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Posts posted by LR71

  1. Ah, no low Bb, that'd be missed as well.  Maybe some new reeds could be made to fill in these gaps - I wouldn't want to retune the originals. By the time you're done it might cost as much as a 30 key Jeffries in the first place, of course...thanks for all the details! 


  2. I have my eye on an antique 26 key, and while I wouldn't much miss the low E/F and could live with just pull C# but not push, I'd kinda miss the 3rd octave d note, and definitely the middle G#/Bb.  Would it be possible to add these notes - are there empty reed pans in there which could be put to use?  Or would you need to build a new pan - which would probably mean you'd just as well buy a 30 key instrument and call it good.


    For that 3rd octave d you could always retune the 3rd octave e, too.  There aren't really any solutions that come to mind for the missing G#/Bb.  Well, assuming those notes are missing in the first place - I'm actually not sure.

  3. That first side was reissued by Rounder back in the 90s, sans the wall of needle scratches.  The other one I have too.  Other sides I found at the Comhaltas Archives, with their irritating little meep meep audio watermarks.  


    It'd be great to have the booklet of course, but mostly I just want to hear him play, and this music is about as out of copyright as can be.

  4. I play Irish music on the anglo, and started out resting the base of my palms on the top of the rests, which are about 1" or 25mm high.  Felt perfectly comfortable.  A friend remarked the other day about how loose my straps were though, whereas his were much tighter; I don't think my hands are all that larger than the norm, and this got me to thinking that maybe my hands shouldn't be pushed through quite so far.  Thus I gave resting the base of my palms against the edge of the concertina a try, instead of against the rest, and suddenly my fingers felt a lot more free to hit the G row buttons; before I'd had to arch over a lot to get there.  It's a thousand times easier to work the F#, play in the lower range, play above D.  It's still easy to get to the accidentals row if need be, too.  


    "Palm rest" thus is perhaps a bit of a misnomer.  The palm is just another word for the underside of the hand; which part are we talking about?  Having a tall rest I think threw me off the trail of what to do.  It isn't getting in the way of how I hold the instrument now though.  The more typical dinky rest would force you to push against the edges - right? For more evidence I went looking for videos of good players showing this, and found this super clear shot of Mary MacNamara.  




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  5. I don't tighten the straps much, either, it just isn't necessary.  I still found it awkward to hit that one button on the Morse.  Some other buttons might have been easier to get at, I didn't play it too much really.


    The friend who I swapped instruments with just acquired her own Kensington, which I got to play last night.  It was interesting how it had its own personality; mine is 6 folds and hers 7, mine seems perhaps the tiniest bit brighter.  Hers sounded great in its own right.

  6. I trust these are representative of instruments from any era - it was really difficult to find end-on photos of the RH side.  Now, the Wheatstone looks quite close to geometric - you can draw lines through rows of 3 buttons' middles.  The Jeffries looks much more deliberately offset; perhaps the C and G rows match the Wheatstone design, but the accidentals row is offset.  In fact, the groups of buttons almost look like equilateral triangles on the Wheatstone, and isosceles on the Jeffries.  It would be interesting to hear from builders about this, as well as hearing more opinions from players. 

  7. 7 hours ago, Ken_Coles said:

    A Morse has the rake of a Lachenal: as you go from, say the first button in row 1 to the one in row 2 and then row 3, that third button is still to the left of the 2nd button down in the first row. On instruments that follow a Jeffries rake, that 3rd row 1st button lines up with the  2nd button in the first row.


    Jeffries Anglo Concertina.jpg

    Wheatstone Linota Anglo Concertina.jpg

  8. Ah, I figured there was some term for this I just hadn't stumbled across.  Lots of mentions here.  It's mentioned in various threads here over the years.  I'll read up later.  Do you find the Kensington comfortable to play?  Mine feels perfect; there are things I wonder about - playing some runs in the bass like DBA is tricky for me to do without inadvertently sounding some notes in the third row, but maybe that's just something I need to keep practicing at.

  9. I swapped my Kensington for a friend's Morse for a week recently.  One thing I do a lot is use the pull high g  on the RH 3rd row - it's great for a roll, the graces are a very musical d and a - or to mix it up phrasing-wise; or to just get a stronger tone - in general if I have a choice between pushing or pulling I'll pull, unless it screws up the playing itself, of course.  Sometimes it just has to be that push g on the RH g row.  


    In fact, from the dribs and drabs of info about how people actually play Irish music on these things that I've been able to gather, it seems like using that push g is standard practice.


    Anyway, back to this Morse - I noticed right off the bat that the pull g was seemingly placed about half a button's width to the left of where I expected it to be, making it pretty much impossible to use, one of various things I wasn't nuts about - I really hate the Wheatstone layout making me push all the C#s!  Or reverting back to accordion reeds.  Accept no substitute!  It was easy to play though, and had a nice sound in its own way.


    A friend with a Carroll mentioned something about this after I described it - it's a fluke of the design, somehow.  Maybe it was this business of handrest placement she meant - would having the buttons closer make it tricky to get to that button?  Maybe my having to use the middle finger for it is what's throwing me - the original customers of these instruments perhaps weren't so adamant about that.


