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Everything posted by cjmiller

  1. Watch Alistair Anderson play. If he doesn't tear his bellows apart, anything you're doing should be fine.
  2. From a scientific standpoint, I think you've hit on the weak spot of the test. We didn't know which end was which, but Chris did. As the player did HE subconsciously play them differently? Did he back off a bit when playing the metal ends, or did he lean into it just a touch more because it had wood ends? I think a truly unbiased and scientific test would require the player to be unaware of which instrument he was playing. No idea how you would do that, but like Dirge said, there's a doctorate waiting for someone.
  3. It's the same as the children's song, "The More We Get Together" so maybe that's it? The more we get together, together, together, the more we get together, the happier we shall be. For your friends are my friends, and my friends are your friends. The more we get together, the happier we shall be.
  4. No one seems to have mentioned this yet, but there is one traditional difference between a violin and a fiddle, and that's the contour of the bridge. Violin players favor a bridge with more arch, which allows for cleaner single string playing, and fiddlers like a flatter bridge which allows them to play two or even three strings at once. I dimly recall that fiddle players like their bridges to angle back (or forward, I forget) a bit to give the sound more "growl". Of course that's a general rule, and I'm sure that there are countless violin players who like flat bridges and vice versa. In fact, in the photo below the bottom bridge was used by a rather well known Canadian fiddle player. Photo found on Google:
  5. It's not the type of concertina you're looking for, but if you're close to Grand Island in Nebraska, I would let you have a Jackie English concertina to play with for a few weeks. It might make you realize that English is what you've actually wanted all along. At the very least you could get an idea of whether or not a concertina is the right instrument for you.
  6. cjmiller

    Use Tax

    Obviously, US Customs is giving them the information, but what does the customs form actually say? For the record I firmly support paying any and all taxes that are due, but let's just suppose that the form said "Concertina, value $XXXX". How do they know that the concertina is a new purchase and not a family heirloom sent back to the Mother Country for repairs and restoration? I would imagine that a concertina restored by Mr. Dipper would look brand new when he was done with the restoration, so how can they tell? I believe those restoration services would be exempt from this tax, right? If this catches on with other States, it could become a real issue. Maybe in 5 years people like Barleycorn will be quoting prices broken out into parts and labor-- Instead of quoting a price of $3000, it might be: Concertina $300, restoration of said concertina $2700.
  7. I've spent more time than I care to admit reading old threads, and I keep coming across the concept that the beginning of the 20th Century was the top period, the golden era, for Wheatstones. I have two questions that I can't find an answer to: 1. When does this "top period" roughly begin and end? I've seen WWI as the end, and I've seen it used for instruments from the late 1920's. Is there general agreement on a start and stop date (approx date to be sure)? That's the easy question. Here's the more abstract one: 2. It seems to be a bit about the action Wheatstone used, but it's mostly about the quality of the reeds, and more specifically, the talent of the craftsmen who set them up and tuned those reeds. I can understand that, but how does a person keep that magic when the concertina is being re-tuned to modern pitch? Someone asked about an H Boyd concertina last week, and it seems to be a question of Boyd ordering instruments by specific craftsmen, and then setting them up to his specs. As a result, everyone seems to agree that they have a unique sound. OK, but a century later, how does a person send an instrument like that off to be restored and be confident that the original magic won't be lost when the instrument is restored and re-tuned? Once it's on the restorer's workbench, isn't that restorer going to use his ear to make it sound the way HE thinks it should sound? How does Mr. Wakker restore and re-tune an instrument without making it sound like a Wakker, or Mr. Dipper making it sound like a Dipper? I don't mean to insult either of those gentlemen, or minimize their skills and talents. What I'm asking is how you can do something as major as a full restoration and re-tuning and still wind up with something the original craftsman would recognize as his creation? Doesn't it still come down to the ears and the brain of the last person to work on those reeds and (consciously or unconsciously) what sounds "right" to them? Again, I'm not trying to be negative, or imply that today's craftsmen are any less skilled than those of a century ago. I'm just trying to identify the "It" that makes a vintage Wheatstone special and how one keeps that special sound when you're rather seriously changing the reeds by tuning them to modern pitch and generally restoring an instrument, without turning it into the story of My Grandfather's Axe-- It's had 4 new handles and 2 new heads, but it's still my Grandfather's Axe. Am I over-thinking this? Should I just go take a walk and clear my head?
  8. I play with wrist straps, and I'm now at the point where I find it very difficult to play without them. Here's the thing though, I wear them very loose. They really don't do much as far as helping me hold the instrument or work the bellows. They fall loose about where my hand meets my wrist, but that's enough to tell my hands if they're in the proper position or not, and to let me know if the concertina is moving out of position. It's a form of feedback more than anything else, but when I try to play a concertina that doesn't have them my hands and fingers are completely lost within seconds. I have a tenor treble, and they really help to find that bottom row. When I can feel the straps getting tight against my wrist I know I'm down far enough to hit the bottom row.
