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Author Topic: Corona for “along the rows?”  (Read 1889 times)

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David Colpitts

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Corona for “along the rows?”
« on: December 16, 2018, 01:17:03 PM »

Hello, All.

Long-time reader, and recent “joinee.”  I have questions about using a Hohner Corona (or other three-row, probably) for mostly-along-the-rows in various genres.

Background:  A long-term harmonica player, I have taken quite easily to along the rows, and not so well to cross-rowing, save for the odd note here or there.  Basically, I play what’s stamped on the machine.  I have a wonderful old Baldoni-Bartoli in D/C#, which I play as a single row D, for reasons just mentioned.  It’s loose and heavy, but was an amazing gift from dear folks, and I will continue to play it.  I don’t take it out, much, though.

In a recent moment of remorse for being “stuck” on the rows, I rented from my friends at the ButtonBox a new entry level Linnet 2 row in C#/D.  And, no surprise, I play it in D, save for the odd note.  It is of Chinese make, with Italian reeds, and I like it....light, responsive, sounds nice (great for the money!)

So.....I have a great opportunity to acquire a middle-aged Hohner Corona in ADG from a friend, at a good price.  Of course, I would play it mostly in A, D, and G.  I should’ve said I play Irish, Quebecois, “Old Timey” and Americana, but am interested in new (to me) genres.

Does anyone use a Corona as I am imagining?  How heavy is it, and is it easy to handle with what some call “bellows thrashing” to be as quick as possible without much cross row skill?  I suspect Tim Edey could play anything he wanted on it, but from the point of view of an “old novice” to boxes, does it make sense to think of it as “three separate one-rows” in a positive way?

Note:  Adding comment:  Concern about weight mostly due to left arm and shoulder pain from straps and lack of practice/too much practice?

Any thoughts are much appreciated.

Thanks, and regards,

David
« Last Edit: December 16, 2018, 01:23:10 PM by David Colpitts »
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Lester

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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2018, 01:33:57 PM »

The Corona is not uncommon in the morris/English community and is (approaching generalisation) mostly played up and down the rows. But they are a bit heavy when most people in that community are only playing in D/G/Emin so the extra row is mostly dead weight.

Rees

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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2018, 01:45:37 PM »

In Devon, UK, the gipsy musicians use big 4 voice ADG boxes all played up and down the rows. Occasionally they will play the tune a couple of times through on the G row, then move the same tune to the D row, then the A row, back to the D row and finish up on the G row.
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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Winston Smith

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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2018, 03:27:45 PM »

I mainly play along the rows (especially on my 1 rows, lol) with the odd jab cross on the other. But I had a 3 row Hohner thing (cannot quite recall the model, now) which Rees kindly took off my hands. It was far too heavy for me to comfortably handle!
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mselic

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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2018, 03:40:58 PM »

I would say play any box the way you like! If you get the most joy out of playing a box “along the row”, as I do, then just go for it. If your needs or tastes change, then you can change your instrument accordingly (accordiongly? Sorry...). It sometimes irks me when it is put forth that one *should* be playing a certain way or with a certain system. Sometimes that can take the fun right out of it. See if you can borrow or rent a three-row and see how you like it. Best of luck!
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Chris Rayner

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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2018, 04:24:34 PM »

I would say play any box the way you like! If you get the most joy out of playing a box “along the row”, as I do, then just go for it. If your needs or tastes change, then you can change your instrument accordingly (accordiongly? Sorry...). It sometimes irks me when it is put forth that one *should* be playing a certain way or with a certain system. Sometimes that can take the fun right out of it. See if you can borrow or rent a three-row and see how you like it. Best of luck!

