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Why Use Accordian Reeds?


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#19 m3838

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Posted 19 November 2006 - 01:02 PM

but as you mention about the pokerwork, it may be that the reedier accordion sound is more forgiving to the ear of intervals that are off. we're kind of used to hearing tremelo-tuned accordions anyway, so maybe we're not expecting to hear pure intervals in the first place on them.

I am certain that you're right. When my partner Anne started learning the fiddle she went through a longish phase when she could play the approximate note she was aiming for but not the exact note. During this period I soon learned to accompany her on anglodeon rather than anglo because the accordion reeds were much more forgiving of the slight dissonances than the concertina reeds.

On the other hand once she had learned to play in tune then I found that the sound of concertina and fiddle together is really lovely.

Chris


How is your Anglodeon, btw? I looked at the layout way back, when you posted it, and thought it will not be really playable, because on the Anglo you can jume from right hand C row to left hand G row, then back to right hand G row for continuous playing, but on the Accordion it will mean jumping an octave. So you can't play across the row, since the adjuscent button on the other row is an octave apart.
Seems like you're doing all right though, so may I ask for a report of your playing style, problems and work arounds? Pure curiousity at this moment, but who knows?

#20 Chris Timson

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Posted 19 November 2006 - 02:17 PM

How is your Anglodeon, btw? I looked at the layout way back, when you posted it, and thought it will not be really playable, because on the Anglo you can jume from right hand C row to left hand G row, then back to right hand G row for continuous playing, but on the Accordion it will mean jumping an octave. So you can't play across the row, since the adjuscent button on the other row is an octave apart.

True enough, if you're thinking melodeon, and it's quite amusing to watch melodeon players play it and try and figure out what's going wrong. You must remember though it was designed chiefly to support my English playing style, which means the buttons at the lower physical end of the keyboard (the higher end in terms of notes) get a hammering while the other end doesn't so much. It is also not a C/G but a G/D box (which is of course what I mostly play). The melody end works well, and I can and have played happily for hours. The bass end needs more thinking about however.

Chris

Edited by Chris Timson, 11 December 2006 - 03:14 AM.


#21 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 03:07 PM

I'm surprised that nobody has yet mentioned that another additional cost factor is the reed pan itself.

Traditional concertina reeds require to be precision slotted into this complex piece of woodwork, whilst accordion reeds sit on top of simple wooden blocks, where they are either waxed or screwed in place.

I've sometimes wondered if making reed pans, which he specialised in, had anything to do with the 19th century maker Jabez Austin drinking himself to death! :huh:

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 10 December 2006 - 03:08 PM.


#22 Richard Morse

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 03:28 PM

I'm surprised that nobody has yet mentioned that another additional cost factor is the reed pan itself. Traditional concertina reeds require to be precision slotted into this complex piece of woodwork

The design of the reedpan is pretty tricky but once figured out the woodworking part is actually pretty easy. Wheatstone used a turntable type jig with detents and pattern-followers which made it a snap to machine by even the lowest layman. Recreating such jigging would be pretty easy though now-a-days it'd be even easier to send the CAD file to a CNC milling machine which does the same thing without special jigs. The nice thing about the modern method is that you don't need the machine... there are scads of CNC shops around. Just e-mail them the CAD file and they send you the processed parts by snail-mail the next day. Surprisingly inexpensive!

-- Rich --

#23 Bob Tedrow

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 03:46 PM

I'm surprised that nobody has yet mentioned that another additional cost factor is the reed pan itself. Traditional concertina reeds require to be precision slotted into this complex piece of woodwork

The design of the reedpan is pretty tricky but once figured out the woodworking part is actually pretty easy. Wheatstone used a turntable type jig with detents and pattern-followers which made it a snap to machine by even the lowest layman. Recreating such jigging would be pretty easy though now-a-days it'd be even easier to send the CAD file to a CNC milling machine which does the same thing without special jigs. The nice thing about the modern method is that you don't need the machine... there are scads of CNC shops around. Just e-mail them the CAD file and they send you the processed parts by snail-mail the next day. Surprisingly inexpensive!

-- Rich --


Great Idea! Can I borrow your CAD file? I'll give it right back.

#24 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 04:20 PM

Wheatstone used a turntable type jig with detents and pattern-followers which made it a snap to machine by even the lowest layman.

Rich,

I'm very familiar with the pattern-following router you describe (one of Louis Lachenal's "mass production" innovations for Wheatstone's), both "in the flesh" at Steve Dickinson's workshop (where it is still in use, though I wouldn't be sure Steve would agree that it's "a snap to machine by even the lowest layman" :unsure: ) and in the 1961 British Pathe newsreel. But accordion-style reedblocks are much easier, and quicker, to make.

However, Jabez Austin was making them (originally for Wheatstone's, and later for himself) by hand, without the benefit of such a device. It's why early concertina reeds have square tips, to fit slots cut by hand with a chisel.

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 11 December 2006 - 11:32 AM.


#25 Dazbo

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 10:39 AM

The design of the reedpan is pretty tricky but once figured out the woodworking part is actually pretty easy.


What would a concertina with concertina reeds sound like if fixed like accordian reeds (i.e with out the complicated reed pan)?

And (assuming they'd fit) what would accordian reeds sound like fitted in a traditional reed pan?

I suppose what I'm getting at is how much of the sound is related to the reed and how much to the traditional reed pan?

Darren

#26 Richard Morse

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 03:08 PM

What would a concertina with concertina reeds sound like if fixed like accordian reeds (i.e with out the complicated reed pan)?

Like most Chinese and many of the Italian concertinas (because that's the way they're made!). Buzzy, soft, ununiform volume and response...

And (assuming they'd fit) what would accordian reeds sound like fitted in a traditional reed pan?

