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RP3

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  1. Adam, I agree with the others who are suggesting that the 20 button models you mentioned are not worth the "upgrade". With either of these instruments, you will be looking to upgrade again shortly if you stick with the Anglo. If you hope to truly play across the rows, you will at sometime in the near future be wanting a 30 button Anglo to explore the keys of D and A (assuming that you are interested in the C/G concertina). I could recommend that you wait until you can save up enough money, but if your better half is opposed then even that idea may not fly. But at the very least you need to try and find a 26 button Anglo which can give you the extra notes for the keys of D & A. In short, a 20 button Anglo as you described might give you a better experience but I am afraid that your satisfaction will be short-lived. Finding a decent Lachenal of maybe a Jones with 30 buttons could meet your needs without breaking the bank but will be beyond your target range. I wouldn't suggest a Mayfair Anglo but if can you play one and are satisfied, far be it for me to deter you. Good luck, Ross Schlabach
  2. G.O. has taught at the Swannanoa Gathering and in my opinion is a very good, if somewhat professorial instructor. He also taught a good range of tunes -- including delightful rare tunes from important but obscure players from Ireland. And our class he shared very interesting stories about those players he has recorded and interviewed during his research. In all, his class was well worth taking. Or if you have a choice, Father Charlie is an even better choice. His tunes are generally more simple in construction, but his selections are fun to play and wonderful additions to your repertoire. Ross Schlabach
  3. Stuart, Before you proceed too far, you need to be aware of a very important issue. Different notes do not necessarily have the same size reed shoe. So while it might be easy to swap two reeds that have same size reed shoes (I've been able to do it with C# and D#), moving other notes that are further apart on the scale may mean different size shoes that can't easily be swapped. Retuning offending reeds is not advisable in most cases since the acoustics can be upset or there may not be enough metal left for the reed to work properly if it's pitch is moved too far. A professional concertina repairman would be needed to do a proper job of resizing the different double dovetailed slots or retuning reeds, but even then the swaps you might be considering could be too extreme in terms of the sizes of the reed shoes involved and the different sized chambers -- which themselves can change the acoustics and most definitely will upset the reed tuning. In short, please consult a Highly Skilled concertina repair person before you try to make any serious changes to your new Jeffries or you could have a real mess on your hands. Best of luck, Ross Schlabach
  4. Mike, Have you talked to Greg Jowaisas? Not only does he have the instruments you've already seen on his "Panoply" etc, but he may have others worth your consideration plus he's in the USA just outside of Cincinnati. Ross Schlabach
  5. With the addition of the "Plethora" in another post, it looks like Greg is building his annual concertina Christmas sales tree one layer at a time. But it is especially nice to see a really diverse collection of Anglos in this season's offerings. If I hadn't already contributed repeatedly to Anna's college fund through my past purchases, I might have been negotiating to acquire one of these jewels myself. Warmest holiday greetings to all, Ross Schlabach
  6. Judging from your attached photos, I'm going to make the sometimes dangerous conclusion that you are somewhere near my 69 years. If so or if I'm close, then you may be facing the same problem I'm experiencing. When this pain starting cropping up for me, I addressed the issue with my GP. She felt around my hand carefully and then pressed one place -- giving me an exquisite pain. After I recovered from that, she announced that I was now enjoying the benefits of arthritis! She gave me a prescription that I have yet to fill since so far I have been able to tolerate the pain. And a wet, warm towel provides modest relief. But the more I play, the more I ache. Hope you are not in my shoes! Ross Schlabach
