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Matching valve length in Lachenal EC


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#1 RWL

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 03:14 PM

I've measured several valves in my Lachenal EC as 17 mm length. At Concertina Spares, the closest valve size is 19 mm. Do I just substitute the 19 mm valves?

David Elliot's book advises not trimming much longer valves down to make a shorter one, but I"m not sure if trimming 2mm from the base would make a difference. If I need to use the 19 mm valves, do I need to trim them 2 mm in length or just leave them as they are if they fit in the chamber?

#2 Greg Jowaisas

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 04:05 PM

The thickness of the valve leather (along with stiffness and density) can effect reed performance and sound. In general the thicker/denser the valve the less volume and high end (the valve may filter some of the high overtones).

With a low end Lachenal english you probably won't notice a difference in response or sound but if you do, try a lighter valve.

As long as the 19mm valves fit the reed pan and, on the chamber side do not catch on the wall, I would not bother trimming them back.

Greg

#3 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 11:16 AM

I noticed that the valves that I obtained recently from Concertina-Spares were a little wider than those they were to replace. I think I imagine a slight dampening of tone and/or volume with these wider valves now that they are fitted. Perhaps I am wrong but I will now make a little test, by replacing an original valve or trimming a new one to the same width.

Any thoughts?

#4 apprenticeOF

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 01:29 PM

I have both some valves from Concertina-Spares and some from Concertina Connection in my repair kit. The standard (white) ones from Concertina Connection are slightly narrower, and more supple. Concertina Connection also sell another grade of valves (brown, extra thin) which "allow for more harmonics".

Greg's comment about thickness/density may be coming into play here.

I used the valves from Concertina-Spares on the Lachenal EC that is my day-to-day player, and they are fine to my untrained ear.

I don't have a ready comparison though, as the sound from our Wheatstone Aeola (which has CC valves) is different by nature.

Doug

#5 Greg Jowaisas

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 03:53 PM

I noticed that the valves that I obtained recently from Concertina-Spares were a little wider than those they were to replace. I think I imagine a slight dampening of tone and/or volume with these wider valves now that they are fitted. Perhaps I am wrong but I will now make a little test, by replacing an original valve or trimming a new one to the same width.

Any thoughts?


The past 8 years I've been called upon to improve the tone and reponse of dozens of high quality vintage concertinas and a number of instruments by modern makers.
One of the first things I check are the valves. They really are the often neglected "poor second cousins" of concertina sound and response. As previously mentioned, valve size, density and thickness can effect sound and response. Many who are into Irish Trad want a quick concertina with some high end cut. Thick, heavy valves can hold these characteristics hostage. Lighter, trim valves seem to be a bit quicker to respond and can brighten an instrument's tone.

In my experience the thinner you go the more danger for a gurgle on the larger valves. It might be one reason some makers tend to go with heavier valves- less fuss and fewer complaints. The stiffer the valve the more chance of valve slap. So for me there is a constant search for "just the right" hairsheep leather that is stiff enough to be quick but soft enough to land without noise. I usually have in stock half a dozen skins of different thickness and with different stiffness characteristics to choose from. I also use a dozen different stamps to cut my valves to different widths and lengths. Thinner and less wide valves for english and thicker (not too thick or heavy) wider valves for anglos. IMHO you are sacraficing performance with a one size fits all concertina valve approach.

I realize that this may not be the most convenient method for the one time or the do it yourself repairer. I'm just describing the best way I've found in regards to valves for releasing the full potential of concertinas that have been sent to me.

I will add an observation that the dozen or so Dipper concertinas I've worked on or have inspected seemed to use the best valve material and appropriate length, width and thickness of the modern makers. Kudos to Colin, Rosalie and John!

Greg

Edited by Greg Jowaisas, 03 September 2012 - 07:45 AM.


#6 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 06:20 AM

Thanks for these comments,Doug and Greg, they are much appreciated.

What I am trying to do is brighten up the Right hand side of a larger Aeola Maccann. The basic balance, right to left is about correct but some upper melody notes are not shinning through my left side accompaniments. I have thus tried to thin out the chord work but the other problem is, or could be, like a lot of people I have one ear that is better at its job than the other... and that is for me the Left one. Perhaps it is not more volume that is needed in the right hand but a little more clarity/cut to these notes?

This is just me being ultra fussy maybe but, my smaller Maccann does not suffer in this way. So I will take the approach suggested for the EC's and try to fit some narrower valves. As a point of reference the original valves (at 19mm size) are about 1mm narrower than the replacements from Concertina-Spares.... not that I am at all crittical of the valves I recieved, they do their job well, I just need to trim them I guess.

Unlike you Greg, I am not habitually involved with concertina restoration, otherwise I would be looking to buy some suitable skins and cut my own valves.
Cheers,

Geoff.

Edited by Geoff Wooff, 03 September 2012 - 06:23 AM.


#7 d.elliott

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 01:53 AM

Thanks for these comments,Doug and Greg, they are much appreciated.

What I am trying to do is brighten up the Right hand side of a larger Aeola Maccann. The basic balance, right to left is about correct but some upper melody notes are not shinning through my left side accompaniments. I have thus tried to thin out the chord work but the other problem is, or could be, like a lot of people I have one ear that is better at its job than the other... and that is for me the Left one. Perhaps it is not more volume that is needed in the right hand but a little more clarity/cut to these notes?

This is just me being ultra fussy maybe but, my smaller Maccann does not suffer in this way. So I will take the approach suggested for the EC's and try to fit some narrower valves. As a point of reference the original valves (at 19mm size) are about 1mm narrower than the replacements from Concertina-Spares.... not that I am at all crittical of the valves I recieved, they do their job well, I just need to trim them I guess.

Unlike you Greg, I am not habitually involved with concertina restoration, otherwise I would be looking to buy some suitable skins and cut my own valves.
Cheers,

Geoff.


This has been interesting, I would add one other comment, just check the valve pin clearance above the valve, some replacement valves are softer and thicker, the pins may need to be lifted to give full airflow.


Dave

Edited by d.elliott, 04 September 2012 - 01:56 AM.


#8 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 04:14 AM

This has been interesting, I would add one other comment, just check the valve pin clearance above the valve, some replacement valves are softer and thicker, the pins may need to be lifted to give full airflow.


Dave





This is a very good point Dave,
in fact I did have to do this because some of the pins were far too low and I had to remove a few and re- insert further up.I have bent others upwards somewhat.But I will check them all again now that you have mentioned it.
It can be suprising when one finds 'mistakes' in the original manufacture.... on this particular instrument the air button was very slow to let the air out and made a musical squeek almost a perfect high A note. That took me some time to figure out how air might be passing right across the reedpan to provide wind to an A reed. In the end I removed the lever and pad and could see that there was a cross wall on the reedpan that was partly blocking the passage and allowing a tiny amount of air to escape into the adjoining chamber, which was low C... how that produced an almost exact A was just pure chance I guess.

Thanks for that,
Geoff.

Edited by Geoff Wooff, 04 September 2012 - 04:15 AM.





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