  9. This one is comparable. http://www.musurgia.com/products.asp?ProductID=4741&CartID=3795309172012 The bad news is that it's been for sale for over a year at that price.
  10. Larry Fine was a Vaudeville performer on the violin. He did Russian dancing while playing it. Even he admitted it wasn't a very good act. When Ted Healey and Mo Howard offered him a job as a Stooge, the story Larry Fine told was that they offered him $75 per week plus a $10 per week bonus if he promised he would stop playing the violin.
  11. You're right, no one has a crystal ball, but even if the market collapses the vintage Lachenal will almost certainly still be worth more than the comparable Morse, so it's still a better investment assuming both are selling today at more or less the same price. Better than most stocks or real estate for that matter, at least lately, and when the economy really collapses we can always play for pocket change on the street corner--try that with Barclay's stock! Actually, I think concertinas are where ukuleles were 20 years ago, before Brother Iz played Over the Rainbow in that movie, and suddenly ukuleles were the hottest instrument out there. All it will take is one performer and one song to make concertinas mainstream again. But I digress, and that's probably something for another thread.
  12. The other thing to consider is that the original poster was considering spending (throwing out a number here) $2000 for that Lachenal vs. approx. the same amount for the Morse. Well, like it or not, these little beasts are investments, and if and when the time comes to sell it or trade it for something better, that Lachenal will almost certainly have held its value or maybe even appreciated a bit. The value of a Morse in 10 or 20 years is far less certain, but I suspect that if we all had to place bets on which would be the better investment over the long haul, we would all bet on the Lachenal.
  13. Since a good portion of the Duet Concertina world seems to be involved with this thread, would anyone care to comment on the 62 key Jeffries Duet Chris Algar has on ebay at the moment? http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Jeffries-62-Key-Duet-Concertina-Jeffries-System-/251140977438?pt=UK_MusicalInstr_Keyboard_RL&hash=item3a792b331e Does it make sense to anyone? I have no interest in owning it, but it fascinates me, because I can sort of wrap my head around the Crane and Maccann systems, but even with the fingering chart in front of me that beast defies all logic. If I played Anglo would the puzzle pieces start fitting together?
  14. I forget which version they play. I like the first one better: X:10 T:Little Jenny C:Billy Pigg N:Published Coquetdale Music N:Final part A.D.Schofield M:4/4 L:1/8 K:D A>G|(3FAd f>e d>cB>A|(3GBd g>f e>dc>B|(3Ace a>f g>Ac>e|(3dcd (3fdB A2 A>G|\ (3FAd f>e d>cB>A|(3GBd g>f e>dc>B|(3Ace a>f g>Ac>e|d2 f2 d2:| f>g|(3afd (3FAd f>ed>c|B>GB<d b2 e>f|g>ec>A E>Ac>e|(3dcd (3fdB A2 f>g|\ (3afd (3FAd f>ed>c|B>GB<d b2 e>f|g>ec>A E>Ac>e|d2 f2 d2:|* X:11 T:Little Jenny Version 2 C:Billy Pigg N:Published Coquetdale Music N:Final part A.D.Schofield M:4/4 L:1/8 K:D A>G|(3FAd (3fed (3c=cB (3AGF|(3GBd (3gfe (3dc=c (3BAG|\ (3Ace a>f g>Ac>e|(3dcd (3fdB A2 A>G|(3FAd (3fed (3c=cB (3AGF|\ (3GBd (3gfe (3dc=c (3BAG|(3Ace a>f g>Ac>e|d2 f2 d2:| f>g|(3afd (3FAd (3fed (3cBA|(3GBd (3gdB b2 e>f|g>ec>A E>Ac>e|(3dcd (3fdB A2 f>g|\ (3afd (3FAd (3fed (3cBA|(3GBd (3gdB b2 e>f|g>ec>A E>Ac>e|d2 f2 d2:|**
  15. I think I cleaned it up. I made a few minor changes as well: X: 28 T:Oyster Girl M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig K:G d|\ded B2G|A2F D2D|G2G BGB|d2c ABc|\ ded B2g|f2e c2e|ded cBA|G3 G2 :| ||Bcd Bcd|e2c e2c|ABc ABc|d2B dBc|\ ded B2g|f2e c2e|ded cBA|G3 G2:| |:B2c|ded B2d|g3g fg|a2AA2B| c3 A2B| cdc A2c| f3f e|e2d G2A|B3 B2c| ded B2 d| g3gfg|a2ba2g|e3e3|fgf e2d|c'2a f2e|ded e2 f|g3| Edit: Well, I thought I did, but I'm not sure why I'm seeing a smilie face in the middle of the song?
