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wayman

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Everything posted by wayman

  1. Claire, yes, as someone has suggested, please give the Button Box a call and describe your observations. It may be that there are some simple tune-ups that will help you out, especially if it's an older Morse as you describe it. (What is the serial number, may I ask?)
  2. "The Band Whose Name Is..." So the caller will keep making announcements like "... and let's have another round of applause for The Band Whose Name Is..." Or even "... another round of applause for the band whose name is The Band Whose Name Is..."
  3. I haven't publicized my age as a part of my c-net profile, but I'm in my mid-30s and I've been playing and tinkering with melodeons and concertinas since I was 21 (and was playing and hacking harmonicas for many years prior to that). I know several other young concertina players, but none are on c-net so far as I know. (The vast majority of concertina players I know, of any age, are not on c-net, for that matter. I think I'm friends with fifty or more, and I can only think of about six who post here.)
  4. Yes, it's exactly as Lester says: across the range of a wet-tuned instrument, the difference as measured in cents varies -- much wider for very low notes than for very high notes -- so that the beat frequency is the same. For an instrument like a Pokerwork or an Erica with two reeds per note, after tuning the lower reed of a pair in isolation, the process of wet-tuning is less a matter of tuning the higher reed in isolation so the readout on the tuner says it's correct (though this gets you at least partway there of course if you're following a chart that tells you how many cents to deviate each reed), and more a matter of counting the beats between the two reeds until your ear says for each note that the higher reed is correct relative to the lower reed. Er, this veers into Mel-net-land, but it does speak to the question (Granted, there are wet-tuned concertinas, Stagis mostly, but let's not talk about them! )
  5. I'm sad the assessment has been removed. It was a worthy contribution. Can't say I disagreed with it, either.
  6. Not I (despite being so close-by). I've got a shape-note/morris/contra wedding festival to attend the weekend before, and a Swedish slangpolska workshop/dance/potluck to co-host the weekend after. Busy life! If any of you want to squeeze in (see what I did there?) a visit to the Button Box on your way to or from NESI, I'll be in the workshop Friday and Monday surrounding that weekend. Come say hi! Will
  7. Jody, the way you phrased this reminds me of the ending of the Brunching Shuttlecocks' "Bjork Song" (which has no concertina, but *is* a non-traditional love song).
  8. Isn't it amazing that some people pay good money to make their accordion or melodeon sound just like this? (No, really: once had a customer bring in a melodeon where the wet tuning was actually a quarter-tone, and they said they liked it a lot and just needed a couple reeds retuned.) Rest assured that the rest of the playing Adrian and I did was on instruments that were actually in tune: a Morse Ceili and a Morse ESB make for a great duet! (And a Morse Ceili, a Morse ESB, and a good portion of a bottle of Balvenie make for a great trio )
  9. INteresting. The reason I asked - I'm hearing more and more that the Morse English concertinas are quieter than the Anglos. Wonder why that is. And apparently the Duets quieter as well; who's the Buttonbox member of Cnet who we can ping on this? Morse anglo reed chambers and Morse English/Hayden reed chambers are quite different in construction and materials. (Photographs on the Button Box website may help illustrate this.) Our anglo concertinas (Ceili and the forthcoming ESB baritone) have chambers assembled from thin strips of wood. This works very well for instruments where the reeds are all parallel to each other. It's also an extremely flexible system, allowing us to easily construct each different instrument (C/G Wheatstone with extra C#s, G/D Jeffries, etc) when it's ordered, allowing us to accommodate customer requests for unusual note layouts. This also allows for a much lighter-weight instrument. Our English and Hayden concertinas (Albion, Geordie, and Beaumont) have chambers that are routed out of a solid sheet of formaldehyde-free MDF (and sealed with hide glue). For these instruments, where the reeds are not all parallel to each other, assembling the chambers by hand would add substantial time (and cost), especially for the Beaumont (where some of the reeds are at very precise angles in order for everything to fit!). We use MDF instead of hardwood largely because it gives a better tone (based on sound tests we did when we were experimenting with materials), but also partly because it's a lighter-weight material than hardwood. This does lead to our unisonoric instruments having a subtly different character than our anglos, but as others have observed, that's somewhat in line with historical tendencies among vintage anglo and English concertinas by other makers.
