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Everything posted by wayman

  1. Can you link to information and a schedule? A quick Google turns up information from last year but I'm not immediately finding anything about upcoming shows. (Are any of them in England by chance, or just Ireland? I'm intrigued, but it'll have to be fairly close to home for me to make one.)
  2. From the liner notes to "Indoors" (the first Dappers Delight album; scroll all the way down to the bottom, then go up a few pages), in describing their instruments: "The recorders were made by Adrian Brown between 2004 and 2011 to suit the concertinas." I believe their instruments are about as precisely tuned to one another as is technically possible!
  3. It only occurred to me to ask mid-festival ... how many of us are in Sheffield for the Sessions Festival this weekend? I know a few of our members have often travelled across an ocean just for this weekend, and many more of our members live much closer to Sheffield so perhaps some of you come as well? I'm around, mostly at the Shakespeare today and tomorrow including at the concertina forum on Sunday morning if anyone wants to say hi! There's no better opportunity in all the world to explore the glory of playing in Eb on your C/G or Bb on your G/D (genuinely great keys on those instruments in my opinion, if you've got a 38-key Jeffries) amidst an entire hours-long session of tunes in only those keys, surrounded by gorgeous old Hohner Bb/Eb Ericas and brass instruments making a real wall of sound. (Always Easter Weekend in Sheffield, UK, for any who want to make plans for a future year. Sheffield Sessions Festival. Much more readable schedule here.) Will
  4. Merriam-Webster online gives Buro plural -s : bureau 3b Curiously, Merriam-Webster online gives only two definitions for "bureau"; there is no 3b! Well, I suspect that's because the online version of M-W is the abridged edition, so the unabridged edition (which is a paid service) has 3b and more. More curiously, M-W online gives the etymology of "buro" as being French "bureau" -> Russian "byuro" -> English "buro" You never know where you'll find Russians these days... Finally, I'll note that M-W gives broad statistics about word popularity. "buro" is in the bottom 30% of words (looked up on M-W, I think). Unfortunately for us, "concertina" is also in the bottom 30%! Life could be worse: "melodeon" is in the bottom 20%!
  5. As with Alex's description, the reeds appear (from photographs I took years ago) to be the same length, but with solder on the G/D reeds. My recollection is that the shoe stamps are for the G/D notes indicating the solder was original, not added later. E.g., C/G left-side: G/D left-side: If I have occasion to take these apart sometime soon, I'll try to do some close-up reed comparison photos that clearly show the stamps.
  6. I have two Jeffries 38-button concertinas, whose fretworks are identical and whose components (inside and out) appear to be of nearly-identical vintage. One is dated extraordinarily precisely, in that it came with its original "Bought of Charles Jeffries / English & Anglo German Concertina Manufacturer / 23 Praed Street, Paddington W" sales receipt, dated March 11th 1897, cost £6 / 18 / 6, and signed by "C Jeffries" (presumably Junior, as Senior was by accounts I've read illiterate and signed with "X"). The above-described is a C/G. The right fretwork (but not the left) says "C JEFFRIES" "MAKER" amidst the buttons. There is also a "C JEFFRIES" "MAKER" stamp on one side of the wooden end on the left side (adjacent to the strap screw). The other is a G/D. The right fretwork (but not the left) bears an identical "C JEFFRIES" "MAKER" amidst the buttons. (There is no stamp on any of the wood endframes.) The look of the reedpans, reed shoes, reeds, and levers is not different from the C/G, though the tops of the metal buttons on the G/D are more rounded than on the C/G. (Other parts of the G/D - pads, many valves, and most notably bellows - are by the Dippers, whereas on the C/G appear to be original.) In every respect I can tell, the reedpans and reeds for the G/D appear original and with G/D being the original keys. Given all of this, I have always assumed a date of 1890s for the G/D being made, as my understanding is that the stamping on the fretwork changed to include "23 PRAED ST" not many years into the 1900s. (Nothing inside gives me the impression the G/D reedpans and reeds were a later substitution.) Robin Harrison may have an estimate of his own (as I bought this from him). And of course, I welcome all of your opinions as well!
