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Geoff Wooff

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Everything posted by Geoff Wooff

  1. Well played !! Interesting and useful enhancements too.
  2. Wow Isra, that is very nice music, well played and your new Holden Hayden sounds really good! Thank you for posting.
  3. If you go to www.concertina.com and search there for Concertina Price lists, you will find these listed under approximate date periods, they will explain what the type numbers mean. I think 7E refers to an English with 56 keys. Overall quality of Wheatstone concertinas from the 1950's hmmm, well, I would not want one...
  4. Perhaps you could define more closely what you are looking for before people start suggesting particular instruments. Many players of the 'English' use vintage instruments because of their quality , availability and ability to hold their value. Dealers such as www.concertina.co.uk or www.buttonbox.com are worth a look. For 'New' English concertinas try the Button box or Concertina Connection. Several other small makers if you want something bespoke. Personally I would buy a nice vintage model and be happy.
  5. The sound is strange, is it reverb ? Almost sounds like you are playing under water BUT..... nicely played Wolf !!
  6. A very thin piece of paper added to the side of the reed or the tapered slot should be enough to get a tighter fit for your reed shoe. I use cigarette papers from which you can cut a strip of the gummed edge and stick that to the wood. Agree with Theo, use no hammer !!
  7. So Andersm, if you have recently aquired your lachenal perhaps it has come from somewhere with a different climate. I suggest this because that sound can equally be made by having the reed frame too tightly gripped by the wood of the reedpan . The first thing I would do is to take out the reed and see if it is too tight or too loose in its slot. Both cases will cause rattlings or buzzes.
  8. Stephen, there are good , better and best periods of Wheatstone's production . These variations can be seen to relate to economic and wartime periods , though there are always exceptions and the actual physical condition of a particular concertina is usually more important than the general period variations in quality. Most Wheatstones prior to the mid '30's do not suffer from cost cutting measures although,I think, there was a poor period towards the end of WWI which probably relates to availability of skilled workers and shortages of good materials. After the popularity boom of the Accordion in the 1930's and the closure of the Lachenal factory, quality of the Wheatstone concertina diminishes somewhat but certain of their best models are still very fine instruments. 1950's EC's are often made with cheaper materials and easier production methods especially after being taken over by Boosey & Hawkes. The 1950's Anglo production, of which I got to examine and repair many examples that had been originally exported to South Africa and were imported into Ireland ( where I lived for many years) to fill a demand there in the 1990's, were mostly of poor quality in regard to materials, with consequences for sound and playability.
  9. You mean by the arrangement of the buttons ? If so then the answer is yes you can in most cases.
  10. It should be possible to find a serial number somewhere in your Aeola. Sometimes stamped into the underside of the fretted ends or on the framework of the ends between the upper part ( fretted end) and the lower part ( pallet board) , sandwiched between the two sections. The wood of the reed pan in your photo and the 'fit' of the reeds both look good, so perhaps the generally poor 1950's ( export or die) quality was not so evident in the Aeolas sent to the USA than in the Anglos sent to South Africa during that period.
  11. Stephen, you can get thumb straps from Wim Wakker, he lists them as spare parts at www.concertinaconnection.com/spares.htm , whether his standard straps are the nicely padded ones, or not, I cannot say but worth an ask. Certainly the straps shown in the photos of the Wakker English models on his website look like the padded variety .
  12. Very nice David, and it is great to see you back on Concertina.net !!
  13. An interesting idea Stuart, ' although I am generally not in favour of ' limited use' keyboard instruments. Limited as in being aimed at a single musical genre. Perhaps we look at this from somewhat opposite perspectives; you being a Fiddler and I being a Piper. I enjoy playing Irish and Scottish music on the English concertina and see it as my fiddle, having the same range of notes. Although I play the Irish Pipes, with its two octave chanter capability, there is still a large amount of fiddle music that does not sit really well on my pipes, so I prefer to use the standard EC keyboard to give access to almost any music that I'd like to play. You ,of course, still have the 48k Aeola when you need it.. which brings me to my next point: Although some might dispute it the English keyboard does become intuitive and for that reason it is perhaps best to keep its standard patterns especially when one has and plays two or more EC's. Swapping the low G# for an F natural has been quite common on 48 Treble instruments but would it suit someone who also uses a Tenor ( or Baritone)/ Treble ? So, I hope your 'notes in unusual places' do not confuse you, oh and I think the tone is very pleasant ... Happy music!! Geoff.
  14. Indeed Wolf! I forgot to mention reed quality when suggesting the improvements happening during the early 1890's. Only the best reed makers were used on the more expensive instruments. Harry Boyd is purported to have specified that only the finest craftsmen should work on the concertinas he ordered, which suggests there was some variation in output quality. I have noticed that some concertinas have parallel sided reeds and in others the reed tongues are tapered. Obviously there was quite an amount of development work going on and "all the latest improvements" appears in the Lachenal price lists. All these small changes can make a huge difference; my 1898 Type 22 with its shallow flat reed pans and parallel sided reeds sounds very different to a Model 22 from post 1910.
  15. Pallets are not made of wood , I mean the holes in the pallet board. Usually the action materials are Brass and certainly the pivots are of a decent quality on the New Models, some even have riveted action !