  16. Thank you. That third part really transforms that tune into something special. I makes me wonder what else I'm missing. Are there other Part 3's out there for common tunes that I need to know about?
  17. Memphis makes me think you sent them FedEx since that's their hub. I buy a lot of antique auto parts in the UK and Germany, and the only times I've ever had problems with US Customs has been when I used FedEx or UPS. I had something stuck at UPS for weeks because they couldn't determine the type of wood the packing crate was made of, and both companies are famous for sending you mystery invoices days after the package arrives billing you for customs charges and other fees with no explanation. I think it's because they do their own inspections as licensees of the Government and take their job seriously--give me bored Government employees over zealous private contractors any day. I've never had a problem with the post or Parcel Force. Things sail right through with them, and they're just as fast or faster than the private companies.
  18. The easiest and cheapest way I've found to do foreign transfers from the USA is XOOM: https://www.xoom.com Much better exchange rates than even the large US Banks offer. Last time I compared, the exchange rate was slightly better than PayPal, and they're usually pretty fair. They do limit the amount new customers can send. There's a daily limit which is easy to bypass if you just break it into two or more transactions, and then there's a monthly limit. The monthly limit can be increased if you provide them with some basic information like a photocopy of a photo ID (I think that's a Government regulation, not Xoom's policy). I think the limits increase over time, so if you think you might be sending money in the future it's a good idea to sign up now rather than wait till the last minute. In the UK they use Barclays, so if the person you're sending it to has a Barclays account it can post to their account the same day (if you're lucky and time it just right). Their online tracking is also good, and you know where the money is every step of the way. I'll stop now, because this is sounding like a commercial, and you'll think I'm on their payroll.
  19. Well, there's one exactly like it for sale on Craigslist in Seattle for $140, so that would be one indication: http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/msg/3154486200.html
  20. So, from the sound of it Tunebook will do more or less the same things on an iPad that I'm doing with EasyABC on a Macintosh--import, write, edit, and (most importantly)play ABC files. Right? Many thanks for the information. (the ability to play the ABC files is vital. I need to hear a tune before I can learn it)
  21. Will ForScore, Tunepal or Tunebook allow you to play your ABC files (ideally, with the ability to adjust the playback speed)?
  22. Would you please go into a bit of detail on what the problems were? Was it lack of quality in the materials, or machining, or assembly?
  23. There's another side to this that's worth a mention. I can go to Theo's website, look at his inventory, see exactly what he's selling, and next to the description is a price, the price is in black and white, and the price is the same for me or the 100 people who visit his website after me. I can do the same at Wakker's website, or Hobgoblin, or most other websites. The system is open and transparent. I'm not trying to pick on Chris at Barleycorn, but that's not the system he uses. If you email him you get a selection of instrument photos with prices attached. I assume basically the same thing happens if you visit. I have no idea if the price he's quoting me is the same price he quoted you last week. I have no idea if it's the same price he'll quote next week. I have no idea if the price he quotes when he has to deal with wire transfers and ship it halfway around the globe is the same price if you pick it up in person with a pocket full of cash. (Of course the flipside to this is that with Barleycorn's system it's more about the instrument and matching the instrument to the buyer, and the price is secondary, and there's a lot to be said for that, it's just that when the price is there in black and white it works to the benefit of both buyer and seller.) Again, I'm not saying Chris is anything but straight and honest, or that his prices differ from one customer to the next, my point is, which system is more likely to invite haggling and/or insultingly low offers? I suspect that the dealers who price their items clearly are rewarded with better behaved customers and deal with far less haggling than those who don't.
  24. Oh good, I thought I was the only one who couldn't do that. I can't figure it out either, and I'm on a Macintosh. It gets old having to print them in portrait and then flip them into landscape on the office copier. If anyone has a solution I would also love to hear it.
  25. That's an interesting way to put it. I have no doubt that an Edgley case (or any other quality brand) would easily survive a drop off a 5 story building, it's built like a bank vault. But what about the concertina inside? None of these cases have any padding to speak of. The Edgley has a very thin layer of foam covered with cloth and then hard foam corner blocks, and that seems to be typical. Wouldn't any shock the case suffers transfer directly through to the concertina? I'm not an engineer, and I have no idea about the physics involved, but the lack of padding really troubles me. It seems to me that the design standard should be to protect the instrument in case of a 4 foot (table or stage height) drop onto concrete. If that happens, an old suitcase with the concertina wrapped in some beach towels would seem to offer as much or more protection than any of the cases on the market. Don't you want some padding? Wouldn't 3 inches of foam all around offer better protection than even the best of the custom fitted cases? (Please understand, I'm not picking of Frank, Greg, or any of the custom case builders, and if there is a reason why a custom fitted but un-padded case is better, I'm all ears.)
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