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Everything posted by RP3

  1. I agree with Frank. I'm assuming that we're talking about Anglos. My first concertina was an early Suttner (#48) and it was a raised end Linota model -- even though I don't know if there was such a thing when Linotas were new. The height of the palm-rest was too low given the raised center section and I was constantly fighting with it. My fingers had trouble arching back -- especially for the G row which is closer to the palm-rest on Wheatstones than it is on many other brands. The low F# was particularly tough to reach with my big hands. The problems went away when I got my first Jeffries -- a 28 button C/G from Paul Groff. Possibly, a taller palm-rest would have helped, but I always found the ergomonics uncomfortable. If you really think you want a raised end concertina, my advice would be to find someone with a raised end model and try it out first. And confirm the key dimensions with the maker before you commit. Otherwise, flat ends are the way to go. Ross Schlabach
  2. While I have not had the opportunity to take classes with Grainne, I have attended the Celtic Week at Swannanoa for several years and each has been an outstanding learning and musical experience. I also have concertina playing friends who have taken Grainne's class, and they have had nothing but good things to say about her class. You should also know that instructors are critiqued by the students and instructors receiving bad ratings aren't asked back. Grainne has been teaching concertina there for a number of years. In addition to the daily 1-1/2hr +/- class sessions, there are lots of other playing and learning opportunities at Swannanoa. Each evening from 6-7PM, there is a slow jam session hosted by one of the instructors. The hosting instructors change each evening. These are great learning sessions with opportunities to play with other instruments and not just concertinas. For later in the evening, there are usually several sessions going on at different locations around the campus. Near the session tents, they have a beer tent and pizza is delivered each evening around 9 PM or so for those who need a little more sustenance. To say that someone has lots of playing, learning (and eating) opportunities at Swannanoa is still understating it. And to top it off, there is a dance -- normally on Thursday -- that features a number of the instructors and top students as the band. You can dance if you wish, or just enjoy listening to the music. Hopefully you will get your specific questions answered, but I feel comfortable in telling you that you will have a great time if you go. Regards, Ross Schlabach
  3. Andrew, when I studied the right hand photo you originally posted, I could only see two buttons that obviously looked like they were added later. The rest looked original. I couldn't find a picture of the right end of a 38 button model to compare to but I'm thinking yours might have started life as a 38 button model. One reason I'm thinking that way is the metal around the rest of the buttons. Only the 2 bottom end buttons extend beyond that solid metal portion that normally surrounds the button area. It will be interesting to hear what our experts have to say. Ross Schlabach
  4. Hi Andrew, I have several Jeffries models and have considered the same question. My suggestion to you is that you not mess with the bent metal and compressed wood if that's your only problem. Now if you need other repairs to the sides, then my answer would be different. But if the concertina doesn't have any bellows to frame air leaks, I'd leave well enough alone. From the limited views you gave us, I wonder if the bellows are going. If so, I'd recommend you go for a quality bellows replacement. No cheapie here since you've got a quality instrument. On the restoration vs conservation argument, I have no use for collectors who take good playing instruments out of circulation. So I say to do what needs to be done to keep this Jeffries as a top player -- and enjoy! Ross Schlabach
  5. No, but it is an endorsement for brass reeds -- the laser issue notwithstanding. Ross Schlabach
  6. Another possibility is wire EDM. That's what Wally Carroll uses very successfully and I don't think there's the same radius problem you described. He has even done titanium reed shoes but says that this metal takes far too long on the machine and breaks the wire a lot. Not worth it for the small weight saving. Good luck with your project. Ross Schlabach
  7. That link just took me to the SoundCloud site -- but no video! Ross Schlabach
  8. Before the concertina, my prime instrument was the hammer dulcimer. But I transitioned to the concertina because I really liked Irish music AND the concertina weighs much less and doesn't have to be retuned every time you turn around! And I still love them both -- with the concertina definitely taking first place! Ross Schlabach
  9. Chris, check with Greg Jowaisas. He most likely has several to choose from. And they will already be ready to play! Ross Schlabach
  10. RP3