  7. You have accidentally touched on a common complaint with concertinas -- but not always in a drone context. Frequently low notes on a concertina (English, Anglo, Duet) will tend to drown out higher pitched notes. Finding an instrument with good balance between high and low can be a challenge. Also certain notes are sometimes more resonant than their neighbors which can drown out the higher melody notes. Anglos can have a separate button or buttons tuned specifically for drone usage, and I believe these can be "adjusted" to not drown out melody notes through adjustment to chamber size or switching out valves types, but doing so reliably is more an art than a science. Your English is a different matter all together since you have to use one of the regular buttons as your "drone". Trying to change the volume of that one note can mess up its balance with the rest of the low notes which you would not want. Put another way, you may have to find an instrument with better balance to achieve your goal -- unless the G is too loud for its neighbors and needs to be "softened up" anyhow. Good luck, Ross Schlabach
  8. With the new class location, NHICS is endeavoring to eliminate some of the shortcomings experienced at former MidWest class sites. The new location, Todd Hall, is farther into the mid-section of the U.S. than Cincinnati, but it does look like it will be a delightful location with private bathrooms (yah!) and plenty of room for all. As Greg has suggested, Noel can challenge you and he works hard to make sure that every student (no matter what their performance level) gets the most out of their week in class. We each get at least two new tunes a day and, as Noel points out, "the Winter is long" and you will have plenty of music to keep you busy and challenged for long after class is over. There is also the special benefit of the Friday final group session where he encourages students to make special tune requests for him to play and dissect so that anyone can have a chance to explore a specific tune of interest to him or her. BTW, that's where I've been introduced to many new and tempting tunes. And we usually get an evening concert during the week. I've been going to NHICS since 1996 and keep coming back. It's been worth it every time. I expect to be back again next year too when I'll be 70 years young! If you have questions about the class, don't hesitate to post them here and we'll be glad to answer them to the best of our ability. Hope you can join us. Ross Schlabach
  9. Stephen, as you have pointed out above, the early Jeffries concertinas appear to have been made by John Crabb. But my question to you is this: did Crabb also make the metal ends and reeds for these or just the casing and bellows? The reason I ask is that I have several early Jeffries (both 28 and 30 button models) and I find the fretwork much finer than on any early Crabbs I've seen and I detect a difference also in the sound -- especially in the lower ranges. I don't think there has been any general consensus on these points and I'd like to hear your views. Ross Schlabach PS: Sorry if I've appeared to hijack the thread. Didn't mean to.
  10. I had an early Suttner raised end Anglo and did not find the ergonomics that good. I don't attribute that to Suttner's construction but instead don't think the raised end feature goes well with Anglos. If the palm rests aren't taller than on a flat ended instrument, then your fingers have to be held back more to get them in position to actually play the instrument -- a very unnatural position. IMHO the original reason for the raised ends was to provide more room under the ends for the action. With English models, having the raised portion in the middle of each end did maximize the space for the action since the buttons are in the center of each end. Anglos on the other hand have their buttons offset and thus the raised end feature is of less utility. Given the choice, I would pass on a raised end Anglo in favor of a well designed flat ended one. I doubt that English players would have the same criticisms, but I have no experience playing an English, so they can voice their own opinions. Ross Schlabach
  11. Jim and Don, Maybe I should have said "poteen"?! Ross
  12. If you are interested in learning Irish music, the Noel Hill Midwest class is moving to a location just a short hop from St Louis. The week is Aug 2 to Aug 7. Noel is an excellent teacher. I have been doing his class each summer since 1996 so you could say that I have drunk the KoolAid! Ross Schlabach
  13. Based on the seven fold bellows which could be original, I will go out on a limb and suggest that it likely was/is an Aba/Eb or a G/D. How good was my guess Bob? Ross Schlabach
  14. Maybe there is no need for concern here BUT keep in mind that at one time in England, it was common for unscrupulous individuals to try to rebrand concertinas so they would be mistaken for Jeffries concertinas. As the story goes, pawnbrokers would only take Jeffries concertinas, so there was one incentive to change the apparent identity of an instrument. And a number of instruments look like Jeffries so it can be hard to otherwise distinguish imposters from the real thing if the imposter looks like a Jeffries AND appears to have a Jeffries stamp. For these reasons, any apparent discrepancy from the "C Jeffries Maker" should immediately raise a red flag. AFAIK there are no genuine Jeffries concertinas with either "Jeffries" misspelled or the "C" missing, so buyer be very wary if such an error is present!! Ross Schlabach
