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Steve Mansfield

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Everything posted by Steve Mansfield

  1. The button spacing on a Jackie is very similar to that on a Wheatstone. Of the modern cheap(er) boxes the Jackie is head & shoulders above the various Chinese monstrosities you'll find on Ebay, so unless you're really lucky and find someone selling a decent Lachenal at well under market value you're probably best starting on a Jackie. That will get you started and help you decide whether EC is for you, and once you make the decision and start to hanker after something swisher, that's when you can start looking for a more expensive decent vintage or modern box. You can get a long way on the 30 keys of a Jackie before you start noticing the missing notes and start needing a 48 or 56 key. Just don't make the mistake I made - I played a Jackie for about 6 months and was very happy with it. Right up until someone, very well meaning, put a lovely 48 key Wheatstone in my hands and said 'try that' ... and sadly the Jackie just never felt the same after that
  2. Thanks everybody, there’s certainly been no lasting ill effects on the tina which was my main concern. I wondered if I’d have been better using my brass-reeded box (we were amplified so that wouldn’t have been a problem) but it sounds like that one might have had the same problem. Ah well - roll on outdoor gigs in balmy Summer days!
  3. My band Trebuchet were playing our Christmas set last weekend, outdoors (under a gazebo) in cold and quite humid weather. Several reeds on my Wheatstone 48 key steel reeded English stopped speaking altogether, which made some tunes interesting! The reeds which went silent were predominantly on the push, although I have no idea whether that's significant or just coincidence. 24 hours later after standing back in the house, all reeds are working fine and there doesn't seem to have been any lasting harm. Why would the reeds have stopped sounding? It was cold but above freezing, and quite humid (it started raining later). And is there anything I could have done, either in the moment or in the preparation, to guard against it happening?
  4. I’ve got a Geordie and would really miss the extra upper notes if I didn't have them - they give the option to switch from playing low accompaniment to taking a turn on the main melody, and also open up some splendid multi -octave chords that the Albion range don’t allow. If you’re aspiring to get into any form of band setting the extra notes will really give you a lot of extra scope.
  5. Got my copy through the post a few days ago - there’s months/years of study there, very well written and laid out (spiral bound so sits on a table or music stand) and as others have said, great cover image
  6. Gosh, there’s a question. in no particular order - bellows control. The great temptation on EC is to pull out until you run out of air then push in again. Use the bellows to shape phrases and individual notes, use the attack of a change of direction to give a note an accent. - work on 3rds, 5ths and octaves. - learn chords and putting an extra harmony note in. - learn to move away from the set idea of one finger one row of buttons, use cross-rowing to help get notes. - get used to playing in different keys. Scales, arpeggios, runs. - learn some ornamentation to help bring tunes to life. I over-use bagpipe-style grace notes, but rolls and cuts are good tools. - listen to all kinds of players and musics and try to work out how to play them on EC. - and just play the thing for pleasure! If I’d done half of that I’d be a much better EC player than I am 🙂
  7. ECs are always hot. We just don’t feel the need to constantly tell everyone
  8. Good luck finding a new owner and best wishes for your retirement. I love my Geordie baritone EC and it would be a real shame to see them going out of production
  9. I was part of the live audience for this and got a lot from it. I’m still doing my homework several weeks later!
  10. Musescore will export in musicxml format, and EasyAbc (for one, no doubt other apps will do the same) will import musicxml and convert it to abc for you
  11. RAc has providede good support already, but no don’t use phantom power on your Microvox! If you’re not getting sufficient gain I’d look into your sound card settings first, but also consider getting a USB interface (I use a Focusrite Scarlett Solo with excellent quality results).
  12. A change of bellows direction can be used to give the note a bit more attack or separation from the previous note, so can be used as a driver of the rhythm or pulse of the tune you are playing. As an exercise try playing a piece you already know, but changing bellows direction at the start of every bar. Then try it again changing at every half-bar, then again playing it in one direction for as long as possible and only changing direction when the bellows, rather than the pulse of the music, make you. All of the above are valid ways of playing, the musicality and expression of the music comes from using those effects ina conscious way. When you start to play chords you’ll need to be much more mindful of your bellows to create the sound you want. It will become more intuitive and automatic the more you do it, so you’re not facing a lifetime of consciously monitoring your bellows along with everything else - but it’s back to our old friend practice to getting there ...
  13. Welcome to the forum Ciaran. I got my 50(!) key Wheatstone EC from your Dad a couple of years ago and really enjoyed my morning playing loads of boxes before deciding on the perfect one. Great to see Barleycorn continuing and, when we’re all allowed out again, hope to see you at a festival sometime. Don't worry about putting the occasional general message about the business up, it’s a good way to keep the community informed.
  14. I’m working on a church harmonium-style arrangement of one of our songs on the Morse baritone EC. I might post a sound file when I’m done - though i say it myself, its coming on nicely!
  15. I play chordal accompaniments on my Morse Geordie, and although you have to put some thought into bellows direction I rarely run out of puff. The Geordie also has an air button in place of the top b, which can be useful in ‘leaking’ a bit more air into the bellows - but can also catch you out if you transfer a tune from treble that goes up that far, and instead of a top note you get a breath of air!
  16. Chapeau! That’s really good, thanks for posting. I do like concertina reed trebles playing with accordion reeded baritones ...
  17. Did someone take you up on this or can I buy it off you?
  18. Very very old thread - but has anyone got a copy of Phil Hopkinson’s book that they would be willing to part with, or any idea how to get hold of a copy? My EC chording is stuck in a rut and this sounds like the perfect inspiration!
  19. The book is very well produced, nicely laid out with a very readable music font, and small descriptions of the origin of each tune. Best of all it lies flat on a music stand or desktop so is very easy to use and play from. The tunes are notated with the melody plus chord letters; to be greedy, it might have been nice to have had one or two full concertina parts transcribed as an example. Well worth getting for the dots from Meanders and the definitive version of other tunes of Rob’s, finishing with a few pages of versions or rearrangements of traditional tunes. Excellent stuff.
  20. But if you’ve got a, er, mixed ability set in front of you, do you play to the best dancer, or the worst, or ... I try to aim at the middle. If I get roughly equal complaints that it was too slow and too fast, I reckon I’ve done a good day’s playing
  21. The Eurosession I go to uses dots (although off-piste is not discouraged) as this is a good way to allow people who aren’t that confident with the balfolk and Scandi repertoire to get involved and discover the joys of this music. This can lead to a bit of parallel playing rather than playing together, but usually works quite well. a standard English music session I would hope to work without dots to let the musicians interact with and listen to each other - the joy of a session for me is when the group works as one by listening and reacting to each other, rather than the dreaded parallel playing recital that so often happens. So I’m literally in two minds on thsi one depending on context!
  22. So what are those of us who play both concertina and mouth-blown bagpipes (not simultaneously I hasten to add) meant to make of this? I’ve been told more than once that I look severe whilst playing concertina, I need to cultivate a more serene expression...
  23. +1 for Musicians Insurance Services. Cover includes gigs and theft from a locked vehicle, and although I’ve thankfully never had to claim myself, I’ve heard very good reports from unfortunates who have. To @Little John ‘s point it would take me approx. 40 years of my premium to replace all the instruments I’ve got insured.
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