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Everything posted by ragtimer

  1. Well, the fact remains that for the kind of playing you want to do, there is a class of concertinas designed deliberately to do that, and that is the Duets. You are fortunate to already have an idea of the style of playing you want to do, and it really sounds like a Due to me. Which system (Maccann, Crane/Triuph, or Hayden) is a whole 'nother matter, but the main thing is to go with one of them. --mike
  2. To the contrary. It's just that when you posted that statement, they hadn't yet responded. (I see that Daniel Hersch and Jim Albea have since responded. Can it be long before David Barnert and others do the same?) Of course I love the Hayden system. I just haven't had a look at concertina.net for a few weeks. But then again, my Hayden is a Wheatstone. I certainly love the Hayden layout -- so much that I;'ve ben accused of proselytizing too enthusiastically on this Forum So I lay back out of the last couple discussions, to see what others had to say. It fekt good to see a thread comparing two brands of Hayden Duets, instead of Hayden vs The World. Anyway, while heavily chromatic (lots of sharps and flats) music does strain the pinky baby fingers on teh Hayden, I still think it's the greatest overall system. 'As for it being too easy to learn -- well, that just lets you concentrate on the MUSIC more expressively. --mike k.
  3. The Elise is hard to see as an upgrade to the STagi -- fewer buttons, rough action, small buttons. However, it does have more responsive reeds than the Stagi, and its standarad button spacing means you can move up to a fine box without relearning the finger locations, as you must when coming from a Stagi. Also the Elise is easy to modify the handrest to be parallel to the button rows, no slant. The main problem with he Elise is its missing notes. The STagi at least has the standard 46 keys. And the Stagi looks pretty (tho not quite like a concertina). And if you did not get your STagi from the Button Box, you should send it to them to tweak the reed set and tuning. It will come back a much more responsive box. I still play my Stagi, tho I'm lookign to upgrade. And yes, I got to play the new Morse prototype last week at the B. Box -- what a thrill! --mike k.
  4. Given that you haven't invested much time or money in the ENglish, and you want to accopany yourself with chords and bass (and countermelodies, etc.), you really should look at a Duet, which is designed to do those things. I play a Hayden. Don;t let people put it down becuse it's easy to learn" -- it is very easy to get started on, wiht instant payback, but like any instrument it takes lots of hard work to unlock its full potential (beyond oom=pah bss). As Frankevich pointed out, the upgrade path for Hayden is improving mightily. Of course there are plenty of vintage Maccanns and Crane/Triumphs around -- no need for new one. FWIW, every type of concertina has its strong and weak points musically, and also perrsonally (wheher one can get one's head around an Anglo or an EC). But if you play PA already, you'll love the Hayden's left hand. --mike k.
  5. I play a different type of DUet from DIrge's, but what he says about fingering is absolutely true -- sometimes you use an alternate ("wrong") finger to make the best finger available for the next note -- and those are the exceptions you notate over the note. I don't use numbers, because I grew up on piano, where the htumb is 1, the index finger 2, and hte pinky 5. Bu fiddlers learn index = 1, etc. SO to avoid confusion for anyone else reading my scores, I use letters i, m, r, and P for index, middle, ring, and pinky. You could use L or B for pinky, as in little or baby. --Mike K.
  6. Well David, I hope the B Box has a reminder hsete of what we did get. Because I changed my midn at the last minute while registering, and now can't remember jsut what I did sign up for! But I'm sure I'll like it. Se you at the Button Box tomorrow eve, and snitch a ride to the Red Roof, OK? Thanks, Mike K.
  7. I just finished reading the Clover Kit wep page. That kit i so cool! IF I were an Anglo player, my order would be getting typed right now instead of this posting. I would love to assemble that kit. I hope the Hayden will also be in kit form when its time comes. Will it be the standard 46 keys, or more, or fewer? Thanks for all you've done for the concertina world -- Mike K.
  8. Hayden Duet, soprano and alto recorders, fiddle, guitar, and bass guitar, plus mandolin or second guitar. That's the group I play in, and we sound really good on the Irish and old-timey tunes. --Mike K.
