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Posts posted by AlexCJones

  1. Years ago, I bought a case from a guy named John Fallon. A John Fallon case came with my Edgley at the time, so I ordered a blocked case from the same case maker. The cases are blocked, have aluminum-reinforced edges, and each one has a shoulder strap so you don't have to use up a hand carrying one concertina.


    I don't know if John Fallon is still making cases. I can't find "Fallon Cases" on the web. I just now sent an email to the email address that I last used in 2005 and I still have not received an email indicating invalid address yet. So, maybe he is still around.

  2. If you Google the words 'clare set neil wayne' you'll go right to it, but here it is anyway:



    I do have some recordings of Mrs O'Dwyer on House Dance as well, and much more information on her life and times than is on the Clare Set. But the several CDs of the Clare Set comprise a key work IMHO for anyone interested in Irish-style concertina playing.


    I found it on Amazon too:



    Anyway, my whole point in bringing up these Frontalinis and Silvertones --obviously Germans--


    I had thought that Frontalini was an Italian make, Do your Frontalinis have a "made in Germany" mark? Bastari was not the only Italian maker.


    Okay, there Frontalini accordions that actually have "Made in Italy" stamped on them. As for my concertina, it does not have "Made in ...." anywhere printed on it, nor does it have anything else printed on it except the name "Frontalini". It is identical to one that had the name "Silvertone" on it, and "Silvertone" was a brand name that Sears, Roebuck used to use. I cannibalized the Silvertone for parts for repairing two Frontalinis - one which I sold. The one I kept has bellows that belonged to the Silvertone. So one can claim that this Frontalini was made in USA since I assembled it at home.


    Anyway, I have no way to confirm where either the Frontalinis or the Silvertones were built, but they were built on the same pattern, the makers must have used identical jigs etc. They could have come from a factory in Germany, and the Frontalinis then given the Frontalini logo so that the same company that sells other instruments under the name "Frontalini" can include them in their catalog. They could have come from the factory in Italy where Frontalini accordions are made, and then some of them given the Silvertone logo to be shipped to the US to be sold by Sears.


    So just like some Stagi models, they could be Italian-made Germans.


    That concertina looks like a Scholer to me. They turn up quite frequently on the internet, with the same woody decoration.


    Just my very first thought on this photograph.


    Yes, I could have easily mistaken one of these for a Scholer. I might have seen many of these and mistaken them all for Scholers!


    It resembles some of the large Scholers in number of bellows folds and bellows connecters:



    The bellows have more folds than my Frontalini, which actually does have its reeds in individually waxed in accordion reed blocks or shoes and steel reeds. (Smallest single-reed Scholer on left, Frontalini on right):



    My Frontalini is actually assembled from the best parts of a few other concertinas, some branded "Frontalini", and some branded "Silvertone" but all pretty much the same instrument maybe from the same factory. In addition to the reeds being in pairs (just like O'Dwyer's Ceili Band) instead of bars of 10, they are also in-tune with modern standard A440 tuning, (or at least close enough), where the Scholers are all either all painfully sharp or painfully flat. I would guess that O'Dwyer's Ceili Band might also be in tune with the rest of the world.


    Here is what the Frontalini looks like on the outside:


    Anyway, my whole point in bringing up these Frontalinis and Silvertones --obviously Germans-- is that they could be from the same time and place as O'Dwyer's "Ceili Band". So they are all examples of Germans that are of higher quality than Scholers. It is just that O'Dwyer's "Ceili Band" is double-octave-reeded.


    Oh, and if I refer to my Frontalini as an "Anglo" in print, then I will use quotes, and explain that it is actually a German.

  5. I now own Ella Mae O'Dwyer's German concertina, having been given it by her son Sean, an excellent Anglo player. It is a 'Ceili' model from the early 1950s, and contains double (octave) steel accordion reeds that are individually mounted, very like modern hybrids. It and its bellows are in great shape, a testament not only to the instrument's quality but to the care taken of it by Mrs. O'Dwyer. It plays very well, especially considering that each depressed button plays two reeds instead of one, and that the bellows are much larger than those of most Anglos. These instruments are designed for, and well-suited to, playing the moderate tempo ballroom dance music of their era, not the frantic pace and reel-rich repertoire of modern revival sessions.

