Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

Posts posted by Lakeman

  1. Also, I would urge you to listen to the International Concertina Association's (ICA) worldwide  concert, broadcast recently  and still available on line. I am proud to say I was included.It had more than 50 of the world's leading players with an astonishing  mixture of genres and styles...South African Boer music, South American tango-style stuff, every kind of trad' Irish ,English and Scottish music, Americana  of every kind.......

  2. Please Google "Geoff Lakeman, concertina" and see what I do on a Crane  duet, a fully-=chromatic instrument, on various Youtube and Facebook sites.In theory I could play any piece of classical music ( but I am not a " reader.")However, in a typical gig or session I might play Scott Joplin ragtime, Cole Porter or Hoagy Carmichael, English or Irish tunes, Randy Newman, Hank Williams, Jimmy Rodgers,thd Louvin Brothers, Richard Thompson,Tin Pan Alley jazz from there twenties and thirties, and self-composed songs.As someone else has already written - what limits the repertoire is the player, not the instrument.

    • Like 1
  3. One interesting little detail I left out....on trad', vintage instruments a common problem is pads falling off, possibly because they are attached with glue that  should not completely not dry-out, allowing them some flex to move and  fit over the hole firmly. Ed has got around this by  designing ( and 3 D printing) tiny little ball-and-socket joints on  the ends where the levers join the pads, ensuring a tight, perfect fit each time the pad closes over the holes

  4. OK, so here I am again trying to download something. This is Version One of "The Bluejay" Crane Duet 3- D printed concertina, with the larger holes in the end design.The tune is "The Road Together" written by Irish button-accoordeon virtuoso Martin O'Connor which I put on my debut solo album "After All These Years."Oops, dammit - computer says ":NO" , file too big, although it is only a short piece. So, folks...anybody want to see/hear it why not send me your email address and I'll post it directly to you. My email is geoffreylakeman@btinternet.com




  5. I commissioned the world's first Crane duet 3 D printed concertina from Ed Jay. Version  one - which is blue in colour so we call it  "the Bluejay" - was ready in January and I was very pleased with it. But, after playing it  for a short while-including performing with it in public - Ed and I talked at length and came up with various " tweaks" which have improved it ( especially the sound)  by 50 per cent or more ! So....it has traditional leather bellows, metal buttons and Italian accordion reeds....everything else is 3D printed.It is Eco-friendly and. biodegrabable. No hydro-carbons in the " plastic" which, as I understand it, contains rice. So it is a concertina grown in a paddy field! And, when we discussed the alterations I wanted Ed simply said " Easy...I'll just print you new ends." Which he did.Because of the sort of material I perform, with elongated  full chords, I found the six bellows a little restricting so he added another fold ( 7 ).It has 55 buttons, plus air button.He provided me with a custom-made carrying box.... and, without prompting. has configured " built- in" high-standard mics on either side with a fold-away mount. Makes more sense when you see it.Version one was a little raspy and too much like an accordion sound for my liking. English concertina maestro Rob Harbron has played one of ED's instruments- which I handled - and had made similar comments.Amazingly - to my mind - Ed construed that the sound coming out of the ends would change significantly by having a different design on the ends. He reduced the design-pattern  to  quite small leaf-like holes,  and the decreased fenestration resulted in a much sweeter, more concertina-like tone.It is mellow, but still quite loud when you want it to be- depending on bellows control.I have put a sample of Version One on Facebook previously. I am a techno-twanky, so struggle with these various platforms, but I will try and put pictures and possible  sound samples up here.Ed is supremely enthusiastic about his project and very knowledgable- and approachable. Anybody with detailed questions only needs to contact him direct. To sit in his Bristol home surrounded by a dozen or so of these machines ( English, Anglo and my Duet) was impressive.A Swedish player collected an instrument from him the day before me. These machines are going to make concertina-playing more affordable, especially for youngsters- and will around the world.




  6. Massive thanks and congratulations to you Daniel, and the other three in the ' core' team for putting this together. Must have involved many hours of work. A truly impressive mega-concert of brilliant players and varied music from around the world.Fantastic to think it is now going to be ' out there"  and more and more people, hopefully, will visit and discover our amazing instrument."Let the music keep your spirits high."



    • Like 2
  7. Ed Jay has made me the very first 3 D printed Crane duet concertina ( I put a video up on Facebook ). It is 55 button, six-fold and BLUE !( my choice) He is currently working on Prototype number 2 - a few tweaks to buttons, seven-fold etc. I'll post new video when I get the machine back.I gave the "BlueJay" Prototype 1  a live World Premier a couple of weeks ago at a Bodmin Folk Club gig and people were intrigued.I'm sure it is the way forward for concertina construction - if only for affordability. Accordion reeds, I know, but an interesting sound/alternative to add to my arsenal; of traditional vintage Wheatstone and Lachenal instrumentments.Particularly  ideal for Americana stuff, along with  the banjo of my duo  buddy Rob Murch.


  8. Thanks for putting these up Daniel/Alan. Recordings a  bit dated now, although I'm pleased enough with them. I'll try and post some of the  more advanced stuff I'm doing in my new duo now with banjo virtuoso Rob Murch. We've managed three festivals since emerging from lockdown.On Weds, Sep 22 we are at Llantrissant Folk Club near Cardiff for anyone in South Wales who is interested.


