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Don Taylor

Anybody Played An S-Wave Midi Ec?

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See: http://www.s-wave.co.uk/controller.html


I would like to contact anyone who has played an S-wave to get their reaction to playing one.


In particular, what they thought about the button feel and the 'infinite air supply' force sensor replacement for a set of bellows.


My interest is in getting an understanding about how different an S-wave feels from playing a regular concertina and how it feels to switch between the two.






PS. I am not concerned about the sound being different, just the physical feel of the device.


PPS. Here are some encouraging thoughts from 2009.

Edited by Don Taylor

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Yes, when I was looking for a midi concertina I went to see Dean at hist home, and tried an S-wave. He was very helpful and courteous, and I think the S-wave may be fine for some people, but I felt it didn't meet my needs. I instead went for a midi conversion of a old Lachenal by Roy Whiteley - see my page on MIDI conversion of Lachenal 30566.

My cons against against the S-Wave included:
1) Physically it is bigger and heavier than I would like. I do like to wave an instrument around while playing some tunes.
2) It is a 64-button design, which seems unnecessary, given that you can set it to transpose up and down by octaves, and no tune is going to need more than four octaves at once, so a normal 48-key would be fine. I tend to get lost on the extra rows of keys on a 64-key instrument.
3) I found the pressure sensing for volume not totally intuitive – it seemed to be sensing a twist rather than direct push/pull. I could probably get used to it, but it might affect the way I play a real instrument.
4) I found it more difficult than normal to use change of bellows direction, both for phrasing, and for repeated notes on same button. Again, that may well improve with time, but I wanted something that was closer to the response of a traditional instrument.

On the plus side,

1) It doesn't require cannibalising an existing instrument

2) It is a 64-button instrument (which some players want!)

3) It is solidly built, with smooth action, and I think would stand up to the rigours of performance well.

4) You can keep pushing (or pulling) indefinitely without running out of air

5) It packs flat

I felt that Roy’s design was closer to ‘a midi concertina’ rather than a ‘concertina-like midi controller’, and as I happened to have a suitable starting point of a Lachenal that I had restored that had naff reeds, that swung the day. Other people’s requirements and starting points will differ. The S-Wave was designed for someone who was used to playing a 64-button tenor-treble, and wanted to use it in public performance through a PA system - if you come from that viewpoint it makes much more sense.


My first instrument was a cello, and I suspect I make more use of bellows direction changes than most concertina players, Also I did not want a midi tina as my primary instrument, so compatibility when switching back to traditional instruments was a priority for me. I stress that I don't want to detract from Dean's achievement in building the S-wave, nor its applicability for other players.



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I also considered this choice. I never did have an opportunity to play the S-Wave, and somehow communication with Dean broke down -- no one was really at fault. I had seen and heard an early conversion by Roy played on this site as well as on You Tube, and after talking with Paul, I followed his lead. I am in the US and ordered a concertina shell from Roy Algar to be sent to Roy who nicely refurbished it and created a version for use with an IPad and a number of sound apps available on the IPAD, but it also comes set up to play a number of instruments. Paul's site describes the set-up well. My use differs in that I wanted something mostly for silent playing and I use earphones rather than a speaker but I may also get a speaker. The system works very well, and I love being able to play the concertina and make it sound like any number of instruments. I particularly like the fiddle and cello. I was surprised by how fast it could be played. So I think the S-Wave would be quite good as Paul suggests but I am happy that I settled on Roy's conversion.

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