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Jeff Loen

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About Jeff Loen

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    Seattle, WA
  1. My wife already calls it a "constant screamer". It doesn't need to be louder.
  2. Take a tip from Noel Hill and keep it in a plastic bag inside the case. You won't need to use a humidifier (which can drip, and dries out too quickly in really dry conditions).
  3. Jake, thanks for answering my question. Clearly you have put a lot of thought into this. It is nice to see another nice choice in what has been a rather limited marketplace for concertinas. Best of luck!
  4. Jake, please tell us about the reeds used in your concertinas. The reed pan design looks a bit different. Thanks.
  5. Yes, what are your objectives? Learning tunes? There are many opportunities for that. Developing a logical understanding of the instrument so that you can play anything that you want? Good luck (at least, I haven't been able to find that).
  6. Ergonomics aside, I think there are good acoustical reasons to focus on the weights of musical instruments. I did a survey of weights of fine violins, violas, cellos and found that the ones favored by the best musicians were within a narrow range of weights. Yes, I know concertinas are different. Or are they? Perhaps decide after we collect and analyze the data. Sometimes the most amazing things fall out of a good database.
  7. Patrick, I think you are on the right track. When a note is played, the interaction with nearby materials and the air chamber can lead to three possible outcomes; subtraction, no change, or addition. Simple physics. In the better instruments, I think that things are designed so that frequencies add, giving louder, deeper sound. Advances in understanding string instruments began to be made 40-50 years ago when resonance modes were measured and adjusted for the best response for the central register of the instrument (ie center two strings of the violin). Basic modes that were found to be important for the violin are air resonance frequency and a number of wood resonance frequencies. This is a good place to start with the concertina, since we are also hearing air and wood resonances. I think that we're nowhere nearing understanding how resonance of materials and air volumes affects concertinas. Systematic work like that described by wayman is needed.
  8. I specifically asked Noel about this on a certain tune that he taught us and he said not to worry about it on slow tunes.
  9. "results of strange research from most obscure sources" That's a strange thing to say in this case. The researchers are highly qualified and respected. They include Mr Curtin, a talented maker and MacArthur "genius" award winner. In fact, similar results of blind tests of violins have been done many times over many decades. For those of us in the string instrument profession, this is no surprise at all. What it tells you is that some new instruments are really excellent, and they are bargains compared to the prices of vintage instruments. Many soloists know this and actually play an antiqued modern copy of their Old Italian Master instrument on stage. Many of the best makers have more work than they can do, making accurate new copies for high-powered players. The sad thing is that the media won't cover these results they way they cover the "Strad's secrets" sort of stories that come out periodically.
  10. I have experience with other instruments in which metronomes are usually used for practice, so I started using one for anglo concertina. At a popular concertina school, I diligently practiced the day's tune using a metronome, and got it down pretty well. But as soon as I started performing for the teacher I was admonished for sounding "mechanical". When I said that I had practiced to a metronome I was told that was not a good idea and that you should play naturally. He added that he always declined to use the metronome tracks that are provided during recording sessions. I was pretty dumbfounded by this, but who am I to argue with a leading player/teacher? He really left no wriggle room here. He just said put the damn thing away.
  11. I can add some input here. The most common and cheapest household source of zeolite minerals is kitty litter. No need to buy special zeolite products. These minerals are very good at absorbing strong smells, however, application in a concertina might introduce a lot of dust particles that could be hard to remove. I've used an ozone generator for the purpose of darkening wood. It's easy to make a generator using an old transformer from commercial neon lights. Then adjust two wires to almost touch and hence create an electric arc. I put it in a closed aquarium, along with the wood, arcing like crazy for about 10 minutes. Don't look at the spark, or breathe the gas!! Wood gets tanned to the color of a brown paper bag. I don't know if it helps eliminate odors--it might, but it will cause physical changes including darkening as well. However these methods seem to me (an owner of several stinky concertinas) to be unnecessary. A thorough manual cleaning generally solves the problem.
  12. Looks good. The method works even better with hot hide glue, which can be mixed very thin. Easy to clean up with warm water as well. Hide glue might be preferred for wooden ends because it dries hard and strong and is completely reversible. Although injecting any sort of glue won't work if the joint is poor. If the joint is not good, you need to fix the joint.
  13. This happened to me today. I bought a concertina from the UK and paid for express shipping. Watching the tracking ledger, it crossed the pond three times because of "insufficient description". Even then an exception was issued, demanding additional description. So I phoned UPS and said that a concertina is a "small accordion". Today I got a phone message from a southern lady in Kentucky, thanking me for clarifying what the item was, and that it had been released for delivery. Seems to me like people are dumber than ever in today's "information age".
  14. Obviously replacement buttons are difficult to find. What about turning a new button on a small wood lathe? Looks pretty simple. Then drill holes, join them, and lengthen them using a rat tail file. Could use plain maple or boxwood. I have also turned corian (synthetic countertop material). Turning white plastic should be possible, and stock is available from Tap plastic stores. Wood might have a slightly different feel than the original (perhaps nicer than plastic?). Just a thought. Jeff (who likes to make pens on a small wood lathe)
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