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Pistachio Dreamer

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Everything posted by Pistachio Dreamer

  1. I agree with that. I'm sure you and your neighbour make a wonderful duo. I think classical/folk musicians have a lot to offer each other. That is also my favourite Bach suite, if it's the one in Eb major that you meant?! I think your neighbour might have transposed it to a more concertina friendly key perhaps? I would love to hear it on the concertina.
  2. Glad to hear it. Usually that means the pads/bellows/gaskets have been intact for long enough to protect them, as then the air within the instrument is sealed off to the outside. Good luck with your restoration, you certainly have your work cut out!
  3. Amongst the various things I dabble with (concertina making etc.) I also compose a little when I have the inspiration to. I've long been interested in adding to the concertina repertoire and think it could hold its own in an orchestral setting, and I know there are some concerti written already. With that in mind about 6 years ago I started sketching for a concertina concerto, and now have a first movement of sorts. If you are interested you can hear it in robot orchestra form here: https://pistachiodreamer.bandcamp.com/ The concertina sound is provided by the midi harmonica patch, which is probably the closest equivalent but I am aware it is a pale comparison to the concertina! It started with the opening power chords, which sit really well under the C/G anglo fingering. I definitely can't play it all yet, it gets pretty virtuosic towards the end, but is feasible in principal. I belong to a local amateur orchestra, as a cellist, so might try and give it a go in the future. Hopefully by the time I learn it we'll be rehearsing again. I'm well aware this won't be everyone's cup of tea, I'd describe my style as classical/post minimalist. I sometimes use folk elements, but there's not any folk influence to speak of in this particular piece. I'm interested in writing for different instruments for different movements, e.g. I might write the second movement for a G/D. I would be interested in any feedback, however critical, and your thoughts on the concertina in an orchestral setting.
  4. if the casework is in this sort of condition, how are the reeds?
  5. When I first started messing around with concertinas I bought a few of these, and for my first scratch built instruments I cut the reeds from the combined reed plates to mount individually as per a modern hybrid. The reeds are so small I managed to get a 30k in the same size box as the 20k you've spotted there. You can then build a traditional action around it and nice bellows. Possibly a waste of time but it got me started anyway!
  6. There were a lot of these cheap imitations made, though I've not seen the slightly smaller size. It makes sense given the reeds on shared plates don't take up a lot of space. Four end screws and the button angle and material are the giveaways, along with the leather tooling in this case too. This will definitely be prettier on the outside. Since the insides are somewhat important for the function as an instrument, in my opinion it's overpriced, and it's likely to be in a strange key and not at concert pitch. You may be able to get a restored 20k Lachenal with brass reeds for a similar sum, which would sound and play a whole lot better, but it is cute and collectable nonetheless.
  7. I've got a very similar issue by the sounds of it. I've used the furniture clinic for wood restoration before and their products were very good, though haven't tried the leather products yet. I was thinking of buying a repair kit - https://www.furnitureclinic.co.uk/leather-care-products/leather-repair has anyone had any experience with using leather fillers on concertina bellows?
  8. Hi All, I'm thinking of selling a 1940s Crabb, 30K anglo, metal ends. Currently it has all black leather bellows, no tooling. Two questions, does anyone have thoughts on whether vintage instruments sell better with the bling factor of bellows papers, and if so what would be an appropriate style for a Crabb? I'm minded to sell as is, though I have had an experience where I have sold a restored instrument on ebay, only for the buyer to add papers and sell it for considerably more (than it was worth, in my opinion!). Thanks, Paul.
  9. I don't think you will really know for sure until you try it. Two ideas for a less expensive prototype so you could try it before committing to an expensive traditional reed re-build: 1. Convert a duet, the lachenals aren't too pricey for the number of reeds they contain. I'm aware this was done quite frequently with particularly Jeffries duets to anglos, so whilst I've not tried myself to appreciate the possibilities, I would have thought the same principals should apply here. It might be an octave up of course. 2. Cobble together an accordion reeded version out of cannibalised parts. Who on earth keeps old bits of concertinas lying around? Answer, a large percentage of people on this forum, if we're being honest. For both options there might be ways to allow for further tinkering and reed swapping before settling on a favourite. The chart reminds me of as simple anglo I made for a gentlemen who didn't like the way the notes at the extreme ends of the instruments didn't follow on logically from the pattern in the middle, so his had the scale pattern simply continuing more like a melodeon, and I recall the resulting chords along the rows were rather interesting sounding, which wasn't a problem for single line tune playing of course.
