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Tuning Down From 455


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#1 stella24

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 01:45 AM

Would like the opinion of the more experienced tuners and restorers here. I finally got another strobe tuner after mine was stolen so soon would like to retune an old wheatstone/chidley.
Question no #1 is: should i bring it down to A440? The tuner only dials up to 50+ and it is a bit sharp over that, but close. It has been discussed here that an instrument of quality and old is like a DNA fingerprint, if you like. Practically speaking though, either to play it or sell it, it is better on the ear and pocket book at A440. it is quite disconcerting to hear a note that is nearly half a step too high.
Question no. #2 is: Can a treble 48 key english with riveted steed reeds be brought down that much safely? I have found on anglos that needed to be brought down that much in the longer bass reeds they go flat if played hard after too much is taken out of the belly. The only solution is to add metal to the tips, but a well known player has the opinion that this ruins the tone. hmm.
I wouldn't want to try to replace a badly tuned reed on a riveted frame. i should add that although the reeds look roughly filed, it sounds wonderfully in tune with itself. It has nickel capped wooden core keys, rivet action, gold daisy papers, dark rosewood flat ends and the only number is 64 stamped on pans, frames and bellow paper. One just like it sold on ebay approx. a year ago for around 800 usd. Thank you in advance for your opinions. wes.

#2 Dana Johnson

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 07:36 PM

Would like the opinion of the more experienced tuners and restorers here. I finally got another strobe tuner after mine was stolen so soon would like to retune an old wheatstone/chidley.
Question no #1 is: should i bring it down to A440? The tuner only dials up to 50+ and it is a bit sharp over that, but close. It has been discussed here that an instrument of quality and old is like a DNA fingerprint, if you like. Practically speaking though, either to play it or sell it, it is better on the ear and pocket book at A440. it is quite disconcerting to hear a note that is nearly half a step too high.
Question no. #2 is: Can a treble 48 key english with riveted steed reeds be brought down that much safely? I have found on anglos that needed to be brought down that much in the longer bass reeds they go flat if played hard after too much is taken out of the belly. The only solution is to add metal to the tips, but a well known player has the opinion that this ruins the tone. hmm.
I wouldn't want to try to replace a badly tuned reed on a riveted frame. i should add that although the reeds look roughly filed, it sounds wonderfully in tune with itself. It has nickel capped wooden core keys, rivet action, gold daisy papers, dark rosewood flat ends and the only number is 64 stamped on pans, frames and bellow paper. One just like it sold on ebay approx. a year ago for around 800 usd. Thank you in advance for your opinions. wes.


If you are only talking about most of a half step, that amounts to a miniscule amount of metal added to the reed tips, actually it should only be a thin layer at most ( a few thousandths of an inch ) on the lowest reeds. The medium low and mid range reeds should all stand that much metal removal nearer the reed root to drop the pitch and the high ones you will have to be careful not to take off too much they are so sensitive. Avoid lowering by removing material near the center of the reed since that area controls the reed stiffness much more than it's pitch and it is easy to make a reed too soft by thinning there to change the pitch. Just spread out your metal removal a bit so you don't focus the bending right at the root of the reed ( over about 1/4 of the reed's length from the root ). I offer a Low D on my anglos in place of the low draw F and use the same reed with a little weighting. The tone remains wonderful, but again even from F down to D it only takes a little metal. Where the tone can be a problem is for reeds that are much sorter than ideal, weighted to make a low reed, then the tone CAN be overly dull with a big blob of solder, but a better method here is to solder on a block of brass and then taper it to a wedge shape with clean square sides matching the reed tip. This tends to preserve the cutoff characteristics of the reed passing through the window and maintains more crispness of tone.
These comments are presuming you have some experience in reed tuning. While it isn't something too complicated to do and learn, it is easy to screw up ( see the thread on high reeds ) if you don't really understand how it works and how different low reeds are from high reeds in their shape and the relative amounts of material removed to change pitches.
Dana

Edited by Dana Johnson, 20 December 2007 - 07:39 PM.


#3 stella24

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 10:43 AM

Dana,
Thank you so much for your expertise on the subject. i have wondered why bass accordion reeds have brass soldered on the tips instead of just a bit of solder, now i know. i have altered reeds with solder to the tips in the past, so it shouldn't be a big job. Also it is important to get rid of any acid flux if used so as not to rust the reed. now i just need the opinions of folks as to question #1.
A little off topic, Dana, but some time ago you mentioned the card type and supply source you like for bellows. i haven't been completely satisfied with standard picture matting stock; i don't think it's stiff and strong enough. thanks again. wes.

#4 d.elliott

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 05:45 AM

Question no. #2 is: Can a treble 48 key english with riveted steed reeds be brought down that much safely? I have found on anglos that needed to be brought down that much in the longer bass reeds they go flat if played hard after too much is taken out of the belly. The only solution is to add metal to the tips, but a well known player has the opinion that this ruins the tone. hmm.
Thank you in advance for your opinions. wes.


Wes,

Counter-intuitively, soft reeds (like brass) are harder to control in tuning than the harder steel reeds. I would not be looking to weight reeds because of the risk to the metal temper. By controlling the area you are tuning over, and by choosing abraisive filing rather than hard toothed cross-cut filing then you can actually polish the reed in to tune thus reducing chances of fatigue failure and ragging on the reed edges. As Dana says, we are only looking at small amounts of metal, and I can assure you I have tuned many steel riveted Wheatstones and not had the problem with reed weakening that you fear.

