Strictly speaking, I suppose a concertina is a "wind instrument", and that one is definitely a "bass".
The bass concertina tends to be ponderously slow to speak at the bottom end of its range...
In my experience, with perhaps a dozen concertinas going down to the cello C or the G below, this is not a necessary characteristic of low bass reeds (nor of baritones, for that matter). Most of those basses I've tried, both double-action (sounding in both bellows directions) and single-action, have been quite responsive, though a few have indeed been sluggish. I would say that the sluggishness I encountered was most likely due to improper adjustment of the reeds and valves. If others experience sluggishness where I don't, I suspect that the person trying the instrument isn't adequately aware of the adjustments needed in handling the deeper instrument. (See below.)
...so either you have a very responsive concertina or you are very good at judging how early to start the note so it sounds at the right time. I rather suspect that the truth lies somewhere in between as some of the busier passages are just a little blurred so to speak
A bit of both, perhaps, but definitely some other factors, as well:
- Since the early '80s until this past week this concertina hasn't been played more than a few hours per year, so it still needs quite a bit of working in to restore its former glory.
- About a week ago I moved it from where it had been stored -- where the temperature had already gone down to about -7° C (about 20° F) this winter -- to a room at +7° C (about +45° F) and a couple of days ago from there to a room at 17° C (about 63° F), where I did the recording. I suspect the various parts are still readjusting their relationships under the new conditions.
- A far bigger factor than slow-speaking reeds, but one that may be confused with that, is that the levers and buttons on all the basses I've played are longer. Someone used to short travel who doesn't compensate for the longer travel will be opening the chambers later than they think, and that definitely contributes a delay. In fact, a few dropped notes in my recording are due to the fact that I normally don't press the buttons "all the way to the bottom", and my adjustments there were too short.
- Also the necessary amount of "punch" to deliver pressure to the bellows is greater for the bass, not just because of the size of the reeds, but also because of the larger bellows cross section. As with button travel, someone who tries to make do with the same strength they would apply to a treble or tenor-treble -- or even tries to compensate but doesn't do so adequately -- won't be applying adequate pressure to start the low reeds quickly.
- Finally, I think some of the valves are too supple and sometimes get sucked into the vents they're supposed to cover. The result, which can also happen with higher-pitched concertinas, is a delay in the valve opening and thus a delay in the note sounding. In the worst cases (two notes in particular, one only on push and the other only on pull), an important note sometimes didn't sound at all, because it didn't sound before I released the button. When that happened, I cheated, immediately repeating the few notes containing the "gap", then eliding the offending bit from my recording and leaving the bit that worked (because the first try had loosened the valve enough for it to come quickly free the second time).
Edited to incorrect use of a couple of words.
Edited by JimLucas, 08 December 2013 - 03:45 AM.