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Author Topic: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT  (Read 3103 times)

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MelonBox

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Re: Weekly Q&A with Mel Biggs
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2018, 06:25:47 PM »


You'll have to pardon my ignorance, but: what would your areas of expertise be?

Hi Gena! Thanks for asking (and prompting me to clarify!)

My knowledge and skills stem from a background playing for English dance (including Border Morris, Cotswold Morris, Molly and ceilidh) and for French/continental style dancing (balfolk styles). I've been teaching since 2009 (it is now my full time career!) and have a natural way of quickly getting to grips with individual learning styles - so I'm adept at explaining and demonstrating things in a number of different ways until that glorious 'Aha!' moment is reached! One of the best things people say about my approach is my patience (incredibly important!) and my ability to succinctly focus in on the exact area that is causing bother, work with the student to deconstruct it, work on it repetitively, and then stitch it all back together.

I'm best suited to teaching two row 8-bass diatonic boxes that are tuned DG, CF, GC or BbEb rather than boxes that are tuned nearer a chromatic scale (e.g. C/C#, BC etc) as that is what I have dedicated my time to over the years. I'm still finding plenty to keep me interested in the 2-row 8-bass systems I play and after seeing Frederic Paris a number of years ago, I decided there really is no need to upgrade to bigger, meatier boxes (check out his playing if you're not familiar with his music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7r5vtEXbgQ) I have tried upgrading to 2.5 row 12 bass instruments purely for the fact they give you more chord options on the LH and reversals/accidentals on the RH, but overall I find them too cumbersome for my particular style preference and approach to playing. It's a very personal thing, and in no way am I saying I don't teach people who are more 'boxed up' than me!

Here's a brain dump of the stuff I'm awesome ate:
- Locating bad habits and helping you to fix them
- Sort out fingering pattern issues and making things flow better
- Help with row crossing
- Help with LH rhythm
- Sorting out right-hand/left-hand coordination issues
- Help with using more/different chords on the LH
- Help with using the LH for more than just oom-pah
- Right hand rhythm, note shaping, pulse, feeling and bringing tunes to life 
- Improvisation
- Building confidence whilst playing in a group
- Session survival skills
- Help you to learn by ear
- Arrangement and performance development
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Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2018, 06:28:00 PM »

Oh, and see you tomorrow everyone! 7-8pm GMT! I'll do my best to answer as many questions in the hour!

You can also follow the Q&A over on my Twitter feed where I'll be using the hashtag #AskMelonBox!
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Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2018, 07:01:24 PM »

Good evening everyone! (Is anyone there?!)

Who's up with their first question?
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Castagnari Trilly DG and GC, Castagnari Tommy DG all by Acorn Instruments,
Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2018, 07:10:11 PM »

OK, let's kick off with this:

What's your current frustration? What are you working on that's got some lumps and bumps in the road? 
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Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


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nigelr

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2018, 07:12:41 PM »

Ok, I'll start. In a recent thread there's a video of Paul young and he mentions playing short bass/long chord as a way to improve the sound.  This is something I have often struggled with and slip back into om-pah. Any thoughts on good ways to achieve this?
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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #25 on: March 26, 2018, 07:22:42 PM »

Ok, I'll start. In a recent thread there's a video of Paul young and he mentions playing short bass/long chord as a way to improve the sound.  This is something I have often struggled with and slip back into om-pah. Any thoughts on good ways to achieve this?

Hey Nigel! I often find it useful, when you're wanting to try something new in your playing, to take that technique to one side and practise it on its own.

So first of all, just try playing short bass long chord on the LH. On the push and pull as it will feel different in both directions.

Once you've got used to it there, add in a single note on the RH (I go for G and A - 3rd/4th button push+pull) and play along with both hands in the new way.

