Moments of Weakness

Moments of Weakness

I just bought a B/c hohner pokerwork, because…reasons I suppose. Anyone else have moment of weakness purchases they have made? Instruments or otherwise. Cheers.

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Hey Wesley

That’s not weakness! That’s great!
Enjoy!

All the best
Brian x

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20 odd years ago I bought a banjo…..well, I thought it was a good idea, at the time, you know?

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I see I’m not alone. This is good news. Hope everyone enjoys their instruments!

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I recently purchased a fiddle made in 1908, in a town not far from me. I already have 2 fine fiddles, and really didn’t have an instrument acquisition budget, but the historian in me needed to play guardian after I researched its maker. Plus it’s a perfect parlor fiddle, which is apropos in this age of only playing at home.

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Corin, I’ve frequently struggled with that seeing antique fiddles. Glad you got a good one.

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It’s definitely a struggle! I now am self-banning from looking even casually at violins other than my own!

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Interesting! I tend to think that fiddle players are relatively unaffected by "Instrument Acquisition Disorder," particularly when compared with box and guitar players, but replies so far indicate no immunity!

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It looks as though there’s enough of us to set up a self-help group.
If anyone’s looking for an Eb sousaphone . . .

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Lockdown has me perusing eBay out of sheer boredom, therefore moments of weakness were many:-
Half set in B
4 drone set of smallpipes (made of aluminium)
Pakistani practice set (was so cheap - bought to get a spare bag, but the bellows works well)
Renegade Rythm bodhran
Takahe and Howard low Ds
David O’Brien D/C whistle set
Elfsong Enchanter and Elfsong Enchantress (aka Generation GHB whistle)
Adler Bakelite and blackwood D (I think this one is pre WW2)
Antique brass B whistle.
Generation Bb
Susato clones in C and D (don’t buy the D - total crap)
Job lot of 8 whistles - Generation Eb, Bb, tabor pipe. Frankenwhistle - D (generation head and feadog body). Unknown make wide body D, Antique brass A, Ferris susato clone in C, Mullan D.

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"Frankenwhistle - D (generation head and feadog body)" Maybe its ‘pair’ was a keeper.

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Yes. Whistles and harmonicas. I several mid range harmonicas and a few tutorials bought in a time of short lived enthusiasm which have sat about for perhaps 20 years untouched. And I have spent gobs of money on mid and high end whistles with imaginings and hopes and only piddle about with them. A guitar… a mandolin… a didji. All residents of my graveyard of lost dreams. Like my life.

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Moment of weakness, or moment of wisdom?

Looking back over 45 years of playing music, the regrets are rarely the instruments I’ve bought.

It’s the instruments I’ve failed to pull the trigger on that gnaw on me sometimes.

It’s a gem, a fine player, it sings in my hands, and I know it. Yes perhaps it’s priced a tad high. For whatever reason I fail to buy it, and after a time it becomes apparent that I’ve made a big mistake.

The one that comes to mind most strongly is a particular Dave Williams 4-key flute. I was out at a festival, and a vendor was selling it at a fairly steep markup. I played it a bit and the vendor said "why don’t you take it to that hall over there and play it for a bit? That room has great acoustics."

I did. It was just about the best flute I’d ever played. Every note was full, rich, and perfectly in tune (including all the keyed notes). But I knew that I could get it rather more cheaply directly from Dave, so I passed on buying it.

But I didn’t get round to ordering one from Dave. Then we all know what happened.

Several years later an identical flute came up on Ebay, sold by someone who lived in the same city as the vendor’s shop. I thought "what if…" and I bought it. Sad to say though it was a quality Williams flute it played nowhere near the one I’d played at the festival, and I ended up selling it.

One reason not to regret buying a good used instrument is that they don’t depreciate. If, later, you decide it’s surplus to requirement you can sell it for the same amount you bought it for.

In any case just today I bought a set of Highland pipes on Ebay! I already have two vintage sets, got fairly cheaply on Ebay, both of them fine players. The set I bought today is from a particular era from a particular maker that I happen to know well. It will be a gorgeous and fine-playing pipe got for a fraction of what a similar instrument would cost today.

BTW about "Susato clones" why would anybody bother cloning Sustatos? Susatos were always easy to obtain and quite inexpensive. Have they gone out of business or dramatically raised their prices?