    So far, I have read some of your articles, like the one about the concertina in America and the one about the concertina on the Seas. But I have not read your books yet. Do any of your books include full-color photos of this German concertina that once belonged to Mrs. O'Dwyer? If not then can you post some? I would like to be able to recognize one if I ever happen to have an opportunity to buy one.


    I like the photos of the South-African one.

  6. Ella Mae O'Dwyer was recorded by Neil Wayne and John Tams in the 1970s, and those recordings are part of the Clare Set of classic recordings of Irish concertina music. Those recordings as a group are a standard for anyone interested in Irish music.


    Could you be so kind as to provide a link to a place where I can find these recordings? Or is that all covered in your House Dance publication? Seriously, I do intend to read it sometime in the near future.


    Your information on German concertinas is both a bit narrow and out of date.


    I was rather transparent about my sources being this article http://www.concertina.net/buy_used.html and my experience with Scholers. Maybe you should inform someone who is in charge of concertina.net that this article needs updating. My statement against purchasing Scholers should be understood as a statement informed only by experience with Scholers.


    As you can see, the Stagi is definitely not the best quality one can find in a double-reeded German-style concertina (by the way, they are not 'Anglos').


    Hold on there buddy! I never claimed that the Stagi "is the best quality one can find in a double-reeded German-style concertina." I stated that the "Stagi C-2 is the best quality anyone is likely to find in a double-reeded hexagonal Anglo." I am not sure how the English language works in your region, but where I am from, the phrase "is likely to" means something rather different from "can possibly". If you have a basket containing 3 black marbles, 5 white ones, and 11 grey ones, and you reach in and grab one without looking, you are most likely to grab a grey one, though it is possible to grab a black or white one. My deliberate choice of the phrase "is likely to" was intended to avoid excluding the possibility of finding a better quality parallel octave-tuned hexagonal squeezebox. It was intended to include such a possibility.


    If you count the number of hexagonal double-reed squeezeboxes currently available for purchase on the English-language world-wide-web, and the ones you can find at local music stores, I'll bet that the largest number are those Chinese-made imitation Scholers, then of course Scholers, and if you look just a little harder, you can find Stagi C-2's at a number of shops. As for these higher quality hexagonal double-reed boxes that you describe, is the number of these in playable condition and currently available for purchase greater than the number of Scholers or Chinese ones available for purchase? Is it easier find one of these higher-quality ones for sale than it is to find Stagi C-2? If you can prove that one is more likely to find a high-quality double-reed octave tuned hexagonal squeezebox than a Stagi C-2, then I will admit that my statement was dead wrong.


    If it were not for your web site, I would have no idea where to look for one. I would credit you as being most responsible for informing the English-language community on the existence of these.

    (by the way, they are not 'Anglos').

    Okay, I have already stopped using the term "Irish" to mean "without chords", and I never liked the phrase "English-Style Anglo playing" to mean "with chords", so now the term "Anglo" is off-limits too. I am pretty sure I am not the first person to use use that term to refer to any concertina whose bottom 2 rows are tuned much like a pair of harmonicas split in two. So, would you care to enlighten me (and anyone else reading this who might be responsible for misinforming me) on when it is appropriate to use the term "Anglo"?

  7. Well here are that last videos I did of my playing (in what I call) octaves. ;)




    really need to do an update.

    The use of the chords on the first one works very well. I have been stuck in oom-pah mode for a while., so I never thought doing it this way.

    On the second one, I like the way the chords come in as it progresses.

  8. Alex - I think it's worthwhile for us to note that although the single-note style is referred to as "Irish", it nowhere near encompasses the varieties of playing styles in Ireland. Ella-Mae o'Dwyer is probably the poster girl for heavily chorded and octaved playing on a double-reeded concertina.

