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Posts posted by Ashkettle

  1. I still hold firm that I prefer the sound of GOOD italian reeds (not Stagi reeds, but those found in the newer mid-level boxes).


    I've heard both sounds. I admire the sound of the english style reed, but I prefer the sassiness of my italian reeds. It's not a purely traditional sound, but then again, I'm not a purely traditional type of person.


    Lately, I haven't been playing Irish Trad much on my Anglo, I've been working on Sea Shanties. I'm not sure what drew me to them, but I'm having a wonderful time with it. The sound of the accordian-style reeds works wonderfully into the sound I wish to pull out of the box with those tunes. Odd though, I'm deathly afraid of water and playing sea shanties...something ironic in that.


    Next I plan on exploring contra-dance and since I'm in Pittsburgh, Old-Time is ALWAYS around. In both, I think the sound of my Morse will fit just dandy. I just want to explore all my box has to offer.


    In the end, it's a matter of taste. If you claim that one sound is inherently better than another, you are fooling yourself. Now, if you claim that one reed-type QUALITY is inherently better than another, that's an argument of another stripe. My playing style is more slow and steady though, so my Morse does me just fine.


    Would I accept a Vintage Style instrument if it fell into my lap? Likely. However, the Morse would still be the one I play most of the time. It's just what I enjoy to listen to.


    You cannot account for what people like in their musical tastes. After all, Brittney Spears sells out concerts. To each his/her own.



    Now, what draws me to my instrument? I love how it fits into my hands just perfectly. I love the feel of the bellows as I move it. I love how I lose myself in it. Mostly, I love the joy in my 16 month old son's face that lights up every time I start playing a tune. I'll keep that feeling with me forever.

  2. Personally, I'll never own a "vintage" concertina. I'm happy with what I have. As far as I'm concerned, the sound and playability of my Morse is as good as it gets. I bought it for the sound (I like the sound of the newer accordian reeded instruments, it's just not the traditional sound...yet) and the weight.


    I'll likely never buy another concertina (I have a C/G and I've just placed an order for a G/D), but I'll also likely never stop playing.


    There are plenty of options out there.

    I don't drive a 57 Chevy, though I admire the looks of them. I drive a used Mini-Van.

    I don't wear Armani suits. I wear Men's Wearhouse (much cheaper).


    Why? They are good enough for me.


    Don't fret on the things you want...concentrate on what you need. It's healthier for you.


    Ok, I DO want a nice thick steak tonight, and since it's a good night to grill, I'll decide to not heed my own advice and have it. Sometimes it's good to splurge.

  3. Real time chat?  Without going into the technical issues (which are not my focus here), I think the biggest issue is that this community is not large enough (and in a way, thank goodness for that).  Before the glitch during the software upgrade early this year that made the board think it had 439 members logged on at once (or whatever the number is; certainly not the case!), the number of members online at once varied from a few up to a couple of dozen.  I believe the posts show that there are many interests here that overlap only partially; only a few people (and administrators) read every post and every thread (you know who you are!).  Very few people prepared to correspond with you may be on-line at the same time as you.  So the argument that this would get you answers that you seek sooner doesn't convince me.  Music will teach you patience in many ways if you stay with it, and patience is something we could all use a bit more of in this frenzied world.  The final advantage to the present system is that the time delay means you lose nothing by comtemplating and composing your answer with some extra thought and care for your audience.  I think the posts here (and the humor) show that many people indeed do this.


    One opinion.


    I agree with you on everything except one point. I think more of us read pretty much every thread than you realize. I know I do, and I have the strange feeling I'm not alone in this.


    Of course, this doesn't invalidate your argument in the least.

  4. I know there are a few of you out there who play a G/D Anglo. I'm expecting to get one soon (to add to my addiction) and have a question about it...


    When you play C/G, I realize that many (including myself) play mostly across the rows. With G/D, do you do the same? Or do you find yourself playing "in the rows" more?


    Anyone want to enlighten me?

  5. After my stroke, my right hand has been very weak and I have found it impossible to play my English Concertina.  Recently I had a very encouraging email from Chris Timson and decided to have another attempt at playing my instrument and discovered I can play a few tunes.  They are very ragged with pauses where I try to find the correct button but the tunes are recognisable - to me anyway.  Sometimes my fingers droop and I press down buttons unintenionally which sounds awful, but I feel with practice I will get better.  The D above middle C is a hard one to play.


    This has made me very happy and given me hope - something which has been lacking in my life for the last 6 weeks.


    :)  :)  :D  :)  :)


    And here I've been crotchety because I got a nasty gash in my palm yesterday and can't play until it heals some. It's all about perspective.


    I'm very happy to hear that it's starting to work out. Keep at it, it's good for the body and soul.

  6. You could argue that there is actually a wider variety of tone available in traditional concertina reeds anyway, all the way from soft sounding and not very responsive low-end brass reeds, up to the jeffries-type that bark at you at the slightest provocation!  So the accordion-type reeds are just broadening the choice.




    When I argue at all, I usually just remind the person that I'm bigger than them. Always seems to work for me :P

  7. So, a long time ago, I picked up a CD at a Borders. I bought it SOLELY because it said $2.99 Cheaper than Food on the cover.


    The CD was the First Nordic Roots Sampler CD (Vol 1). There are some nice tunes on it (ok, lots of nice tracks, but a few nice tunes for a session). Anyone know where I could find some of this music to learn?



    Richard Ashkettle

  8. Don't know what to call them and I don't care.


    I know my Ceili doesn't sound like an old classis concertina (antique, vintage, whatever you want to call it), but I like the sound. I've never been traditionalist enough to think that it matters really.


