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Recommendation For A Louder English Concertina


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While I don't doubt a tech solution might be found(someone posted here years ago about using small mics, an amplifier and ear buds) a low tech one you could try is as follows; avoid sessions on carpet, try to sit near a wall, wear a hat with a brim, incline your head forward and to the side.

 

A friend who backed Paddy Keenan (Irish pipes player) on a tour told me Paddy said the reason he wears a big hat is so he can hear himself better.

 

It also helps to have a concertina which produces enough upper partials to give it an edge to the sound. If it is completely comfortable to play loud in a kitchen with a hard floor it will probably not cut it in a loud session.

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4 or 5 years ago Chris Algar had an unusual Wheatstone English on that had holes, actually rather elaborate fretwork, cut into the sides of the ends of an otherwise undistinguished mid-range concertina. It looked like it was done at the factory. If not, it was professionally done by someone. By the time I decided I was interested, it was long gone, and I've searched through the Horniman Museum photos and can't find anything like it.

 

I'm wondering if this was an experiment to combat the problem of not hearing as well as the audience does? The side holes would project the sound up, and in theory would make it easier for the player to hear what he was playing.

 

Has anyone ever come across another instrument like this?

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I have come across a wooden ended Lachenal New Model Maccan with these 'monitor' slots (a smaller ?46 key model). They looked to have been factory made or professionally retro-cut. It had passed through several Liverpool marching bands so may always have been used as a band instrument. My recollection is that it was a pretty loud instrument and these slots didn't make a noticable difference in terms of directing sound up to the player (although I didn't have a unslotted reference instrument to compare it to).

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I have used a small portable guitar Amp to boost the sound of one concertina that just does not 'cut it' in a heavy session or in the dance band... purely so's I can hear it myself. The smallest unit I have is a Roland 'mini-cube', this will run on bateries and is the size and weight of a medium concertina, there is a plug for headphones too.

I've just been experimenting with a microphone app on my smartphone, but, apart from anything else, the latency is too great. I'm wondering if a minature battery-driven preamp would do the trick - something like this http://www.schattendesign.com/mini-pre.htm - but I don't know anything about audio/electronics.

 

Richard

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[[if it is completely comfortable to play loud in a kitchen with a hard floor it will probably not cut it in a loud session.]] i have a morse geordie tenor EC with a supposedly "brighter" TAM reed upgrade, that does not cut in a session. but it rings out fantastically in the house.

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I have used a small portable guitar Amp to boost the sound of one concertina that just does not 'cut it' in a heavy session or in the dance band... purely so's I can hear it myself. The smallest unit I have is a Roland 'mini-cube', this will run on bateries and is the size and weight of a medium concertina, there is a plug for headphones too.

I've just been experimenting with a microphone app on my smartphone, but, apart from anything else, the latency is too great. I'm wondering if a minature battery-driven preamp would do the trick - something like this http://www.schattendesign.com/mini-pre.htm - but I don't know anything about audio/electronics.

 

Richard

 

I'm not an electrical guy either but I thought that a pre-amp was a PRE thing that needs an AMP to complete the job....

 

Another avenue of research ; Many musicians use a special type of Ear Plug which cuts out the dangerous sounds but still allows them to hear and play... these are used in noisey situations, on stage , in Orchestras etc. I'm thinking that what happens at a loud session is that the other instruments get a direct line to the concertina player's ears and the sound of the concertina is sideways away from the player and perhaps being dampened by the body of the other players to each side. If these Ear Plugs can filter some of the noise which tends to overload one's senses it should be possible to hear the music coming from your lap.

Edited by Geoff Wooff
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I have used a small portable guitar Amp to boost the sound of one concertina that just does not 'cut it' in a heavy session or in the dance band... purely so's I can hear it myself. The smallest unit I have is a Roland 'mini-cube', this will run on bateries and is the size and weight of a medium concertina, there is a plug for headphones too.

I've just been experimenting with a microphone app on my smartphone, but, apart from anything else, the latency is too great. I'm wondering if a minature battery-driven preamp would do the trick - something like this http://www.schattendesign.com/mini-pre.htm - but I don't know anything about audio/electronics.

 

Richard

 

I not an electrical guy either but I thought that a pre-amp was a PRE thing that needs an AMP to complete the job....

 

Another avenue of research ; Many musicians use a special type of Ear Plug which cuts out the dangerous sounds but still allows them to hear and play... these are used in noisey situations, on stage , in Orchestras etc. I'm thinking that what happens at a loud session is that the other instruments get a direct line to the concertina player's ears and the sound of the concertina is sideways away from the player and perhaps being dampened by the body of the other players to each side. If these Ear Plugs can filter some of the noise which tends to overload one's senses it should be possible to hear the music coming from your lap.

 

 

Actually I have some 3M A.A.R. clear Earplugs which I carry all the time and use if I have to listen to amplified music. I've no idea whether they'd work as you've speculated, but I'll give them a try next time I'm in a session. I tried them at home in a quiet room. They seemed to cut out my concertina's higher frequencies. There are more expensive ones which have flat attenuation. I believe that means they reduce all frequency levels equally. What I really want are some that cut out melodeons and anglos but allow cranes to be heard!

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