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Posts posted by AlexCJones

  1. Alex, I think your speculations about the cause of your button problems are off the mark.
    agreed, I was hypothesizing. Something is making them sluggish.
      In particular, I wouldn't consider the sluggishness to be typical of Lachenal instruments in general,
    Mr. Chambers disagrees...
    and I would expect it to be curable.  Have you had yours looked at by a professional restorer?

    Last year at this time I sent it to the Button Box for repairs because it became unplayable. If you are curious, you can read the details from this post about it from last year:

    More Problems With My Maccann Duet, This time more serious

    In addition to those necessary repairs, I had them do "the works". When it came back, everything about it was vastly improved. Not only was it playable, but the button action was better. But the button action still does not compare to that of my Tedrow, Edgley or Tedrow-Modified Stagi. It is amazing how much difference a fraction of a second makes. "Not fair!" cries the Lachenal: "I was created before any of your grandparents were born!"


    As for your fingers slipping off the buttons, that should only happen if you're not striking straight down when you press the buttons.  I recommend always striking straight down.

    Yes, of course, that is a simple matter of physics and geometry, but it is not humanly possible to get the exact center of every finger to line up with the exact center of the button in a motion exactly in line with the button 100% of the time unless one plays very slowly. All of the other concertinas are much more forgiving.


    I expect the Wheatstone buttons will be as small as those on the Lachenal, 4-5 mm in diameter, metal, with slightly rounded tops.

    5mm would be an improvement! One millimeter does make a difference. I wish I had some measuring callipers right now, but with this ruler, the Lachenal's buttons show to be just under 4mm, and those of the other 'tinas are all greater than 5mm. I don't think the term "button" is appropriate for what the Lachenal has -- they are better described as "pins".


    Anyway, after reading your message, I was convinced that I should not bother bidding on the Wheatstone and was going to forget about it. But then Mr. Chambers offered a second opinion, so maybe I just might.

  2. "Better" is, of course, a matter opinion.  This will be larger and heavier than your Lachenal.  It also has a wider range, most notably descending to middle C in the right hand, where I think your Lachenal's lowest RH note is the G above that.  And looking at the pattern of the buttons, I think it goes down to A (lowest space in the bass clef) in the left hand.

    That agrees with the charts I have. Of course I don't mind a few more notes, but what I really need is better button-action.


    The Lachenal takes more effort to press any of its buttons than my Tedrow or Edgley, or Stagi, and the Lachenal's buttons are brass and very thin, and almost pointed at the ends, so that occasionally my finger slides off the button instead of pressing it in. After the finger lifts up from a button, there is a slight delay for the button to return to its undepressed state. It's as if there is some friction between the brass button and the wooden fretwork, or between the button and its post. I was hoping that Wheatstones have a reputation for having better button action then Lachenals or maybe have buttons that are not so narrow and pointed or

    that metal fretwork would not have this problem.

  3. Check out this eBay listing.  "62-key" (61+air) Wheatstone Maccann.


    I noticed that too, and am wondering if it would be better than my 56 key Lachenal MacCann.


    The seller repeatedly calls it a "D. Wheatstone", though it clearly shows "C. Wheatstone" on the handle. So, I was wondering if that was a cause for suspicion.

  4. Ohhhhhhhh no, David,


    I am not falling into that trap and listing all of my instruments. Uh uh.

    Same here. I was about to list mine, but your message gave me the strength to restrain myself. I still have to count them some time.

  5. If you have answered yes to 3 or more of the above questions you are in grave danger of slipping into Concertina Compulsive Aquisitive Disorder.

    Why stop at concertinas? Expand your horizons, join the ranks of those of us with the dreaded..


    Multiple Instrument Acquisition Disorder


    When Capitol One asks "What's in YOUR wallet?", do like I do. Say "Nothing. But you should see my music room!" :D

    Yes. That describes me too. the Ccad is a subset of Miriad or whatever we call it...Hey! Is that a set of Northumbrian Small Pipes in your avatar? I don't own a set of those yet, but I really like the way they sound!


    No, No , no, I really need to buy a new car in 2005. No pipes yet! But wait, I think I have a link to a site of some folks who build them for less that a concertina...hmm.


    Instead of getting a new car, maybe I should get a new job that is accessible via public transportation. Yes, that way I can buy more instruments...

  6. I got infected with this crazy idea that I should own 1 from each of the 4 North American mid-range builders, but with each one in a different key.  So, I have the A/E from Edgley, and next I will order a custom C/G from Tedrow (but trade in my Tedrow-Modified-Stagi, and maybe even the Tedrow Baritone I bought from Joachim Delp). 

