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About 4to5to6

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    Advanced Member

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    Music, RC helicopters, building and repairing stringed instruments... and now a concertina here and there :)
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    Western Canada

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  1. I viewed a 1942 48 button Wheatstone Aeola today in a pawn shop. It has very little playing wear but is unrestored and in old pitch. It had been stored for maybe 60 years. Pads are loose, notes are sounding, it fails hang test miserably. It has 8 folds which seems a bit unusual. Serial is 35404. I wasn’t able to open it up but suspect it would have Lachenal parts. Tone is decent, medium loud, maybe a bit shrill. It has exceptionally good dynamics. My question is on it’s worth. What would be a reasonable offer for a later Aeola with little playing wear but completely unrestored?
  2. Concertina Spares is the only place that I know of as a major source to get those old vintage bits and pieces. Thankfully these instruments were built by hand with simple machines which made them so good and long lasting. So any of the parts including buttons, levers, reeds, etc (except maybe a glass button) can be built in a small shop with the simplest of equipment and tools. The good old days!!! Has there yet come along anything better than leather! A carbon fibre Concertina with ceramic reeds and plastic bellows anyone? I hope everything is ok with Mark and as I said, he did apologize and I am hoping again to soon get my parts. I just picked up a late c.1895 Lachenal baritone with two missing button tops which got me thinking about all this again and so asked him to add these to the order as well. To answer a comment... I am sure I could make these parts myself with a small lathe, some nickel tubing... soldering some silver discs to the tops. I have the skill set but I don’t have a small lathe or the material and it’s really not worth it to get one as I restore maybe one concertina every 2 or 3 years for my personal use. Maybe someone can start an online database where everyone can list all their spare bits and pieces. I know I have a bunch that I could share. I put my name on Wim Walker’s wait list over two years ago to get a new EC built in 2022 so hopefully my woes will come to an end with a lifelong instrument but the vintage ones really do have something special about them. I really do need the help of someone like Mark at Concertina Spares to keep me going with the concertina in the mean time so hopefully things will work out.
  3. I have not had a good experience with getting parts from Mark even though he’s apologized to me multiple times and promised to help me over and over. It’s been over 3 years, almost 4 and my Aeola project is still on hold. I mainly ordered some strap screws, end bolts, missing buttons, some felt and leather, etc. and paid a good amount which I thought was fair but I had to return a lot of the parts as they weren’t even close to mine even though photos and precise measurements were first sent. I then emailed more photos. I even posted him full size photocopies in the mail of parts along with the returned unusable items. I finally sent him my original sample parts at a very expensive high speed post rate but to date, I still do not have the parts that I am missing even though he has acknowledged receipt of the info and the returns. Not sure what has happened to my parts but I’m now afraid I will never even see them again. I remember explaining this fall that I really wanted to work on this project this winter. If anyone can help me, I would be very grateful as I don’t know what to do or where to go to get the parts I need. I can forget the money, but to be without my original parts that were sent is a hard pill to swallow. Update: I just sent Mark another email a few moments after doing this post and he quickly replied with an apology and a promise to sort things out this week. I am feeling a bit hopeful again. Maybe it was health issues or something.
  4. I've had coils that are too small work there way underneath the levers and stop the pads from closing. Can anyone summarize what the ideal button pressure is for different types of concertinas and different playing techniques. I've always wanted to have the opportunity to play Simon Thoumire's concertina for example. I love the way he does cuts, strikes and rolls. Does he prefer a light action or heavey? Low buttons? Short or long button travel?
  5. Thanks Robin, it was well worth the wait. I am completely happy with it. It is a miracle how this all came about! I promise to play it well. It will not sit on the shelf. I wish I knew more of it's history. It appears to have spent a lot of it's life in Australia based on the previous seller's location. It even has a very old Glen Innes, NSW Beardies Festival sticker on the case. If anyone possibly knows anything about Wheatstone metal ended TT Aeola 28030 or possibly someone that may of played it at Glen Innes years ago, please let me know.
