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edvasicek

Distorted Sound

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Hi all.

 

I am new to the concertina world and own a Rochelle Anglo. Been playing for 4 months now and love it. I play it at least an hour daily, and use it when I visit folks in nursing homes, etc. Since I am a minister, I use it more than weekly with nursing home visits and visiting shut-ins at home. I do put it to work a lot. I don't know if transporting it has caused the problem below or not, but I do know of no rough events, just a lot of use.

 

I had one problem and received advice from the Button Box folks when a note went out -- had a silent note, tapped the reed with a screwdriver lightly, and that fixed it.

 

Now I have another problem. When I play a (first space at bottom of staff) F, the note plays but sounds distorted, as though I were pushing too much volume through a cheap speaker. The E has a little bit of this, but not as much. The notes might be slightly louder than other notes, I think.

 

If i play with the left side (where the note is) aimed downward, the distortion is less than if I play that note upward. I keep the concertina on my right knee. Sometimes the note will sound cleaner.

 

I tried putting a piece of paper under the reeds, or lifting the plastic strip and lightly touching a screwdriver to the reeds opposite to remove debris that might be causing this.

 

I am not sure where the F reed itself is located. Is it on the top, next to the E? Or is it in the mid-section or bottom? My instincts tell me the top. Or might it not be the reeds at all? Or is one of the plastic strip flaps inappropriately vibrating?.Or might it be a bellows issue?

 

Any help appreciated. I can get by playing, and I probably notice the distortion more than listeners.

 

If necessary, I will call the Button Box folks again, but thought I would inquire first here. Thanks!

Edited by edvasicek

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It sounds to me like you either have some dust/fluff caught in the reeds, or that they aren't quite set right in the shoes (too low/high) or that the shoes aren't tight enough or are too tight!

 

Either way, I think it needs an expert look. Someone who knows what they are doing will likely have that fixed up in a couple of minutes - you just need to get it in front of them :)

 

Have you had any significant humidity changes recently? Humidity can cause the reed shoes to expand and muffle the note - I had the same thing last year during a particularly hot/humid spell of weather. It sorted itself out in a couple of days.

 

Hope that mad ramble helps!

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Yes, Chatty Concertinist, the weather has been very damp - lots of rain. Although our house is air conditioned, that may be a factor. Perhaps I should wait a few days to see if it sorts itself out.

 

Do you know where the F reed is located, BTW? Once you disassemble the tina, Is it on the top?

 

Thanks!

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Do you know where the F reed is located, BTW? Once you disassemble the tina, Is it on the top?

 

On a C/G anglo the F should be on the pull, which means the air flows from the outside ("top") of the end to the inside ("underside"), so I'm pretty sure the answer to your question is "yes", even though the details of construction of your Rochelle are different from my vintage anglos.

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The symptoms you report, including the change in symptoms according to the physical orientation, sound very like an issue I struck with a Morse concertina which had reed frames secured with wax in a similar fashion to your Rochelle. The Morse had cracks in the wax, allowing the reed frame to move slightly. It was a mystery to me and was diagnosed and fixed by Malcolm Clapp.

 

If you are unsure you have the right reed you can plink the tongue and compare the pitch with an F on another instrument or a tuner. It is likely the only reed you can reach is the other of the pair (there are two on each frame, one visible and the other on the under side) so it will be an E.

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The wife says the concertina sounds fine from where she is at. So the problem is mostly to my ear. Those screen cloths are coming loose -- wonder if that could be it. Any idea how to fix those? Sometimes I also hear the sound with a D, too. I am wondering if certain frequencies resonate with that loose screen cloth?

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Odd resonances are unlikely to be caused in the screen cloth. With the Rochelle and it's stable mates you can get odd noises that come and go from resonance affecting the metal parts of the action. Sometimes you can detect where this is coming from by lightly touching the other buttons in turn as you play the offending note. If you are lucky the unwanted sound will stop when you touch one other button. The most common place for the noise to come from is where the button attaches to the lever.

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I once asked Wim about this problem (if it is the same problem - a buzzing noise) and this is what he said:

 

"You can put a small amount of synthetic grease on the lever where it meets the button. An other option is to glue a thin strip of plastic or even paper on top of the levers. Just make sure there still is enough play in the button/lever joint."

 

Frankly, I did not find either of his suggestions useful. I could not get even a slip of thin paper on top of the levers and I was unwilling to use grease on the levers.

 

I found that I could fix the problem by opening the box up and fiddling/displacing the levers a bit. I often had to do this several times to get it right and sometimes the problem would re-occur.

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It seems to have cleared up, I don't think because of my fiddling. I wonder if Will Moore maybe was right about weather, or if some minuscule debris cleared itself, or if my relief is short lived? Time will tell.

 

I cannot thank you enough for your support and help. Kokomo, Indiana, USA, is not exactly a concertina hub!

 

Really appreciate this site.

 

Thank you.

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