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Frank Edgley

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Everything posted by Frank Edgley

  1. If you check my bolg at http://edgleyconcertinas.blogspot.com you will see a new concertina completely made by Judah Zakoor in my shop. (Check Nov 19 post) Judah is getting very good at this as he has been working with me for about five years. Judah is a valued employee at Frank Edgley Concertinas.
  2. "For me (very important to keep aware of that!) the term 'hand-crafted' has the feel that an item has been made without the use of power-tools, that each tool has been powered and guided by hand." (Hansirow) Sorry, if you go by that definition I don't think anyone has a "hand-crafted concertina." Just watch that video of the Wheatstone factory where a worker is cutting the reed slots for a reedpan. No one is cutting the dovetail reed slots purely by hand and chisel, and I doubt anyone ever did. No, I'm afraid your definition is too narrow. Most musical instruments involve some sort of machinery. Even the Highland bagpipes of the latter 19th century involved the use of a treadle lathe.....foot-crafted perhaps?
  3. I have an instument (hybrid) that I have started, but it wouldn't be ready for a while. Bruce's may be a good option.
  4. The reason may be that you are comparing Tipo a Mano when the best (most sensitive) are "A Mano" reeds. The reeds I use, at least the way I set them up in my instruments, are more sensitive than the very expensive vintage-style concertina-reeded concertina that I own, made within the last 22 years, by a famous maker.
  5. No, only the cheaper instuments come with the reeds fitted as a block, if I understand you correctly.
  6. The main difference is, as Geoff says, the way the reeds are mounted in the box, and is as Geoff describes. There are some tonal differences between the two types, but not as much as between different makes or eras of concertinas, and either can have a great tone. A Lachenal is more different in tone compared to a Jeffries than a top-of-the-line accordion-reeded instrument is compared to certain concertina-reeded instruments, of course, depending on the make. Other than superficial differences relating to the outward appearance of the concertinas there is little, if any, difference in the quality between the two types of concertinas, and depend more on the make than anything else.
  7. I know this is a free reed forum, but I couldn't help comparing what has been described above, to Highland Bagpipes over the last 100 years. They used to be pitched in A (440). In fact the music is still written in A. Then the creep upwards. In the 1960s it was very close to Bb (466). During the last 30 years it has gone from about 474 to 480. Some bands are using pipe chanters in the mid 480s. Usually, every piper in the band has a chanter pitched the same so the effect within the band is not chaos. The intention is similar to what I have read in this thread.....to make the instrument stand out by being clearer and brighter. The main benficiaries are the makers who are kept busy making new chanters for bands trying to keep up. Personally, I am against the tendency for any musical instrument to be involved in "pitch creep."
  8. It's been way too long since my last blog.....probably around January. Posted are a couple of pictures of one of my recent instruments: southern Australian burl with rosewood trim and eucalyptus-capped handles. Also, I am announcing a couple of changes for my Heritage Wheatstone System instruments which should increase the flexibility of playing by offering more fingering options. http://edgleyconcertinas.blogspot.com .
  9. Yes, the ends of dressmaking pins work quite well.....sharp enough to pierce the chamber dividers.....no nails!
  10. I received a Scholer concertina as a Christmas gift from my mother many years ago. I had casually mentioned to her that I was thinking about a concertina. After so many years as a Highland bagpiper I wanted to try something different. There was no instruction booklet and before the internet, there didn't seem to be anything available. I struggled to decipher the anglo 20 button, even experimenting playing what I later learned was upside down. After what seemed an eternity, I learned a couple of pipe tunes.....The Rowan Tree and The Skye Boat Song. The disaster struck.....one of the reeds broke, and I didn't know where to get it repaired. So much for concertina playing until a few years later I was at Elderly Instruments and they had a 30 button anglo (Italian) and a 30 button English (Chinese). They were both about the same price, and both much better quality than the Scholer. I thought, "Well I can play the Skye Boat song on this one," so I bought the anglo.
