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Everything posted by MatthewVanitas

  1. Just wrote Jordan again, inviting him to join this discussion. Particularly regarding suitable switches. And hopefully he'll have an answer for Don regarding Apple products (which I'd also prefer over Android). Don, thanks for the great comments about switches; I was quite surprised to hear that it's so hard to find small enough switches. My layman's brain just assumed miniaturization had gotten much further and cheaper these days, but apparently no. But maybe Boutique or others know of other switches to recommend of proper travel/weight/size. Łukasz, good comments on bellows. But if we have a 6.25 octagonal frame, it'd be only Wim's own bellows that would fit onto it? For the other makers who have 6.25 hexagonal ends for their Anglos, are they remotely standardized in bellows size, or are they all of idiosyncratic size? In the immediate term, if the Bulgarians can make accordion-style "concertina" bellows for a price/quality approaching what Chinese ones would cost us (factoring in shipping and taxes), I'd still be inclined to have this all made in Bulgaria if possible to minimize transport/export costs.
  2. If I'm pretty much the main person interested in non-bellows pressure sensors, I can drop that for now and go with the majority, especially if we might this year be able to find someone to put this stuff together. Leather still the best bellows-option, no synthetic substitutes worth considering? And MIDI Boutique as noted already has the proper air-sensors for making MIDI squeezeboxes. If we go with bellows, the main issue we come down to is the buttons/switches. Turning again to MIDI experts, what say we try to just diagram out what we want our ends to look like, and then just ask MIDI Boutique how they recommend going about it? It could be the answer is as simple as "oh, if you want that just order some XYZ switches and they'll plug right into our boards." If the majority of folks want to continue exploring the "buy unbuttoned/unfretted cheap Anglo bodies from China" angle I'm open, but given that such boxes are huge and the bellows okayish in quality, plus the expense of having to ship them from China to Bulgaria and pay yet more taxes, a Bulgarian solution seems appealing. I mean, our "ends" are just cut plastic octagons with some relief hogged out for room to drop in the MIDI board, battery, and the switches assembly. Would it be so pricey to have those made in Bulgaria by a local 3D milling workshop? So far as bellows, are those a high-skill item or could we get a run of serviceable ones made by some local Bulgarian accordion-repair shop? Would anyone be willing to just do a quick 30m computer sketch of what and end would look like (with some scale) so we can show Boutique and get their input on: would their off-the-shelf accordion MIDI setup work fine for our Hayden? is there a practical way to fit in our buttons into said space, what switches needed? Are they strongly in favor of buying cheap Chinese bodies, or is the ends and bellows simple enough to be made affordably locally? If we buy Chinese bodies, those things are like 7" across, so we'd about definitely go for the 64b option. But if we're having ends made to order, then we can do octagonal ends (if that won't jack bellows difficult too high), and we can take a harder look at how small a size we can make and still fit a reasonable number of buttons on it. I personally would be fine with 46b (or even 42b) since we could fit that in probably 6" or less. Here's a Wakker 46b, 6.25" in diameter, and even without changing the layout-handrail arrangement we could probably shave .25" at least of it, or else make it 6.25" and get the button-count higher. And for the sketch, are folks broadly okay with non-slant ("Wicki") angle? Anyone feel up for sketching out a really, really rough view of what we're imagining and share with the thread? Jordan read the thread earlier, so I think we'd be fine to post ideas here, and I/we can ping him to ask for his opinion, whether over email or if he wants to sign up here and post. I dunno, this seems like something we could feasibly get a prototype by year-end and a run made early 2015, especially if the MIDI stuff and switches turns out to be less difficult than anticipated.
  3. I'll have to see if Dean is okay sharing trade info, which he well might if it's more of a passion for him than a livelihood, and since we're not fixing to make any run of Englishes that would compete with his. So pressure sensors for the "bellows", and how to get enough buttons in small enough of a space, those are the two main puzzles? Is there somewhere written Brian's specifications for how large the buttons are and the distance between them?
