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4to5to6

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  1. In the very first concertinas they used wood and leather baffles as most know. I’m no expert but constantly studying and learning…. I understand that these baffles were not there to keep the volume low but to omit certain harmonic overtones or inharmonicitys. Unlike wood and string instruments where the harmonics / overtones are perfect pleasant intervals to the fundamental, free reeds generate certain inharmonic overtones that are out of tune and clash with the fundamental sounding terrible. The baffles mute these overtones making the fundamental fuller, richer and stronger, one of the many interesting design feature unique to free reeds. When tuning the reed, certain techniques are used to eliminate these overtones but they mostly eliminated by the design of the instrument. I am personally searching for a way to reduce sound volume. I am thinking of building new ends similar to the original 6-sided Aeolas with “dot and comma” openings.
  2. I sometimes love practicing late at night so tried to subdue my metal ended TT by gluing in some felt to inside of one end as an experiment. It didn't work. I could barley tell any difference from the baffled end and the open end. Very, very minor change in tone but no reduction in volume. I would love to find an easy solution. I've attached a photo of the experiment. This was using about 1.5mm thick and dense felt. Please help!
  3. To throw in something new here… but closely related…. I’ve noticed that the edge of the tongue clamp in Wheatstone reeds is often not in line with the reed opening underneath the tongue. Is there a possibility that this misalignment of the clamp at the pivot point is done on purpose to cancel some unwanted harmonics (in-harmonics)?
  4. Awesome! I now see how the punch forms the slopes. Thanks.
  5. Thanks Chris. All very interesting info. I've come across a lot of the info on the harmonic sequences of free reeds before in regards to reed filing techniques (getting rid of these nasty inharmonicities) but very little about the draft slot except for perhaps air consumption (concertina versus accordion reeds for example) but this is the first time I have seen machined, then stamped draft vent slots shoes. And in this case, they are not surface mounted reeds but the regular dovetail design. I am still trying to breakdown or maybe best to say "visualize" the different aspects of how a reed works and what constitutes a great concertina reed. In this case, I've heard that the 50s Wheatstone concertinas are of lower quality as they started compromising quality over manufacturing efficiency to cut costs and wondered if this was another one of these compromises or actually an innovation. I don't have access to the 1955 Aeola BT in question anymore but the dynamics were actually not that bad considering the stepped draft slot design but did note the most challenging low F and F# reeds were of the traditional filed draft slot design so obviously it was considered necessary to spend more time on these challenging low note reeds. Looking at the photos attached again... I am also very interested in how a lot of the 50s reed shoes were made of aluminum and how this is generally to also be considered a cost cutting compromise. In contrast some of the earlier very high end instruments (specials, torts and amboyna) during the mid 20s golden era (don't quote me this) and 30s were the first ones to use aluminum shoes calling them "alloy" and considered them to be superior. Of interesting note here... one of my finest instruments is an Aeola built during WWII with brass shoes when very few instruments were made and almost none with brass as it was a restricted material. It is one of my best "keeper" instruments with it's factory 8-fold bellows and factory A440 tuning so basically untouched. I often wonder if Wheatstone kept a skeleton crew of their best craftsmen together at this time building some of their finest instruments. It does have hook versus riveted action but I can live with this because of it's superior tone, dynamics, balance and musical expressiveness, etc. So is the step reed shoe draft slot a compromise? Probably. I didn't notice a sudden jump in dynamics with increased playing volume. I'll have to do some side by side experiments with all else being equal or maybe two shoes say a B and Bb installed in an instrument to compare the responsiveness and dynamics. Draft angles in the older superior instruments are very hard to analyze as they are very subtle and hard to measure therefore hard to reverse engineer. So much of this information is lost with the passing of these fine craftsmen. Yes, it would be great if Dana would jump in here. I am sure he's done a lot of these experiments already.
  6. I am mainly interested in the draft slot and specifically a stepped slot versus a tapered slot.
  7. Please see the chapter called “Frequency and Pitch from: The Physics of Free Reeds by Colin Pykett: http://www.colinpykett.org.uk/physics-of-free-reed-wind-instruments.htm The free reed tongue oscillates at or close to its fundamental natural frequency, the frequency you would get if you gently 'pinged' it. There are also higher frequency modes of oscillation, though these are inharmonic (not harmonically related to the fundamental). .
