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Anglo Bellows Folds


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#1 shipcmo

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 05:53 PM

I am curious as to the number of bellows folds on the instruments that have greater than 20 buttons.
I have seen from five (5) to thirteen (13!). My Jeffries & Dipper have 7, and my Bastari 8.
I believe that I was once told that the 5 fold instruments were "student" ones.
Comments?
Cheers,
Geo

#2 JimLucas

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 11:16 PM

I think fewer folds were common on early (pre-1890?) concertinas. Maybe lower-end instruments in later periods, but I'm not sure. I have 26-button Lachenal anglo with 5-fold bellows, and a Lachenal English with 4 folds. Most of my others -- English and duet, but also a couple of Jeffries anglos -- have 6-fold bellows, though my 45-button Jeffries has 7. I'm not sure that any of the Jeffries bellows are original, though.

Comparing Jeffries and Dipper with Bastari, though, is misleading. The bellows design and construction are quite different, so that one should *expect* different numbers of bellows folds.

But please, don't further propagate the old wives tale about "student" models. To the best of my knowledge, no model was ever marketed as such, and many of the instruments with buttons marked in color and/or stamped with note names are in fact high-quality instruments. My 4-fold Lachenal English with the colored and stamped buttons has beautiful rosewood ends and is definitely not a "cheapie".

#3 Frank Edgley

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 11:31 PM

The number of folds necessary varies according to several factors:
-the pitch of the instrument. Generally, the lower the pitch,the greater the bellows capacity required.
-the sensitivity of the reeds.
-the style of playing for which the instrument will be used. i.e. playing with lots of chords require greater bellows capacity.
-the depth of the folds. Shallower folds require more folds to achieve the same degree of capacity. Conversely, deeper folds require fewer folds for the same effectiveness.
Whether the concertina has 20, 30 or more buttons should not make a difference to the number of folds necessary, all things being equal. :)

#4 goran rahm

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 02:22 AM

Frank:"The number of folds necessary varies according to several factors...."

Goran:Definitely so and the factors you mention are all important. One more aspect is the relations between volume and flexibility/stability and for the later the dependence also of the stability depending on the hand/instrument connection.
With a steady handle the bellows control may be increased and the need for 'volume' reduced due to better pumping efficiency.
I have compared Anglos with 5 folds and 7 folds in this respect. With a stable connection 5 folds may be no problem while virtually unplayable with a floppy handle.
The rigidity of the bellows varies a lot too. Pumping control may be much better with 'stiff' (=bellows that don't bend much sideways) bellows and bellows with many folds may be very hard to work if wide open.
The wish to flex/bend the bellows varies of course with individual playing style.
In principle you get better control by 'fanning' the bellows as you (often) do playing accordion. Still this is usually not recommended in concertina tutors where by tradition the advice 'working the bellows in a straight line' is put forward (maybe with the motivation not to damage the bellows).
With English or Duet the matter may be much different. I have for instance two 'identical' 56 key tenortrebles, one with the usual 6 folds and one with 10 folded bellows. The playing conditions are *much* different in many respects and you may take advantage of this for different types of music .

Goran

#5 Ken_Coles

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 07:25 AM

My first Lachenal was/is a rosewood/bone/steel-reed 30-key C/G with 8-fold bellows. I have not seen another like it. It is a worn instrument, but the reeds are quite responsive compared the the average Lachenal I have used. The one thing it needs is (you guessed it) a new bellows...I haven't decided what (how many) to put on there.

Ken

#6 Richard Evans

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 07:39 AM

Dear Anglophiles,
I'm afraid I don't understand all the tricky stuff on the NEW forum but here is my tuppence worth on Anglo bellows. It seems to me that a six fold bellows can be improved upon by adding another fold and all the concertinas that I make have seven fold bellows. This seems quite satisfactory but I have never gone to the next stage and made an eight fold bellows. The depth of the bellows folds has an effect on the flexibility of the whole bellows and it seems that a seven fold based on the standard(!) Lachenal or Wheatstone bellows is a good compromise. I have seen an original 20 key Lachenal with an eight fold bellows so all things are possible!
Yours Concerternally,
Richard Evans

#7 Bob Tedrow

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 08:25 AM

I believe an overlooked issue is the actual construction of the bellows themselves.

