Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Squeezebox window-shopping

Phil Edwards 06 Aug 09 - 10:36 AM
Mr Happy 06 Aug 09 - 11:06 AM
Mr Happy 06 Aug 09 - 11:13 AM
Marje 06 Aug 09 - 12:06 PM
SteveMansfield 06 Aug 09 - 12:20 PM
GUEST,Phil Williams 06 Aug 09 - 12:23 PM
Phil Edwards 06 Aug 09 - 01:18 PM
The Sandman 06 Aug 09 - 01:49 PM
Phil Edwards 06 Aug 09 - 01:51 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Aug 09 - 03:45 PM
TheSnail 06 Aug 09 - 04:07 PM
The Sandman 06 Aug 09 - 04:12 PM
Piers Plowman 06 Aug 09 - 04:17 PM
Piers Plowman 06 Aug 09 - 04:19 PM
Artful Codger 06 Aug 09 - 04:19 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Aug 09 - 04:40 PM
SteveMansfield 06 Aug 09 - 05:01 PM
Phil Edwards 06 Aug 09 - 06:18 PM
SteveMansfield 07 Aug 09 - 03:01 AM
jonm 07 Aug 09 - 03:02 AM
Phil Edwards 07 Aug 09 - 03:33 AM
bill\sables 07 Aug 09 - 04:24 AM
GUEST,Phil Williams 07 Aug 09 - 04:38 AM
Phil Edwards 07 Aug 09 - 04:38 AM
Artful Codger 07 Aug 09 - 04:40 AM
Valmai Goodyear 07 Aug 09 - 05:05 AM
G-Force 07 Aug 09 - 05:57 AM
Valmai Goodyear 07 Aug 09 - 06:03 AM
Piers Plowman 07 Aug 09 - 10:18 AM
The Sandman 07 Aug 09 - 10:27 AM
Mr Happy 07 Aug 09 - 10:28 AM
Steve Gardham 07 Aug 09 - 02:24 PM
Phil Edwards 07 Aug 09 - 03:03 PM
Jack Blandiver 16 Aug 09 - 04:14 PM
Howard Jones 17 Aug 09 - 03:59 AM
Surreysinger 17 Aug 09 - 04:15 AM
Jack Blandiver 17 Aug 09 - 05:55 AM
matt milton 17 Aug 09 - 06:27 AM
Fidjit 17 Aug 09 - 08:11 AM
rod_in_tucson 17 Aug 09 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,Radish, No Cookie 17 Aug 09 - 10:22 AM
Valmai Goodyear 17 Aug 09 - 10:40 AM
Marilyn 17 Aug 09 - 10:56 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Aug 09 - 11:25 AM
The Fooles Troupe 17 Aug 09 - 06:30 PM
Tradsinger 18 Aug 09 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,ex-pat at work 18 Aug 09 - 07:39 PM
Gurney 19 Aug 09 - 01:32 AM
Valmai Goodyear 19 Aug 09 - 08:46 AM
Gurney 20 Aug 09 - 01:12 AM
Valmai Goodyear 20 Aug 09 - 07:50 AM
rod_in_tucson 24 Aug 09 - 08:20 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 10:36 AM

I've been singing unaccompanied for several years, & am now thinking about getting something that would let me play chords underneath what I'm singing. (A bit of decoration here and there, but mostly just chords.)

I want something acoustic and portable, which rules out most keyboards; I also want an instrument where simply hitting a chord and holding it for a couple of bars can sound good, which rules out guitars & similar (hitting a chord and letting it hang just makes you sound like you're pretending to be a medieval minstrel).

So I think I'm looking at free reed instruments. But what kind?

As an unaccompanied singer I'm used to singing what I like and pitching it where I like (usually at the top end of what I'm comfortable with). If the dots say Dm7 I'm going to want to play Dm7, unless my voice is happier a full tone higher, in which case I'll want to play Em7. Or whatever. Playing around with a B/C melodeon (thanks, Ged) I've found that some chords can only be played on the push (or pull), and some can't be played at all. A third row might make a lot more chords available - I don't know.