  10. A stagi bass, given the size, poorly located so as to avoid being impaled by darts thrown by drunk pirates?
  11. Gosh, my ears have been burning! Thanks to Sunbeamer's post I was given the impetus to log back in, I've been very neglectful. Couple of points in reply to the interest shown above 1. I've got a two year waiting list due to slow turnaround rather than anything else, as making concertinas isn't my full time job, however I do have a couple of commissions in the pipeline at the moment. 2. I haven't made over a hundred concertinas, I'm just going to end up having a cryptic numbering system a la Jeffries (well, I won't be emulating the sound anytime soon). I've actually made 6 for other people, other than my own experiments, all hybrids. I'm hoping to develop a new "hybrid reed", a discussion I may start elsewhere in the forum. Plus I've settled on "Flying Duck Concertinas" as a name, as I don't only do Vegan instruments. I live near ponds. Thanks for adding me, and thanks to Sunbeamer for showing off his new concertina, it was a pleasure to make. I should mention that the bellows are by the extremely talented Peter O'Connor. Paul. website: www.flyingduckconcertinas.co.uk
  12. Thanks all for your lovely and encouraging comments. Nicx66 the birch bark is a great idea, I am planning some not necessarily vegan, but more "natural" instruments that this would work well with. Also thanks for making an old post hot again with your mis-post! Jake of Hertford, thanks for your interest, I've applied to join your fb group if its still active. Bellows fabric is made with a layer of cleaning cloth, skived to nothing with the addition of "iron on" interfacing material and a coat of heavy body acrylic and acrylic medium mix. The resulting sections are much harder to stick than leather (to put it lightly!) but function well. The problem with synthetic chamois (PVA cloth) is that it becomes quite rigid when dry, so you need to really work the folds in, which has worked in this case. The latex coated cloths are probably a better bet as they remain supple when dry. In both cases, I've found that the synthetic bellows are momentarily stiff when taking the instrument out from cold, but loosen up well within a few minutes of playing. Just found this from french speaking canada, accordion equivalent perhaps, looks nice- http://www.eco-rdeon.veganquebec.net/wonder if they have the same issues with synthetic fabric bellows Mike Franch, I think you asked me this before - short answer this time is I'll try and make an English if someone asks me too I may well be making a Hayden for someone at some point too! Production? Pass, would have to give up the day job! Stephen Chambers, interesting you bring up the rexine example, my first attempt at these bellows were weak at the valleys, I had only used the interface without the cloth as was concerned it would be overall too inflexible. This time I worked out a method of using the full ply, and used a clamp with an embedded plastic wire to "bed in " a good fold in the otherwise too thick material. The nice thing about these bellows over leather is that if you get in a gluey mess (as I did on occasion) you can just wipe them down and put another coat of paint on! ..and thanks CG!
  13. Hi All, In response to this post I was asked if I would make a vegan concertina as a first instrument for someone. So, almost two years later here it is. It uses some old Italian reeds from a 30s accordion, retuned to concertina tuning, which was not actually as difficult as I thought it would be. I have Nigel Sture to thank for this suggestion, and it is a vast improvement on the little German reeds I used previously. I might graduate to new handmade reeds eventually, but at the equivalent of about a tenner for the set you can't really argue with the odd one that might have seen better days. It's more responsive and nicer to play than a Stagi starter, and much louder than my 40s Crabb, which was verified at a session last week where I sat between a whistle and a castagnari! The previous one was vegetarian, but only due to the wool felt and beeswax finish, which were easily substituted. The bellows fabric here is also different, I used a synthetic chamois as an experiment, which has made for very strong bellows and a good finish, but not quite as supple as the latex impregnated cloth used previously. Still it's good to have a non-latex alternative for those with that allergy. The wood is holm oak which I have stained slightly darker, the internals are sycamore, a good uk alternative to maple for a nice bright sound. Fretwork design is my own, based on the wych elm leaf (I have some wych elm ones in the pipeline). As always, thanks Bob for sharing with me and many others your exquisite skills and insight. First video here, hope to do some better ones soon: https://youtu.be/UIRHSFvjDwQmore photos here: http://pistachiodreamer.tumblr.com
  14. Hi All, I don't suppose anyone is interested in a couple of tickets to see "The Gloaming" in Liverpool on 2nd November? No concertinas, probably, but a great bunch of performers. Message me for more info.