Like the hybrids as most hybrids are made this way (not exactly but as close as you can practically get). Most hybrids sound pretty close to "real" concertinas - bright, with fast response and decent volume evenness though most still don't match the dynamic range, aren't as uniform in sound character, and have a slight buzzy edge to some of the notes.

I suppose what I'm getting at is how much of the sound is related to the reed and how much to the traditional reed pan?

There's more to it than just sound (like speed of response, dynamic range, size/pressure issues), but if you limit consideration to ONLY the sound or *tonal* qualities, you still need to come up with weighting criterion to judge the differences. For instance, a spectrum analyzer will tell you things we just can't here, and there are things that some people can hear and others can't. And some things that some people consider "better" while others don't.... There's also a range of types and qualities of both accordion and concertina reeds as well as reedbanks and reedpans.

Given all that caveat, and IMHO, the way the reeds are mounted (banks vs. pans and everything in between including proportions, surfaces reflectivity/dampening, resultant airflow dynamics....) accounts for about 90% of the way the reeds sound - IF everything else were identical (pad and pad holes, action, bellows, endframes, fretwork, etc.).

I'm not sure if I should brace myself for the deluge after sticking my neck out there like that, but hey! Namby-pamby rarely helps anyone.

-- Rich --

#27 Theodore Kloba

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 05:35 PM

But accordion-style reedblocks are much easier, and quicker, to make.

Seems like the cheaper ones might be, but I have a hard time believing that good ones are... All those compound angles and nonperpendicular slots and tiny pieces of very thin stock to separate cells. I have managed to make Chemnitzer reedblocks with less effort than concertina reedpans appear to take in the factory video, but in my case, most of the reed plates/shoes were identical in length for a particular block, so the cells of the block didn't reduce in size across the range. High quality accordion reedblocks taper down gradually in height and depth as reeds get smaller.

#28 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 11:38 AM

High quality accordion reedblocks taper down gradually in height and depth as reeds get smaller.

As do the reed pans of good quality English concertinas ...

#29 Dazbo

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 09:49 AM

Thanks for the answers gents, very useful and interesting

#30 dpmccabe

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 07:23 AM

i remeber reading here earlier that juergen suttner has outsourced his reed production. actually i think it's just the brass reed shoes he outsources, and he still makes the tongues himself. does anyone know the story on this?

I heard this same rumor recently from a certain well-known dealer who heard it from a certain well-known player of Suttner concertinas (all parties will remain nameless). This player seemed to believe that the quality has suffered. No one has any information on this? Just curious because I have one on order as do many others who expect a very high level of quality from Juergen.

#31 Larryo

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 08:32 AM

Can someone educate me? If for example the brass reed shoes were inferior because of being outsourced( and I appreciate that this is not being said), how would this affect the sound? Or would it affect the response? I am sure these are silly questions but can someone explain?

#32 Theo

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 08:53 AM

Outsourceing should not be seen as a problem, provided that the quality control is appropriate. After all Wheatstone outsourced many aspects of concertina production.

#33 m3838

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 02:18 PM

Outsourceing should not be seen as a problem, provided that the quality control is appropriate. After all Wheatstone outsourced many aspects of concertina production.


Perhabs the precision of slots is not as microscopically accurate, and there are larger gaps between the tounges and the sides of the reed shoe?
Perhabs it's no longer an infamous "hand-made" reed assembly, which is a bummer to deal with, but an "average" high quality one, wich is way more reliable?

#34 Paul Read

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 07:26 PM

Outsourceing should not be seen as a problem, provided that the quality control is appropriate. After all Wheatstone outsourced many aspects of concertina production.


Perhabs the precision of slots is not as microscopically accurate, and there are larger gaps between the tounges and the sides of the reed shoe?
Perhabs it's no longer an infamous "hand-made" reed assembly, which is a bummer to deal with, but an "average" high quality one, wich is way more reliable?


I thought the hand made accordion reeds were supposed to be the best. Perhaps that is just the modern ones.

#35 m3838

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 07:54 PM

Outsourceing should not be seen as a problem, provided that the quality control is appropriate. After all Wheatstone outsourced many aspects of concertina production.


Perhabs the precision of slots is not as microscopically accurate, and there are larger gaps between the tounges and the sides of the reed shoe?
Perhabs it's no longer an infamous "hand-made" reed assembly, which is a bummer to deal with, but an "average" high quality one, wich is way more reliable?


I thought the hand made accordion reeds were supposed to be the best. Perhaps that is just the modern ones.


Super-duper "hand made" reeds with very tight tolerances respond to tiny changes of weather. When hot, they may buzz, not everyone can tune them, it's expencive, microscopic dust particles can jam them.
They don't sound any more pleasant to the ear, just more responcive and have more dinamic range, but you have to be professional to make a good use of them. In my experience (Castagnari G/C and Russian made Bayan), they don't help you, but instead, show all the mistakes and best to be avoided by amateurs like a plague. And an amateur in this case is anybody, who doesn't practice 6+ hours a day.
For the gifted it doesn't matter, I guess. I'm not as lucky, but I belong to a larger gang.

#36 Frank Edgley

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 09:09 AM

After having made 160 instruments, and owning a Dipper for 20 years, I've never had the experience of having reeds buzz because of the temperature being hot. Infact, in my neck of the woods, we have hot humid summers (close to the Great Lakes) and dry winters (central heating). This must be concertina & squeezebox folklore, as it hasn't happened here. Thar's not to say it can't happen, but I suspect that if it does happen it is because the reed tongues in question are slightly out of alignment in the first place, and the swelling of the reedpan puts just enough sideways pressure to make the difference. This would not be the case with Italian-style concertinas or accordions because the reeds are not held in slots which could change with humidity.

Edited by Frank Edgley, 20 December 2006 - 09:10 AM.





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