  4. I spoke with Dean Onyon back in spring, and he's not in a position to gin up the S-Wave in any system other than English, plus difficulty of amortizing a new design, etc. If Dean really isn't keen, I suppose I could ask him if he has any advice for OTS parts that form the "pressure sensor" for his bellows-replacement. I know Łukasz and others had expressed concern about having only one sensor and losing out on control subtleties, so not sure if we do need to have multiples, or whether one would actually be enough.
  5. Got an initial reply from MIDI Boutique, really friendly and knowledgeable folks. I'd written them primarily asking about an S-Wave-esque instrument with two plastic ends and three pressure-sensitive pistons between them, but I also mentioned the idea from the thread of building on a CC-style carcass. Jordan liked the CC-body idea for saving hassle, just dropping electronics into it. Also he already has boards for accordions that incorporate an air pressure sensor. I'm not totally averse, though I have some concerns that the CC-style bellows are okay but not amazing, nicer bellows would add $200 to the instrument, and the CC-style bodies are 7" across so we'd have to have 64 buttons just to justify having such a large beastie. One with pistons could be made quite compact, and then we could just make new ends of whatever size/shape rather than having to economize on a CC-style body. But again, if we are to put in orders on this, at some point we'll need to find a solution that appeals to a dozen or a score of people. So that'll require a "slap the table" moment where we agree on what features we want. Does anyone (Łukasz?) have any notion of where we can get pressure-sensitive pistons to feed into the pressure measurement for dynamics? Posting here with the permission of the sender:
  6. Bumping the thread, I got antsy about this project since I'm down here in Colombia now and wish I had something durable and easy to travel with, yet still in Hayden system, and that I could play without bothering others. Accordingly, I shot an email describing some of our ideas, and pointing out this thread, to MIDI Botique. Both asking them about their boards, but also asking if they had any colleague shop in Bulgaria that might be able to produce two octagonal plastic ends (3D milling?) and install said boards along with the buttons and three pressure-sensitive pistons. Not to exclude those focused on bellows, but in the short term pistons would make folding up for compact travel easier, and likely cheaper than any bellow option other than using CC-style existing bodies to build on. Will let y'all know if I get any promising word back from MIDI Boutique. I have a perhaps optimistic hope that the issues we concertinists are trying to puzzle out here would be clear and easy for a MIDI-smith, and that they'd know some fellows down the lane with a milling shop who could download a CAD of the plastic ends and just punch them out easy, drop the boards in, and we'd be in business.
  7. As is often mentioned in these travel threads, I and a lot of other people explain to X-ray technicians "it's a small accordion". Especially in the US, especially among military/security personnel, the word "concertina" is far more widely known as a form of barbed wire, so "small accordion" is less confusing. I worked with a lot of ex-military people, and had to constantly explain that "concertina" also means a musical instrument, and that the barbed wire was named after the instrument, not vice-versa.
  8. The possible downside of ammo-cans is (at least in the US) they're full-on hermetically sealed. My impression was that with concertinas you want at least come breathability of the case, or is that not so? John, glad to see you pressing right along. Got any notion what'll be the first tune you aspire to record and share with us?
  9. I'm speaking a little facetiously, in that I don't necessarily feel uncomfortable playing Hayden differently from others. Though I do find myself questioning whether there truly are amazing advantages to lots of overlap, and if I just pushed my boundaries a little more I'd realize that, smack my forehead and say "man, this overlap is amazing now that I've figured it out!"
  10. What country/continent are you on? Can you confirm the button count? What minor refurbishment do you reckon it may need?