  15. Concertina22, the C. Jeffries Maker labeled Anglos are generally regarded as having been made during the lifetime of Charles Jeffries (Sr.) but there is no way to prove that concertinas carrying these markings were/weren't made after his demise. The 23 Praed Street location was apparently used by the company between 1891-1908 and numbers of Jeffries concertinas exist with both a 23 Praed Street label and stamping of C. Jeffries Maker, but Jeffries Sr. died in 1906. And Jeffries Bros continued to make concertinas at that location through 1923. So,the general logic is that if you want a concertina that could have been worked on by Sr., then you want concertinas labeled C. Jeffries Maker but with no reference to Praed Street on the label. (This is in spite of the fact that Jeffries operated out of 102 Praed Street from 1879-1891 but AFAIK they didn't label their concertinas with that address.) I have an additional bit of speculation that others may be able to confirm or shoot down. All the bone button Jeffries I have seen are labeled C. Jeffries Maker only and may be from the earlier period when Sr. was still alive, but I haven't seen any bone button Jeffries with Praed Street labels. Of course, buttons could be changed but I think it is fairly safe to assume that most of the Jeffries I have seen/played have their original bone buttons (I admit I have a 28 bone button Bb/F that was metal buttoned at one time but there is no way to know for sure what was on the concertina originally). Can any of our forum members confirm or debunk my speculation?? Ross Schlabach
  16. Pistachio, before you create a distinct problem for all of us vintage concertina owners vis a vis the CITES laws by continuing to imply the widespread use of ivory, you should be made aware that Ivory was not commonly used in vintage concertinas. Instead, the buttons were made of bone which, while still not meeting your vegan goals, do no make use of any poached materials or otherwise despicable collection methods. This is material that would have otherwise been disposed of, or as in the case of French prisoners of war in the 1800s were used to make ship models and all kinds of other decorative items that were sold to keep them better fed and alive til the war was over. Ross Schlabach
  17. Peter is right about travel and the number of concertinas. IIRC I don't think I've ever seen Noel arrive at the NHICS class with more than two concertinas (not counting the miniature which frequently tags along). For all the class sessions, he plays a standard C/G. But when he transitions to concert mode on one or more evenings, all bets are off and many times it has been the C#/G#. Last year he used his new C/G Carroll in class, but I don't remember what he played at the concert he gave at Wally's house. It will be good to see him again in about two weeks. This is year 18, I think , for me at NHICS, and it always gets my concertina batteries recharged! Ross Schlabach
  18. I expect that Noel was playing his C#/G# which is what he normally plays in concerts even at NHICS events. So by playing D fingering across the rows, the music would come out in Eb. I asked him why he plays this instrument so much in concerts -- even at class which keeps us from practicing to recordings -- and he gave the answer I should have anticipated: the instrument sounds so good!?. So I couldn't talk him down!! Having a couple of instruments myself that sound and play so well but aren't in the normal concert pitch, I can appreciate his position. Now that he is having special Noel Hill model concertinas made by Wally Carroll, I wonder if he will transition to one of these for his concerts (if he hasn't already)? But even if he does, will it be in C/G? Ross Schlabach
  19. Alex, as a point of reference, I sold a 30 button Anglo "Rushworth & Draeper" Crabb around 2002 for the US equivalent of £3,700 and a very good player it was indeed. Like the one you mentioned, this one too was a bone button/metal ended model. Just goes to show that there are and have been fine Crabb models floating around out there and people willing to pay a serious price to acquire same. Several interesting questions to ponder as a result of the failure of the Jeffries in question to sell on eBay (the absence of adequate photo information notwithstanding) are these: Are 38 button Jeffries Anglos less desirable than 30 button ones? Do current buyers prefer bone button Jeffries models to metal buttoned ones? Has eBay become an unwelcome place to sell concertinas? Has the market become so weak that even a model from a prized maker can't sell for a very reasonable price? I have my own opinions on these issues. And maybe I have failed to pose the right questions all together? What do others think? Ross Schlabach