So that leaves
- English concertinas
- duet concertinas
- piano accordions
- three-row melodeons (possibly)
- harmoniums (if very small)

To narrow that lot down further, I'd prefer an instrument where notes stay in the same place; I want something reasonably affordable; and I've never really liked accordions (that's just an irrational prejudice). So that leaves

- English concertinas

If I am getting an English concertina, which one? Hobgoblin in Manchester are currently selling a couple of secondhand English concertinas fairly cheap (as well as several others fairly expensive). One's a Scarlatti - is that bad? The other's a 30-key box - is that bad? I'm not actually planning to rush out and buy either of them, I should say. I'll probably save up a bit more and get a Jack - as I said earlier on, I tend to pitch fairly high, so I think a baritone would make a better accompaniment than a treble.

Does this make sense? Any comments/suggestions/awful warnings/whatever would be welcome.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Mr Happy
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 11:06 AM

8 bass piano accordion


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Mr Happy
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 11:13 AM

Sorry, pressed bouton too soon.

Meant to say, this'll be chromatic - you'll be able to play in any key & the basses'll give adequate chord accompaniment.

Also, an 8 bass means it'll be the size & weight of a small melodeon.

I'm a melodeon player [among other insts] & find there's very few who play these & sing - prob too much brain power needed, also you're restricted to what keys you can play in.

An anglo concertina is diatonic & is set up in much the same way as a 2 row melodeon



An english concertina is also chromatic but although smaller & lighter cost a lot more than an accordeon.

Hope this helps


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Marje
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 12:06 PM

You're right to rule out melodeon. I sing with mine sometimes, but it's not really a good choice for accompaniment because of the limited keys and chords. A three-row still won't have all the notes/chords you might want, and could be heavier than a small accordion. Accordions have all the notes, but they often have a very full sound that doesn't compliment the voice very well.

I think you're on the right track, and an English concertina would be the best choice - much lighter and more portable than the big boxes, less obtrusive when you're singing, and will have all the notes you need.

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 12:20 PM

If you're dipping your toes in the concertina waters I'd save up a bit more and get a Jack - they're on sale from the Music Room in Cleckheaton for under 400GBP, and I really wouldn't look at anything Hobgoblin have got under that price mark.

Baritones are IMNSHO definately the way to go for singing, the combination is lovely.

I started on concertina with a Jackie (the treble equivalent) and although they are a bit, well, hmmmm, compared to a really nice concertina, they are brilliant for starting on, finding out if EC and you are going to get on, and whether you want to stick with the Jack or it's then worth spending the serious money on getting a really decent concertina.

Jack's, like Jackies, have certain mechanical issues with reeds and buttons, so have a look round the forums at concertina.net for tips on fixing them. Alternatively I'm in South Manchester, and would happily meet up one evening to pass on what I know about keeping Jackies running (it's all very simple and straightforward - it must be if I'm prepared to do it with my low level of mechanical expertise and confidence!)

So to sum up - my 0.02p, for what it's worth, is ignore those who will no doubt weigh in with suggestions of accordions or guitars or Peruvian chordal noseflutes or whatever, go with the idea of a baritone concertina, and consider a Jack.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: GUEST,Phil Williams
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 12:23 PM

English makes sense as you have options for more keys. I sing with a C-G Anglo but most folk tend to pitch naturally around F so an F-Bb anglo is nice, but very hard to find. Obviously the more you pay the easier the instrument will be to play, but you are not necessarily looking for blisteringly fast reed responses for song accompaniament
so a lesser English might be considered.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 01:18 PM

Many thanks - some really useful comments.

