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Ralph Jordan

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Everything posted by Ralph Jordan

  1. Firstly Hi Jodie! Secondly, An example of a man with two brains is Keith Kendrick (Derbyshire UK) amazing on both English and Anglo, and a very fine singer as well. Have worked with him many times over the years. He tried my Duet, and didn't get it at all! My conclusion is that every mind is different! Couldn't agree more with the poster who could play mandolin, but found the fiddle scarey! I've been down that road too.....(Even my cats left the room in disgust) I think you'll be lucky to get a bespoke Concertina from either Mr Dickinson, or Mr Dipper. With great respect (and huge admiration) to both of them, they're not as young as they were! I remember visiting Colin Dipper 10 years ago, and him saying...."If I made all the tinas that I've been asked for, I'd be 125 years old!" And having been to Steve Dickinson's place, only a couple of months ago, he said the same. This is all a bit of a digression to the OP's point. To re-iterate, MacCann Duet, At least 56/58 (whatever) that goes down to middle C on the right end. It's floated my boat for at least 30 years! Well worth the pain, learning it though....Damn sight easier than a Violin....even worse.....a Viola!
  2. Finally, don't bother with 46 key Maccans. They are cheap for a reason, namely that they have a frustratingly limited range. The usual advice (which I was given too when I was starting, and I subscribe to) is get one that goes down to middle C in the right hand side. That usually means 58 keys plus. Hi there. I agree with most points made so far. Particularly Dirges view regarding 46 MacCanns. at least 58 or 67's (with the right hand going down to Middle C.) Haven't seen the one on E Bay, but, certainly worth contacting Chris Algar. E Bay can bite you on the bum sometimes. Having played MacCann since the early 70's, I'm still finding new things to attempt. I've obviously tried other systems over the years, they just didn't work for me. And as Dirge has said, Duets haven't priced themselves out of the market (yet!) in the same way as Crabbs and Jeffries Anglos have done. John Kirkpatrick is a good mate, and he's right for stating his opinion regarding Duets. In conclusion, I'd say, Go for it! You'll certainly get more "Box for your Bucks". Good luck, and let us know what you decide. Regards Ralphie
  3. Not sure about the construction of your box...or how easy it is to get to offending reed, but In my little box of tweezers, scewdrivers, spare springs, copydex!, etc, etc, I will always have a pack of cigarette papers.(Rizla or similar) Gently sliding one between the reed and it's frame, always clears grit/splinters etc. Also, when I have to take the end off my box, I have one of those Aeresol compressed air sprays. and give the inside a good spraying. Might be worth having a fine haired artists paint brush to get those "hard to reach" places. The one thing to never attempt is to try and remove the reed from it's frame (even if it looks as though you can!) That way madness lies. You'll never get it back....I know, I tried it once!
  4. Hi There. As you are in Hastings, you could help yourself by contacting Valmai Goodyear. Not sure of an address, but runs all sorts of gigs/workshops in the Lewes area. and a thouroughly decent lady to boot!!! Just Google Lewes Folk clubs, and I'm sure you would find her. (think the pub they meet in is called the "Elephant" (could be wrong about that) Good luck anyway, and welcome to the madness that is concertina playing. Kind regards Ralphie
  5. Well I don't have your long fingers Ralph but I think that by putting my hands fully into the straps and angling my palms a little to place my little finger as far up as possible I am managing better. From memory I think that you play with a somewhat downward angle, of your hands, so as to keep them fully pushed into the straps. Am I right ? Maybe I should modify the shape of the straps so that they are flat across the back and rounded on the keyboard side of the bars or just put the left strap on the right and vice versa ? I will go to F and G and gradually move out into the sharper and flater keys. Seaching for that interesting tune; I have one of my own in G minor ( a four part 3 time BoureƩ) which I will try to put on the Maccann but the seach continues for the most bizare possible. Happy days, Geoff. Geoff...I have a couple of quirky Swedish Polskas that have been taxing me for quite some time! 3/4 (but you wouldn't know it to look at them!) As soon as I can get some sort of "handle" on them, I'll send you a CD...I'm really quite excited by the thought of recording with you and Lis...Get it on!!! Ralphie
  6. Well yes exactly, I was wondering about that. I surely should be able to reach all the keys on a 57 comfortably , it is not that I have small hands. I've been experimenting with strap tightness etc., to see what compromise I can come to regarding 'control' and 'reach'. I must look into the use of my thumbs to control the straps. I had to spend a couple of days 'restoring' the instrument ( Pads, Valves, New straps and a little Tuning) and setting the key heights and spring presure. Luckily I have a head full of the local dance tunes which are mostly played in C and comprise plenty of Waltzes, Mazurkas and Schottishes which are not too complicated for the beginner. I am just making up my own accompaniments, seeing what fits where, to start with and trying some sheet music reading too. A fine adventure! Hi Geoff. A fine adventure indeed! Personally, I've never thought of moving the bars. Have just adapted my playing style to suit the instrument, but, I can't see any reason not to, if you find it too difficult to play! Happy to hear that you're making progress! Might I suggest playing in "F" (God's own key!)...Oh, and try and come up with an interesting tune for our planned Duet Trio! As weird as you like! Kind thoughts Ralphie!