    And what if there are other midrange makers crop up? Wasn't there another member of the Concertina Guild?

    THere is a new guy by the last name of "Carrol", but his ccost twice us much as the Edgleys, Tedrows, Herringtons or Morses, so I don't consider him Midrange.


    I played one of his and it is like a Wheatstone/Lechanel replica. He uses narrow metal buttons, like those old builders, but my fingers prefer those delrin buttons.

  7. Yes. But I already have the disorder, so I am not getting rid of any. I recently had Edgley build me an A/E. ( I ordered it before I had the dialogue with JimLucas about playing in other keys).


    I got infected with this crazy idea that I should own 1 from each of the 4 North American mid-range builders, but with each one in a different key. So, I have the A/E from Edgley, and next I will order a custom C/G from Tedrow (but trade in my Tedrow-Modified-Stagi, and maybe even the Tedrow Baritone I bought from Joachim Delp).


    My idea was also to have a Herrington Bros G/D and a Morse F/Bb. I now hope I wont get that crazy. Maybe I will learn to play my Lachanel MacCann Duet better, before I get that far. Those super-narrow brass buttons (some of which take extra effort to press and extra time to slip back to position) and the extra weight of that instrument make it less fun to practice though.

  8. I've had a few of these myself, but not recently.  I forward them all to 'spam@ebay.com'

    I always forward those to 'spoof@ebay.com'.


    Also, I often get messages like that claiming to be from PayPal. You can forwrd those to 'spoof@PayPal.com'


    Often the entire message is 1 image file that will take you to a different web site when you click on it.


    Don't click on anything on those types of messages. I did a "right-click -->view source" to examine the html and JavaScript behind one a those message and found that it executes something residing at some third-party web address. So, even if you do not actually give anyone your address, clicking on the message could cause some kind of parasite or who-knows-what to get downloaded to your system or maybe grab information from your system.

  9. Me too! I now have an A/E Edgley.


    Mine just arrived the other day...well...no...actually it arrived about a month and a half ago back in October. It just seems like it arrived recently because time flies when...you know...and it does not seem like I have had it long enough.


    My Edgley is the most comfortable and best one I have ever played. The buttons are the perfect size, placement, shape, and material and the action is amazing! It can be nice and LOUD when I want, so loud that I was playing around on it for a few days before I noticed that it actually has a grill cloth. How does he do that!?


    I like it even better than Connie Dugan's Carrol (which costs twice as much) that I played a week ago.


    I strongly recommend an Edgley to anyone interested a 30-key Anglo.

  10. Okay, here is the E7th chord using the knuckle of the middle finger to press the C-row E4, the tip of that same finger to press the G-row B4 and D5, and the index finger to press the top row G#4. Obscured is the pinky (little finger) pressing the top row low E3.


    (standard note name/number system used where middle C = C4)


  11. The first three posts in this thread were split off from the Buy/Sell forum at request of the thread initiator.

    'S funny. Were it my choice (which it's not), this whole topic would go under Teaching & Learning.

    Yes, that would have made more sense. I don' t know what I was thinking.



    Instead, from your comments I get the impression that my view of music and accompaniment is just more flexible than yours.

    You are correct. Until I read your response, my view was quite limited.

    It was too much based on the Bass Guitar + Guitar + voice arrangement of the only kind of music I ever played in my youth.


    And with the right-hand D on the pull, it doesn't help to cross hands, though in principle I think it's not only unnecessary to keep chords entirely in the left hand, but sometimes unwise.

    Yes, in fact, to properly resolve my E7, I must use the C# on the right hand.

    But you also seem to be making an assumption that the chord has to be played in its most compact (1-3-5-7) form with the tonic on the bottom. Listening to the sound files on Tom & Chris' web site, I dectect more imagination and variety than that in their non-concertina accompaniment.


    As I've mentioned elsewhere, chord inversions and "incomplete" chords can sometimes sound as good as (or even better than) the basic form, and musical context can imply full chords when some of the notes are not actually being played. In an arpeggiated chord the notes are played one at a time, rather than all at once, and that can relieve many fingering difficulties (e.g., that E-G#-B-d can be done with only 2 fingers and no contortion). A harmony line and/or sparse chords are other possibilities, a couple of many

    Looking at the Piano part of a song book here, I see that chord inversions and incomplete chords and everything you discribe here are the norm.


    Alex, you indicated you were theorizing about why Tom wanted a D/A anglo. I felt/feel that my response could be more helpful if I knew for sure from him, rather than theorizing from you, what he wants to do with it. I might actually agree that getting a D/A would be the best thing for him, though my suggestion of working those keys on a C/G was in part because I expected him to have trouble acquiring such an instrument. My expectation may have been wrong.

