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chrisbird's Achievements


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  1. I had a Hohner D60 and struggled, as a beginner, for over a year trying to play reasonably well. Then, one day I picked up a decent concertina (can't now recall the make) in Ireland and was amazed at how well I could actually play; I really could not believe the difference. So, convinced it was the concertina and not me that was largely at fault I bought a Clover made by the Concertina Connection (and purchased from Barleycorn). I've never looked back and never regretted the purchase. Don't buy a Hohner is my advice.
  2. Brilliant, Geoff, and very many thanks for that. One way I endeavour to improve my playing is to play along with recordings (eg the excellent Foinn Seisiun sets from Comhaltas). I've always gone through a contrived method of opening a track in Adobe Audition, slowing it down, etc - yes, complicated and time consuming when all I want to do is play music. Best Practice has made things so much easier. Thanks again. Regards, Chris
  3. From my perspective, I think there's an element of truth in that statement. I used to play an EC, but could really only ever do so by reading the music. Then, when I started the Anglo I found it easier when I started playing by ear. I think the reason may be that, certainly for straightforward tunes (eg in C or G), there are limits to the 'wrong' notes that can be played on an Anglo. Conversely, with every note an option on the EC, it is more of struggle to make sure one is playing the right note. Actually, historically, the EC was played by the educated middle classes in their drawing rooms reading music; whereas the Anglo was adopted by the working classes who rapidly learned how to play it with no recourse to music, or even the ability to read music. I realise that doesn't, necessarily, imply Anglos are easier to play by ear (after all, they were a heck of a lot cheaper to buy, thus were the only concertina available to the working classes), but it may be a factor. Regards, Chris
  4. Try this page How to learn a tune by ear Mary. I found it helpful as I also have trouble playing by ear and tend to learn tunes by reading the music. Regards, Chris
  5. Chris- I have a little tutor regarding playing cross-row, Noel Hill style. Please contact me if you'd like further information. Email me at davylevine@gmail.com. Cheers, David

  6. Many thanks for all your replies, which I have found most helpful. As David (Levine) says, it certainly has opened a can of worms - particularly for me as I'd probably not thought much beyond the concept of either the 'C' row or the 'G' row, and I now realise from other comments that the issue is more complex than my original simplistic 'which is the right way' question was posed. If I was a better player (one day!), then I think I'd more easily recognise and come across some of the valid observations that others have made; eg Sailor and Alan with their comments on cross-row playing, and David (Boveri) when he states "start thinking in terms of phrasing, bellows directions, the strength of the fingers chosen, and the sound of the particular reed" and the very pertinent comment "you may not be able to hear a difference between your fingering choices and John William's, but I can say that I would be able to" - I'm sure you would, David! I'm still very much a beginner with the Anglo. In part, I found learning the Anglo (that I first started to dabble with less than 2 years ago) was largely frustrated by the fact I'd previously played an English for around 25+ years - took me months and months before I (or my fingers!) could come to terms with the totally different way the two instruments were played. Regards, Chris
  7. I'm uncertain as to the merits, or otherwise, of what particular row one should play a tune on when it is written in the key of 'G'. For example, I play 'The Kesh' (when written in 'G') on the 'inside' row of the Anglo. But today, having just received John Williams' DVD, I see he plays it on the middle row, ie what I tend to regard as being appropriate for tunes in 'C'. Out of interest, his way of playing sounds virtually the same as mine. Furthermore, I originally learned the tunes 'No 8 Polka' and 'The New Roundabout' from Niall Vallely's CD - both tunes in 'G' but actually played by him (and me, 'cos I learned from him), on the middle 'C' row. Whilst I can now play both tunes equally well on both the 'C' and 'G' rows, I'm left with an element of confusion over the whole issue. So, if one of the experts could bail me out of my dilemma/confusion, I'd be delighted. In other words, what, exactly, are the benefits of playing, for example, tunes in 'C' on the 'C' row, and tunes in 'G' on the 'G' row, rather than tunes in 'G' on the 'C' row? Apologies if this is a bit of a dumb question, but I really am at a loss to understand the issue. And, if the answer is 'Play it where it suits you best', then that's fine as well. Regards, Chris