I agree.  I first picked up a melodeon with no intention other than enabling me to make music afloat with something less cumbersome than a guitar.  I taught myself to play, and began to cross rows in order to ease air management and get a more legato sound.  Much later I’ve revived my interest and become associated with Morris dancers.  Along the row seems to work better with dancing.  I still like to cross rows from time to time.  Whatever works for you.  Just try to play the right notes mostly.😉
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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2018, 05:10:01 PM »

  Just try to play the right notes mostly.😉

Best advice yet .......
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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Barlow

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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2018, 11:30:56 PM »

I look forward to Stiamh's comments (which I have learned to highly respect) regarding comparing the ADG (4th apart) with the C#/D (semitone apart).
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David Colpitts

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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2018, 12:01:09 AM »

Thank you all for your feedback.  It looks to me like plenty of folks (based on this quick discussion) play along (or mostly along) the rows, and that makes me feel less “off the path” than I did.  I didn’t mention this in the original post, but I have also spent five years on a G/D Anglo concertina, in G and D (with a teeny bit of A) so I am consistent, at least.  I also appreciate the comments about the weight of the Corona, and may actually make my decision based on that, primarily, due to the sore shoulder/arm situation, which is less apparent when I play a 7 pound box vs. the 11 pound Baldoni-Bartoli. 

Then, the likely quandary will be the C#/D vs D/G, so I think tomorrow I’ll switch my rental to D/G in the ButtonBox learner Linnet series, for a go with that configuration.  That will give me easy access to both home keys, and a bunch of sets that switch between them, with little hassle other than the speed/smooth issues.  Thoughts on that wrinkle?

Thanks again, and regards,

David
« Last Edit: December 17, 2018, 12:44:31 AM by David Colpitts »
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2018, 12:18:31 AM »



Then, the likely quandary will be the C#/D vs D/G, so I think tomorrow I’ll switch my rental to D/G in the ButtonBox learner Linnet series, for a go with that configuration.  That will give me easy access to both home keys, an a bunch of sets that switch between them, with little hassle other than the speed/smooth issues.  Thoughts on that wrinkle?


I think the only sensible answer is, it depends on where you want to end up. The tunings lend themselves to different styles of music. They both have their own virtues. Neither is inherently superior to the other. It boils down to what do you like?
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Stiamh

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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2018, 02:13:50 PM »

I look forward to Stiamh's comments (which I have learned to highly respect) regarding comparing the ADG (4th apart) with the C#/D (semitone apart).

LOL. I was intending to stay out of this one, curbing my kneejerk reaction to launch into pontificating mode at the mere sight of "C#/D"...

I do think that acquiring a two-row machine, C#/D or D/G or any other system (let alone a three-row) and merely playing it up and down the rows is fine for a while, but a bit of a waste. A lot of a waste actually. There's so much fun to be had!

Greg's answer just above this one sums it up nicely. Choose a system because you like what it can do and get seriously stuck into it would be my advice. Or take up something more useful, like knitting.  ;)
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richard.fleming

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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2018, 04:17:00 PM »

I don't think you should set yourself mental limits like 'I'll just play up and down the rows'. Sounds half defeated before you've started. Go as far as you can, wherever it takes you.
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David Colpitts

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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2018, 02:07:20 PM »

Thanks, Folks.  As always, much thoughtful response.  I guess my question really should have been more like, “If one has a three row in ADG, what are the long-term prospects for its use in ITM and other “folk music,” beyond the readily apparent along-the-rows play?”  What I mean is that I don’t know how far I can get with prying my brain away from the “handful of harmonicas” mode it’s been in since I picked up concertinas and accordions some 6 years ago, but am certainly open-minded. 

Richard, that doesn’t make me feel like admitting “defeat” from the beginning; merely grappling with what seems less accessible than my first approach, but I take your point, with thanks.

Stiamh, I have watched some of your instructional videos, and appreciate that the C#/D offers logical growth from tunes on the D row, that makes a ton more sense to the aforementioned old brain than does beginning with other half-step boxes.  So...perhaps the smart thing is to use my lovely, loose old Baldoni-Bartoli and adapt your strategies to the reversed rows.  I may even take the basses out, temporarily, to see how much weight that might save.

And, Greg, yes.  I guess I am so flexible (scattered?)  in my listening approach that I don’t have delineated favorites in sounds; rather I like so much of what I hear that I say, “If I could play like that, wouldn’t it be cool?”

And, the “like that” includes Jackie Daly, Billy McComiskey, John Tabb, Tim Edey, Johnny Connolly, Marcel Messervier, John Kirkpatrick, Brian Peters, Joe Derrane, Mr. Kimmel (whose 1st name escapes me now) and a ton more, including many of the members here.

