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#1 MattA24

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Posted 28 May 2015 - 07:39 AM

Hello everyone,

 

I have it in my head that I want a very particular box with a series of unusual features, and I fancy having a go at building it. The only reason I haven't already tried to do so is because I can't seem to source reeds.

 

As this sub-forum is partially titled 'instrument construction', I'm hoping others here might have some tips on where to rustle some up  :)

 

I'm quite happy to use 'meloden type' reeds, so I initially tried Charlie at CGM, who has previously been able to supply me unusual reeds for experiments with accidentals. Alas, no luck -- He couldn't find very many of the pairs I was after in his stocks, so I guess they don't occur on any common button accordions.

 

Next I tried contacting manufacturers, but I got absolutely nothing by way of reply from most of them, except harmonikas.cz.

 

Harmonikas.cz indicated they would be delighted to make me some reeds, quoted some prices, but when I asked for a total they went quiet. I tried again, and again the conversation abruptly halted midway.

 

So I wonder, does anyone here know another shop like CGM that stocks individual melodeon-type reeds? Alternatively, does anyone have any successful experience in ordering a custom set from a manufacturer?

 

Another thought, is there anyone here who has an good existing relationship with a manufacturer, and who would be willing to order and supply reeds to others?

 

I've also just seen the free-reed instrument maker's facebook group advertised on here, so I'm going to go and sign up to facebook and give them a go too.

 

Many thanks!  :)

Matt



#2 Jake Middleton-Metcalfe

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Posted 28 May 2015 - 08:00 AM

hey man I recently got some reeds from harmonikas.cz. I experienced the same thing, they seem to forget to reply to your email. you have to keep sending reminder emails such as "did you get my last email" or whatever. I had to do that a couple of times throughout the buying process ;)  but got there in the end. Their prices are pretty good



#3 MattA24

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Posted 28 May 2015 - 11:50 AM

Hi Jake,

 

That's good to know about harmonikas.cz! I was beginning to think I'd offended the fella or something.

 

I also kept getting the feeling that something kept getting lost in translation. Did you feel that too?

 

Out of curiously, what sort of reeds did you order from him? How was the quality? I've heard good things.

 

Somewhere along the line he mentioned that he could make accordion-type reeds, but with each tongue stuck on it's own plate. This interests me greatly, as it would allow a persistent tinkerer like myself a great deal of flexibility. I might get a great big box of them to last me this and future projects, and only have to go through the drawn-out ordering procedure once.  :)

 

I'm also based in Bristol, so perhaps you'll show me that rectangular machine you've created some day.



#4 Jake Middleton-Metcalfe

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Posted 28 May 2015 - 12:35 PM

I will post a thread about that instrument soon, I am just finishing the er... finish :) I am actually living in bournemouth atm unfortunately.

 

I got their "a mano- professional" reeds. Just high quality conventional accordion reeds really. They actually have not arrived yet, it will be a couple of weeks (they said 4-6 weeks). 

 

They offer reeds on single plates in two forms from what I have learned, you can get a harmonium reed like this: http://www.harmonikas.cz/en/harmonium-1#obsah 

or a "concertina reed" which is just an accordion reed with the plate changed to an oval shape. Their concertina reeds look pretty bad. They are missing several features, for a start there is a rivet sticking out of the bottom and then the sides of the reed frame (on the outside) are parallel so would not fit into a dovetailed reed pan without significant changes. 

 

I would recommend that if you want to make something quite unusual, maybe you could try the harmonium reeds, they look very similar to some concertina reeds I have seen, they just fit into the pan differently (with two screws). I think that would be a very interesting experiment, perhaps even being indistinguishable from conventional concertina reeds in performance when mounted in the right way. Though perhaps someone who knows more about this would like to comment? 


Edited by Jake of Hertford, 28 May 2015 - 12:36 PM.


#5 MattA24

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Posted 28 May 2015 - 01:11 PM

Hi Jake,

 

The object of going for individually-plated reeds is to permit greater flexibility swapping around accidentals or trying out layouts, rather than to get the 'concertina' sound over the 'accordion' sound.

 

When you say their concertina reeds "look pretty bad" and "miss several features" do you mean in comparison to their accordion reeds or in comparison to actual concertina reeds? As long as they're no worse than accordion reeds, that suits me. The oval plates are a bit of a put-off, actually.

 

Those harmonium reeds look interesting, although I wonder how they would respond to the wind characteristics of a concertina bellow. I'm sitting here staring at the pictures trying to work out if they're massive or not. The screw-holes would be handy mind you, as I was going to fix them down like that anyhow.

 

Thanks again,

Matt



#6 Jake Middleton-Metcalfe

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Posted 28 May 2015 - 02:26 PM

The object of going for individually-plated reeds is to permit greater flexibility swapping around accidentals or trying out layouts, rather than to get the 'concertina' sound over the 'accordion' sound.

