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Everything posted by wayman

  1. Perhaps it's for someone who really just played along the rows and never got too fancy in what they did, but wanted one single instrument to use whether playing with fiddlers for morris, brass bands with the SA, or a singer (perhaps themselves) whose voice really liked Ab? Didn't someone post an auction for a four-row anglo Jeffries Bros a year or two ago which was more or less four one-rows (perhaps Bb/F/D/G or some keys like that)? (Edited to add: someone rather well-off, to have commissioned an enormous one-off like this?...)
  2. It's certainly possible to get a second-hand Jackie in the States (and also to rent them); I don't know whether that's as easy to do in the UK, but it's worth pursuing (or someone here is sure to know). Typically a used Jackie/Jack goes for around $75-$100 (15-20% or so) less than a new one from the Button Box (in Massachusetts), so you might find the same is true in the UK. I don't know them well enough to say whether there's any difference in how the Jackie and Jack play, but the only real difference is that the Jack is lower in pitch (and this *might* make it slower to respond but I don't think it really does for these particular instruments). I'd say go with a Jackie, unless you find a budget-priced used Jack first in which case there's no reason not to go with it :-)
  3. How snug is the right snugness... well, the Morse concertina bellows are made on a jig such that their "natural" state of rest is partway open. When we finish making a bellows, we take it off the jig, exercise it for a while, and then compress it under heavy metal weights for at least 24 hours, and then exercise the bellows for a while again prior to assembly. A newly-built Morse will tend to expand a bit if set on a table, maybe an inch or so. So when putting the corner blocks in a clamshell case, my goal was to size them so that when I compressed the bellows of the instrument just so it's closed I could easily set the instrument into the case, and when I let go it wouldn't expand. But I didn't want to have to compress the bellows with any force to get it into the case; I just wanted to compress them closed, not force them closed. It was a "you know it when you feel it" sort of thing. My main squeeze is a Jeffries with a Dipper bellows, and the natural resting state is closed, but lacking a nice jug case, I use a soft case whose chief virtue is that anyone not in the know would think it contains my lunch (and whose secondary virtue is a front pocket just large enough for a small toolkit and a Zoom recorder). I was initially using this soft case for a Morse, so rather than putting corner blocks in, I just hot-glued the center of a strip of velcro to the bottom of the case, so I could compress and buckle my concertina into the case like it had a seat-belt. This has the added bonus that, if I pick the case up by its strap having forgotten to zip the top shut, the instrument doesn't fall out because it's buckled in! When I eventually make a jug case, I can imagine a different use for velcro: assisting in getting the instrument out. If the velcro is looped around the instrument, and there's a bit of a handle, then you're pulling on the velcro (which is going all the way around the instrument and pulling the whole thing) and not just pulling on the near end's handstrap (against the vacuum of the bellows). This might be overkill if the jug case is designed just perfectly for the concertina (such that the instrument just pours out of the case without need for pulling), but I doubt my case-making skills will be that perfect!
  4. I have a yard-long strip of velcro that I wrap around my concertina, to keep the bellows snug when in its case. Cheap and simple
  5. No NEFFA for me this year, but several of my old morris teams will be performing outdoors, mostly on Sunday. Always a great festival. While I'm not there, three of my Sheffield (UK) friends ARE -- the contra dance band Minor Contravention. Do check them out if you're there (and give them a big hello from Will back in Sheffield if you want to surprise / confuse them!). What I really want to know, since this thread has been brought back, is whether JDMS made it to Jody's concert last year
  6. At least Ringo seems to know how to hold it. I'm more familiar with another photo from this same photo shoot, where they gave the concertina to George and he didn't know which end was up... and John sitting on the wrong side of the harp... this makes me cringe in so many ways!
  7. "Better for morris" is a relative term. A G/D anglo is handy for playing along with D/G melodeons, and is generally very useful in an English pub session. But if the question is just about playing for morris -- on your own (no band), particularly outdoors but also in a crowded pub -- a C/G will be much, much better at projecting and being heard at a distance or over ambient/street noise. A G/D won't be as silent outdoors as a solo fiddle, but it has noticeably reduced geographic range compared to a comparable C/G. (A G/D Jeffries will very likely still sound louder than a C/G anything else, though.)
  8. As a point of interest, the person for whom this was designed has the ability to pinch-grip some objects with her right hand, and her right arm is fine. So she plays fiddle quite naturally!
