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Brian McGee

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Everything posted by Brian McGee

  1. I'm by no means an expert players, but in answer to your two questions: 1. Do you lift for two of the same notes (vs presumably separating the notes with a bellows pause)? I lift. My fingers are MUCH faster than my arms. 2. Do you lift for two different notes? No. I did that when I started, but it was just way too slow. B
  2. Yeah, in general. Unless there was a hitch in the rhythm. Good luck, btw. Playing a song on the anglo is one of those problems that isn't well suited to computer automating because it's not deterministic. I look forward to seeing how you do! B
  3. What I'm uncomfortable with is it's my impression is that he was a bit of a ne'er do well and up for the main chance; and it seems likely that this was a bit of fraud on his part; don't know where foresight comes into it really, he just found a way of extracting money from Lachenals under false pretences. Dirge, Replace "ne'er do well" with "enterprising risk-taker" and you describe a huge portion of the pillars of history! Just off the top of my head -- Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, and, of course, Christopher Columbus. That puts Maccan in pretty lofty company! B And more recently, what about Bill Gates? http://apple-history.com/gui Tony, Of course you're quite right about Bill. I didn't put him on the list because I've never felt that he qualified as a pillar of history. A silver-spooned petulant brat with a foot-stomping sense of entitlement who stole every good idea he had. B
  4. True but I didn't say that. Particularly I can't see Edison and Franklin as companions for the good professor; they're genuine inventors. I think they'd be very sniffy about finding themselves lumped with Maccan. Well, I know I'm off topic, so I'll leave it be, but some time read up on Edisons industrial espionage and Franklin -- well, anyway. B
  5. What I'm uncomfortable with is it's my impression is that he was a bit of a ne'er do well and up for the main chance; and it seems likely that this was a bit of fraud on his part; don't know where foresight comes into it really, he just found a way of extracting money from Lachenals under false pretences. Dirge, Replace "ne'er do well" with "enterprising risk-taker" and you describe a huge portion of the pillars of history! Just off the top of my head -- Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, and, of course, Christopher Columbus. That puts Maccan in pretty lofty company! B
  6. Yup, and he claims it belonged to Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. I wonder if Stills ever really owned one. It would be a bizarre thing to make up, but I can't find any reference to him playing one. B
  7. How about The Foggy Dew? It's in O'Niells, and is a mournful march written to remember the Easter Rising. B
  8. My mileage differs. On my Jones, the pull g is in the "Wheatstone" position, and I find it quite comfortable to play the descending a-g-f# run all on the pull by using (ring finger on a in the G row)-(middle finger on g in the 3rd row)-(index finger on f# in the G row). For that matter, I have no problem with using my little finger for the a in the C row; I do it often. But now we're on the slippery slope to debating all the possible note permutations -- both "standard" and non-standard -- and our personal reactions to how they might interact with each other within the myriad different musical phrases. There are numerous prior threads going into that (I've contributed to a few, myself), but I suspect that's way beyond what Beryl wants to delve into at this stage in her playing career. I'm inclined to stop here, unless she asks us to go further. Jim, You're quite right, of course. It's primarily a matter of preference. That's why one or the other hasn't totally taken over And, as I found with motorcycles, until you GET one and play around with it a bit, it's impossible to guess what your preference will be. B
  9. Beryl, Checking his website, he says actually "There are two basic Anglo fingering systems, Wheatstone and Jeffries." And he offers both. For the differences, check anywhere, or the two links below: Wheatstone: http://www.suttnerconcertinas.com/images/key_layout_wheat_31.pdf Jeffries: http://www.suttnerconcertinas.com/images/key_layout_jeff_31.pdf In addition to my comments above, there's a third difference which, to me, makes the Jeffries layout superior. And that's the position of the G on the right hand accidental row. It's the only place you get that G on the pull, and it's very useful when playing in the key of G, because you'll often want that G with your F#. Consider, for instance, playing a run in G from the upper A down -- on a Wheatstone you have to use your pinkie for that high A, otherwise your A and your G are on two rows of the same finger, or you're changing bellows direction (not that there's anything wrong with playing that way, it's just not as easy). On a Jeffries, the G is moved to the ring finger, which means you can get your A on the middle, G on the ring, and F# on the index -- all on the pull. B
  10. Is it like the Jeffries layout with two C#/D# buttons swapped on the right hand accidental row? http://www.suttnerconcertinas.com/images/key_layout_jeff_31.pdf When I play in D with my instructor, I have an easier time with fluency and melody because of those two. He has the Wheatstone layout, and must change direction frequently mid-phrase. As with all 30 button concertinas, F#s are only available pulled, while his layout has C#s only pushed. My Jeffries layout instrument has a C# in each direction. B
  11. D is the third most played key, I think, for the tunes that I've seen. F#s are always a pain on a 30 button, because they're ONLY available pulled. On the Jeffries layout, the C#/D# are available in both directions in the +1 octave -- not on the Wheatstone layout, however. It's more of a challenge, obviously. And in my experience you end up playing many phrases on the pull, so it requires more use of the air button. Certainly not an issue for any even moderately skilled -- but still for me, alas B
  12. Chris, I'm far from an expert -- in fact I'm really only just getting to the point that I can play with any facility at all. I'm learning to not play "up and down" the rows, but across -- meaning paying more attention to picking a button which is best suited to the phrasing of the piece without regard to where it happens to be. I'm beginning to see that on an anglo the question is really much bigger than "do I have all the notes I need?" It's also "do I have the notes WHERE I need them, and in the right direction?" Just a simple example -- my concertina is in the Jeffries layout, while my instructors is in the Wheatstone layout. That means that I the G in the +1 octave in the accidental row -- is moved from the 2 to the 3 button. When playing with my instructor, I can see that's SO handy to have when we're playing in G, because it's easier to play runs between the F# and upper B. It's purely happenstance that my layout is Jeffries -- I didn't know enough to pick between them when I bought my concertina. It turns out I was lucky -- I like this layout better. Anyway, I'm getting long-winded. My point is that your first 30 button probably won't be your last -- so it might be best to pick something standard and play it a while to get a better personal understanding of the system. C/G weren't picked at random, I think. Besides it gives you an excuse to get another concertina later! B