[Jack/Jackies] are a bit, well, hmmmm, compared to a really nice concertina

Is this the 'accordion reed' thing? (I know I've been unpleasantly surprised by the tone of some concertinas I've heard - less so in the lower registers, & less so playing chords.) And am I right in thinking that Scarlattis are even more 'well, hmmmm'?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 01:49 PM

Pip,if you can afford it get a concertina with concertina reeds.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 01:51 PM

If I could, I would!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 03:45 PM

As you don't need a loud or fast instrument a fairly basic English with concertina reeds (second hand) would be affordable. You don't even need a plush metal ended or raised ends model. Plastic buttons would be fine also. I'd keep a close eye on Ebay for one in playable condition and have it serviced. Generally speaking English are a lot cheaper, type for type, than Anglos. I agree with Dick, accordion reeded steer clear of. I accompany my singing with anglo and melodeon, but for singing I often wish I'd started out with English. The chords are much more friendly and logical.
A duet system, Crane, McCann, Jeffries would be an alternative but cheaper models are very scarce, non-existent in the case of Jeffries.

If you're stateside there's always a Chemnitzer but they're accordeon reeded, although well-made.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: TheSnail
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 04:07 PM

My worry is that you never seem to see Scarlattis, Jackies, Jacks, Stagis, Hohners or any of the other cheap-end-of-the-range concertinas for sale second hand so that £300-£400 could be money down the drain whereas, a decent Lachenal or Wheatstone lower range model might cost you a bit more but would have a resale value if you changed your mind.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 04:12 PM

the most difficult tunes[ in my opinion] on the English Concertina are reels.
This is passable
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eimMwaIqR6s&feature=channel_page


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 04:17 PM

Subject: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Pip Radish - PM
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 10:36 AM

"I also want an instrument where simply hitting a chord and holding it for a couple of bars can sound good, which rules out guitars & similar (hitting a chord and letting it hang just makes you sound like you're pretending to be a medieval minstrel)."

Well, you could pick a simple pattern or strum. I admit, I'm not a big fan of strumming, but like so many other things, it ain't what you do, it's how you do it.

"Does this make sense?"

Sure.

"Any comments/suggestions/awful warnings/whatever would be welcome."

I think a dulcimer, an autoharp or a zither might be a good choice. However, my Awful Warning is that one gets out of an instrument what one puts into it (like when you drop your flatpick into your guitar). All instruments are difficult and I really believe that if you don't want to put the effort into learning to play it well (though that doesn't mean you have to learn to play complicated things), it would be better not to do it at all. Not for moral reasons, but because it will be frustrating and end up not improving your music-making.

Do you not have anyone to accompany you? If you have a voice, that's a great gift. I wish I had one. I also wish I had someone to accompany. An instrument can be a good prop, but I don't think that's a good reason for playing one and I do think it's a lot better to sing without also playing an instrument at the same time. In fact, playing an instrument at the same time will probably make your singing worse.

Just my two cents.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 04:19 PM

"An instrument can be a good prop [...]"

Just to be clear, I know this isn't why you want to learn to play one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Artful Codger
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 04:19 PM

If you find melodeon a bit mind-bending, you may find the English concertina even moreso, because:

As you shift octaves, all the notes cross hands and may be played with different fingers (for instance, C index left => c middle right => c' middle left). With melodeon and accordion, the division of labor between hands is more straight-forward.

As you shift keys, all the fingerings shift (relative to the tonic) unless you're moving up a fifth/down a fourth. So the finger/hand patterns you learn for C are substantially different from those you learn for D. Of course, a similar thing happens on most instruments except tinwhistles, harmonicas and melodeons/Anglos, where you typically switch instruments and play the same way. On fretted instruments, you can just capo for small key changes.

On English concertina you have to finger each note in a chord separately for all chords, not just the less common ones. And chord transitions can be tricky, since you may have to reposition fingers on both hands very quickly--you can't fudge with open strings as on guitar.

