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Bill N

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Everything posted by Bill N

  1. At your price point I think the bigger question for ITM isn't concertina reeds vs. accordion reeds, but rather playability. For $2000ish you would have no trouble finding a good used Morse, Edgley etc. hybrid, which would be a joy to play and in no way hinder your learning and progression. You might get lucky, but in my experience that kind of coin will command a 30 button vintage instrument from the bottom of the barrel. Concertina reeds yes, but also often worn action, uneven reed response, leaky bellows and all the other ills associated with decades of use. You might like the sound of the reeds (at least the ones that are working properly) but will likely fight with the box as you learn. I think there's a big step up price-wise to a concertina reeded vintage or modern instrument that is as easy to play as a good used hybrid. The one exception I've found is the Kensington, which can be had new or used for not much more than a hybrid. My main point is that for someone learning on a budget the chances of playing ITM convincingly are much better on a good hybrid than a cheap vintage instrument. Here's a video of a Newfoundland friend playing on an accordion reeded Edgley. Sounds good to me! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjzkZQ5wN60
  2. I couldn't find that information in any of the write-ups on-line, but I did order the CD and found one sample track which I was able to play along with. I think you are right- C/G, although maybe not strictly A 440.
  3. Peter, do you happen to know what the tuning of that concertina is?
  4. I've had a few of these. Some were made by Scholer in East Germany, and were in CG, DA and GD tunings. The button layout is the same as a 20 button anglo (sometimes with some variations on the lowest notes), but because all the levers for a row pivot on a single, long axle, there is no curve to the rows. My Scholers used accordion style reeds mounted on wooden blocks accordion style. Each button sounds 2 reeds an octave apart. (they also made single and triple reeded instruments) These come up for sale on eBay pretty frequently. I bought one in unplayed condition a few years ago for around $70. You get what you pay for. They were cheaply made and fall apart pretty quickly, but are fun to fool around with. I think better quality ones were once available, and were, and are, popular in South Africa. I have a very nice modern South African copy of this style made to supply the market there. It's a DA, double reeded box made with excellent materials and craftsmanship, and top quality accordion reeds and I like it very much. It was built in 2014 by Danie Labushagne (see picture). I also have a c. 1870 German concertina. (my avatar picture) 26 buttons, CG tuning (single reed). The reeds for the C and G rows are each mounted on single long brass plates. The "accidentals" are on separate zinc plates. It is a much better quality instrument than my East German concertinas.
  5. A Kensington is certainly worth a look. Really well made, very stable in the Canadian climate, and real concertina reeds and a proper traditional sound. And still a bargain at $3500.
  6. In my experience, if you buy a vintage concertina from a reputable dealer it may have a limited warranty covering defects for any restoration work done, but of course they can't guarantee the original construction which might be a century old or more. And anyone who has an old concertina, especially a Lachenal from the cheaper end of the model line, and lives in the parts of Canada where we have cold, dry winters, and hot, humid summers needs to get pretty good at opening up the concertina and doing minor repairs and adjustments on their own. I had a really nice 20 button rosewood Lachenal that played and sounded great, but every time the seasons changed things shrank or swelled up, got loose or tight, and I would have to tinker with it.
  7. There are a few videos online of people playing an Edgley Heritage model.
  8. You've been playing one of Frank's concertinas for a few years. Do you like the way it plays? A big part of the "Irish sound" relies on your ability to play smoothly and quickly. When I owned an Edgley I thought the action and playability were excellent. Frank uses traditional concertina reeds and construction in his Heritage model, so it will sound a lot like some of the vintage concertinas that are played in Ireland, and quite different than his accordion reeded models. Really, you just need to hear one to see if you like the tone.
