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Discussions => General Discussion => Topic started by: Gareth Sprack on July 06, 2019, 11:07:00 PM

Title: what should my next box be?
Post by: Gareth Sprack on July 06, 2019, 11:07:00 PM
For the last year I have been learning to play my Hohner 114c, bought new 1970, but not really touched until now.
Because I have no musical knowledge, I play songs by ear from Victorian to the 1940's.  Say "All quite along the Potomac tonight" to " Dirty old town", although I don't sing to them.
Bass accompaniment is coming, but my poor old box is starting to fall apart and needs a fettle.
As I am now in a position where I might be able to consider perhaps a moderately priced two row box, say 500 quid max, I was wondering what should I look out for by way of keys, style make, etc?
The box doesn't have to be new, in fact I quite like my now 'seasoned' 114, so I have also wondered about just getting them in different keys.
Any thoughts or guidance would be appreciated
Are there any fellow Isle of Wight players on here?

Gareth
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Winston Smith on July 06, 2019, 11:50:21 PM
You could do worse than go for the more sonorous 114G. As well as having a lovely sound with any arrangement of the stops, you can play along with a great many (most?) tunes which the majority play on their 2 row D/G's.
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: malcolmbebb on July 07, 2019, 07:29:31 AM
Hi Gareth,
There is a very active Morris scene on the IoW - a bit of googling should bring up a few - with numerous melodeon players between them. They will be very happy to talk boxes with you. They are out and about this time of year, so look for programmes on their web sites to find them.
Even if they don't fully share your interests, it's a good starting point for more info.
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Helena Handcart on July 07, 2019, 09:23:39 AM
As Malcolm says, plenty of box players and morris on the Island - at least a couple of the box players are members here, playing for Moonshine Border.
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: george garside on July 07, 2019, 10:54:29 AM
I totally agree with the last two posts that talking to real live box players in person can be most helpful in making a 'next box' decision and maybe even some long lasting friendships of the real rather than virtual veriety.

The veriety of  advice on here is very broad  and can be bewildering for the newcomer.  This is because there are many very different but similar types of  what we broadly call a melodeon or diatonic box and each has its adherents .  one rows in a veriety of keys, 2 row 4th aprt boxes in DG,CF,GC.BbEb  and 3 row versions in eg GCF etc etc . then there is the semitone brigade with  BC.CC#. C#D,DD# etc  and dare I mention in the really sensible ones who like me play BCC#  >:E ;D

so my advice is talk to as many players of different systems as posssible  , take into account the type of music you want to play  and don't be in any hurry to make your own mind up

george :||: :|glug

Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: tirpous on July 07, 2019, 04:09:12 PM
I think most people would agree that a used Hohner 2-row (Pokerwork, Erica, Double Ray or older models) would be a good choice.  The type of music and people you play with should help you decide on most suitable keys.
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: GPS on July 07, 2019, 07:07:51 PM
You could do worse than go for the more sonorous 114G. As well as having a lovely sound with any arrangement of the stops, you can play along with a great many (most?) tunes which the majority play on their 2 row D/G's.

Sorry, can't agree with that. Yes, they sound gorgeously rich, but they're SO air-hungry (at least mine is), a fault which is exacerbated (again, in my experience) by being fitted, inexplicably, with a bellows two folds shorter than the 114C.  They can be very hard work to play, and you need a very busy left thumb! Mine (the 114G, not the left thumb) sits on a shelf for a year or more at a time, while the 114C gets regular outings, even in a 50s/60s/70s pop covers band I play in........

BTW, the 114G is in top playing condition, fully fettled  and nicely set up - and it still gulps air like a drowning whale.

Graham
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: george garside on July 07, 2019, 07:52:00 PM
I agree very much with both Tirpous and Graham.  The two row hohners ( the older the better)  are  or can be 'lifelong' boxes.   I have several boxes including a couple of costalotties  but if I ever had to come down to one it would be either my BC doulle ray ( Erica lookalike) or my ancient DG pokerwork or both if possible.