Visualization helps - think of throwing a bean bag in the air! The up-chuck is the bass, as it soars into the air is silent, as it reaches its peak and starts to fall bring in the chord and keep the chord on until you catch it and throw it again. This will mean the chord blends slightly with the bass and give a big gut-punch sound from the reeds :-)

Good luck! Let me know how you get on!
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Castagnari Trilly DG and GC, Castagnari Tommy DG all by Acorn Instruments,
Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


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nigelr

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #26 on: March 26, 2018, 07:37:37 PM »

Thanks  (:)
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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #27 on: March 26, 2018, 07:41:58 PM »

Hi Mel
We never seem to have time to talk boxes during lessons or workshops. Steve set up your 233. What are special differences as a result, eg sound, speed of mechanisms etc? Would you recommend this for an amateur player? 
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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #28 on: March 26, 2018, 07:42:31 PM »

Question from @yorkist on Twitter:
Not being able to instinctively find the notes. I can play a wrong note on a tune I ‘know’, try the passage again, and hit the same wrong note despite knowing its coming up. Is it my ears or my fingers letting me down?

Answer:
Hi @yorkist! Thanks for your question - it's a good one! That anticipated mistake is always a sign to me that we're not being 'The Boss' of our fingers. It's about mentally overcoming the autopilot that governs that 'known'. Practise that passage in isolation - this might be tricky enough in itself but TOTALLY worth doing to strengthen your confidence and physical knowledge of the tune. When you feel that part coming up, be The Boss and take control of your fingers to consciously choose the correct note.

Let me know how you get on!
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Castagnari Trilly DG and GC, Castagnari Tommy DG all by Acorn Instruments,
Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #29 on: March 26, 2018, 07:55:07 PM »

Hi Mel
We never seem to have time to talk boxes during lessons or workshops. Steve set up your 233. What are special differences as a result, eg sound, speed of mechanisms etc? Would you recommend this for an amateur player?

Hello to my other Nigel! (My northern Nigel, as opposed to my southern nigelr hehe)

Nice question! Steve Freereeder as he is known in this parish set up my Serenellini Deluxe 233 oooh about 3 years ago?! (Steve feel free to correct me!) I took it to him mostly for tuning, and specifically the M+ voice which was waaay too sharp for my liking, making the MM+/LMM+ voice settings waaay too wet for my liking. Steve allowed me to try out a plethora of his own boxes until I found an MM setting I liked the sound of. I settled on his Castagnari Laura model - my Goldilocks tuning - not too wet, not too dry, just right!

We worked out I like between 2-3 beats per minute to the tremolo. So that's what he did for me! It involved pulling the M+ in a bit to become more 'in pitch' to where it was 'off the shelf'.

I'm sure there were tweaks to the L and M reeds too to bring it all in to line. I am much in love with playing with LM voicing so the deep, rich, treacly L reed is very important to me and I like the L and M to be exactly an octave apart, giving me that gorgeous, sweet, rounded dry tone.

This video demonstrates what I love about it so much, and why I thoroughly rate Steve's work!

https://youtu.be/3AAtHPN8WLM
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Castagnari Trilly DG and GC, Castagnari Tommy DG all by Acorn Instruments,
Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


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www.melbiggsmusic.co.uk

Nigel

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #30 on: March 26, 2018, 08:01:44 PM »

Thanks Mel. That tune and sound - Wow!
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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #31 on: March 26, 2018, 08:02:08 PM »

Thanks for all the questions this week everyone! A nice simple start! See you next week same time!
« Last Edit: March 26, 2018, 08:20:30 PM by MelonBox »
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Castagnari Trilly DG and GC, Castagnari Tommy DG all by Acorn Instruments,
Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


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Steve_freereeder

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #32 on: March 27, 2018, 12:38:20 AM »

Hi Mel,
Thanks for the endorsement of my work :|bl. Pleased that you like the resultant sound and response!

We worked out I like between 2-3 beats per minute to the tremolo.
I think you mean beats per second;)
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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #33 on: March 27, 2018, 09:06:48 AM »


We worked out I like between 2-3 beats per minute to the tremolo.
I think you mean beats per second;)

Oh my goodness!! Of course! I said 'second' in my head but my fingers typed 'minute'! Haha! How brilliant, given another response in this thread about head and finger miscommunication ;-)
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Castagnari Trilly DG and GC, Castagnari Tommy DG all by Acorn Instruments,
Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #34 on: April 02, 2018, 06:56:31 PM »

