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Richard Morse

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Everything posted by Richard Morse

  1. It's a 1-row button accordion. For that type of music the favored box has 4 stops and is in the key of C with the 3rds detuned 15 cents. There are several makers of very good boxes (noted by others here) and a few makes of mass-manufactured ones which range from mediocre to pretty decent. The Button Box sells several models of the pretty decent sort. Check accordion stores in your area for the same makes (or you can order from the BBox). -- Rich --
  2. Typical rectangular Mylar has uniform thickness which is not ideal for reed valves as for to operate under low pressure they need to be very pliable, and under high pressure they need to be less pliable. Leather valves (we're talking hair sheep, the best kind) are selectively cut (usually punched) with a decreasing width from butt to tip which makes them less pliable as the air force increases. In order to get a good range of variable stiffness from Mylar (and similar synthetics), most of those valves are layered with two or three pieces of material, with each successive one being shorter than the one under it. If it needs more stiffness than 3 layers they usually resort to a thin metal spine down the middle with a curled-up end. Note the differences in the types of plastic and number of - and arrangement of - layers for the 1 1/2 octaves of reeds in that photo. A lot of effort goes into making plastic valves work well! Also note that each color of plastic has a different stiffness so that depending on how long and at what layer you arrange them in will give you a lot of control over how it operates. One of the problems with plastic valves is that they tend to seat home with a very distinct "snap" or "tack" noise. Not really too noticable unless you're playing softly, but a lot of people don't like that. Leather valvles are quiet when they close (unless they're dried out and curled back in which case they'll make a light "popping" noise as they seat). Another problem with plastic valves is that they tend to attract dust (static electricity?), and when they do, that fine coating of dust will absorb moisture with the resultant "slurry" making like glue to adhere the valve to the reedplate. I know this sounds extreme - like, how can that much moisture ever accumulate in my box? I have repaired (many) accordions that had notes that would not sound - to find that the plastic valves "glued" to the plates. And only the ones with significant grunge accumulation (smoky bars?). Of course with traditional concertinas this may not be a problem as the valves seat against wood, not metal. About the only good thing about plastic valves is that they are less expensive than leather ones (IMHO). Note that cheap accordions have single thickness Mylar (and ilk) valves. Better ones have multiple thickness ones; really good ones have synthetic leather valves with several layers; the best have leather. -- Rich --
  3. YES! Bless Be the Tie That Binds Bless be-ee the ti-ie that binds My co-ollar to-oo my shirt. I'm wasting no dollars In buying new collars To hi-ide that ri-ing of dirt! This college gets better each day. The seniors will soon go away. We'll meet them in Hades, A-necking the ladies, And there'll be the Devil to pay. The fro-og he are a queer bird. He ain't got no tail almost hardly. When he yump he sit down, When he sit down he yump Where he ain't got no tail almost hardly. I wi-ish this room had a floor. I wouldn't care much for a door, But walking around, Without touching the ground I-is getting to be quite a bore. I know that my face ain't no star. I know I'm not lovely by far. But then I don't mind it Because I'm behind it It's them that's out front gets the jar I'd rather have eyes than a nose. I'd rather have fingers than toes. And as for my hair, I'm glad it is there I'll be sorry the day that it goes. And there was one about a Hindu that has to make his skin do, and Poor little fly on the wall.... Jeeze that was a long time ago we used to sing those! -- Rich --
  4. Interesting! The Popeye song I'm familiar with goes like this: I'm Popeye the sailor man, I live in a garbage can. I eat all my spinach And spit out the winnage, I'm Popeye the sailor man. Of course I had no idea what "winnage" was when I was a kid but now I'm wondering if it was "windage"? -- Rich --
  5. Well, that would depend upon the most crucial essential: electricity. Without that almost nothing works. Computers and communications become the least of it. Here in New England most houses are heated with furnaces and boilers that rely electricity to operate. No electricity = no heat. In my case I have a wood stove so I'll be warm... as my basement fills up with cold water due to the sump pump not being able to work. I know. It's done that 4 times since I've owned this house (actually only fills to 14". I guess that's the water table limit around here). And speaking of power outages, we just had one. An ice storm came though last Thursday night, hard on the heels of several days of near zero F temps and took out the power for hundreds of thousands of people. Even today, three days later, there are people without power restored. Check out some of the ice storm photos -- Rich --
  6. We call those things "pallets", and I have seen three button accordions like this. I had one, actually. The make of mine was "Ludwig" and at least one of the others was a Ludwig as well. I can't attest to the third as it was just a photo, not a box-in-the-flesh, but it appeared to be very similar. Probably the only differences are in the size. Mine was a bit smaller (same pallets, color, design, etc.). -- Rich --
  7. I think it's a great resource - well done! The Button Box also has several more Irish concertina tutors (with descriptions). -- Rich --
  8. I've had several nice comments on that "faces" slide show thing on our 2008 NESI review page... and a couple people commenting "why am I not there?" Because I didn't have a photo of you! Sorry. But folks can easily remedy that by PMing photos. It's pretty easy to add more faces! -- Rich --
  9. Sure! Our next NESI will be held September 18, 19, 20th 2009. I've also updated that page to include the dates - my oversight! -- Rich --
