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About Gusten

  • Birthday 03/11/1983

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    Råå, Sweden

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  1. I learn almost exclusively by ear. I've played the musical priest on other instruments for a long time, but wanted to really dig in and make it work on the concertina. Now it's one of my favorite concertina tunes to play! Since I started using a metronome and slow down my playing to practice, I've started to understand how important bellows control is. (I'm also getting to know my concertina better, as some reeds seem to move air a lot easier, which disturbs the flow if not compensated for.) I'll take your advice and start looking into how skilled players hold their instruments! I don't really know how I hold it myself, just that I put my hands in the straps (that I keep pretty tight, maybe they should be looser) and play away on my left knee. I'm guessing there's more to it than that... Oh, I noticed another habit I've developed. I keep my right pinky finger pressed against the side of the concertina. It's not constantly on, but I do it every now and then, I'm guessing for increased stability, or to reduce wobbling when push/pulling. It's odd what you find when you look into what you're really doing!
  2. Hi guys, just checking in (don't visit the forum as often as I should, especially after making a post asking for advice) to say thanks for all the advice, both here on via PMs. All different input has inspired me to really revise my playing on all tunes in D or Bm. A helpful PM also gave me some ideas on ornamentations, and my simulated rolls have actually started to help the flow instead of hindering it. One problem I had with Musical Priest was to get an even flow. Using my pinky finger, and using the C# in combination with the first two fingers on the left hand G-row, has always caused problems to my flow. I've started using a metronome, and playing the tricky parts of a tune slowly over and over, and then raising the tempo when the rythm is even. I've also looked into which beat I accent, which has helped the flow as well. Less "just playing" and more actual practice is what's been missing, it seems. All in all - it's been a busy couple of weeks, and the inspiration came from c.net. Thanks guys!
  3. Well it's better than the "Just go English" I had expected. Thank you all for advice. I haven't spent much time trying to use ornaments to help the flow - I seem to force them in instead, which really stops the flow. Youtube is a great source though, I've started to use it alot more recently to get ideas on ornamentation. Soon enough I'm sure it'll enhance the flow, rather than hinder it.
  4. Hi guys, I've played irish trad music on anglo concertina (G/C) for a couple of years now, and I keep trying to improve my playing. I'm really struggling with finding a good flow in some tunes, usually tunes in D. It would be very helpful for me if someone took the time to line out what buttons they use when they play The Musical Priest (Bm is essentially D), as that tunes pretty much sums up the problems I have. My concertina has Wheatstone layout, and I find myself playing alot on the first three buttons on the inner (G) row, the G, B and D button. Maybe I just need to work up my left hand dexterity, but it feels like I should be able to play it without using my left ring finger so much on the G button. Ultimately, if someone could describe which button they use for every single tone in the tune, I'd be very happy. However, any little piece of advice is very welcome. If I can find a "smarter" way to play that particular tune, then I think I could work that in to alot of other tunes as well.
  5. Hello, I'm not much of an oldtimer here on the forum, but I'll shed the little light I can. I suspect that not too many have tried the new generation Rochelle. I for one had never heard of it before. What I can tell you though is that I found the original Rochelle a perfect starter instrument. It's what I bought to try if the concertina was for me, and it worked very well. The sound is nice and mellow (many of my friends prefer the Rochelle sound to my Lachenal, but I just grin at them with a "you just don't know better"-experssion), and I had no mechanical problems with it. Well, at one time a spring broke, but the good people at concertinaconnection (right?) sent me a bunch of new springs free of charge. I'm sure this is not the information you were looking for, but at least it's something. I think the Rochelle is a very nice and well worth the price. I still use mine at times, for those times/places that things can get a bit rough, or at home in my chamber when I just want to produce a different sound.
  6. I'll try to make a short reply to this... Two weeks is enough time for me to experience a fair deal of local culture (and I'm enjoying it so far). I would have brought my concertina and play on my own at the hotel anyhow, but it's more fun with other people. (I have to admit though, I have eaten at MacDonald's once already. Many more late nights, and I might sin again.) Oh, and Jim, I read your advice after leaving, and packed it in my suitcase. It's a very hard case, and I wrapped all my cloths around it, and luckily enough it got here safely. It actually plays alot better here in Singapore than home in Sweden - I guess the humidity is too low back home. I'll make sure to carry it on the plane when flying back, to keep it safe.
  7. I'll be sure to ask around for venues with local music, would be very interesting (and probably challenging for my guides, as my co-workers who've been there haven't asked for such things). On the "chiff and fipple" forum, I was adviced to go to a pub called the Molly Malone's Irish pub. I contacted a guy running their bi-weekly session, and I'm in luck - there will be a session when I'm there. Now I have a (-nother) reason to pack my concertina. Time to start reading up on the various threads about carrying a concertina on flight. Regards
  8. Hello all, I'm going to Singapore on business on the first of June, and will be staying there for two weeks. I wonder what's there to do, apart from the regular mainstream sightseeing. Any sessions, or irish (music) pubs, or any reed instrument makers/dealers worth mentioning? Any other general music scenes that could be interesting to visit? I'll have plenty of guides with local knowledge, but I doubt they know much about concertinas, irish music, or any music at all. All advice is much appreciated! Kind regards