  9. I've played this new Norman left-handed anglo -- the person for whom it was bespoke designed is a friend of mine. I didn't write down the note chart, but might be able to do this when I next see her in a month or so. But as I recall: It's a G/D. The "basic fifteen" buttons for the left side are as normal EXCEPT for what would normally be the low G/D button on the G row, which is not D on the draw but something else. (Maybe an A.) There is no D on the draw in that octave anywhere, which struck me as an error. I forget what the extra button to the left of the G row is. (Maybe it's a reverse low C/B but don't quote me on that.) The additional buttons on the right end of the G and D rows are, I think, the continuation of those rows as they would be in the Richter scale (that is, F#/G and C#/D). And I plumb forget what the other added buttons are, sorry. But I recall that they seemed unintuitive; I would have made very different choices as a concertina maker, and at the time I saw it (maybe a month ago now) I thought "oh, I should sit down and have a think about how I would do the note layout" but of course grad school deadlines get in the way of everything and I forgot all about it. Perhaps I'll find time for a go at this at some point (and share my results as well as the actual note layout of Norman's instrument).
  10. Don't tell Danny Chapman. He doesn't seem to have noticed. Or Rob Harbron. Everything I believed about the limitations of the English concertina was completely removed after sitting next to Rob in a workshop and watching his hands ; a front row seat at a Leveret concert last week only further confirmed this. It might feel far less intuitive than other systems, but if you really do master it, you've got no real limitations. It just takes a completely different approach. We call them all concertinas, English, Anglo, and duet, but really they're entirely different instruments from each other that just use the same basic mechanics and physics and have more or less the same size and shape. I was in a room full of about 20 of them (instruments and players) once. Chippenham Folk Festival 2003, at a workshop that Brian Hayden was leading. Very cool! But all I'm seeing today are Maccann and Crane players. When you can get a good used Maccann for under £1000 cash, whereas any quality new Hayden will cost 3-4 times that much (plus payment is in $$$ with the worst exchange rate in decades, plus something like 15% markup for import duty), I can see why.
  11. Yes, that's an early Albion (37 key, and possibly pre-dating when the Albion air button was added -- I'm not sure). The first Geordie tenors (45 key, plus air button) didn't come around until some years later, around the late 600s or early 700s serial numbers (and Geordie baritones started in the late 700s). Albions come in treble and baritone range (not tenor); I couldn't tell you which this is offhand. Will (former Morse maker)
  12. And I’d like to know why you are focusing in Maccann rather than considering other duet systems. For instance, pretty much anything you can do on a Maccann you can also do on a Hayden, and there’s still folks making Haydens. Used Maccanns in good nick are readily available in the UK at very attractive prices. There are a bevy of good Maccann players here whose playing can be seen, heard, emulated ... and some may well be willing to teach or offer guidance. Jon Boden of course, but also Ollie King, Matt Quinn, Jack Rutter ... it's become the cool concertina to pick up. Whereas ... I've never, not once, seen a Hayden or met a Hayden player in the UK. The Hayden just hasn't caught on here, and I think it's that there are already enough duet concertinas here that have just as wide a range, and greater chromaticism, for a fraction of the price of a Peacock or Beaumont.
  13. I would ask them for names / references to a few specific 'Venetian concertina players' the client particularly admires to give a better idea of what they're looking for, quietly expecting to receive photos of accordion players in response to this request (at which point you can gently steer them towards the right terminology and people to ask). Or, they might introduce you to a whole set of musicians you didn't know about, who actually play Venetian music on anglo concertina and whose music amazes you and inspires you to become the first American Venetian concertina player and gives you material for your next album. Either way, it's a win, right?
  14. If you look into various textbooks or encyclopedias on musical instruments there is no established definition of "concertinas" but the subject has probably been discussed here before. Since - as you say - there are so many solutions involved regarding buttons, keyboards, reed types, reed arrangements etc I would prefer classifying bellows driven free reed instruments according to the way you hold them, something like: - organs/harmoniums....not held at all, resting on the ground or a table.... one or two flying hands used for button work - accordions....asymmetrical construction, hanging on the shoulder(s) or held by one arm...having one flying hand for button work - concertinas...symmetrical construction, held and worked symmetrically with both arms and hands 'symmetrical construction' is, for me, another way of saying 'every button [on both sides of the instrument] does the same thing, that is, plays a note instead of a chord'. When the left and right sides of the instrument are constructed in fundamentally different ways (like, each button on the left plays multiple simultaneous notes, each button on the right plays a single note), the instrument has asymmetrical construction. If the left and right sides are used in different ways sometimes -- eg, an anglo or duet player may happen to use the left side to play chords and the right side to play melody -- that doesn't matter. I base classification on construction, the instrument itself, not use (since any given instrument can be used many different ways).
