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Everything posted by Johanna

  1. Yep, Microvox. They're not perfect, but they're better than playing into a single instrument mic. The biggest drawback I've experienced is that sometimes the acoustics come out sounding very odd, like I'm playing in a different room from everyone else. It's not usually noticeable, but once in a while it is.
  2. There are far too many videos of us on youtube. Just search for Shenandoah Run.
  3. Sarah: Heh...you (and I) say "holds its own" - many of my band mates would say "is too darn loud most of the time." Dean: It's actually a vintage brass-rivet-reeded Wheatstone (with some inexplicable Lachenal parts, but all the important bits are Wheatstone). I love the sound and how it incorporates with the rest of the group. On this particular song, our whole arrangement draws heavily on Solas's original - I'm playing a combination of the fiddle and button accordion parts. In general, my strategy is "try something, and if it doesn't work, try something different." I'm almost always choosing between single-note lines and straight chords, because I'm not smart enough to play melody and accompaniment at the same time and get them consistently correct. (Plus, with all the other instruments, we neither need nor want for me to cover everything by myself.) Often I'll start out on low drones - either single notes or two-note chords - and then progressively work my way to higher notes and/or faster rhythms. If I find a riff I like, I'll repeat it on different verses - softly and subtly at first, and then more prominently toward the end. Sometimes I'll take a known tune with the same or similar chords as what we're playing, and play it underneath everything else and see if anyone notices. (So far, no one has.) Sometimes I'm guided by the lyrics of the song (e.g., playing a bouncy happy tune under a lighthearted verse and an ethereal high drone under a somber one). That's about it. All in all, though, I'm still very much a newbie at this and should not be mistaken for someone who knows what she's doing.
  4. Occasionally my band lets me do something interesting. Here we are covering Solas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yQRHjovksA
  5. I'll be performing earlier that afternoon with my band Shenandoah Run. Will definitely plan to stick around to see The Squeezers. Cool. I saw Shenandoah Run at the last minifest, or the Takky Park Folk Festival. I'll also be roaming the halls with the Foggy Bottom Morris Men and the Arlington Morris Women. We've never played at the Takky Park festival, so it probably wasn't that. We did play at last year's Minifest and at the Glen Echo festival in June.
  6. I'll be performing earlier that afternoon with my band Shenandoah Run. Will definitely plan to stick around to see The Squeezers.
  7. When Jon Boden did his A Folk Song A Day project a few years ago, he did many of the songs with concertina accompaniment (Maccann duet, I think, actually, not EC). A couple of my favorites off the top of my head: Swansea Barracks http://www.afolksongaday.com/2013/03/05/swansea-barracks/ Four Angels http://www.afolksongaday.com/2013/03/02/four-angels/
  8. If you're finding it easier to accompany your singing on the guitar than on the concertina, then go ahead and do that - you don't need our permission. For what it's worth, when I'm singing solo, I also prefer the guitar - I just find it easier to crank out a basic accompaniment, without thinking too hard about it, that covers the harmony and keeps the rhythm going and lets me focus on singing the melody. I can do a few solo songs on English concertina (my system of choice), but I find it works better to save the concertina for when I'm playing with others and I don't have to cover all the "parts" by myself. So that's what I do.
  9. What kind of music do you want to play? If you're looking to play any music in "weird" keys (more than two sharps or one flat) or with accidentals, you may find yourself frustrated with the Jack(ie)'s elimination of duplicate notes. That is: The standard 48-button layout has both G-sharp and A-flat, and you can reach for whichever one is more convenient. The Jack(ie) has only one or the other in each octave, and you have to remember which one it has. If you want to play anything that makes use of the top octave in the 48-button layout (between two octaves above middle C and three octaves above middle C), you obviously can't do that on a Jackie. If you want to play standard folk music that doesn't stray far from the keys of C, G, and D, you can do that just fine on the Jack(ie). In addition to being cheaper than Stagis, the Jack(ie)s are also generally regarded to be better constructed instruments. If you want to play primarily melodies, I recommend the Jackie over the Jack. Because of how the reeds are constructed, the lowest several notes on the Jack are very sluggish. They're fine for slow drones and chordal accompaniment, but less fine for more quickly flowing melodies. Have you considered getting a vintage instrument? There are brass-reeded Lachenals to be had for about the same as you're willing to spend on a Stagi. Be sure to buy from a reputable dealer (such as Greg Jowaisas or Chris Algar), or someone else who will guarantee that the instrument is in good condition - a concertina bought from some random person on eBay can have all sorts of things wrong with it that cost a lot of money to fix. Chris Algar has this one on eBay right now that might interest you.
  10. Many of the "intermediate/mid-range" models listed here are within your price range. If you want a vintage instrument, there's this one. Or you could check with Chris Algar of Barleycorn Concertinas to see if he has anything you might be interested in.