  11. Mayhap we could track down the great-great-grandchild of its inventor so you can high-five him. I don't know enough about angles to know whether one could retro-fit a lever to a 20b Lachenal's air button. Overall I'd imagine it'd be best to try the less-invasive options first, but it the lever turns out to be the best thing, I personally wouldn't see adding a lever as a desecration. It's not historically inappropriate, and a 20b is a perfectly good instrument but isn't necessarily a museum piece that must be inviolate. It's made to be played. Somewhere in the same Construction/Repair subforum there was a thread iirc this year about a maker who had an elderly customer request just such a lever to avoid having to manipulate his thumb too much, and it worked out great. But as noted, there are other simple fixes to try first, especially in the earliest phase of learning the instrument. When I first got my Elise, I was baffled by how loose the handstraps were and was going to get an Afghan leatherworker to add several more notches to cinch the hands down, but after reading up more on it I realized that people preferred slightly loose Duet straps, and I learned the technique of "cupping" my hands to take up slack, so then I could let out more slack when I had to reach further. So some of these things are worth feeling out to see if they're truly unfit for you, or just need getting used to.
  12. These are the moments where I wonder if I'm playing Duet "wrong", since I'm generally way down towards the bottom on the left hand. Maybe I'm just not thinking of it as "duet" enough, but rather as a dual-manual organ/harpsichord that happens to have some overlap between the two keyboards...
  13. Have you seen the old air-levers that some of the German-made Anglos used to use? Rarely done in the modern day, but used to have some popularity. Here's an thread about such levers from a few months back: http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=16472 IIRC, the lever still goes to a button, just that the button is engaged by hitting anywhere along the lever. Or something like that.
  14. I just arranged it by ear, but for dots the nice thing thing is that Sacred Harp tunes by definition are available as sheet music and out of copyright. Here's the 4-part harmony for David's Lamentation. If you like that kind of slow/dark/drony tune, other good Shape Note ones you can find online are "Detroit" and the utter classic "Idumea" ("oh am I born to die?"). All these sound great on concertina; Detroit we played at the DC Squeeze-In earlier this year.
  15. Recently a musical colleague who plays Irish Anglo had referred to Duet concertinas as being "without a tradition", in terms of cautioning another friend considering concertina that Duets lack a "default" repertoire and style. I responded that I think of that as one of the advantages of Duet, that I'm not locked into a "that's not how you play that". Further, I don't feel a lack of Duet learning materials, since I just figure out how to play notes in general on Duet, and then puzzle out how to apply techniques and color from other instruments and styles. That got me to thinking, what instruments inform the "vocabulary" of your concertina music? Fiddle double-stops, uilleann pipe regulators, jazz saxophone riffs, piano left-hand vamping? I did some pondering, and for me the two main things that influence my Duet playing are organ/keyboard music, various bagpipes, and certain genres of vocal music. For organ, I've always really liked Indian harmonium music (the little hand-pump harmoniums) as well as the small foot-pump harmoniums used in Scandinavia. I've been trying a few tutorials on YouTube from Indian folks who teach mini-lessons on harmonium, and been able to puzzle out some pieces albeith with some somewhat unusual scales. Also really loving the drony feel of Norwegian harmoniumist (?) Sigbjørn Apeland, which another member here recommended. I've been listening recently to the clavichord and organ music of Spanish composer Antonio de Cabezón (early 1500s), and starting to arrange those on Duet. That same drony side is what I also derive from various bagpipes. I'm still trying to figure out how to use the Duet left hand to rhythmically blast out an I-V chord to back up Irish tunes, using it sparingly like they do rather than oom-pahing it. My playing on Swedish bagpipes also influences my playing, with in places holding long single notes on the left and hitting dissonant half-steps on the right against it. For singing styles, the one that most influences me is Sacred Harp, or Shape Note music. A mid-1800s US genre of polyphonic acapella singing, really heavy on harmonies on the 4th/5th vice third, and I've arranged a number of such tunes for concertina, and one was the first tune I ever recorded myself playing, when I was teaching myself on an Elise in Afghanistan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djQCJqOSA-U So those are what I reckon my main non-concertina influences. What axes have shaped the sound for y'all?