Finally, the English concertina is one of the least ergonomic instruments. Support on most is provided only by the thumbs and pinkies (which tire quickly). The vertical arrangement of buttons requires contortions of the hands which you don't encounter with the other types of squeezeboxes, where buttons are generally layed out more naturally directly under the fingers at rest. Large or full chords require the greatest contortions, and sometimes you must use one finger to press two buttons (like playing stopped fifths on a violin).

Don't get me wrong: the English concertina follows an extremely logical pattern, and the same-note push-or-pull is a huge advantage both melodically and mentally. You can also do more things more easily with it than with an Anglo. But if you're mainly playing chords, learning Anglo would be simpler, even at the cost of flexible pitching.

The duet supposedly offers the advantages of both, and may really be what you're after, but as I have no experience with duets, someone else would have to make comparative comments.

This topic arises from time to time, so search the Forum for other threads. For instance, one which began not long ago on concertina tips also diverted for a time into comparative remarks on what type of instrument would be best for accompaniment.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 04:40 PM

Artful...'Learning anglo would be simpler'

Infinitely simpler, but much more restrictive, in terms of key selection and chord options. If Pip had an English, once the preferable song keys were selected chord patterns could be easily learnt. A basic English is relatively light and many players tend to rest them on the knee when accompanying song.

As I said the scarcity of cheaper duets would probably exclude these anyway.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 05:01 PM

[Jack/Jackies] are a bit, well, hmmmm, compared to a really nice concertina

Is this the 'accordion reed' thing? (I know I've been unpleasantly surprised by the tone of some concertinas I've heard - less so in the lower registers, & less so playing chords.) And am I right in thinking that Scarlattis are even more 'well, hmmmm'?


It's not the accordion reeds, no - Morse are one high-end maker who use accordion reeds and they sound lovely, and Jack/Jackies certainly sound a whole mlot better than the Scarlattis IMNSHO.

Don't get me wrong, Jack/Jackies are excellent beginners' instruments, and it is absolutely brilliant that they are available as reasonable quality entry-level English concertinas; they are much certainly nicer than things like the cheaper Scarlattis. But you get what you pay for, and you might find that after a few months or years you are looking to upgrade: by then you'll know if EC is for you or not, and then you can start making decisions on where you go from there ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 06:18 PM

Codger:

As you shift octaves, all the notes cross hands and may be played with different fingers

That does sound a bit weird. But:

As you shift keys, all the fingerings shift (relative to the tonic)

That sounded a bit scary to begin with, but on reflection it's exactly what I'd expect. I learned to play (flute) from dots years ago; I can solfege a bit, but I still basically think chromatic rather than diatonic - I mean, I think of G-B-D-g and D-F#-A-d as two different series of notes, rather than as the same thing in two different keys.

On English concertina you have to finger each note in a chord separately for all chords

Again, that's what I'd expect - I had to read this twice to work out what the problem might be.

Piers:

if you don't want to put the effort into learning to play it well (though that doesn't mean you have to learn to play complicated things), it would be better not to do it at all
...
playing an instrument at the same time will probably make your singing worse.


I'm not really bothered about getting good enough to play tunes on the concertina - I've got whistles for that. The goal will be to learn to play it well enough that I can concentrate on singing. I think that'll be enough of a challenge to keep me going.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 03:01 AM

If you find melodeon a bit mind-bending, you may find the English concertina even moreso

There's a whole area there - how different people's brains are wired differently, and how that affects which instrument(s) they play.

I have spent hours and hours and hours with various borrowed melodeons down the years, and at the end of all that effort I have still only got a less than 50% chance of producing two consecutive correct notes, and that with the greatest of concentrated mental efforts.

EC, by contrast, I picked up the absolute basics of reasonably quickly. Yes, I'm still rubbish compared to Robert Harbron or Simon Thoumire, but I'm also infinitely closer to them than I would ever get to Andy Cutting, Ricardo Tesi, or even Mike from Powderkegs who started playing melodeon last year.