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Almost thirty years ago on a visit to Bucharest I had a conversation with an Irish guy - who was living there - at a party. Earlier that day I had been at an antique shop and had seen a fiddle there; though I didn’t play the fiddle at the time I was quite taken with the idea of treating myself to what I thought was kind of an extravagant purchase (looking back, it really wasn’t…). Somehow this came up in conversation with this fellow who informed me that he liked to collect any fiddle that he found in these shops; as it turned out he was not a player, but he did like them aesthetically. When I asked what he did with them he replied, "Oh, I just nail them to the wall". Having clarified that he literally nailed them to the wall, I was at that shop first thing the next morning….
Still can’t play it worth a damn, but the point is I don’t think any instrument purchase is regrettable, compared to all the other nonsense you could spend money on.

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Richard’s post bring back memories. When I was struggling with the flute back in the early 1990’s, Richard Cook was one of my mentors. A couple of friends and I would make occasional pilgrimages to LA to pick his brain and play tunes. I was playing a Pakistani flute, but had ordered a 4-key Dave Williams Rudall. When it arrived, I hooked up with Richard at an Irish Festival, and he played the flute and gave it his blessing. ‘Twas indeed a fine instrument and together we had many musical adventures and tons of craic. I was very lucky to purchase a lightly used Olwell flute some years ago, and the Williams languished, so Blaine Chastain at The Flute Store found a new owner, who I assume is now enjoying it as much as I did all those years.

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A baby horse. Doesn’t get any weaker than that. Won’t even be able to ride it for at least a year, during which it hopefully won’t try to kill itself, because that’s what horses do, especially when they’re young and stupid.

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The whole reason I play Anglo concertina at all is that I was selling a 4-key McGee flute about 15 years ago. Bob Tedrow, the concertina maker, was looking for a flute for his daughter. He offered to trade me one of his concertinas for it. I’d never even considered the possibility of playing concertina before, but I said “Sure”.

Anglo concertina was the gateway drug to B/C accordion, and ultimately a non-Irish parallel music track to 5-row C-system CBA. I think I have more accordions and concertinas now than pairs of underwear. 🙂

None of this was even remotely on my bucket list 25 years ago.

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Ya accordions are like that - they seem to multiply fast. What with all their variety of types and idiomatic musical forms, it’s easy to pick one up and suddenly go down an unexpected musical course. I was suddenly into cumbia, chicha, chamame, brazilian…I had no desire for piano accrdn until I wanted to play like fats domino and professor longhair.

When I was younger the only thing I knew about accrdns was that Lawrence Welk played it, and I hated it.

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Cabaiste said
"he liked to collect any fiddle that he found in these shops; as it turned out he was not a player…
Having clarified that he literally nailed them to the wall, I was at that shop first thing the next morning."

I had a similar thing! Back in the 1970s, there being no internet, a way to find antique instruments was to scour the list of yard sales/garage sales/boot sales in the local newspapers. Every now and then someone would list a bagpipe, and I would go see.

At one such sale there was a lovely set of ivory mounted early Henderson pipes, complete with various accessories all housed in the most beautiful pipe case I’ve ever seen, solid wood elegantly carved with thistles, a St Andrew’s Cross, and the owner’s initials. The seller’s father had been a piper in The Royal Scots in WWI and had immigrated to California after the war. The pipes, the daughter told me, had been sitting untouched in the case since he died, in 1928.

The daughter informed me that an Interior Decorator fellow was on his way to buy them, that he was going to drill a hole through them and screw them onto the wall at a client’s house.

Horrified, I immediately handed the daughter cash, grabbed the pipes, and sped away. The price was $150.

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What a great story JTrout!

Yes many memories. It was Mickie Z who had that Williams I passed on, it was a Pratten, with the big Boosey-Pratten style keys. Sorry I don’t remember your Williams Rudall. Was I playing the 1860 cocuswood Pratten with the Casey Burns headjoint at that time? It was a great player.

Super that you got an Olwell!! And that your Williams found a good home. A feel-good story all around.

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Well saved, Richard Cook!

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A trumpet.

Pan Pipes.

My second wife (a 6 month misadventure).

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Usually my weakness is for ‘glass’, here I mean Camera Lenses. Well scouring Ebay for older lenses, which I absolutely love to try out, accidentally clicked a link to a Concertina.

I should not have done that!

Do not know what term is for ‘auction winning’ itis may be, but it appears on that day I could not resist. Badly described this older instrument was broken and needed a craftsman to repair. Looked just like many a fine Lens I have acquired and resold at good profit! So heck with it, apply all my Ebay bidding skill to get this old man of the sea, bidding a good hunk of change right at the end.