  8. Also consider the Clover from Concertina Connection. I purchased one a couple of months ago from Barleycorn Concertinas (http://www.concertina.co.uk/) and have been delighted with it. Regarding suggestions above, when I was looking to move up (from a Hohner), there was a waiting list of 4 months for a Marcus, and Hobgoblin said it was a year's wait for a Sherwood. As Jim indicates, cheaper models (Rochelle and Stagi, and in my case a Hohner) do hold back one's playing. I was amazed at the virtually instant improvement in my playing when I moved from a Hohner to a Clover. Regards, Chris
  9. I ordered it from http://theirishshop.com/ (in Ennis) last week. Delivered in just two days (to the UK), and the album is magnificent. Edel certainly is a first rate player. Regards, Chris
  10. I've just taken delivery of a Clover from Barleycorn Concertinas and I'm absolutely delighted with it. After many years of playing an English, I first started to play an Anglo 18 months ago, opting for a cheapish model (Hohner D60) in case it was a disaster. Perseverance paid off, until the point I realised I was struggling more with the mechanics/construction of the concertina (stiff bellows, unresponsive reeds, button layout, etc) than I was in actually playing music. So, cutting a long story short, I ended up purchasing a Clover. I'm astounded by how easy it is to play in comparison with the Hohner. More importantly, my playing instantaneously improved - no longer do the mechanics of the concertina get in the way of playing music (if that makes sense). Note for Wim: I'd have preferred a Jeffreys layout to a Wheatstone one. Regards, Chris
  11. Anybody with an opinion on the above? Or is it just down to my own personal choice? One thing I can't do is actually compare them myself as I live far too far from anywhere to make that a possibility. So, I'm really buying 'blind', or should that be 'deaf' as well? If anyone can offer guidance on a good choice, then I'd be very grateful. Regards, Chris
  12. I think that Alistair Anderson is probably one of the finest exponents of the English Concertina and, in comparison to an Anglo, the playing (for lack of better phrasing) sounds 'light' and lacks punch - not, of course, that is intended as a negative observation. No doubt it is possible to get an 'Irish' sound out of an English Concertina, if one was a good player and I'm not that good. It is the punchier sound of the Irish that appeals to me. OK, that's off my chest. Anyone fancy making an observation or recommendation on my possible purchase? I am looking at: The Scarlatti from Hobgoblin at £165 The Stagi from Hobgoblin at £279 The Rochelle from the Music Room at £270 Regards, Chris
  13. I think I've been given sufficient encouragement to give it a try - certainly nobody has cautioned against it which is encouraging. Like you, Michael, it is Irish traditional music that has prompted my interest in the Anglo; suddenly the English sounds 'boring' to me. Thanks everyone for your responses. Regards, Chris
  14. Apologies for the repetition, Ken. I did find various discussions, but nothing I felt that was wholly specific. Then again, given what subjective thing it is that I'm asking, it's probably unrealistic of me to have found an 'absolute' answer. I guess that is probably true when the instruments are similar, such as the Anglo and Concertina. But I bet piano is harder to learn than a penny whistle :-) Regards, Chris
  15. I've played an English Concertina for some years and have become interested in an Anglo. Is an Anglo harder to learn than an English; also, once learned, is it easier than an English to play? Would the fact I can play an English get in the way of learning the Anglo? My interest has been prompted by a trip to Ireland where the punchier sound of the Anglo definitely appealed. Also (treading on dangerous ground here as it's a bit 'off topic'!), in terms of difficulty which is harder to learn - the Anglo Concertina or a Button Accordion (Melodeon)? I guess you can see where I'm going with this one. Many thanks, Chris
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