Dave E

#5 Dana Johnson

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 08:09 AM

Dana,
Thank you so much for your expertise on the subject. i have wondered why bass accordion reeds have brass soldered on the tips instead of just a bit of solder, now i know. i have altered reeds with solder to the tips in the past, so it shouldn't be a big job. Also it is important to get rid of any acid flux if used so as not to rust the reed. now i just need the opinions of folks as to question #1.
A little off topic, Dana, but some time ago you mentioned the card type and supply source you like for bellows. i haven't been completely satisfied with standard picture matting stock; i don't think it's stiff and strong enough. thanks again. wes.

The stuff I'm using was single thickness "Black on Black" mounting or presentation board Bainbridge Letramax 229 single thick Black on Black. unfortunately it only comes in smaller "14x20" sheets, but it is hard and dense and doesn't take up the space of the thicker mat boards (which have always been too soft in my opinion ) to hold up well since they are made to cut easily and cleanly and provide a decorative surface and core. There isn't much weight savings in the thinner stuff I'm using, but the extra hardness and stiffness makes getting a less bulky bellows that is still strong enough more practical.

I've used baking soda solutions to neutralize and remove acid flux with good sucess, but recently found some rosin core no lead solder that works well and doesn't leave a corrosive flux behind. I clean it off with a little alcohol. On the note of solders. Lead melts at a bit over 800 degrees F, tin / lead solders melt considerably below that ( some less than 500 degrees F. Low temperature tin /silver or tin / silver /copper solders melt around 431 degrees F. The blue temper seen on spring steels is created at about 600 degrees F with a light straw color( much harder ) being generated down around 400 degrees. Careful soldering won't bring the reeds back up to a range that will alter their temper, and since the reed tip experiences the least bending stress of the whole reed, any change in temper there wouldn't affect the reed anyway. Just make sure to use a small soldering iron (preferably temperature controlled ) and don't apply heat any longer than needed to get the solder to flow.
Dana

#6 d.elliott

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 03:05 AM

Dana,
Thank you so much for your expertise on the subject. i have wondered why bass accordion reeds have brass soldered on the tips instead of just a bit of solder, now i know. i have altered reeds with solder to the tips in the past, so it shouldn't be a big job. Also it is important to get rid of any acid flux if used so as not to rust the reed. now i just need the opinions of folks as to question #1.
A little off topic, Dana, but some time ago you mentioned the card type and supply source you like for bellows. i haven't been completely satisfied with standard picture matting stock; i don't think it's stiff and strong enough. thanks again. wes.

l. On the note of solders. Lead melts at a bit over 800 degrees F, tin / lead solders melt considerably below that ( some less than 500 degrees F. Low temperature tin /silver or tin / silver /copper solders melt around 431 degrees F. The blue temper seen on spring steels is created at about 600 degrees F with a light straw color( much harder ) being generated down around 400 degrees. Careful soldering won't bring the reeds back up to a range that will alter their temper, and since the reed tip experiences the least bending stress of the whole reed, any change in temper there wouldn't affect the reed anyway. Just make sure to use a small soldering iron (preferably temperature controlled ) and don't apply heat any longer than needed to get the solder to flow.
Dana


As Dana mentioned earlier, the working area of the reed tongue is the reed mid section or belly. For those with less sophisticated equipment, and less expertise than Dana it is as well to protect the reed with a heat sink. I always do, as a matter of principle and security- given I work 99% on other peoples' concertinas!

A heat sink is just a block of heat conductive material held firmly against the area of the reed between the heated area and the area you are protecting, if not between the heat and the vulnerable region, then at least covering the vulnerable area, or both.

To do this I slip a piece of shim steel under the reed, crosswise, at the point of protection but leaving the tip clear. I then sandwhich the reed above, also crosswise, with a small piece of brass or steel sheet around 1mm thick; holding the sandwich together by clamping it either side of the reed frame with a pair of those mini spring clamps.

Its easier for those of us in Europe, Centigrades are much bigger and easier to trap. Those little Farenheit things are small and quite slippy, sneaking through anywhere.

cheers

Dave E

#7 Greg Jowaisas

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 11:03 AM

Its easier for those of us in Europe, Centigrades are much bigger and easier to trap. Those little Farenheit things are small and quite slippy, sneaking through anywhere.


Now Dave, you are not implying we work with tighter tolerances over here are you? ;)

#8 d.elliott

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 06:04 PM

Its easier for those of us in Europe, Centigrades are much bigger and easier to trap. Those little Farenheit things are small and quite slippy, sneaking through anywhere.


Now Dave, you are not implying we work with tighter tolerances over here are you? ;)


No, you just make things more complicated that they need to be,

After all what could be simpler than 12 pence to the shilling, 20 shillings to a pound, 21 shillings to the Guinea, two shillings to florin. I bet you wish you had never left the Empire! :ph34r:

Dave

#9 stella24

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 12:04 AM

Busy with the holidays.. so haven't been visiting. thank you for all your great input, really invaluable. guess i'll dive into the project as things settle down. Happy New Year!!




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