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Author Topic: Oakwood  (Read 27879 times)

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Gena Crisman

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #140 on: August 06, 2018, 01:51:56 AM »

Hello!

Firstly, please understand that I am not infallible and may have misunderstood things and or minds may change etc. I'm really just trying to be helpful as I know it's not possible for everyone who's interested to get to and talk to people at Festivals.

Anyway, the info that I got today (and asked if it was ok to share after prefacing with 'I saw this asked on melnet') is that Martyn kind of wants to move a bit away from the long lead time orders that Oakwood did for those first 10 2 voice and 5 3 voice instruments as it takes quite a long time, leaving people waiting, and the instrument they get may not be exactly the same as the demonstration one and it sort of narrows his opportunity to vary or explore and make the best instruments for a variety of people and tastes that he can. I got the impression he'd sort of rather make an instrument and have it available for someone to play, spend time with it, and decide if that one really is the right one for them, and then actually be just able to buy that exact one. So, I expect that they'll continue to make instruments and then maybe sort out layout minutia the way I guess people might regularly do so and do a few custom orders here and there? Demand may still be very high, though.

Obviously though, there are outstanding orders and his priority is to sort those out first.

Hi Joan! I believe Martyn mentioned specifically that one 3v was going to be collected by someone coming over from America for an upcoming festival, and if that happens to be you, he aims to make sure that everything is sorted for that - I hope that it works out! I did ask specifically about the 3 voices since I'm also due to collect one, whenever it's ready, I know they're only sort of 'blooming' I guess at the moment, it's all rather concurrent and I don't really know about anyone else's orders but I'm aware mine is a bit delayed as I opted for the back of keyboard register switch (I'm cool with this). I haven't seen any actual finished 3v ones to date I'm afraid, I imagine they're safely lined up in the Oakwood workshop like the 2 voices were when I visited last October. My understanding is that there were some issues that some of the prospective 2 voice owners faced, unfortunately I have no idea how that may affect us but it may be less of a factor as the 3 voice doesn't use the sometimes quite aggressive binci reeds the 2 voices did. So at the moment, there's just that same original 3 voice prototype on the stall flying the flag for 3 voice supremacy (it has 2 fairly tight straps attached to it as of today), although there is a now a rather similar looking 2 voice one on there as well now.

There's some new case designs on show and I think a couple of new built 2 voice Oakwoods on the squeezebox stand atm, at least one with with Dix instead of Binci reeds, mostly for variety I guess - it did play very nicely given a short test drive. The new case designs are only marginally different but actually I thought were quite nice, they're basically identical save for a pattern etched into the body instead of an inlay - I felt that from a distance it really looks no different and it seemed to actually have more detail when viewed up close, and has the advantage of being perfectly matched for pattern repetition to the size of the instrument. Lasers are really pretty cool! The inlay is flush, though, so, I guess there's that. He's fishing for people's opinions on it so if you go by the stall let him know what you think. I'm not sure when these were produced but one assumes they were made after the 3v shells but while waiting for their reeds, so I'm pretty sure the 3v box orders will all have inlay.

Anyway I think that's a vague state of play for you all. I have no idea if the other 3v ordering people are posters here on mel net - everyone was declaring their order numbers for the 2v and then it's been almost complete silence ever since they started getting delivered (which is perfectly fair). I guess I'm happy to share that I've not been convinced by any other instrument I've played in the past year, despite trying a rather ridiculously large variety of them, and I'm still shooting for this for realsies.
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Joan Kureczka

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #141 on: August 06, 2018, 05:32:56 AM »

Nice. And yes indeed. That's me, looking forward to getting this, and hoping it's as good as I anticipate! Especially as I decided I couldn't bring yet another with me, just in case something kept it from being available.
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sticky fingers

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #142 on: August 06, 2018, 05:02:44 PM »

Actually if its any good, it should be playable without using the air button! I sometime do that as an experiment.

I don't see how that's possible, unless it uses no air at all or you have to choose your tune carefully.

