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Posts posted by AlexCJones

  1. Roger Digby writes:

    I tried every one of my concertinas yesterday (except one currently on loan) and the push F chord on the left hand (or its equivalent in different pitched boxes) was in the same place in all but one. My fingering is the Dominant ©: middle key, middle row, middle finger; the Median (A) : second key, top row , index finger; the Tonic (key note F ): the thumb button.
    Really? Are all of these 30-button Anglos, and not 36 or 40-button Anglos?


    I checked all of my Anglo concertinas and the only thumb button they have is on the right side and it is an air button. I have been playing concertina for only 2 years, and have played only 7 different 30-button Anglos. Only one of them had a left side thumb button and it was C in both directions. Most 30-button Anglos I've seen pictures of do not have a left side thumb button either.


    From my limited experience, I would conclude that a left-side thumb button is not standard and not common. I am not alone in this conclusion as seen from this post by Jim Lucas (who has been playing for much longer than I have):

    But many (most?) 30-buttons don't have that push F, and with only 30 buttons they don't even have a LH thumb button. So assuming that the push F-chord is common or "standard" is simply wrong.


    This chart does not show the presence of such a button:Color-Coded Button Layouts for C/G and G/D 30-Button Anglo Concertinas using the Wheatstone / Lachenal System


    So, Mr. Digby, do you actually claim that a left-side thumb button providing an F on the push is standard or common for a 30-button (not a 36 button, not a 40+ button ) C/G Anglo? If you do, then I'd like to set up a poll to see how many concertina.net participants agree with you.

  2. I agree with JujmLucas. I myself have played Anglo for a little over 2 years, and in the past few months have been learning English from the Roger Watson book. (I don't recommend that book for everyone, but that's another subject).


    So, I can tell you from experience that you will not confuse the two. They are two very different instruments. The way they are gripped is very different. The way you play scales is different, and I guess I am not adding anything new here other than what has been written.


    Well, I do say, go ahead and give it a shot, and enjoy it. On the English, when it comes to playing just melodies (without chord accompanyment) it becomes really easy to sight-read in a short time. Soon it becomes easy to play melodies in different key signitures too.


    As for me, as soon as I finish the Roger Watson book (I like to finish something I've started and I'm on the last song), I will stop focus on the English and I have decided that I'm not going to spend money on an expensive one. I am going to focus on MacAnn Duet. (I recently bought one from Barleycorn and so far have just been practicing my scales). I do not consider my brief affair with the English to be a waste of time at all.


    - Alex C. Jones

  3. Also, last but not least: I have very recently (a few days ago) purchased a Lachenal 55-button MacCann Duet from Barleycorn Concertinas, but it has not yet arrived.


    The other day it arrived! It is a beauty. It is a Lachenal, but it has no serial number. Anyway, so now I can include that as one of the best concertinas I own.


    I've got one concertina at the moment (and four melodicas, three piano accordions, an Indian harmonium, an old Canadian parlor organ and lots of non-free-reed instruments...)


    Are we supposed to list intruments that are not concertinas? Other members of the Free-Reed family? I'll have to do an inventory.


    . Plus a Casey Burns keyless Irish flute (nice straight-grain blackwood w/silver mounts), assorted tin whistles, and old cheap mandolin and a set of plastic Scottish bagpipes stashed away in a closet somewhere.


    Well, now we are including all of our instruments? I don't have time to do that inventory right now. Time to go practice concertina...

  4. And I ask, is the Kimber/Kirkpatrick style of playing Morris tunes really the best idea for song accompaniment?
    I wouldn't know, but it sounds like a fun and interesting way to play and use the concertina.


    How many singers' guitarists (which may or may not be the singers themselves) play chords and melody together on the guitar?
    Very few, because it is very difficult. Good reason to switch to concertina.


    For that matter, how many singers normally have their vocal part doubled on *any* accompanying instrument?
    I've heard this done with piano or organ often in churches. I've also heard this done with mandolin, while guitar supplys the chords. I took a concertina class, and except for the Kesh Jig, everything we did was doubling the vocal melody on the concertina. ( It helps me keep my singing in tune, and my singing is still very much a work in progress.) ;)


    Replacing the guitar was one of many things to do with a concertina. Once I started playing, I found that I only needed to make chords on one hand, so I might as well do chords on the left, and melody on the right, because it can be done and it can sound nice, and I want to put more buttons to use. Since I already have lots of sheet music written for voice with guitar, that's what I started playing around with.


    Here in Chicago, I don't know many Anglo concertina players playing something other than Irish melodies. The only people I know around here who play the Anglo are Tom Kastle and Connie Dugan, and I met Connie in a concertina class tought by Tom. (Yes there were other students, but Connie is the only one I've seen really play beyond the class).


    The only concertinas I've seen around here for dance accompanyment are those monstrous Chemnitzers accompanying Polka. (I'll talk about that experience in another post some day). Now that I am learning about styles of playing Anglo that use chords on the left and notes on the right, and there are dance styles done with this, well ... it's caught my interest. For me, it is a whole new world out there.