  16. Tiposx, now there is a topic to engage a technical expert and a concertina historian... of which I am neither but I'll try to put down some thoughts from the few New Models I have examined. In a comparison with the usual 'victorian' concertina as produced by most of the makers during the 19th century the New Model, which appears in Lachenal's Price list of ( assumed) 1890: The first thing to note is the refined Reedpan design ( at least in those I have examined) which is of the 'canted' or tapered type. This means that the wall heights of the reed chambers are lower towards the high notes and increase in elevation as the note pitches decend. The idea of this is to get all the notes to speak at a similar loudness at a set air pressure. The other change was to add cross walls in the reed chambers to decrease the air volume which in turn allows increased air pressure which also builds more quickly . These cross wall were sometimes added by owners of the older concertina design to increase the volume output. A block of cork jammbed between the chamber walls just past the ends of the reeds will speed up the speaking and increase efficiency of notes. So, with these two devices more and better balanced volume can be obtained . On the Victorian model the pallet hole sizes are usually the same throughout the range of the instrument but in the New Model these vent holes have been adjusted , graded in size , again with the intention of improving efficiency. I'm sure much attention was also paid to the action box. Perhaps the lever pivot points were shifted a little to improve the pallet lift. Certainly the 'raised ends' do bring the open part of the grills closer to the vent holes... perhaps that adds a more direct tone quality to these instruments. That these New Models were introduced as early as 1890 appears fact but I wonder how much further development took place. For me the metal ended versions are too strident but the Rosewood or Ebony ended types have a very lovely tone, perhaps imparted by their Mahogany pallet boards. Other things to note; the New Model's bellows are sometimes criticized for having short depth folds but they are usually of such fine quality that 100+ years on they are still able to function well. The general build quality of the New Model is also remarkable.
  17. The Lachenal New Model was perhaps the forerunner of the 'modern' concertina, a re-design of the standard Victorian instrument, it was a real step up in tone and dynamics . Its qualities must have caused a stir in the development department at Wheatstone & Co and led to the introduction of the model 22 and the Aeola . The New Model appears to have been made from the 1890's until the demise of the company. The closure of Lachenal & Co. , due to the economic circumstances of the period also heralded cost cutting measures at Wheatstone's. It is probable that market rivalry between the two factories led to some of the finest instruments being produced , but with the competition gone the bean counters had their way and later Wheatstone concertinas suffered the fate of being made down to a price. A very short and probably 'date' inaccurate history.
  18. A good wooden ended New Model makes a great companion to a 22. I made a double case that acts as a chair when stood on end, the spare compartment has had several occupants over the years but my favorite was a 48 rosewood New Model, great for those occasions when the 22 is just a little too much. The previous owner of that New Model wanted it back and now my double case has an unbalanced feel whilst I look for a suitable replacement..... perhaps an Aeola ?
  19. Well Neil, that is just fantastic! Even though it is something the more experienced players might take for granted, it is still magic when one can pass a melody onto another and end up playing it together. A joyous moment.
  20. Stephen, to my ear the chords David is using sound like those folk guitarists might choose to accompany their singing, so searching for song books with chords noted along with the melody and words of songs, rather like "Fake Books", would be a good starting place. Ok those types of scores tend to note the chords like this ; G, D7, C. These are the the chords of what is known as ' the three chord trick' for tunes in the key of G major. With these one can make a simple accompaniment to a G major tune or song. The notes of these chords are G , B and D = G chord. D, F#, A and C= D7 chord. C, E, and G = C chord. If you want the Minor versions of chords just flaten the major thirds i.e. G, Bb, D = G minor etc. This is a very simplified explanation and one does not need to use all these note or in the same order, or octave, to create the desired harmonies. Of course ,you do not need to sing to play like this. You could add a chordal backing to someone else's singing or, as I tend to do, play a tune and add chordal harmonies . Start with a simple tune that you know well, a Christmas carol or nursery rhyme perhaps. When playing a melody note add another note that appears in the same chord and see if you like it or wish to choose another note for your harmony. Playing it by ear you might learn just as quickly as from a book. Somewhere on the Internet you will find chord charts giving the individual notes for all keys. Is this is the sort of thing you want to know ?
  21. Hi Stephen, that surgery sounds drastic . What did you do to cause so much damage? Something else that I have found helpful is the really well padded thumbstraps that a prevous owner had fitted to my current 48 Treble. I think these thicker/softer straps were made by Wim Wakker. I wore them out in 8 years of playing but took them to pieces and copied them... the feel is luxurious. Take it easy on that thumb !!
  22. If you play whilst standing then I would definitely recommend wrist straps, even on a small Treble EC, they will take a lot of the strain off thumbs and little fingers. Even when playing seated the wrist straps will help. Regarding a neck strap ; this suggests supporting the weight of the instrument whilst standing,. Have you tried Randy Stein's suggestion to play with the keyboard perpendicular to the ground ?
  23. And now that company is selling a second Dickenson-Wheatstone Aeola!! Metal ended 56, it looks similar but, they say, slightly smaller .
  24. Has anyone obtained information from Steve Dickenson to confirm details on this instrument ?
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