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English Concertina Finger Position?


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I began playing the English Concertina (EC) in 1987 using three tutor books (Salvation Army 1935, Butler 1976 and Carlin 1977), I also had Anderson’s LP and acquired a copy of his book (1974) a few years later from an EC player from New Zealand who was visiting (holidaying in?) Townsville. I did find that there were sometimes conflicting advice on certain aspects of playing in these tutors, and learning “in isolation”, I often adopted the method which I found easiest at the time. Unfortunately I fell into the habit of using the same finger for repeated notes. In Irish music, this is not too bad since one can play ornaments e.g. long roll (in jigs):




but I know I should learn play repeated notes using 2 fingers, especially since I now have the book by Atlas (2003) which provides a good exercise on repeated notes:


Old dogs, new tricks and ne'er the twain shall meet?
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Poaceae that sandwitch made me hungry! :P


I'm sure it's pre-conception on my part, but I am not very satisfied with my use of the technique on Irish tunes (again, the old dog and trick bit). Material from another tradition...who's ta' know! The guitarist in my Whatzit band sings a Merle Haggard song (in D, but I don't know the name), I've been using technique a lot on it (very bluesy) B) .


Control is a problem for me. I've started bringing the fingers together so that there is just the least bit of friction between them. Seems to help as it's now beginning to be possible to achieve the same rate of repeat speed with both hands.


Bruce, I'm wearing that CD out and agree almost every cut is wonderful. I've just gotten the first tune on cut 5 under my fingers at speed..Highlands. Much fun. I would love to see him perform live.

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  • 1 year later...

Bruce Boysen, why he hasn't posted here in a month a' Sundays. You out there Bruce? I got to play your old Morse #77 (in fine shape tis' too). Its new owner, Greenferry hasn't posted here in more than a month. :(


I'm very childish and crabby when reminded folks association I've dearly enjoyed (like Stephen C. and our dear Helen) just vanish. Ain't fittin'...ain't fittin a' tal'.


P.S. Thank you for the advice Dick, but I think I'll just plod along on two fingers. Seems ta' work for my limited use and ability.

Edited by Mark Evans
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