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Posts posted by wayman

  1. Here's a more technical article on the same project, from two years ago. I imagine improvements have continued to make this better ... but is there a limit? Will we always be able to tell? Or will we just insist that we're able to tell (even if experimental evidence suggests otherwise)?... :unsure:


    And the tunes can be named by Janelle Shane's recent neural network for naming Irish tunes :lol:

  2. With leather valves on hybrid reeds, to give valves extra snap we (Button Box) would do it just how it's done on melodeons: a little strip of spring-steel, held on at one end with a leather "dot" with a dot of PVA. Sometimes it helped further to give the spring-steel a little bit of arc (such that it contacted the valve about 4/5 of the way to its tip?) and a sharp bend away from the valve at its tip (so the end of the valve never caught the leather of the valve). The spring-steel strips came straight from an accordion parts supplier (FRM) and were available in different widths/strengths; we'd trim the length as needed. The dots we just punched out of scraps of really thin leather.


    So I assume the same could be done on valves with traditional reeds, for those very low notes (which seems to be what Chris describes). At the least, it's something to experiment with. That's all valves seem to be, something to experiment with, marvel at their mysterious ways, and try not to get too frustrated :huh: But I don't recall seeing this done with valves with traditional reeds; we'd use slightly thicker leather for those valves and generally that worked, or if it didn't we'd just glare at the valve a while and sometimes that would make it work :wacko: , and sometimes we'd rip it off and replace it and that would make it work -_-

  3. If you want a set of new reeds, I suspect you could ring up the Button Box and they'd assemble a set of exactly what reeds you ask for, provided they're within the normal G/D anglo realm. You'd be paying for new reeds plus import duty to the UK, though, so this may wind up more expensive than your project budget. On the other hand, you'd probably save a lot of time over trying to assemble what you need from one or more melodeons. Depends what's more valuable to you :)


    (UK-based hybrid makers may well be willing to do the same and it's totally worth calling around; I suggest the Button Box because I know they deal in higher volume than most hybrid makers and thus tend to just have 10-20 G/D reed sets (and more for C/G instruments) on hand, sorted, and ready to go at any given time, so it would likely be simple and fast for them to help you.)

  4. Note that the tune as played on Jake's site is in C, played on a C/G; and Robin's transcription is in G (as his main squeeze is a G/D -- right, Robin?) -- but of course, the fingers used to play each of these on those given instruments are the same.


    (But to be clear for any newcomers to the anglo, if you're playing on a C/G, reading Robin's transcription, your fingers are doing something totally different than the player on Jake's recording.)


    My question is, when one encounters this tune in the wild, what key is it normally played in, if there is a normal here?


    And my other question is, where is one most likely to encounter this tune in the wild? Ireland (or some particular county)? England (any particular region)?

  5. Jim's point is true of cashpoints / ATMs as well in my experience. In the UK, withdrawing funds from an American bank account, many machines present the option of letting the UK bank calculate how many $$$ to ask the American bank for (and then the UK bank doing the conversion), or telling the American bank to send the specified number of £££ (so the conversion happens at the American bank); and for a given number of £££ cash, the amount deducted from my $$$ account is invariably lower by selecting the UK bank at this point -- in my experience at least.


    I've done tests within minutes for £100 cash on the same UK cashpoint, where the real-time exchange rate as identified by the machine (and by a phone app) remains the same. The American bank performing the transaction results in an extra 2-3% being "lost" to me, and this would certainly add up were I not careful to avoid it!


    This may not be a universal effect, but it's certainly been true given all permutations of two American bank accounts and three UK banks' cashpoints that I've tried.

  6. I've seen a vintage 20 button turned into a 21 by Dipper, where the added button (right side) was C# both directions. (At least, I'm pretty sure it was a Dipper modification...)


