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Everything posted by wayman

  1. Anglo's what I've settled on as my main instrument, but I've learned and keep one tune in practice on English with a competent harmony line as it's incredibly useful in this line of work. I've found that just having a single tune learned cold -- and initially learned more by rote finger positions than by really thinking about what notes and intervals I'm playing -- gives me enough to try out an EC to get a feel for it, or test an EC I've just worked on, or demonstrate one to a potential customer. Nobody knows it's my *only* tune so long as I'm in a situation where one tune is sufficient I mess about with other tunes as I have opportunities, but just work to keep that one polished on EC as a demonstration piece. Same on Hayden, though there since the layout makes more intuitive sense I'm able to improvise more without really straining my brain.
  2. hi Ollie! Thought you might wind up here after I heard you'd bought the Maccann :-) Pleasure meeting you a couple weeks ago on my visit to Sheffield. Can't wait to hear what you'll start playing on that concertina ... maybe we can have some concertina tunes together when I'm next there (... might be March!). Everybody else, in case you're unfamiliar with Ollie's melodeon playing, his debut album, Gambit, just got a 4-star review in Songlines. Brilliant playing; add it to your Christmas list!
  3. We'll have to start calling you Django, Adrian! Swift recovery, friend.
  4. When I lived at Pinewoods Camp (in an old cabin next to a pond; the humidity varied from high to higher) for a whole summer, I kept a cup of DampRid crystals in my melodeon case. I'm not sure that was the best possible thing I could have done, but DampRid was easily available at the nearby hardware store, and it was far from the worst thing I could have done.... As to the mystery of whether a seemingly airtight case is truly resistant to humidity changes, you could get a small hygrometer/thermometer for your case, and then a small humidifier or dehumidifier that fits inside your case depending on what your needs may be. You can conveniently see examples of all three of these here: http://www.buttonbox.com/accessories.html#Humidifiers (You may be able to find these locally at any musical instrument store, but if you wanted to, you could buy them at that link too! )
  5. My understanding (Wim might confirm this for us) is that Concertina Connection serial numbers are a single run of consecutive numbers applied to all Clover, Rose, and Peacock concertinas, not separate runs of numbers for each of the Clover, Rose, and Peacock. That's how R. Morse & Co. serial numbers are assigned, as a single run of consecutive numbers. The very first Beaumont was numbered one-thousand-something, for instance, but that doesn't mean there have been a thousand Beaumonts made It just means that there were one-thousand-something-minus-one other Morse concertinas (Ceili's mostly) made before it.
  6. Here's a potential photo. If y'all think it's a promising candidate for Wikipedia, I will ask the photographer (a close friend) if she will approve the use. (Photo credit: Sarah Strong)
  7. So much has already been said of "Indoors" -- a remarkable album! -- that rather than add more words to its praise I will instead tell you great things about their new album. I haven't gotten my hands on it yet, of course, but I have had the delight of hearing quite a bit of the material in person when Adrian and Susanna visited me this summer. Some cracking good arrangements and medleys, nicely themed material, and historically and lyrically interesting songs that fit right in, too. (At least I hope some of the songs made the album -- I quite enjoyed them live!) And, having talked at some length with Adrian about the process of researching original scores and arranging these pieces (not written with their instrumentation in mind, of course), I can say that the effort and care put into creating their music goes far, far beyond their talented musicianship, and the results of all that work are fantastic. Will
  8. Well, it's no ordinary backpack -- it's a specialized camera bag designed for carrying your thousands-of-dollars of big lenses into the bush, packed tightly on all sides by adjustable rigid thick foam padding.
