• Blog,  Fun stuff,  Music

    How to learn tunes by ear

    Folk music has been learned by ear for centuries, and it’s the best way to learn it. Many of the beautiful subtleties that make folk music so great cannot be transcribed without loss. Ornamentation in Irish music is a prime example of this: You have to learn it by ear to get it right. Of course there’s nothing wrong with using sheet music, especially in the beginning, but your ultimate goal should be learning tunes by ear. It may feel like an impossible task at first, but fear not, it’s actually not that tough. Persistence will get you there and once you get the hang of it, you can learn…

  • Blog,  Fun stuff,  Music

    How to use our accordion tuning tools

    Without doubt, being able to tune your own accordion is a very useful skill. Of course it takes a lot of practice and knowledge to properly tune an accordion, but every journey begins with the first step which is why we have included a compact little set of professional accordion tuning tools in our shop. To make the best use of the accordion tuning tools, we have now published a video that demonstrates how to fine tune two reeds. For this tuning procedure only a tuning device, e.g. the Peterson Strobe Pro App for Android or iOS devices, and the contents of our tuning kit are needed. The reeds are…

  • Blog,  Fun stuff,  Music

    Gig: Tradtravellers on Folkerdey 2022

    Hooray, live music is back! We are happy to announce that Ole will join the Trad-Travellers on stage at the Folkerdey 2022 festival held on June 11th in Ratingen, Germany. The Trad-Travellers are a loose assembly of trad. musicians led by reknown German fiddle player Mich Neumaier. The festival line-up consists of Mich Neumaier (fiddle), Dorothee Lindenbaum (vocals, bodhran, concertina), Tobias Kurik (blarge) and Ole Carstensen (button accordion). We are very much looking forward to this and are hoping to meet a lot of familiar faces. Here’s a sneak preview of Mich and Ole playing a set of reels.

  • Blog,  Fun stuff,  Music

    Diatonisch nieuwsblad – The diatonic newspaper of the Netherlands

    The Netherlands are home to a very vivid scene of diatonic accordion players. This manifests not only in the surprising number of notable Dutch accordion makers, e.g. Frans van der Aa, Karel van der Leuw or Noud Martinali, or professional players, but also in many festivals, concerts and workshops hosted all around the country. For all those of us, who want to stay up-to-date with all the players, makers and events, we would like to introduce the diatonisch nieuwsblad (”diatonic newspaper”). The diatonisch nieuwsblad is a quarterly magazine, made for diatonic accordion, concertina, harmonica and bandoneon players. Each volume features an in-depth interview with a player, maker or otherwise notable…

  • Blog,  Fun stuff,  Music

    Irish Accordion Videos – our Top 5

    Do you also have a few videos that you keep watching over and over? Well, we do and of course, they are Irish Accordion videos. With the Mulligan’s Session in Amsterdam being laid off due to COVID, we spent the Sundays chasing new tunes on various virtual sessions or live streams. Let’s see if you find the following videos as inspiring as we do. Gary Curley & Stephen McKee Gary and Stephen play super groovy banjo/box music. This particular video starts with an all-time favorite of ours, Larkin’s Beehive by Paddy O’Brien. With plenty of Tadhg Mulligan’s the back-up is in good hands too. This video has it all. Much…

  • Blog,  Fun stuff,  Music

    Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music

    Here is a new rabbit hole for all of you who always hunt for fresh and interesting tunes. Master fiddle player and national heritage fellow Séamus Connolly collected over 330 wonderful Irish and Irish/American tunes. Mr. Connolly held the chair of Sullivan Artist in Residence in Irish Music at the Boston College from 2004 to 2015. He made his Séamus Connolly Collection available free of charge for everyone via the Boston College Libraries. The collection includes more than 330 tunes, the majority of which were unknown to me. The sheet music for every tune is accompanied by a background story. Each tune has also a proper recording from one of…

  • Blog,  Fun stuff,  Music

    A couple of reels for the squeezebox chain

    The worldwide Corona lockdown has triggered the production of a lot of new music videos and virtual social events. When the two effects combined on Facebook, the squeezebox chain was born. It’s the same as a chain letter, you get tagged by someone to play a couple of tunes, then you in return tag some people and ask them for a couple of tunes and so on and so forth. Since we took so much pleasure out of the previous posts, we gladly accepted the request when it was our turn. So without any further ado, here’s Ole’s link of the squeezebox chain: The original squeezebox chain spans all over…

  • Blog,  Music,  Repairs

    Hohner Laurel Leaf – Custom Restoration to C#D

    Here’s a wonderful Hohner Laurel Leaf that we have recently rejuvenated. These beautiful instruments were Hohner’s premium models back in the 1930ies. Hohner Laurel Leafs make very nice Irish boxes when properly cleaned and set up. In this case we went the extra mile and serviced and cleaned every single screw of the box down to the last metal parts. Since the old mechanics were corroded and the buttons yellowed, we replaced the mechanics on both treble and bass side. The original corroded reeds were removed and replaced with a set of new Tipo A Mano (TAM) reeds in C#/D. The new reeds were then tuned dry and the thirds…

  • Music,  Repairs

    Golden Laurel Leaf – Converted to a Three Row A/D/G Melodeon

    We have just finished a very interesting custom restoration of a very rare three-row Hohner Golden Laurel Leaf box to an A/D/G melodeon. The instrument is roundabout 80 years old and appears to be in excellent condition. With it’s golden metal grill and metal corners, this truly is an exceptionally beautiful instrument. In addition to the standard repairs and restoration we converted this box from a chromatic button accordion to a diatonic one. Not only have we replaced the reeds, but we also re-wired the bass buttons. The black dots indicating the chromatic button accordion keyboard appear to be glued on but can be removed easily. However we decided to…

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