Ah I understand now. Interesting idea, though you might have to be careful in how the reed pan/reed block will be made, as different notes will have some variation in size - it might mean that some notes cant be exchanged as it might not fit in a chamber that another reed would. However some movability is possible surely, might have to be very careful though

 

When you say their concertina reeds "look pretty bad" and "miss several features" do you mean in comparison to their accordion reeds or in comparison to actual concertina reeds? As long as they're no worse than accordion reeds, that suits me. The oval plates are a bit of a put-off, actually.

 

Here is the image they sent me:

18205164805_f1ea329d98_b_d.jpg

 

Perhaps my initial reaction to these was too harsh. The thing about these reeds is they are an odd half way step between concertina reeds and accordion ones. They could not be put in a classic concertina style red pan due to the vertical sides to the reed frames but perhaps you could flat mount them like hybrid concertinas are made. I guess its all possible, it would just be different to how things are normally done, though don't let that put you off :)  I am sure these are great reeds, they are actually the same as the reeds from their "dix" range (apart from the plates) which a guy on this forum is currently using in another project, he found the reeds to be of a good quality.  the frames might be difficult to work with though. 

 

Those harmonium reeds look interesting, although I wonder how they would respond to the wind characteristics of a concertina bellow. I'm sitting here staring at the pictures trying to work out if they're massive or not. The screw-holes would be handy mind you, as I was going to fix them down like that anyhow.

 

Hmm I actually don't know. Might have to ask them it may be that the harmonium works at a completely different pressure than a concertina. If they were the same as an accordion reed in all other characteristics than how they are mounted then they would probably be easier to use than the concertina reed, best ask them though.

 

 

https://www.flickr.c...eposted-public/


Edited by Jake of Hertford, 28 May 2015 - 02:30 PM.


#7 MattA24

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Posted 28 May 2015 - 04:07 PM

Thanks again Jake. You've spurred me into writing to them again. I'll try to be more persistent this time.

 

And ta for the photo of the concertina-type reeds. I wonder who uses those and for what?



#8 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 28 May 2015 - 04:13 PM

I got my reeds from harmonikas.cz and I agree - a lot gets lost in translation, so it is VERY important to use their size/note sheets and make a detailed list of shoe sizes needed. They tend to go quiet for days (weeks even), but they make good quality reeds in reasonable prices and are the only manufacturer I have found that do send single sets. They have even send me free samples of different types of their reeds.



#9 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 03:06 AM

It might appear to be obvious, so appologies in advance and no offense meant, but when dealing with people whose first language is not your own it is very important to avoid colloquialisms, common usages and words which normally mean something else. Slight miss-spellings can cause big problems with translation. The simplest wording will usually make the fastest translation.

Of course one could try traslating messages into their native tongue . I get enquiries from all sorts of countries, always in English !

Good luck with your project,
Geoff.

Edited by Geoff Wooff, 29 May 2015 - 03:13 AM.


#10 MattA24

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 03:39 AM

It might appear to be obvious, so appologies in advance and no offense meant, but when dealing with people whose first language is not your own it is very important to avoid colloquialisms, common usages and words which normally mean something else. 

 

I used to teach English abroad, so I have a fairly good handle on which bits of our curious tongue are apt to baffle the non-native speaker. But absolutely no offence taken, it's wise advice.

 

If you'll permit me to digress from the topic of ordering reeds, my favourite instance of English idiom being lost in translation was conducted by red-faced Englishman I had the exquisite pleasure of witnessing in France years ago. He was in a state of high bother, and had evidentially been attempting to have his message understood by this weary-looking French chap for some time. 

 

He yelled "YOU'RE", while jabbing with both hands in the direction of the French chap.

 

He yelled "HAVING" while miming the hugging of some invisible object to his bosom.

 

He yelled "ME" and pointed at himself with his thumbs.

 

He yelled "ON" and mimed one thing being put atop another.

 

Needless to say, and despite all his exertions, no meaning was imparted.



#11 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 06:07 AM

It might appear to be obvious, so appologies in advance and no offense meant, but when dealing with people whose first language is not your own it is very important to avoid colloquialisms, common usages and words which normally mean something else.

 
I used to teach English abroad, so I have a fairly good handle on which bits of our curious tongue are apt to baffle the non-native speaker. But absolutely no offence taken, it's wise advice.
 
If you'll permit me to digress from the topic of ordering reeds, my favourite instance of English idiom being lost in translation was conducted by red-faced Englishman I had the exquisite pleasure of witnessing in France years ago. He was in a state of high bother, and had evidentially been attempting to have his message understood by this weary-looking French chap for some time. 
 
He yelled "YOU'RE", while jabbing with both hands in the direction of the French chap.
 
He yelled "HAVING" while miming the hugging of some invisible object to his bosom.
 
He yelled "ME" and pointed at himself with his thumbs.
 
He yelled "ON" and mimed one thing being put atop another.
 
