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dodger

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  1. For several months now I've been getting acquainted with my Hayden duet built from scratch by Bob Tedrow (Homewood Music)in Birmingham, Alabama after playing McCann duets (Wheatstone and Lachenal) for the past 20 years or so. I can only describe myself as thrilled with this instrument. Where to start with its strengths? Foremost for the player of (inter alia) quick jigs and reels, the responsiveness of the instrument is stellar - - as good or better than my vintage Wheatstone(s). The buttons, set snugly in red bushings, require only the slightest touch and recover instantaneously and silently (unlike my Lachenal which, good as it is, has an annoying "click"). The buttons typify the instrument's uniformly fine workmanship. The woodwork (burled maple with some ebony trim) is flawless and elegant. The (8) bellows are beautifully married to the ends and have great sustainability (30 seconds or more with one key depressed!). For players of old English concertinas, a few things about this instrument take some getting used to. With brass reeds, the sound is more mellow than with steel reeds, but nevertheless strong, pleasant, and superior to the mass-produced instruments. To keep the instrument light and compact (8-sided, 8.5-inch in diameter) Bob opted for a 52-button layout rather than the full 78-button Hayden plan. This is not a problem for the right hand, but it throws off some of the logic and ease of playing a few chords(especially B-flat and E-flat) with the left. Such adjustments, however, are well worth the effort for the benefits of such a fine instrument as this. All-in-all, this is an instrument that is bright and nimble, yet sturdy and ready to perform for the most demanding of players. Hopefully, among other things, it may add to the popularity of the sensible Hayden keyboard. My unsolicited and independent judgment for those considering investing (it is a significant investment - - I must sell one of my Wheatstone's to afford it!) in a new instrument, or just curious about this new option: it's quality of design and workmanship establishes Bob Tedrow as not only a serious concertina maker, but surely among the elite ranks of the world's best.
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