  15. Hi Ross, Many thanks for clarifying the distinction between ivory/bone. In my cynicism I thought the descriptions of "bone buttons" was a euphenism designed to go under the radar of auction selling regs! It does certainly make sense now I think about it that the vast majority would be using bone from less exotic sources. Interesting story about the POWs.
  16. Hi Jake, Thanks for your nice words. The inserts are M2, and yes very hard to find. At this size they are made to be fitted in plastic not wood, so are most commonly found with studded/gnurled sides for friction/heat fixing. I did manage to find a screw-in version, again a very fine thread for plastic fitting, but works fine in hardwood if a little care is taken. The ebay seller is here (http://stores.ebay.co.uk/InsertsDirect-com-Ltd/_i.html?_nkw=m2&submit=Search&_sid=671871966) but I notice they don't have the threaded type any more. If I were to use the non threaded version I would knock them into a slightly undersized hole with a bit of superglue, and be careful to not overtighten the bolts. I'll have to post a video of its owner playing it, hands don't fit in the straps any more, and as you can see with my acme hand strap fixing prototype, quick adjustment is a bit of a fiddle!
  17. And surely throwing away the animal bits is so much more of a waste - I don't quite understand that mentality. Exception would be modern poached ivory etc., which I understand they have to burn so as not to perpetuate the trade. I think they used to make some high end concertinas with tortoiseshell ends, which to my eyes look quite tacky now, but back then must have been startling to behold. Maybe an alternate thread here - the most carnivorous concertina?
  18. Hi Mike, I'm an anglo player, so not as comfortable with the specifics of an EC yet -so none planned presently, but would not rule it out in the future.
  19. Fantastic story and inspiring maker, thanks for the link. I managed to save a few chunks of an impressive old yew tree that used to stand outside my girlfriend's family home until it was felled recently. It does feel good to have a personal connection with the materials you work with.
  20. Hi all, About a year ago I was commissioned to make a concertina by a friend of excellent taste, with the brief being to make it as eco/"green"/sustainable as possible, and totally veggie. I've always thought that the traditional concertinas, as very much a product of Victorian design, leave a lot to be desired in this respect; exotic hardwoods, ivory buttons, leather. All the more reason to restore and cherish them. I wouldn't say modern concertinas have bad green credentials in the slightest, but I don't see any instruments being made that specifically cater for the vegetarian, planet-conscious market, which I can only assume would be appealing to the folk music scene... Of course in achieving this there has to be compromises- and here it is, my scratch-built prototype eco concertina! Of course, huge credit goes to Bob Tedrow for his photo essay. For some more images and sound files see my tumblr blog: http://pistachiodreamer.tumblr.com/ here is the basic specification: Case, handrests and buttons: Sweet chestnut (native, reclaimed board), finished with Stones beeswax based polish. Internals and bellow frame: Native lime Hand straps: Hessian webbing with 2ply felt lining (undyed 100% merino wool) Bushings: undyed 100% merino wool felt. Bellows: 7 fold, with recycled card, linen tape, faux leather made with synthetic chamois, interfacing fabric and acrylic mediums. Straw and rhino-dung based recycled paper. Pads: Recycled board and synthetic chamois Lever arms, posts and rivets, all fixings: all brass Reeds: Butchered up from a variety of German instruments - mainly brass, with a few steel. 23 key in C/G (Lach style with the extra two accidentals in-line with the C-row, and an extra C/C drone on the left thumb.) If I were to do this again, which I hope to, I will look to improving the bellows materials and binding and using better reeds. It was great fun to make, a good learning experience, and materials-wise probably only cost about £100. It plays fine for a beginner's instrument, and the large bellows compensate for a little leakiness!
  21. Sounds very plausible, though I do still find it easier to hook my thumb round the end of the hand rest and into the dent than get my little finger anywhere near it, but my hands are large. As a budget model it would no doubt have been played by a young (and determined) student.
  22. It is the finger wear patterns that are reversed from the usual that caught my attention, and I think, as Ransom suggests, this shows that whoever played this instrument held it upside-down/backwards, using the little finger on the air button. The reeds are in their normal positions. The LH side wear pattern is mirrored but less pronounced. There's an account of someone playing in this manner reported in an article on the Crabb firm here: http://www.concertina.net/rd_crabb.html Never seen evidence of this peculiar technique before. Thanks for your replies!
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