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Chris Ghent

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    Blue Mountains NSW

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  1. Squeeze the bellows without a button pressed and listen for leaks. Do the same with it held near your face (I put my tongue out because it is more sensitive) and you can feel small leaks. You have to do a lot of turning the concertina around because you will not feel a small leak unless you are within about 10mm The effect you are describing, does it occur when you have shut the bellows and then put the concertina down in a hard surface? Does the bellows then shuffle open on its own? If so, this is a fault condition, but if it is only a little you can live with it. If it is excessive it could be dealt with by taking the concertina apart and compressing the bellows in a clamp for the a fortnight. You need to make a couple of blocks to fit inside the entry to the bellows to get an even compression. A concertina repairer would be familiar with this process. Whether an accordion repairer would be I don’t know. But ask yourself, does it really get in the way, and is it worth getting it fixed on what is essentially a learner instrument?
  2. Lovely to see Richard Morse’s name resurface after all this time…
  3. I find if your fingers have to bend back towards your hand ( from the proximal interphalangeal joint, sorry, don’t know the common name, is it second knuckle?) to use the closest row then it is harder to play. Raising the handrest height does not increase the distance to the close row at all but it allows you to straighten the last joint. I have my handrest set at 30mm. More valuable for a larger hand would be to incline the handrest back at an angle a little. This would be relatively straightforward if making a new rest. I did it once on a 4.5 inch concertina to make it easier for an adult to play. The handrests could be swapped to the other ends so the incline then set the top closer towards the buttons and it could be played by a very small child.
  4. My experience with building one of these was the old squeaks and whistles were not wonderful. I did wonder if it was because the chambers were too small. I exchanged the old squeaker (think it was from a Lachenal) I first used with one from a modern dog toy and it was much louder.
  5. So glad I can now recommend this album; I waited until people could buy it. I have had it for three or four years. It is a brilliant recording and shows Ciarán O’Grady (Cogsey) to be one of the great anglo players of the world. His wife Afric is equally skilled on the fiddle. Disclaimer: well, more of a claimer! They are friends..! But seriously, listen to them.
  6. Find yourself some harmonium or reed organ reeds as a source of the brass. They will be around, almost no-one keeps the instruments but people sometimes keep the reeds. Take the reed from the harmonium reed frame; it will still need drilling, filing to fit , riveting (the secret there is to have a hole in the reed a little bigger then the rivet and this will allow you to adjust the position of the reed as you rivet it) and then filing to pitch.
  7. Looking at the reed in the foreground, if that one is not sounding quickly then no surprise. While people often say the tip needs to be raised up above the frame, in fact the reed needs to be raised up above the frame from about 1/3rd of the way along the frame from the root, not just the tip.
  8. If you have the right file getting your .5mm down to .25 or 2 will take about 90 seconds per reed.
  9. A book binder offered to do one retrospectively for me, in fact he said it would be his preferred method. Only thing was, he wanted a piece of the leather to do a test on, some tanning methods make it difficult to do successfully. I didn’t have one, or the blocking die either so it did not go any further. There is a fellow in South Australia had a device built with 6 Jeffries style dies on a wheel. You feed a strip in and turn a handle and the strip comes out with the impressions all in a line. I have seen a few, it works, but getting them to line up in the exact place when fitting must be a struggle. It hasn’t been used in 20 years and could well be for sale.
  10. Yes, one of the RHS d#s in the Jeffries layout. My point about the drone was not that it could be converted to extra reversals but that the space it occupies on the reedpan (which I don’t really have a grip on as I have had little to do with hybrids) could be used instead to supply one more of the usual accidental row buttons.
  11. I put an E in the same place on my own concertina a few years back but never did convert to using it. You couldn’t pull from D to E because it was the same finger but apart from that worked OK. I have found putting non-reversed notes (typically E/F and A#/G#) from the left onto extra buttons on the RHS works well. Typically when your left hand is busy your right is not. And there is more real estate available on the right. Every instrument I have made has had the low F# reversed on the second button RHS accidental row instead of one of the d#s, a Dipper mod. Speaking of real estate, could you achieve another accidental note if you dropped the LHS drone?
  12. I suspect the transition from an incomplete (sorry, sounds pejorative, don’t mean to be, supportive of this project) learner instrument to a standard instrument would be easier if all of the buttons on the learner instrument had the same pitch values and positions as the equivalents on the more complete instrument. Is G minor a typical key for an entry level player? I found in my own playing using both A and G on that button made a huge difference to phrasing in my playing (including using the G in G minor) and I find encouraging students to use that G/A button early on is better than converting to that way of thinking later. As a teacher (of ITM) this would be a deal breaker for me. I have a laser cutter too, uphill learning curve! Struggle!
  13. Some cheap bellows are made with folded card rather than hinged card. They may break in eventually.
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