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Beginnings...


LDT
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-Living near Ann Arbor's old Ark folk/trad coffee house venue on Hill Street in the late 1970's, that and a chum restoring a golden era Wheatstone EC fervently, knowing its true capacities. Saw Alistair Anderson play in the Ark's living room like a man possessed through the evening into the small hours. The Ark has moved to Ann Arbor's Main St. since.

Edited by pubpersona
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I used to go along to the Cleethorpes folk club in the early 70's - only to listen though - always liked the shanties particularly. My college flatmate used to have a ghastly little anglo that always sounded out of tune, I played some tin whistle. The years flew by, the playing of music got left behind.

 

About 8 years ago I decided making music was important to balance my life as a scientist. Bought a lovely piano cheap on Ebay.

 

One holiday about 6 years ago we were sitting at the periphery of a session in a country pub where a guy was playing a Bina harmonium. That was the next step for me, a delightful year with the harmonium, falling in love with the free reed sound.Still love to play it and the piano.

 

The next step was restoring an old flutina, reacquanting myself with the whistle, this time a D low whistle.

 

Then a decision was made to settle down with one instrument, I knew by then, having discovered this forum through the flutina, where it was all heading.

 

A lovely restored Lachenal EC from Chris Algar was the next step. Then as luck would have it, a beautiful metal ended Wheatstone came my way, in need of restoration. That work took 6 weeks, and it has made a fine instrument. Now I feel bereft if I can't play at least half an hour a day, preferably longer. To cap it all - I get weekly lessons from one of the UK's most gifted EC players. I'm happy indeed.

 

For my journey, the English Concertina has felt like coming home. I'm researching some of the local tunes and shanties they used to play at Cleethorpes, I occasionally play one or two at a local session here in Scotland where I've settled.

 

My current project is building a low cost midi EC, hopefully more on that soon.

 

Simon

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I'd been listening to more traditional stuff and liking it, and I was fed up of always being the audience....Tried taking up the recorder again, gave me a headache, tried penny whistle was better at that but I kept finding it aggrivated my breathing...not wanting to stop breathing I gave that up, I'd tried guitar in the past and failed.....and piano was too....normal. Plus I dreamt I could play the concertina several times...I thought my sub-concius was trying to tell me something....or maybe I was just reading this thread http://forums.spiersandboden.com/index.php?topic=269.0 too much. lol! everyone talking about what they were learning whetted my appitite. Plus I needed something to fill my time that didn't involve a computer screen as I work on computers all day and there was nothing on TV.

 

And here I am.

Edited by LDT
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I was brought up in a very musical family, including several professional musicians, and I was pretty much the least talented! But I've been into folk for years, i grew up with an uncle who played accordion in a morris troupe, and a few older second cousins would be playing traditional instruments at family gatherings when i was a nipper back in the eighties. So i was hearing dulcimer, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, accordion and all those great things alongside other relations playing classical piano, cello, flute, piccolo and violin (and my eldest sibling is a professional early music singer). I started playing guitar at five, but got discouraged because compared to everybody else i was so crap i think! But when i left home i kind of picked it up again, and began teaching myself stuff, and that gradually spread to mandolin as well, and that was all fun, but then i decided that i wanted a really different sound, and an instrument i knew nothing about, so i could go back to the beginning and learn music properly. and voila! I've now owned my darling little rochelle (clementine) for a week and i couldn't be happier!

:)

 

(anybody else sad enough to name their instrument? :) )

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Mine’s a tale of treachery and deceit.

Let’s see, I was but an innocent lad at the tender age of 55 years wandering the pubs of Fernandina when a fellow pirate came up with the idea that we should buy concertinas. He said if we played them as we wandered around, it would make us look more piratey at the parades and festivals our club attends. I guess he had just gotten back from Disney Land or something.

My first reaction was one of wonder. “Sooo, what the heck’s a concertina.” I asked.

After a short explanation, I realized what he was talking about. In fact, I’d actually seen one in person about 20 years prior.

I reluctantly agreed under the condition we both did it because I didn’t want to be the only one in town doing such a weird, silly thing. So the deal was set, we both hit Ebay and bought our instruments, his, a nice, new, shiny, black, Chinese model keyed C/G and mine, a “vintage” Scholer covered in white formica keyed to something else. I have no idea.

We sat down together and he brought out some sheet music and a chart for the buttons on the box. Well, I didn’t have a button chart for mine, but I wasn’t jealous since I can’t read music anyway. What have I gotten myself into?

Since he’s the one who knows music, he went first. He looked at the sheet music, then at the button chart, and then at the concertina, pushed a button, pulled on the bellows …whoops, wrong note, he pushed on the bellows and Voala! We were making music. He repeated the above 30 second process several times until I was quite insane with the anticipation of what the next note might be or what the last one was supposed to have been for that matter. I never figured out what the tune was. I’d compare the sound to 2 cats with their tails tied together thrown over a clothesline.