    I agree with that. Even worse, there is the term "English style Anglo playing" to mean a style with chords. It would be better if people would just use terms like "monophonic" and "polyphonic" or "single melodic line" and "with harmony". But, it seems that the term "Irish" has been in use to mean the ornamented single melodic line style commonly found in Irish sessions has been in use long before either of us were born, so I am not going to fight the use of that term.


    I'll have to see if I can find some recordings of Ella-Mae O'Dwyer. I have not found any on eMusic

    I also think it might be a bit reductivist to suggest that if you want a double-reed sound, you should just play a different instrument. Plenty of people used to play on double-reeded Germans because they were cheaper and more available, and people today might be interested in their playing styles if they opt for that type of instrument specifically. It is certainly a reach to say those aren't "real" concertinas!



    I did put quotes around the word, so no need to take it so seriously. I would not be surprised if that is what Chemnitzer players call their instruments on their on-line forums. Also, I just reflected what I thought was the attitude held by everyone here towards those cheap German boxes. See the paragraph 6: http://www.concertina.net/buy_used.html So, I am evading responsibility on that one too.


    After my experience with Scholers, I am not going to recommend those to anyone, unless it is for taking apart. I did not see much wrong with suggesting other instruments, because I am learning melodeon too. Maybe, I should have suggested the Stagi C-2, but that is the best quality anyone is likely to find in a double-reeded hexagonal Anglo.

  9. The design of the Anglo Concertina is such that it is ideally suited for simple chord augmentation to a melody line. To restrict play to 'single note' or 'octave' style is to seriously neglect the instruments full potential. Might as well play a Penny Whistle !

    I agree with this. It is like not getting your money's worth. Some people refer to that style of playing as being "Irish style". The best part of playing that way is that it takes less time to learn a tune. If playing on an English, I found that I could actually sight-read when playing that way. But, on the other hand, it gets boring. In my opinion, a concertina sounds best when it has harmony happening.


    Then there are some 20 button concertinas that have 2 or more reeds per note, with the reeds tuned an octave apart. When you play chords on one of those, the chords can sound kind of mushy:


    On the last portion of this one, I play in parallel octaves, and this is on that same box that already plays in 2 octaves per note:


    My recommendation is to simply not buy a concertina that has multiple reeds per note -- just stick to a "real" concertina. If you want multiple reeds per note, play a melodeon or accordion or a Chemnitzer.

  10. Since we are posting about videos in the general topic, I'll mention that I recently re-shot and re-posted my series on Scholer concertinas.



    Unfortunately, the piece of footage in which I make dents in the button board by squeezing it in a pair of pliers got lost. That was to demonstrate the low quality of wood used. But even with that missing, I hope there is enough information to eliminate any curiosity about Scholer concertinas and help people avoid wasting their time and money on them.

  11. He is at it again!




    This time I noticed that there is a box to enter the quantity that you want order, and it says: "10 available". Also, this time he has it classified as "Electronics".


    This has to be some sort of scam, and whoever or whatever is posting these does not seem to have much of idea of what a concertina actually is. I am not sure how to report this as a scam since I am not sure what I can use as evidence.


    Maybe somebody else here, who has more time to examine this ebay posting can find something incriminating and report this clown.

  12. I run the model-boat building activity at the Chicago Maritime Festival. I have volunteered at the festival every year for the last 9 years.


    Anyway, if I had read your post right after you had posted it, then I would have recommended that you take the weekly class at the Chicago Old Town School from January 27 to February 17th, so that you could be in the Old Town School Sea Shanty group that gets to perform once during the day, and gets to be on stage for the "All Hands" numbers (like I did last year with my 30-button A/E Edgley on "Rolling Home" ). But, unless you have a place to stay in Chicago on weekends, making the trip from and back to Kalamazoo every Sunday can be a bit much.


    Or, if you had a repertoire of Maritime music and song, you could have been one of the guests that gets to perform during the day, and be in the "All Hands" numbers with your EC. Maybe next year?


    All of the audience participation is singing, but if you can work in your EC, then I don't think there would be any objection.