    After all, the music is still a living tradition. As this new breed of concertina hits the marketplace, it will slowly become the norm of what people expect to hear when they think of the concertina. This is how things happen.


    If I'm playing my Ceili some day at a session and somebody makes a comment...well, I know a few Piano Accordian players in the area, and I'm not afraid to use them. :P


    Personally, I bought the instrument that had the sound I enjoy the most. It may not have the instant snap of concertina reeds, but I doubt that will ever be an issue with my playing.


    Now, my old Stagi...shudder.

  9. Hi,

    I am on the brink of buying 2 or 3 CDs...and am soliciting adviceMike


    You give no indication of where you are based.


    Mike is the same Mike I visited in east central Massachusetts last week; he continues to advance through the concertina-holic stages at 20 times normal speed. I just suggested he go to the Button Box and ask Doug C. for suggestions. He has a bunch of opened CDs behind the counter, maybe you can listen to them.


    Sending an addict to the Button Box? Why not just hold him down and mainline it for him? You are an evil man Ken. I salute you for that!

  10. Both Mary Macnamara cds are my favorites for slowish, un-ornamented Irish.

    Tim Collins "Dancing On Silver" is my favorite Irish cd at the moment.


    If you think Mary Macnamara's playing is un-ornamented, you need to listen a bit more closely. That's like saying Micho Russell's playing is un-ornamented.


    They both play a particular style from Clare that has the emphasis on the tune rather than the musician. There is plenty of ornamentation in their playing, it's just not as "showy" as Noel Hill may choose to play. Sometimes understating a tune makes more of an impact.

  11. Well, to add my 2c worth...


    1. I fit the facial hair stereotype. It's really that I hate to shave around my mouth. I still manage to cut myself quite a bit and it's not worth it. Plus, my wife actually likes me this way.


    2. At 38 this is the first time I've felt "young". Thanks folks! :P


    3. It took so long because, quite simply, a concertina wasn't in my price range.


    4. It was cheaper than a mistress and a sportscar for my fast-approaching mid-life crisis. :blink:


    That said, I have only two real hobbies: My Concertina and my videogame addiction. All told, I think the former is better for me.


    Well, back to work, then home to work on scales for alternate fingerings.

  12. I'm with Ritchie on this. I've mostly learned from the same resources and I use the CRow as my "home row" for any key. Of course, I often leave that row when I need to.


    That spoken, I'm currently working on learning GMaj as all pulls and the All-but-one-note-push. I feel if I can get a good feel for GMaj in all three scale progression patterns, eventually I'll feel comfortable enough to switch between them as necessary.


    That's when I feel I'll become good enough to really add ornamentation and make the song really my own.


    Of course, all this is subjective and personal opinion. If I wanted to, I imagine I could have purchased an anglo with G/D and stayed primarily in the rows for playing. I prefer the understated styles of Mary MacNamara (or for a perfect example on whistle, Micho Russell) to Noel Hill's style (though I gasp at his technical perfection) when playing. Playing in the rows would likely be very possible for this type of music.


    However, I don't want to limit myself in any way to express the tune how I feel at a given moment.


    Once again, this is just my take on it and I'm a self-admitted novice. I still spend more time with scales than I do with actual tunes.

  13. I don't get the modern obsession with fast playing. I've always preferred the Clare style. It's not really slow, it's not plain, but instead of forcing you through the tune, it seems that the tune carries you alongside it.


    Of course, it's all a matter of taste. I just can't get into tunes played incredibly fast any more than a tune that's so ornamented that you can't make out the melody any more. Maybe I'm just getting old.



  14. I'm less than an hour away Richard (Richard, right?).  Maybe it's about time I came into town and showed you all sorts of great things, including cases.  Let me know.


    Less than an hour away at 7:00 last night would find our shop closed and me out jamming.... But I look forward to you stopping by another day though. If I'm not around when you pull in, have Doug give me a ring!


    He's talking about me. Ashkettle being my last name, but Richard being my first. I'm one of the only other concertina players in Pittsburgh (going on the rumor of an English player being somewhere in town).


    Btw, thanks all. I actually got it in and out of the case easily now. As embarassed as I was to have to ask the question, I'm glad I did.


    Yes Ken, sometime we should get together. I'll buy you drinks and you can show me everything I'm doing wrong. After all, I freely admit I'm a complete novice with my concertina. It doesn't stop me from loving it though.

  15. I bought a lovely anglo concertina from the Button Box (a Morse) last Summer. Now, I love my concertina and couldn't be happier with it (ok, I'm looking into bellows papers, but that's cosmetic).


    Now, there is only one problem. Since taking it out of the case in July, I haven't EVER been able to fit it back in. STOP LAUGHING AT ME!


    My wife, after hours of enjoyment at my expense, tried. She failed. In the last 8 months since I've had my concertina, NOBODY has been able to figure out how to fit it back in the case it came in.


    This makes me feel like an idiot. It's a splendid case and I'd love to use it.


    Does anybody know the secret of the case? If I'm opening myself to the ridicule of these boards (and yes, I deserve it), you know I must be in desperate straits.


    Anyone? Bueller?


    Pretty please with sugar on top.....

  16. Don't get my wrong. I love my Morse Anglo. I think it's superb and makes me very happy when I play it.


    However, I've been thinking that some bellows papers would spruce it up some. The question is, how do you go about putting them on. It's not like I want to take Elmers Glue and just slap them on.


    Anyone with any hints?

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