  9. I've never solved this problem quite adequately for myself. I am so happy with my backpack soft cases for the way they carry the weight of the instrument(s) and can also carry so many other useful things in the same bag (repair parts, books, laptop, etc), and leave both hands (and arms) unencumbered and able to carry other things (the morris stick bag, the beer cooler, etc) or enable easier bicycle riding. (I find a shoulder strap case still makes my arms less free for having something hanging by my side. Maybe that's just me.) But two things backpack cases don't do for me: sit open on the ground, for collecting money; or sit closed on the ground for putting a foot on. Of course, I'm pretty sure no hard case can do BOTH of those at the same time I've actually thought about carrying a sturdy light-weight block of wood in my backpack case, for putting my foot on, though I haven't tried this yet.
  10. Sure, but there are psychological factors playing into the auction Jeffries selling as it did: 1, people tend not to factor in commissions, taxes, and other fees when doing quick mental math. They're aware of these add-ons, but when comparing prices there's a tendency to forget about them. 2, once a person places a bid in an auction at a low amount, they feel some level of attachment and commitment and that leads them to keep bidding. "Well, I was willing to pay 2000 euro, so of course I'm willing to pay 2100 euro, it's only another hundred! ... 2300! ... 2500! ... ... ..." 3, when a person sees others value something they want, they tend to value it more highly themselves. "I can't lose this now, I'm so close to having it! It's worth another 500 euro!" With an item sitting on a shelf (or in an advertisement) with a fixed price tag, none of these factors is in play.
  11. Quite possibly a better playing instrument -- and certainly one with more information provided by the seller. But impossible to say for sure! It's not being sold at (what appeared to be) a high-end antiques auction house whose clientele are (probably) the extraordinarily wealthy; it's being sold on a classifieds website that's local to Ireland. That makes a big difference in who's going to see the listing and who's going to deem it worth buying. A wealthy investment banker from London who wants an art object for their home or an investment in an antique is, frankly, going to trust the swanky auction house to have authenticated and vetted anything they're bidding on, while they're not going to trust an unknown seller on a local classified advertisement. (That's not to say that a wealthy person with no interest in playing music bought the concertina at auction, but I do suspect there were many such people involved in the bidding on various lots at that auction.) It's also being offered at a fixed price, rather than at auction, which affects what some people are willing to pay; and its fixed price is 30% more than what the one at auction sold for. That's a lot to pay for an instrument you can't inspect and try out yourself.
  12. The description and photos are great, but I'd still love to see a note chart! Thanks.
  13. Jeffries are unique in their sound and construction, not nearly as plentiful as Wheatstones or Lachenals, and the last really, really good ones were made 100 years ago. Plus there are three separate markets which drive up their value (and the value of any top quality vintage instrument): musicians, art collectors, and antique collectors. You're not just competing against musicians in an auction like this, and the antique collectors don't care what key it's in or how it's tuned or whether it's a "good player". (In fact, they'd probably rather have an original leaky bellows than a new Dipper bellows, just the opposite of what most of us would prefer.) As there was no information about what key, tuning, condition, etc, or even completeness (did it have all its reeds???), I had no interest in bidding, being a musician. But other musicians / repair folks may have deemed it worth such a speculation, and non-musicians (the majority of that auction house's bidders are surely antique collectors) are probably largely responsible for the bidding. If they've done their research, they know as well as we do that Jeffries are scarce and sought-after, and that's all they care about.
  14. Here's a note (... haha!) to address more specifically one of your other early questions, Roger, that of "how does one play D tunes on a C/G concertina if there's no C# on the instrument"? On a 20 button instrument such as yours, if you want to play the tune actually in the key of D (perhaps because you're playing with someone else, say a fiddler, who wants to play it in D or a whistle player who only has a D whistle), you'll have to fudge it somehow. One way is that you could probably get away with playing a different note in place of each C# (not likely a C natural, but perhaps an E or an A, since the C# note is likely to happen at a place in the tune where it would harmonize with a V-chord ... and if that last bit sounds completely mysterious to you, don't worry -- just try playing an E or an A there and see what it sounds like; in most cases, it will probably be a harmonious note and sound just fine!). It's just "folk-processing" the tune a little bit so that it fits your instrument, that's all, no harm done Another is to find some favorite tunes in D that just don't have a C# at all. Tell your other musician friends you really love those tunes. Then it's no problem To follow up on what Geoff Crabb just wrote, after the 20 button German concertina was Anglicized (changing a few of the buttons on the G row), a further modification made in England was the addition of more buttons ... to give the instrument other notes like C#. 30 buttons became a standard, but there were anglos that only added 2 or 4 buttons to those basic 20, and among the extra notes those gave C# was almost always among them so that tunes in D could more easily be played without fudging.