I find that if I build each bellows fold with a "passive range of motion" of 180 degrees, the "functional range of motion" (about 90 degrees?) can be expressed with less perception of "stiffness" or resistance., particularly at the extremes of compression and extension.

Bellows that fail to fall competely open when suspended with the airbutton pressed are too stiff. Bellows that fail to close completely at rest are too stiff.

Effort applied to overcoming the stiffness of a bellows is wasted.

Good bellows should be like properly fitting undergarments and should be inconspicuous by their presence.

By Gum,

Bob Tedrow

Edited by Bob Tedrow, 04 October 2003 - 12:22 PM.


#8 David Barnert

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 09:17 AM

Effort applied to overcoming the stiffness of a bellows is wasted.

Worse, it probably contributes to the deterioration of the bellows material. By the law of conservation of energy, any energy expended (application of a force over a distance) that does not become sound has to go somewhere, and will wind up as heat, some of it in the turbulent air created, but much of it in the bellows where the stiffness is overcome.

#9 Alan Day

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 10:02 AM

In general Anglo`s have six fold bellows,but can be restrictive on some music.I have just had seven fold bellows fitted to my GD and CG Jeffries and they are wonderful.
Regards
Alan

#10 Richard Morse

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 11:35 AM

In general Anglo`s have six fold bellows....

Depends on how you look at it. If we consider only vintage and vintage-like designed ones (such as the more recent crop), and exclude Stagi/Bastrari and ilk, you may be right.

BUT - consider the huge number of Wheatstone anglos (almost 10,000) that went to South Africa which accounted for about half (!!!) of Wheatstone's anglo output. A huge proportion of those had 8-fold bellows. See Wheatstone 50,000 series. Virtually all the anglos we've bought (dozens) from Africa have 8-fold bellows.

The main reason for having more folds seems to be very much linked to the need to play the way one wants to. South Africans play a very chordal style and have a unique "bellows wobble" thing as a part of their style (which only works with long extended bellows). Morris players also use a lot of chords, and with many preferring G/D's (lower pitched, larger reeds requiring more air than a C/G), really appreciate 7-fold bellows. Most of the Irish players I've seen have 6-fold bellows which affords more control, but then their melodic style and box range doesn't use anywhere near as much air as folks playing left hand chord/bass, right hand melody.

Frank summed it up well: Box pitch, reed sensitivity, playing style, and depth of folds. Match the box/bellows to your style and you're in good shape!

#11 JimLucas

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 01:29 PM

...any energy expended (application of a force over a distance) that does not become sound has to go somewhere, and will wind up as heat,...

The amount of heat actually generated is, however, very small. If you can detect with your own hand a rise in the temperature of any part of the bellows, regardless of the amount of pumping you do, I would be very surprised. And if the temperature doesn't rise, the heat won't cause any damage.

On the other hand, flexing a too-stiff bellows could conceivably cause mechanical breakdown of the stiff material.

#12 JimLucas

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 01:35 PM

Frank has pretty well covered the factors, but I'll add one more: number of sides. The more sides the bellows has, the more flexible it will be, and a combination of many sides and many folds can make a bellows which is difficult to control, having a tendency to wobble, sag, and twist.

I've known of an anglo with as many as 14 folds, but it was *not* an Edeophone. :)

#13 d.elliott

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 02:05 PM

I believe an overlooked issue is the actual construction of the bellows themselves.

I find that if I build each bellows fold with a "passive range of motion" of 180 degrees, the "functional range of motion" (about 45 degrees?) can be expressed with less perception of "stiffness" or resistance., particularly at the extremes of compression and extension.

