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Squeezebox Dilemma...

GUEST,LDT 24 Feb 11 - 09:03 AM
SteveMansfield 24 Feb 11 - 10:21 AM
Manitas_at_home 24 Feb 11 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,LDT 24 Feb 11 - 10:27 AM
Manitas_at_home 24 Feb 11 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,LDT 24 Feb 11 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,LDT 24 Feb 11 - 10:44 AM
Manitas_at_home 24 Feb 11 - 10:57 AM
GUEST,LDT 24 Feb 11 - 11:08 AM
GUEST,LDT 24 Feb 11 - 11:08 AM
Tootler 24 Feb 11 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,LDT 24 Feb 11 - 12:44 PM
Tootler 24 Feb 11 - 12:58 PM
Little Robyn 24 Feb 11 - 01:29 PM
Johnjo 24 Feb 11 - 01:57 PM
Surreysinger 24 Feb 11 - 01:57 PM
Mo the caller 24 Feb 11 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,Grishka 24 Feb 11 - 04:02 PM
Tootler 24 Feb 11 - 07:48 PM
GUEST,Dave 24 Feb 11 - 09:17 PM
GUEST,Grishka 25 Feb 11 - 04:36 AM
GUEST,LDT 25 Feb 11 - 04:46 AM
Tattie Bogle 25 Feb 11 - 05:25 AM
GUEST,LDT 25 Feb 11 - 05:28 AM
GUEST,LDT 25 Feb 11 - 06:24 AM
Surreysinger 25 Feb 11 - 06:59 AM
Tootler 25 Feb 11 - 06:59 AM
GUEST,LDT 25 Feb 11 - 07:14 AM
Alan Day 25 Feb 11 - 07:18 AM
SteveMansfield 25 Feb 11 - 08:37 AM
Old Vermin 25 Feb 11 - 11:19 AM
GUEST,Philippa 25 Feb 11 - 11:33 AM
GUEST,LDT 25 Feb 11 - 11:41 AM
Alan Day 25 Feb 11 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,LDT 25 Feb 11 - 11:46 AM
Old Vermin 25 Feb 11 - 12:27 PM
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Subject: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 09:03 AM

Every time I go want to go a festival (with sessions) under my own steam -I don't drive would have to take train which, means using the underground-I'm faced with the same dilemma. I have a concertina and a melodeon. I don't have room to take both.
One side of me thinks take the concertina its smaller, lighter and more portable. But I find it hard to hear myself in sessions playing it, and struggle to keep up. Plus I'm not confident picking up songs by ear on it.
The other side wants to go for the melodeon. I find it much more comfortable to play, I can keep up and even have a go at trying to pick out tunes I know without dots. But I carry it in a backpack which means I can't pack essentials in a backpack and I don't fancy dragging suitcase up in down stairs/escalators.
I have recently purchased and begun learning fiddle. So now have another instrument to wonder about bringing.

What would you choose?


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 10:21 AM

Well you're obviously tending towards melodeon rather than concertina, so that's easy enough. Different people's brains work different ways, so different people take to different instruments, and that's a good thing because otherwise every session you went to would be full of nothing but fiddle players.

Oh, hang on a minute.

Unless you're finding it as comfortable to play fiddle as you find it to play melodeon, and you're as good at picking up tunes on fiddle as you reckon you are on melodeon, and your fiddle playing is at an equal standard to your melodeon ... why take the fiddle when you could take the melodeon?

Because if the only thing that is going to make your decision is the portability, then you should take the concertina; or take up flute instead, I can tell you from many years of personal experience that they are far more portable even than a concertina.

But if you decide to take the melodeon, you'll find a solution to the backpack problem. Or maybe you want to take the fiddle to get more experience playing that out. But the fiddle will present the same portability problems as the melodeon, and you can't sit on a fiddle case in train aisles the way you can a melodeon case.

Oh I don't know. I'm rambling now, so will shut up and post this to see if it helps any :)


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 10:21 AM

The AA school of motoring and then a car with lots of boot space.


