Jump to content


Photo

Tuning Precision & Accuracy

Tuning

  • Please log in to reply
130 replies to this topic

#19 Greg Jowaisas

Greg Jowaisas

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1519 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Kentucky, USA just south of Cincinnati and the Ohio River

Posted 15 March 2014 - 01:53 PM

Stephen,

Mine is an Auto Strobe 490.

 

I was very fortunate to have been interested in concertina repair at the same time Wally Carroll was gearing up to make concertinas (about 2004)  I feel fortunate to have been able to ride Wally's coattails on some of the research and development of equipment that he was doing.  (Thanks, Wally!)  I believe Wally has a Peterson 590 which may have an extra bell or whistle or two.

 

Following Wally's example I have a Gast vacuum pump set up to activate the reed when on my tuning jig.

 

I do a fair amount of restoration work.  So a good part of my tuning may involve coming down (and occasionally up) anywhere from -30 to +50 cents.  A brush up, fine tuning might be "only" 3-4 passes rather than the 5-6 I mentioned.

 

Particular customers, like Mr. Doug Barr, have been pleased with my work.

 

Stephen, I'm sure you do wonderful and careful work and I salute your accommodation of your performing clients.  While I try to be sympathetic to performers' needs and customers' timetables I find that the money involved in repair doesn't warrant the added stress of tight deadlines.  Most of my customers who want the job done "right" are willing to be patient.

 

Best,

 

Greg



#20 Doug Barr

Doug Barr

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 196 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 March 2014 - 05:50 PM

So now you have me going...

 

The idea that a concertina would be tuned to a different standard depending on the discriminational skills of the owner is in my opinion wrong.  Why not strive to do the best you can +/- 0.5 on all the instruments, not just for the exception that can hear the difference.  I would expect nothing less from a proffesional that I trusted to work on my instruments.....maybe thats why I have trusted Greg to do my work. 

 

  AND 

 

The idea that the anglo(which is what I play) should be on the bottom of the pecking order and does not deserve to be tuned just as well as the english or duet is also wrong.

 

Very interesting ideas being tossed around.....just don't understand the logic.

 

Doug

I



#21 malcolm clapp

malcolm clapp

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 793 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Woolgoolga, NSW Australia

Posted 15 March 2014 - 06:13 PM

 Could it be argued that the Anglo is primarily a melody instrument with occasional sparse chords thrown in, ....

 

Terry

Sorry, Terry, but I can't accept that. Maybe true of ITM players, but there's quite a few of us around that treat the anglo as a de facto duet in terms of playing style. -_-



#22 malcolm clapp

malcolm clapp

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 793 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Woolgoolga, NSW Australia

Posted 15 March 2014 - 06:20 PM


 

I also find it is not a bad idea to wait a day or two between the 3rd and 4th and 5th and 6th tunings.  Reeds seem to "heal themselves" between tunings and can go a half to a couple of cents sharp.  (Perhaps someone can explain if there is a metallurgical reason?)

 

Greg

Yes, a good idea to wait a day or few between fine tuning passes, though not only can the reeds change, but the valves can also "settle" (for lack of a better word) and affect the tuning if they have been replaced or reset.



#23 Clive Thorne

Clive Thorne

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 271 posts
  • Location:Northamptonshire, UK

Posted 15 March 2014 - 06:40 PM

 

 Could it be argued that the Anglo is primarily a melody instrument with occasional sparse chords thrown in, ....

 

Terry

Sorry, Terry, but I can't accept that. Maybe true of ITM players, but there's quite a few of us around that treat the anglo as a de facto duet in terms of playing style. -_-

 

 

I'm with Malcolm on this one. I love a fist full of notes on the left hand.

 

 

Also, regarding the principle of how accurately you tune. I don't think anyone has mentioned the idea that the better you tune it in the first place then the further it can drift before it is audible. I.e. it should be longer before you have to tune it again!

 

And, as has been mentioned, lower reeds tend to sound flat when played hard, so where do you tune them? You might play quietly in practice and loudly when playing out (e.g. for morris). There comes a point where you just have to accept that the instrument is not/cannot be perfect. (I do find, though, that playing the octave above at the same time can sometimes pull the lower note into pitch).

 

Finally, on tuning the thirds naturally rather than equal tempered, am I right in thinking that this can only work for a limited range of keys (one)? - on any one instrument I mean.

 

Clive



#24 Terry McGee

Terry McGee

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 356 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Malua Bay, NSW Australia

Posted 15 March 2014 - 07:04 PM

Correct Clive.  You can have one key perfectly tuned (Just Intonation), or a number of keys very nicely tuned (eg Meantone and Well temperaments), or all the keys tuned equally badly (Equal Temperament).  

