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Devils' Dream

Garys new (?) Wolverton: a comment

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I was browsing Youtube and noticed that Gary Coover (3 of his great books got me started) was playing a Wolverton rather than his Herrington.  It sounded really nice.  

I assumed it was one of the concertina reeded models but wasn't sure.  I emailed him and was surprised that it was one of their hybrids.  Very nice.  

Now, again, Gary is a great player, but it again makes me wonder how important it really is to pay the piper for concertina/handmade reeds.

In my humble, beginners opinion.

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Ah yes, on the 'Pirate Songs' series and sounding very nice as you say, thanks for the tip. Gary mentioned on here somewhere not long ago that he was happily playing a Wolverton.

 

I was surprised to see on his website that Jake is discontinuing further orders for the 'Standard' hybrid model, in C/G form anyway, though continuing with G/D's so long as he still has stocks of 'hybrid' reeds.

 

That seems a bit sad given their many admirers, I certainly like mine a lot, but I guess he wants to concentrate on the 'Advanced' concertina reeded models and there are only so many hours in the day. How good to know that in the UK too, there are now a few really skilled and knowledgeable younger people following in the steps of eg Steve Dickinson, Colin and Rosalie Dipper, and others.

 

Yes, your appropriate  'paying the piper' comment refers to an old and endless debate I fear............ sorry ...  "Pass' !

 

'best

 

Rob

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Concertina reeds sound different to accordion reeds. I can't imagine that being controversial....

After that it's down to personal preference.

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51 minutes ago, Tiposx said:

Concertina reeds sound different to accordion reeds. I can't imagine that being controversial....

After that it's down to personal preference.

 

Agreed - albeit there have been efforts by modern makers to reduce the difference by filtering out the higher partials...

 

Possibly difficult to valuate from a sound recording - you have to be able to listen to the instrument "in the flesh"...

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Thanks for thinking it sounds nice through my laptop's built-in microphone - hardly the best quality recording device! And I live in a noisy place so tend to play a little too loudly and less expressive when recording to try to overcome the traffic noise.

 

I've played a lot of hybrids over the years and most have a very distinctive accordion-y sound in the lower ranges that I don't particularly care for - not quite sure how to describe it but they typically lack the clarity and punch of concertina reeds. Having said that, I'd put my Herrington up against any concertina-reeded instrument for sound quality (and volume), and my Wolverton as well (which has a slightly warmer tone but plays incredibly evenly both loudly and very quietly).

 

Wolf is exactly right, it's much better to hear and check out the various models in person if possible, one of the many reasons the various concertina gatherings are so important.

 

I totally lucked out on the Wolverton, buying it sight unseen and unheard - yikes! I always like buying instruments from people I know (Harold was a longtime friend and Jake allowed me to use one of his arrangements in Anglo Concertina in the Harmonic Style), and since my Herrington's coil springs(!) were showing signs of imminent failure I had to move quick. I tried a couple of vintage instruments but they just didn't measure up. Couldn't be more happy with the Wolverton - it's absolutely gorgeous and plays wonderfully - thanks Jake!

 

Now, as to the insinuation that I'm a "great player"... my lawyers will be in touch! But I do like showing folks that you don't need a terribly expensive instrument to be able to play songs and tunes you like. For years I thought I needed a big expensive Jeffries until that one fateful day when I transcribed my first tune and realized it worked on my 30-button Herrington hybrid and sounded just fine.

 

Gary

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I should clarify a bit about discontinuing the standard model with accordion reeds.

 

I am always pleased to hear that people enjoy the standard model instruments. I am very happy with how that design plays. I made the decision to discontinue it after some thought. Basically at Wolverton concertinas there is only me making the instruments. I have plans to introduce some new designs including a concertina-reeded English model and a 38 key concertina-reeded anglo. I have also been working on producing wooden ends which will soon be displayed on the website. 