Well, that was enough for me. I went home. Apparently it was enough for him too because I don’t think he’s had it out of the case since. So much for stickingtoitevness. (sp) :angry:

I was still determined to do something with the thing, after all, I was out 45 bucks. That was enough inspiration for me.

I decided to just push and pull and listen to the sound each button made until, through trial and error, I had them put together in a tune. Before long I had the theme song from Spongebob Squarepants down to a tee. You know the one, “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? etc.” It’s the same tune as “Blow The Man Down”, but try explaining that one to a bunch of 5 and 6 yr. olds at a birthday party. Having mastered that one, and keeping the kids in mind, my next tune was “Drunken Sailor”. Do you have any idea how many things you can do with one of those? Quite a few, and some, not so pretty. After that, it was the classic “Barnacle Bill the Sailor”, I’m not sure the lyrics are legal in this country, but the kids like the music.

Let’s see, that must have been, I’d say at least 18 months ago, but I’m older now and my memory isn’t what it used to be….Now, what was your question? :huh: Oh yeah.

To make a long story short, I had to be lied to, cheated and shanghaied to get started but isn’t that what friends are for.

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Before long I had the theme song from Spongebob Squarepants down to a tee. You know the one, “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? etc.” It’s the same tune as “Blow The Man Down”, but try explaining that one to a bunch of 5 and 6 yr. olds at a birthday party. Having mastered that one, and keeping the kids in mind, my next tune was “Drunken Sailor”. Do you have any idea how many things you can do with one of those? Quite a few, and some, not so pretty.

Woo! spongebob rocks. *sings* 'Who lives in a pinaple under the sea....'

When I was at school drunken sailor was my fave recorder tune (can't remember the notes now) although it had different lyrics.....it was changed to 'what shall we do with the grumpy teacher' being kids we erm merged them together (when no one was listening) to what shall we do with the drunken teacher. ;)

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Hi, everybody. This is my story...

 

After a lot of years playing fiddle and some mandolin, I wanted to play the tunes I knew in other instrument. I've never been found of winds - flute, whistle, or even worse: pipes :blink: -, so I decided to give a try to the Anglo. As most of my friends point, with a charming <_< sense of humour, I've a tendence to choose more "female" instruments, rather than the "macho" ones, i.e: pipes or guitar.

 

Don´t hope play like Niall Vallely, Padraig Rynne or Micheal O'Raghallaigh; growing older and almost in my forties the "Bothy Band type" sessions have become gradually sort of "slippers & fireplace" sessions, leaving the annoying up speed sessions to the hormoned teens...

 

Anyway, is a lot of relief play an instrument that is always in tune; and not have to buy strings, re-hair bows or rosin up... :P

 

Cheers

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Hi my name is Rod and I am a concertinaholic:

 

I was in a production of "Reedy River" (a play with Australian folk songs and music) some years ago, and playing the mouth organ. Maria, the director - who also happened to be my wife - said it would look and sound a lot better if I played the concertina instead - more authentic, and I could sing at the same time.

 

She decided we'd slip into a secondhand shop and I would buy one, and learn to play it before we opened. (Someone in the group had done that a few years earlier, so it couldn't be difficult). :huh:

 

We finally found a concertina about a month after the play closed, and I did learn to play "The Springtime It brings on the Shearing".

 

That was in 1995, and the concertina was a Scholler. I have been playing ever since.

 

So it is entirely Maria's fault, and she has no cause to complain!!

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I've now owned my darling little rochelle (clementine) for a week and i couldn't be happier!

:)

(anybody else sad enough to name their instrument? :) )

 

you found a name in the end. :)

 

sure did Lady D!!

 

yours got a purty name yet missy?

 

Not yet...(I know ships and machines are 'female' but)I think its a 'male' concertina though. ;)

 

Plus people think I'm odd enough getting a concertina...naming it too...might be a step too far. lol!

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Not yet...(I know ships and machines are 'female' but)I think its a 'male' concertina though. ;)

 

Plus people think I'm odd enough getting a concertina...naming it too...might be a step too far. lol!

 

oh you gotta have a name! or else me and clemmy will feel sad!

;)

 

i love my concertina. but i'm so crap! its kinda funny; i've been playing quite tricky fingerstyle ragtime and blues on the guitar, and now i'm back to london bridge is falling down!!

:lol:

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Hearing John Watcham's arrangement of "Lumps of Plum Pudding" on Shirley Collins' "Adieu to Old England" album in 1979. With its droll moving bass line, it was so good humored and highly musical that it made the anglo concertina sound like the world's most wonderful gadget, and I had to get one.

 

My thanks to John Watcham.

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How I got into concertina?

 

Well, I've always been able to play music by ear, since I was 5 or so, but never really had the spirit or the drive for it. Forced to learn piano when I was 6---until I got bored with it. Took piano accordion lessons when I was 10---until I got bored with it.