  9. PUSH BUTTONS - I play jazz .I find a 55 -button model - whatever the make - is needed to give the spread of notes you need on both sides.I have two Lachenal 55 Cranes...my better, 58 button Wheatstone , is my main performance instrument.Other instruments include a 48-button Wheatstone which has beautiful reeds v- but I sometimes pick it  up, play something and realise halfway through the song/tune that I have run out of notes.I also have a metal-ended 55-button.... which has a different tone.You would think the metal ends would suit jazz and  have more "edge." But it is a quietter instrument, so I will grab the Wheatstone and Lachenal wooden-ended models first.I love playing the 48 - which was recently overhauled by the "Concertina Doctor" , Nigel Sture. But I limit my playing on it and stick to the larger models so my wrist muscles etc are " up to speed."(Bit of arthritis etc) Another factor- not always considered by inexperienced players - is the number of bellows, which affects the  dynamics of the way you play a tune. My main instrument has  eight-fold, the two Lachenals are 7.


  10. David - oops, of course Cranes don't have thumb straps. Got carried away there.I meant the point at which the thumb is at the top "outside" the strap.Must be fiendish for people coming to all this for the first time..I have Jeffries-playing duet mates...now, they are brain-scrambling.

  11. Rob - For example, the Crane system (which I play and would commend)  has  five buttons in each row - from top (thumbstrap) to bottom

    (little finger.) Don't be confused by the " spare" right-hand air button,  operated bu your thumb ,used to  reverse direction of bellows travel.( Not used that often, because it is an unisonoric instrument i.e.: same note   when bellows are pushed or drawn.Also, my " best" instrument has seven-fold bellows which allows for very long, drawn-=out chords or note progressions

  12. Geoff/Alan... I too met Tommy Williams at an ICA meeting in London...might have been the same one as you two.Early seventies... he was an old man then, and as you say a tiny chap. Not just short, but spindly... but massive hands which covered his huge " machine."Harry and Neville Crabb were there too.. Funny enough I was clearing out some stuff yesterday and found some letters/notes/valuations  spares etc from both Harry and Neville ( after his dad had died.).I remember Tommy playing his " hit ", 'Springtime in Battersea" at that gathering.



  13. On 8/10/2019 at 8:52 PM, Kurt Braun said:

    Listen to Andrew McKay and Geoff Lakeman for Crane assisted singing ideas.  Also try bass on left, chords or arpeggios on the right, while singing an save melody playing for intros, instrumental breaks and endings.

    Cheers Kurt , hope you well. Yes....already properly explained better than I can already, but on the left hand it is better to play what I call " implied chords." That is to say, two of the three notes.... it fits  with the "less is more" approach, especially with song accompaniment where you don't want to drown out what you are singing.I agree with everything Kurt says - When I learn a new song I usually sort out the chord progression on both sides simultaneously.. and sing along until I can do it effortlessly. Then - almost unconsciously - I  add the  "fills" and any decorative " fiddly" bits on. the right hand...or extend the left hand to a " walking"  bass if  appropriate ( and do-able !). If you want some ideas...just Google Youtube Geoff Lakeman... there are plenty of videos of myself  on there. I think you might even be able to slow them down ( you can certainly  do this on Facebook)


    • Like 1
  14. Thanks for putting this up Alan.I recorded/filmed this  in week four of Covid 19 lock-down at my Dartmoor cottage.I thought it an appropriate song- Jimmy Rodgers' "Nobody Knows",  about being locked up between four walls, " ' specially if you 'aint been there before...." Written , I think, in 1926, the same year this very Wheatstone Crane duet concertina  was made.It has 55 buttons, eight-fold bellows, steel reeds...and I bought it for £35 in about 1971.I now have others, but this is the trusty favourite I use on live gigs and recordings.


    • Like 1
  15. Re: Duet recordings. I recorded and submitted several songs/ tunes to Alan  a few years ago.If I was to do it again I would probably choose different pieces, because my repertoire/ability etc has moved on. As many of you will know, I recorded my first solo CD, "After All These Years" a couple of years ago and I have been  amazed at  its success.To be fair,  it was designed to demonstrate my general, all-round repertoire and "entertainment " in the folk idiom, rather than displaying what a Crane duet can do to  concertina enthusiasts. There are tunes ( and songs) that I play mainly in session or in private that probably demonstrate this better. But I am not inclined to go to the trouble of recording again specifically for  a duet CD.

    I do, however, applaud the idea, of bringing on board the new /young players- some of whom I know- like Matt Quinn and Jack Rutter,- who have made astonishing progress on the instrument in such a short span of years.(They both play McCanns, but , hey,  it doesn't; make them bad people !) I still play self-written West Country songs, English and Irish folk, Americana and 1920/30's jazz.I am appearing regularly at folk clubs and arts centres/ theatre all over the UK and beyond. This year I am at eight different folk festivals ( Bude in Cornwall this weekend). One of the most exciting developments for me recently has been  being part of Mick Ryan's folk opera "Here at the Fair - which we are performing at Bude, Shrewsbury, Warwick and Cornwall Folk festivals. In the show's " band" I sit alongside young Cohen Braithwaite-KIlcoyne ... probably the most talented young concertina player ( anglo)  and melodeons since  John Kirkpatrick still had spots.I have learned so much from him- and I am old enough to be his grandad.These are exciting times for  folk music - and I have never known concertinas be so popular. keep squeezing folks.....post-778-0-79242600-1455093069_thumb.jpgpost-778-0-59877100-1479375759_thumb.jpg

  16. I remember Nick so well as a young man. Joy and I took over  from him as residents at the Herga Folk Club in Harrow, North London, in the early seventies when he loved to the USA.He was in incredible Jeffries duet player. I have since long-befriended another exceptional, jazz-playing Jeffries duetter, Greg Powlesland, who lives in west Cornwall. But Nick's playing made a powerful impression on me and probably comes out in my performance, although I play a Crane and  don't visit the Morris-influenced tunes he  belted out.I sure would have loved to hear him join me in some of the jazzier stuff that I belt out.


  • Create New...