 

With this increasing variation in what I am making my supply chain has become a bit complex for a one man band style operation. The standard and the advanced models for example use different leather, wood and metals, as well as reeds and I am cautious not to over stretch myself. 

 

This is by no means set in stone, I may introduce the standard model again some day. For now I still have the parts for 10 G/D standard model anglos, so those are still available for now.

 

Edited to add: in case of any confusion - anyone who has previously placed an order for a c/g standard model (hybrid) will still receive it. Its just that at this point I wont accept new orders for this model. 

Edited by Jake Middleton-Metcalfe
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Posted (edited)

Wolf, I think you are completely correct about the "in the flesh" comment. That's probably where one hears the difference in tone much more than can be conveyed by even the best recording.  Still, it amazing how well the best hybrid builders are figuring out how to "hybridize" the sound.

Note to Garys lawyers: :P

Edited by Devils' Dream
clarity

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36 minutes ago, Devils' Dream said:

Note to Garys lawyers: :rolleyes:

 

I might be willing to represent you if needed... 😎

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I had a chance to play Gary's Wolverton, and it is indeed a fine sounding and playing instrument, a welcome addition to the universe of available concertinas.

 

This hybrid-vs-traditional-reeded debate is endless, in part because it is so very subjective. I play both, and like both, for different reasons.  And the people I play with have a wide range of opinions about how they sound.  Some really can't tell the difference; some prefer the sound of the hybrids, some the sound of the traditional instruments.  I gravitate to the traditional side, but when I pick up an instrument to play just for fun, it's generally one of the Morse hybrids.

 

On 8/12/2019 at 7:58 AM, Devils' Dream said:

t it again makes me wonder how important it really is to pay the piper for concertina/handmade reeds.

In my humble, beginners opinion.

 

Responding to the OP's question: there is no one-size-fits-all answer.  It's a mix of what makes you happiest, what you can afford, what's available.  Start with the assumption that the good hybrids (Morse, Wolverton, Edgley,  Tedrow, etc.) are every bit as playable as the best vintage instruments, and in many cases may be more mechanically reliable.  If you like the sound of the hybrids, and that's what you can afford, the choice is obvious.

 

Personally, I find the sound of a good CG hybrid is very close to the sound produced by a traditional CG instrument; there's much more of a difference between GD hybrids and traditional instruments. One's not better than the other, just different.

 

But again, it's all subjective.

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Jim, interesting what you say about the CG hybrids.  I have a newish GD Morse and the high row D really does sound like concertina reeds to me, more than the G row.

Also, your comment: "This hybrid-vs-traditional-reeded debate is endless" (tiresome)  I can understand.

There seems to be a difference in approach in the concertina community vs. the melodeon community (of which I am more familiar), where the hybrids are aiming to sound  like the traditional-reeded instruments,;whereas (not sure this is a good parallel, but here goes) in the box world, some of us love Hohner sound and dural type reeds and others wouldn't be caught dead playing anything but TAM boxes. And most need both.  Same and concertina world. 

And although many will dry out an Erica, no one really wants to make them sound like a Laura. (Not that it hasn't been done...)

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Devils' Dream said:

JThere seems to be a difference in approach in the concertina community vs. the melodeon community (of which I am more familiar), where the hybrids are aiming to sound  like the traditional-reeded instruments,;whereas (not sure this is a good parallel, but here goes) in the box world, some of us love Hohner sound and dural type reeds and others wouldn't be caught dead playing anything but TAM boxes. And most need both.  Same and concertina world. 

And although many will dry out an Erica, no one really wants to make them sound like a Laura. (Not that it hasn't been done...)

 

Every instrument has its purists, that's for sure.

 

As for concertinas, good hybrids sound great, good vintage instruments sound great;  they're just different.

 

We're really lucky this modern world offers us so many choices.

 

As a side note: when playing,  or when I listen to someone else playing my instruments,   I  perceive a strong difference in sound between my Jeffries GD and my Morse GD.  But when recorded, I can't tell which is which, and I know from friends that when I'm playing for dances,  thru a big PA system,  the differences in sound pretty much disappear.