Yet other people's brains implode whenever they try to play EC but after half an hour on a melodeon can stumble through half a dozen tunes.

I don't know why that is, but I know it happens, and I guess that why we all end up playing different instruments.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: jonm
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 03:02 AM

"As you shift octaves, all the notes cross hands and may be played with different fingers"

This means that you can add ornamentation from an octave above or below without needing to use the same finger in two places.

"As you shift keys, all the fingerings shift (relative to the tonic)"

As a former pianist, that's what I'd expect and do not find it a problem. Changing from G to D, for example, does not require a complete re-learning of the fingering, just memory of which note sharpens.

"On English concertina you have to finger each note in a chord separately for all chords"

This has the advantage that you can play a variety of inversions of a chord using the permutations - ideal for adding interest to a simple chord sequence.

I have a metal-ended treble concertina which is ideal for tunes, sessions and morris. I have recently been looking hard for a mellower box for song accompaniment. The English is really good for this.

My personal experience is that, while a baritone provides accompaniment a clear octave below the voice, the reeds in some lower-priced baritones are slow to speak - runs between chords can be a problem, as can staccato chording for up-tempo songs. As a result I'm looking more at a mellow-toned treble box and hoping to find a tenor-treble I can afford.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 03:33 AM

Yet other people's brains implode whenever they try to play EC but after half an hour on a melodeon can stumble through half a dozen tunes.

The push/pull thing confuses me for a kickoff - I can't imagine learning a tune that way. Chording seems like it should be easier, but isn't. I tried to work out some basic chords on a B/C melodeon (to accompany Blackwaterside, after Tony Rose) and to me it was like something out of the Crystal Maze - "so you can get that note on the push but not *that* one... OK, so if I play that chord on the pull, can I do the next one on the push?..." (I wound up needing longer arms - eight solid bars of push chords. It would have been a lock-in.) On the other hand, I know melodeon players who say the B/C box does *their* head in.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: bill\sables
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 04:24 AM

Pip you'er probably better off comming to Whitby,22nd to 28th August if you are in the UK, There will be Music Room, Hobgoblin, Barleycorn Concertinas and Theo Gibb all running stands in the Whitby Leisure Centre craft fair so you will get a lot of choice both new and second hand and be able to try them out. There are also workshops for beginers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: GUEST,Phil Williams
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 04:38 AM

One thing in favour of the english is you have a set finger pattern for each chord and sometimes 2-note 'chords' are all that's needed as its the song thats the important element. Also just dropping one note by a semitone during a song phrase can be so effective. Seems to me that a Lachenal Engish is called for and keep the accompaniament simple. And you can turn up anywhere with a Lachenal and be taken seriously! For Lachenal also include Jones / Wallis and some others who made perfectly good instruments after leaving Lachenal.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 04:38 AM

bill - I'm in the UK all right, but I'm in Wales that week. Damn!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Artful Codger
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 04:40 AM

It will indeed, particularly since playing tunes on the English is far easier. Well, you've been warned.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 05:05 AM

Pip, when you're in Wales, try to visit Marcus Music.

Valmai


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: G-Force
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 05:57 AM

Maccann system duet concertina works for me. But I had enough of a background in music to understand chord sequences, bass lines etc. so I got on with the duet OK. If you don't have that you might consider:
- a continental chromatic accordion, or
- a cheap Hayden system duet concertina.

Both of these have the advantage that you can try a song in different keys and the fingering will be much the same (a bit like a guitarist using a capo).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 06:03 AM

Could I also draw your attention to Jeff Warner's workshop
on song accompaniment for any instrument in Lewes on Saturday 19th. September? Jeff plays banjo, guitar and a very beautiful English concertina. He performs at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club in the evening.

