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Making yourself heard...

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So here's my dilemma I'm finding more and more I'm relying on melodeon or fiddle at sessions. As when I play concertina I can't hear myself so have no idea if I'm playing a note let alone a right one....and struggle to keep up speed-wise.

The speed I could probably work on (and I'd be faster if I didn't always try to play keeping on the right hand - but I just find it hard to swap to paying it in row even with the dots in front of me).

 

Any advice on hearing my playing in a session...and yes I try holding it up to my ear but that's uncomfortable and unsustainable. Is there anything 'style-wise' I can do with my playing to increase the volume?

 

Or will my concertina be relegated to playing only at home?

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I get the feeling that this is a problem with sessions -no one can hear themselves - so they play louder - surprise, surprise - no one can hear themselves so they play louder still ad infinitum.

I suspect that you need to be very sure of what sound comes out of each button so that you still play the right notes even tho' you don't actually hear them yourself.

In some group/band situations players are asked not to play loudly as the overall group sound is the thing that matters - not who is loudest or fastest. This is why I don't play in sessions - can't stand the speed/volume race

chris

 

 

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I get the feeling that this is a problem with sessions -no one can hear themselves - so they play louder - surprise, surprise - no one can hear themselves so they play louder still ad infinitum.

I find the fiddle is best coz it is right by your ear...so you don't have to play too loudly to hear yourself....

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Common problem, the person next to you hears the concertina better than you since the sound blows out both ends so they naturally try to play louder to hear themselves. You can try sitting next to a rhythm or percussion instrument so you can hear your melody better, but whatever you do, NEVER sit next to another concertina player - you hear them louder than yourself, and if they make a mistake, you correct, you've now made a mistake, they correct, and then it just spirals downward from there endangering the entire time/space continuum!

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Common problem, the person next to you hears the concertina better than you since the sound blows out both ends so they naturally try to play louder to hear themselves. You can try sitting next to a rhythm or percussion instrument so you can hear your melody better, but whatever you do, NEVER sit next to another concertina player - you hear them louder than yourself, and if they make a mistake, you correct, you've now made a mistake, they correct, and then it just spirals downward from there endangering the entire time/space continuum!

 

So right - :lol:

And fiddlers can hear themselves very well - but I'm not sure they can hear everyone else sometimes!

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So here's my dilemma I'm finding more and more I'm relying on melodeon or fiddle at sessions. As when I play concertina I can't hear myself so have no idea if I'm playing a note let alone a right one....and struggle to keep up speed-wise.

The speed I could probably work on (and I'd be faster if I didn't always try to play keeping on the right hand - but I just find it hard to swap to paying it in row even with the dots in front of me).

 

Any advice on hearing my playing in a session...and yes I try holding it up to my ear but that's uncomfortable and unsustainable. Is there anything 'style-wise' I can do with my playing to increase the volume?

 

Or will my concertina be relegated to playing only at home?

Try to get a seat in a corner.

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So here's my dilemma I'm finding more and more I'm relying on melodeon or fiddle at sessions. As when I play concertina I can't hear myself so have no idea if I'm playing a note let alone a right one....and struggle to keep up speed-wise.

The speed I could probably work on (and I'd be faster if I didn't always try to play keeping on the right hand - but I just find it hard to swap to paying it in row even with the dots in front of me).

 

Any advice on hearing my playing in a session...and yes I try holding it up to my ear but that's uncomfortable and unsustainable. Is there anything 'style-wise' I can do with my playing to increase the volume?

 

Or will my concertina be relegated to playing only at home?

Try to get a seat in a corner.

 

That'a a good point, I very occasionally get sat in an end seat next to a wooden wall and am always amazed by suddenly being able to hear myself (or one hand at least of my EC!) The worst case is my quiet wooden EC between two metal ended wheatstones ..... at that point usually reckon if I can hear myself, its because I'm playing something different (wrong) and I try to see if I can seamlessly blend with the other 2. I think you can also sometimes tell when you're right by the feel through your fingertips, a clash in notes feels wrong.

 

Chris

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I do not know what type of concertina you are playing LDT, but for myself I searched for many years to find one that I can hear even in noisy situations. Now I have found one, yes it has metal ends, yes it can be played quite loudly when needed but it is something else, in the tone, which gives it a 'presence' even when played at 'normal' volume. This allows me to hear myself (hear my mistakes too) and the other musicians can hear it with out it shouting at them.