Needless to say, and despite all his exertions, no meaning was imparted.


Nice story Matt,

yes I've seen a bit of that sort of thing here ... Large english (viking types usually) shouting at the ignorant french peasants who work in shops but cannot understand the queens lingo.... oh dear !!

#12 Dana Johnson

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 07:18 AM

Some concertina makers are using these "concertina" reeds in their instruments, putting the dovetail angle on themselves. I haven't had one out to see if they file off the bottom of the rivet or not, but suspect they do. Wheatstone riveted reeds were flush on the bottom. Reed clearances are variable, there is no draft to the side walls of the reed window, so they are like accordion reeds in that regard. When used on a concertina style reed pan, they sound much more concertina like than most hybrids, though there is still a little of that flavor in my opinion possibly resulting from the lack of window draft which requires the reed to swing farther to start. Since overtones increase with swing amplitude, meaning more high overtones right out of the gate.
If you are willing to put a little work into them, I think you can put them to very good use. I believe you can get the frames themselves and file the back draft yourself as well as fitting your own reeds. You can drill and tap the blanks for clamp blocks instead of rivets.
Dana

#13 Jake Middleton-Metcalfe

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 11:58 AM

Dana, I was myself wondering who actually uses these reeds. I guess some people have to or why would harmonikas make them. I wonder who has used them. I guess its a question of cost, if it was still cost effective to buy these ones and modify them yourself rather than making your own from scratch then its a viable proposition, so long as the quality is good. 

 

What would be amazing is if this factory was prepared to take some tips from someone such as yourself who is experienced with concertina reeds and improved their product so people would not have to modify them post purchase. These concertina reeds are apparently identical to the reeds used in their "Dix" range, and the sound plates of that range are made by electro-erosion tech. I am not really familiar with the electro erosion process so am not sure how easy it would be to alter the manufacturing process to give the desired venting on the inside and angles on the outside. If it did not require any significant re-tooling maybe they might consider changing the reeds if there was a recognised demand.


Edited by Jake of Hertford, 30 May 2015 - 11:59 AM.


#14 alex_holden

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 01:25 PM

I think it needs a fancier wire EDM machine that can tilt the wire in two axes (and more complicated programming to define the angles). The more basic ones only cut out shapes perpendicular to the sheet.

#15 Jake Middleton-Metcalfe

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 02:46 PM

hmm. Depends what machine they have, though if they are making accordion reeds maybe its a basic one. Surely its worth someone with the knowledge interacting with those guys to see if they can/are willing to change things a bit?

 

Sorry matt, thread drift haha



#16 MattA24

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 08:40 AM

Sorry matt, thread drift haha

 

After going off on my story about shouting Englishmen, I can't complain about thread drift!

 

But to return to the topic at hand, the fact that harmonikas.cz is the only option so far under discussion suggests that they are currently the best path for hybrid concertina reeds.

 

So it's just a case of waiting to see if they write back  :unsure:



#17 inventor

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 01:23 PM

Had you considered going to see Marcus just over the bridge in Wales ?  He imports quality accordion reeds for his hybrid concertinas, direct from Castelfidado in Italy on a regular basis. He is an excellent fellow and may be able to help you.

Inventor.



#18 Dana Johnson

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 02:46 PM

Wally Carroll uses the fancer version of the wire EDM to get the angles. Since I expect the volume of this type reed is quite small for Harmonikas.cz compared to their accordion reed production, I doubt if they would be interested in the extra effort ( mostly design ) especially since the best vent draft angle is dependant on the reed pitch AND the "strength" of the reed set ( heavy, med. or light ) which is a stylistic choice of the maker. Regardless, creating the draft angle is quite a speedy process with a thin flat file with the edges and back face ground safe. ( no teeth and smooth enough not to damage a finished edge ). It takes me less than a minute per reed shoe. I made up a vise specifically for the job. You can see it on my web site kensingtonconcertinas.com in the photos section listed as Reed shoe back bevel vise / guide. It has a delrin roller I set at different levels to control the file angle. I usually change the angle about every octave.
I don't feel it is my place to say who uses these reeds, or how much they have been modified after the fact, which I don't know, but I believe Jurgen Suttner originally approached the company to make blanks for him, which he then made his own reeds for and used the clamp block method to attach the tongues instead of using their riveted reeds. He also puts the draft angle in as well. His results are excellent, so there is nothing wrong with the shoes. I made a set of vent scrapers when I was bell mouthing my reed windows since he cut had to be curved, but you could certainly make a set to cut a straight sided taper. I found that quick as well. Anyone wanting to try it should PM me and I can send a picture of the scrapers and the holding jig for the reed shoes. Personally, I can make much better fitting reeds myself ( so can you with some practice ) so if I was getting these, I'd go Jurgen's route, but if you want a reasonable set of reeds to build a box around. These would do. If the result does not sound good, it is probably not the reeds fault.
Dana




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