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Rochelle 1.0, a novice's review

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what do you think of the placement of the air button? I find it difficult to reach.


Thanks, Ann


I can reach the burp button okay,

though a half inch further outboard would be ideal.

What bothers me is that when I press it

nothing much happens!

I am definitely going to double the size of the gasper.

I'm afraid I'll damage the bellows (or my pectorals!)

trying to gulp a bit of air during a speedy tune.


I'm not knocking the Rochelle, at all, at all.

I am loving the precision, the air-tightness,

and even the voice is growing on me.

But the more I like her

the more frustrated I am

to be wrestling with such an obvious

and easily-addressed (at the factory) handicap.


This is an instrument with a helluva lot of potential.

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One method of getting around the limited air is to modify your keying to use buttons with the opposite sense. For instance, there is a reversed G/A on the accidental row, or maybe swap between the B on the C row (pull) and G row (push). Obviously this can be limited by what you're doing in the way of accompaniment.


Wim Wakker responded to me on the subject a while back:



You can increase the air valve size on the Rochelle. In fact, the updated Rochelle (2011) will have a larger air valve.



Enlarge the hole to 15mm (max). use a 21or 22mm pad.

The larger hole will increase air pressure. You might need to update the spring (up to 90grams pressure).



Use any PVA glue (e.g. white wood glue).




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Thanks for the comments, Shas and Malcolm.


I'm not playing fast enough to consider air during speedy tunes. :-)


Because of the difficulty of reaching the air button I only use it when I have a suitable note on the left hand because I can't hit the air and a right-hand note at the same time. Fortunately (I guess) I don't need to use it much.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is "Bile Them Cabbage Down"

using both hands an octave apart,

to demonstrate the relative volume

of the two sides of the Rochelle.


Nothing fancy, just using Audacity

with my MacBook's built-in mic.


As you can hear,

the upper register is almost entirely hidden by the lower.


I'm using the bellows to break between notes

because in my first take the mic picked up the buttons,

making it sound like a musical type writer!

Bile Them Cabbage Down, 2 hands.mp3

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Congrats on your new Rochelle!! I have just received one in September and did not like the "gig bag" provided. I did get a Stagi hard case for it. It fits perfectly! It does cost about $70--at least it did for me. I got it at Jim Laabs Music in Wisconsin. I don't know if a hard Stagi case is available where you are. I got a couple of comments that people usually don't spend alot for a case for a approx $400 instrument. O, contrere!!! I feel my $400 investment is worth many years of enjoyment...and I don't want to waste that investment by having a case that is inferior...especially for traveling. It's one thing to have a safe spot for it at home, but I intend on taking mine to other places...possibly sessions if I can gain some speed! I hope you are able to find or make a good case for it. It's sooo totally worth it!


As far as getting used to the Rochelle, since this was my first concertina, I don't have any other habits or fingerings to unlearn. I guess with everything, just start slow...do your scales...which is good for every instrument to get used to the positions and sounds. The Irish Concertina book which I purchased, takes you though all the scales, so it's a good thing to learn!!


Good luck learning..have fun!!



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Thanks, Nancy.


For simple, incremental, and fun exercises

I am still very enthused about Alan Day's tutorial.

True, it's for a 20-button anglo,

but that's no doubt where we all start, eh>




I have several 'big name' tutorials now,

and Alan's is still my favourite.


Speaking of tutorials,

I don't have the tutorial that comes free with new Rochelles.

Does anyone have a not-being-used copy they'd like to sell cheap?



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