Good evening everyone! How are we? I've just got back from an incredible weekend with Anne Niepold (Belgian jazz diatonic accordionist), Paul James (Blowzabella) and Gigi Biolcati (Italian percussionist and performer) at the Halsway Manor euro music weekend. Anyone else familiar with Anne?! I'm completely bewitched by her! I have paid my deposit on her week-long course at Halsway in October 2018. It will be very good for me! Has anyone been to Halsway Manor before? Perhaps the DG Melodeon weekend?
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 07:27:49 PM by MelonBox »
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Castagnari Trilly DG and GC, Castagnari Tommy DG all by Acorn Instruments,
Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


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Howard Mitchell-Borts (Mitch)

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #35 on: April 02, 2018, 07:25:14 PM »

Hi Mel,
I’ve been to Halsway many times to play for dance events and to record their millennium CD (gosh 19 years ago). I’m sure you’ll have a great time.

Here’s a melodeon question for you.
How do you advise on accurate hand position movements in tunes which have wide ranging runs?
I’m thinking of things like
GBd gfg|afd fga|bab cbc|afd cBA|GBd gfg| afd fga|bdb caf|agf g3||

Sorry I’m not at home at the moment and can’t look up the name of the tune or do a quick demo recording.

Thanks

Mitch
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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #36 on: April 02, 2018, 07:39:53 PM »

Hi Mitch! Thanks for keeping me company - I was starting to feel lonely in here ;-) I meant to add that the weekend with Anne, Paul and Gigi was *at* Halsway, so I've just got back from there. My first visit - what a wonderful place! Who did you record the CD with?

Thanks for your question! I've just copied and pasted your run of notes into abc explorer - is this an actual tune or an example of note intervals that are tricky?

Either way, I'd suggest keeping the hand position fluid. Don't grip on to the keyboard. If you use a thumb strap - don't use it! I find on anything other than a 1-row they are a nuisance, anchoring your hand in one place.

I usually find with ascending and descending note patterns that span more than an octave (4/5 button range depending on push/pull) that you'll have a leading finger that 'draws' or leads you up or down the keyboard. It'll either be your index finger going down, or your little finger leading up.

The leading fingers make the move, and the others follow. If I'm heading up, the little an ring do most of the work, if I'm heading down, the index and middle do most of the work.

I hope this answers your question! 
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Castagnari Trilly DG and GC, Castagnari Tommy DG all by Acorn Instruments,
Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


Mel Biggs Musician | Melodeon Teacher
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MelonBox

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #37 on: April 02, 2018, 07:47:51 PM »

(PS I'm jealous of your Bertrand Galliard GC after hearing Anne's this weekend! Ach!)
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Castagnari Trilly DG and GC, Castagnari Tommy DG all by Acorn Instruments,
Serenellini 233 Deluxe D/G set up by Steve Dumpleton, Hohner Picoletta Bb/Eb set up by Mike Rowbotham.

Pick Up & Play with Mel Biggs - Online beginners course: https://melbiggsmusic.co.uk/course/pick-up-play-lets-get-started/


Mel Biggs Musician | Melodeon Teacher
www.melbiggsmusic.co.uk

Howard Mitchell-Borts (Mitch)

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #38 on: April 02, 2018, 08:03:08 PM »

Hi Mel,
It’s a real tune I got from a Canadian band called Les Sortilege, a long time ago.

Thanks for the advice.  All is well going up long arpeggios, when they immediately descend again like it this tune it can be a bit hit and miss.

I don’t use a thumb strap even on a 1 row as I like to pivot on my thumb on the edge of the keyboard to facilitate this sort of thing.

The recording was by a large group of people from social dance bands of the day -
Thomas Bending, Aidan Broadbridge, Dave Brown, Alan Corkett, Jon Corkett, Kevin Downham, Maggie Fletcher, Lesley Gerbrandy, Estelle Jackson, Maggie Kaye, Howard Mitchell, Geoffrey Moss, Hazel Ridd, Rod Stradling, Gordon Taylor, Meg Winters ( I had to look the list up), somestill playing today.

The Bertrand Gaillard features on some of my Tune of the Month recordings on YouTube.

Mitch
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Stiamh

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Re: #AskMelonBox: Live Q&A with Mel Biggs Mondays 7-8pm GMT
« Reply #39 on: April 02, 2018, 08:36:33 PM »

FYI it's a very well-known Irish tune called Tobin's Favourite and it is usually in the key of D.
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