  9. Not Rosewood. Dana uses a composite called Dymond Wood for the end frames.
  10. This concertina is now sold. A donation will be sent to concertina.net Here’s your chance to buy a top quality, concertina -reeded instrument for the price of an accordion-reeded hybrid! Kensington #33 (c. 2011): 30 button C/G with concertina reeds and Kensington layout (modified Jeffries). Note that this is a lighter instrument than earlier models. I am the second owner. Fully serviced by maker after I purchased it. Superbly engineered and built concertina, with a supple bellows, light fast action and beautiful tone. The materials and construction make it very stable in the extreme swings of the North American climate. It is well played in and accordingly does have some patina and a few minor nicks and scratches. The previous owner must have played across his knee, which seems to have rubbed a bit of colour off the bottom of the bellows (see photo) but they are in excellent condition and very airtight. Comes with ergonomic hand rests which suit my average sized male hands, but you can exchange for a smaller set, and they are easy to change. Dana Johnson stands behind his instruments, and has been very responsive and nice to deal with. Comes with a hard, blocked case with tools and spares. PM me for sound file. For more info go to Dana's website: www.kensingtonconcertinas.com $2,800 plus the cost of shipping and insurance.
  11. Well, I'm stumped as to what the seller means. But I have owned an Edgley, and played and heard played, a bunch more and they really are at the top of the heap when it comes to the action and playability. Mine was a hybrid "Professional" model, with accordion reeds. I only got rid of it to help pay for a concertina-reeded Kensington. A musical friend, Fergus Brown O'Byrne, is a professional traditional musician in Newfoundland who plays twice as fast and more beautifully than I ever will and he swears by his. Frank also makes a "Heritage" model with concertina reeds, although I haven't run across one of those myself. Edited to add: I just put 2 and 2 together and found the advert you are talking about. It's been a while since I looked inside an Edgley (never had a problem with mine so didn't open it up a whole lot). Maybe there is a design feature of Frank's lever and post that is a bit like the design of the Mayfair?
  12. Without seeing the ad I would guess that the seller isn't too familiar with concertina terminology. The Mayfair line was a budget line of concertinas made by Wheatstone for a few years in the mid-20th century. Perhaps the seller is slightly confused and is comparing the action of the Edgley to that of a Wheatstone? In any case, unless this is some weird early prototype, Frank Edgley's instruments have a proper traditional riveted action, and are as good as or better than most top vintage or modern instruments in terms of ease and speed of action.
  13. Likely not, but Theo and I were responding to a previous response that claimed that the Blackthorn was concertina reeded. Didn't want the OP confused by the idea that a new, concertina-reeded instrument could be had for less than 1000 Pounds.
  14. The Blackthorn is certainly worth a look, but it is an accordion reeded hybrid like the Morse or Clover.
  15. I just ordered pads, springs, valves, bushing felt ,and bellows gaskets and top runs from Concertina Connection. I thought their prices were reasonable, and service was exceptional. From date of order it was about a week to delivery here in Newfoundland. The package was extremely well organized and packed (individual tiny ziplocks for each bunch/size of component). Also Wim and Karen sent me some helpful e-mails. After my frustrating experience with Concertina Spares this was a real breath of fresh air. The pads consist of 3 parts: the laminated leather/card circle, a small dot of leather, and a kind of little knot/knob that the lever arm goes through. You glue the 3 together as you are installing them in place. The seem very well made. I would recommend them whole heartedly. Oh, in an e-mail I asked them if the knew where I could find a small amount of bellows card for an unrelated project, and they stuck some off-cuts in the mail for me with no charge!
  16. Could you post a pic of the action?
  17. If you go across the river I know of 3 young concertina players in Buenos Aires who are associated with the La Platta Comhaltas branch. awbrown.ar@comhaltas.net I met them a few years ago while I was on an extended stay in Argentina. They were very interested in concertina, but none were available. When I returned to Canada I found some good beginner instruments and sent them to Buenos Aires. They have become very good players- I am amazed at the music they get out of their Rochelles.