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 10:27 AM

@Manitas at home. Car will take all my money (insurance, petrol etc.) for going to festivals. Plus I've tried learning to drive...a broken gearbox and near crash into wall later and nope, not an option. ;)

@sfmans. See what I mean...as soon as you think about it gets all complicated


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 10:37 AM

For my first trip to Sidmouth I took a melodeon, concertina, sveral whistles, tent, cooking equipment, sleeping bag and a weeks worth of clothes. I travelled by train with most the of stuff in my backpack and the melodeon in a hardcase.

For rough weekends I've taken a large accordion case, packed the clothes around the melodeon and carreid the sleeping bag in a spare hand.

Can you arrange for friends to take some equipment for you?


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 10:42 AM

Can I ask where were you going from to get to Sidmouth?
Did it involve 2hours trek to london and then through the underground, before the journey started?

If there were friends going then I would try to get a lift. lol!


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 10:44 AM

I still think coach holiday companies are missing a trick by not doing folk festival packages. ;)


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 10:57 AM

From Rainham in Essex. Bus, Tube and then train. At least in those days Sidmouth had a station...


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 11:08 AM

Ah so your closer than me then. Keep heading east from Rainham along the Thames...as far from London/everywhere else as you can get. That's where I am. ;)

Plotting my escape...I mean my 'holiday' for next year.
Its getting harder and harder to get my mum to give me a lift because it has to fit in with her work schedule.

Festivals...
It has to be close enough to the station plus with lots of accommodation which isn't booked up before the previous years festival has finished. And it has to *not* involve getting a small loan just to get a weekend ticket. ;)


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 11:08 AM

Just had a thought any folk festivals in London?


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: Tootler
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 12:31 PM

If melodeon is what you are most comfortable with, then go for melodeon. Get a suitcase with wheels to take the rest of your gear in. The past two years we've been on railway based holidays (not music, my wife is not into folk music, at least not into playing) and I have taken a wheeled suitcase for my clothes etc. and a small backpack for other bits and pieces and it works well. Not too difficult to lug about or to heave on and off trains. A melodeon in a backpack case plus other stuff in the suitcase should work for you. Oh - and a bum bag for money, passport etc.

I usually slip a descant recorder and a couple of harmonicas in - you never know...


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 12:44 PM

Passport is that for going to Scotland?


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: Tootler
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 12:58 PM

I'm Scots born, so I don't need a passport.

Seriously we were traveling to Europe by train. But even traveling in the UK a bum bag is very useful. I can keep my bus pass in it - more useful than a passport sometimes.


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: Little Robyn
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 01:29 PM

Keep your essentials in the backpack and find another bag/shoulderbag/mini backpack for whatever instruments you need. Or buy a bigger backpack that can hold instrument plus clothes.
And I always wear a bumbag to carry money, pens, glasses, comb and other small bits and pieces. It makes a very handy 'shelf' when I want to carry a box or bag, for support from underneath.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: Johnjo
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 01:57 PM

LDT - the solution is simple. You need a new melodeon - ideally, a Hohner Liliput, which fits neatly alongside a concertina, into a bag you can get from Theo Gibb. I got one from TG at Whitby last year, and then used the foam and velcro dviders from an old camera bag to protect each box from the other. There's even room for a rolled up cagoule on top before you do up the zip. If you want to see pics, PM me either here or on Melnet and I'll ping over some jpegs.


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: Surreysinger
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 01:57 PM

And if you're heading for Sidmouth from London by train, recommended route which I use every year would be Waterloo to Honiton. Off train at Honiton, and hop onto the bus which leaves from immediately outside the station entrance once an hour. (Probably much easier than getting off in Exeter and getting the bus back from there, I understand). It's only a 25 minute journey into Sidmouth through some very nice countryside. :-)


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: Mo the caller
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 02:41 PM

I spent some time wandering round Whitby with an accordian (medium size) on my back, plus a rucksack for the day on my front.


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 04:02 PM

May I ask some stupid continental questions: Is the melodeon diatonic and the concertina chromatic (as Wikipedia seems to suggest)? Does it occur at those festivals that notes outside the C major scale are needed, in which case the melodeons miss out?

If the answers are yes, that would be a strong point in favour of practising the concertina - until you are good enough on the fiddle as well. Train your ear to pick up a melody without too much trial-and-error, that will increase your satisfaction on whatever instrument.