  9. IIRC the late Richard Morse was working on a mid-range Hayden after producing similar anglo and english instruments. I don't know what his process was, but given that he never completed the project I'm guessing the answer to your question is: harder than you'd think. There are surely others more with more knowledge of the story than I, but it didn't seem like a simple retool. The fundamental problem with building any type of Duet is the large number of reeds and buttons required. A Duet has roughly two chromatic octaves on each side, and the low bass reedds are concentrated on the left side, which typically ends up with fewer notes. Rich Morse was struggling to fit a good Hayden Duet into the same size ends as his other boxes. Once he started makign the larger baritone EC, he figured he could fit a Hayden into that space, but his untiely death has paused the project. Bob Tedrow makes his ends quite large for his excellent 52-button Hayden, and still the reeds jsut fit. Still there';s no reason why a Hayden should be any harder to build than a Maccann or a Crane. (There are enough good used ones of those aroudn that AFAIK nobody builds new ones.) As for DIrge's comment that ease of learning sells Haydens to newbies, I can vouch for myself that the intuitive system was a big part in my decision to buy a Hayden. I could play a scale and chords within a couple minutes, with Rich Morse himself showing me the ropes. But I also wanted a Duet -- bass, chords, and melody, or countermelody, etc. I knew already that those would be dicey on an EC or ANglo. Rich first suggested I get a piano accordion, but I wanted something smaller and lighter and no straps and no bad jokes. Now if RIch had had a nice used Lachenal Crane in the shop at the time, I might be playing Crane today. As for affordability, there are indeed rumors of a hybrid Hayden in 2011. All those ELise players have to go somewhere, as was pointed out. Meanwhile, a $1000 Stagi 46 will go at least 5 years before the action wears out. --Mike K.
  10. Well, the first question you should answer is: Do you intend to play just the melody or other single-part line, or do you want to accompny yourself with chords, bass, and/or countermelody or other form of harmony? If the former, then it's EC versus Anglo. But if the latter, go for a Duet. I won't get into the merits of the various Duet systems, but I do play a Hayden and am very satisfied with the system. --Mike K. PS: Yes, occasional chords can be slipped in on an English, and some ANglo players can sound almost like a Duet. But if you want to play like a Duet, get one :-)
  11. I can't really agree with that. I think a big part of the "benefit of the layout" is how diatonic scales fall easily under your fingers, and how octaves fall in the same pattern -- neither of which have anything to do with transposability. You can certainly play all kinds of good music on even a limited Hayden keyboard, like the Elise. And isn't playing with two hands part of the essence of a duet? Transposability is nice, but not really "the point." Especially as I feel these "tina" applications are for fun and practice, not performing or serious playing. So a nice wide field for single hand practicing is nice, and so is a more limited width field for practicing with two hands. The layout I posted is perfectly playable in C, G, and D, with the same scale shapes, and all chords in those keys are played with the same shapes, so there's a lot of the "Hayden magic" right there. Boney is absolutely right. The "magic" of the Hayden keyboard is its regular layout, not just the transposability (which is of course tererific!). Even a striclty diatonic Hayden, limited to one major key only, would be a blast to play, once you knwo the Hayden layout (and you could learn it pretty fast). An Elise stripped down to jsut the key of C or G (better) woudl have only 13 buttons per side, comparable to a mini-EC. Not that I expect anyone to make one any time soon :-) --Mik K.
  12. I think you'll find more limitation in the missing notes (like no G# or D#/Eb), than in the pitch range. But you can substitute chords -- using E minor in palce of E major can make a tune more mournful and sad, for example. Drone bass is easy on a Duet, a great way to get started, and I've had good results with drones. Then as you get better, you can start hopping the "chord" around, where the chord consists of the root note and its fifth. Best of luck, and keep us informed of your progress and any questions. --Mike K.
  13. Your diagrams also show added notes B and Bb on the LHS (left side). Those are very desirable, but may be hard ot fit into the real estate available. I'm still on the fence aobut Eb versus D# on the LHS. ON the RHS, Eb is just as good as D# and maybe mroe ueful. If there is room, a low A in the obvious place (the Ted Row or row #0) would be really handy for fiddle tunes in A. WOuldn't midn a low A on the LH side for bass, but that's a BIG reed. --Mike K.
  14. The Hayden Duet is perfect for your situation, musical experience, and interests. You'll be quickly playing melodies on the right hand (tho it's good to practice them on the left as well). And for learning harmony and chords, as well as countermelodies and parallel 3rds and 6ths, there's nothing better than a Hayden's left hand. Within a couple days you'll be playing major and minor chords along with your tunes, then move on the oom-pah bass and chords -- or jsut skip that and play single-note countermelodies on the left hand. It's true that many Hayden players use the box as a small accordian, but you don't have to play in that style if you prefer something else. I've been working on more fluid styles of accompaniment, having played Hayden for 5 years now. Don't let the scarcity of Haydens bother you. Any kind of music can be adapted to it, from sheets or by ear, and especially "fake" lead sheets. You can be a one-man band, and will find the DUet very satisfying to play by yourself, but also very versatile when played with other musicians. Go for the Elise. And take care out there. --Mike K.