I have a very nice one row  G set up by one of the top fettlers on this forum.  It sounds great, uses  bucketfulls of air with all gears engaged  and is physically hard work to play.  I really enjoy playing it  but only occasionaly and never for long.   I keep thinking of selling it but caqn't quite bring myself so to do --- perhaps if somebody came along with a worthwhile offer I may just be persuaded to part with it!!

george
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Andrew Kennedy on July 07, 2019, 08:44:27 PM
Well, of course it has to be a Hohner Club IIb Victoria. These are glorious to play, being very versatile, well-balanced, and with excellent reeds. You can get them cheaply from German eBay (I've managed 50 and 75 euros) and if you need DG speak to Mike Rowbotham (microbot of this parish).
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Gareth Sprack on July 07, 2019, 09:26:52 PM
Some very useful suggestions so far, but I am curious to know as to why a Hohner 114G, might be more air hungry than my 114C?
There again I have only ever owned and played the one box, so that is my baseline norm, perhaps there are revelations yet to come?
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: george garside on July 07, 2019, 10:35:34 PM
presumably because its the lowest pitched so bigger more air hungry reeds??

george
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Winston Smith on July 08, 2019, 12:11:10 AM
Yes, the 114 G will use more air than 1 rows in higher keys, but that's just something to get used to. And, they don't need to always be played with all the stops open, either. When playing alongside D/G two rows, I often play with just the two middle voices, or the middle and high, so as not to drown out the others. Horses for courses, and a bit of consideration, that's all.
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: GPS on July 08, 2019, 05:34:51 AM
presumably because its the lowest pitched so bigger more air hungry reeds??

george

Chiefly, yes. Also my 114G has only a 14-fold bellows, while my C has a 16-fold, which compounds the issue. I don't know if that's standard; if so it seems an odd decision.

As to playing on just the two middle voices, Winston: yes, that reduces air consumption, but if you're going to do that you'd probably be better off with a D/G 2-voice anyway, wouldn't you?
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Lester on July 08, 2019, 08:02:46 AM
As to playing on just the two middle voices, Winston: yes, that reduces air consumption, but if you're going to do that you'd probably be better off with a D/G 2-voice anyway, wouldn't you?


I paid for all these reeds, I'm going to use all these reeds  (:)
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Winston Smith on July 08, 2019, 09:29:44 AM
If you're intent on getting and playing a 2 row, then of course, that's the way to go. However, Gareth did write; "in fact I quite like my now 'seasoned' 114, so I have also wondered about just getting them in different keys."
Although I've had/have a number of 2 row jobs, I always come back to my 1 rows for my own satisfaction and pleasure. And, surely the instrument has all those reeds and stops so that you can choose which configuration suits you at the time and circumstance?
We have no choice about which key instruments in to play in English sessions etc. but I do believe that choice and variety are, indeed, the spice of life!
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Lester on July 08, 2019, 09:34:26 AM
We have no choice about which key instruments in to play in English sessions etc.


?? I play in D/G/Emin/C/F/Dmin/Bb/Eb/Cm depending on what boxes I have with me.
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on July 08, 2019, 10:07:04 AM
and D,G,Em and Bm come built into a DG box, before getting into excessive accidental use.
Q
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Lester on July 08, 2019, 10:57:23 AM
We have no choice about which key instruments in to play in English sessions etc.


?? I play in D/G/Emin/C/F/Dmin/Bb/Eb/Cm depending on what boxes I have with me.


Oh and I forgot Amin, Amaj, Gmin, Fmin
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Steve_freereeder on July 08, 2019, 10:59:07 AM
and D,G,Em and Bm come built into a DG box, before getting into excessive accidental use.
Q
A minor too.
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Steve_freereeder on July 08, 2019, 11:00:49 AM
?? I play in D/G/Emin/C/F/Dmin/Bb/Eb/Cm depending on what boxes I have with me.
if you are playing in Cm, do you find yourself playing on your own? Just wondering...  >:E
Nice key though.
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on July 08, 2019, 11:06:13 AM
Ah yes, thanks Steve. Forgot that one.
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Eshed on July 08, 2019, 11:15:09 AM
if you are playing in Cm, do you find yourself playing on your own? Just wondering...  >:E
Nice key though.
When I snuck a Bb/Eb to the local ITM session and I played in Cm/Eb I was indeed on my own.
They would gladly join with English tunes in G or C but the aforementioned keys had them making as many bum notes as I usually do, so they opted to stay out.
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Thrupenny Bit on July 08, 2019, 11:23:52 AM
I tried my friend's BbEb before our session was due to start.
A different style of box in an unknown key, so twiddled Soldiers Joy.
My fiddler friends excruciating expression as he tried to join in was ...delightful   >:E
The reply to 'what key was that in...' cannot be repeated here  ;D
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Howard Jones on July 08, 2019, 11:28:55 AM
In reply to the OP's question, which keys to get will depend on whether he will be playing with others. If so, then D/G is the standard English box.  If he will be mainly playing on his own, then any of the lower-pitched boxes will sound good.  He says he doesn't sing, but if he might wish to do so in future then he should look for one which matches his preferred singing keys.
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: george garside on July 08, 2019, 12:20:29 PM
I got the ''what bloody key is that'' at an 'english' session when I had the temerity to  go into A on a DG box.!

