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Dave Leggett

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About Dave Leggett

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    Male
  • Interests
    Amateur traditional concertina maker 10 years. Anglo player. Dabbled in other systems.
  • Location
    Cadgwith, Helston, Cornwall, England

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  1. Dave Leggett

    The Gurnard Waltz

    I composed this simple, quirky little waltz a long time ago, when I was trying to learn to play an Edeophone McCann Duet concertina that I'd just acquired. Sadly, I didn't persevere enough with the McCann, but the tune remains! The 'dots' are appended.
  2. As said previously, I raised this topic afresh only because of the seemingly ignorant and offhand attitude displayed on the subject of chamfered bellows cards by one restorer that I made enquiries to. Its good to see that some people are 'aware' and making sensible responses. Although its some time since my last concertina construction, for the record, I did have to glue 2 cards together to get the thickness I wanted and I did use a belt-sander to do the chamfering!
  3. I was introduced to the rudiments of bellows-making some years ago by a well-established maker of 'the old school', who followed tradition, using bellows-shaped 'collapsible' jigs. He used a thinnish, dense card stiffener of about 0.8mm thickness and emphasised the importance of skiving (or chamfering) the cards along their parallel edges, in order that the visible outer-hinges on the finished bellows (i.e. the top bindings), do not look thick and clumsy. Such would be prone to showing a crease along the apex when the bellows are extended. Those creases would be stress-concentrators and fatigue along them will ultimately lead to cracking, air leaks and failure. Admittedly, this might take a few years to happen! I believe that 'old school' concertina makers all used thinnish cards: this would in itself reduce the potential difficulty to some degree. Whether they further chamfered the card edges probably depended on the quality and price of the instrument they were making. The supposed differences in construction required (it is asserted by some!) for 'Anglo' and 'English' bellows is probably mythological - - ( English concertinas inherently being more expensive than Anglos, were more likely to have had higher-quality bellows made) . In looking at some 'vintage' instruments, even after 100 years or more of use, the original bellows of some (notably Wheatstones, (but even quite an ordinary, venerable Lachenal 'English' that my partner plays and has had much usage), may show very little degradation on the apexes of the top-bindings, which still look compact and neat. Having made a few different sized bellows myself, I can see the attraction to the maker or restorer of using recent, rather ingenious methods of bellows construction that obviate the making of complicated jigs before you even start! One that I'm thinking about in particular uses what seems to be rather thick (well over 1mm) card which is cut-out in part sing a band-saw. This whole bellows-making procedure is described admirably in a video freely available on 'the net'. Whilst celebrating the simplicity and versatility of this invention, one can't help noticing the 'clunky' top bindings that can result. These have maybe a squarish look, a tendency to show a crease when the bellows are extended and perhaps a reluctance to close properly. One wonders how many of these will still be functioning in 100 years' time? Could not one parallel edge of the cards be skived (chamfered) on opposing faces? Surely a simple-enough operation that needn't add significantly to the cost, one might have thought. To be fair, some modern bellows-makers, who don't do this as 'standard', may offer it in a moderately-priced upgrade, but they will need asking! I'd imagined that this topic would have been well-aired in these forums already. Having trawled through this forum's history, I found a brief discussion on back-page 80 of Oct 2006. I only felt motivated to raise the subject again, having a few months back asked a restorer to quote for replacement bellows on an old Lachenal 'Anglo' of mine. Having mentioned what seemed to be quite an extravagant price, this restorer then astounded me by his apparent ignorance - or dismissiveness? - of such refinements
  4. Dave Leggett

    TITANIUM REEDS (a cautionary tale?)