  15. This is the point at which I'd suggest looking for a name other than 'concertina' for the instrument! It's a fascinating idea, reminiscent of John K's melodeon with stradella bass, but for me the fundamental defining characteristic which ties (anglo, english, duet) (hexagonal, other shapes) (traditional reedpans, hybrid reeds parallel to the ends, reeds on blocks) concertinas into a single family of instruments -- a single family that is distinct from other bellowed free-reed instruments -- is that each button plays a single melody note only. Change that, and you've now got something that's shaped like a concertina, that shares a keyboard layout with a type of concertina, but is not a concertina. That doesn't diminish it in the slightest, it just changes what it is.
  16. My answer to questions 2 and 3 would be 'concertinas and melodeons are entirely different instruments. They look a little bit similar and they've both got buttons and bellows, but they're really no more alike that guitar and banjo. Don't try to make one into the other; pick the one you want to play and learn it. If what you actually want is a tiny melodeon, then that's what you want, not a concertina.'
  17. I counted 34 instruments and 15 were English concertinas. My comment was to Greg's original pyramid photos, now removed from this thread, and no longer makes sense here. Initially, what he had posted was almost solely anglos.
  18. Shanties on English concertina ... also Lou Killen, Ian Robb, and many others besides. You'll not want for good role models, whether you go English or anglo, for song accompaniment.
  19. A very 'Anglocan' feel to the Christmas tree this year!
  20. Having just had the delight of a visit from Adrian last week, I can confirm that both this magnificent Dipper baritone and Adrian playing it -- or Adrian playing anything, really -- do sound even better live and acoustic! We in the UK should all plan to get to a Dapper's Delight concert when they're over in ... October-ish-time, I believe. Inspired and intrigued by Adrian's comments on how lute repertoire lends itself to the anglo, I've just gotten Uni of Sheffield's copy of John Ward's lute collection, and will see where I get with it. Though I'm sure my first efforts, were Henry VIII to hear them, might result in his asking the axe-man to bob my hair, so don't expect any anglo-lute Youtubes from me anytime soon :-)
  21. Ok...but do you ever use the 4 buttons making the difference from a 26 ? Depends what you're playing. If you're only ever going to play Irish music, you may well never use them. If you want to play other things, you might use them rather a lot!
  22. Bb on a 30-key C/G Jeffries layout is totally do-able. You have to think a lot about air-management as your I, IV, and V chords are all on the draw so you need to make great use of the air button to squeeze the bellows shut as you're playing the passing scale tones -- it's a completely different style of anglo playing than what you're used to in 'more balanced keys'. But the Jeffries layout is extremely well-suited to Bb. I'd even say the Jeffries layout is better-suited than the Wheatstone for playing in keys one, two, or three flats away from the 'home key'. Unexpectedly, given that it's even further around the circle of fifths, Bb is one of the very best keys on the G/D Jeffries layout ... assuming your instrument is equal temperament! And thus even Eb can be one of your best-friend keys on a C/G Jeffries.
  23. No bright light, don't get it wet, and don't feed it after midnight no matter how much it begs. Well, those rules are specific to Gremlins, but do follow rule #2 no matter what kind of concertina you have
  24. Solid vintage Wheatstone and Lachenal ECs -- not the upper-tier Aeolas etc, but solid well-playing instruments -- tend to be in the same price range as new hybrid ECs. Many buyers prefer to go for the equivalently-priced vintage instrument given that choice, which (a) is possible for many buyers to do because there are more vintage ECs in supply than there is demand; and ( b ) means that there's not much incentive for makers to put out new ECs. R.Morse & Co (Albion, Geordie) and Concertina Connection (Rose) do, but most other makers -- particularly mid-range hybrid makers -- I'm aware of focus on anglos, where the market demand is. Offhand, I can think of two people under 40 years old who play an English Concertina beyond a Jack/Jackie/Stagi level of quality. I could probably name five dozen pro/semipro under-40 anglo and duet players in under five minutes without a lot of thinking. Will
  25. I think it is. And lead solder is banned in the EU, I believe. Of course, it doesn't help when what you are trying to solder often has a layer of chrome plating, There may be secret caches of lead solder at certain physics labs at University of Sheffield. I may have had a postdoc friend let me in after hours last month so I could solder a few concertina reeds in the cryogenics lab. I emphasize 'may' as this surely didn't happen, as it would not generally be seen as an acceptable use of the cryogenics lab or their lead solder....
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