  7. What I've learned with sound equipment is, the more of what you personally use that you own and bring with you, the better off you are generally. It's the rare venue or engineer who owns exactly what you want or need, especially for a more unusual instrument. (I still need to tinker with my microphone mounts as a side issue, but having everything I need and being able to give the engineer my XLR cables and say "just plug these in" makes my life so much more predictable and makes any sound engineer's job easier, too. I'm sure the same is true with monitors as it is with microphones.)
  8. Rod, Jim's concertina sounds absolutely bloody brilliant in the band and is a huge part of their sound. (You might even enjoy listening to them before suggesting otherwise.) We've had plenty of conversations here on c-net over the years about how it can be extremely difficult hearing one's own concertina in a noisy session, while it's never any trouble hearing other player's concertinas in the same setting (due to the very directional sound concertinas produce). It's the same issue on-stage; standard floor monitors don't help much with this as there's so much immediately surrounding noise when you're on-stage with even just a few other instruments, which is an experience I suspect many concertina players in ceilidh bands have shared (I certainly have). Jim, I've heard very similar things to what Howard said about how the major drawback is the isolation and the challenges to communication with / from bandmates. You have to really concentrate on looking at each other and using really obvious legs for tune changes as the traditional English "HUP!" from the band leader will be inaudible. Establishing solid visual cues with the caller before the dance is also useful. Though maybe having an ambient input (as a supplementary second input) mitigates that problem sufficiently. I'd not heard of anyone who does that before, but I really like the idea. It's something I'd like to explore if I get back into playing for ceilidhs.
  9. Theory: if you have a standard black instrument case, then the more stickers (of country flags, from events, for other bands, etc) you have on your instrument case, the less likely a typical border official is to assume you just bought your concertina. There's nothing more suspicious than a completely clean black case: it says either "I just bought this expensive thing!" or "I am a cartoon character carrying a cartoon bomb!"... (I'm not advising against carrying documentation of sale if you've got it, or documentation of materials in your instrument. But I wouldn't be surprised if this might help.)
  10. Here's an interesting one I played today: Jeff Thomas #19 (2018), a 40-button C/G made for my friend Benedict Gagliardi. L/H 1a-5a as normal (2a draw is low Bb as it would be on a 30-button) 1-5 as normal 6-10 as normal 5ab push F# (reversal of 7) 5ab draw C# (reversal of 3a) 5b push Bb (reversal of 5a) 5b draw E (reversal of 4) 10b push F (reversal of 4) 10b draw G# (reversal of 5a) Th push/draw C drone R/H 1a-5a as normal for Wheatstone arrangement 1-5 as normal 6-9 as normal (and 10 as normal for Wheatstone arrangement, push high-B, draw F#) 1ab push F# (reversal of 6) 1ab draw C# (reversal of 1a) 1b push F (reversal of 3) 1b draw low-G (as on L/H 5 push) 6b push Bb (reversal of 3a) 6b draw G# (reversal of 3a) 5ab push super-high C (an octave above 4 push) 5ab draw D (reversal of 8) 6c push Eb (reversal of 1a) 6c draw low-A (as on L/H 5 draw) 8c push D (reversal of 2) 8c draw E (reversal of 2) I haven't played this instrument enough to really get my head around it, but ... on the right side, I feel like the placement of the reverse D,E,F are bizarre, and the lack of a reverse C (1 push) on the right feels limiting. And the location of the reverse Bb feels really, really weird to me. The inclusion of the draw D (reversal of 8) at 5ab is the best part of this instrument's extra-button layout, as the lack of that note is the Wheatstone accidental layout's worst shortcoming, and putting it right next to the place it "should" be (say I, a Jeffries player!) is helpful. Am I just making these observations / opinions because I'm familiar with a Jeffries-38 layout? Or is there something about the placement of extra notes on a Jeffries-38 which is ergonomic or more efficient for playing runs (because of which fingers are used)? My gut says the latter: that the placement of the Jeffries's C/D and E/F reversal buttons is actually better from a functionality or efficiency standpoint. This instrument has two buttons where the two reeds are nearly an octave apart (1b, with a G and the F above it; 5ab, with a D and the C above it). I haven't opened the instrument to see what the reedpans look like, or spent enough time playing it (and playing the odd buttons) to really know how they sound and feel. I'll get some more time with this in April when this instrument - oh, and Benedict too! - visits me in England