 

I also find that one Ear is better than the other, maybe this is the same for many people, so I try to position myself so that I don't get a loud instrument blasting into my good ear.

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Maybe some kind of concertina ear trumpet is needed? ;)

 

I play Anglo concertina Geoff.

Edited by LDT

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Maybe some kind of concertina ear trumpet is needed? ;

 

 

ERRRRHHHHH, what d'you say???? :unsure:

 

A Clarinetist, who plays with us sometimes, uses special ear plugs that allow him to hear perfectly well but with the very loud sounds filtred out. He says it is normal practice with professional band players.... Proffessionnnallll... wow that would be nice, I mean actually getting paid to play ! Mind you, not all Gig's are enjoyable and some are plain hard work.

 

I did use a personal amplifier (type used by guitarists) with two microphones stuck to each end of my Concertina. On stage the sound man would say " but don't you want to plug into the system?" err, no this is just so's I can hear myself.

 

With my 'new' magic box, bought from one of the members here, I have dispensed with the extra/elecricals

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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I've got two very loud anglos and I still sometimes strain to hear. i end up with a poorer than normal perch with leg crossed to lift the concertina a few inches closer to my ears. Last week I noticed I was getting a sore neck and realized I had turned my head to the right with left ear close to the box. My neck was stiff the next day.

 

I wondered about some of those inexpensive hearing boosters, but you'd have to buy two.

 

Best solution is to sit in the corner, but then you are trapped in the corner.

 

Mike

San Rafael, California

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Try sitting at a different height, if possible. Many years ago, down at Sidmouth festival, I ended up on a bar stool; so above most of the 'noise'. Perched on the edge of a (covered) pool table was also good.

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Perched on the edge of a (covered) pool table was also good.

Amusing mental image now of you perched on the edge of a pool table...as long as no one wants to play a game of pool. ;)

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My hearing is very poor, which means the noise of a session easily overwhelms whatever I'm playing, so I sympathize. However, for some reason, my Edgley GD I can just manage to hear, even though I hold it further away from my ears than my big ol' melodeon. As Geoff noted, sometimes one particular instrument works better for one's ears than another, although I don't know how you'd go shopping for such a beast. It seems to be up to luck, perhaps.

 

Years ago a friend of mine used to wear a big, wide brimmed hat to old-time jams. She said it helped her hear herself. It sounds silly, but for a lady especially, it might worth a try. She put flowers on it, too, and got compliments for that.

 

--George

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My hearing is very poor, which means the noise of a session easily overwhelms whatever I'm playing, so I sympathize. However, for some reason, my Edgley GD I can just manage to hear, even though I hold it further away from my ears than my big ol' melodeon. As Geoff noted, sometimes one particular instrument works better for one's ears than another, although I don't know how you'd go shopping for such a beast. It seems to be up to luck, perhaps.

 

Years ago a friend of mine used to wear a big, wide brimmed hat to old-time jams. She said it helped her hear herself. It sounds silly, but for a lady especially, it might worth a try. She put flowers on it, too, and got compliments for that.

 

--George

 

Would it not go some way to solve this apparent problem if all participants in a 'session' were to discipline themselves to reduced the volume at which they perform, if only out of politeness to one another ? The same problem is all too apparent in primary school play-grounds !

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Would it not go some way to solve this apparent problem if all participants in a 'session' were to discipline themselves to reduced the volume at which they perform, if only out of politeness to one another ? The same problem is all too apparent in primary school play-grounds !

 

 

This is a good point Rod,

however, some instruments do not have much,or any, dynamic range and thus unlike a concertina cannot be quietened. Other instruments are just already very loud, in comparison, at their minimum volume.

If we all played at a loudness level that allowed us each to hear every other person in the group/session then that would be as close to a perfect situation as possible.

 

The 'hat' idea is a good one, I might try that.

 

Regarding going shopping for that instrument which suits the situation, this can be difficult. For my own part I have had a lot of concertinas through my hands over the years especially during a period when I used to repair them. The memory of the sound of certain instruments and remembering the technical details of these did help me when selecting what I needed.I knew exactly what I wanted and spent 35 years trying to find one.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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Considering that the one pictured in the bottom right corner is mine, I suppose I ought to comment. While I do not do much session playing, when I do, I can hear myself play.

 

Alan

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