  7. I would absolutely agree that anyone nearby should not miss the opportunity to meet Colin and Rosalie, Not only consummate artisans (anyone who has seen/owns a "Dipper" concertina will know that!). But, really nice people too, and very accomodating. There have been many a time when I've had a problem with my tina....One phone call, drive down to Warminster, Colin would stop whatever he was working on to fix the problem...Rosalie would serve lunch! and the hours would fly by! Also I'm slightly biased by the fact that I played in a band with John when he live here in the UK! My one worry about their trip is....Will they be considering taking the Serpent with them? Might cause a few raised eyebrows in customs! But, If anyone can go, don't miss this opportunity to meet two of the finest concertina makers from England...(Sorry Mr Dickinson.....Who's just as good, but like me, didn't get an invite to the wedding!)
  8. Years ago, I was passing through Goterborg airport trusty Duet by my side. Had just done a temporary repait to the bellows using Bias Binding/Copydex (a sort of rubbery glue) and lots of talcum powder to stop the stickiness! You're ahead of me....Customs..."What's in the box?" Me..."A Concertina" Customs..."Open it"...As soon as I started to demonstrate it, a fine cloud of white powder came out of the ends....was there for ages, trying to explain to a bunch of Swedish policemen.....!
  9. I' ve been playing your setting of "Le Moulin Rouge" (complete with Liz Stewart's lovely intro.) for some time now... played it for an hour, at least last night and again, sitting on the toilet, this morning... trying to get a real Duet feeling into my EC playing. You are an inspiration indeed. finnest regards (to all), Geoff. I'm really trying not to think of you listening to me, whilst sitting on a toilet! Too many surreal images for a Sunday! BTW. Have just started work on the "ERIC" CD. (Me, Colin Thompson and Nigel Chippindale) Amazingly, have got 15 tracks! Nearly 50 minutes. Blimey. Will let all know in due course. Some great tina playing on it (If a bit silly!) Ralphie
  10. Dan. I know exactly how you feel! I like the quote "Earning from music" Not sure I understand it though! Music?.....Earning????
  11. Lovely story. Shame you didn't have a copy of my CD with you...Could have made a sale, and made me famous!
  12. Half a dollar in half an hour??? I only dream of such riches! Professional? Hell yes! Lead me to that laundromat immediately!
  13. Agree with Jim as far as the MacCann goes. 57/58 is the smallest that is useful, and going down to middle C on the right hand is imperative. Be aware, there are some 57/58 boxes that only go down to G. Why did they do that? It's so frustrating! You spend half your time swapping ends, and you've got half an octave of dog scaring notes up the top end that you'll never use! FWIW Mine have served me very nicely for 30 years!
