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Everything posted by MatthewVanitas

  1. This was exactly the question I came to ask, thanks for mentioning it right out! I've always been a fan of "limited" and minimalist instruments, so I've enjoyed playing the 1-row melodeon and 20-button concertina a lot even though more "versatile" options are available. There's also something to be said for the 20b since the old Italian ones are still really cheap on eBay and are at least basically serviceable, and an old Lachenal 20b is way more accessible than a 30b.
  2. Minor segue, but I finally produced a Wikipedia article about this fellow. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hill_Maccann I'd appreciate any help fleshing it out, but note any info added must be clearly cited to a published source, so we can't add things based on our guesswork/analysis of personal knowledge. Also if we have an image of him that is explicitly out of copyright I can add that, or can add one copyright photo of him under Fair Use. If we have inarguable evidence of his birth/death dates, that'd also be awesome. Additionally, if anyone has good evidence of recordings definitely by him, we can add them to the Discography section. Bit by bit I've been adding bios of some of the main figures involved in evolving the concertina, so step-by-step.
  3. I continue to make little improvements here and there to concertina articles. I also just knocked out a new one, and could use any suggestions/improvements on it. Again, I emphasize that any info added has to be backed up to some sort of source which is published in some reasonably credible venue; concertina.com and concertina.net articles are probably a real gray area, but forum posts aren't citeable. Books or published magazines/newsletters are optimal to cite. Take a look, let me know what needs changing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hill_Maccann'>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hill_Maccann
  4. Yup, the standard "Cajun accordion" is a one-row, 10-button diatonic melodeon, with only two bass buttons and an air button on the left. The same instrument also has some slight use in Irish music, where's it's referred to as "melodeon" (a narrower usage of the term than in the UK, or in Irish mileoidean or an bosca). I vaguely recall seeing some photos of old concertinas with only five buttons per side, so similar thing except the concertina would lack the bass/chord buttons. I know you mention that you're more focused on full-keyed but compact instruments, but I did want to note that I have a vague dream of someday owning a custom downsized Hayden Duet concertina, though not really clear on what would the smallest usable number of buttons.
  5. I'm going to be staying in Berlin until at least early June, and probably coming back here over the course of the year, so I'd like to have an inexpensive concertina to keep at my girlfriend's place so I have something to play while here. I want to keep it cheap, like in the €100-150 range, and also thought I might as well stick with a German theme and get one of those cheapie Kliegenthal 20b Anglos. Key unimportant, concert pitch unimportant, just something broadly playable and generally in tune with itself would be great. Any of our Euro members have a beater Scholer kicking around that you're not using?
  6. Do note that the Button Box also has some rentals available. That could be a good way to see if concertina is for you, to try one out for a bit without committing too heavily. But definitely if you get a chance to drive out there and visit with them, that might really help you puzzle out what you're looking for. If your budget isn't too big, possibly a good bet would be to rent a concertina for a couple months, and when your time is up, buy a used concertina from either Button Box, or from a member here in our classifieds section. If your budget is small, a member here might have a 30-button beater for a few hundred dollars, and if you've just fallen in love with the concertina, I've run across some pretty good deals on 30-buttons in the $1k and change area.
  7. I'm visiting my girlfriend in Germany for a month or so; depending on work and relationship, I might end up basing myself out of Berlin while possibly working some contracts in Africa and the Middle East. I've already got into contact with the Shape Note singing community here, and am looking into clavichord lessons, and picked up a three-row GCF diatonic accordion for €40 at a flea market. I don't have my concertinas with me since my Crane is in Colombia and I don't want to risk taking my Beaumont on the road, but if there are concertina things to see in this city, cool shops for squeezeboxes in general, or easy ways to get a hold of some inexpensive concertina variant here, I'm interested. Thanks for any ideas!