  11. My ideal layout, borne out of my own playing wishes/needs plus observing a great number of instrument layouts and having conversations with many players about this, is basically identical to Adrian and Jody's ideal layouts. The only change I have is on RH 10, where (for a C/G instrument, as in Adrian's diagram) rather than [bb/G#] I have a pull high Eb (a fifth above the G# that it replaces). On a G/D, this note (a high Bb) is vital to a lot of great tunes in G minor, for which it's the highest melody note in the tune (Presbyterian Hornpipe to name just one). I do miss the reversal that I have to give up, though since I still have that reed I can just swap it in again if I change my mind I've got a small collection of other people's Jeffries layouts, but as several of them belong to other forum members perhaps I should wait for them to contribute? And some of what I've collected are not on my laptop... and may never see the light of day, who knows. Most memorably, Father Charlie Coen's layout, outside the basic twenty buttons, is best described as (and I say this as someone who spent a lot of time trying to find some sense it it...) "someone dropped his reedpans at the factory and put the reeds back in at random as quickly as possible hoping nobody would notice"; and the infamous "special D" concertina, where on a 38-button Jeffries 14 draw buttons made a D, and 10 push buttons made a D, in various octaves. Pretty much anywhere you put your fingers outside of the basic twenty, there were D notes, which was fantastic if your interests didn't really extend beyond that note...
  12. I think that what you're describing, Adrian, is equivalent to my stated exception of "if one notates a particular tune/arrangement for a particular instrument". So yes, in that respect, it is a very useful protocol. I don't think what Adrian's describing is about tunes or notation at all, Jim; I think what he (and I) see as the purpose of this exercise is being able to name buttons for purpose of discussing instruments, not tunes.
  13. I've always conceptually thought of the 38-Jeffries "c" row button as being part of "the other column". That is, where you label it "8c" on each side ("being below 8"), I think of it as being below 9 on the left and being below 7 on the right. Is there a good argument for one or the other? (I'm not sure I have a good argument for my way, it's just how I've always thought of it... though I'll give it some thought.)
  14. "I know, I know, it's best to learn the actual music notes and read musical notation, but some of us prefer the initial crutch of button numbering and tablature to get started and to help remember how to play certain tunes!" The main reason I see for such a common nomenclature is to be able to describe a button for purposes of discussing the instrument: "My G/D Jeffries's right-side push A is a bit dodgy." "Er, sorry, which button is that?" "Oh, it's button 6b on the right." "Great, thanks!"
  15. That's an interesting question whose answer I don't have. I find it intuitive to say "the extra buttons on each side that the index/pointer finger plays should be named similarly" (hence my calling them "A" and "B") because they're in the corresponding place and played in the corresponding way, but this runs completely counter to the traditional "1a-5a,1-10" numbering which is read "left to right" on each side rather than "mirror image". (I've seen at least one C19 anglo tutor which does mirror the numbering of the basic 30 on the two sides which I find totally weird!) To say "a button to the left of 1 would be called A, whether left side or right side" feels really unnatural to me in a gut feeling way even though in the abstract I find this discomfort to be illogical. Whereas to say "a button to the left of 1 would be called 1b, whether left side or right side" doesn't feel so bad. But that feels less easily expandable. What do you call a button to the left of right side 1a (as on a Dipper 36) or to the right of left side 5a? "1ab / 5ab", logically, but that feels odd to me. I suppose I could get used to anything though! I agree, Adrian, that using straight-up letters is problematic because letters mean so many other things (like chord names, parts of tunes). It's one of several reasons I'm not all that content with the system I've been using and present it only as a contribution to the discussion and not out of any notion that it's a good one for us all to adopt (or even for me to keep!).