    Well it's not a life and death situation for him. It's more of a "nice to have". He does not want to buy a newly built one because he is looking in the under $1000 range.


    I still never asked him why. He in fact does play some stuff with the D chords.


    The other day ( yes and I still didn't ask him), in the Sea Shanties class that he and Chris teach, I watched him accompany the song Strike the Bell from the album by that name. It has only the chords C F and G7 in it ( I think) but the thing is he was not just doing peddle note + chord on the left hand. He was making the chords with both hands and doing rhythmic things with playing different parts of the chords within each measure or beat. Whenever he would resolve in the C, he would always have about as many notes of the chord as the fingers could make to get a nice juicy thick chord. It just sounds nicer to have the low notes in there. That just becomes more difficult when you get away from the key of C. Higher notes without low notes under them on the concertina can have their moments and effects, but sometimes one just really want to resolve with those nice low notes in there. So I can understand wanting to be able to do that in a different key, the same way you can do that in C on a C/G.


    Meanwhile, I found someone with a D/A Bastari for Tom that seems to be what he wants.


    It seems to me that you must have very large fingers and probably hands as well, and you must keep your hands straps rather loose. (Yes? No?)

    Let me measure my hand here... okay from the wrist to the tip of my middle finger is 8 inches (20 cm). I think this is average for a male of Anglo-European background, though I must admit that they are larger than those of anyone in my family or step family.


    I do not keep the straps very tight, but surprisingly, I find that Tom keeps his looser and so does the Gary, guy who owns the D/A.


    You've mentioned before your technique of bending the finger under so that the nail side presses the buttons. I'm not aware of anyone else who does that. (If there are others, I hope they'll let me know.) When I try it myself it seems impossible... for me. When I press two buttons with the same finger, I do it with the pad of the first joint, and I've seen various others do it "my" way.


    I have attached a photo showing my left hand. The G row lines up with the point where my fingers join the rest of the hand. To play notes on the top row, I must curl my fingers at about a 90 angle toward the instrument. To play the G -Row, I must curl them so that the nail is slightly facing the buttons.


    For me to press 2 buttons with the pad of my first joint, I would either need to bend the first joint backwards (which I can't do) or I would have to slide my hand downward so that the strap is across my knuckles, and my right hand thumb then would not reach the thumb button. When I try this, I find it severly limiting.


    I'll make another post to show a photo of playing the E7 with the knuckle.


  12. If that's the case (I'd still be interested in what he says, rather than a guess on your part), maybe he should consider learning to play his C/G in the keys of D and A. 'Tain't that hard, if it's a 30-button. Eb & Bb can also be nice.

    No, it is not that hard, but it does have its problems. In the key of A, you often use the chords A, D and E7, and the E7 chord can be a little tricky when keeping that all on the left hand. (I hold the C-row E key with the knuckle of my first finger as I press the G-Row B and D keys with tip the same finger).


    When playing in the key of A on a C/G, the A major chord (chord I) and the E7 chord (chord V) are in the same direction, while when playing in the Key of C, the C chord (chord I) is on the push and the G7 chord (chord V) is on the pull. Your D (chord IV in the key of A) is on the pull, but on the right hand you have a high D on the push but not on the pull. Also there is no low D (in the same octave as the low C) so you don't get a nice low root peddle note to alternate with your chords, or adding nice bottom root note to the chord. The same is true for the Eb and Bb chords.


    When playing in Eb, how do you make an Ab major chord on the C/G Anglo since the Ab (G#) inon one direction and the Eb is in the other?


    Since you dont find the forming of chords for all those other keys too difficult you must be a better concertinist either Tom or myself. He never pretends to be a "concertina champion" -- it is just one of several instruments he uses in making music.

  13. My friend, professional folk musician Tom Kastle, is interested in a (used) D/A Anglo.

    I'm curious. Why has he decided to get a D/A now, when he's obviously been playing for years?

    I don't know. Let me think here...


    Concertina is not his only instrument. He plays bass guitar, guitar, octave-mandolin and sings. He does not work the concertina in to every song he plays. I gather that he mostly works his C/G anglo into songs in the keys of C, G, A minor and E minor, and I guess maybe he wants to start working it into songs in D and A. Just a guess.

  14. My friend, professional folk musician Tom Kastle, is interested in a (used) D/A Anglo.


    He is not currently a Concertina.net member, though I have been trying to convince him to be, since he plays concertina on several albums/CD, in concert and teaches Concertina. He and his co-musician and wife Chris are very busy, so they might not have had the time.


    Anyway, if this ad leads him to such an instrument, then I'll make a contribution.


