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Don Taylor

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Everything posted by Don Taylor

  1. Try multiple short practice sessions (10-15 minutes) rather than one long session.
  2. I want to echo David's suggestion - and David is very well versed in music theory. I spent far too long worrying about learning to read music fluently and I am now trying to reset myself by learning to play by ear. Much more satisfying. In the olden days folks used to use their finger to slow down a 'record' on a 'gramophone' in order to hear what was being played. Slowing it down this way was uneven and it also changed the pitch. These days we do not have to do this. There are lots of 'slowdowner' programs available that let you select a small section of music that you can then slow down almost to zero without changing its pitch. You can set it to loop that section over and over again while you play along with it until you get it right, then you can slowly speed it up again. I like 'Transcribe!' which is available on Windows, Linux and Mac, and 'Audiostretch' on Android and iOS, but there are lots of others. Combine one of these with Alan's audio files (or any other source of clear recordings) and off you go.
  3. I am no chemist (hopefully a real one will chime in) but I used to own a steel sailboat and fighting rust was a continuous (mostly losing) battle. I used to use a product with the delightful double-entendre name of 'Naval Jelly'. The makers of Deox-c do not disclose what the acive ingredient is in their product, but I suspect that, like Naval Jelly, it is dilute phosphoric acid (which is also in Coca-Cola, but I digress). Phosphoric acid converts iron oxide to iron phosphate which results in a black or dark grey residue, most of which can be brushed off. What is left is pretty inert unlike iron oxide (rust) which is hygroscopic and continues to convert more and more iron into iron oxide. Rust usually looks much worse that it really is (not always, just usually) as its volume is about 9x the volume of the iron consumed in making it - so converting it to iron phosphate and removing the result does not (usually) result in significant loss of metal. I say usually because if you let rust really get working for a long time then the resulting pits will be so deep that the reed will be done for. Surface rust can be fixed, deep pits not. The long-term solution is to inspect and, if necessary, clean the reeds of any surface rust maybe once a year and to do your best to not store your concertina in high humidity environments - you really do not want to have moisture condensing on the reeds and then being ever so slowly turned into rust because "Rust Never Sleeps and "Water is Patient". There you go, a Neil Young and a Doctor Who quote in the same sentence!
  4. Chapeau Mike! I think that 'church' music works really well on a concertina. Mike: Assuming that you started from an original score and then modified it to fit your (treble?) EC, can you outline what changes you had to make to the score. Thx. Don.
  5. Thank you Roger and especially thank you Peter Yarensky, the author of this site. There is a very interesting section on choosing chords that I think is worth a second look: https://fiddle-tunes.nhcountrydance.com/learning-playing-fiddle-tunes/choosing-chords/ In particular, the use of (major) II chords in accompanying a tune, something that I had never considered before, actually the whole idea about the freedom to choose from a bigger palette of chords than just the I, IV, V and occasional vi chords.
  6. This is what Wim Wakker says in his Elise tutor: I should add that Wim uses bowing symbols in his tutorials and that all of the beginner pieces show a change of bellows direction every two bars. Later on he changes to notating phrase movement.
  7. Joan I wonder if you are looking down at the buttons as you are playing? If so, then that may cause you to extend your neck for a long time which might be the cause of your neck pain. Most of the long-time players here rarely, if ever, look at the buttons so it should be possible to break the habit. In the meantime, you might find wearing an orthopedic neck roll helpful in taking the stress off you neck and to remind you not to look down at the buttons.
  8. Thank you, Judy, now I know the reason - and can accept it. I hope that you are doing well post-BB, and that you are not lost to the concertina world forever. Thank you for your work on the Beaumont, mine keeps me sane and I feel so lucky to have one.
