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What's New With Makers?


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Something I enjoy is the way folks like Rich Morse, Frank Edgley, Bob Tedrow, and Rich Evans post here. We also hear news secondhand from some of the U.K. makers (folks who are in touch with Dipper, Dickinson, etc). I was wondering about some of the others. In particular, what is Harold Herrington up to? (Or anyone else for that matter.)

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Recent changes include raised metal ends, sterling silver plating, and stainless steel grills. These are all options available on my concertinas. I am also building a really nice G/D concertina ---great tone and plays as fast as any C/G instrument. I just had to have one and recently spent the time to make one for myself. Hopefully, pics will be on the website soon.

Also, any concertina players within driving distance of Goderich, Ontario are invited to a concertina weekend the last weekend of March. Contact me for details. I will have my oak, Celtic Lion G/D there for anyone to try. :D

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I was talking with Harold Herrington and he sent me an e-mail to let us know "What's New" here it is:

 

Indeed, what has been happening with Harold Herrington? Well I am alive and well and still making what I believe to be one of the best accordion reed concertinas in the business. Production in 2003 was off a bit due to my time being taken up with some personal matters, however, 2004 should be a very good year. In addition to producing 30 button instruments in C/G and G/D, Wheatstone and Jeffries system, we are now also producing a very interesting 24 key concertina built on a 5 7/8" hexagonal body. Now before you dismiss this instrument out of hand, because of it having only 24 buttons, let me tell you a little about this truly outstanding little concertina.

The 24 key concertina we have developed is the result of a collaboration between myself, Frank Edgley of Windsor, Ontario Canada, and Jacqueline McCarthy of Oranmore, County Galway Ireland. Jacqueline has long been an expert player of this fascinating little concertina. It was built by Wheatstone back in the late 1800's or early 1900's. The concertina has two rows of six (6) buttons on each side. These buttons incorporate the standard keyboard for the keys of C and G, but at the top of each row are added accidentals that make the instrument fully chromatic. We have made some alterations in the Wheatstone keyboard to make it a concertina specifically designed for play in the keys of G and D. Let me give you the logic behind our design.

If playing Irish jigs and reels one will play primarily in the keys of G and D, and on rare occasion in the key of A. Of the 30 buttons available on a 30 key instrument, one will rarely if ever never use more than 18, or possibly 19, of those buttons. What the 24 key instrument gives you is all the notes you need, in the bellows direction you need, and eliminates the ones you will never use. It is set up very much like a well designed 36 key instrument, but with the third row removed.

The accidental buttons give you the following notes, (push / draw). On the left you have A# / C# in the C row, and F# / G# in the G row. On the right side you have C# / D# in the C row, and F# / C# in the G row. This system gives you the essential F# and C# in both directions of the bellows. The accidentals being placed under the index fingers helps in making the system easy to learn. This is particularly true since the home keys for C and G are the same as on a 30 key instrument.

The real kicker is that having fewer buttons, the concertina can be produced in a smaller body and at a lower cost. We pass this savings on to the buyer, and business on this instrument is brisk. I have agreed to supply Ms McCarthy with concertinas, but the impact of the VAT on imports into Ireland is a problem we have not been able to find a way around. I'm still working on it.

Anyone wanting more information on the 24 key concertina should feel free to contact me by email or telephone.

I have also once more started production of finger joined hexagonal cases. I built these in the past, but because of the difficult and time consuming setup required to make the 120 degree finger joint, I stopped making or offering them for sale. I recently made a special presentation case, covered in leather and lined with a Jacquard loomed brocade material. The case looked so nice I decided to look into once more offering them. I spent about a week-and-a-half designing and building a special machine fixture. This fixture will allow me to make the 120 deg. finger joint, while reducing the setup and construction time. I am offering these hexagonal cases in standard and custom sizes, and in two models. The models will be "Standard Grade" and "Presentation Grade". "Standard Grade" is covered in a tough leather grained vinyl with a padded fancy cloth liner. "Presentation Grade" is covered in a handsome and tough genuine leather and a padded Jacquard woven liner. Pricing is yet to be worked out, but I expect to make the price reasonable and within reach of anyone owning a fine concertina. We will make these cases in custom sizes as well as the standard sizes.