John Cage, "4.33"

Joan Kureczka

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #143 on: September 05, 2018, 02:03:48 PM »

Successfully picked up my new Oakwood 3-voice at Towersey. Lovely box both in looks and play-ability -- I'm impressed with the responsiveness on this, even in comparison with my Super 2. And it's very pretty -- high gloss finish on this one.
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #144 on: September 05, 2018, 02:13:31 PM »

Successfully picked up my new Oakwood 3-voice at Towersey. Lovely box both in looks and play-ability -- I'm impressed with the responsiveness on this, even in comparison with my Super 2. And it's very pretty -- high gloss finish on this one.

Hooray, I'm glad that it worked out!
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Helena Handcart

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #145 on: September 06, 2018, 08:59:33 PM »

Successfully picked up my new Oakwood 3-voice at Towersey. Lovely box both in looks and play-ability -- I'm impressed with the responsiveness on this, even in comparison with my Super 2. And it's very pretty -- high gloss finish on this one.

Hooray, I'm glad that it worked out!

I can confirm Joan didn't stop smiling for about three days [:]||||[:]
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Helena Handcart

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #146 on: September 06, 2018, 09:01:46 PM »

The 2 voice demonstration box has apparently given up its reeds for a greater purpose....

Yup. I got 'em. And very luvverly they is too.
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #147 on: September 07, 2018, 01:17:45 AM »

That's great! I was a little worried I'd heard something wrong and was mistaken about the situation with it being ready for Towersey - it was from an offhand comment when I'd asked about how things had been going which I could just about remember any of the details of. I'm also glad she had plenty of time to play it before presumably jetting off.

Anyway, I guess I'll just have to go back to sitting on my hands. Well, that's not quite right - I won't be waiting idle, gotta keep on working at having the perfect tune to test out prospective instruments with.
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #148 on: February 05, 2019, 06:37:50 AM »

Hello, Oakwood thread! It's trip report time!

I recently received word that the 3v Oakwood with my name on it was ready, and went to visit the workshop in person last Wednesday. Fortunately, due to prior planning, I had the perfect tune to test prospective instruments with, so, I was able to ascertain within about 60 seconds that, yes, indeed, I would be completing the purchase. I'll be most likely using it for TotM etc recordings going forward. I haven't been having any air consumption problems with it at all really, which had been my primary concern, so I was glad that this ended up being unfounded.

We spent a few hours working on fit etc and resolving any questions or issues. I got to see inside it, too, which should set my mind at ease and stop me feeling the urge to peek inside. The only negative part of the experience really was, due to some kind of mix up, the low melody voice stop was set up the wrong way for my taste. We're going to resolve this at some point, but I'm less concerned about it since it's not flapping around and will be relatively protected by comparison to the bass stops. I preferred this to literally all of my other worst fears, plus I have a rich history of modifying stop slides.

After we were done in Leeds, we traveled over to York - I took the instrument with me to The Maltings folk night, and had a right jolly time with it. We also ate fish and chips, so, apologies if I smelt vaguely of fish.

While I was in the area, I planned a visit to Acorn Instruments in York. We stayed nearby overnight at a perfectly lovely B&B/Motel in the small town of Huby, rather than try to stay in York and try to travel during rush hour. I hadn't been 100% sure when I went up to Yorkshire to collect the Oakwood that I was going to be happy with it, and the visit to Acorn was to effectively sanity check the purchase. Well, that and to potentially pick up a nice, robust gig bag - I think Pete's probably carrying the best going, if you ever need one. Pete very kindly let me play through his large selection of Castagnari instruments, since, besides the Oakwood and Dino Baffettis, these were the only other contenders for my fickle desires. Since he's up the opposite end of the country to me and generally doesn't do festivals I attend, I hadn't really had much chance to play through the Castagnari range other than the odds and ends Hobgoblin stocked.

To summarise a bottom line, I've never played, and still haven't played, a melodeon that does what I want in quite the way this 3v Oakwood does. However, there are a good few things that the new 3v Oakwood does not seem to do, at least mine doesn't: mine is not a particularly elegant instrument when you attempt to play it quietly, though neither was the demo box - you can play quietly, but complete silence and significantly louder are easier to swing between that I'd prefer. Pretty much every Castagnari instrument I played felt like it had more control and poise. The demonstration Jilly I played in particular was frankly fairly ridiculous in how uniform and controllable it felt regardless of if you played it fairly gently or if you legitimately tried to break it - instead it just gets louder than any melodeon I think I've ever played, though granted I've never truly pushed a member of the other contenders for the title, the DB Binci range - I think it'd give them a run for their money though. I was also given the opportunity to play some of Oakwood's previous offerings into the world of Melodeons - a rare treat indeed. The action of a model 2 was basically effortless - the lightest and fastest I've ever played, but, perhaps rather needlessly so. On my new 3v, the buttons are heavier, detectably heavier I think, than my black pearl 2, so there's less of that magic in action. But, I also think I've played enough silky smooth 2v MM boxes - I'm hanging my hat on the 3v peg, and won't get out of bed for anything less than Bandoneon tuning.