Bob,


I don't understand your statements about 'passive range of motion', and 'functional range of motion' and what characteristic is measured in degrees?

Sorry to be a bit dim

Dave

#14 Bob Tedrow

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 03:40 PM

I believe the extension of a given set of bellows is as critical as the number of folds.

A six fold bellows can have an extension from 9" or an extension of 13" depending on its construction.

Bob

#15 Bob Tedrow

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 03:56 PM

I don't understand your statements about 'passive range of motion', and 'functional range of motion' and what characteristic is measured in degrees?

Sorry to be a bit dim

Dave

Sorry, for the terms.

I am a retired occupational therapist.


If one saws through one of my bellows and removes any two adjacent bellows cards, they can flex 180 degrees, all the way closed to all the way flat open.

For lack of a better term for the moment, that I will call the passive range of motion.


In use, the cards only hinge open (functional range of motion) about 90 degrees, well within the PROM.


That allows full extension and compression to be limited by only by the architecture of the bellows "endoskeleton"..the cards. Not by rigid joints of leather and linen.

Bob

Edited by Bob Tedrow, 04 October 2003 - 12:23 PM.


#16 Richard Morse

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 06:14 PM

... full extension and compression to be limited by only by the architecture of the bellows "endoskeleton"..the cards.  Not by rigid joints of leather and linen.

IMHO, the extension of the bellows is predominantly limited by the gussets rather than by the cards or hinges. The leather and linen "joints" or "hinges" are designed to have maximal flexure.

Most bellows moulds are made with 90 degree blocks set at 45 degrees. The gussets are installed to be "at rest" at this geometry. Bellows extension beyond this is straining the gussets - or to put it another way - the gussets are KEEPING the bellows from being overextended.

Extension much beyond 45 degrees greatly increases the chance of them blowing out under pressure. Also - the more sides a bellows has, the greater is the danger of blowing them out (the "folded plate" phenomena) - which is probably the main reason why there are so few anglos with more than 6 sides.

#17 goran rahm

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Posted 03 October 2003 - 11:12 PM

Concerning 'stiffness' and 'rigidity' and 'flexibility' in my view one clue is if you do 'bellowsing' in a straight line or by 'fanning'...another the absolute need of volume ( the need usually is relative since you may develop the technique of playing with bellows as much closed as possible and thus getting better stability)

IF playing 'straight' the ideal (for efficiency...not certainly for comfort) would be no push/pull resistance and no flexibility sideways...like a piston pump)

If playing by 'fanning' great sideways flexibility is wished. Considering the same materials and construction this may be achieved by more folds and the drawback from more folds appears when playing with bellows much open and straight.
As long as the 'fanning' means that the 'lower' folds are closed the stability is preserved even with bellows wide open. (The technique is much used in accordion playing but seldom discussed in concertina environment)

Goran

#18 d.elliott

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Posted 04 October 2003 - 03:48 AM

Bob,

thanks for the explanation of the terms, and yes I see that the outer an inner hinges are operated wll within their normal degrees of freedom.

Rich,

I agree that the main limiting factor is the gussets, because they in turn are influenced by the angular difference in operating plane of the adjacent run of panels.

I think we are straying off track, the initial question was all about the number of folds needed for a good anglo playing style/ to maximise the versitility of the instrument.

I am not an Anglican, however I thing the general rule of thumb stands:

The more folds, the easier to play runs of notes, or in the case of anglos, runs of certain combinations of notes, particularly if you intend to play CHORDS.

If playing as a single voice' instrument, then the problem is diminished. As a matter of principle, if fitting new bellows for what ever reason, then I fit a minimum of six folds.

As long as the new bellows are of good constuction, so they don't sag, then within reason its a case of the more folds the merrier.

My miniature (2.75 ins A/F) has eight folds.

Dave




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