Valmai


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 10:18 AM

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Pip Radish - PM
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 06:18 PM

"I'm not really bothered about getting good enough to play tunes on the concertina - I've got whistles for that. The goal will be to learn to play it well enough that I can concentrate on singing. I think that'll be enough of a challenge to keep me going."

Of course, people do accompany themselves on all sorts of instruments. I've even been guilty of it myself. However, it's very far from ideal from the point of view of voice production. I know from personal experience that sitting down and holding my left arm out to play the guitar is not good for it and I'm willing to bet that hanging a heavy object around one's neck isn't, either.

I heard a program about Jacques Brel on the radio and one of the people he worked with, probably either François Rauber or Gérard Jouannest, suggested he should stop accompanying himself on the guitar. He was then able to sing and move about on stage much more freely.

Having said that, I hope you're happy with whatever you finally decide on. Not that it has to be final, of course. It's great fun learning new instruments.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 10:27 AM

On English concertina you have to finger each note in a chord separately for all chords[quote]
not entirely true,yes, I do this most of the time,but periodically/occasionally ,I use one finger for playing two notes generally an interval of a fifth.
any instrument requires practice, I generally practise concertina bor over an hour every day.
I normally do three batches of 30 minutes.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Mr Happy
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 10:28 AM

If you're in Wales, check out here http://d1073320.mydomainwebhost.com/


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 02:24 PM

....a cheap Hayden system concertina.

Does such a beast exist? I haven't come across any Haydens since they first came out, which is why I hesitated to mention them. BUT I agree if you could get one it would be ideal, because, if I've got it right ,all or most of the chord shapes are the same, like on a 5-row continental but without the ton weight.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 03:03 PM

if I've got it right ,all or most of the chord shapes are the same

According to this article that's less of an advantage than it might sound - partly because the button array isn't (and can't be) big enough, partly because the three-finger system has at least one disadvantage of its own:

"What may not be obvious with the Hayden patterns, but becomes apparent as soon as one starts to play, is that to move from any major chord to another, the same three fingers will be reused, and every finger must (if using the uniform principle, MUST) move to a different button. The same thing is true to move from any minor chord to another. This means that all three fingers must be picked up and put down again in new spots on the Hayden arrangement. If you are playing "block chords"—all notes sounding simultaneously—there must always be a total cessation of sound"

Interesting article. Ironically, what it does for me as a beginner is to persuade me not to look at duets, since the only 'beginner model' I'm aware of is Concertina Connection's Elise - which is a Hayden.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 04:14 PM

I'm presently designing The Hand Whistle partly inspired by an illumination in The Cantigas de Santa Maria THUS, which would appear to suggest a wind instrument with a bellows attachment. Usually such things are reed pipes, but I was very impressed with a recorder bagpipe on YouTube a few years ago (HERE) which set me thinking. As part of a current music project I've been experimenting with whistle mutes by way of controlling not only volume, but also breath input into various penny whistles, but chiefly my low-D (which as a late-summer asthmatic I can barely blow otherwise). Somewhere in all of this I've hatched a notion for a hand-pumped double-whistle (6-hole whistle with drone) for song accompaniment. Fine-tuning the ergonomics presently before going off to catch the weasels for the bellows leather...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Howard Jones
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 03:59 AM

This is really difficult, because the instruments are so different. Even the three concertina systems are really different instruments.

I disagree with Marje about melodeons. Plenty of people use melodeon very effectively for song accompaniment. However they mostly use "quint" boxes (eg D/G, C/F etc) rather than half-step like the B/C you tried, which are mainly found in Irish music where they make little use of the basses (someone will now come up with a long list of half-step singers!)

Having limited keys isn't a problem unless you sing in a wide range of keys, which most people with untrained voices don't. As long as you find one in keys which suit your vocal range, you should have most of the chords you need for those scales. You can also play chords on the right hand.

Phil Williams mentioned that many people sing in F, but didn't point out that this is a really good key on a C/G anglo.