    There are many anglo-playing singers whose song accompaniment is quite different from the playing of Kimber, Kirpatrick, or Scan Tester. I would recommend that Alex listen so some of these for alternative concepts in accompaniment. John Roberts and Peter Bellamy have already been mentioned, and Chris Timson is himself a good example. Others include John Townley, Andy Turner, and Harry Scurfield, and I know I'm missing out many others.


    ...but mentioned enough to keep me busy for a while. :) Thanks JimLucas.


    - Alex

  5. Thanks guys, for the info so far! I got a look at the Country Dance and Song Society site too.


    Now from this :

    Maybe this would be a good topic for an English style anglo player to chime in on? Chris? Some of you Morris types?

    I got the idea that there were actually some Concertina.net members who actually play this way. If any of you do, then it would be great to hear from you.


    Also, if anyone knows if there are folks in the Chicago area that play this way, it would be nice to hear about them.


    - Alex

  6. I know nothing about English style Anglo playihg, and first heard about it in a different thread about Stagis. I mentioned that I like to play chords on the left side of my Anglo, while melodies on the right, and got this response:

    It sounds like you play English style rather than Irish style. Have you considered getting a G/D instead of a C/G? Not only would the G/D have the right hand more in the range of the tunes you play (so you don't have to cross over to the left so much), but those "home" keys fit more traditional dance tunes (played in the English manner) better than the C/G.


    Maybe this would be a good topic for an English style anglo player to chime in on? Chris? Some of you Morris types?


    So, I thought it would be best to start a separate topic thread about this, so anyone here who knows about this can share their knowledge about it. Here's a few things I want to know:

    • Names of recordings of this style
    • People who play this style and what region they live in ( like Chicago USA area, Melbourne, Australia area, etc)
    • References and resources about this style
    • Of course, the musical characteristics that distinguish this style
    • Whatever else you want to tell about it!

    - Alex

  7. I play for dancers. Well, not concertina and not Irish or English dancing. I play Tahitian drums for Tahitian dance. The dance teacher and drum teacher are the same person, so the necessary communication takes place.


    But, anyway, she does advise us about playing any instruments for any kind dancers. Her main advice is to "cross train". If you want to accompany dancing, then learn to dance it. You don't need to be a champion of that kind of dance -- just learn the basics, so you have some idea what it's like to be a dancer. Well, that's her advice. So, she has me learn Hula (because I'm not ready for Tahitian yet) and she has the Tahatian dance students learn the basics of the drumming.


    - Alex

  8. Have you considered getting a G/D instead of a C/G?

    Well, actually, the used 40-button Bastari I am buying is a G/D, so I'm applying both solutions.


    I did have a Norman 30-button Anglo in G/D, but some of the notes were slow to start after changing bellows direction. I had the repair guy at Italo-American work on it, but the problem never went away, so I sold it. Also, it was not as nice on my fingers as my Tedrow-Modified-Stagi.


    It sounds like you play English style rather than Irish style.


    As far as style goes, I just go through books of songs that have melody written out and chord names written above, and try to play them on the concertina, and try to make them sound nice. I want it to replace my guitar as a means of accompanying voice.



    Maybe this would be a good topic for an English style anglo player to chime in on? Chris? Some of you Morris types?


    This is getting a little off topic, so maybe we can start a new thread about English style playing and playing for Morris dancing. I would find the topic interesting and educational (since I know nothing about it yet), maybe others would too. I would like to know about recordings of this, folks that perform this and folks who might teach it (especially in the mid-western US).


    - Alex

  9. So why a 40-button?


    I currently play a 30-button, and I like to play chords with my left hand while playing melody on the right, but I've run into problems when playing outside the keys of C ang G (and their relative minors).


    For example:I cannot play the high D on the right hand while playing a D-major or D-minor chord on the left, because the F and F# on the left hand are only available on the draw, while the high D is only available on the push. Also, there are certain chords you cannot play on left hand of a 30-button, like F#m or G#m.


    The 40-buttons give you few extra keys on the left hand allowing a few more chords in the different directions, plus a bunch more to play around with on the right.


    Maybe the way I play is better for a duet, so I am also buying the least expensive Lachenal 55-key MacCann Duet to compare.


    - Alex

  10. and has screwed in rather than waxed reeds.


    I am right now trying to decide between getting a new 40-button Anglo Stagi or a used 40-button Bastari. If the used Bastari one is old enough to have screwed in reeds rather than waxed ones, then I am buying the used one.


    So, does anyone know when they switched from screws to wax?


    Why a Stagi/Bastari? I want a 40-button, but for under $2000, and all of the other 40-button Anglos I've seen are about $4000 on up.


    - Alex

  11. Whenever I visit my folks, my mom's collie-shepherd cries when I play my concertina. But I don't think it is sad crying. She makes the same sound when someone gives her a new doggie toy. She does not run away, sometimes she even walks into the room and lies at my feet and cries when I play.


    In 2 other threads, I've mentioned the time when I was practicing in the nature preserve and a deer approached, but I guess folks are getting tired of me mentioning that by now...

