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4 fold bellows


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At Whitby Folk Week I was interested that Chris Sherburn had 4 fold bellows to his Anglo and it seemed to allow greater sound and ornamentation control ( as far as one can make out without a conrolled experiment)

 

At another session we were discussing squeezeboxes and one woman said that her tutor on Accordion had taped some of the bellows folds to make her be more controlled on push and pull annd Bob Cann's grandson also said Bob had stressed limited movement. On melodeon I play cross row to reduce bellows wreckage and for better control as well as working on maximising pressure through the reeds.

 

Has anyone ever clamped or taped concertina bellows to do a comparison of more or fewer bellows and with what conclusions?

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At Whitby Folk Week I was interested that Chris Sherburn had 4 fold bellows to his Anglo and it seemed to allow greater sound and ornamentation control ( as far as one can make out without a conrolled experiment)

 

At another session we were discussing squeezeboxes and one woman said that her tutor on Accordion had taped some of the bellows folds to make her be more controlled on push and pull annd Bob Cann's grandson also said Bob had stressed limited movement. On melodeon I play cross row to reduce bellows wreckage and for better control as well as working on maximising pressure through the reeds.

 

Has anyone ever clamped or taped concertina bellows to do a comparison of more or fewer bellows and with what conclusions?

I wonder Mike if the ornamentation you refer to when using four fold bellows is a way that Chris uses to either drag air back into the bellows for the next passage of music ,or likewise let the air out. It seems to me the only way he can do it.He very rarely seems to even use the full length of the bellows when he plays. I cannot see how an increase or decrease in bellows length would change the sound of the instrument,adding a fold onto the length of my two, I cannot say I noticed any difference at all, except that I can now play tunes on the GD that I could only play on the CG, due to lack of air.

Al

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At Whitby Folk Week I was interested that Chris Sherburn had 4 fold bellows to his Anglo and it seemed to allow greater sound and ornamentation control ( as far as one can make out without a conrolled experiment)

 

At another session we were discussing squeezeboxes and one woman said that her tutor on Accordion had taped some of the bellows folds to make her be more controlled on push and pull annd Bob Cann's grandson also said Bob had stressed limited movement. On melodeon I play cross row to reduce bellows wreckage and for better control as well as working on maximising pressure through the reeds.

 

Has anyone ever clamped or taped concertina bellows to do a comparison of more or fewer bellows and with what conclusions?

I wonder Mike if the ornamentation you refer to when using four fold bellows is a way that Chris uses to either drag air back into the bellows for the next passage of music ,or likewise let the air out. It seems to me the only way he can do it.He very rarely seems to even use the full length of the bellows when he plays. I cannot see how an increase or decrease in bellows length would change the sound of the instrument,adding a fold onto the length of my two, I cannot say I noticed any difference at all, except that I can now play tunes on the GD that I could only play on the CG, due to lack of air.

Al

 

The number of folds in the bellows must have a significant effect upon the style of music that can satisfactorily be played. I guess 4 folds is perfectly adequate for simple jigs and reels and that sort of thing but would severely restrict the ability to play slower stuff requiring more legato treatment. What sort of melodies does Chris Sherburn play on his 4 fold Anglo ?

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I guess 4 folds is perfectly adequate for simple jigs and reels and that sort of thing

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

 

In "Last Nights Fun" guise (are they still going?) he plays a lot of fast high quality Irish "jigs and reels."

 

There are some very nice tracks by him on "Anglo International"

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At Whitby Folk Week I was interested that Chris Sherburn had 4 fold bellows to his Anglo and it seemed to allow greater sound and ornamentation control

 

Ask him? This is the traditional music world after all! :)

 

 

I set out to but there were loads of people after him and he was buzzing off as artists do at festivals to get to thenext gig.

 

If I can find an email address I'll do that and report back if he's OK

 

 

Not many pro's post on this site I notice

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At Whitby Folk Week I was interested that Chris Sherburn had 4 fold bellows to his Anglo and it seemed to allow greater sound and ornamentation control ( as far as one can make out without a conrolled experiment)

 

At another session we were discussing squeezeboxes and one woman said that her tutor on Accordion had taped some of the bellows folds to make her be more controlled on push and pull annd Bob Cann's grandson also said Bob had stressed limited movement. On melodeon I play cross row to reduce bellows wreckage and for better control as well as working on maximising pressure through the reeds.

 

Has anyone ever clamped or taped concertina bellows to do a comparison of more or fewer bellows and with what conclusions?

I wonder Mike if the ornamentation you refer to when using four fold bellows is a way that Chris uses to either drag air back into the bellows for the next passage of music ,or likewise let the air out. It seems to me the only way he can do it.He very rarely seems to even use the full length of the bellows when he plays. I cannot see how an increase or decrease in bellows length would change the sound of the instrument,adding a fold onto the length of my two, I cannot say I noticed any difference at all, except that I can now play tunes on the GD that I could only play on the CG, due to lack of air.

Al

 

 

Mainly fast reels and jigs although he's playing a bit less so nowadays

 

The number of folds in the bellows must have a significant effect upon the style of music that can satisfactorily be played. I guess 4 folds is perfectly adequate for simple jigs and reels and that sort of thing but would severely restrict the ability to play slower stuff requiring more legato treatment. What sort of melodies does Chris Sherburn play on his 4 fold Anglo ?

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I guess 4 folds is perfectly adequate for simple jigs and reels and that sort of thing

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

 

In "Last Nights Fun" guise (are they still going?) he plays a lot of fast high quality Irish "jigs and reels."

 

There are some very nice tracks by him on "Anglo International"

 

 

LNF is no more but he and Denny Bartley are still a duo

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I guess 4 folds is perfectly adequate for simple jigs and reels and that sort of thing

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

 

In "Last Nights Fun" guise (are they still going?) he plays a lot of fast high quality Irish "jigs and reels."