 

For those of us who play in a limited range of keys, it would be possible to design a temperament to optimise the tuning of our instrument.  An ITM Anglo would be tuned differently to the same instrument playing Morris, so "it goes to intent, m'Lud".  But as soon as you started playing with another instrument in ET, you might find it all comes unstuck.

 

I have a book by Jorgensen, simply called Tuning.  It's A4 in format, runs to 798 pages and contains descriptions of 61 tunings.  It chronicles humanity's ongoing struggle to deal with an inconvenient fact of nature.

 

Terry



#25 Stephen Chambers

Stephen Chambers

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4402 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 March 2014 - 07:46 PM

And, as has been mentioned, lower reeds tend to sound flat when played hard, so where do you tune them? You might play quietly in practice and loudly when playing out (e.g. for morris). There comes a point where you just have to accept that the instrument is not/cannot be perfect.

 

That's something I was very much getting at, and not just the low notes sometimes.

 

But there's also the problem that plenty of other instruments aren't in "concert pitch" anyway - lots of modern ones are in A-442 (8 cents sharp), or even 444 (16 cents sharp), whist some old ones might be in A-439 (4 cents flat) or even 435 (20 cents flat) - and I know a seriously good, well-known, flute player who plays a 435 flute! Whilst the musette tuning of some accordions  can be as wide as + and - 25 cents (that's half a semitone!)

 

 

Finally, on tuning the thirds naturally rather than equal tempered, am I right in thinking that this can only work for a limited range of keys (one)? - on any one instrument I mean.

 

In meantone you can tune to favour a desired set of keys Clive, so I'd tune a C/G Anglo to be sweet in C, D, G and A - but God help you in C#, F#, G# or B natural! :blink:



#26 Stephen Chambers

Stephen Chambers

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4402 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 March 2014 - 07:50 PM

I have a book by Jorgensen, simply called Tuning.  It's A4 in format, runs to 798 pages and contains descriptions of 61 tunings.

 

I've got that one too Terry, and a few more.

 

 It chronicles humanity's ongoing struggle to deal with an inconvenient fact of nature.

 

You mean, that there's no such thing as "perfect tuning" and it's all a compromise?

 

In fact, "all smoke & mirrors" really!!! :unsure:


Edited by Stephen Chambers, 16 March 2014 - 11:35 AM.


#27 Stephen Chambers

Stephen Chambers

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4402 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 March 2014 - 07:54 PM

So now you have me going...

 

The idea that a concertina would be tuned to a different standard depending on the discriminational skills of the owner is in my opinion wrong.  Why not strive to do the best you can +/- 0.5 on all the instruments, not just for the exception that can hear the difference.  I would expect nothing less from a proffesional that I trusted to work on my instruments.....maybe thats why I have trusted Greg to do my work. 

 

And you're prepared to wait while it's being done, and (I hope) to pay considerably more for all that extra work.

 

But many people aren't.



#28 Clive Thorne

Clive Thorne

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 271 posts
  • Location:Northamptonshire, UK

Posted 15 March 2014 - 08:03 PM

 

In meantone you can tune to favour a desired set of keys Clive, so I'd tune a C/G Anglo to be sweet in C, D, G and A - but God help you in C#, F#, G# or B natural! :blink:

 

 

Fortunately (?) my standard is such that I don't have to worry about C#, F#,G# or B, in or out of tune!! Most of my playing is G or G, with the occasional foray into D (working on it), and the very occasional attempt at F.



#29 Stephen Chambers

Stephen Chambers

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4402 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 March 2014 - 08:05 PM

Following Wally's example I have a Gast vacuum pump set up to activate the reed when on my tuning jig.
 
Sounds interesting, do tell more...
 

 

I do a fair amount of restoration work.  So a good part of my tuning may involve coming down (and occasionally up) anywhere from -30 to +50 cents.  A brush up, fine tuning might be "only" 3-4 passes rather than the 5-6 I mentioned.

 

That's a lot more than anybody else I know of Greg. I was taught (long-ago), by a highly-respected concertina maker, to do a "rough tuning" first when repitching an instrument, followed by two "fine tunings", allowing a week between them for "settling".



#30 Stephen Chambers

Stephen Chambers

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4402 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 March 2014 - 08:15 PM

In meantone you can tune to favour a desired set of keys Clive, so I'd tune a C/G Anglo to be sweet in C, D, G and A - but God help you in C#, F#, G# or B natural! :blink:

 

Fortunately (?) my standard is such that I don't have to worry about C#, F#,G# or B, in or out of tune!! Most of my playing is G or G, with the occasional foray into D (working on it), and the very occasional attempt at F.

 

F and Bb would be good keys too - it's just the ones I mentioned are those that most of my customers would be interested in.