    I wonder if, assuming this business of using the push g almost exclusively is true, if it's a byproduct of this aspect of the Wheatstone design - that if playing pull g on old instruments was uncomfortable, then it wasn't used widely.  Assuming old Wheatstones etc are really like this Morse.  

  10. I tried right side on right leg for a while, too.  Worked OK, and after a bit I was surprised that I could switch to the other side without it being a complete disaster.  But when I began to stick to left side on left leg it really helped with making things feel more solid/anchored, especially that pesky F#, or the low notes.  


    Watching a lot of videos I see varying degrees of movement on the left side.  Noel indeed doesn't seem to move it around much, although as leaky as his instruments are a bit seems to happen no matter what he wants.  Mairéad Hurley looks like she keeps things rock solid, too.  But Brenda Castle or Micheál Ó Raghallaigh seem to be shoving it around a bit.  Maybe it's just those "thump" rolls, or whatever they're called.

  11. I think I've read about Edel keeping an end on each leg; I tried that at first but gave up eventually.  I'm still keeping the left end on the left leg, though, to the best of my ability anyway, but just feeling free to squeeze things together here and there makes such a difference.  Watching videos of a few players I do see them occasionally shifting, or perhaps pushing the stable side.

  12. I've read a few quotes here and elsewhere along these lines:



    Its hard to explain in writing Noel's emphasis on rhythm and lift, he'll talk about the right hand as the bow and the sheer physicalness of playing the instrument.



    I believe Noel's idea is to make the right hand act like the bowing hand of most fiddlers.

    That one continues:


    Both Noel and Wally do a wonderful job with fast reels, which demands good technique. (In contrast, John Williams with a melodeon background but certainly a formidable concertina player, has a different bellows orientation.)

    I wasn't sure what that meant - maybe it had to do with how John drapes the bellows across his left leg.  


    Not at all, it turns out - on his DVD he talks about restricting yourself to using just one arm to push/pull as a serious error committed by button box players trying the concertina.  Coming from the box and not knowing any better, and reading quotes like these, I figured there wasn't any point in using both arms, that the correct approach was one sided, like the fiddle.  But I recently picked up a copy of John's DVD, and gave a try at powering things from both sides, and what do you know - it's like I'm suddenly twice as strong; and have that much more control over what I'm playing, too.


    Is this explained in other tutors, or just glossed over?  It's by far the most important tip I've ever gotten for playing these things.  Does Noel - or other good musicians - really play like that?

  13. I learned that tune - or something very like it - a long time ago, from a tape of the famous fiddler Larry Redican.  I noticed the Riches of Clare musicians playing it too, and wondered if it's the same.  Recording in question.  It's 48 seconds long, and he goes into a 3rd part which is cut short.  That's all I know, hope this is of interest.

  14. 17 hours ago, Chris Ghent said:

    In the end I put an extra reversed F/E button on the right hand side at the top of the C row. (F because I already have a low F# on the push instead of one of the RHS D#s.)


    At the top?  Where there's usually e'''/b''?  I use that high B all the time, myself; but then I play with the right hand side on my right leg, the opposite of the usual.  When I hold it in the conventional manner it's a lot harder to get the leverage to press the highest buttons, I notice.  How did you manage to fit in a low octave reed on the right hand side?  Thinking back on the pics I've seen of reed pans that doesn't seem so far fetched.  It's a bit odd to think of such a low note coming out of what's supposed to be the highest button though, like the accidental buttons on quint accordions, if you know about those - what you'd think would be the very lowest notes in the range actually supply semitones.  Some of those boxes have notes at the very highest end retuned to something more useful to modern players, too.



    The reason some roll/crans are easier to make sound crisp on the pull is the pad is being sucked shut. On the push it is having to rely on spring pressure against the air flow and the result is less precise.


    I never heard that explanation.  I always chalked it up to just finding the pull easier to apply pressure to.  My accordion tuner has clients who play Mexican music, norteno/conjunto etc., and he says their big thing is playing big long strings of notes on the pull, constantly breaking reeds in the process.

  15. OK, I updated the chart, thanks for all the extra info.  The average price is $5,071.89, fwiw.  That includes a price from 7 years ago which is no doubt old, skewing the results.  OK, I updated the chart, thanks for all the extra info.  The average price is $5,071.89, fwiw.  That includes a price from 7 years ago which is no doubt old, skewing the results.  

  16. Thanks, interesting.  Hadn't thought of sacrificing the D#; kind of like having it there for certain tunes, really.  King of the Fairies, Pride of Petravore, Dunmore Lassies, etc.  Playing E with the thumb seems a better fit too, as one thing I'd like to be able to do is play GFED in one direction if so desired; using the middle digit on the outer row seems like it might really tie you up in knots.  Maybe I'll try that later with the D# and try to ignore what it sounds like...I can see how having a pull F# would let you play that all on the push too, that's good thinking.


    Other thing I'd like pull E for is rolling or cranning.  Pigeon on the Gate, Drowsie Maggie, Ashplant, yes.  I always pull these if I have a choice, it just sounds stronger.   You could alternate E2BE etc without changing bellows direction, and have the option of doing so to mix things up.  The Anglo definitely has no end of possibilities here.

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