  11. I tried to PM you but it says you can't receive new messages.
  12. Used Jackies and Jacks can often be found in the $300-350 range. You don't get the full-price trade-in option like you do with a new one, but you can probably sell it for close to what you paid for it, if and when you want to upgrade. You can keep an eye on The Button Box's stock: http://www.buttonbox.com/instruments-in-stock.html They don't have any used Jackies or Jacks listed right now, but they often do. You can also contact the House of Musical Traditions: http://www.hmtrad.com/ Although it's not listed on their website, they have a used Jack in stock, plus some other used beginner-level instruments. (Full disclosure: The Jack is/was mine, being sold through them under consignment.)
  13. These instruments are now for sale at the House of Musical Traditions. (They're not yet listed on their used button box page, but they're there.)
  14. Would it help to have a go on the EC equivalents of what you're considering? With the possible exception of the Rose/Peacock, those will be easier to find locally, and you can at least get an idea of what a Morse feels like and whether "real concertina reeds" are worth aspiring to or not.
  15. Looking to follow the rule that for every instrument that comes in, (at least) one must go out, I am offering these two for sale: First is a Stagi 18-button miniature model, as described here. Mahogany ends. Includes hard case. Second is a Jack baritone from Concertina connection. Includes the standard gig bag, which is noticeably worn but still functional. I've fitted both instruments with ultrasuede baffles to soften and sweeten the tone (and allow me to practice in my living room without giving myself a headache). The Stagi baffles are external and attach by velcro. The Jack baffles are internal. I can remove them prior to shipping if you like. Asking $450 for the Stagi and $300 for the Jack, including shipping in the continental US. Pictures and sound samples upon request. If there's no interest within 48 hours, I'm going to sell these via another route. But I thought I'd check here first.
  16. I don't have a Peacock to trade, but I may be interested in the Morse. How much do you want for it?
  17. Just to clarify, I didn't (and am not recommending to) use the entire 1 3/8" width to cover the corners. Rather, I bought a strip that happened to be 1 3/8" wide, and cut much narrower pieces to cover the leaks.
  18. Hi RWL, I did a similar repair on a similar concertina not long ago. I can tell you what I did - and leave it to the experts to weigh in on whether it was "correct" or not. Although I'm in the US, I bought leather from concertina-spares.com in the UK. Shipping costs 3 pounds and takes about a week. It's not a bad deal if you need to order other things at the same time. (Spare springs are good to have on hand! Get some, if you don't have them already.) The leather I bought is listed as "Thin leather black .. 1 3/8" x 0.2mm - for patching or binding." It's just what it says - leather that's been shaved down to 0.2mm thickness. I suppose there must be plenty of sources for such leather, but you need to make sure it's sufficiently airtight. I used PVA glue, and patched only the holes, not the whole circumference. I found that I could cut the patches much smaller than I initially thought I'd have to - make them just barely big enough to cover the hole. It's difficult to tell where the patches are now, unless you're looking very closely. For the worn corners, I patched only the outside, not the inside. However, the bellows also had a leak in one of the gussets, which I patched from the inside (using the same leather).
  19. I've played Stagi concertinas, and I've played (or tried to play) poorly set up violins/other stringed instruments, and in my view there is no comparison between the two. Maybe you or others have had a different experience. In fact, the 18-button Stagi was my first concertina (although I was fully grown at the time), and as you can see, it did not put me off. But again, my experiences do not define everybody's. Of course, you have some limitations because of the 18-button range, but not as many as you might think. It depends what kind of music you want to play. For example, you can play probably 90-95% of the tunes in the Paul Hardy tunebook with no modifications. If you want to play music with a lot of accidentals (including harmonic/melodic minors), that starts to become a problem. I don't know how small a child we're talking about here, but if it's someone whose hands are too small to reach comfortably from the thumbstrap to the pinky rest on a normal EC, the 18-button Stagi might be a good solution, because you can adjust the length (as distinct from the tightness) of the thumb and pinky straps.
  20. The Button Box has a used 18-button Stagi in stock. I doubt that a child who's too small for a standard 48-button EC would be able to handle a Jackie.
  21. If it did for you, then yes, it can. Something I've noticed with myself is that when I've been playing an instrument I'm not quite comfortable with (usually, a new concertina) and then switch back to one I *am* comfortable with (i.e., an old concertina), the one I'm comfortable with feels even easier to play than it did before. I wonder if there's a bit of that going on with you as well?
  22. That'll do it (or some heavy fabric, or whatever you have). My first "external baffles" for my Stagi mini were strips of denim cut from an old pair of jeans, stuck to the concertina with scotch tape. Wasn't much to look at, but it did the job for the time being.
  23. Here's what I do (similar to Geoff's third method): When I find a tune I want to learn from a recording, first I listen to it straight through a few times and really pay attention. What is the A section? What is the B section? Is there anything unusual going on (are there C, D, or more sections, key changes, or anything else that differs from the usual AABBAABB pattern)? Then I go back and work phrase by phrase (making the phrases as small as necessary). Listen to the first phrase until I can sing it back. (Don't skip the singing. That's how you know that the tune is actually in your head.) Work out which buttons to push to play what I'm singing on the concertina. Then do the same with the second phrase. Then put the first and second phrases together, then move on to the third, etc.
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