 

There are some very nice tracks by him on "Anglo International"

 

He also plays some lovely slow airs and plays chordal accompaniment for Bella Hardy. I think he is one of the most sensitive and dynamic Anglo players I have ever heard. Very talented and very creative.

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i was taught to keep the bellows as closed as possible, due to the fact that it allows for greater control. wally carroll explained this to me, and he went into the reasonings behind it... it was a couple years ago, but i will do my best to recall his explanation. he said that the more you extend the bellows, the greater the volume of air is inside the bellows. the greater the volume of air, the more energy it takes to change bellows directions, due to the fact that there is more mass to work against (there is more air to squeeze out, and thus more resistance). i believe he also explained to me how this can affect the reeds, and that it takes more pressure/longer for the reeds to react the further the bellows are pulled out.

 

beyond what wally said, the further the bellows are out, the more unstable they become, and the more they will tend to move laterally. in order to compensate for this, you must put in MORE energy to achieve the same control.... you must use more muscles and tenser muscles to maintain stability, as well as energy is wasted, as oftentimes the best way to control bellows is to push energy into another point (besides in and out) in order to maintain stability and reduce inconsistent air flow when changing directions (some play with bellows wrapped around knee; others dig into the heel of their palms; others put different angles into the bellows and push into the tension created by them; all of these involve the physical redirection and waste of energy). i believe it is unavoidable--the more extended you are, the more energy goes into maintaining control, and although there are so many ways to compensate for this (and some maybe more efficient or more effective), you cannot avoid this increase of work.

 

luckily... you don't need to reduce bellows fold to get get this control: you can just open your bellows less! think about it... 4 bellows fold force you to be economical, but you can place artificial limitations on how far you will permit yourself to open your bellows. i agree that TOO many folds can be distracting (i think 6 is a great compromise); 7 folds do seem a bit excessive for me, but then again... if you only use a minimal amount of movement, you will not really notice there are extra bellows until you extend further (in which case it may take slightly more energy to stabilize).

 

externally imposed limitations can teach you a lot, but you can learn the same thing by pushing yourself, and have the benefit of having more options than if you physically change your instrument or order less bellows folds. at the same time, it is very helpful to be adaptable, as sometimes you must play a leaky concertina, or if you're like me you might compromise your air valve (dont ask me how...), or you might be playing an antique miniature, which are notoriously leaky.

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i was taught to keep the bellows as closed as possible, due to the fact that it allows for greater control. wally carroll explained this to me, and he went into the reasonings behind it... it was a couple years ago, but i will do my best to recall his explanation. he said that the more you extend the bellows, the greater the volume of air is inside the bellows. the greater the volume of air, the more energy it takes to change bellows directions, due to the fact that there is more mass to work against (there is more air to squeeze out, and thus more resistance). i believe he also explained to me how this can affect the reeds, and that it takes more pressure/longer for the reeds to react the further the bellows are pulled out.

 

beyond what wally said, the further the bellows are out, the more unstable they become, and the more they will tend to move laterally. in order to compensate for this, you must put in MORE energy to achieve the same control.... you must use more muscles and tenser muscles to maintain stability, as well as energy is wasted, as oftentimes the best way to control bellows is to push energy into another point (besides in and out) in order to maintain stability and reduce inconsistent air flow when changing directions (some play with bellows wrapped around knee; others dig into the heel of their palms; others put different angles into the bellows and push into the tension created by them; all of these involve the physical redirection and waste of energy). i believe it is unavoidable--the more extended you are, the more energy goes into maintaining control, and although there are so many ways to compensate for this (and some maybe more efficient or more effective), you cannot avoid this increase of work.

 

luckily... you don't need to reduce bellows fold to get get this control: you can just open your bellows less! think about it... 4 bellows fold force you to be economical, but you can place artificial limitations on how far you will permit yourself to open your bellows. i agree that TOO many folds can be distracting (i think 6 is a great compromise); 7 folds do seem a bit excessive for me, but then again... if you only use a minimal amount of movement, you will not really notice there are extra bellows until you extend further (in which case it may take slightly more energy to stabilize).

 

externally imposed limitations can teach you a lot, but you can learn the same thing by pushing yourself, and have the benefit of having more options than if you physically change your instrument or order less bellows folds. at the same time, it is very helpful to be adaptable, as sometimes you must play a leaky concertina, or if you're like me you might compromise your air valve (dont ask me how...), or you might be playing an antique miniature, which are notoriously leaky.

 

Thanks David. A valuable contribution to the subject.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

We saw them at Chesterfied Folk Club last night. It was an excellent night and very well received by a good audience. The banter was really funny and quick and the songs and tunes melded superbly. Thy are on top form and I think breaking new ground. Gig info at http://www.lastnightsfun.com/

 

Chris hardly moves the bellows on his Anglo and the sound pick up was great. Iasked him about the bellows and he said he'd worn them out playing across his knee. He said Steve Dickinson who made it said he'd done 100 years playing on the Wheatstone! He has kept the old bellows and had the folds reduced to 4. He said it works on stage and in sessions and he likes the way it gives triplets etc. He is also doing more chords in accompaniment. It had a great warm but sharp sound.

 

Chris is also playing with Bella Hardy at The Crucible theatre, Sheffield, soon. We'll be there.

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You're welcome.. I may temporaily tape up some bellow folds with non invasive tape to see how it goes.

here are the lads-

 

 

Great version of Woody Guthrie's Tom Joad based on Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Denny is rated up there with Paul Brady, Dick Gaughan et al. makes the hair stand up on my neck at any rate! I reckon Woody used the tune of John Henry the steeldriving man

Edited by michael sam wild
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