  16. Though someone might want to see this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-METAL-ENDED-46-BUTTON-JEFFRIES-CONCERTINA-PREAD-STREET-LONDON-/171454707598?pt=UK_MusicalInstr_Keyboard_RL&hash=item27eb7f378e
  17. Though in fairness the man does own a hybrid Anglo-melodeon, so he seems serious about experimentation...
  18. John, so glad to hear it made it to you safe and you're enjoying it! Certainly looks lovely, and I assume it's around a 6.25" size across the flats of the frets, nice and trim? Definitely looking forward to how you get on learning with it. If you decide to try some Irish tunes on it, while you could find some tunes in C and play along the C row, one convenient way could also be to use any pitch-shifting tool and take regular Irish songs based on D (and its related modes like E Dorian), and use the tool to shift that digital track down one step. That way you could practice playing along with about any album of Irish music. I've had great success using the program called "Amazing Slower Downer". It's $20 for a computer, but only $5 or so for a smartphone, so I really enjoyed loading tunes onto my phone, and then using the ASD to play them slower (or in a different key, it has many capabilities) and listen to it with earphones while playing along on my melodeon. Just one potential way to get around the "standardization" of Irish to "D" in the modern era.
  19. Wait, you actually own an Elise Plus custom? Same maker or made by you? I would love to see a photo of that in the photo thread at the top of General Disussion!
  20. Łukasz, you raise an interesting point re the arpeggios. The feature of the above layout that most concerns me is that the fifths are directly above the roots, which might impeded a I-V jump. One idea that comes to mind is to shift the "F" row over one notch to the right, making a C to G a diagonal-up-right shift vice a straight vertical, allowing an index finger to hit C and a middle finger to hit G. That would have the downside of swapping the awkwardness to the fourth, but that's slightly less-bad than the fifth being awkward. Is it the opinion of those gathered that there's no comfortable way to convert a Maccann simply by moving reeds around, that any viable Hayden conversion must entail making new ends and changing up some of the keywork and reedpan? Even if it sacrifices some comfort, I see much more appeal/convenience/affordability/reversability in simply moving reeds about with no changes to keyword or fretwork. Is that not what the Cheeseman system did, preserving all basic structures while largely moving solely the reeds about?
  21. Ooh, fine piece of gear. Can you post us a new thread that includes a photo of the instrument? Not in the market, just want to drool over it.
  22. I looked closer and the other thread had an attached .pdf with all the layout info. I hope Peter won't mind that I took a screenshot so that folks can get an idea without having to download and page through the .pdf. It takes a minute of squinting to see the Haydenesque layout, since the waviness of the keyboard throws off the eye at first. Though fortunately some other Maccann keyboards don't have this extreme of a wave.
  23. Ah, I see now. So it's about 2.5 octaves full chromatic, no overlap, starting on the low G on the left, but starting at the Bb on the right. Is there a particular reason that you go below your C on the left hand side, or is it just a matter of that being just to expand the range?
  24. @Inventor: yes, Cheeseman-izing is about exactly what I envisioned. Cheeseman isn't quite exactly Hayden though, right? If possible I'd like to get a Maccann as close to Hayden as possible (working around the waves and all) to minimize restructuring and cost. Has anyone got a sketch of the actual Cheeseman layout? Though again more Hayden that not would be my preference. Here's a past discussion of the Cheeseman conversion which put the idea in my head: http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=16536&page=1 Would this add a lot of expense to the project? Lachenal reeds are what, $5-10 apiece, and I'd have the leftover high-notes to sell back, so $30-60 extra to swap up the scale amidst a larger conversion doesn't sound bad. Would that cause some difficulty though in the size of the reeds and fitting into the chambers, or would the lowest G chamber on the RH be able to accomodate the C reed (it's the C below said G, yes?) @inventor: would a 39b Maccann just be quite unsuited to conversion, or not really much worse than a 46b? There's a particularly pretty little Lachenal 39b I have my eye on, if the fella hasn't sold it yet. re: a new thread. Yeah, I didn't want to speak out of turn by mentioning it, but the alternative Hayden settups are a tangent best put in another thread, as inventor notes. Leaving this thread for convering a standard Maccann into something resembling a standard Hayden.
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