  6. I read somewhere that you can remove all the reeds, reassemble the instrument, play it, and even with all the reeds removed hear the approximate pitches from the air rushing through the tuned chambers. Is this true? If so, wouldn't this indicate that the chambers are finely tuned to the reed's pitch? Original "old pitch"!!! Is this for tuning reed volumes through resonance? Or... are the reed chambers sized only to influence the responsiveness? John
  7. I imagine that musical expression goes way up with even key heights, cross hole bushings that are just the right size, spring tension set even and at the right level, pads lifting to right height etc. etc. At the very least it would make the instrument a true pleasure to play as all your energy is going into making the music rather than compensating for inconsistencies.
  8. Chris, The evidence for this is that they didn't have harmonic and frequency spectrum analyzers, electronic tuners, etc. to see what was going on. The y used their ears. Don't take me wrong... I was complimenting their ability. I am simply wondering if by lowering the pitch to A440 we are throwing everything out of wack... All those things they tweaked by ear... Is it possible the tone and the response is thrown off by lowering the pitch of each reed. Just throwing it out there. I may be totally wrong. Theo, I agree, just as there was no thread standard for the end bolts, there was also no standard for the overall pitch of the instrument. I understand they have tested tuning forks found in old opera houses and they have been all over the map as far as pitch. This all aside, Back on topic... I still can't understand why you blow on a reed with your mouth and there is very little sound and yet put it into a concertina and it is LOUD. I understand there is almost no vibrations in the reed shoe so it's not like a guitar top. The air is chopped up by a pendulum swinging through an air gap. How is the sound amplified and what is the path of this sound and why are there chambers for only the draw reeds (yet the same tone on push)??? What am I missing here?
  9. Thanks. Along the line of your thoughts... I wonder if tuning a concertina to A440 down from A453 messes everything up? In the old days, they fined tuned everything by ear to the old pitch... chambers, hole sizes, pad opening, even voicing of the reeds.
  10. It's hard for me to visualize how the sound is "amplified" in a concertina. The reed itself doesn't significantly make any sound I've often read, it generates a frequency by cutting (starting and stopping) the air column travelling through the shoe as the tongue swings back and forth through the gap like a pendulum. I can visualize that this how the sound starts but not how it is amplified or resonates through the concertina. Sucking or blowing through a reed removed from the instrument makes very little sound. Maybe the reed shoe just has to be attached to something solid with mass to cut the air column cleanly. I am guessing. I can visualize the sound generation and amplification in a clarinet, trumpet, flute (the hardest one) and even a lot easier in a harmonica. I just can't see how the chambers affect the tone in a concertina especially when the sound is the same on both draw and push while the chambers are on only one side.
  11. I just started a new thread requesting info on the path of sound waves through a concertina: http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=19123
  12. A discussion on the defining Wheatstone's golden age resulted in discussions on materials, end plate design, fret work etc. and I started thinking about how the vibrations travel through a concertina... I thought it would be more appropriate to pick it up here... I don't really understand how the ends affect the sound as it's a total mystery how the reed generated air vibrations even travels through a concertina. For example, with two sets of reeds on an English, why are there reed pan chambers only on the outside of the pan? Wouldn't this chamber only be active on press when the air inside the bellows flows through the inside reed, pulsates or cuts up the air flow causing a tone, goes through the valve then into the chamber and finally out through the open pad hole and out the fret work. But what about on pull when the air flows inward? Does the sound still go outward? Probably a dumb question but it appears it does and so a total mystery to me! I've always wanted to make some models to experiment with how the sound travels through then start doing experiments with chamber sizes, pad hole sizes, reed scaling, etc... even how the thickness of valve material affects the tone. I've asked this a few times with conflicting answers. Maybe someone could explain it quickly and especially the affects of different valve thicknesses and stiffnesses. Why are shallow reed pans louder? What about mahogany reed pans? And this is all apart from the different types of reed material which radically affects the tone. It would be awesome to be able to go back 90 years and pick the brains of one of Wheatstone's master builders. Wouldn't that be something?!!
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