    Amboyna Aeola

    Hi All, I don't think the one in that awful video is the same instrument -- unless there have been some repairs since. Look at the video -- if you can stand it again -- and you'll see there's a piece of missing veneer on one of the eight sides. But there's no missing veneer on the eBay one just sold. Maybe, just maybe, that lovely and ridiculously expensive concertina wasn't subjected to that YouTube humiliation. One can only hope. Ross Schlabach
  11. Lawrence, say it isn't so. I can't believe you've crossed over to the darkside! Any more news on the Tionol? Ross Schlabach
  12. Hi there Wannaplay, Your idea of playing jazz on a concertina is an interesting and possibly unique one -- and as such, we may not be able to give you a definitive answer. But here are some things you need to consider. First is your budget. Concertinas are deceptively expensive and your budget won't get you much. At best, you might be able to find a hybrid concertina to start with. Repeat after me: Cheap concertinas are junk! Now that we have that out of the way, here are some thoughts -- actually a stream of consciousness thing. Jazz can come in any keys, so you will probably want to strike diatomic concertinas (anglos) off your list. I know people play harmonicas in jazz, but they are cheap and you can carry several in your pocket to adapt when somebody changes key. So an english or a duet csoncertina with its full chromatic capability can give you more flexibility. BUT neither of these concertina types has a lot of punch. These concertinas are most often heard playing legato. I'm sure that some people like Simon Thoumire get some fire out of their instruments but you are fighting the basic design when you try -- that's why he ocassionally pulls the thumb straps off his English concertina while playing. Overall, I'm having a hard time visualizing jazz concertina. You will probably have to triple your budget to get a good instrument which would have a good keyboard needed to generate good, clean and smooth fast runs and I keep struggling with the issue of dynamics to give you a volume range that you might need too. The one thing that immediately popped into my head as a solution for you is accordion: either button or piano. The sound can be quite similar to a concertina but there's plenty of dynamic range, full chromatic scope (even on certain button accordions like b/c or c#/d models). And suitable accordions can be found for a more reasonable price. Anyway, if you really feel the inclination, go for it. But do be aware of the inherent limitations that may hamper your output. Good luck, Ross Schlabach
  13. RP3

    wheatstone on ebay

    That one has already been listed by him before and yanked at the last minute when it wasn't bringing his outrageous price expectations. I wish eBay would just kick him off for all the rule violations he's undoubtedly accumulated. But they keep making money off him -- sale or no sale! Ross Schlabach
  14. Andy, I have heard repeatedly that until recently Chris Algar could get better prices for concertinas (Jeffries and Wheatstones high among them) in Ireland than elsewhere. It's to his credit that he hasn't sent them all there and left the rest of the world to do without. However, the current economic situation in Ireland probably means that the demand for fine concertinas has softened somewhat. I must admit at the same time that almost any time I see some new up-and-coming young concertina player performing on YouTube, it's likely to be a Jeffries sitting in their lap! But strong economy or weak, goods of high quality always retain their value better -- no matter where you go. Happy Holidays, Ross Schlabach
  15. Hi Lawrence, Glad you are delighted with your new Suttner. BTW, what key is it in? Enjoy, Ross Schlabach
  16. Mike, I'm not in England, but I can offer a suggestion. Several years ago I got a 38 button ebony ended A4 from Jurgen. It was beautiful but very heavy. So unless weight is not an issue for you, I would suggest you stick with the 30 button models. I would also pass on ebony for the same reason and its tendency to crack. Best regards and good luck with your decision, Ross Schlabach
  17. I received two replies to my question about the photos from fallaghman, the eBay lister of the second concertina. Here they are: "Very many thanks to you for drawing my attention to this detail, but I have also said that may not be EXACTLY the same, which should cover this. I couldn't find the proper one @ the time." "Last night I couldn't find the one that I wanted & that was the only pic. that I could find. Been replaced today" I thought that first reply was totally a cop out and unsatisfactory. But his listing has since been revised with a new photo that hopefully is of the interior of the concertina he's selling and the second reply reflects that. Ross Schlabach
  18. Anytime a listing has misleading or incorrect information, then a potential buyer is being defrauded unless the incorrect information is removed in time for buyers to make an informed decision. I sent the seller a question asking about this apparent error to see what they have to say. Hopefully, this will be resolved quickly. Ross Schlabach
  19. I studied both listings and in the first (the Wheatstone), the view through the ends is clearly red and matches the interior shot. I was able to also identify that the action pictures were both showing a standard Lachenal hook and loop lever system which I think was standard for the later Wheatstones like the one in the first listing. A careful look at the end photo of the second eBay listing shows the interior to be a tan or natural wood color. IMHO, there is clearly no baffle cloth or anything like that in the photo posted by Daniel. So my evaluation -- without any other supporting info -- is that the interior shot on the second listing is clearly bogus. It may not have been intended to mislead, but mislead it does. One final thing I noted was that on the interior shot for the second listing, the air button is about exactly opposite that side's hold down screw. But the outside view is of an instrument that has its air button is offset further back toward the palmrest. There is no doubt that those don't belong to the same instrument. Ross Schlabach
  20. Hi John, You are apparently now going through what I experienced back in the late 1990s. I started off with a Suttner that was a clone of the Wheatstone Linota. It was quite cramped and the palmrest was ill positioned. Through lots of experimentation and measuring, I found out that Wheatstones and Lachenals have their rows of notes closer to the palmrest than do Jeffries, Crabbs and custom-made Dippers -- as you have experienced. George Salley's instrument is a one of a kind that I think became the basis for the Shantyman model that Dipper has made. I too had Dipper make me a small Cotswold (just a bit bigger than the County Clare model) that was customized to fit my hands. You will find that virtually all of the concertinas -- regardless of brand -- with more than 30 buttons will have tighter and, for me, less comfortable button spacing. 40 button Wheatstones and 45 button Jeffries will be about the worst for this. So stick to 30 button models to avoid this issue. Over the years I have found that just about any regular Jeffries, Crabb, Ball Beavon will fit my bigger hands just fine. But I have to pass on Wheatstones and Lachenals for the reason I mentioned. As was already mentioned, you can get a Carroll with adjustable palmrests (for some extra $$). Another way to get comfortable spacing for your hands on a Carroll and possibly the other two is to have a taller palmrest made. Wally Carroll did that for me and it solved the Linota spacing. So, my advice is to either get on Carroll's wait list (with adjustable palmrest or taller palmrest) or hunt for a Jeffries, Crabb or possibly a Ball Beavon. Any of these will solve your hand comfort issues. Best regards, Ross Schlabach
  21. RP3