  20. Well it ended with no bids. Guess the vintage concertina market is going through what Wall Street would call a "correction"! Glad I like my concertinas, cause I wouldn't want to be selling one in this market. Ross Schlabach
  21. Wow, does Michelle Mulcahy have a doctorate in something or is that a misprint? We saw the Mulcahy family during a private concert during a 2000 Ireland tour arranged by Mic Moloney and she was just in her teens then. My how time does pass. Ross Schlabach
  22. Peter is of course correct. My choice of the word "integral" implied too much and I should have said it was an "as written" part of the tune rather that an alternative way of playing that part of the passage. However, after looking at various other transcriptions of this tune, the triplet only showed up in the one source I had originally consulted, so it is apparently just a variation as Peter pointed out. Mea culpa! But it still gives you a context for one of the triplet combinations we were discussing. Now search out the alternate transcriptions, and you will also see the ways you can avoid that triplet if you -- like me -- have a rough time with the fingering!! Ross Schlabach
  23. Hi once more Greg, Just reviewed another tune, the Templehouse Reel, and it has the F#, E, D triplet we discussed last -- in the A part. In this tune, it is integral and not an ornament added by Noel. As I mentioned yesterday, it is not fun as a pinkie, 2nd finger, 3rd finger triplet, but it is a basic part of the tune. You might want to check it out - again even if it is not the one you were seeking. Ross Schlabach
  24. Hi Greg, First off, there is no way to do an F#, E, D on the C row because there is no F# on the C row -- the F# is on the G row. Using both rows, it can be done but the fingering (draw, press, draw on the pinkie, second finger, third finger) is not the easiest. But let's look at Trip to Durrow to see if we can't find what you are really looking for. Looking at my notes and listening to the tune, I wonder if instead the ornament you are searching for is D, E, C#, D. That shows up in "Trip.." in the A part, and is played: D LH G row, E RH C row, C# RH accidental row, D LH G row (all on the press) Even if this is not the ornament you are seeking, it is a fun one to learn and use. Ross Schlabach
  25. Hi Greg, If in fact the triplet is D,E, F# then the next question is "in which octave." It might help greatly if you happen to know what song this "ornament" was featured in? Without those answers, we can try to at least work out the different combinations for that three note triplet. In the higher octave, it would start with a press D on the top button in the G row, followed by the E (same button on the draw), and finished with the draw F# which is the first button on the G row right hand. This triplet frequently is followed by the press G, so you could have thought you heard or saw D,E, G -- and just didn't hear the draw F# clearly in that combination. This is frequently used by Noel and others. Another possibility that I doubt is what you are seeking could start from the draw D on the C row, right side, second button, move to draw E on the G row left side and finish on the draw F# on the G row right side, 1st button. A 3 draw note triplet strikes me as unlikely but stranger things I'm sure have happened. The lower octave triplet would have two possible normal combinations with the more likely one starting with the press D on the 4th button down on the G row, followed by the E press on the C row second button, and finished with the draw F# on the left side 4th button G row. IMHO the other alternative is less likely to be used and the only change from the first one is to start with the draw D on the C row. Where a finger may be needed next often controls the starting point to avoid things like having to use a single finger to jump two quick notes in a row. My above examples all focused on the D, E, F# triplet but Noel uses so many other triplets and ornaments that it is nearly impossible to give you good advice without knowing the context. Also, I have to acknowledge that Noel does have some rather wild ornaments used in his tunes like the one that appears at the beginning of the A part in the March of the Kings Laois (sp?). I've been struggling with many of them since my first class with him in 1996, the 17 years hence at the NHICS and again this August. But if you have an idea of the tune where it was used, I have a full collection of the assigned tunes for all those years and could probably locate the fingering in my notes. Regards, Ross Schlabach
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