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The learning curve


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An update:

Although I was making fair progress on my own, just working out various tunes, I finally decided to try the highly recommended Caitlín Nic Gabhann course. I wanted some structure, and the experience of having to get something to sound pretty clean before moving on to the next thing. I think this was a good decision. I appreciate how from the very beginning she gets the pupil using different buttons for the same note, depending on the surrounding context. I was doing some of this on my own, but she's definitely pushing me past my comfort zone.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another update:

After more grinding with the Rochelle 2, I found a decent deal of a CC Minstrel with Jeffries layout and Wakker bellows and bought it. I'll sell the Rochelle 2 when I can.

The difference is just mind-blowing. Although the Rochelle 2 and the Minstrel look very similar, the difference in feel and ease of play is just amazing. Every note on the Minstrel is clear and free-blowing; no lag or resistance. I can play without feeling like I've been doing wrist curls. Even the leather hand straps are better: a slightly wider, slightly stiffer leather that slides over the backs of my hands without any trouble.

I may still do the modification of raising the hand rails, but I'm not sure. On the Rochelle 2 I needed that in order to maintain tight enough contact with the instrument to play it at all. With the Minstrel I may be able to get by without that. I'm not sure yet.

The Minstrel has 6 bellows folds to the Rochelle's 7, but the ease of play more than makes up for that.

It'll take a bit to get used to the Jeffries layout.

In other news, I'm dabbling a bit more in harmony...

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Something else I've noticed...

Playing the Rochelle, I was starting to experience tingling and slight numbness in my fingertips. Since switching to the Minstrel, this has subsided.

I believe the cause is/was that the need to exert strong hand pressure to play the Rochelle at all--especially middle G and C--was causing me to stab the buttons far more forcefully than was needed. At any rate, although it didn't stop overnight, it did stop.

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