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Bill N

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About Bill N

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    Heavyweight Boxer
  • Birthday 01/10/1959

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    Hamilton, Canada

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  1. From your comment about 3 ways to play "D", it sounds like your concertina is in G/D tuning with some extra buttons. If you Google "G/D anglo concertina button layout" you might find some that are close to what you have. You'll probably find that the core 30 buttons are pretty standard for a G/D instrument. "The Gremlin" was a model, the maker I think was Stagi. If you look for Stagi, or Bastari (earlier maker taken over by Stagi) you'll find similar instruments. Some of them use fairly soft aluminum levers, with the buttons held on by short pieces of rubber tubing. Given your description of crooked buttons this might be the case with yours. There is info elsewhere on this site about an easy repair technique to correct the crooked buttons on a Stagi/Bastari.
  2. Several years ago my musical partner Brad McEwen (cittern) and I (Hunter's Corners) played the Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, Ontario. I got to know Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham who were on a Canadian tour, which was a highlight in itself. We appeared on stage with Keith and Sylvia and another very young, very interesting duo called The Oldest Man I Know. It was a lakeside stage, a beautiful day, a great audience, and everything was just clicking for all three duos. I think I'm a much better player now than I was then, but I've never had a more satisfying performance. About halfway through my wife whispered to me from offstage,"Gordon Lightfoot's in the audience"! We later found out that his youngest daughter was half of the third duo, but he told the Artistic Director that he really enjoyed the traditional English, Canadian and Newfoundland stuff we were playing.
  3. Have you tried messaging him from this site? He my not have posted in a while, but according to his profile page he visited today, so he seems to check in.
  4. Closer to home, there is also one in the Accordion Museum in Montmagny, Quebec.
  5. I would echo a comment above. It would be worth looking at Kensington Concertinas (Dana Johnson). He builds a very high quality instrument with excellent traditional concertina reeds. His standard layout is similar to a Jeffries, with C# available on the pull and push. Very responsive and fast, and with a good concertina bark, although maybe more like a vintage Wheatstone than a Jeffries. I played one for years and often regret selling it. It could certainly be a life-long concertina. He charges $3500 US, so even with shipping and taxes it would be within your budget. Last time I checked his waiting list wasn't too long. They occasionally come up for sale used for considerably less. I wouldn't say Dana is under-rated- people who play his instruments really like them, but there aren't too many in circulation, so he's maybe not as well known as some of the higher volume builders. He doesn't offer many options for customization, so that keeps his price down. Also he's made a conscious decision to charge less than the market will bear in order to make the instrument more accessible.
  6. I've been working on an old Lachenal for a friend. She has small hands and finds the air button awkward. I made a paddle that slips over the hand strap. It's a sandwich of a piece of thick, stiff harness leather, some stiff card, and a soft, flexible leather. The soft leather forms the thumb-rest surface and the loop that slides over the strap. A small hole slightly larger than the button diameter keeps it centred on the button. It seems to work really well.
  7. I haven't noticed much difference after gluing (in theory it would lower the button height)- the Fish Glue I use makes a pretty thin film. Also, anytime I've done this I've been replacing all the pads, so any slight change (maybe .5 mm?) is even across the whole keyboard. I made my tool from a common 6" nail, pounded flat and filed at the business end to a thickness of about 3mm. Could be a little thinner (I got tired of pounding and filing), but it has to be pretty stiff- not sure your ruler would be stiff enough. Also, it can't be too wide, as you have to get into some tight spots with it.
  8. If you are replacing pads, I find it much easier to bend the levers before the pads are attached. I like to attach the samper(little leather disc) to the pad, and put the end bead on the lever and set it all in place, measure, adjust- then glue. When the lever end beads thread on to the levers they are often not completely symmetrical- the radius from the centre of the lever can vary quite a bit- so sometimes you can make small adjustments to the button height(without bending the arm) by rotating the bead so a thicker or thinner side of the bead makes contact with the pad. Hope that makes sense (I just woke up and am only halfway through my first coffee!)
  9. After a very brief period on a C/G Rochelle I switched to a G/D Morse, which at the time suited the music I was learning and playing (English trad and Morris tunes). That was my main squeeze for 6 or 7 years. I played mostly "along the rows", with a little bit of cross row, and hardly ever reached into the 3rd row. When I started to sit in on ITM and Newfoundland trad sessions I ran into the same problem as you, so I got a good C/G. At first I played my existing English repertoire on the G/D, and learned new ITM stuff on the C/G. About 2 years ago I got serious with the C/G. There was definitely a tough transition period- I was doing as much un-learning as learning and progress felt frustratingly slow. However, after a couple of years playing both, my playing style has really changed largely due to what I have learned on the C/G. I use all 30 buttons (well, maybe 29) on both boxes and have revisited the way I play a lot of my old repertoire. Now when I learn a new tune I'll try it out on both, regardless of whether it's ITM or ETM (is ETM a thing?) and go with the instrument/fingering that suits the way I want the tune to sound. I play some fast, bouncy Irish tunes on the G/D, and some of my old stuff ended up sounding better on the C/G (same key, different fingering) My playing and phrasing have really improved (according to people who have listened to me play for years) and I am able to tackle tunes in keys that I wouldn't have touched with a barge pole in the past. As to which instrument to buy, I would say it should be at least as good as what you are playing now in terms of action and response. I don't think I would have stuck with the transition if I'd gone back to a Rochelle.
  10. I also have one of Danie's concertinas (mine is in D/A) Everything in Graham's diagram is correct except for the lowest button in the C row. I think you will find that on the push it will play c3, and on the pull g3.
  11. With no sessions, dances or gigs on the horizon I feel like I've gotten off the "just good enough" repertoire treadmill. I've been focusing on technique and phrasing, and tunes that I like but that aren't likely to catch on as session or band staples. And with my wife now working from home I'm practicing in the cellar or out on the deck so as not to provide a soundtrack to her video conferencing!
  12. Thanks all, I think you are all correct. Brazilian Rosewood seems like the best match. Getting back to the Lachenal catalogue description, I've seen a few amboyna instruments, but are there any vintage instruments in Zebra or Coromandel/Calamandel out there?
  13. I've just finished restoring Lachenal English #6915, a 48 key, brass reeded instrument which Dowright has dated to 1860. On a recent thread about glass buttons Stephen Chambers posted a link to an 1862 Lachenal catalogue which describes my model as: " Amboyna Coromandel Zebra (or any description of wood preferred), with Bellows and all pertaining to exterior finish tastefully matched, Silver Touches or Glass Studs, as preferred." I had assumed that the ends were of a highly figured Rosewood, but glass buttons aren't shown as an option for Rosewood treble instruments. Now I'm wondering if the wood is Coromandel or Zebra? I know there are some members here with experience and keen eyes for wood species:
  14. Thanks so much Greg. I get it now!
  15. Thanks so much Greg. A light touch for sure. Just to make sure I understand: I should press the tip of the reed down? Won't this bend the reed the wrong way if I want the tip slightly above the shoe?
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