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Ollie
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Hi all,

 

Just thought I'd do a little introductory post introducing myself as I'm new round here.

 

My name is Ollie King, some of you may know me from melodeon.net where I am relatively active. I'm a melodeon player by trade (see my website www.olliekingmusic.com for the sort of thing I do), so I'm not new the world of free-reed, but the concertina is still a slightly alien instrument.

 

Back in March, I started work as the free-reed specialist at Hobgoblin Music in Leeds. After settling in, I thought I'd better learn how to demonstrate all the instruments in my department, and started with the concertinas. Anglo came naturally, as you'd expect, but I must admit that I still cannot get a tune out of an English; my brain isn't wired that way, and I find it quite uncomfortable. I approached the duet (we had two Maccanns in at the time) with trepidation. I'd heard a lot about how bizarre the system was, and after my failure with the English, I didn't hold much hope! However, after a few frustrating hours, something clicked, and I knew that the Maccann was the system for me. For the next few months, I spent most of my free moments in the shop playing the 62 key Aeola that we had in. Unfortunately, the owner took the instrument off commission, and I was bereft of an instrument. Thankfully, the wonderful Mike Wild came to the rescue and loaned me his small Lachenal for me to continue to mess around on. I am now reasonably proficient in home keys, although my left hand needs a little work.

 

Yesterday, I made the trip over to Cleckheaton to The Music Room to have a look at their duets, with the view of coming away with one as an early 21st birthday present. I spent a few hours deliberating between a 62 key ebony ended Aeola, tuned a tone lower than concert pitch, and a 67 key metal ended Aeola, tuned in concert pitch with an extra set of original reed pans tuned a semitone higher than concert. I am now the very proud owner of the latter (30582 if anyone is interested). It is playable, and has a lovely tone, but needs some work doing to it, especially the extra reed pans. However, I hope to be able to do most of this work myself (bar tuning, which still scares me).

 

Sorry for the long rambling introduction. I expect I'll be popping in here a lot, for both restoration and playing advice, from now on!

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Welcome aboard Ollie. I'm an anglo player by accident (I wanted a concertina but knew nothing about them, and that's what was in the shop) but if I were starting again I think I would be very tempted by one of the duet systems.

 

I'm sure you'll soon be up and running with it and look forward to hearing the results.

 

I'm intrigued by the additional set of reeds tuned a semitone higher - any idea why?

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hi Ollie! Thought you might wind up here after I heard you'd bought the Maccann :-) Pleasure meeting you a couple weeks ago on my visit to Sheffield. Can't wait to hear what you'll start playing on that concertina ... maybe we can have some concertina tunes together when I'm next there (... might be March!).

 

Everybody else, in case you're unfamiliar with Ollie's melodeon playing, his debut album, Gambit, just got a 4-star review in Songlines. Brilliant playing; add it to your Christmas list!

Edited by wayman
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As an experienced Melodeon player but novice Anglo player, I gave my Anglo its first outing in public tonight at Morris side practice. It was hard working keeping up and my forearms are feeling strained. that was just playing tune, no attempt at chords and basses.

Lead musician assured me that it added a welcome new tone to our usual lineup of 3 or 4 melodeons and that I should persevere at it. Perhaps he was just being polite for Xmas.

 

I also fancy a Duet, so got the Duettina App to play with on iPad. Jolly fun.

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How do Ollie ...welcome to the Dark Side! Would that the Dark Sith Lord himself (Ralphie Jordan) were still with us. He would be rhapsodising about the introduction of another nutter to the world of the Maccann. World domination shall in the course of time be ours.

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Back in March, I started work as the free-reed specialist at Hobgoblin Music in Leeds. After settling in, I thought I'd better learn how to demonstrate all the instruments in my department, and started with the concertinas. Anglo came naturally, as you'd expect, but I must admit that I still cannot get a tune out of an English; my brain isn't wired that way, and I find it quite uncomfortable.

 

Just one additional thought: Given the Duet resp. Maccan is the system for you you still seem to aim at being able to demonstrate the rest of the free-reed instruments as they are being sold in the store too.

 

Regarding the English you might try out sort of a harmonic approach by starting with open fiths (you get six of them just by pressing adjacent buttons in one of the center rows). You could then continue with adding melody notes one octave above (with the octave note button seated on the opposite side).

 

You wouldn't have to get proficient in this way, but maybe it could help selling one English or another (thereby putting the instrument in perspective) - which I would particularly appreciate... B)

 

Best wishes - Wolf

Edited by blue eyed sailor
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Anglo's what I've settled on as my main instrument, but I've learned and keep one tune in practice on English with a competent harmony line as it's incredibly useful in this line of work.

 

I've found that just having a single tune learned cold -- and initially learned more by rote finger positions than by really thinking about what notes and intervals I'm playing -- gives me enough to try out an EC to get a feel for it, or test an EC I've just worked on, or demonstrate one to a potential customer. Nobody knows it's my *only* tune so long as I'm in a situation where one tune is sufficient :rolleyes: I mess about with other tunes as I have opportunities, but just work to keep that one polished on EC as a demonstration piece.

 

Same on Hayden, though there since the layout makes more intuitive sense I'm able to improvise more without really straining my brain.

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Many thanks for all the welcomes, it's good to be here!

 

It seems that I can neither count, nor read the Wheatstone ledger properly - it's a 64 key! Still in the large body of a model 39, and it extends to middle C on the right hand, but F two and a half octaves below middle C on the left. I think there are a few squeaky notes up the top that are missing.

 

I'm guessing the extra set of reed pans were for playing with brass bands. Ab, Eb, and Bb become pretty easy, which is nice as I love flat keys!

 

I'll start a new thread with pics and things, as I'm documenting its restoration on Facebook.

 

Thanks again!

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