  18. This should take you there: http://bertramlevy.com/concertina-tutor
  19. I'll begin by saying that I find the members of this forum to be remarkably civil and well intentioned when that is certainly not the social media norm. However I did think that the kibitzing that happened on your posting was inconsiderate, and might give a prospective buyer second thoughts. I don't think your asking price or the logic behind it were unreasonable, and in any case the market will decide. I would have been annoyed if it was my posting.
  20. Good idea Wolf. I found a table on line with over 100 temperaments. The closest matches all appear to be in the meantone family.
  21. The clouds are parting and understanding dawns! I found an old thread on this topic, and Geoff provided "note deviations from EQ in cents". I plugged my results into his chart assuming that the tuning is centred on A (my values are in in Bold) and this is what I got: 1/5 Comma; A= 0, Bb= +10 12, B= -4 -4, C= +6 4, C#= -8 -18, D= +2 2, D#= -12 -28, Eb= +12 12, E= -2 -6, F= +8 12, F#= -6 -18, G= +4 2, G#= -10 -18Ab= +14 17. So except for my sharp notes which are more extreme, it looks pretty close to 1/5 comma meantime centred on A, with A being around 444.5 HZ. Does that sound reasonable? Maybe the approach should be to leave it in the meantone tuning, but bring the whole thing down to modern pitch? I fear my ignorance is showing, but the only way forward is through!
  22. Thanks Geoff and John, I'm glad I didn't barge ahead. I'm looking at getting a tuning app that allows one to select pitch and temperament. Sounds like the best approach is to do all the other work first, then use the tuning app to deduce what the original tuning was and spot tune to bring it back in tune with itself. I'll talk with my singer friend to see if this will work for her. Cheers Bill
  23. To add a bit more info for your consideration, here are the ranges in minutes for all occurrences of each note as read by a tuner set for EQ at A -440: G 18-22 sharp G# in tune Ab read as G# 35 sharp A. 18 sharp Bb 30 sharp B. 10-18 sharp C 18-25 sharp C# in tune D 18-22 sharp D#. 10 flat Eb read as 30 sharp F. 30 sharp F# in tune
  24. I am working on a 48 button Lachenal that Dowright has dated c. 1860. It has brass reeds (which don't look like they've been bothered very much), glass buttons and a 5 fold bellows. Overall it is in very good shape. I am making new thumb straps, doing some bellows repairs, and replacing pads, springs, valves and bushings. All of the internal and external woodwork and action components are in excellent condition. If it was for my own use I probably wouldn't touch most of the pads, springs and valves, but it will be gifted to a friend who isn't the type to poke around inside of it, so this work is prophylactic. I don't play the English, but some friends who do tried it out and it sounded pleasantly in tune with itself. My initial thought was that I could handle tuning the 2 or 3 "bum" notes that were apparent. Today, just for fun, I printed out a button layout diagram and tried each button against my little tuner, recognizing that this exercise will be more useful with an accurate tuning app, and once the spring, pad, valve and bellows work is done. However, the results have me reconsidering a DIY tuning job, and also wondering what I'm starting with. Here are the initial findings (the tuner is set for equal temperament and A 440): It's sharp across the board - this wasn't too big a surprise- I've read about the evolution of standard tuning. With some "black key" exceptions, notes range from about 15 to 30 cents sharp. push & pull notes on each button are in tune with each other the tuning of a particular note is consistent across the key board e.g. all the Fs are 30 cents sharp, all the As are 18 cents sharp G#s, F#s, C#s all read as in tune for A440- Abs show as 35 cent sharp G#s, D#s are all 10 cents flat, and Ebs show as 30 cent sharp D#s. Having read, but not fully comprehended, some of the recent threads on temperaments I'm wondering if the patterns noted above might give some clues to how this was originally tuned? It will be used by a professional singer for self accompaniment, so maybe something other than EQ at A 440 would be viable? I welcome your thoughts, just remember that I am a by- ear-playing Anglo-phile with no musical theory. Layman's terms appreciated!
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