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Geoff Wooff

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About Geoff Wooff

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    Heavyweight Boxer
  • Birthday 04/24/1950

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    playing music on English concertina, uilleann pipes and hurdy gurdy (among others). Making instruments, keeping healthy in my old age, chatting with friends. Now learning to play MacCann Duet.Latest project is Learning the Hayden Duet.
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  1. Take it to The Button Box or Greg J., if you are at all unsure for what to do. It is too nice an instrument to risk an amateur repair.
  2. As an example of what one can do when keeping 'in pattern' I attach a link; On this I play a simple tune in seven different keys, in one 2 minute take . This is not done by remembering the position of all the notes for all the keys but by following the logic of the shapes of the patterns. Some mistakes are inevitable when fooling around like this . Obviously it is possible to play in any key on the English if one just learns a tune in a particular key and memorises the position of the buttons /sequence and that is what is normally done however, expanding one's mental map of the keyboard by playing a tune in different keys and different octaves can be most beneficial. For clarity the key signatures are Dm, Gm, Cm, Am, Em, F#m and Bm .
  3. Very nice concertina ! Thinking of making an offer but: With a view to crossing international borders, could you , or anybody else, say with any certainty whether the material of the verneered ends is natural tortoise ( turtle) shell or a fine imitation of it ?
  4. I have never heard of anybody trying such a thing but I doubt it would be of practical use. Currently with the 14 semitones to the octave on the English it is possible to play scales in Eb, Bb, F, C, G, D, A and E without going 'out of patern'. To me 'out of Patern ' means that some consecutive notes of a scale will occur on the same side of the instrument. To test this play a scale of Eb. Each consecutive note will be on opposite sides of the instrument. Now do the same thing starting on D#. Straight away the first two notes ascending will be on the same side. This out of patern scale will get worse as one moves into ever flater and sharper keys. The importance of this regularly alternating patern becomes evident when playing chords , for the memory of the shapes, and transposing , where the memorised logic will take the player to the correct buttons. What I am saying is that to extend the sweetness of a Meantone tuning system into more remote key signatures than those 'in patern' keys would not be practical. At the outer edges of these eight key signatures problems might already begin to occur .
  5. I recall hearing that keeping an instrument in an Oak box can cause server tarnishing of copper based alloys.
  6. Not everyone's skin secretions are the same . I'm not a doctor and cannot quantify these differences but as a Pipemaker I see quite a variance in the affects on various metals due to handling/ playing by my customers. Luckily for me I do not suffer from a skin ph which causes rapid tarnishing of metals that contain copper but some people do. I would also be interested in suggestions of how to create a barrier between players and their instruments in these situations.
  7. Hello Mike, Thanks for that. I'll await the outcome of your negociations. Kind regards, Geoff.
  8. I can sort of manage a simple , semi transposition on the Baritone Treble by dropping down two rows of buttons ( say from D to C etc.) and correcting the wrong notes ( F's for f#'s etc.) but one ends up an octave lower than normal and this is not very effective in a band or session situation being in Baritone pitch... ie... I cannot hear myself. Thanks for the comments Wolf, LJ and Steve.
  9. Looking for an English in Bb . In other words all notes a whole tone lower than normal. The reason for this; although I am quite happy to transpose and play in most keys, there are situations where playing with one's default fingering in a different key is prefered. Here, in France, I get to play the local Bal Trad music mostly in C but I often feel I'd be happier if the tunes were in D, from a fingering view point. When in Ireland it would be nice to have a 'flat' concertina for the C sessions. Any ideas or leads most aprieciated.🙂
  10. We had a cat that did exactly the same, pushing herself onto my lap behind the concertina. Sometimes she'd stretch her neck and stare into the ends. Current dog sings only with my metal ended wheatstone.. so the wooden ended one gets played mostly. The dog also hated the Hurdy Gurdy, especially the higher pitched D/G.... Some people like to think the animals enjoy their music making.... I have my doubts.
  11. I've used 1/5th Comma on my concertinas for many years and never had a problem playing in sessions with ET tuned instruments. Even with other concertinas, which would be the hardest test , but for the most part sessions and bands in the traditional music scenes play in keys close to the centre of the meantone tuning I use. For me the great advantage is the sweetening of the harshest chords and the ability that 1/5th Comma allows to play close harmonies , particularly 3rds. Running a passage of major thirds, which creates an almost 'second voice' effect when used in company with other melody instruments, is a very pleasant adjunct to the repertoire of playing techniques. Using 1/4 Comma with other fixed pitch instruments in ET might start to raise eyebrows, probably most likely with fiddle players, who's sense of tuning I generally find to be more acute. Other squeezebox players generally assume their instrument is in tune and don't bother listening to others.
  12. The only cheap concertinas that I have ever found are the really good ones that hold their value year after year. For many years, since the concertina revival of the late 1960's - 70's , the value of vintage models has steadily risen. Granted there has been a bit of a bubble with the prices of Anglos due to demand from the Irish Music scene and that burst to some extent with the economic colapse of 2008. It is still possible to purchase a fine concertina, play it for a few years and sell it for as much, if not more, than you paid for it. That constitutes a FREE concertina. A €100 - €200 model is almost the same as throwing your money out of the window.
  13. Here's another picture showing how I use the loose strap with my thumb pushed right in and the top joint folded down to lock the grip. I find it easier to change the angle of the concertina from this position and play the lower half of the keyboard in a semi horizontal way.
  14. I'd say there are various degrees of angular position that can be adopted once the little fingers are freed from the slides, rests or grips (whatever one calls those metal angle plates. Simon Thoumire's position is fairly radical... it certainly works for him. Here is a picture of the sort of position I get into, though I hardly think of it as horizontal. My thumb straps are not tight but also not moved.
  15. Many ( perhaps most ?) concertinas made before the current International Pitch Standard was agreed in 1939 will be in the pre-war A= 452hz pitch , which is not far off half a semitone sharp. A good carefull re-tune would be needed if playing with other instruments but, note that not everyone tunes to A440 and do check the temperament as per Little John's comments above.
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