    I thrice added a left-thumb button to an already-built Morse, which is a "relatively easy" thing to do -- twice for my own two Morse Ceilis and once for a customer. This took a lot of time the first time I did it, on my own for one of mine, in which I was figuring it out as I went along. Once I'd done that, subsequent operations were simpler but probably still took 4-6 hours? This is relatively easy in that the Morse design is such that potential for a left-thumb button is planned for in the design -- there's space left in the reedpan for the reed, space left in the action for the button, and the fretwork has the buttonhole already. Still, it's a fair bit of surgery to do the job.


    I once added a right-hand button to a Morse anglo, as a personal project. It was a huge job. Probably took 30 hours, including the planning, making a breadboard mockup, designing some jigs, and particularly doing CAD drawing to carefully cut out a section of fretwork, create a new piece that exactly fits in, and then finishing that so it (mostly) matches and blends in with the rest of the instrument. Adrian's right, the cost would likely equal or exceed the difference in cost between a 20 and 26/30 button instrument.

  7. I think there are international fees with Paypal if you're not in the same country, as well as the few% that Paypal takes from the recipient as the fee for service. If you're in the same country (or on the same currency), a direct bank transfer usually eliminates all fees for everyone. Within the UK, or within the Eurozone, that seems to be popular choice, but America and Canada haven't *quite* joined the 21st century yet there (though it's gotten a *lot* better in the past couple years.


    These days everyone I know under age 30 is using Venmo instead of Paypal. I haven't tried it yet, but it's The Hot New Thing. Again, both people have to have it, so if whomever you're paying doesn't have / want it, it's not an option.

  8. The EVA foam that I used was two thicknesses: a full size piece of 3mm and then another half size 2mm piece over bottom where the bass reeds are on my Peacock. I would have tried thicker but there is not much room between the action and the inside of the concertina's end.

    Last night it occurred to me that an easier way to test various materials for use as baffles would be to use a speaker playing some concertina music rather than swapping the baffles in and out of the concertina. It is quite difficult to quickly judge how much a particular baffle works because it takes too long to swap them back and forth. It is really subjective. I find I have to play with a baffle in place for a few tunes before I can say to myself that I like/dislike the result. My first set of baffles were made of leather and they certainly reduced the sound level noticeably, but after a while I came to dislike the rather muffled tone that resulted.




    This using the speaker trick is brilliant! Did you build some sort of jig (or just use dots of the same spacing material, whatever that is) to space the foam the same distance off the speaker cloth/surface as it would be spaced from the inside of the fretwork? Did you do anything to take into account sound that might travel around the edges of the baffle (ie, go to the trouble of making end frames) and find that this makes much difference? (I'm curious, given that a few concertinas such as the Scard for the Manly Morris Men now for sale have fretwork openings in the end frames (and I have no idea how they sound), and on the melodeons I've seen with this -- notably, Owen Woods's Bergflødt -- this makes a huge difference in sound volume and tone.)


    How effectively did you find that dampening part of the area (over the low note area) with more thickness worked?


    There can be so little clearance between the levers (when pads are up) and the inside of the fretwork! On the Beaumont particularly, this is something the maker must really pay attention to, to avoid a few extremely long levers clacking against the fretwork before the button is fully depressed. And, when it's working perfectly, you probably wouldn't have 2mm for foam!

  9. Nicely done! Bright and even. Now, can you come up with an internet widget that lets us see what these feel like to play from the comfort of home? (... If so, I imagine that by selling the technology you'll make more than anyone ever could from concertina making!... :rolleyes: )


    I'll just have to hope we cross paths sometime this summer -- I look forward to trying these out.


    Nice playing on the Valiant. And I love the unexpected-to-me key change in the C tune! Anybody know what that tune is?

  10. To speak to the properties of fabric 'baffles', the Morse Geordies and Beaumonts have what the Button Box calls 'grill cloth' because the material used has no effect on the sound whatsoever -- it doesn't 'baffle', it only (1) keeps dust, etc, out of the instrument, and (2) looks nice, if that's your preferred aesthetic. (Some folks prefer having nothing there, because the visible brass levers and the leather pads move gives the instrument a steampunk aesthetic and is desirable to them. I suspect if one asked nicely and paid a little more, one could get grill cloth on other Morse models, though I don't recall this being requested by anyone 2010-2016 and it may never have been requested.)