And, since the smoothness of B/C is such a stretch for even my imagination, I suspect my role models (edited for reality checking) would be Jackie Daly and the one-row folks.  Matter of fact, the single-row in D sounds, well, just sort of magically different to me, and I am beginning to cast about for a low-cost entry.  That would give me a delightfully limited range of exploration, and fit the skills I have along the rows.

Anyway, these boxes and the music make me ramble.  Thanks again to all for your kind suggestions.  I am trying to muster the courage to post some early effort (I only have about 30 hours on button accordions, but quite more on Anglo concertinas.)

Regards,

David
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Stiamh

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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2018, 02:49:29 PM »

I guess my question really should have been more like, “If one has a three row in ADG, what are the long-term prospects for its use in ITM and other “folk music,” beyond the readily apparent along-the-rows play?”

Well you can do a lot with an ADG once you get beyond along-the-rows play. There aren't many people using them in Irish music but on YouTube you can find videos by forum member Ashley Orchard who makes a fine job of some pretty challenging Irish tunes on an ADG. (He has a stradella bass system, which is another kettle of fish.)

Three-row boxes don't seem to be very common among English players (leaving aside D/G/accidental systems), and hence they are not well represented on this forum. But they are quite common where I live, in Québec. There are quite a few great one-row players here who use 3-rows for a completely different repertoire and are brilliant at that too. Examples are Frank Sears and Gaston Nolet. The downside is that they are usually to be found lugging three boxes around to gigs (D melodeon, ADG and GCF). 

Here's a clip of Gaston playing a valse musette in rather relaxed fashion (he can do this sort of thing at 100 mph too) on, if I'm not mistaken, his favourite Borelli GCF box (with my ceili band's pianist ;) ) . Obviously this type of tune can only be played by exploiting the cross-rowing possibilities to the full. 
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swig

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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2019, 10:49:19 AM »

I've got two 3 row Coronas, FCG and GDA. Previously I played a DG Erica. There's no doubt they are heavier but I soon got used to them. I love them ! They are so easy to play quietly to accompany singing. The action is really fast (much quicker than my Dino Bafetti). You hardly need any bellows movement once you are on top of the air button. Lots of air. Enjoy !
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folkloristmark

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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2019, 11:53:37 AM »

IMHO> Great for along the rows .Good compromise for those music choices. Good for slowly getting into crossing button by button. Howevr did you say its a Corona 2 or Corona 3, voices that is not rows. The two voice is not that heavey but the three voice is heavier when compared to a basic two row melodeon.Add another fcg and you have all your used keys in one style.
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David Colpitts

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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2019, 01:49:56 PM »

Thanks again, all.  At this point, I am increasingly concerned with weight, and less so with range.  I have recently acquired (from here, of course) a lovely old one row two voice Hohner in D, which I will explore in D, with tunes in A and G as they fit and I get a better handle.  It weighs under 5 pounds, and is easy to carry to a session as well as easy on the arms and shoulders.  Then, as D gets to be like breathing or singing to me, I will try more with my lovely-but-heavy Baldoni-Bartoli four-voice D/C#.  Then, just the couple of accidentals and I am fully in those three keys, which will cover most of the tunes I need for my Irish and Quebecois and Old-Timey American sessions.  By summer, maybe I’ll be “broken in” sufficiently to consider more weight.

Regards,

David
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mselic

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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2019, 05:22:51 PM »

The above was basically my approach as well.
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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2019, 01:55:49 AM »

I got a Hohner 'el rey del Vallenato' 3 voice, 3 row, A/D/G which I seem to be getting along with quite well.

It is bigger than the Ericas I thought I would be content with, a D/G and C/F - and I do still like them, but now that I have got used to having the A row there, I find my fingers falling off the edge of the keyboard looking for it.

It is not as heavy as other Hohners with similar layout - they might well have been Coronas, which I tried out and found rather too much - though it was in the hot weather which can't have helped.
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Re: Corona for “along the rows?”
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2019, 12:35:05 PM »

Here's a clip of Gaston playing a valse musette in rather relaxed fashion (he can do this sort of thing at 100 mph too) on, if I'm not mistaken, his favourite Borelli GCF box (with my ceili band's pianist ;) ) . Obviously this type of tune can only be played by exploiting the cross-rowing possibilities to the full.

 :o Bloody Nora. ('scuse my french)
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