#31 Stephen Chambers

Stephen Chambers

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4402 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 March 2014 - 08:41 PM

So now you have me going...

 

The idea that a concertina would be tuned to a different standard depending on the discriminational skills of the owner is in my opinion wrong. 

 

Doug, when I said "the penultimate measure is if it sounds acceptable to my ear, and the final one is if it sounds acceptable to the player - and sometimes they might bend a note more, or less, than myself" I was implying that "zero" might sound out of tune, or harsh, when the owner plays the instrument - so I'd adjust the tuning (to something other than zero) to make it sound acceptable.

 

The ultimate arbiter is the ear, when the instrument is being played, and not necessarily "zero" on an electronic tuner.

 

Edited typo.


Edited by Stephen Chambers, 15 March 2014 - 08:52 PM.


#32 Rod

Rod

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1046 posts

Posted 16 March 2014 - 03:22 AM

I would not have posted my query yesterday had I read the interesting discussion introduced by Geoff Wooff, 24th Feb, 'Sounds like a Concertina ?' ( under the heading Instrument Construction & Repair ).

#33 blue eyed sailor

blue eyed sailor

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2552 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Baltic coast, Schleswig-Holstein

Posted 16 March 2014 - 04:37 AM

Geoff's introducing

#34 Geoff Wooff

Geoff Wooff

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2097 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:France

Posted 16 March 2014 - 05:52 AM

Whilst I would normally aim for as close to Zero deviation as possible, raher like  Stephen Chamber's  0/+1, there is sometimes quite an amount of pitch change with pressure variation. I notice that instruments with longer scale reeds tend to be more pitch/pressure stable... a generalisiation perhaps.

 

When tuning to Equal Temperament a greater degree of accuracy is needed, because this tuning system only works  tolerably well if  all is equal however, where there is to be deviation from exact pitches due to  the inevitable inaccuracies and pressure/pitch variances, then let them fall on the sweet side, if possible.  As Greg Jowaisas suggests, don't let the major thirds get sharp.

 

What is meant by  not letting this interval sit on the sharp side is that  a Perfect major Third  has   386 cents between the two notes  and a Equal Tempered  major Third has  400 cents. Better to have the ET thirds being not wider than the 400 cents and, if anything slightly narrower... at least in the most  used Keys.

 

Might I suggest that for an accuracy Tuning Tolerance  one could do this   in E.T. :

 

Notes;  A and D as close to Zero as possible.  Bb,Eb , Ab = 0 / +2.  C#,D#  G# = 0/-2.    B,E,F#= 0/-1.  and G,F,C = 0/+1 . This should keep things leaning slightly towards the SWEET side.

 

The Major Third is a very harsh interval in Equal Temperament,  especially on a Concertina, which is why I use a Meantone system on my Englishes. I've chosen to use  1/5th Comma Meantone ( Homogenous )  and whilst this is a halfway house compromise from the full 'perfect thirds' meantone (1/4 Comma)  it still has notes that are quite widely spread away from Equal Temperament.... But I have yet to have another musician question the position of my notes, when playing in groups or sessions.

What I mean here is that  if an instrument is 'in tune' with itself and is close to the Pitch standard ( in my case spread evenly around it) then other players will  not think it out of tune.

 

When using the   'sweeter' tempéraments I think it is possible to have more tuning latitude..... I currently have two Concertinas tuned to Meantone and two that are Equal Tempered... it is always the ET instruments that I think  need  another 'fine tune'.

 

I own 7 different electronic Tuners   ranging from  the very inexpensive up to a Peterson 490  but in the end  one's Ear and sense of touch are just as important.

 

When selecting a person to tune and set up your concertina  it is best to find someone who plays your keyboard  because it is only when you start driving the beast that you find the faults.

 

I recall my days living in Co Clare.  and the Knock on the door of someone needing a quick fix or tune up... on their way to a gig or before their Examination the following day at Limerick University!

 

PS: to hear how the Homogenous Meantone sounds (and copes with Key changes)  go to  'tune of the month' for May 2013, page 2... there you will get a link to my Soundcloud recording of the Playford tune 'Parson's Farewell' played in Seven keys... :) complete with plenty of mistakes :rolleyes:


Edited by Geoff Wooff, 16 March 2014 - 07:28 AM.


#35 alex_holden

alex_holden

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 577 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lancashire

Posted 16 March 2014 - 06:40 AM

What is the opposite of 'sweet' when referring to how well two notes harmonise? Bitter?  ^_^



#36 Geoff Wooff

Geoff Wooff

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2097 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:France

Posted 16 March 2014 - 07:03 AM

I have heard it called Sour. :wacko:







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Tuning

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users