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: Tootler
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 07:48 PM

Well we could go on forever on this one but briefly:

In UK usage, a melodeon is a diatonic button accordion. It can have one, two or sometimes more rows of buttons on the right hand, each row playing in a different key and a small number of buttons on the left hand which play a mixture of bass notes and chords for the keys on the right hand. All buttons play different notes on opening or closing the bellows. The most common keys for a two row melodeon in England are G and D which are the keys (and their related modes) most commonly met in English Folk music.

There are three types of concertina. The English, Duet and Anglo concertinas. The English and Duet concertinas are fully chromatic can be played in any key. Each button plays the same note on both on opening and closing the bellows.

The Anglo concertina was originally diatonic with two rows of buttons, each row playing in a different key. Each button plays a different note on opening and closing the bellows. The most common pair of keys for the Anglo Concertina is C and G but other key combinations are met: D and G (popular with Morris Dance musicians), Bb & F and occasionally other keys. Many (most?) Anglo concertinas now have a third row of buttons which provides the extra notes needed to be able to play in any key and thus renders the instrument fully chromatic at least in theory, but the anglo is still at its best in its two home keys and one or two closely related keys.

The OP has an anglo concertina. Whichever she takes with her she will have an instrument capable of playing almost anything you are likely to meet at an English Folk festival session. It's really a matter of taking the instrument you are most comfortable with.


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 09:17 PM

~If you can play melodon - you have the basis for playing the mouth organ - a few in various keys are easly carried!


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 04:36 AM

Tootler, thank you very much for your concise explanation. I must admit that I spent quite a while in England but do not know much about free-reeds.

The fiddle seems a good idea to me, provided the talent and stamina.


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 04:46 AM

I've been learning fiddle for just about 9 months so far. Playing by ear is not a strong point. Sounding like a cat caught in a mangle is. ;)
Hoping when I reach the year mark I might be passable enough to hide in a session with it.


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 05:25 AM

Murphy's law: the instrument that would have been most appropriate to that wonderful session is the one you've left at home! (I play several instruments so can speak from experience!)


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 05:28 AM

@Tattie. Always happens. I play certain tunes better on certain instruments as well so that's always fustrating.


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 06:24 AM

@JohnJo. I think I had one of those bags but I sold it and bough a smaller one when I got the Tommy. (With the bigger bag every time I turned round I had to shout 'duck!' in case I knocked someone out. lol!) They just loved me with that one on buses. ;)
@Irene. My prob with Sidmouth isn't getting there so much as finding somewhere to stay within walkable distance.

@Tootler. I';ve got a C/G 30 button anglo concertina, and a D/G tommy melodeon.


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: Surreysinger
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 06:59 AM

I'm assuming that you've tried the Tourist Information Centre for tips on finding places?


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: Tootler
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 06:59 AM

Yes I knew about your anglo as I belong to concertina.net. I also have a 30b anglo as well as a D/G melodeon, but I have gone with the anglo. I found it suited me better. Currently my melodeon is out on loan and I will probably sell it. I have a possible "good home" for it.

I also play harmonica which, as guest Dave says above has a very similar arrangement of its notes to the anglo and melodeon. If I am going to a session somewhere I usually take harmonicas plus my flute and a recorder or two (usually a tenor as it is in a roll bag with my flute) plus a descant. I mostly use the anglo for singing with - though learning to do that is proving quite a challenge but I am slowly getting there.

It might be worth your while trying harmonica to see how you get on with it. They are highly portable and even a decent one is not too expensive (Lee Oskars and Hohners are both widely available and reasonably priced). Cheap enough to try and write off if you do not get on with it.


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 07:14 AM

@Irene no, generally I use internet for searches for accommodation. Use combination of enjoyengland, tripadvisor, laterooms and google. I'm wondering as I will be solo it might be worth checking for last minute cancellations. (I'm not going this year it will be next year...hopefully). Trying to get balance between booking too late & too early. lol!

@Tootler. What suits me is the 1 row 4 stop melodeon...mine is in C though.