    - Alex

  15. THere should be a suspicious of ALL Wheatstone Tenor Trebles with raised ebony ends because on Concertina.net, there is an anouncement about one stolen:

    Stolen Concertina Notice: "Stolen on Thursday 11th march, from a van outside the Whitmore Arms public house, Orsett, Essex, UK. Wheatstone Tenor Treble with raised ebony ends, serial no. 29103. If you have any information please contact Roy Nicholls on +44 (0)1621 859446."


    I saw one on ebay last week that went for under $1000 USD.




    THere was another:




    I didn't contact Roy Nicholls because he gave no email address, and I figured that someone on his side of the Atlantic probably called him about these, and that these were most likle not his stolen one.

  16. The three models I've looked at that might work for me are Tedrow, Herrington, and Morse. With the USA dollar as weak as it is, the imported models are quite a bit more expensive.

    Yes, I undrstand. That is what is reducing my willingness to buy from U.K. these days. However, we should not exclude Canadian Frank Edgley because the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Canadian one is actually pretty good. At the moment:

    1.00 USD = 1.34473 CAD


    Right now, Edgley is building me an A/E Anglo.


    Next, I'm going to comission Tedrow to build me a custom 39 button C/G Anglo.


    - Alex

  17. If there were color for the Chemnitzers, and if these Chemnists were C.net members, that color would be all over the Chicago area.


    I know of at least 3 people in the Chicago area who play only Anglo, and two of them are professionals who play on CDs, John Williams and Tom Kastle.


    So, the map also points out that there are a lot of concertina players who are non-C.net members. I guess we need to convince those folks to join.

  18. Alex, you're doing well if your whole apartment is at 27%. My unhumidified rooms were at 6% yesterday morning (N. Illinois, 4 degrees F outside). My humidified *room* was at 38%. Hang in there, we're supposed to be in the 40's by the end of the week.

    Yes. It is happening! We actually got weather warm enough for the ice to melt outside. The RH in my living room shot up past 40. According to the weather web page, the humidity outside is at 66%, I guess my humidifiers aren't really doing much.


    According to that rodent in Upstate New York, we are supposed to have some more winter weather though, so I should still have a chance test out Rich's recommendations before the season is over.

  19. Sounds like your problem is with the air exchange of your space, not the output of the humidifier.

    Air exchange?


    This apartment has no vents. It is heated by good old-fashioned radiators (powered by an enormous furnace in the basement that looks like part of a steam locomotive.) How do I improve the air exchange of such a place?

  20. Get a room humidifier (as cheap as $30-50), put it in an isolated room and store your instruments in that room when not being played. Keep the doors shut. You'll have to run the humidifier full-time and check the tank every day.

    Consumer Reports did not have any ratings for humidifiers available, so I went out and bought one that had "900 square feet" indicated on the box. That is about twice the floorspace of my apartment. So, I've had it running for over a week now, and according to my Radio Shack hygrometer, I have not had the RH of the room above 27% yet.


    So, can anyone recommend a humidifier that can raise the humidity of a 500 square foot apartment above 40%?


    (The only rooms that have closable doors in my apartment are the closets, the bedroom and the bathroom, and there is not enough room in any of those to stash my instruments, so the living room is my only choice).

  21. Hi everyone,


    I'm one of those who has an instrument that has become unplayable due to dry air. The air so dry that my own skin cracks unless I put skin stuff on it. I live in a warm 4th-story apartment heated by radiators, and I really have no control over how this big old building is heated, so humidifying is really all I can do. I have always needed a humidifier in the bedroom during winter, but now I also have one in the Accoustic-Instrument room (living room).


    and keep the humidity level at or above 40% RH, or as close as you can come to it. 40 years of playing, repairing, and building instruments here in the upper Midwest US has given me plenty of experience with this problem.


    So where do I buy a hydrometer for monitoring the RH of a room? I have a hydrometer used for making beer, but I am pretty sure that one wont do the instruments any good.


    - Alex

  22. Hi everyone. Thanks for your help.


    The cause must certainly be what you said, since the problem got really bad after I left it out of its case for a day, and even in its case, I was not humidifying it. I live in the Chicago area, and during winters I must constantly moisturize my hands to keep them from cracking.


    As soon as I get a hold of a box to send it in, I am sending the MacCann Duet straight to the Button Box! Maybe they can check all of the pads and valves (like the one on the left hand low G) and maybe even improve the action too.


    For preventing this from happening again, I am going to use ALL of your solutions: 1 little tobacco pouch humifier for the case, and 1 big electric humidifier for the room, and I'll make sure to play it at least 3 times a week (the concertina -- not the humidifier).


    - Alex C. Jones

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