Shocked to learn, A. that I won, and B. the amount of cash spent! How can I explain this to my family? As it turned out the box is a near antique Crabb Anglo with real concertina reeds and shoes in it. After expert repair - refused myself to work on it because amateur skills, ahem! - it turns out worth about 5 times what I paid, and owning it forced me to try learning to play.

It is not quite the most beautiful thing won on Ebay; but the history! Exquisite. Made in London, England, by a family which is one of the first ever to make Concertinas, in the place out of where the most collectable and expensive today came, i.e

http://www.concertina.com/jeffries/concertina-maker/ ..

I have to stay away from bidding on things I know nothing about, because luck is a scarce commodity.

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If I define "moment of weakness" as something I’ve thought about for a while, and jumped when I really didn’t have the spare funds but did it anyway on a whim, I think almost all of those moments have been positive. Instruments I’ve kept and still play, like the Weber octave mandolin I found at an astounding half-price on Ebay when I never could have afforded a new one at full price. Or the flute I now play. I had been thinking about a keyed flute for a while, then spotted this one on Ebay and bought it on a whim even though it was a major financial stretch. It’s a keeper.

I think maybe the only time I regret an impulse purchase was an Ovation Legend guitar, back when I was infatuated with "Fusion" jazz-rock and Al DiMeola’s playing. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was never going to be Al DiMeola, and fiberglass shell guitars didn’t really sound good acoustically (although the neck was terrific).

Other than that, no regrets. I’ve sold over a dozen guitars and a few other things in recent years as I drill down to what I really care about, which is almost exclusively Irish and Scottish trad played on flute and mandolin family instruments. They all got me where I am today, which is just an amateur hack, but I’m enjoying myself and I hope not wrecking things too badly when playing music with others.

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Me too 🙂 I traded a Fender 800 pedal steel for McLaughlin-style ovation nylon string cutaway. I studied Metheny quite a bit, learned to play DiMeola’s Cielo e Terra and was ready to get into JM.. But suddenly got into (Paco) flamenco instead and ditched the ovation for Spanish flamenco guitars.

Regrets? Getting old and ditching my pedal steels, keyboards, and drums… I had a Rhodes and a Prophet 600 and don’t even remember where they went.

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Five or so years ago I was looking through a local auction house online catalogue and saw a Selmer tenor sax on offer. Just out of interest I looked it up as I knew that Selmer saxes were quality instruments. I went to the showing, and the tenor was in excellent condition as far as I could see, knowing nothing about saxes. Original case, no dings, no neck pull down, serial number. It turned out to be the holy grail of Selmer tenors, an SBA tenor from 1950. Coltrane played one. I went to the auction. It was the last item there was only us in the room and one person bidding by phone. I won the Selmer for a very modest price. I had a mad fantasy of learning to play jazz on it, but Irish traditional music takes most of my music time. I was very lucky as the price for a Selmer tenor SBA can be astronomical. Most recent mad impulse was three months ago, bought a Gibson Firebird electric guitar!

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Chinese Boehm flute from Wish.com, something like £75. Really loud and plays well. Good for sessions with banjos and boxes in attendance. Don’t know how long it will last though….

Banjo, mandolin, fiddle, several button accordions in various key combinations. Some of which I have managed to scrape or plink or squeeze only a couple of tunes out of. But nae bother, plenty of time to satisfy my curiosity.

Most recent - don’t know if this counts as a spontaneous moment of weakness, as it was kinda premeditated. I bought a roll of Quantick handrail safety-grip non-abrasive tape to stick onto the thumb-rest area of my button accordion/melodeon. (There is probably a proper term for the area - where you rest your right thumb, below the buttons, so your fingers can do the playing.) Now the thumb never slips out of place. Particularly relevant on a Soprani, which is all shiny and laquered — and slippy. I’d recommend if anyone has a similar issue. Downside is, it worries me the laquering might peel away if the tape were to be removed. But I won’t be taking it off. Nor selling any box yet. So not yet a problem.

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Dr, S.S, congratulations on your new family member. I feel a bit envious! A moment of weakness maybe, and I well understand all the worry of the commitment, but I believe that love’s labours are rarely lost. Good on You!

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I bought an Irish Flute and paid 1,100 dollars for it! I could never play it! No embouchure. 😕I sold it for 1/2 the price! 😩

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Moments of weakness for me, are when I’ve sold something I really should have hung onto. A pre-CBS Fender P-Bass, a mid 60’s Les Paul Custom, a pre war Gibson, a rare Hagstrom Electric 12 string and several more. What was I thinking? Obviously, I wasn’t.