  11. I agree with JIm. Get the book. At least it will give you a better understanding of the instrument, and may prevent harm being done, unintentionally.
  12. I live on the border, in Windsor Ontario, right across from Detroit. I play a 120 year old set of Highland bagpipes, and cross over the border from time to time. I contacted CITES and was sent an application form for a CITES certificate, allowing me to bring my pipes legally across the border. I had that certificate with me when I went to Scotland to play with the Scottish Society of Windsor Pipe Band three weeks ago. The people at CITES were very helpful in issuing me the certificate. It is valid for several years, when the existing certificate can be used to expedite the next one.
  13. I just got back from Ireland a couple of weeks ago. I met with Chris Droney and his wife Margaret, as well as Francis Cunningham, and Stephen Chambers. It was wonderful to see Chris and Margaret looking so good, and Chris still playing great! He will be 90 in December!
  14. As for the product, I'm not sure. The one I have used is in a tube. I wouldn't use the applicator as shown in the picture, as it would get all over.
  15. As far as making leather, which may be porous more airtight, I have found something which may be of assistance. If you go to a camping supply store, the is a fix for leaky seams on tents. It come in a tube, dries clear and remains very flexible on drying. I have tested before and after with several pieces of leather, and found that it very effective, reducing leakage due to porosity to near zero. Since there may be various makers and formulations, I would recommend trying this out on a piece of scrap leather beforehand. I believe the brand available here in Canada is made by "Coleman". The downside is that, since one of the ingredients is, I suspect, silicone, it is difficult to glue onto afterwards. This should not be a problem for this application since you are unlikely to glue anything over an existing gusset. It is a liquid in a tube and can be painted on porous gusset leather with a fine artisits paint brush, avoiding other areas where you may want to glue something at a later time. It could be applied on the outside or inside. If the leather on your bellows gussets is porous, what do you have to lose? The next step is probably a new bellows.
  16. You can use a couple of coats of spray shellac to the back of the fabric. It dries very quickly and reduces the chances that the glue will seep through.
  17. Could it be that the concertina was made that way? I notice the piece of wood screwed down has a embossed "L" on it as a concertina maker would use marked on the inside of each bellows frame......similar in font as was used by makers, also.
  18. A very important part of tuning is taking the readings. I believe the bellows pressure should be "moderate" and consistent with every note. Otherwise the results will be as varied as your bellows pressure when you took the readings. I learned this years ago when a very prominent player, an All-Ireland Champion, flew in from San Francisco for the expressed purpose of having me tune his Jeffries concertina before he was to make a recording. To save time, I asked him to play each note on his own concertina while I wrote down the pluses & minuses of each note. We were chatting about Irish music and musicians while this was being done. Next step was to correct the notes by flattening the sharp note and shapening the flat notes as per the previously done readings. It was a bit of a disaster. The instrument was no more in tune after one run though than when we started. I asked him to go for a walk while I did it again. Consistency of pressure is vital. He had been inconsistent with his pressure while playing the notes. The pitch of concertinas is pressure sensitive, especially with an instrument which had been brought down from high pitch to A-440 by filing the reeds flatter. (This was not me!) The amount of pressure sensitivity is also greater with the lower notes. But this anecdote does not address David's original question. I aim for zero on the meter and take several passes to achieve this. I use a computer program for this. Then I play octaves and chords to confirm this. I then play the instrument for a while to check for inconsistencies of response, and finally a last tuning check. But there is no perfect tuning as there are no perfect instruments or perfect players. As Greg suggested, and I have discovered also, some players are brutal with their playing pressure, playing their instruments out of tune by their playing pressure, and soon putting their instruments out of tune, for the same reason. The amount of out-of-tuneness caused by excessive pressure depends on where the note is ---highness or lowness according to reed size, the number of times the reeds have been tuned, if the instrument was in one of the "high" pitched and has been brought down to A-440 by filing, and the quality of the reeds. Even a smaller amount of pressure differential can affect the tuning. As I stated earlier, I play at a consistent, moderate pressure when taking readings of the notes. My customers are usually hundreds, if not thousands of miles away. Their conception of their own playing style (hardness or softness) is very subjective and not necessarily the same as others' conception, or mine. Unless they are here for me to listen to, all I can do is tune to a "best practices" model and tune to what my experience has found to be a "good" playing pressure. No, Dave, I wouldn't worry about that one customer, too much. I know all of us have been out to dinner with someone who always sends the meal back because it does not meet their imagined standard of perfection, and do so with a certain amount of rudeness to the poor wait person. Embarassing for those around him at the table, too. I suspect that noone could have made your concertina tuning customer happy.