  15. Welcome to the wonderful world of Hayden Duet. Just to make sure that you understand the transposing limits and abilities of the Hayden: You can play in keys F, C, G, D, A, and E without re-fingering the melody line, and little if any rejiggering of the left hand chords. The "flat" keys are a whole 'nother matter, and best avoided in yur first year. As for lack of pro Haydenists, well, there aren't that many pro concertina players period in the USA (there's one in Brooklyn, on Anglo), tho guys like Boney and David could probably supplement their incomes without trying too hard. --Mike K.
  16. Valid point -- but the Hayden Duet concertina has been around for only about 35 years (working from memory here). And since each style of concertina has different requirements for hand motion, it's reasonable that the Hayden could still be undergoing evolution and development. We're still on the first or second generation of players. Oops, make that 45 years above, but the idea is the same. --Mike K.
  17. Nice work in the photos, Jim. You're pretty handy with the leathre tools -- I guess when yoru Stagi straps break, you'll be able to make new ones yourself. Maybe I'll come to your for help when mine fail ... I notice that you put your thumbs in all the way. Is that the standard practice on an ENglish, or do they normally insert only up the first joint? Not that it matters how an EC player does it, since the hand positions and button layout are totally different. In particular, Duet playeres need lots of lateral range, as do Angloists. Anyway, great going, and yet naother step in the evolution of the Hayden! --Mike K.
  18. Nice going, Jim! I long ago despaired of ever playing my Stagi Hayden standing up. Maybe thumb loops would do it. Now, I don't find my thumb a useless appendage when playing, but instead it is used to tension up the strap for more control in some places. However, I did notice a coupel years ago that I always switched my bellows movement to pull/draw duirng a tricky fingering passage, so as to get more control (and I suppose, to get my hand farther away from the buttons -- re the thread about handrests usually being too low). I suspect that thumb loops would be a great help to me, once (1) I got them in teh right place, and (2) got used to them. Funny how they seem to give Jim more freedom of movement, by actually taking away some freedom (freedom to move in direcitons you don't need or want). Now to go look at the rest of the photos. Thanks, Mike K.
  19. I wonder if this style of playing octaves, giving a solid punch to the melody line, is what led to the development and popularity of the bandoneon, with its built-in octave sound? And to the octave registers on the button accordion and of course later the PA. A point for historians to ponder. -- Mike K.
  20. Good, Ross! Some of us have talked about the sideways adjustment, and the prototype 3-way handle allows for it, but you're the first person to have actually done it -- moved a handrest sideways. I can see where shifting it towards the pinky could improve the reach of that little finger. Maybe that's at least as important as rotating the pinky end up towards the buttons. So now you still have 3 degrees of Hayden slant left in the handle? Sounds fine to me. Keep us posted, and thanks -- Mike K.
  21. Ross, we have a photo of a prototype adjustab;le handle that one of the members built up. It adjusts in both X and Y, and also can be rotated (so dial WIck or Hayden slant, or whatever). I'll post the photo when I get more time. Bob Tedrow has seen it in the "flesh". --Mike K. Since I did the design and prototype of this adjustable handle I'll take the liberty of posting the link to the photos: adjustable handle Thanks Jim. I had some of your pix all ready to post here, but you saved me the trouble. Of special intrest is #1851 (3rd from left, middle row), showing adjustable slant (way more in the pic than anyone would ever need). We had this prototype on display at NESI last year -- anyone notice it? --Mike K.
  22. I'm considering going, but I can't make a decision until a few weeks before the event at the earliest due to work schedules. Well, I made my decision -- I'm coming, and bringing with me my modified Elise with the parallel handrests. Tho I'll be playing my Stagi, which isn't missing so many notes. --Mike K.
  23. Ross, we have a photo of a prototype adjustab;le handle that one of the members built up. It adjusts in both X and Y, and also can be rotated (so dial WIck or Hayden slant, or whatever). I'll post the photo when I get more time. Bob Tedrow has seen it in the "flesh". Disclaimer: Note I am NOT saying Bob or anyone else would be willing to build it, or even that it can be made practicalm, but we've been working on it (two other guys and me). --Mike K.
  24. I and some other Hayden Duet players agree that the handrest bars are too low on the Elise starter model. And the straps are too sloppy, not enough tension. We advocate making another hole or two in the adjustable straps, or putting pipe foam insulation on the handrests. --mike k.
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