  8. I understand that to convert a TT or BT to a “F Tenor” instrument that you swap the B and Bb reeds and file the D# reed bellys to go down a whole step to Db. The idea behind a F Tenor is that you can play all the normal fingerings down a row the same way you would play on a regular “C Tenor” but now you are playing down a 5th so playing the key of C is actually the key of F and so on. This is done to get a richer, deeper and fuller sound. In someways this is the same idea as a Baritone except you are staying in the same key but sounding an entire octave lower. This makes playing an octave lower easy as you don’t have to transpose. So here’s my question.., I can easily understand the B and Bb swap (the key of F has a Bb) but why the D# to Db change? D# doesn’t show up until you play in the key of E (4 sharps) and Db until you play in the key of Ab (4 flats). I’m sure it’s has something to do with the bit odd layout of the sharps and flats with the enharmonics as obvious when you play up and down a chromatic scale. Hmm…. Maybe it is so you can keep the exact same chromatic scale fingering pattern on a F Tenor as if you were playing a chromatic scale on a regular C Tenor instrument. Did I just answer my own question??? .
  9. yes. 5-axis would be nice… Or one could just mill them out upside down and clean up the small steps left with a file Hmmm
  10. Please correct me if I’m wrong or missing something (I often miss the obvious). It seems that the draft in the reed slot should theoretically vary from a lot for the high pitch reeds to almost none for the low pitch reeds in order to have all the notes respond the same and have even dynamics over the range of the instrument. Or is this the opposite? The hand filing method would have to be much better than machining and punching but the amount of labour and skill levels involved are astronomical. I’m not sure how these results could ever be achieved with step machining and punching. Other factors affect the compromise between response and dynamics like how stiff (thick) the reed is versus its length (reed scaling). Longer scale reeds will have a stronger fundamental and respond better than shorter, heavier reeds but this is limited as you want to keep the size of the instrument small so you have less playing pressure and more bellows travel for more control. I love the range of the larger instruments but they are so hard to play and control the bellows so yet another compromise on the size of the reeds. Reed slots are beveled so the tongue will respond quickly but then “dump” their air quickly so you still have a good dynamic range. The goal is even playing pressure and volume across the range of the instrument. Not an easy task and there are many compromises to best reach this goal… reed stiffness, tongue length and width, draft relief, air gap size on tongue edges and then final voicing or the curvature of the tongue tweaking the response versus volume. .
  11. Very good… Non-traditional Concertina Reed Types. 1950’s Wheatstone Surface mounted. Geoffrey Crabb, 2013 very interesting. While the 1955 BT in the OP does not have the reeds surface mounted like the article, I would agree with the description that the slot is first milled out then completed in a punch press to save time compared to creating a traditional drafted slot. This is perhaps a transitional instrument. I went ahead and did a study on this 1955 instrument by entering about 20 different measurements into a spreadsheet for each reed, pad, hole, tongue thicknesses, etc. so I can compare the graphs. The reed scaling is not terrible. It follows a predictable exponential curve. There are a few inconsistencies but nothing absolutely horrid. In spite of the partially milled then punched reed vents and aluminum shoes, the dynamics are not bad. Overall it’s not a terrible BT Aeola although not stellar from a musical expression point of view but this may change as it is played-in more. Thanks for all the help. .
  12. it would be interesting to see when this document was written. I’ll look around for it. Thanks.