  12. 1 cheap 20-button C/G Anglo (my first one ever) which I never play, and plan to sell soon for much less than what I paid.


    1 Riccordi (Bastari?) 30-button C/G Anglo (my first 30-button) which I plan to sell soon. (what I am playing in my avatar image).


    1 Stagi 48-button Tenor English which I am learning to play.


    1 Tedrow-Modified-Stagi 30 Button C/G Anglo, which is my main squeeze. The button action on this is awesome! (What I am playing in the photo I posted in the "what we look like" thread).


    I did own a Norman 30-button G/D Anglo which I bought from Mark Stayton, and recently sold to Connie Dugan. It has a superb sound but some of the notes did not respond fast enough on bellows-direction-changes, and the buttons were not as comfortable as those of my Tedrow-Modified-Stagi.


    I am purchasing a Stagi 40-button G/D Anglo, and am still wondering if anyone has a 40-button Anglo C/G (or F/C or Bb/F if they exist) to sell for under $2000.


    Also, last but not least: I have very recently (a few days ago) purchased a Lachenal 55-button MacCann Duet from Barleycorn Concertinas, but it has not yet arrived.

  13. I mentioned this occassion in a different topic already, but this topic seems more appropriate:

    Several times I have gone to the Thatcher Woods nature preserve and played by the Des Planes River in River Forest Illinois (just outside Chicago) to practice when the weather is too nice to stay indoors.


    I was practicing in kind of a clearing, sitting on the trunk of a tree that was mostly horizontal (the upper portion of the tree extends over the river). I looked up from the concertina to find a deer staring at me from 10 feet away (about 3 meters) as I played.


    If that happens again, I should play her that tune from Sound of Music -- you know the one I'm talkin about. :wacko:


    - Alex C. Jones

  14. THanks Ken, and Randy.


    Yeah, the only mention of either of these books I ever found on this site is the review of the de VIlle book by David Wallace The Concertina And How To Play It


    With so much knowledge on this site, I figured that at sometime during the life of this site, someone would have posted something about it. The Randall C. Merris article presents the whole situation very well, even with a page showing which pages of one book correspond with those of the other and more details. It's a shame that the article has been hidden for over a year. Put a link on the Learning page AND the Home page.


    - Alex C. Jones


    Hmmm, maybe there is some kind of search someone can run, of all of the links, and then of all of the URLs to the articles, then a comparison of the 2 lists to see what is not mentioned.

  15. I have several books on concertina here (and have been thinking of writing my own reviews). Two of them are The Concertina and How to Play It by Paule de Ville (1905) and the BEST CONCERTINA method--yet! by Bob Kail (1975).


    Some of the pages bear quite a striking resemplance. The Concertina diagrams are identical. The excercises in the Bob Kail book are the same as those in the Paul de Ville book, only with the left-hand and the two handed ones removed. The fonts/type faces look the same.


    Much of the tunes in the Bob Kail book look as if they were scanned directly form the pages of the Paul de Ville book, then printed in a different order. The Bob Kail book (on page 28) even has the same strange version of Yankee Doodle that appears in the Paul de Ville book (page 23). In this version, the B's are flat in measures 9 and 13, and natural in measures 2, 4, 6,7,10,14 & 15. This makes it impossible to play on a 20-button G/C Anglo (which is what both books are focused on) and when you play this version on a piano (or any other chromatic instrument) it just sounds wrong.


    I suppose Bob Kail and his publisher can get away with this because the 1905 copyright of the Paul de Ville book may have expired by 1975, but I'm no lawyer so I would not know.


    Has anyone else noticed this?


    To show what I mean, I can scan in images of the pages with my scanner, and attach the images to a message, but I am not sure it is legal to do so without permission from the authors or publishers.


    - Alex C. Jones

  16. Be sure not to play around cats as well.  I did at my sister-in-law's house and scared the hell out of her Siamese.


    ...though I like cats, they can be quite fussy about certain instruments. One friend had to quit the Psaltry because one of her cats would actually jump up onto her lap and get between the bow and the strings to prevent her from playing. On a bagpipe newsgroup, a piper told of her cat heading for the door when she grabs a particular set of pipes.


    Other animals like concertinas. My mom's collie-shep will lie down at my feet when I play, and make the same noises as when she gets a new toy. One time while practicing in a nature preserve, I doe stepped out of hiding and just stood 10 feet from me staring right at me as I played.


    - Alex Jones, Oak Park, Illinois, USA

  17. I can buy a new Stagi 40-button Anglo for about $722-$850, but I'm wondering if anyone has a used one for less.


    Also, I'd be interested in a used 40-button with real concertina reeds, but for under $2000. (Yeah, I know dream on, but I supposed it would not hurt to ask).




    I have recently bought a 40-button G/D Bastari, and it is on its way to me from across the ocean.


    But... I am still interested in a C/G 40-button. So, if you know of a Stagi/Bastari for under $600, or something with real concertina reeds for under $2000, I am still interested. (Maybe in 2004, I might be interested in a more expensive one.)


    - Alex C. Jones

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