  9. I really enjoy listening to David Hansen on EC, he has many videos on Youtube and posts a new one every week or so. Not the fastest player nor does he try to play multi-part tunes but I like his sound. The following might be a tad contoversial as many EC players play from the sheet music (the 'dots'), but here goes: For a beginner book on EC, take a look at 'The English Concertina, Absolute Beginner' by Alex Wade and Dave Mallinson but here is the trick: buy both the book and the accompanying CD, rip the CD into a set of MP3 files and then use a slowdowner programme (I use Transcribe! but there are lots of others) to play back the tracks while you (slowly at first) learn to play them by ear. Loop very short sections at a time played back slowed down and find the notes on your concertina by trial and error. Once you have found the notes then play along while you gradually speed up that looped section. Once you have that section down then do the next, then try to glue the two sections together. Repeat with the rest of the tune. Do not worry too much at this time if you cannot get upto full speed. The book contain the dots but try not to look at the dots in detail until you have tried to wire your ears to your fingers first. Do read the book for advice on fingering, bellows control, etc... but try to ignore the dots at the beginning. You can 'cheat' a bit by looking at the dots to get the very first note of the tune so that you have a known start point, but soon you will not need to do that (very often). Most (all?) tutorials begin by teaching you to read music and then building up from that. I think that learning to just play some music first, how ever slowly and haltingly, is much more satisfying and motivating than getting bogged down in music theory and exercises. I am not saying to neglect the theory, just to defer it for a while. I did not do this and I now think that was a mistake - at least for me. If you are already fluent in reading music and can play other instruments from sheet music than you can ignore this advice - unless you want to learn how to play without using the dots.
  10. True, but I would not have thought that the wood would dry out excessively in a few hours. 45% to 55% RH is recommended for humans and I think that is a good range for wooden instruments. I have a 'Govee' hygrometer that I bought off Amazon that broadcasts its data over bluetooth. I can put it in the case with my concertina and keep an eye on the humidity inside the case with an app on my phone. It shows me graphs of temp and humidity over several weeks. A bit (or a lot?) geeky, but there you are.
  11. I did contact the OP by PM to ask his location and he did respond. It is nowhere within driving disance for me so I let it go by otherwise I might have been tempted to visit. I feel that it is up to the OP to provide his location and more information about this instrument.
  12. I find that a long, thin bamboo kebab skewer often helps to re-orient an errant button while the concertina end is over the other buttons.
  13. According to the web-site, the Eiru has "Brass Plate Clamped Concertina Reeds" in "Dovetailed reed slot". It sounds to me that the changes you describe can be attributed to changes in humidity. In dry air (in the hold of an aircraft and then in the mid-west in winter) the reed pan wood will gradually dry out and shrink. When the humidity rises (in the spring and summer in the mid-west) the wood will swell again. It was made in Ireland where the humidity is always high, air-freighted to the US and then experienced a mid-west winter. The wood drying out and shrinking probably caused the reed to be loose in its slot. This problem will likely re-occur next winter unless you can find a way to keep it in a stable environment - ideally between 45% and 55% humidity. You can either use an instrument case humifier or you can use room humidifiers - which are better for humans.
  14. You missed the bit where I said: The sensitivity of the Striso board allows for an impressive variety of sounds, even from a single key. The tone responds to finger pressure, and subtle left-right and back-forth movement as variations in loudness, pitch and timbre. The keys of the Striso are carefully designed and have a unique feel. The horizontal ridge helps you keep orientation to play in tune, while their flexibility gives you exactly the right amount of haptic feedback. There is also a motion sensor in the Striso that can be used to get dynamic effects.
  15. I am very impressed by the work that Didi is doing on his double Striso prototype configured as a very large Hayden duet. It does not have bellows but each button has the ability to both change volume and to bend its note. A single Striso costs about 500 euros/US dollars so the double at about US$1,000 would cost a lot less than a mid-range hybrid concertina and I imagine could be mass produced for considerably less than that. See: https://youtube.com/channel/UCgZQA0NWrSlhziyANH9zzSw and https://www.striso.org/
  16. You could try phoning him: By telephone – from 10.00am – 6.00pm – 01650511888 (Sat and Sun I may be out – do leave a message) I think that would be 011 44 650511888 from North America. There is also a huge timezone difference between Washington state and the UK, e.g. 8 hours between Seattle and London so 6:00pm UK time is 10:00 am in Seattle so you need to call him before 10:00am your time. Erm... I don't think that he is trying to compete with Amazon...