The only Castagnari offering that really spoke to me was the Tommy. Their regular size instruments were lovely, but, they just didn't feel like they were giving me what I was looking for - perhaps best described as a more explosive response where you seem to get more and more out with each little extra you put in. Their compact range comes much closer and I like pretty much every instrument in it, and obviously the Tommy, their 2 row 3v is the most similar of their offerings. It's... close - really quite a lot closer than I'd thought. But, I don't think I'd want to own an instrument without bass stops again, so, I mean I guess if Castagnari ever figure out a way make a Tommy with big strong basses and a 3rds stop, then grand. If they work on making compact versions of their 3v 2.5 row instruments I'll be more concerned. Because, I want to like eg the 1914, or the Mory, I really do - on paper they have everything I could be looking for. But, I just can't seem to get what I want out of them.

Anyway, I'd made sure I had a 2nd day to go back to Oakwood if there were any problems we could address. There weren't, so, we headed home so I could start second guessing the whole experience. Doubts did begin to grow, but, the chance to play it without trying to avoid upsetting the neighbors set me straight. Like I say, I've to date played nothing quite like it - it's not the perfect instrument, but, I know it's got what I've been looking for in spades. Both it and my playing have received a good number of compliments so far, too.

For those generating top trumps cards, my 3v Oakwood, weighs 3.66kg with the straps, 3.36kg without the straps, and is only slightly larger than my black pearl 2, which I believe weighs a further ~300g less on both fronts. The 3v Oakwood is just that little bit more compact than the DB 3v range, I think. It has similar size buttons though, so it feels very familiar to play. I'm pretty happy with it, and feel very lucky that in addition to the fact that I was in the right place at the right time to make the most of the opportunity, that I had the means to go down this route at all. We ran the numbers and concluded that I can't buy any more melodeons for around 8 years. All the best to my other current and future 3v compatriots, whomever you may be!
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #149 on: February 05, 2019, 08:52:42 AM »

I guess if Castagnari ever figure out a way make a Tommy with big strong basses and a 3rds stop, then grand.
A few days ago I was able to look inside one of the very latest Tommys. The bass end reed blocks have been completely redesigned. The chords and basses are now on separate reed blocks and, most importantly, there are no longer any shared reeds.

The shared reeds issue with Tommys (and Lillys) was always the compromise tuning of the basses and chords: the tonic reeds of the chords are shared as the highest tonic reeds of the basses, activated by different pallets. When both chord and bass buttons are pressed together, both pallets open and result in a different volume (capacity) of the shared reed chamber, which in turn slightly affects the tuning. You can tune the shared reed to be exactly in tune as a chord, or as a bass, but not both together. The tuning difference always has to be a compromise, which fortunately is small enough not to worry most people. Now, with no shared reeds (on the new Tommy at least) each reed of the chords and basses can be tuned exactly to the right pitch; a highly significant improvement.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2019, 03:40:23 PM by Steve_freereeder »
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Helena Handcart

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #150 on: February 05, 2019, 12:24:58 PM »

... I mean I guess if Castagnari ever figure out a way make a Tommy with big strong basses and a 3rds stop, then grand...

This, for me is why a Tommy never quite hits the spot.  Given the choice of a low reed or a thirds stop the stop is surely by far the most important of the two?

For me the Lilly delivers in terms of size and punch where the almost full-size Tommy fails simply due to this omission. 
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #151 on: February 05, 2019, 02:24:54 PM »

... I mean I guess if Castagnari ever figure out a way make a Tommy with big strong basses and a 3rds stop, then grand...
Given the choice of a low reed or a thirds stop the stop is surely by far the most important of the two?
It's very much a personal thing and depends on your style of playing and individual preference. For me, the low octave voice is my first priority, followed by the thirds stop. If I want B minor or A minor chords I can always play the Bm7 or Am7 (which sound best with the thirds in anyway). The L voice allows me to play in the upper octave of the keyboard when ever I so desire, with a nice cutting edge to the sound which is not squeaky.

