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Bill N

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Everything posted by Bill N

  1. If the end plate is flat (ie no raised areas) I would be inclined to try pressing it between some hardwood boards that cover the whole end and some C-clamps. I looked at the Marcus website, and can't really tell from the photos if the have raised areas.
  2. I have a Jones Bb/F that is early identical to the Jones G/D you just sold. Not super loud, but nice steel reeds, good action and bellows. I need to do a few little tweaks- there are a couple of weak springs and a valve that needs replacing, but overall it is a good player. I can send you photos and a sound file if you are interested.
  3. I would say that it's important that they aren't too snug. I remember wanting them tight when I started playing, as my fingers didn't know their way around the buttons very well, and it felt good to have the security of at least one "fixed point" in the whole system. But as I started to use the whole key board and develop good muscle memory I found it was important to be able to easily pivot the hands in the straps without constraint. I set my straps so that I can make an arch, with the sides of my palm touching the hand bar, and the high part of the palm arch maybe 1/ 2 inch/12 mm from the bar. I keep things secure by arching my palm while I play and/or squeezing the strap between the thumb and the fleshy part at the base of the forefinger. I can't give you specifics on how much arching/squeezing to do, or when- it depends on where your fingers are headed, and after a while it becomes second nature.
  4. I don't have one at the moment (all out on loan), but I often take a Rochelle or cheap German concertina with me on canoe trips. We had a lake to ourselves one evening, and I got the loons answering back to my playing.
  5. I can barely read music, and certainly can't sight-read, but sometimes use the dots to give me a starting place for a complicated tune that I don't know well. Especially if it's in an unusual key or contains accidentals. However, with the Anglo one often has several choices of where to find the note that's written down, and one's choice will greatly effect ease of play, character of the tune, etc. I always end up doing a lot of experimentation to find the best combination of button choice and push/pull after I've glanced at the dots.
  6. My G/D is a Morse. I've been playing it hard for Morris, Contra, sessions and performances for 12 years and it has been absolutely bomb-proof. It is very light. The action and reed response are quick, and I personally like the sound of the hybrid reeds in a G/D box. (I had a Morse C/G for a while and didn't like its tone as much) I owned a Kensington C/G which was a delight to play, and Dana was a pleasure to deal with ( I bought it used from a 3rd party, but Dana offered a tune-up for the cost of postage!). Even though it was a later, lighter model, it was still considerably heavier than the Morse. I currently own a Carroll C/G- also a dream to play, and a wonderful tone. Noticeably heavier than the Morse. Like Dana, Wally has been great. Just weighed the two: Morse G/D: 1037 g (2 lbs 4.6 oz) Carroll C/G 1180 g (2 lbs 9.7 oz) note- a G/D might be slightly heavier due to larger reeds
  7. Hi Brian- They are in octaves, not chords. Have you seen this video?
  8. A used Kensington was my first "real" concertina, and my experience with Dana was exactly as you described. A first rate instrument, and a first rate human. In my opinion, the Kensington is the best value out there for a traditionally reeded concertina. BTW, what is the name of the tune?
  9. There is also one on display in Musee De L 'Accordeon in Montmagny, Quebec. It's a very good museum (although the concertina isn't well represented) and it hosts an annual, international accordion festival each summer (where I once saw John Dipper perform, but not on a concertina!). There are also a couple of accordion workshops that can be visited.
  10. I regularly play a 30 button Anglo and a 10 hole harmonica in a rack at the same time. It looks a lot harder than it really is. I play in a duo with a singing cittern player, and it fills out our sound nicely on a few of our numbers. I can't imagine the kind of brain it would require to play English and harmonica together though. Edited to add: I played harmonica for about 40 years before I picked up an Anglo, and remember when I was starting out on concertina that I had a tendency to hyperventilate, as I would breathe in and out along with the push/pull of the bellows!
  11. So many interesting questions! I will begin by saying that I only play 20 and 30 button Anglo concertinas. My musical interests are not dissimilar to yours, minus Gregorian Chants and plus a few fast jigs and reels. I do use my concertinas for song accompaniment. Although I don't play English or Duet concertina, I have seen/heard them used successfully to do the things you mention, and suspect (as much as I love playing Anglo) that a non-diatonic systems might suit you better. Others with actual experience may chime in. In theory a 30 button concertina can be played chromatically, but in practice most players don't/can't stray too far from the two home keys and their relative minors and modes, and one or two "cross-row keys" (e.g. D Major on a C/G instrument) by reaching into the accidentals in the third row. There are too many missing notes and ergonomic challenges to make fully chromatic playing on a single 30 button instrument practical. Also, as you drift further from the home keys you defeat the instrument's designed ability to harmonize with itself. If you play a tune in C Major on the C row of a C/G concertina you can play the melody and know that anything you also do in the C row in terms of chords, oompah, etc. will probably sound right, just because of the way the notes and push/pull are organized on the keyboard. Anglo players have 3 (2 typical, and 1 less typical) ways of addressing the diatonic limitations: 1) Lots of concertinas in many different tunings (my approach- I have C/G, G/D, D/A and Bb/F, all of which I have used for singing, depending on the song). Given your budget this would be a problem, unless you went for cheap 20 button instruments. The advantage is that you don't need to learn additional finger patterns to play different scales. i.e. the fingering you use to play a tune in C Major on a C/G instrument will play the same tune on a D/A instrument, only in D Major. 2) Lots of buttons- Find or have made an instrument with 38, 40, or more buttons, with a greater selection of accidentals, duplicates and reversals to allow for a wider range of keys, and more options for left hand accompaniment. These tend to be much more expensive than your budget, and require a level of commitment to learning additional finger patterns on a fairly arbitrary and illogical keyboard. 3) Be born a musical genius who is somehow able to transcend what appear to be limitations to mere mortals. There are 2 or 3 of these people alive right now. I listen to them, then go lay down in a dark room until I regain my composure. I am loath to dissuade anyone from the One True Path of concertina playing that is the Anglo, but I don't think it would be versatile enough for what you are contemplating.