Edited by Jim Besser

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I’ll throw my two cents into this conversation. I have Jefferies made vintage Anglos and a Morse hybrid and I like them both and play them both.

 

As for OPs question... “how important is it really is to pay the piper for concertina/handmade reeds”?

 

The short answer IMO is, for a beginner, get a hybrid because it matters not. At a third of the cost, a good hybrid gives you everything you need. I learned on an Italian Stagi and that was sufficient until it fell apart. Modern hybrids by all these fine makers mentioned are all much much better than that old Stagi of mine.

 

Until you know which buttons to press, how long to keep ‘em down and the required bellows direction and pressure (3 to 10 years of daily practice I recon) it hardly matters which instrument you play.

 

There is no doubt in my mind that true concertina reeds are superior in the hands of an experienced player but the advantages are subtle. Practically nothing compared to player ability and musicality which is easily heard. A beginner will still sound like a beginner regardless of concertina vs accordion reeds in the box.

 

Like Jim, in listening back to my own C/G recordings, I'm hard pressed to hear any difference.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Jody Kruskal said:

The short answer IMO is, for a beginner, get a hybrid because it matters not.

 

Jody, you certainly have it right, since you‘re proving your case with your excellent playing - but OTOH there may be aspirants to whom feel and sound of their to-be instrument might matter more, in terms of enjoyment vs. discouragement IMO. True for myself at least I guess...

 

(of course, there are hybrids, and hybrids, and apparently some very good ones among them - what I can say from my own experience is, I wouldn’t have wanted to start with a Stagi; not sure if the moniker „hybrid“ is applicable to them though)

 

Best wishes - 🐺

 

Edited by Wolf Molkentin

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Hi Jody,

You may not remember me but we met two years ago at NESI. I was the old woman who couldn’t stop smiling because I had for the first time found the instrument I wanted to play.  You and Doug Barr helped as I looked for an instrument to buy and were so kind all weekend.

at the time I bought a Ceili. A few months later, I was lucky in life. I was able to get a Dipper at a gift price. After my family members I treasure it most.

BUT you absolutely speak truth

“ A beginner will still sound like a beginner regardless of concertina vs accordion reeds in the box.”

But as Wolf has said my Dipper sure makes it easy to want to keep getting better.

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21 hours ago, Jody Kruskal said:

I learned on an Italian Stagi and that was sufficient until it fell apart.

...

Until you know which buttons to press, how long to keep ‘em down and the required bellows direction and pressure (3 to 10 years of daily practice I recon) it hardly matters which instrument you play.

Well, I've played the Italian Stagi Anglo that I learned on for over 20 years now. The bellows did fall apart (my fault, for using leather balsam to "supple them up" ), but a new bellows from Concertina Connection (then still  in the Netherlands), combined with a bit of tinkering early on to get rid of a few mechanical "teething problems," left me with an instrument that was quite adequate for band work. In fact, when I did get a traditional-reeded Lachenal Crane, and took it along to band practice, my bandmates immediately told me to keep to my "old" one - it blended better with the band sound (of fiddle, guitars and bass).

I have now progressed to the point where I can play quite nice Anglo solos (mainly folk-song arrangements), and I must admit that these come out better on my present Anglo, a traditional-reeded Dallas-Crabb.  OTOH my only video soundtrack hitherto was a field recording made by a professional cameraman when I was on holiday with my old Stagi. And through the loudspeakers, it sounds very nice. So I'm with those in this thread who believe that you can only tell the difference between two concertinas or concertina types when you hear them live, not as recordings. to a certain extent, a good sound-man can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear! :P

 

Cheers,

John

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11 hours ago, mathhag said:

Hi Jody,

You may not remember me but we met two years ago at NESI.

 

Hi Mathhag, I do remember you, and our several conversations well. So glad to hear that now you are blessed with both a Morse and a Dipper!

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Actually the Morse has moved on to another new student. It served me well 

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