Quote
For me the Lilly delivers in terms of size and punch where the almost full-size Tommy fails simply due to this omission.
The new Tommy which I tried was seriously impressive. The best I'd ever played, I think.
I'm sure Pete can sort one for you.  >:E
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Helena Handcart

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #152 on: February 05, 2019, 02:40:13 PM »

The new Tommy which I tried was seriously impressive. The best I'd ever played, I think.
I'm sure Pete can sort one for you.  >:E

Only if it has a thirds stop...   >:E
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #153 on: February 05, 2019, 02:55:58 PM »

All my boxes have a thirds stop, except my Tommy.
I hardly ever use it!
It just goes to show you're either a 'thirds in' person or 'thirds out' person!
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

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Gena Crisman

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #154 on: February 05, 2019, 03:20:16 PM »

It just goes to show you're either a 'thirds in' person or 'thirds out' person!
Q
People certainly can be, but, I've been taking mine in and out as tunes seem to dictate. Probably within the same tune too, if I could. A lot of people play with them out all the time, I think they're crazy! A lot of people play with them in all the time, and I think they're crazy too! Finding the right box which has all the exact right options you're after can be tough. Big shouty bass reeds and an option to calm them down made my black pearl feel like a much more civilised instrument, but I wouldn't want to be without them completely, and I wouldn't want to have to drop to single reed fundamentals either when turning them off.

Options wise, the same is true of the oakwood 3v I have, it just seems to suit me better than anything else I could find.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #155 on: February 05, 2019, 03:31:51 PM »

I think you're right in saying no one can get the perfect instrument, you just try and get the nearest fit yo it with minimal compromise.
I  do use my thirds stop but as said, it's just for an occasional tune. Perhaps having the option easily of changing mid tune with a bass switch such as on a Mory might mean I'd use it more to give light and shade in a tune.

Anyway, less if the thirds discussion, you are neglecting your new box  ;)
Good luck with it!
Cheers
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

baz parkes

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #156 on: February 05, 2019, 05:40:23 PM »

The new Tommy which I tried was seriously impressive. The best I'd ever played, I think.
I'm sure Pete can sort one for you.  >:E

Only if it has a thirds stop...   >:E

My pressedwood has a thirds stop courtesy of that nice Mr Microbot... :|glug
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Guy

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #157 on: February 05, 2019, 10:37:13 PM »


The new Tommy which I tried was seriously impressive. The best I'd ever played, I think.
I'm sure Pete can sort one for you.  >:E

Oh please don't tempt me...I loved my Tommy and played it exclusively for years, till the Loffet landed. Still have it....couldn't bear to part with it. But a new one with a 3rds stop, and the recommendation that you're giving it.....and just after that nice Mr. Wesson called round with a Castagnari in A/D that I HAD to have too. Bye bye bank balance....

Cheers,
Guy
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Winston Smith

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #158 on: February 05, 2019, 10:54:26 PM »

"Bye bye bank balance...."

Guy, that's fine as a temporary fix for M.A.D., but it's certainly not a "cure". Especially when people like that "nice" (oh yes?) Mr Wesson are calling to tempt you.

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Re: Oakwood
« Reply #159 on: February 05, 2019, 11:58:33 PM »

"Bye bye bank balance...."

Guy, that's fine as a temporary fix for M.A.D., but it's certainly not a "cure". Especially when people like that "nice" (oh yes?) Mr Wesson are calling to tempt you.

I don't want a "cure". I just want more melodeons. No, that's wrong, I just need more melodeons. I have room for just one more in my purpose-built melodeon cabinet...oh yes, that was the deal when we moved and rebuilt the cottage. The pigsty became a music room, and the measurements of the fitted wall units were designed to slide melodeons and guitars (and mandolins and harmonicas) into. Amazingly, my wife agreed to this. Mind you, she did take me to the Castagnari workshop as my surprise 50th birthday present....

So who needs a temporary fix? Permanent ones are available....

Cheers,
Guy
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