 

Just over 2 years ago my wife and I joined a certain medieval recreation group where a lot of people were doing musical things. There were bards, and instrument players of all types. A lot of guitar players, a cello player, and other random and also older instrument types.

 

My friend had decided he wanted to learn how to play guitar, and since I'd tried miserably to play guitar in the past I decided that I should pull out my big red 120-bass "Made in Italy" Video piano accordion. How I wore that as a 10-year old I'll never know, but even as an adult a big red PA is still just as heavy, bulky, and barely portable. It's like carrying a suitcase filled with books---or bricks. A suitcase filled with clothes would be lighter!

 

So I looked about for something with buttons, reeds, bellows, and smaller than a PA. I was led to a cheap Chinese Anglo concertina from eBay. It had a button or two that would stick (*growl*) but once I got that fixed to my liking I tried learning. I found I could do some songs, but my "mind-to-finger-music-connection" that I enjoy so much as a "playing by ear musician" just wasn't there. I was used to the bellows action of my PA. As in, just press/pull the bellows, it doesn't determine the note... so in frustration I decided to try again. This time I picked up a 30-button Chinese English concertina from eBay. (Yeah, sensing a trend here.)

 

It wasn't bad. But for me, the buttons and music made sense in my mind, and if I wanted them the accidentals were right THERE. So from there to a Stagi, and then now that I've tasted what a decent instrument was like (figure comparing a Stagi to the Chinese one!), my next concertina is my current: A ~1898 48-button Wheatstone. Rosewood, bone buttons, almost perfect bellows, and needing tuning.

 

So I've been playing English for about a year and a half now. I haven't a teacher, so I guess I'm self-taught. I'm getting better every month, though my "getting better all the time" curve has slowed down. I'm playing on a Yule CD for a local folk group, which is so nice hearing the brass 'tina mournfully playing at the beginning of, and during some pieces..

 

That's where I'm at.

 

My name is Patrick, and I play an English concertina. ;)

Edited by Dieppe
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Not yet...(I know ships and machines are 'female' but)I think its a 'male' concertina though. ;)

 

Plus people think I'm odd enough getting a concertina...naming it too...might be a step too far. lol!

 

oh you gotta have a name! or else me and clemmy will feel sad!

;)

 

i love my concertina. but i'm so crap! its kinda funny; i've been playing quite tricky fingerstyle ragtime and blues on the guitar, and now i'm back to london bridge is falling down!!

:lol:

 

My Edgley is "male" -- and named.

 

The Merlin says, "hi."

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Plus people think I'm odd enough getting a concertina...naming it too...might be a step too far. lol!

 

oh you gotta have a name! or else me and clemmy will feel sad!

;)

 

I got a new slant on name-giving recently. My wife and I are expectant grandparents, so for her birthday my wife got a book entitled "The Grandmother and her First Grandchild" - a lot of useful Do's and especially Don't's. There was a short summary of the historical role of the grandmother, which formerly included the right to give names to the children's children - or rather, as the book says, "to find out the names". Because names are not just arbitrary tags for official use, they can influence how the child is perceived by itself and others, and should be appropriate.

 

There are two people in everyone's life who don't need names: Father and Mother. Whenever someone calls "Father!" or "Mother!", only one person in the whole world can be meant. You may have any number of uncles, aunts, siblings or children, so they need names to distinguish them.

 

My instruments are part of my family. Always have been. My parents talked about "the piano", "the fiddle", "the autoharp", etc., because we only had one of each. So they had no need of names.

 

Now, I have a severe case of MIAS (Musical Instrument Acquisition Syndrome), which has left me with 3 banjos, 3 mandolins and no less than 5 autoharps. So what do I do to distinguish them? Name them?

 

Well, yes, but not arbitrarily, like Bill or Samantha. The banjos are all 5-strings, but different forms, so they're "the Open-Back", "the Resonator" and "the Zither". The mandolins are "the Stridente" (maker's name), "the Embergher" (type of peghead) and "the Electric" (the one with the pick-up). With the autoharps, it's similar - each has a different salient feature which suggests a name, and at the same time would allow a stranger to recognise which one I mean.

 

So I'm not into "given names" for instruments. Could be fun, though! If, for example I called my concertina Janet, and a friend called his guitar Sam - whenever we got together after work to play some duets it would be a ....

 

 

 

... Sam an' Janet evening! :lol:

 

Cheers,

John

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Not yet...(I know ships and machines are 'female' but)I think its a 'male' concertina though. ;)

 

LDT,

 

I beg to differ. Musical instruments seem to be definitely female. At least, when I take one on my knee and squeeze it or stroke it, my wife gets jealous. She really hates the autoharp, because I hug it. :lol:

 

Cheers,

John

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So I'm not into "given names" for instruments. Could be fun, though! If, for example I called my concertina Janet, and a friend called his guitar Sam - whenever we got together after work to play some duets it would be a ....

 

 

 

... Sam an' Janet evening! :lol:

Can't find a "groan" smiley, so this will have to do :rolleyes: . Usual tune, I presume.

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