  17. I guess that we are all "infra dignitatem" then ...
  18. Thank you for this video, I have looked at many videos on accordion and melodeon tuning but this is the first that I have seen that clearly demonstrates the reed lifting tools and the process involved. I will try to make myself some lifting tools. I think that the the German style ones could be made out of some sacrificial feeler guage 'tongues' and I have some old dental picks that might be usable for the Italian style lifter. I am still not clear on how to tune concertina reeds in their 'natural environment' unless I reassemble the concertina at every step of the filing process. The author of this video was asked about that in a comment, this was the reply: rather than a tuning bellows I normally use the instrument itself: bass with bellows attached, standing on its feet and strapped to the table to prevent it from moving around. I look forward to any more information that you can provide, especially on how to do the filing and test the tuning in place. Do you have to reassemble the concertina frequently? I suspect that all of us who own a Morse concertina will find this information useful one day.
  19. True, but in an accordion they are in removeable reed blocks and you can get at the inside reed tongue from inside the block. And you can put the entire reed block on the tuning table while you are filing or scratching the reed. I don't understand how you can do that in a concertina where the reeds are waxed down to the back of the action board.
  20. I recently complained that my Beaumont has waxed in accordion reeds that I was reluctant to service because of the difficulty of removal and reinstallation. While researching for that post I stumbled across a photo essay on this very topic buried deep inside the Concertina Connection web-site: http://www.concertinaconnection.com/reed exchange instructions.htm#
  21. The first concertina that I bought was a Jack, I traded that for an Elise then I bought a Peacock and then sold that to buy a Beaumont. I still have the Elise and the Beaumont. I remember liking the sound of the Jack and I sometimes think that maybe I should have kept it, but I really only have the time and ability to work on one system at a time. There is a huge difference between the Jack/Elise models and the Peacock/Beaumont. The latter are much smoother, easier and faster to play. I pull out the Elise from time to time and while it is OK it is harder work to play. The Peacock and the Beaumont are quite similar in many respects and if I had not had the opportunity to buy a used Beaumont locally for a good price then I expect that I would still be happily playing the Peacock. I prefer the Beaumont because it has a bigger range, larger buttons and a better finish to the wood. OTOH a Peacock is much easier to maintain than a Beaumont, the reeds are all screwed down flat on the back of the action board while the reeds on the Beaumont are waxed in place and some of them are in accordion style reed blocks. I need to fine tune a couple of the reeds on my Beaumont and reset a couple more and I keep putting off doing the job as it is not that simple to get at the reeds. If I were buying a new Peacock then I might try to afford the version with the french polished wood rather than the oiled wood finish on the standard version. Over time I found that the oiled wood picked up dirt from my hands and it seemed to get into the oiled finish. Wim Wakker has mused about making a larger Peacock but I do not know if this is still a possibility, might be worth checking with him. Just re-reading your post. The Peacock does not feel 'cheap', it has nice metal-capped buttons and good quality leather bellows. The reeds are quality hand made Italian reeds. It comes in a solid hard-case. I just do not like the 'natural' finish and feel that the upgrade cost to the french polished finish is a bit steep. You really have no other choice in a new Hayden at this time, hopefully this will change soon.
  22. Alan made a series of recordings on how he teaches folks to play by ear, you can download a copy of these recordings from here. David Barnert has transcribed these recordings to standard notation and these scores are included in the download.
  23. If you go the "The Session" and open the tab on Sessions then you can put in a day of the week and a town and it will tell you what sessions are on that night. https://thesession.org/sessions
  24. I have a 1950's era Crabb with (I assume) Nickel Silver ends. It is not tarnished at all but it does have some fairly deep scratches around the end bolt holes where someone has been very clumsy with their screwdriver. Can these scratches be polished out? If so, what should I use? (I hate slotted screws, they are the work of the devil!)
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