  15. Could you please post a note chart? Or just describe where buttons 31-34 are located (if the other 30 are completely "as normal") and what notes they play? Thanks!
  16. Maybe he was celebrating the outcome of the Scotland referendum... Given the date of the gig, I wondered ... especially as that direction of celebration would express the polar opposite of the sentiments of every Welsh person I know. Not that my friends speak for the entirity of Wales by any stretch (they're hardly a random sample of the Welsh population!), but there is something of a solidarity among the eight Celtic nations which is what made this more surprising to me. Still, it's a contra dance with a rockin' rollickin' awesome ceili band in America, singing a sea shanty ... and there's nothing wrong with being over-the-top British, especially in that context at that moment! And it's not like the Welsh have a long-established reputation for being one of the greatest sea-faring nations, after all Glyn did a fine thing, and was an even more amazing musician for pulling off that performance while sick as a dog. And lest this thread get totally derailed by my vexilogical vexation, Frog Hammer as a whole gave an amazing performance, our squeezer Jim among them I look forward to seeing you guys in-person someday (and to another party in a snug somewhere like some of us had in June!).
  17. Part Welsh, I think. He had a great time with that flag, even tho he was sick and had to leave at the break. Does Glyn ever not have a great time? Well, aside from when he's sick. Still, someone's got to get him a Welsh dragon for next time!
  18. Great stuff! But I'm really confused by Glyn's UK fanaticism there at the end -- I thought he was Welsh!
  19. "A good half-dozen or more North American luthiers now use it occasionally for cauld-wind (bellows-blown) bagpipes." Really, are that many luthiers making pipes as a side-business now? A luthier is someone who makes stringed instruments, not any instrument-maker
  20. Morse concertinas are into the 1170s now. #122 is about 11 years old. Over the last decade, there have been some design improvements to the Ceili, and also obviously significant experience has been gained. Also, if you aren't the original owner of #122, who knows what use (or repairs not by the Button Box) it may have seen which may have altered its performance. I'm the second owner of #94; I was close friends with its original owner, and I know it to be one of the more heavily-played Morse concertinas and often in extremely adverse weather or other circumstances. Roger played it in the rain, he played it in the snow, he played it in crowded pubs, he played it wherever the crazy morris and longsword dancers decided they were going to dance regardless of might it would do to his instrument! (We do not recommend you go to these extremes with your Morse, or any other instrument, though many morris musicians can attest to their Morse's hardiness.) At one point, Roger had us replace the bellows, and the action got a light servicing too (from watching him play, I saw that Roger really punched some of the buttons with his fingers when he played); I never played it while it had the original bellows, but now it's tight as ever and is an extremely smooth playing instrument. A Button Box servicing will probably make a marked improvement for your Morse. Get on our repair list, and when your turn comes you'll only be without your instrument for about two weeks
