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Anglo E/F substitution

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Hello, I play Irish music on the box among other things and am messing about with a brass reed 28 B Lachenal.  The lowest note on the standard layout LH 3rd row - E/F, down in the basement - is really useless for my purposes, could F#'/E' be put in its place?  Imagining what this would be like sounding that pull E with the little finger you'd have the 1st and 2nd free to grace with pull D and G, a true roll; DEF#G can now be played all on the pull - and on the push, too.  We don't want to get carried away with this stuff of course but coming from the button accordion I'm like a kid in a candy store with all the note options with just the standard layouts, so why not keep going a little?

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Hi Kevin,


Triplets don't necessarily have to be all in the one direction. I have many triplets of the type: In / In / Out and Out / Out / In. I have far less where the the notes in the same direction are at the end of the triplet, but they do exist. What you don't want to end up with is In / Out / In or vice versa.


You've got to look at how many fingers it takes to accomplish your triplets and rolls as well.


Take a look at your suggested run of notes DEF#G. If I were playing these notes, I would play D' LHS, E' (same button), F'# RHS and G' (same button) and it takes just 2 fingers to do this.


If you did manage to implement your suggested note changes, then to play D'E'F'#G' , whether push or pull, would take 4 different fingers to do this; 8 fingers in total, if you want to be equally conversant with both push and pull versions. Essentially it is not worth the effort, even with the proposed note substitutions.


Take the E' F' G' triplet - try this one - E' (1st finger LHS) / F'# / G' (F'# and G' are both got with the 1st finger).


To my ear this is much more satisfying, and the bellows change gives a little bit of crunch to the triplet, plus you have accomplished it all with just 2 fingers, your strongest on both sides of the concertina. It is far easier to change bellows direction at the end of the triplet, than to depress another button.


You'll have to get used to the fact you'll never be able to fully duplicate the accordion-style rolls on the concertina, but there is fun to be had in coming up with the alternatives.


I hope this is of some help to you.


Regards, John.

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You can change the low f to f#, but  I find the low notes better for support notes and chords.  They are often s bit slow for rolls and triplets.  Given the C row has the press E’s , where the G row doesn’t have an E until E5.  It is s long way from E3 and I prefer the nice E3 B3, E4 press mostly Eminor chord.  If the F#3 were on the draw, it would go with all the f#’s in the G row,   I currently have a D3 in that position on my concertina, but have been wondering about changing to the F# just to see what possibilities it gives.  If you play in C, F, or Bb, not uncommon keys even in ITM, it might be good to  find good uses there for the low F natural. Since changing reeds generally requires tuning the new reed,  I think doing it on a whim for some possible utility might be more trouble than it is worth.  If you make your own concertinas, experimenting is little trouble.  Still I haven’t got round to trying the F#3 yet.  Perhaps a case of shoemakers children...


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I don't think I'm making it clear which E note I want to change - it's the E/F button on the LH outermost row, the row which isn't the C or G row.  I'm talking about installing a reed which is tuned an octave higher than the one that's there already - is this feasible?  


I'm already monkeying around with triplets that aren't all in one direction, I'm familiar with that from playing the box.  It's nice to have the option of playing things completely legato if you want, though.   Or completely staccato!

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28 k, 14 keys a side, the lowest notes of the 4 keys on the accidental row on the LH side C-G box?


F3/E3??  the 'three' being the octave subscript. I Assume you want F#3? i.e. the same octave because you have the octave above on the G row: F#4.

Technically, no problem at all. If you want to retain the original reed, then you need a substitute reed to tune up, or you can tune up the original reed.  you could not get away with tuning back down if you do not like the outcome.


If you want the octave higher fitted, duplicating the F# in the G row, then you would be looking at reed pan woodwork: the size of the dove tail slot, the size of the vent through the pan, and mods to the chamber shape, if the E3 permits it.