The English concertina is good for song accompaniment and gives a full range of keys, but you have to be happy with the way the scale switches from side to side, rather than adjacent buttons. It's particularly good if you play from written music, but it's very logicality makes it less intuitive (at least it does for me).

Duets may give you the best of both worlds, but some are more complicated to play than others as you may need to learn completely different fingerings for different scales. The Hayden system overcomes this.

The important things are:

does it have the sound you want? If you've been attracted by the sound of the concertina then a melodeon won't do, and vice versa

do you feel you'll be able to come to terms with the instrument to learn it well enough? For some people, the push-pull of melodeon or anglo is intuitive, for others it's baffling. I have no problem with push-pull, but get muddled with the way the scale alternates from hand to hand on an English concertina. You must find an instrument which suits you.

Finally, bear in mind that you still need to give most of your attention to the song, rather than playing the instrument. You need to be able to play the accompaniment well enough to do it while thinking about something else! It's essential that you're comfortable with the instrument you've chosen.

No one can really advise you on this, all they can do is point out the pros and cons of the different instruments. You have to decide what's right for you. Take your time to try out the different options.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Surreysinger
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 04:15 AM

I'd have to leap in and say Maccann duet concertina ..... but leave it to better than I to explain why.... cue Ralphie .... I'm sure he'll be along at some point....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 05:55 AM

Wrong video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ld0GRufqDmg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: matt milton
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 06:27 AM

On the Wim Wakker website there are soundclips of the Jack and Jackie.

It looks to me like you'd be better off buying one of these in euros from one of their continental stockists, and having it delivered. even with the exchange rate they're a lot cheaper than the UK shops that are selling them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Fidjit
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 08:11 AM

Pip
If your singing already I'm sure someone who already plays English (for a start ) would welcome the chance to be a duo ( 0r more ). But good luck and thinking to join us concertina 'ists (is that right ?)
But they don't come cheap. An English concertina I mean.

Or even a guitarist.

Don't look at me I almost play an anglo. Among other things.

But I know. You want to do it yourself.
CHas


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: rod_in_tucson
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 09:39 AM

I started with a Jack (second hand) and moved on to a trio (Morse Baritone, Lachenal EC (Brass reeds) and Wheatstone Crane (because I had to try it). I bought the Jack because it had a good reputation and it was cheap. A good instrument to learn on. Now that I have the Wheatstone and Lachenal, I understand what real concertina reeds sound like but good accordian reeded instruments are not unpleaant. All hmmms aside!

I've played Stagis and really prefer the Jack's sound. I'd advise looking for one on eBay. They do turn up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: GUEST,Radish, No Cookie
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 10:22 AM

I've played Stagis and really prefer the Jack's sound. I'd advise looking for one on eBay. They do turn up.

I had my eye on a USAn eBay seller for a while last year - they seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of Jackies and Jacks, at a USD price which would have been an absolute steal at the time. Then the exchange rate went silly (or less silly, depending on your perspective), I hit cashflow problems and the USAn Wakker-seller stopped selling, so that was that. Hopefully they'll be back - it sounds like I'm going to end up going for a Jack, which was my original idea (unless a really persuasive advocate of duet system boxes turns up...) Great discussion, anyway.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 10:40 AM

Another place to look is the trade fair at Concertinas at Witney on the last weekend of September. The trade fair runs on the Sunday and anyone can visit; Barleycorn Concertinas, Marcus Music and other makers and dealers have stands. You could also get in touch with a dealer who's coming - ask Dave Townsend which ones have booked this year - and ask if they could bring something in your price range. You'd certainly get the chance to try out a range of instruments in the same place.

Good luck,

Valmai (English treble and baritone)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Marilyn
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 10:56 AM

Pip Radish - from your opening post I am guessing that you might live near Manchester. I live in mid Cheshire (about 5 miles from Chester) and accompany myself and my husband on melodeon and octave mandolin. I use both B/C melodeon and a three row Castagnari (C#/D/G with 12 basses) for song accompaniment. I know you've tried a B/C and eliminated it but you might want to come over and try my three row and see what you think (more to eliminate it from the equation than anything else, I guess). Let me know if you'd like to come over and I'll give you directions.