  14. I'm a Crane player, so I favor it as well. But the reason for my bias is the years I've put in. If you are just starting out, there are advantages and weaknesses in all systems. Not having a bias is a very good thing in this market. If you find a duet that plays well and appears rugged, buy it! and get on with learning it and maximizing the pluses and minimizing the minuses. Any system will do you just fine! Hi Kurt. When I took up the McCann in 1973, I didn't know that other systems existed (Including English/Anglo,that's how thick I was!). I agree with you, every Duet system has its good and bad points. But...Hey! Does it matter? I've tried Cranes and Haydens even got very confused by a Jeffries once! But I'm too old now to start again. Bottom line though is.... Duets Rule! No contest IMHO. Yes they are going up in price. When I started in the 70's, there were only half a dozen players around (to my knowledge), Now you can't move for the buggers! Can't wait for the Duet International collection to surface. That'll put the price up. So Go buy now people!
  15. Hello! The Duet is the only way to go! (Might be a bit biaised, but Hey!) Jazz. Blues, You can do it all on a Duet! Buy one now before the prices go bonkers! Good Luck!
  16. Thanks for the update. It's worth waiting anyway, particularly in the current financial climate. Better to make it a suitable companion for the first 2 releases, than rush into a financial bear pit! (after all, some of the recordings have been hanging around for over 100 years....Another few months won't kill them!) But, still looking forward to the final issue.
  17. Symon. Sadly I won't be there either this year, but as a general rule of thumb (and this includes all sessions) just jump in and have a go, you'd be most welcomed. In fact, generally I prefer listening to people who are just starting out. We all had to start somewhere!
  18. Yes, I agree. Moving up to a 30 key opens up so much more possibilities. As to pricing, I'll leave that to the more informed, but, I know you'll have a great time in East Anglia. Really welcoming people. We're not so bad, us folkies!
  19. I hope you can get enough people to make it worthwhile. Brian is an outstanding player, and a jolly nice chap to boot! Have worked with him on several occasions, and his ability is marvellous (Oh, and he sings too!) Wish I could be there....but planes are a bit expensive for a pensioner! Good Luck.
  20. Hi Richard. Assuming your Avatar is indeed your Crane, maybe therein lies part of the problem, Insofar as It's wooden-ended, and therefore tends to be quieter. (Subjective comment, I know!) For me, using a 56 MacCann Aeola (metal ended)...and regularly playing in sessions, I've never had a problem hearing myself, even in the company of 100 people, including great swathes of trombones, and euphonia..(is that a real word?) As for speed of playing...at least in an English session, nothing gets amazingly fast, unlike some Irish sessions, where everybody seems to want to "out diddley" everyone else! (again my opinion). I'm glad you enjoy the Crane for song accompaniment though...Tim Laycock seems to have made quite a name for himself doing exactly that! I wouldn't give up on sessions completely though. It's great to see Duets making an appearance occasionally. One day at Sidmouth there were 4 MacCanns in the same room one afternoon....1 more and we would have reached critical mass! Good Luck
  21. This is one reason why I've always thought that just one mic (preferably a small diaphragm condenser) pointing roughly at the middle of the bellows work as well as anything, though as yet another former Microvox user I did appreciate the freedom they gave you not to worry at all about mic placement. Chris A year ago, I experimented with a PZM (Pressure Zone Mic) mounted on a 10cm perspex plate placed directly in front of the bellows. Sounded great in a small band situation, but wasn't very good at rejection in louder settings....Always got a laugh though...particularly as I had a selection of art work on the "audience" side of the plate....Munch's The "Scream" always went down well!
  22. I use AKG Swan neck mics myself...(can't recall the serial number at the moment...irrelevant anyway, as they have been superceded now!) Each mic slots into a belt pack pre-amp, where you can mix the two signals for onward feed to PA, wherever. Really good quality, and doesn't eat too many batteries!
  23. Quick Update. Review of ELOISE in the latest edition of EDS (The EFDSS Magazine). Thanks to Baz Parkes....(and No, I didn't pay him!) And remember, It's still not too late to buy early for Christmas!
  24. Hi Olly. Have been digging around in my tape archives, and have found a session with the Old Hat Band which I recorded in 1993 at the BBC Maida Vale studios for the Andy Kershaw show.. Any use? E Mail me at eloisecd@hotmail.co.uk Regards Ralphie PS. Katy Howson has posted a few pics including one from the Beeb session on Facebook. Old age means that I don't remember it at all!
  25. Bugger. Thought we'd got rid of you! Welcome back. Look forward to your erudite postings soon. Ralphie
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