    On Sunday the 24th is the "Secret Shanty Sing" that will be announced at the concert. If you are going to be in Chicago on Sunday, you can bring your EC to that.



  13. I bought a few inexpensive concertinas that were not in perfect shape, then took them

    apart, then took most of the best parts, and assembled them into two playable

    concertinas. I am keeping one but selling the other, plus the leftover parts.


    This one I am selling has the brand name "Frontalini". All of the notes play except the

    highest B on the last button of the right hand G-row. The high F# plays on the pull on

    that button though. The highest B is hardly ever used , so I figure that whoever owns

    this next can get that note working. Sometimes the lowest C on the left hand C-row

    sticks a little.





    Here are videos of it being played:



    Extra parts include:


    2 ends of a Silvertone in different stages of disassembly

    including 5 loose diatonic reed blocks ( I'll contain those reed blocks in small container)




    2 bellows from Silvertone/Frontalini type





    Some leftover small leather straps, screws, buttons and some beeswax.




    1 disemboweled Scholer concertina (optional, can remove to decrease shipping weight, if you do not want it.)




    If you want to buy just the leftover parts, it's $10 plus shipping.


    If you want to buy the concertina without the extra parts, it is $80 plus shipping.


    If you want to buy both the concertina and the leftover parts, it is still just $80

    plus shipping.

  14. I've a small brass reeded Lachenal Maccan that is my 'rough and tumble' instrument. That was definitely owned by an able seaman during the war and I suspect always went to sea because not only was it sold in Liverpool originally but it has rosewood ends which suggests to me that the brass reeds are there to resist sea spray damage not for economy. (which is why I have it too)


    Anyway my point is that you don't need to mortify your flesh with broken out of tune Scholers to be authentic because at least a few sailors had the wit to take a half decent instrument with them.


    Dang! I have a Lachenal MacCann Duet with what I think are rosewood ends. If I had known that MacCann Duets could be considered sailor type concertinas a year ago, maybe I would never have spent any time with these 20 button ones, and instead spent more time with the MacCann duet. Well, I hope we have spared someone else the trouble.

  15. From buying cheap concertinas (not the Scholer ones), I was able to get some compatible parts and ended up with two playable concertinas and some parts:




    The one on the far left is the best, but the other one is still playable, even without the highest b on the right side G row sounding. I think it is possible to get it working, but I don't want to bother with it.

    Here are examples of that concertina being played:



  16. There is actually a 3rd size of Scholer! It plays in G/D. Even though it might be in tune with itself, it also might be a tad sharp. Its sides measure 4 inches each.


    Another 20-key option I did not mention, for a 20-key for looking sailor-like is a Hohner D-40, which I think are less than Stagis, and, if I recall, are alright.


    So, I hope that providing this information will help prevent you from wasting your time and money with buying yourself a Scholer just to find out in case you are the least bit curious. Or maybe if you are creating your own concertina museum, and you want to include a section on these East-German Scholers, then maybe you might find this useful.


    According to a more recent post somewhere, the Hohner D-40's are not that great either. So, if you want a 20-button, go for a Stagi, and buy it form a place that tunes and fixes them between the time they arrive at their shop and the time they sell them. For example, the Button Box, or Baldoni.

  17. I notice he is also offering a Castagnari Lily melodeon for around double the new price from The Button Box!


    I tried contacting him, using the links in ebay. I was going to send him an email asking why I would want to buy anything for him, when I can buy the same thing brand new elsewhere for less. But, I got some pop-up screen saying that they cannot send messages to that user because the volume of messages being sent to that user has been too large.

  18. That crazy roxy*media* guy has re-listed the overpriced "vintage" Stagis, for the same absurd prices. I thought I would attempt to send him an email asking why I would pay $1,664 and $1,521 for concertinas that I can buy new for under $1000 anywhere else. But when I tried to "Contact the Seller", it eventually brought me to a screen with this message:


    We're sorry we couldn't find an answer for you. Unfortunately, due to the high volume of messages this seller receives, they are unable to respond to your specific question right now. We suggest reviewing the item again to see if your answer is in the seller's listing.

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