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Everything posted by Waltham

  1. Thank you all. I hadn't considered the Dippers only because the mythical 'man in a pub whose identity I can't now recall' once told me they only did Anglos. I'm delighted to hear he was wrong, or out of date. Any other likely candidates? Apart from the duty issue is anyone in a position to compare Wakker and Dipper instruments? I'm aware that a custom instrument is a long term proposition, but length of wait could be an issue if there was a difference.
  2. I'm a one-handed concertina player. At the moment I play the right-hand end of a Lachenal Crane with my left hand, the other end being blanked off and fitted with a strap that goes round my thigh (ably adapted by Nigel Sture). I mainly play for morris dancing and it works well but there are a few limitations that I'd like to overcome with my next instrument: - It's not as loud as I'd like for outdoor playing, exacerbated of course by the fact that I'm only squeezing it with the (limited) strength of one arm instead of two. - It only goes down to middle C, I'd like to be able to go at least a fourth lower, and preferably two octaves above, i.e. the range of a violin in first position. - The Crane system's been good to me but I'd like to be able to play runs in thirds more fluently. So what I want is a metal-ended MacCann. I'd like a custom-made one, for a number of reasons. The MacCann system is slightly optimized for the right hand, I'd like a mirror-image one so that my left hand would be doing what the right hand of a two-handed player does. I'm confident I can adapt to the MacCann system, and I'm aware of all the other systems and happy with my choice. But a couple of questions remain: 1. Instruments with many buttons per side that I played in my two-handed days seemed to be less expressive than smaller ones. Have others found this? It would influence how many buttons I should go for if I had to balance range against expression. 2. Who should I ask to make it? Among the makers I know of who will undertake custom jobs it seems that Wakker is a good fit. Their work's very impressive, but I'm in the UK and would have to pay import duty. I don't mind doing this in principle, but it seems that one can't predict in advance how much it'll be, which makes planning hard. Or am I mistaken? In any case, would you recommend another maker? Any suggestions?
  3. Larry, I've been playing one-handed Crane for a few years now, mainly for Morris dancing, it certainly can be done. I play left-handed as a neurological condition means I don't have much strength with my right. The blank end of my instrument straps to my thigh. Chordal accompaniment is obviously limited but it's not impossible, it helps to leave a bit of space in your tunes while keeping everything rhythmic. Octaves can also help add emphasis. Very best of luck with your explorations.
  4. No, I meant do you know from experience that strapping an end to a thigh will be 'unworkable' and cause the player to be 'intimidated'? Or is this just a guess? In post #2 of this thread Alan Day said he'd seent the great Dave Brady use a thigh strap successfully, so I think 'unworkable' might be slight exaggeration. But if you have actual experience to the contrary I'd be glad to hear it.
  5. Do you speak from experience having tried it?
  6. No, this doesn't work for me at all. This just seems to replace the idea of strapping the non-playing end to my thigh, by strapping it to my torso instead, which seems like a less comfortable way of achieving the same result. In any case, I'm more interested in the question of what to do with the non-playing end. I suppose I need something a bit like this. with a longer strap on the blank end. I suppose I could put a helical spring inside the bellows instead, but I'm not sure if that would give me enough control, tempting though it is to be able to play against any surface. I got this idea having heard from Ron Shuttleworth, the mumming maven, about a music hall 'special' with a plate half way along the bellows which was actually two plates dovetailed together. In mid-performance the player could slide the two halves apart and play each half-concertina (which was spring-loaded) against each hip. A friend has suggested offline that it might help if I said a bit more about my concertina, so here goes. It's a Lachenal Crane duet, #381/C&S5946, so I think it was made in the 1880s based on the helpful articles on this site. I bought it in (I think) 1991 from none other than McNeill's Music Shop in Dublin, from the window of which it had been beckoning and shouting "come and buy me" as I walked past on my way to & from work for a week or so. The proprietor, a certain Stephen Chambers (Hi, how are you? Remember Canray Fontenot at Whelan's?) pointed out that the label in the leather box saying Vickers indicated potentially superior reeds, and that's certainly how it's seemed to me when I've compared it with other Lachenals. I could only afford it on the salary I had then because 1) a tax rebate was burning a hole in my pockt and 2) it was being sold on behalf of someone who'd specified that only the minimum amount of work to make it playable be done. At some point in its life all the bellows corners had been patched but with ridiculously thick leather, these patches are still there and are top of the list for replacements. A few weeks after I bought it I took it back for tuning and valving, and the young(er) fellow asked how I was getting on with the Crane system. I said I liked it but I was finding it hard to play leaps of a perfect fourth quickly, and demonstrated with a quick snatch of the teetotaller's reel. "Just change the tune, then" was the reply from Micheal O'Raghallaigh (for it was he) and he whipped out an anglo to demonstrate. Those were the days.
  7. I'm sure Velcro did exist then, I'm not sure how you're suggesting it should be used, do you mean to connect the concrtina to the strap? If so I'd worry about pulling it off with a particularly vigourous chord. As it happens I don't have an air button on either side so the issue doesn't arise. I am indeed concerned about playing buttons on the 'thigh' side inadvertantly, but I still see the blanking plate as a better option because it would allow me to fix multiple firm mounting points without worrying about damaging the fretwork. Also it would distribute the pressure on my thigh better, rather than putting it all through the handle and the opposite edge. But for this to work it would have to be properly airtight and I don't know how hard/expensive a proposition that would be. A related question is which repairer might be amenable to such a project (I'm in Hampshire, England by the way)?
  8. m3838 I find your post intrusive and offensive. This is a concertina forum, not a health forum. I am not at all unclear about my condition, but neither am I interested in discussing it with you. Not that it's any of your business but I've received superb care and advice from some of the top legitimate healthcare professionals in the country and it hasn't (directly) cost me a penny. There is no evidence that neuromuscular reprogramming has any benefits beyond those of a placebo, except to the bank balances of its practitioners. You are free to believe in whatever new-age treatments you like but to advise someone with a serious condition that they are better than those offered by conventional evidence-based medicine, as you did, is irresponsible and immoral. I'd be happy to talk concertinas with anyone here (including m3838) and I'd be grateful for any advice and help about the concertina-related issue I've asked about, but my health, and what I do about it is NOT up for discussion here.
  9. At the moment I have enough movement to play chords with my right hand but it's on its way out, and I'd rather have a stable situation (my left hand/arm appears to be unaffected) than a temporary one. Do you remember how Dave attached his concertina to the strap?
  10. Some years ago I stopped playing my Lachenal Crane duet concertina because a tiresome neuromuscular condition was impairing the agility of my right hand, instead I concentrated on various button accordions formy squeezing purposes. My condition has now progressed to the point that I'm having to stop those too so,as my left hand is unimpaired I'd like to see if I can make a go of things playing the melody side of my duet with it. My right arm is no longer strong enough to push/pull against it so I'll have to anchor the other end to my body somehow, probably left hip when standing, left thigh when seated. I read in one of his obituaries that the late great Dave Brady used to grip one end beween his knees but that doesn't seem to work for me. It shouldn't be too hard to get the left hand handle put on the right, and it needs some other general maintenance work, but I haven't completely decided what to do with the left hand side. One possibility would be to have a new, blank end made, so that I wouldn't be accidentally sounding unwanted notes, and the whole left-hand mechanism and reeds can sit at home out of harms way until it's time to pass the whole thing on. So, has anyone done anything like this before and has experiences to share? What could go wrong?
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