  8. Along the lines of musicianship allowing one to do a lot of out-of-ordinary things with an instrument, here's a neat clip that was posted here recently of a woman playing traditional Cajun music on an Anglo concertina: http://www.bayougunrunner.com/assets/images/upper_right_hand_side.jpg Really neat how she's sort of imitating the 1-row Cajun accordion here, getting that really distinct style on a different type of instrument. At the last part of the clip, she does a part-by-part slow walkthrough of the tune, so would be easy to add to your repertoire if you like it.
  9. OK, so who among us is going to break down and ask that guy to come and tell us the backstory behind this odd zydeco concertina? That clip also let me to this awesome clip of Cajun dance music being played on a 30b Anglo (using a small portion of the buttons): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob5OAEuW1pI
  10. LoM, glad to see you've taken to the instrument so quickly. Do I recall right that you mentioned in an earlier thread that you play Old Time music as well? If so, once you get some of the more standardized Irish repertoire down, you can do some really interesting things crossing over to related Irish-influenced traditions of America. Jody Kruskal is the main professional musician known for doing this, worth checking out.
  11. Any updates on the box? Did you manage to take a prototype out to the meeting?
  12. Hello Orm, not to belabor the usual suspects if you've already tried these, but have you contacted Greg Jowaisas in the US and Chris Algar (Barleycorn Concertinas) in the UK? Those are two of the gents that tend to get a large amount of stock coming through them and just might have what you need or can be asked to be on the lookout for it.
  13. A Swallow is a hybrid concertina, so couldn't you just find someone in Malaysia who is able to repair accordions (or even reed organs?) and have them fix it up? The problems you describe sound like something that wouldn't be at all challenging for someone with a musical background and some mechanical skill.
  14. Wow, great track! I'm a big fan of (certain) modern pop tunes on concertina, which honestly is pretty in-keeping with the tradition. Wasn't a lot of what people would've played, at least on English and Maccann, the "Top 40" of its day? I'm a big fan of the song "Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still". As much as a parallel can be drawn, in 1864 it was as much a "pop hit" as anything on the radio today. Here's a great cover on concertina by Jeff Warner: Thanks for sharing, Stu! I imagine there are quite a body of post-punk/new-wave/darkwave tunes really suited to concertina. I've been doing "Mad World" by Tears for Fears and find it suits the instrument well.
  15. We have a good scattering of members in Texas; it might be best to ask here if anyone is in a city near to you that you can meet up with to check out their collection, try out the different formats to see what strikes you.
  16. For the most basic vintage English in good playing condition, you'd be looking at at least $600-800. So a little more than a new Jackie, but a fair bit more than a used Jackie. If your budget is under $500-600, Jackie is definitely your best bet. I wouldn't muck around with any of the cheaper/competing inexpensive concertinas. Stagi used to be the default starter/beater brand until Concertina Connection outdid them and at a better pricepoint, and I really don't see many used Stagi Englishes going for any price more favorable than a used Jackie. And the cheapie Chinese ones aren't worth buying even for $100. It still wouldn't hurt to contact Greg Jowaisas (http://www.gregsfolkmusic.com/) to ask what his least expensive vintage Englishes are. But given it's going to take you a few months to save up, getting a used Jackie for $250-300 gets a serviceable instrument into your hands promptly. Seconding the above recommendation that if you can mention to us generally what part of the Southeast you're in, very likely there's a Cnet member living within an hour of you who'd be happy to let you check out some concertinas in person to help decide. And if you do decide you want a used Jackie, the Classifieds section of this board is probably the single best place to post a WTB (want to buy ad). Mention you're a teenage beginner in the title to get the sympathy points to get a good deal. If you're looking for cool music to inspire you, if you like classy cafe music sort of thing, check out the work of Juliette Daum on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BQJOucVnCw
  17. I started panicking as soon as it turned to "... but I'm going to give a go at doing an amatuer restoration anyway." If you found an old pocket watch that was worth £5,000 you probably wouldn't say "well, I'll get a book on clockwork, get in there with some tweezers and see what I can do."
