear anyone complain about having to sign the release. To help everyone understand Noel's position better, you should know that Noel spent several years putting together material that was to be a concertina tutor. And then, at a music festival (I think), all that material was stolen and years of hard work were lost. Now in this thread we have a person griping about Noel's non-disclosure requirements. As was pointed out, Noel is a single parent of two great kids and all three of them need to eat. He makes a substantial portion of his annual income from teaching here in the states and he has every right to protect his source of income. If you can't appreciate that concept, then by all means go somewhere else for concertina instruction; but to allege that Noel is being unreasonable or that something is taken away from the experience by having to sign that form is pure poppycock and very self-serving. Ross Schlabach
  22. Gary, I'm an eleven year veteran (victim) of Noel's School. Micheal's comment about the benefits of being able to read music used to be accurate but are not as important now. When I started back in 1996, Noel did teach some very hard tunes -- even to early players like myself. It's hard to memorize a three part tune and so reading sheet music was an important way of dealing with the challenge. In the intervening years, both the students and Noel himself have grown in their abilities. I believe Noel has become much more astute in selecting tunes that match the abilities of the three different groups in the school (beginner, intermediate, and advanced). So with these advances, the need for sheet music is much less. Noel will encourage every student to try and learn tunes by ear but he won't be a tyrant about it either -- except maybe with his advanced students, and even they get cut a little slack too, if needed. As one who resisted going without sheet music, I must admit I was a real idiot to be so insistent on having the paper in front of me. When you learn from hearing, your ears and brain pick up so much more information than is on the paper. Try it, you'll like it. One other important point, IMHO. Don't expect to absorb and have everything you're taught planted firmly in your mind or your fingers by the end of the week. I have found that the tunes given out over the week (two per day for Monday thru Thursday and more or less on Friday) will keep you occupied all winter. It's not that these tunes are so hard; there's so much that you can learn to add to them: chords, ornaments, drones and the like. So bring a good recorder with lots of media and batteries. Absorb what you can during the week, and dive back into your recordings once you get home and you'll have a treasure of material to keep you busy during the cold months. Best regards and I'll see you at the Midwest class. Ross Schlabach
  23. Hi Dave, I'm a long-time anglo player, and Jeffries owner, and I don't live all that far from you. I live in Tryon, NC and Charlotte is only about 1-1/2 hours away. If you need somebody to open the instrument up to evaluate its condition for potential buyers, just send me an e-mail. I have the experience to do check this out and can help you with photos too. I'm recenty retired, so time is not a major issue. You can reach me through my e-mail address on this site. Best regards, Ross Schlabach aka rp3
  24. Alan, In my experience, the position of the palmrest seems to be very arbitrary from maker to maker. Wheatstone & Lachenal anglos have the palmrest very close to the first row of buttons -- suggesting that the positioning was selected to accommodate people with small hands in Victorian England. No surprise here. Also, the rows of buttons are stacked very close to vertical. Crabbs/Ball Beavons, and Jeffries instead are positioned more comfortably for people with larger hands -- with more space from the palmrest to the first row and the rows of buttons are stacked with more of an angle between rows, and these brands seemed to find great favor in the hands of Irish farmer musicians and the like -- your humble scribe included. I should note that there is even variety in the centering of the palmrest position and this can affect row access too. Another issue is the positioning of the air button on the righthand side of these instruments. Some are positioned much lower on the instrument -- forcing one to bend one's thumb down to reach that button. With my big hands, I most favor the air button position on Crabbs and Jeffries. With that all being said, even these limited choices are not enough to accommodate the variety in peoples' hands. Wally Carroll is making his new concertinas with an adjustable palmrest to deal with these individual differences. He can tell you the limitations of this movement, but it can be set individually for the left and right side of the instrument. The height of the palmrest plays into this issue too. A taller palmrest (1" or more) will ease access to first row buttons even if the palmrest is closer to the first row of buttons than would normally be comfortable with a standard height palmrest (5/8" to 3/4"). Wally can work with you on palmrest height as can Dipper. In fact my Dipper came standard with a taller palmrest. I don't know why, but I'm glad it did. Of course, Colin did have a tracing of my hand and so he knew I had problems with the more traditional setups ala Wheatstone. BTW, I find it difficult to reach the lower lefthand first row buttons, and a slight rotation of the palmrest eases my access to those buttons. But it's a delicate balance. Improve access to the low buttons on the left and you may restrict access to the higher notes near the top of the instrument on that side. Strap tension can either improve or restrict range of motion too. So take your time, try out different combinations, and don't do anything you can't undo. Good luck, Ross Schlabach
  25. That makes three of us that haven't been able to get an e-mail response. I was checking into the Ireland class since I've now retired! No, not from playing concertina. Ross S.
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