  13. Hi Ed, Thanks for sharing about 7520. It sounds very similar to one I stumbled across a few years ago… I am the proud owner of 7573 (25 June 1856) which is presumed to have been owned by Emily Bulteel. I purchased it on Vancouver Island Canada where her husband British banker Edward Baring (Lord Revelstoke) was connected with securing the financing to complete the Canadian pacific Railway and the city Revelstoke was named after him in appreciation. Emily Bulteel was well known for her concertina playing and R. Blagrove dedicated a piece to her in his tutor. She had connections with Regondi as well. Interesting enough: 7572 Regondi, 7573 Bulteel, 7574 Blagrove. It hadn’t been played for many years and some debris had fouled a few reeds. I conditioned the stiff bellows with some Connolly, cleaned it up and wow! What a find! It is super clean, all original in vintage but near mint condition with even a near mint condition original case. It has very deep folds, 4 fold green bellows so I don’t run out of air. Rosewood ends, metal buttons, with brass inserts as you described, green leather bellows. It is a 12.12 (12 guinea) presentation model as stated above. As a review… this is an absolutely amazing instrument! I love it and play it almost daily choosing it over many top end Aeolas. It is quiet and slightly muted with its leather baffles but still bright and expressive with its steel reeds. Perfect for playing at home in the evening. It has “life” that is hard to put into words. Very expressive and musical. It is very balanced from top to bottom, very quick with a fast response. I play the beeswing on it at full speed! I never could understand how Regondi could play such amazing and complex music with the early instruments until I experienced this one. It is one of those concertinas that I will never part with. It is untouched except for being tuned to A440 and must have been very well stored and taken care as it is so clean and near perfect except for a little bit of normal playing wear. I have had many other early Wheatstones and Lachenals and all unique in their own ways but generally quite poor players no matter how much work I did to them but 7573 gave me a new deep appreciation for the early instruments that I never had before. Congratulations on finding 7520. I hope you are enjoying as much as I am 7573. .
  14. Ledger date is Dec 24, 1923 yet receipt appears to be Feb 14, 1925… over a year later. It sat on the shelf for almost 14 months waiting to be sold??? Interesting. I am curious.., what is the range of notes on each side?
  15. A couple of additional photos… two different reefs.
  16. Reed frames are made from punched out aluminum. All frames are the same thickness at 0.075” except Low F and F# which are slightly thicker. It is a 1955 64B BT model 16, Low baritone F to high treble C with middle C on the LH side, 8-3/4” ATF EE Aeola. Every vent relief is step milled like the photo except for the low F and F# which are filled on an angle in the traditional way.
  17. Looked at more of the LH side tonight. All the reed shoes are stepped like this except for a few of the lowest ones which are filed in the traditional way.
  18. So you can tell an instrument that was built as an F-tenor by looking at the position of the thumb straps. interesting. Good to know!
  19. I was checking a 1955 Wheatstone Aeola EC tonight and noticed the reed shoe slots are stepped instead of tapered. The step looks milled versus an angle created by a file. I’m trying to visualize how a stepped reed slot versus an angled reed slot would affect the tone, dynamics, air flow, etc. Photo attached. Any thoughts? .
  20. Thanks Robert. Great explanation! Has anyone ever put together anything on the later model numbers? For example, it appears that a 64B model 12E (down to baritone F) is the same as the earlier model 16 BT. One layout that is still confusing to me is the model 20B. What do you call it? It has 64 buttons like a model 16 (the exact same range), but I understand that middle C is on the RH like a baritone (transposed an octave down from a treble) not on the LH side as a TT or BT. It wouldn’t be a Baritone Treble but I would say an Extended Baritone?!?!?! ******** This is really important as I could end up with the wrong instrument if I just ask for the range and don’t ask what side middle C is on! ******** An F-Tenor has all the B and Bb reeds swapped and the Eb/D# reeds tuned down two semi tones. When you play it like you would a treble (but one row down), you are transposed down a 5th (from C down to F). This is wonderful as a harmony instrument or for a richer tone. Thanks Robert!
  21. A photo of the reed plate would be helpful. Does it have riveted reeds?
  22. Very interesting instrument. Did you ever find any clues to who built it?
  23. Wow! Very nice! Fretwork reminds me somewhat of the early Aeola dot and coma pattern. Any idea what this pattern is called? Very appealing. Interesting to see how the reeds are screwed down instead of slid into slots. Very nice!
  24. I use one finger per column. I was challenged to do this when I first started and found it makes the instrument much more intuitive. I run up and down the chromatic scale as a quick warmup. For keys directly above or below I just walk up and down using the two easiest or maybe closest fingers then quickly get back into my one finger per column routine.
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