    wheatstone on ebay

    If I remember correctly from pictures in earlier threads of the concertina in question, there is some damage and/or missing fretwork to the side not shown. I too expect that the seller will repeat an earlier practice of pulling the listing if he doesn't like where the bidding is going -- or not going! The seller has established a well defined pattern of refusing to disclose routine information about the concertinas he has on eBay, and his responses to legitimate questions have been anything but friendly. He regularly refuses to provide information that any bidder should want to know and his responses belittle those who ask for that information. I've said it before and I repeat it here: Steer clear! Ross
  22. Hello. I can't help you with prices on a 38 button., but I can offer some issues to consider. First, 38 button instruments are heavier than 30 button models but I strongly recommend you try both before making a decision about whether this extra weight bothers you. However, I can say that IMHO the 46 button models are far too heavy for comfortable play of ITM -- they may still be suitable for other kinds of music if you need the extra notes for chords, etc. You didn't say what kind of music you want to play. If it is ITM, then a 30 button C/G will suit and the extra 8 buttons are not required. Another potential issue is button size. As the instruments add buttons, these buttons frequently get smaller. I find the smaller metal buttons uncomfortable. High spring tension will make this worse. I have played many Jeffries and Crabbs and prefer the 30 bone button models of either. As to the difference between Jeffries and earlier Crabbs, I think it's more a matter of tone and attack than anything else. Many of the earlier Jeffries were made by Crabb -- hence the similarity in appearance and action. From my experience, I find that normally the Jeffries will have bit more bite and volume while the Crabbs are a bit smoother and less honky. Since Jeffries are highly prized, you may fine that you can get an equivalent model Crabb for a good bit less money but not sacrifice playability and still have almost the same sound. Both the Jeffries and the Crabbs will favor players with larger hands. Smaller handed players usually get on better with Wheatstones. Hope that helps, Ross Schlabach
  23. At some point recently, I saw a photo or series of photos that showed different end run stamps used supposedly on Jeffries or similar (Crabb, Ball Beavon, etc) concertinas. i can not find that information again and would appreciate it if anyone can direct me to the right place to find it again. Thanks in advance, Ross Schlabach
  24. Wally Carroll is already using a lot of this technology in his new concertinas. All the reedframes are cut by wire EDM and the reed tongues are cut by the same method. The wooden endframes are cut by CNC as are many of the wooden parts. Parts for the bellows are cut by laser and so on. So, at least at his shop, this technology is in full action with ful interchangability. Ross Schlabach
  25. Mike, Your Morris friends may have condemned the Bb/F but there's many a Irish piper with some C pipes who'd love to share a tune with you on that box!! And I, for one, believe that Bb/F is about the best pitch combination there is-- much mellower than C/G -- and consequently I have a 28 b. Jeffries on its way to me from Greg J. Regards, Ross Schabach
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