  16. Jody and Adrian, Thank goodness we few, we happy few, who care about thinking of standard names for 39-button instruments are thinking about this! I devised my own system for the buttons beyond 30 which I have never found truly satisfactory. (And for the "basic 30", I preferred the Coover system to the Button Box's in-house system which is numbering them 1-15 on each side. This meant I was constantly translating between my own and my then-workplace's system which was ... tedious. But them's the breaks. If Rich Morse were here to defend his system I'm sure he would do so.) My "I don't recommend this!" system is: 1a 2a 3a 4a 5a 1a 2a 3a 4a 5a 1 2 3 4 5 A A 1 2 3 4 5 C 6 7 8 9 10 B B 6 7 8 9 10 (D) E T E (D) "E" ostensibly stands for "extra" because it hangs out all by itself in its own row; and "D" is an optional button that I put on one instrument I made on the left (but not on the right). My goal was to keep the "basic 30" unchanged and that meant ... not using numbers for the others. But I don't really *like* it, partly because it's so specific to the "Jeffries 38" layout. I'd like something that's more flexible, that includes logical names for all the possible places buttons might appear on an anglo of up to, say, 45 buttons while also keeping the "basic 30" labeled as such... (One could get to a 45 by using "F", "G", "H" building out from E in the logical directions on each side ... I suppose it really only leaves the button above "A" which is important on, say, Robin's Dipper or on many Wheatstone 36 button instruments I've seen. Call it "0" or something? So this system might have merit after all, but I am entirely open to other ideas.)
  17. I'd say the character was doing the right thing by miming playing the concertina here: he got a lot of money thrown at him AND (so far as we can tell) he lived through the end of the episode, which is more than a lot of characters can say.
  18. Speaking as a former maker of R.Morse & Co concertinas at the Button Box (and as someone who has had a good crack at playing the Clover and Rose models sold in the BBox shop, as well as having a good look at their construction inside and out), I've been eyeing the latest releases from Concertina Connection - the Minstrel and now the Busker - with great curiosity as to how their prices are so much lower. Please note that 1) I haven't had a chance to handle, play, or examine a Minstrel or Busker, so all I can do is speculate; and 2) I'm a former (not current) Button Box employee, not speaking for the Button Box or R.Morse & Co in any official capacity. The website spells out a few things, most notably that the Minstrel and Busker bellows are of a different construction. I'm not entirely sure what that means as far as how the instrument plays and feels, or how it breaks in and holds up over time, but it does clearly account for a chunk of the price difference. And the Busker is obviously cheaper than the Rose partly because it has fewer buttons, but the Busker and the Albion are about the same in button-count (while the Rose and the Geordie are about the same in button-count). While differences in components other than the bellows may also play a part in price difference, my speculation is that the bulk of the cost savings is labour: Morse concertinas are made - stem to stern, assembly and almost all components - in Massachusetts, with very few exceptions (Italian reeds being the main one). Most of what enters the Button Box is raw material sourced (entire animal hides, sheets of brass, etc) from within America; most components are fabricated in house; and the ones that are outsourced are outsourced to local master craftsman like Al Ladd who work closely with the Button Box. My understanding is that the Clover and Rose are assembled in America but some of the components are made elsewhere and shipped to America; and my speculation is that Minstrel and Busker are entirely or almost entirely made outside America. (Anybody who has information about this to the contrary, please inform us and I will stand corrected!) This would substantially reduce the cost of the Minstrel and Busker and likely account for a majority of the savings. On top of getting a great instrument when you buy a Morse, you are supporting a small local business (~10 employees), local craftsmen, and local and regional materials suppliers, and that costs a good bit more than Chinese labour; there's just no way around that. I'm not trying to make a political statement or attach an inherent value to this; I'm just pointing out the economic reality that's probably partly responsible for the large price differentials here.