  9. Wow, a lot of specific, detailed and most helpful advice here! Thank you all very much. David, the two-finger triplet you speak about is something I use a bit on the middle row (only ornament I use for the middle-finger E on the left hand). The problem is that the inside row is too close to my palm, so I can't pull the triplet off on the same button with two fingers. That's why I wonder if I might have my hands in a bad position while playing, but I've received some advice here in this post so I'm going to study my playstyle more. A bit off-topic - since a few days I'm not playing at all, since a spring broke on middle row, index finger G/A. For some reasons, high-schoolers are more enthusiastic about spring break than concertina-players are.
  10. Thanks alot for the advice on the straps and hand-position, Bruce. I haven't really given that much thought, so you've opened up my eyes here. I'll get right to analysing my bar-height and hand-position when I get home from work (and re-read your post, to make sure I don't miss anything)! I think I wasn't clear with what I meant. I'm looking for advice on how to perform a roll/other ornament longer than just a cut, on the F#, the G, the A and the B, i.e. four different rolls. I'm not looking for a roll to involve F# and B, I just tried to be efficient when typing, and failed to get my point through. That is, how would you perform (or rather "mimic" as it's concertina we're playing) a roll on the high G? And how would you perform a "roll" on the high F#? And on the high A, etc. Thank you. /Gusten
  11. Hi, I've played the concertina for... Wow, almost two years now! I'm enjoying it more for every day I play, and I find that (since I have no teacher available) progress is directly proportional to how often I play, and how actively I try to learn new things. ...which brings me to my question! I'm working more and more on ornamentation (I play irish trad music, on anglo), and I haven't yet figured out how to perform/simulate rolls on the high F#-B, i.e. the index and middle finger on right hand, G-row. On the C-row, I've lately started to work on triplets, but the G-row is too close to my palm so I can't do fast triplets there. Maybe my hand straps are too tight? I've tried different variations, but can't figure out a way to make rolls (or other ornamentation longer than just a cut) sound nice. Does anyone have any advice here? Thankful for all input! Regards Gusten
  12. That would be the (clearly not) unforgettable Gusten, standing right next to you.
  13. I have to agree with Dick, and others, about bringing a tape recorder (or the alike). I can't think of a better way to learn how to play tunes at your local session. You'll know what tempo that's expected, it'll help getting the hang of suitable ornamentation (one of my main issues at the moment), and even what tune might come next in a set. But, as already mentioned, be sure to ask if it's OK to record the session. It's probably fine to just ask the 'leader', if there is one and you don't want everyone's attention. I also, like Dick, listen to a lot of tunes while taking the bus, or whenever I get the chance. It's a great and effortless way to learn new tunes, or new ways to play tunes you already know. If you know your instrument well enough, you just need to know the melody and the fingers will then follow.
  14. I have a whole lot of tunes like that too. It's the result of trying to learn 100 new tunes in 10 days. Some I know by heart, others I have to rely on someone else to lead them, at least for the first two runs. I have very limited session experience, especially on concertina, but the first problem I came across was timing. When playing at home, I try to keep a very low volume for the sake of my roommates and neighbors, but at sessions (or when performing live) I have to squeeze out more volume. That scrambled my timing quite a bit, so nowadays I try to play really loud at home whenever I get the chance. I have to agree with many others here that, as long as you know the tune, it's not a big problem to not hear yourself very well. The greatest session "sound" to me is when a whole bunch of instruments play the same melody, aligned ornamentation, and you can't really tell one instrument from another. I want to hear myself enough to 'feel' that the sound of a concertina is somewhere in there, but that's more than enough. Oh, and for learning tunes - one method that I've learned is to first listen to the melody to have it stick in your head, and then try to sing (or rather hum) along with it. When you can do that, it's easier to transfer it to your instrument. I'm more used to playing mandolin than concertina, so I always bring it along for learning new tunes. This method requires that you know the notes on your instrument by heart, and I'm not quite there yet on the concertina. Good thing about the mandolin too is that I have to really struggle for others to hear it, which means that I can quietly play along when learning new tune. Just my 2 ören (Swedish equivalent of 'cents')
  15. Good to hear that you're already planning for the future! I upgraded from my cheap started instrument (Rochelle) to something more proper (Lachenal) after a few months, which I did just recently. There's a lot to choose from, and if you are in the same position as me where you have extremly limited possibility to try different instruments out, it's hard to know in forehand what's "right" for you. It seems like you can't go wrong if you go for any of the modern hybrid makers. As already pointed out, you can find them listed in a sticky-post. There are some differences that you might want to take into consideration, but all in all they all seem to be high quality instruments. I myself wanted the sound of vintage concertina reeds and went for a used Lachenal, and I don't regret it one bit. I asked in a thread (a couple of pages back probably) for people's opinions and experiences with vintage vs. new concertinas, and people were very generous with sharing their advice. If you're into vintage instruments, that is. The Sherwood looked appealing to me too, as it seems to be the cheapest one (in that class) available. Doesn't seem to be many people here who have much to say about it though. If you use the search function on the forum, you can find a review on it. Best of luck, let us know how it goes! Edit: Oh, and again - it's really good that you already plan for the future. If you do your research at an early stage, you can start monitoring all sorts of sites and see when a bargain comes along. If you take your time, you'll find a really good price for an instrument that'll most likely suit you well.
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