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: Alan Day
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 07:18 AM

Well LDT in the early stages of playing the concertina you went out and bought a melodeon and now you have a fiddle. Way back then I said you were a little butterfly flitting from one instrument to another. Most here will tell you that to play any instrument well you have to dedicate a lot of time and effort practising and it all starts to get better. You like the melodeon because for one button on the left hand you get a chord, this enables you to concentrate on the right hand, but the notes for those chords are there on the concertina and with a bit of hard work and timing practice you will play them. You purchased a very nice concertina ,what a shame to waste your money by not playing it. I am not nagging you (I hope). For the time being keep going on the melodeon as you can enjoy yourself more with it and that is the main criteria. Perhaps we can sit down at a future festival and I can help you with the concertina and make you settle for a while.
Al


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 08:37 AM

Murphy's law: the instrument that would have been most appropriate to that wonderful session is the one you've left at home! (I play several instruments so can speak from experience!)

Ah it's so reassuring to find that happens to other people ... but even worse was the time at a festival last year where I'd hawked the instruments around Friday and Saturday evening without so much of a sniff of a decent session, and so found myself listening to a great tune mashup on the Sunday night whilst the concertina and the flute bag were keeping the dog company in the B&B several miles away ...


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: Old Vermin
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 11:19 AM

Partly in response to Alan, I think there can be some serendipity in our choice of instrument.

It may not be that unusual that I started, or tried to, on guitars long ago when the world was young, and now mostly play melodeon or guitar or harmonica. Hidden in that simple statement is a quarter-century lapse from attempting to play anything - got too busy which I take to be a normal reason = and a shifting between instruments.

In recent years, guitar got going [again] first - classes, etc - and the harmonicas were played by ear in pub sessions. I loved the sound of a melodeon but resisted getting one because I did not understand them. First handling them at festival stalls confused the hell out me.

Probably the music theory I'd picked up for guitar in my 50s and some reading on the web plus of course listening helped me to eventually give in and get a D/G Pokerwork. This had a couple of completely unexpected benefits. The dreadful East German Anglo bought new in about 1972 suddenly made some sense and became more-or-less playable, in private at least. Going to Melodeons at Witney included some guidance on fingering - not using the same finger repeatedly on the same button - that fed back quite unconsciously into guitar playing. So there is interplay between instruments.

It is said that the first instrument is the hardest. And to quote Rollo Woods, the three secrets to playing an instrument are practise, practise and practise.

So that's my excuse for not getting started on the inherited fiddle or giving too much time to the couple of penny-whistles that somehow appeared. Come to think of it, my total spend on instruments so far - an E-Bay Pokerwork, a solid-top but not unfancy Yamaha acoustic and the other bits and bobs - is probably less than the list price of a new Pokerwork.

So different instruments do fit together to an extent. If the fiddle makes sense, give it a try.

Reverting to LdT's original question, if going to a session and travelling light, harmonicas and of course voice are the most portable.


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 11:33 AM

I think most people that play more than one instrument larger than harmonica or tin whistle have to make decisions of what they can carry. I know some multi-instrumentalists on tour make arrangements to borrow instruments at specific venues.

Another difficulty for musicians using public transport is where to leave your gear when not in use. I'm not happy leaving a fiddle (etc) in my tent, but don't like to carry it constantly (esp if dancing!). Festival or campsite organisers should provide secure places to leave valuables.


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 11:41 AM

@Phillipa exactly. I always worry about bringing my boxes as I wouldn't afford to replace them. Which is one of the reasons I started on the fiddle (Achievable price to replace and can play in multiple keys). But if I'm not with someone with a car even that becomes a problem as I've nowhere to leave the instrument if I want to go dance in the ceilidh or something. An instrument babysitting service would be fantastic.

Every wind instrument (including harmonic) I've ever tried has left me feeling light headed and dizzy. And I can't sing. And don't suggest a shakey egg. ;)

I sold my old cheap concertina I used for travel to pay to go to a melodeon workshop...now regret it.


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: Alan Day
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 11:44 AM

That is a good point Philippa and I agree , but some musicians have had them stolen off the stage. I take no chances and where possible they do not leave my site. Rather like the old dances where the girls would dance in a circle and the handbags would be in the middle, I expect you are too young to remember that.
Al


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 11:46 AM

Alan.
There's a novel idea dancing round your instruments. lol!


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Subject: RE: Squeezebox Dilemma...
From: Old Vermin
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 12:27 PM

Dancing with an instrument?



I forgot to credit Melodeon.net as being where I did much of my research into how they worked....


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