  10. Exactly. The late Rich Morse was very conscious of reed-position/sound objection and went through a number of designs and tests. Some of his thoughts can probably be found in his thousand-odd posts here on the forum. If he had a part in the final design (my impression is that he did) this issue was certainly considered. Rich did extensive design work for a concertina-reeded Hayden, and producing that instrument had been his dream since sometime before 2000 (when I first met him at Pinewoods and he almost immediately showed me his Hayden drawings). I don't think the specific challenge of how to fit 52 accordion reedplates into a Hayden concertina was something Rich spent much time thinking about, since he held true to his concertina-reeded Hayden dream to the end. The design process for the accordion-reeded Beaumont kicked into gear after Rich's death. Rich's Hayden designs inspired us, his extensive writings were responsible for many elements of our design, and of course his high standards guided us throughout the process; and I'm sure Rich was aware of the acoustic challenges presented by having both flat and enbanked reeds on the same instrument. But he didn't directly contribute to that aspect of the Beaumont's design. Credit for designing the accordion-reeded reedpan and reed blocks, and for achieving the Beaumont's balanced sound for the flat and enbanked reeds, should go to our current R.Morse & Co. workshop team, and particularly to Judy Hawkins.
  11. I have a Lowepro camera backpack with a very similar layout which works excellently for concertina. There's substantial back padding on mine as it also has a laptop sleeve (closest to one's body) which is itself heavily padded in addition to the "concertina compartment" padding (intended for a DSLR camera and lenses). I don't put the concertina in a box in the bag; I just have the pads in the bag adjusted to keep the concertina fairly snug.
  12. Yes, I spend enough time among pianists for contra and English dancing, and church pianists and organists, observing their playing and talking to them that I understand this to be true. At a certain level, different keys are just different -- not easier or harder. My piano teacher in college told me that in time "C" would no longer be the "home key" of a piano. I never progressed that far on the piano, but I have played and seen enough to thoroughly believe this. "Oh, I'll just play this transposed up a half step, then" isn't limited to the miniscule handful of Beethovens in the world; it's a bit more common than you might think. I suspect most music majors at my college could do this with some proficiency, and I know several dance pianists in my community who can do this. I also remember a story about Kathy Bullock sitting down at a piano to accompany some folks singing Gilbert & Sullivan at a folk music camp where she was on staff to teach a gospel class; after a moment, she just started playing a full arrangement with them. A trad fiddler asked her "what key?" and after a moment she hollered back "four flats!" When the fiddler's mouth went agape, she replied "honey, if you want to play piano in a black church, you don't get to tell them what key to sing in; you've got to be able to play in whatever key they choose!" And with a piano, the keys remain in a strict low-to-high left-to-right sequence, no matter what key ... whilst on a Hayden, they do not. For this reason, I think when you hit a certain point of proficiency, it might actually be just as easy, and perhaps easier??, to do those transpositions on an EC than on a Hayden. And whilst likewise for these reason I know it will never be as easy on an anglo, I practice this to some extent because it's good exercise. Take a tune in C, then play it in C#, then in D, then in Eb.... Harmonies change by necessity and become more or less limited because certain chords or inversions simply aren't available at all, but the tunes are still there as are some harmonies ... and one of the things I like most about the anglo is that each key has a much more distinct sound and color because of each key's particular options or limitations, quite different from an EC, Hayden, or piano. This is something that wouldn't matter to those who stick to melodies, but as a harmonic player this is the heart of the anglo for me. If your repertoire never takes you beyond three flats or three sharps and really focuses on the range between 1 flat and three sharps (say, contra dance music), then a Hayden is really well-suited because all of those keys completely fit the isomorphic pattern. From beginner to extremely skilled playing, with this repertoire the Hayden remains a perfect fit. But I suspect that even for an extremely advanced Hayden player, C# will remain more difficult than C.
  13. Bertram Levy believes both push-g/pull-a buttons are necessary. When he noticed I was using "the wrong one" in a workshop, I explained that I use that I use that one for everything because I put an f/e on the other one. He didn't seem to see the merit in this.
  14. I should add -- this is an extremely simple (and easily reversible if you found you didn't like it) alteration on a Morse CeilĂ­, where each chamber can be made larger or smaller if need be, though I think in this case they don't even need to be re-sized. The f/e and g/a accordion reed plates are either the same length or else different by only a millimeter or so. Thus it's probably not hard on other hybrids either (most have chambers that are of fixed size), though I've never done it on anything other than a Morse so I can't speak from experience here. For that matter, it's probably not hard with concertina reeds -- the shoe sizes of f and g, and of e and a, are probably pretty similar if not exactly the same. And here it would be even easier to reverse.