  10. Pinhole Aeola Period pierced in comma What phenomena! (Inspired by Jim - thanks!)
  11. Well - it took me a few months. I guess there are *some* good things about the economy slowing down in that I'm finding more snippets of time here and there to do stuff I should have done long ago. How many concertina.netter can you spot in the past couple years there? 2007 NESI (also has lots of limericks) 2008 NESI (with a "faces" slide show) -- Rich --
  12. I'm probably one of the grumblers. For me they do seem like a waste of time. Not only does it take time to get square sets together and to walk-through, but they always do them in a pair of square dances (most likely because it takes so long to square up sets). That means if you don't get in one the first sets, you have to sit out two dances. I find that the energy of the entire dance is off-kilter because of this. Now you have a bunch of sweaty hyped-up people and a bunch of very cooled-off ones. Besides the time involved, I find squares not to flow as well as contras. There's a lot of energy truncation and lots of just standing around (well, clogging/stepping while your at it...). And I like dancing with many partners and with squares you're pretty much limited to 4 of the other sex for about 1/2 hour. I also find that there are so many people who *don't* participate in squares (at contra dances) that it's a wonder that they continue to call squares at all. At least in my part of New England there are extemely few contra dances that have squares. Thankfully few! Oh yeah - and I think that the reason why there are sometimes squares at contras and contras at squares is because they are both American dances whereas English Country Dance is not. Yet there is more cross-over between contra/ECD than contra/square or square/ECD. Interesting, huh? -- Rich --
  13. And here's a couple, the winning limerick and haiku from this year's NESI contest. There's something about the spoken word.... -- Rich --
  14. Ah, Jim! I think you win the prize for the most lyrical person I've ever come across (with Jody Kruskal being as very close second). I remember that you sent this in several years ago..... The Concertina With knowing touch, and gentle squeezing, It makes a sound both pleased and pleasing.
  15. Oops, sorry about that. Cross posts with the flurry of activity here. If you're worried about "clean" then DON'T look at our NESI review pages. Actually those that did make it to our review pages were often the more "timid" ones. A fair number of the entries the judges deemed not to be presentable even to the adult audience! -- Rich --
  16. We've got a few of them on the review pages of our Northeast Squeeze-in reviews. Scroll to the bottom of this page and click on the links to the year's reviews. One of my favorites is: A young lady who plays the Chemnitzer, What a nightmare to find one that fits her! On the pull she's okay, Nothing gets in the way, On the push, though, it nearly de-tits her.
  17. I had talked to SD about it many years ago and he said that the primary reason was that the laws were incredibly strict about workplace safety when you had an employee and that he couldn't afford to bring his shop up to code. Another aspect was on the record-keeping and taxes end. He's a great craftsperson and artist - and NOT a bean-pusher! -- Rich --
  18. Alan, if you ever need limericks, keep in mind that I have scores of concertina limericks at my disposal... :-) -- Rich --
  19. Welcome Dan! It's a little over 150 years old, probably made in 1856. You can check the ledgers yourself here. Earlyish anyway, but still main-stream stuff. We've had scores of concertinas earlier than that though our shop. You've probably noticed by now that concertinas are quite differently designed and constructed from accordions, and with much finer and high quality materials and craftsmanship - which makes them last a lot longer. Concertinas are meant to last a long time. Of the ones from that era, we've encountered many in excellent condition and with the vast majority in repairable condition. All those were subsequently refurbished and are back in circulation. I also mostly consider accordion construction and design when dating older accordions... and most are pretty primitive. There seems to be a lot of old boxes around here (New England, USA) were it's easy to come across 1850-1900's accordions at flea markets and antique stores. Of course most of those are button accordions with a smattering of chromatics and flutinas. Very few piano accordions. -- Rich --
  20. That's because they derive from the same dance "roots". In fact most of the moves (patterns, figures) are identical (and sometimes are even called the same!) though executed with a slightly different emphasis or style. Still, the character of the dances and social backgrounds are so different that it's very rare for dancers to participate in more than one type (virtually no crossover between square and the others and very little crossover between contra and ECD). -- Rich --
  21. Microvox makes a good setup for micing a concertina. -- Rich --
  22. I don't think that's correct.... It seems that few people know that English Sycamore is the same tree as the American Maple. They're both Acer Pseudoplatanus, just their "familiar" names are different across the ocean. Maples are one of the most common trees in the US and widely available in quartersawn. Sycamore trees (Platanus species) in the US are called Plane trees in England, and are considerably different from the Acer Pseudoplatanus. -- Rich --
  23. You can download a video clip of a guy at the Wheatstone factory from British Pathe milling the reedpan for reed shoes. Besides that they also go through brief views of grinding the reed blanks, cutting out the fretwork, making bellows, reed tuning, action work, etc. Here's a still from the reedpan section. -- Rich --
  24. Perhaps it's a good idea to show rather than describe the differences between those dances. Here's what I consider to be a typical contra dance (happens to be my local dance in Greenfield MA - and for the sharp eyed:- the caller is playing an EC). Here's a very good example of (US version) as it's snippets of many of the genre dances in one clip. And interestingly enough, you can hear a concertina now and then! Unfortunately I'm having a hard time finding a good example of US square dancing. The ones I remember seeing (back in the early 70's to mid 80's) had live music and caller - but all the instances I can find on YouTube seem to have recorded music (at least the caller is live)! clip seems pretty typical. Maybe that's the way things have changed to. Anyone have other experiences/examples of square dance? -- Rich --
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