  18. Jerome, if you end up leaning towards English, I suggest posting a WTB ad on the classifieds here (make clear in your title what country you're in). The Concertina Connection Jack and Jackie models, the popular bare-bones beginner option, sell for $250-300 here on a good day, and as a very young beginner maybe someone can cut you a deal on one they have kicking around. That said, for a few hundred more than a Jack/ie would cost you, you might be able to find one beginner-quality vintage English concertina from a member here. A vintage concertina would generally play a lot smoother, have a more traditional sound, and be much less bulky than the modern hybrid beginner instruments. You can also google up Greg Jowaisas if you're in the US, as he keeps a lot of vintage instruments in stock, and last I'd heard had a pretty good number of Englishes made by Lachenal (kind of the default basic-but-okay brand vintage name). Concertina is a great instrument, looking forward to hearing what you end up doing!
  19. I don't have a ton of insight to add here, but I will say that part of the whole reason I got a concertina was that I really like those small pump-harmoniums used in South Asian music. I wanted something similar, but more compact, and that let me play with both hands rather than tie one up with the pump. So in a way I got a concertina because I wanted a portable reed-organ. I still haven't gotten very far in learning Indian harmonium melodies as I intended in this earlier thread: http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=16295
  20. I'm a big fan of using the same layout for Hayden and for "four row Anglo", because that means a Hayden will be out soon and with lower R&D costs. Not to sidetrack too much, but if anyone has a recommendation for a small speaker that can plug into one's smartphone/pad to amplify a MIDI concertina up to at least the volume of a real one, that would be good to now. In the meantime I could use such a small speaker to amplify my small MIDI keyboard so I can sing along with it during jam sessions, etc.
  21. @conzertino, at 32k per side, are you thinking like each row being seven across, with just under five total rows? And how small of an end do you reckon you can fit all 32 onto? The use of a Hayden MIDI to also play bisonoric/Anglo is an interesting idea. And I imagine there are some other pretty interesting layouts that could be programed in that would work well with the staggered rows of the Hayden.
  22. Conzertino, are you looking to standardize on a specific size/shape to simplify construction? Is the goal to have something like a 6.25" hexagon like the average trad-reeded concertina? Your foam idea is an interesting one; I think in other MIDIs we've seen traditioanl bellows with an air-pressure sensor, pistons that measure relative pressing pressure, and a hinge that measures degree of closure, so foam sounds like a new one to me.
  23. Really an exciting development! I would be interested in production if you choose to go that route. Though if your current settup proves to be a real winner, design-wise, the next question would be finding a cost-effective way to have them made in small quantity, perhaps using as many off-the-shelf parts as possible, and maximizing commonality of parts for the English/Anglo/Duet variants? It seems that 3D printing always comes up a lot in these sort of threads, but really I'd think that 3D milling seems the sort of thing that'd be more effective, given that you can mill all sorts of materials as opposed to a few kinds of plastic. If the format for the ends, and the layout of boards your switches go through, can be programed in somehow, and then matched up with some standardized bellows, I wonder how affordable that could get...
  24. Kinda tied to what others have said: I mainly chose Duet because at heart I wanted an organ/harmonium, but wanted something nice and compact. I play a Hayden Duet right now, and enjoy playing the melody part on my right hand against a nice low harmony on the left, lots of dronal bits, etc. While I do like the Hayden system, it does suffer for not having a body of vintage instruments to choose from. If having a quality Duet with chromaticity at a reasonable price is your goal, I'd contact Greg Jowaisas and see if he has any affordable Duets in the Maccann or Crane system. Maccann is a lot more common, though I've only played Hayden and Crane. You might be able to find a decent Lachenal-brand 46-button Maccann for $600-700 or so, and the great news is that a decent vintage concertina will hold its value over time, so you'd lose little other than time if you decide to resell it.
  25. And from the black device Don mentions, the last little white bit leading to your iPad, is that the Apple "camera connector kit" to go from USB to Lightning? That looks awesome, by the way! Any chance of a YouTube clip showing you setting up and playing your instrument?
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