Edited by d.elliott
digitalis, from typing left handed
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I'm sorry I completely misinterpreted your original post. I had assumed, wrongly now, as it turns out, that the proposed F'# /E' note, to which you referred was an octave above, i.e. the 5th line and 4th space, respectively on the treble stave. I know the fingering chart you had in mind. So, unfortunately, all my previous comments are negated.


If I understand it correctly, you are looking to roll the E on the first line of the stave, by doing something like this:  E -- G E D E, i.e. intending to use your left hand side pinky finger as a lynchpin or fulcrum, and to quickly weave your draw G and D notes, using your 1st and 2nd playing fingers, around these 3 E notes.


What I would suggest is to take out your concertina, don't push or pull your bellows, and without sounding a note, do a dry run of the roll.


I think you'll find that this is completeley unworkable.

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Sorry again - I'm not talking about modifying this Lachenal, but rather having something custom built for a new 30B instrument.  It's the E1/F1 button:




Don't concertina players roll the 1st octave F#?  That would be done with the pinky too, unless you shift your ring finger down for it.  Same with pushing the D.  Having never used the left hand for melody playing on a free reed instrument what is and isn't possible is kind of an open book for me.  ;)   Playing "air concertina" my pull E roll doesn't seem too terribly awkward.

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Yes, concertina players do roll the F# on the 2nd space on the treble clef, but not the full-fledged tin-whistle, fiddle, uilleann-pipe type rolls or C#/D style accordion rolls (I left out the B/C accordion here), but rather different groupings of notes, more like "extended grace-notes", as Noel Hill was once wont to describe them. I should point out here that the D2 (according to your chart) press roll is nowhere near as satisfying as the draw D2 roll.


You don't have to slavishly follow the rolls from other instruments, and, if you try to emulate these rolls on the concertina, you'll be doomed to failure, from the start.


My pinky is below the level of the last joint on my ring finger, I'm sure everyone's is different to some extent. But that really suits me. I park my pinky finger on the F#/D button, and it is always accessible. Just to reiterate, the F# is on the inside row, and really convenient.


What you are proposing to do, is stretch your hand across to the location of the proposed new E button, with the pinky finger, then shift your hand position somewhat down to get the upper note in the roll, i.e. this case 1st finger draw G on the outside row, then back to the E, to then execute a really fast E triplet, consisting of the new E, D and E, with your weakest/smallest finger, and, presumably, also with your middle finger slightly tucked in under your ring finger, (most likely, your ring finger will be hanging out over the end of the concertina), just to get the draw D.


The first thing that comes to mind here is that your hand is going to cramp, severely, I would say. The 2nd thing is: what a waste of resources - you'd be tying up your weakest fingers, possibly on your weaker hand, in unbelievable contortions for one roll ! The next thing I have to say is that, as you well know, concertina buttons and button accordion buttons are completely different. You can get away with a lot on the accordion, because of the flat, smooth, large buttons; it is just so easy to slide a finger from one button to an adjacent button, even in the middle of a roll ! Not so on the concertina. Finally, no amount of "air concertina" is going to condition you for the level of contortion, you'd be likely to experience, if you go ahead with this proposed button change.


I suspect, as Dave Elliott was implying, that your Lachenal might not have this button, and so you have not been able to fully experience the reach across the instrument, and the scrabble for the grace-notes, at speed.


What I would suggest is that you ask your maker if he or she would be prepared to add an additional button above the RHS B2 / C3 button, (not all makers do). I have a press F#2 there, and it is brilliant in triplets, and in some rolls. Or, possibly, go with the earlier suggestions from Dana Johnson.


I made the transition from button accordion to concertina, and you'll do fine. I started off mostly RHS fingering on the C row, going right up to the RHS pinky finger, up to B3 on your chart. There was almost always a pause or "delayed reaction" when I went to the LHS, but you get used to it. At least you can already play; you can skip the introductory tunes, and the rudiments of music; you know what you're aiming for, and; presumably, you have an existing reportoire. No matter how long you stay with the concertina, there will always be a stage in sessions where you will say to yourself "I have never played this tune on the concertina before."

Edited by John, Wexford
missing word
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