A word about hexagonal cases. Most of the "vintage" hexagonal cases have come apart at some time in the past due to the weak corner joints. The finger joint, in which the joining corners are notched and glued together like intertwined fingers, eliminates this problem. My finger joined hexagonal cases, whether covered in vinyl or leather, are both handsome and strong. We guarantee the glue joint not to fail. If interested please email or phone. Email is anglo30@flash.net . Telephone and Fax 972-288-7007. I have only the one phone line which serves for telephone, fax, and ISP connection. If you phone and neither I or the machine answer, it means I am probably on-line. Email me and I will call you back.

Harold Herrington

Herrington Concertinas

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We [Concertina Connection] also have a few new instruments coming out this year. Starting at the ‘entry level’, I am working on a baritone Jackie. If every thing goes according to plan, the first instruments will be available in (late) March. The price will be about the same as the treble Jackie. The instrument will also be available through our dealers.

 

The next instrument that is almost finished (finally), is our MIDI English concertina. We are almost done testing the prototype, which seems to work perfectly. The instrument can be hooked up to a computer or synthesizer/keyboard etc.

 

The quality of the MIDI english is comparable to the Geuns-Wakker concertinas (all leather bellows, french polished ends, traditional metal keys with wooden core (wheatstone type), but will be priced (much) lower.

The instrument plays like a normal concertina, with normal bellows action, just like on a traditional ‘reeded’ concertina.

The midi connection will (probably) be wireless. The instrument is aimed at concertina players, rather than MIDI technicians. That is why it has preset functions like a performance (single channel) and layered switch, an octave switch (changes the instrument from sub bass, bass, baritone, treble to soprano) etc.. Production starts in March. The first series will probably be available in May/June.

We hope to finish a comparable anglo model a little later this year.

 

The Geuns-Wakker concertinas (a joint venture between Harry Geuns and the Concertina Connection) are all updated: new design and different reeds: more amplitude, faster... The first orders (anglo) will be finished late (fall) of 2004.

 

Wim Wakker

Concertina Connection.

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Our Hayden is still in the design stage and we're focusing on the 59-key variant. There has been a lot of interest in an adjustable handrest so we're working out a version for this box.

 

We've made some minor improvements to our Céilí anglo and Albion English models and a not-so-minor one: our Englishes now have air buttons!

 

We're also working on a C/G baritone variant of our Céilí anglo of which the prototype should be complete in a few of weeks. If all goes well we hope to start producing this model in the spring.

 

And a milestone coming up: Our 200th concertina is expected to be completed in a couple of weeks!

 

And on an oblique note, we are just starting up a Concertina Band in the area here (Western Massachusetts) and are seeking interested bodies. Please e-mail our shop for more info....

Edited by Richard Morse
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We hope to finish a comparable anglo model a little later this year.

Will the MIDI Anglo be able to have the key layouts set via SYSEX messages? Given the wide variety of anglo configurations, the ability to have a MIDI controller which mapped to my normal layout (or to experiment with a new layout) would be a huge advantage.

 

And unlike a traditional concertina, it could be played in a hotel room when travelling...

 

--Dave

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A great series of posts so far! I was hoping all these folks (and maybe others) would jump in. If we go too long without hearing from some or all of these makers in the future I'll ask again for their news. A lot of exciting developments for concertinists (many of which I hadn't heard about).

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"And unlike a traditional concertina, it could be played in a hotel room when travelling..."

 

I never let it stop me. You just have to be careful "when" and how "loud". I've brought it with me to Hawaii, an Alaskan cruise (where I sold a concertina to a fellow traveller), Ireland (of course), England, Arizona, and a Mediterranean cruise. No one complained, quite the opposite, you just have to be considerate.

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The next instrument that is almost finished (finally), is our MIDI English concertina. We are almost done testing the prototype, which seems to work perfectly. The instrument can be hooked up to a computer or synthesizer/keyboard etc. 

Any likelihood of a MIDI anglo any time?

 

To Rich: as an enthusiast for the baritone anglo, I am delighted to hear that you are likely to be bringing one out. In all the time I have played I have only ever encountered one beside the one I play, but they make a wonderful sound.

 

Chris

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Maybe this should be another thread... and maybe its just me... but am I the only one that is disturbed by the trend towards midi instruments? Maybe I am just a luddite, but the thought of midi accordions and concertinas, electronic bagpipes and a whole host of other electronified instruments just makes my spine shiver. One of the charms of these and other acoustic instruments was their relative simplicity requiring no computer or speakers or anything other than some time, will and skill.