    The Button Box's grill cloth is acoustically-transparent speaker cloth (such as you'd find on stereo speakers) -- specifically engineered to not affect the sound in volume or tone. As there's no need to keep it spaced away from the inside of the ends, it is glued directly to the ends with PVA. So they're removable, if there's ever a desire (by a second owner, say), with a little effort.

  11. A suggestion, partly in jest, but perhaps something could come of it...


    To keep origami bellows from opening up completely, have a string or rubber band of proper strength and durability, connecting the two ends, running inside the bellows. This sounds silly and might be wholly impractical or disruptive to the player, but on the other hand ... something along these lines might work....

  12. On Saturday I had opportunity to sit immediately to Jon Boden's left as he played his Maccann, and I noticed that he uses his left thumb to play bass notes in chords, playing a number of different buttons with it and doing so frequently -- it's just another finger as it would be on a piano. I'd never guessed this was something one might do!


    So I'm curious, is this commonplace on the Maccann and I've just never noticed?

    Does anyone do this with Hayden or Crane duets?

    Or does Jon just have an oddly long dextrous (er, sinister, to be pedantic) thumb and a unique playing style?

  13. I play Manx tunes on a G/D anglo. The repertoire and style have similarities with Irish. I feel like the celtic tunes come out much dumpier than I want them to when I play them on a G/D. When I'm playing on my own, embellishing them with chords and harmonies and suspensions is fun and lovely; and particularly when I'm playing them solo for Manx dancing (as I often do) the added punch and volume I get from the G/D is a big positive. But when I'm playing in Manx sessions I feel like the G/D detracts and takes me away from what would fit better.


    I used to play these tunes on a C/G, then several years ago when I got my G/D Jeffries I switched to using that most of the time because it's just such a better instrument to play in many ways. When I restore my recently-acquired C/G Jeffries to playing shape, I suspect I'll switch to that for Manx repertoire -- I feel like the tunes just fit better there, somehow, though I can't really say how; and it's easier to play ornamented melodies at speed, which is what fits in session playing. Also I want to take advantage of the greater variety of teachers and resources for C/G with that repertoire/style. But I'll enjoy being able to study the contrast more, as well -- how do I play a tune in D on the G/D versus how do I play the same tune in D on the C/G (where both concertinas are identically-laid-out 38-button Jeffries), and get a much better sense of what limitations / advantages are supplied by the instrument, and what are just in my head (and could be overcome with experimentation and practice!)....

  14. This would happen once or twice a year at the Button Box -- that a special order would come in for an anglo with a really unusual button layout. Never something for which there would be additional buttons beyond 30/31 and unique ends to be made[1], but bizarre one-off layouts for a 30-button anglo. Occasionally, the shop pushed back, pointing out that the instrument would have no resale value, that the player would have no resources or teaching materials ever, etc. Generally, this had little effect on someone who had spent long evenings at their desk coming up with something (sometimes they even admitted they had never seen or played a concertina before, but were absolutely certain their layout made more sense than the one that has been used and refined for over a century). I personally think the Button Box should have charged a hefty fee for this sort of service, to be paid to the concertina maker who had to suffer through making these...... -_-


    [1] I *did* make two concertinas with custom-designed ends for myself... but they were modelled closely on the well-established 38-button Jeffries pattern!

  15. I have finally had a long look at the note chat.


    I can't tell whether this is a logic puzzle to which there is an answer if we stare at it for long enough...

    ... or whether this is a cruel joke the concertina makers of yore decided to play on future organologists.

  16. Here's a great video which might offer some ideas and further strength to the concept of origami bellows:



    I think it's a great endeavor and something worth pursuing; it might turn out to be practical and efficient, and just as functional as traditional bellows, with some further revisions and consideration to materials! And if not, at least it's a rewarding pasttime and fun and rewarding in its own way :-)

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