  21. So what if there never was a bill of sale? There isn't, when you buy one from a friend, inherit one, etc.
  22. Most of the Lachenals (20 and 30 button) that I've seen come through the Button Box over the past four years have had a duplicate middle D draw rather than an A in that position; for Wheatstones, it's been more of a split. I've never seen a Jeffries with anything other than the A. And I can't remember well enough whether there's been a strong tendency towards one or the other with vintage concertinas by other makers. Many of the concertina tutorial books -- notably Bertram Levy's Anglo Concertina Demystified -- include button charts for Jeffries and Wheatstone layouts, and for the Jeffries layout that note is an A, but for the Wheatstone layout that note is a D. (That's the only left-hand difference; all the other differences are the ones we regularly think about on the right side.) That book was written thirty-ish years ago, before modern hybrid concertinas had much presence. It confuses some of my students, because their modern hybrid instruments all have the A, even when they're "Wheatstone" layout. For the Morse anglo concertinas, we put the A on all anglos of any layout by default (though we can accommodate requests for other choices such as the D). I don't think we're alone in that decision, among modern hybrid makers, though I could be mistaken; I just can't recall offhand coming across a hybrid (used or new) made by other contemporary hybrid makers with the D. And Stagi only makes Wheatstone layout anglos (as far as the right-hand side goes) but only with the A (on the left-hand side).
  23. "This listing (301314263042) has been removed, or this item is not available" ... and searching for maccann concertina doesn't turn it up, either.
  24. Regarding weight, I'm mostly thinking of comparing my 38 button Jeffries to my Morse. The difference is only a pound or pound and a half: the Morse was 2 pounds something, the Jeffries 38 was three pounds something. I don't feel this difference when playing, at least not for morris dances: I can play Sherborne Trunkles standing holding the Jeffries at head height or above in a crowded pub. But I might not want to do a whole concert set standing; can't say, never tried. I haven't weighed or played the 45 button Jeffries at the Button Box in a while. I might find it's at least a pound heavier than my 38 button, or at least heavy enough to make a difference to me -- who can say (but if it didn't sell this weekend, I might measure it Monday).
  25. For me, a personal general preference for 38 over 45 button Jeffries is neither a size nor weight issue. It's three other issues ... and these same issues figure into my preference for a 38 over a 30 or 31 button instrument. 1) Sound. More reeds in an instrument of similar size (and there really isn't any size difference from a 30 button Jeffries to a 38 to a 45) means a combination of either smaller chambers for some of the reeds, more chambers in the middle of the reedpan (instead of around the edges), or both. These lead to tone quality differences -- "inboard" reeds sound different than reeds on the edge of the padpan, and there have been threads about this (and how some at-home tinkering might minimize this difference). 2) Button spacing. The buttons are often closer together or smaller on instruments with more buttons. 3) Are those notes really necessary for your repertoire? The more buttons, the more design compromises (inboard reeds, closer buttons, etc); the more buttons, the more intricate the action (more parts moving closer to each other in a confined space); and the more buttons, the more parts that might need repair someday. Those are the real or potential downsides; are there upsides for you personally? 4) Weight is a fourth issue, and it scales the exact same way: the more buttons, the more weight. For some players, this is a really important issue! For me personally, it's not, so I don't really consider this an issue -- that's why it's #4 in a list of 3 issues! (Maybe that will change when I'm older. But for now, I can play a Jeffries 38 standing just as well as I can play a Morse standing.) Everybody's got their own preferences, with concertinas, and thankfully, there are a gazillion varieties of concertina out there For me, a 38 button instrument offers tremendous upside over a 30 or 31 button instrument -- I want those extra buttons quite often. So do Jody and Adrian and other players who like to play arrangements with lots of chords, moving bass lines, contrapunctal voices, and so on. I'm willing to accept a few nasal notes and buttons that are a bit closer together, in order to get what I feel is a tremendous upside. But a 45 button instrument ... I just don't feel like I need those additional notes for what I want to do, so the downside outweighs the upside for my personal calculation. 38 buttons is the sweet spot for me! I suspect for Jody it's a similar calculation. And for many, many Irish players (and others), their repertoire and style just doesn't require more than 30 or 31 buttons. So for them, they might regard the downsides of a 38 as outweighing the upside. And for them a 30 or 31 button instrument thus has a lot of upsides compared to the others. It's not that any of 30, 38, or 45 are strictly "better" in an absolute sense; it's mostly a matter of preference and that's largely though not entirely related to your style and repertoire.
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