FWIW, although I find the melodeon ideal to accompany some songs I accompany far more on octave mandolin because I find the melodeon just not right for most songs. I really do wish I had an English concertina and am determined to buy one next year.

It seems that you have probably made up your mind to get an English concertina and, IMHO, you've made the right decision.

Marilyn


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 11:25 AM

FWIW,
If I was starting out again from scratch I'd probably go for English. The anglo is such an easy instrument to play basics on but limited for more complex stuff. Having set out in the 60s as a melodeon player the natural jump was to anglo, but strangely the other 3 musicians in the group I was in all played English. They just had more complex brains than I had!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 06:30 PM

Reference : Technique: Piano Accordion for The Recycled Muso


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Tradsinger
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 10:07 AM

I have been accompanying myself on melodeon for years and have 2 melodeons, one F/C and one G/D/A, which also gives you a good range of minor/modal keys. Seems to work for me and I can usually find a key to suit me for a particular song.

Tradsinger


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: GUEST,ex-pat at work
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 07:39 PM

I sing and play button accordeon. I have three - a G/C, an A/D and a Cajun King in G
The chords are fairly easy to find and I prefer the sound of a good melodeon to a concertina.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Gurney
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 01:32 AM

Pip, here are some considerations to muse over.
I have an ex-Salvationist Lachenal, and my experience is somewhat limited. The best concertina I ever handled was a baritone Lachenal, and he wouldn't sell it to me! It showed me how different concertinas can be. I would have paid six times the cost of mine for that one! About six weeks wages!
Quality concertinas are holding their price better than lots of other things. They are not disposable items.

Wheatstones and Lachenals are like old Bently cars. They have outlived their first (often second, too) owners, and are still going.

Concertinas sound fine, until someone plays an accordian or melodeon, and then they sound very thin.

If you buy from someone who isn't a specialist who has a selection there, do take an experienced friend with you.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 08:46 AM

Gurney wrote: 'Concertinas sound fine, until someone plays an accordian or melodeon, and then they sound very thin.'

A concertina can certainly drown in the output of an accordion or melodeon and their sounds can confuse you if you're playing next to them. On the other hand, my baritone English can more than hold its own against a melodeon.

Valmai


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Gurney
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 01:12 AM

Do you find, Valmai, that if you do try to compete in volume with the melodeon, the extra pressure that you need to use makes the concertina sound flat?
Mine does, but it has been retuned since its 'Sally' days. It is more obvious when you play it to an electronic tuner.   I've been told that Salvationist instruments were tuned a fraction sharp because they were played loudly.

As I said, the baritone I handled was a beautiful instrument. I envy you yours.
Pip, however, wants to accompany himself. It may be years before he needs one to compete with other free-reeds, and unless he has a voice as deep as a bison, a tenor should be fine for him.   
I'm assuming Pip is for Philip.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 07:50 AM

Gurney: yes, that flatness can certainly happen with a treble concertina. A metal-ended one usually has more of a cutting edge, but that's not what you want for song.

For what it's worth, I'm a sort of weedy alto and manage to sing audibly with a combination of treble English, McCann duet and baritone English with Spare Parts. I do have to keep asking the other two to keep the noise down, though.

I'd agree that the tenor English would be the best choice for someone accompanying themselves.

Which brings in another point: a good English concertina can play softly as well as loudly. It's a myth that concertinas only do mezzo-forte.

Valmai


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Squeezebox window-shopping
From: rod_in_tucson
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 08:20 PM

I've yet to compete against a melodeon or accordian but my Morse or the Wheatstone will hold its own against most other commers, I'd guess.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 18 July 11:07 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.