  19. I use a ~1950s ladies make-up case for my concertina when I want a good hard case for it. I've made custom blocks and padding so it's a proper case on the inside now, and it looks very smart on the outside, plus has a very solid handle and latches. And a mirror on the inside of the top, if I ever need to apply stage make-up! These work very well for concertinas, once you've done proper work to the inside!
  20. Jody, what do your pedals do, and how often do you use them? I always forget Marnen can do that; but then, he is the 36th smartest person of all time, according to one estimate.
  21. The height of the pad changing, that makes more intuitive sense to me, as that actually makes a small change to the path the air is traveling. I can see there being a subtle effect on pitch from that.
  22. I'm not seeing how the pads affects pitch: when a pad is down, there's no note being played. When a pad is lifted, I wouldn't think the pad is having a meaningful effect, being 1/8-1/4 inch above the hole. Sure, the air is flowing around it ... but does the material of what air is flowing around affect the pitch? At most I would think the condition of the leather or felt might have a subtle muting or amplification or timbre-changing effect. But, this is one of those things I've never tested experimentally. And I know well that, with concertinas, much can be demonstrated experimentally that remains difficult to precisely explain! So if you've seen this happen, I don't doubt it, I just don't understand it.
  23. I'm delighted to see Cohen is getting adulations here - he's brilliant, and also an utterly likable fellow. He mostly plays melodeon in the folk trio Granny's Attic, and it's about half-and-half melodeon and concertina when he performs solo, from the two times I've seen him in concert. I first saw him when he was the guest at one of Jon Boden's Royal Traditions folk clubs outside Sheffield back in the spring. Then, he was a tutor at the Soundpost weekend of workshops in June where I got to know him better. He didn't even acknowledge playing classical repertoire at either of these events ... until on the Sunday afternoon of the workshop weekend, when he mentioned he had just finished his degree (the recital we're all awestruck by had happened only a week or two before the Soundpost weekend). People at Soundpost asked him what he played for his recital, and he said it wasn't really folk stuff, more classical. And of course, we all said "SHOW US!" and he said "but this is a folk weekend!" or something and kept on with his excellent folk repertoire. When he finished, nobody would let him leave without an encore (he didn't give on that he'd planned or intended to do one), and so he consented, said something to the effect of "... after my recital, I thought I'd never play this again! but I guess since it's still fresh in my mind I'll give it one more go..." and gave us the Matheson gigue. And ... Cohen was - no discredit to John Kirkpatrick intended! - way, way, WAY better than the recording of John Kirkpatrick playing this on Anglo International. I didn't get the sense that Cohen actually expected people - particularly a folk audience - would want to hear him play classical music on the concertina. Let's make sure he knows we want to hear it Will ps, I sent Adrian a few videos privately - at least one from the Royal Trad club, and maybe also the gigue from Soundpost - and, if you've ever seen Back to the Future, it was basically like the Marvin Berry phone call scene ... I didn't tell Cohen I'd made or shared the videos, and thus didn't make them public, I just knew desperately in that moment I had to tell Adrian "you have GOT to see this!" ... it was clear, from Cohen's folk stuff, old hornpipes and such, that he was a master of the bass run and keeping multiple counterpoint lines going, even though I hadn't yet heard him approach a classical piece. If I (or Adrian) can find them again, he or I will write Cohen and see about sharing them to a wider audience.
  24. I think Alex means the images appear to be flipped horizontally - unless for some reason the instrument's only thumb button is on the left, which seems most improbable. I'm guessing the two pictures of the left reedpan are rotated 180 degrees?
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