  13. Wow, that's in rough shape! Sad to see a charming old instrument so decayed. B
  14. Wombie, Brave man! My understanding is that it was pretty common for local instrument stores to have the big manufacturers apply their specialized labels -- sort of like their own "imprint." That's probably what you're seeing here. I'm certain that one of the resident gurus will pipe up and identify the instrument from the fretwork and the action. Have fun with it, Brian
  15. Simple answer... no. Not just uncommon, but I've never heard of it before, though I've seen -- and used myself -- something similar, also with separate staves for each hand. What I do is write the left hand in the treble clef as it actually sounds and the right hand also in a treble clef (stacked above the left-hand staff just like a treble above the bass), but written an octave lower than it actually sounds. In fact, my right-hand clef is an "octave treble", i.e., with a little "8" dangling from its bottom to indicate that it's written an octave away from where it sounds. (This is a standard clef sometimes used for other instruments that do sound an octave higher than the fiddle or flute.) Some time ago there was an extended discussion here on concertina.net of different notational conventions for the anglo... of which there are many. As I recall, quite a variety of ideas and preferences was displayed. If someone can find it and link to it, I think it could save us repeating a lot of stuff. One thing I wonder about the book is whether the author's notations for push and pull work equally well for both Wheatstone and Jeffries layouts. Jim, Well, his button layout (which has other problems) is the Jeffries layout, so people with Wheatstone layout will have issues with the C#/G/G#, etc, from the third row.
  16. Kevin, I'm really a novice, so my opinion is formed based on little experience, but the experience I DO have suggests that doing weird special layouts like this for individual instruments makes it much harder to play music in a pick-up fashion. For instance, my sister the guitar player couldn't look at this and play along with me easily. Nor could my Dad on the tin whistle. Writing music to the convenience of each individual instrument seems like it would work well if you have a multi-part score with music written for each instrument, but how many of us really play that way? B
  17. I think another point to be considered for someone who's "type-agnostic" at this point is the insane prices for good anglos these days compared to english OR duet. When comparing instruments of about the same quality, I'm seeing prices for anglos about 3 times higher. Brian
  18. Wow, that's very unusual. The left side is chords? B
  19. I just picked up a new book called "All-American Concertina Album" by Alan Lochhead. It's got some really cool stuff in it -- stuff that I don't usually see written for the anglo. He's transposed everything down an octave, though! So the B on the first key of the middle row, right hand is written 2 spaces below the treble clef, and at the bottom is a notation "All pitches sound one octave higher than written notation." And he's written the right hand on the treble clef and the left hand on the bass clef -- which I suppose he MUST do since he's transposed everything down an octave. Is this common for concertina music? It's blowing my mind trying to read it after spending the last few months reading O'Niell's and other stuff.
  20. Um, VJJB, better post a picture of what you've got. If the left side is chords, it's not an anglo. Does it look like this or this B
  21. VJJB, Congratulations on the thoughtful gift (and wife)! I'm kind of a novice with concertinas, so I don't mind showing my ignorance -- I thought the Morse "Ceili" model concertina was a 30 button. In any case, if what you have is a 20 button Anglo, there are a LOT of good books out there about learning the Anglo. Since the most common instrument is a 30 button model, they're mainly targeting that instrument, but most of the starting tunes in C and G will be at least accessible to you. My favorites are: "The Irish Concertina" (with CD) -- Mel Bay publications "Deluxe Concertina Book" -- Mel Bay Publications I also happened to be on the Mel Bay website today and noticed they have a new book targeted at the TWENTY button. I haven't tried this, so I can't vouch for it, but it's: "Absolute Beginners Concertina" -- Mel Bay publications When I picked up the concertina, it had been many years since I read music. So, in addition to the concertina books, I also picked up a book on that specifically -- I found "How to Read Music: Reading Music Made Simple" by Terry Burrows to be quite accessible. Have fun! Brian
  22. If you're getting your india ink as a powder instead of a liquid, I suggest trying to make it substituting denatured alcohol or mineral spirits for the water, both of which should be suitable to suspend the lampblack in, while not raising the grain of the wood. Try the alcohol first since it dries very quickly -- mineral spirits needs about 12 hours to fully evaporate.
  23. I have a new Wakker W-A4 and a Wakker rebuild of a Crabb in G/D. Both these instruments are responsive, expressive and play very well. I've been so impressed with Wakker's work that I'm having another instrument (W-W1) built for me. I've had the opportunity to try a few Suttners, and have been impressed with these--but have found the performance and craftsmanship of the Wakker instruments to be more to my liking. If you're in the UK, I'd suggest you be in touch with Chris Algar. He regularly has new and used instruments of the makes you're interested in on hand. This is where I tried out a number of Wakkers and Suttners. Among other things, Algar often has Wakker Phoenix instruments in stock. These are new Wakker instruments with classic reeds--with the benefits of both. Another reason for getting in touch with Algar, if you let him know what you're interested in (antique and modern/used instruments), he is usually able to source... whether at auctions or via trades. Before deciding, I would suggest trying out some instruments.... Good luck in your search! All these are great instruments. Unfortunately I couldn't be further from any of these manufacturers -- or stores I'm in Chicago, IL. I absolutely love the look of the Wakker A-5 I'm sorely tempted!
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