 

Granted electronic instruments have their place, but is there really a need and a demand for every conceivable instrument to have an electronic version? Whats next, electric spoons?

 

--

Bill (possibly here after known as the luddite).

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Whats next, electric spoons?

Haven't you ever wanted to be able to make your pair of spoons sound like a grand piano... or a saxophone? ;)

 

Frankly, I'm one of those who would very much like to have a MIDI concertina... but in addition to the ones I already have, not instead.

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Whats next, electric spoons?

Haven't you ever wanted to be able to make your pair of spoons sound like a grand piano... or a saxophone? ;)

 

Frankly, I'm one of those who would very much like to have a MIDI concertina... but in addition to the ones I already have, not instead.

Well the comment on the spoons is kind of my point... I want my instruments to sound like themselves, not something else. Keyboards will always be around for people who want to create entirely new sounding instruments. Shoot I think it is bad enough that they now sell spoons in music shops (specifically ones with both spoons attached to the same handle).

 

--

Bill

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Whats next, electric spoons?
Haven't you ever wanted to be able to make your pair of spoons sound like a grand piano... or a saxophone? ;)
Well the comment on the spoons is kind of my point... I want my instruments to sound like themselves, not something else.

Fair enough, but a MIDI instrument will sound like itself, no matter what shape it has. (Poke, prod, tease. ;) )

 

Keyboards will always be around for people who want to create entirely new sounding instruments.
You're not ranting about the intrusion of MIDI keyboards and the way they've replaced real pianos?!!

 

Seriously, pianos and parlor organs seem to be the only instruments that have actually suffered from the availability of MIDI alternatives. And that's simply because they're so big. Not only can a MIDI keyboard be ported by one person with an ordinary automobile (well, an "ordinary" American automobile), but it also takes up less space in your home.

 

MIDI guitars have also become popular, but they certainly aren't driving ordinary guitars -- electric or acoustic -- to extinction. As for MIDI mandolins, violins, flutes, and saxophones, I know they exist because I see them occasionally, but they're still far outnumbered by the real thing. And while I've heard rumors of MIDI trumpets, I have yet to see one.

 

I personally expect that a decent MIDI concertina, like accordion-reeded concertinas, will only help and not hinder the cause of fine traditional instruments, players, and playing.

 

Shoot I think it is bad enough that they now sell spoons in music shops (specifically ones with both spoons attached to the same handle).
They've been doing that for at least a hundred years, probably several hundred. (One of the reasons I prefer the bones?)

.... Meanwhile, the spoons I sometimes play are a mismatched pair that came out of a trash can on East Seventh Street.

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  • 1 year later...
I was talking with Harold Herrington and he sent me an e-mail to let us know "What's New" here it is:

 

... we are now also producing a very interesting 24 key concertina built on a 5 7/8" hexagonal body. Now before you dismiss this instrument out of hand, because of it having only 24 buttons, let me tell you a little about this truly outstanding little concertina.

The 24 key concertina we have developed is the result of a collaboration between myself, Frank Edgley of Windsor, Ontario Canada, and Jacqueline McCarthy of Oranmore, County Galway Ireland. Jacqueline has long been an expert player of this fascinating little concertina. It was built by Wheatstone back in the late 1800's or early 1900's. The concertina has two rows of six (6) buttons on each side. These buttons incorporate the standard keyboard for the keys of C and G, but at the top of each row are added accidentals that make the instrument fully chromatic.

Harold Herrington

Herrington Concertinas

The original concertina in question is a semi-miniature (5" ends) 24-key Wheatstone Anglo number 32900, dating to 9th August 1932. I am told that Kenneth Loveless (he wasn't ordained then) was a submariner during WWII, and he took it to sea with him (it must have made a racket, with him playing it in the confines of a submarine ! :huh: :blink: :( ). It was later sold, by Harry Crabb, to Tommy McCarthy whose daughter Jacqueline plays it now.

 

I have personal knowledge of this instrument, having tuned it on more than one occasion.

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Harold Herrington: we are now also producing a very interesting 24 key concertina built on a 5 7/8" hexagonal body. Now before you dismiss this instrument out of hand, because of it having only 24 buttons, let me tell you a little about this truly outstanding little concertina.

I have recently put up a keyboard chart for the system, which I believe has great potential, on the Concertina FAQ here.

 

Chris

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