  15. He's talking about the lower E as far as I know, and there's only one of those with standard layout. I'm surprised you don't use the A/G on the LH G row, I could not live without them! I did exactly this replacement on my C/G 30-button several years ago, and I love it. Zero downside for me, and I use the new "f" and "e" reversals all the time. I understand it may have a big downside to those who follow traditional fingerings for Irish trad music, as there would be a lot of retraining your fingers.
  16. When you switch instruments during a dance, are you un-velcro-ing your two Microvox mics from one instrument and then attaching them to a second? Aaron Marcus uses a two-mic system for his concertina, using two Audio Technica Pro-35 clip-on microphones, clipped to the bellows. I would not have believed this would work, but I've watched him play for an evening and I've tried playing like this myself on his instrument, and it works great. Changing instruments would be just as simple and fast as with your Microvox kit. The one downside: they don't come with a personal mixer. Aaron takes up two mixer channels, one for each mic. But I think you could get Jack-in-the-Box Input Expander which would do the job of supplying phantom power to the AT Pro-35s, taking the XLR from each AT Pro-35, summing them (no ability to adjust balance, but you don't need that for two sides of a concertina, do you?), and send out a single XLR to the mixer. It wouldn't be a cheap kit -- $600 or so for the mics and expander -- but it might do just what you need and with better quality than the Microvox? Added bonus: you can lend them to other concertina friends, who wouldn't need to put velcro on their instruments to make use of them :-)
  17. Don't forget casette tapes. And the 8-track is, of course, the perfect medium for ... the Aeola
  18. Alan, thank you for the great contribution you have made to the entire concertina community through your role in collecting recordings for three massive multi-disc productions. When I switched from melodeon to anglo four years ago (... not coincidentally when I started building concertinas), Anglo International gave me tremendous encouragement, introduced me to many artists I might not otherwise have discovered, opened my eyes to exciting genre possibilities, and has given me some specific pieces to learn by ear and add to my repertoire. I'm a better player for that album's existence, and I daresay a better teacher to my anglo students as well (for having a more holistic understanding of the instrument than I might otherwise have). And thanks to Graham for his great contribution, likewise: the production quality is top-notch. I hope, in reading this thread, that he not only hears our eagerness for Duet International but also our deep appreciation for Anglo International and English International!
  19. A different factor in whether duet concertinas will achieve parity with anglo and English concertinas is cost-of-entry. I see several components playing into that: differing costs of contruction for new instruments, differing availabilities of used instruments, and differing quantities of inspirational, teaching, and support resources. Each of these factors heavily favors the anglo and English over any duet system (though in the coming years, at least the Hayden has a chance of boosting its case in the second and third of these factors). Duet International can play a Big Role in the third: There is still a relative dearth of material to inspire, teach, and support new Hayden players (... much less new Maccann players) as compared with anglo and English where huge volumes of recordings (by old and new artists) are widely available, and a wide selection of books for beginners and intermediate players as well. Even as more and more individual artists release new recordings of their own playing, Duet International would be THE recommended purchase for any brand-new duet concertina player, if they want to hear and be inspired by the full *breadth* of potential for their new instrument ... and to prove to them that despite the paucity of books and CDs on the shelf for their instrument, it *does* indeed have both a history and bevy of great current players. A smaller bevy, to be sure, than anglos and Englishes have; but Duet International, better than any other recording I'm aware of, would showcase their number and variety. Increasing the number of duet concertina players will create in time a larger used market of starter and mid-range Haydens; and may also inspire other makers to do as Concertina Connection and R.Morse & Co have recently done -- create solid Hayden models for players who want to advance beyond the Elise or Stagi. Knowing a market exists encourages makers to bear the significant up-front costs of time and money that need to be devoted to research-and-design for a product very unlike the anglo or English models they may already produce. And now a bit of a digression away from Duet International, to better explain the first component of the cost-of-entry issue -- the considerable cost of a good new Hayden, relative to its anglo and English peers -- which is unfortunately unlikely to go away even as the duet becomes more popular. While there's not much price difference between a Concertina Connection Rochelle (anglo) and Elise (Hayden), this is something of an apples-and-oranges