  19. Well, yes. It is 2 - 3 oz. leather.....tooling leather...cowhide. This is stiffer than garment-type leather, so that it can be "tooled." That is, it can be imprinted with designs using special tools. I have used thicker tooling leather in the past, but I found the straps are too stiff for comfort. This tooling leather is a sort of light tan colour and must be dyed aferwards. The dye can be fixed by appling a sealer after dying. I don't think any other type of leather would be satisfactory.
  20. I guess that you would have to define what you mean by "Sounds like a concertina". Depending on the make, era, system, model, concertinas sound quite different from each other. For example, a linota from the 1920s sounds quite different from the Wheatstone Chris Droney plays. They are both Wheatstones. Over the years, I have owned two Dippers, built for me but built over the space of ten or so years. They are quite different in tone. Lachenals sound quite different from Jeffries etc. What did some of these instruments, like Lachenals sound like when they were new? Then there is the Brass vs steel factor. The point is, there is no one Concertina sound. I believe I have been able to design my Professional Model hybrids that fall within the wide range of concertina tones. So in my opinion, the answer is yes, depending on the specific instrument you are refering to for comparison.
  21. I was recently interviewed by Marc Montgomery of the CBC about my concertinas. The interview as well as some photos are available at the following address. For some reason I couldn't get the sound on a new version of Explorer, but Firefox worked just fine. http://www.rcinet.ca/en/2014/02/23/arts-concertinas-made-in-canada-by-frank-edgley/
  22. There are other factors, such as reedpan design.....depth of chambers.....size of vent aperture.....thickness and density of reedpan material.....chamber shape i.e. parallel-radial and variations of these two basic shapes. I have also noticed that with some vintage concertinas, the makers have paid a lot of attention to pad hole size, vaying them according to the note. I have even noticed with some Jeffries that some of the holes were carved, apparently by a knife, so that one side was crudely tapered. I have noticed that some of the more recent vintage-style concertinas (those with concertina reeds) have a very loud, some may describe strident or piercing tone. All these seem to have parallel reed chambers. I have tried to eliminate parallel sides as much as possible with my hybrid "Professiona Models" concertinas with my angled reedpan chambers. I think that has been successful in producing a warmer tone than my "Performer's Model" instrument. I have used that idea with my concertina-reeded Heritage model. I have eliminated parallel sides by having a radial design reedpan, where the chamber walls radiate out from the centre, like the Wheatstone instruments. Reeds are important, and radical changes in design can make some differences in tone. However, I have conducted a little experiment: I removed one of the reeds from a concertina I purchased about 20 years ago from a very notable maker of vintage-style concertinas. I replaced it with one of the reeds that I am using to make my Heritage model. You cannot tell where I have placed my reed. I have had several musicians try, by listening, unsuccessfully, even when I have indicated which two or three buttons contain the one replaced reed. The reeds I am using are very similar in taper and size to the reeds in the concertina I used for the experiment. They are not radically different as accordion reeds would be, so I am not saying that reed design is not a factor. Years ago, Fred Quan inferred a similar thought to me. He said, in effect, that he could replace a broken reed in a concertina he was repairing by using a salvaged reed by another maker and it would not be noticable. That suggests that reedpan design is very important. I await the deluge of criticism..........
  23. I had trouble opening the page.....I got the article, but no video.....My wife got it on her tablet. The video is very well done. Who else had trouble getting the video? I think I'm more at home using an earlier technology.
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