  12. Given your budget and preference for a US purchase I would suggest the Rochelle from the the list of options in your post, with a caveat. I had one early in my learning and it worked very well to acquaint me with the 30 button concertina, and convince me that I wanted to stick with it. Although it was a little big and clunky, it was easy enough to play that I didn't get discouraged, and when I did move up to a higher quality instrument the transition was easy. It was also very well built for what it is. I never had a problem with it, and I passed it, and a few others that I found, to some young students of Irish traditional music in Argentina, where they are still being played after 4 years of pretty hard use. My experience with other Italian and Chinese made instruments that I have fixed up for beginners is that they are not as well built or durable, and in many cases the inferior design of the buttons and levers renders them almost unplayable. Now the caveat: if you take to the concertina and want to continue you will most certainly want to trade up at some point- in my case it was after about 8 months with the Rochelle. If your budget could stretch a little I would suggest looking at the Rochelle II- I think the refinements in its design and construction might extend the period before you felt the need to move up.
  13. Thanks everyone for the responses. I will pass them on. In my own researches I have discovered that the University of Toronto offers graduate level studies in PA. Most excitingly, the University of Victoria, BC has developed a whole undergraduate programme, with scholarships available, under the tutelage of internationally renowned composer and performer Jelena Milojević.
  14. I apologize for the lack of concertina content, but the members of this forum are a font of knowledge! A young friend would like to study music composition at the university level. Her instrument of choice is the piano accordion, which she has played since she was a little girl, and is very accomplished on. Is anyone aware of any North American (preferably Canadian) universities that will allow non-traditional instruments?
  15. "Tell me how pitch can be lowered by simply removing material from a reed?" You can lower the pitch by removing a bit of material from the base (clamped end) of the reed.
  16. Maybe not useful advice for your beginner phase, but a few of the modern top-end makers do offer adjustable hand rests. Carroll concertinas uses a system that lets you move the rest forward and back, and vary the angle relative to the button rows. Kensington offers different sizes of ergonomically shaped (and very beautiful) hand rests that can be easily swapped. There may be some others that I haven't encountered.
  17. Maybe a weak spring is letting the pad lift on the push?
  18. Good advice from Rod and David. I would add one tip. My secret weapon is to use a damp, 100% woolen sock, rather than the cloth Rod mentions. It does a great job of smoothing, pressing, and removing excess glue without "catching" the leather and shifting it the way a regular cloth sometimes does.
  19. "This was my first non-hybrid concertina..." I don't want to stomp on your thread, but your Herrington is indeed a hybrid (although a very high-quality one). It uses superior accordion style reeds rather than individual, traditional concertina reeds. Still, a very nice instrument and a very fair price.
  20. Sorry for the thread drift, but what is that tune? (lovely playing, and Bb/F is my favourite tuning)
  21. Those are typical issues for that style of action. The other typical failure (which might be related to the grinding and metal shavings): The brown rubber sleeves in your 3rd photo dry out and lose their "spring" and no longer do a good job keeping the buttons tightly in place. The buttons can wobble around, and the slotted shaft can move too much on the lever arm, thereby causing undo wear. An easy upgrade is to replace them with short lengths of silicone tubing (I've used model aircraft fuel line). There are some good threads on that topic here.
  22. If there are any screws (usually only 2) you''d be able to feel them through the fabric. They're usually just driven into the frame at an angle, so they will definitely be easy to feel. I've had luck using the perpendicular reed block as a "handle" to gently but firmly rock/wiggle and pull at the same time.
  23. Sometimes there are a couple of little wood screws right at the edge of the reed board. Maybe hiding under the fabric of the seal? If not, it's probably just a friction fit, and some firm wiggling and tugging should pull it out.
  24. There haven't been a lot of similar sales here to base it on, but that would be the optimistic end of the range I think. 5 or 6 years ago a similar instrument went begging for a buyer at 2000 pounds.
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