comparison: the Rochelle is a full 30-key anglo, while the Elise is a very minimal Hayden which can only really play "using the Hayden logical pattern" in the keys of C, G, D, and maybe A. When you compare an anglo and a Hayden of similar caliber -- identical workmanship, and each designed to give players "the full power of the instrument" (that is, a Hayden with "enough" buttons (52) to allow for playing in at least eight major keys without breaking the pattern; while 30 buttons is widely regarded as the standard for the anglo), the Hayden is considerably more expensive (the Morse Beaumont is just over 50% more expensive than the Morse Ceili, for instance). This isn't simply because the Beaumont has more than half-again as many buttons, but also because all those buttons (and levers and springs and reeds) have to fit in a physical space not much larger than the anglo necessitating far more intricate construction: it takes over twice as long to build a Beaumont as a Ceili and it's a LOT trickier (believe me, I know: I build them and assisted with the design!). That's not something that greater interest and greater production volume will change, unfortunately, if you want to keep workmanship at the same quality and don't want to reduce the capability of the instrument (for instance, the Peacock is able to achieve a lower price point because it has a lot fewer buttons than a Beaumont, but sacrifices capability to do so); and I'm sure that the difference does remain a factor in some new players' decision of which system of concertina to choose. This is a large part why I doubt the Hayden will ever achieve *parity* (much less overtake) the anglo in popularity.
  20. [This is part of a larger post on the popularity of different systems; I was typing it as the new thread was being created! I've moved my post, but left a copy of the Duet International part of it here.] Duet International can play a Big Role in boosting popularity of the duet, and increasing market for Haydens and encouraging new models: There is still a relative dearth of material to inspire, teach, and support new Hayden players (... much less new Maccann players) as compared with anglo and English where huge volumes of recordings (by old and new artists) are widely available, and a wide selection of books for beginners and intermediate players as well. Even as more and more individual artists release new recordings of their own playing, Duet International would be THE recommended purchase for any brand-new duet concertina player, if they want to hear and be inspired by the full *breadth* of potential for their new instrument ... and to prove to them that despite the paucity of books and CDs on the shelf for their instrument, it *does* indeed have both a history and bevy of great current players. A smaller bevy, to be sure, than anglos and Englishes have; but Duet International, better than any other recording I'm aware of, would showcase their number and variety. Increasing the number of duet concertina players will create in time a larger used market of starter and mid-range Haydens; and may also inspire other makers to do as Concertina Connection and R.Morse & Co have recently done -- create solid Hayden models for players who want to advance beyond the Elise or Stagi. Knowing a market exists encourages makers to bear the significant up-front costs of time and money that need to be devoted to research-and-design for a product very unlike the anglo or English models they may already produce. That's why we NEED Duet International!
  21. The most common left-thumb choices I've seen (as they would be on a G/D anglo) are 1) a true drone G/G, and 2) G on the pull and C on the press. If you're wanting to play richer chords, option (2) gives you two of the most valuable notes you're otherwise missing for playing in the common keys for a G/D anglo. But Gary's advice about getting a low A note is really solid, too. That's a great note to have. If the instrument you're considering is to be custom-built, there may be another place for that low A. Jody Kruskal advocates putting it in place of the low F -- which of course means you no longer have the low F, so it's a trade-off. Are you likely to play more tunes on this instrument in the keys of, say, A and E, or in the keys of C and F? And if you'd always be using your C/G anglo for the tunes in C or F anyway, then you might never miss that low F on your G/D anglo....
  22. Further suggestions for what ESB might stand for are welcome (and amusing!), but the official answer is "extra special baritone" and the inspiration for the name was indeed my drink of choice when singing in the pub -- a great place to play an anglo baritone. You can hear Jody Kruskal play some tunes and sing some songs with the Morse ESB prototype here: http://www.buttonbox.com/framepage.html?var1=http://www.buttonbox.com/ESB-preview.html (The fourth sound clip is my favorite!) We expect to start taking orders later this summer. At the above link, you can also join an announcement list for ESB information.
  23. Scholarly study of their repertoire, skillfully and playfully interpreted in performance. That's what I love about Dapper's Delight!
  24. Simultaneous thread creation! I'll be there all weekend, and And Sometimes Y performs at 2pm on Sunday -- just after you guys.
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