george ::)
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Winston Smith on July 08, 2019, 12:28:26 PM
Gareth, it would seem that the general consensus is that you should not follow my recommendation. I'm sorry to have made it.
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: David Summers on July 08, 2019, 12:58:04 PM
He says he doesn't sing, but if he might wish to do so in future then he should look for one which matches his preferred singing keys.
Most singing voices cover about 2 octaves. This means most singers can fit in with just about any key. Try singing along to almost any song, in any key, and you'll find you can do it. Many songs I can sing in two different octaves, depending on how I'm feeling that day...
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Richard Shaul on July 08, 2019, 01:11:41 PM
Hi Gareth, I am on the Island, and have a Hohner Club Victoria, as mentioned by Andrew above. You will find it a lot bigger than the one row that you are used to, and the key is BbEb which may or may not suit, but I'm happy for you to try it, even if only to help you decide what you want,

Richard
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Howard Jones on July 08, 2019, 01:18:34 PM
[Most singing voices cover about 2 octaves. This means most singers can fit in with just about any key.

That depends.  Most singers, at least those without singing training, are most comfortable somewhere around the middle of their range.  I find there are some songs I can accompany on the D/G, but there are others where it's a strain, or simply impossible for me, and I have to choose a lower-pitched box.
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Gareth Sprack on July 09, 2019, 07:24:22 PM
Gareth, it would seem that the general consensus is that you should not follow my recommendation. I'm sorry to have made it.

Actually I'm not sorry you made the suggestion, because it will remain on the table as far as I am concerned.
I appreciate the warning that playing a 114G will not be just a different keyed version of my 114C.
Over the weekend at our local 1940's show, I played my box (not well) in public, sat on a crate, dressed as an ARP warden, it was largely to amuse myself and any who chose to listen, most folks were enchanted by the novelty rather than the quality of the music.
However it did concentrate my mind to consider the more traditional style boxes over the more modern 'accordion' styles.
My knowledge of what was made just pre and post war is limited, but I think I am coming around to that type.
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Squeaky Pete on July 09, 2019, 07:26:45 PM
Don't mention the war.
Not if you play a Hohner.


A vintage one, that it.
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Theo on July 09, 2019, 09:06:05 PM
However it did concentrate my mind to consider the more traditional style boxes over the more modern 'accordion' styles.
My knowledge of what was made just pre and post war is limited, but I think I am coming around to that type.

That was just about the peak of the popularly of the piano accordion!
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Gareth Sprack on July 09, 2019, 09:25:49 PM
However it did concentrate my mind to consider the more traditional style boxes over the more modern 'accordion' styles.
My knowledge of what was made just pre and post war is limited, but I think I am coming around to that type.

That was just about the peak of the popularly of the piano accordion!

Very true, what I was trying to say was, I think I prefer the 'wooden' style box over the colourful accordion style, however as I don't know when that style started to become popular I could be misleading myself as to dates of the 'plastic' (or whatever the material is) case.
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: george garside on July 09, 2019, 09:41:22 PM
they are all wooden inside  so I don't thing the 'plastic outer coating makes any difference to the sound

george
Title: Re: what should my next box be?
Post by: Gareth Sprack on July 09, 2019, 09:48:23 PM
they are all wooden inside  so I don't thing the 'plastic outer coating makes any difference to the sound

george

Quite right George, but I do quite a bit of living history, so I was thinking along the lines of a period box, or at least trying to avoid one that is glaringly modern even to the layman.
However if on being challenged I can say "Oh no sir this style melodeon was first introduced in 1935" then that is part of the patter.