    Hello TTONON, and thanks for showing an interest in my 'Titanium Reeds' topic'. You are right in suggesting that Ti reeds sound more like steel than brass. Although I have not the will to carry on further researches into titanium alloys as reed material ( there's a reason why reeds were made traditionally from steel or brass), I'm sure that someone with an academic bent and many hours of time on their hands to pursue further study might find this to be an absorbing academic enquiry. Over to you, Someone! One thing that my 'Sage no. 2' did say, rather cryptically, was that 'the material has some interesting and unusual properties'. Make of that what you will!! This reply went inadvertently into a 'private reply' to TTONON. At his suggestion, I'm sharing it! I still have a few leftovers of the material in question, so if anyone happens to have an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer handy, I'd willingly provide some samples! To add visual interest, I've also added a photo of Ti'm the concertina. He has an ebony body, stainless steel frets and carbon fibre buttons to go with his titanium alloy reeds!
  5. About 15years ago, I used to play a rather good Jones metal-ended C/G Anglo. I had often hankered after the lower and richer tone of a G/D instrument. I found one which I liked but foolishly sold the Jones in order to finance the G/D. I almost immediately regretted parting with the C/G but realised that the only way I could afford to replace it was to try and make one! I had the totally decrepit remains of a 39 button Lachenal McCann duet concertina (which I had bought, along with 3-tea-chests-full of other diverse decrepit musical instruments and parts, for £50 at a sale). The steel reeds were all rusted out. Being a designer/jeweller with a penchant for experiment and having by me a small quantity of thin titanium alloy sheet ( grade of alloy unknown: in 3 different thicknesses (0.3, 0.6, and 0.9mm), which an aero-modelling friend had obtained for me, I thought that this might be fun to experiment with as reed-making material re-using the old McCann reed frames (suitably cleaned-up and refined). It certainly seemed 'springy' enough! I sought the opinion of two eminent concertina makers. The first one said, 'out of hand' that titanium reeds was a bad idea without offering any cogent reason. The second was kind enough to take some samples and make a couple of experimental reeds. He also said that Ti was a bad idea because (a) the relatively low density(s.g.4.5) of Ti would give problems in getting sufficient mass distribution within the vibrating reed to give the necessary range of notes in a limited range of frame sizes. (b)You can't weight a Ti reed-tip with solder (it won't stick!) and (c) It's a really tough metal which is hard to work and blunts files. Not being then the sort of person who is easily discouraged, even by Sage advice, I did persevere with the project in a spirit of curiosity (or obstinacy) and eventually, after much aggravation, made myself a playable instrument. I think the project was probably spread over a year or more. BUT!! - 1) I had to increase the range of reed-frame slot-lengths by silver-soldering little brass blocks inside the narrow ends of some of them, (2) Some of the longer reeds are perhaps too thin at the belly, giving them a bit of a 'mushy' tone. Some of the small reeds are maybe too thin at the tips. (3) The damned stuff is a real pain to file! Surprise, surprise: Sage no. 2 was right!!! The overall result is that I may have a concertina (I've named him Ti'm) which is perhaps(?) unique but which doesn't sound that wonderful (though better, I'm sure than the old Lachenal reeds that I replaced). In pursuing this frivolity, I learned a lot of hard lessons and gained more knowledge, practical skills and confidence about reeds and other aspects of concertina-making than I probably would ever have had should I have kept 'the Jones'. Was it worth it? In the following years I've had endless enjoyment in making a few more more-conventional instruments, so the answer is 'Yes' and I still take Ti'm out sometimes to Pub music sessions.
  6. Dave Leggett

    Tapered Reed Pans

    I think that the reason that some reed pans were 'tapered' was just in order to get as near to an optimum capacity in all of the chambers as possible. The chambers act as small cavity resonators, and though designing them to have the optimum capacity is a 'dark art', (I would suggest that this is an art, guided by experience rather than by science: the science is just too complicated!), making them big enough or particularly, small enough, may be a problem if the reed pan is of uniform depth. Some high pitched reed pairs (or combination pairs in anglos) require a very small chamber volume (say less than 2cc), whereas lower notes in the same pan, a larger volume (say 5cc or more). It would, perhaps be difficult to achieve this for higher-pitched reeds in a 'parallel' pan without making the chamber so narrow laterally that there would not be room for the smaller reed-pairs to fit into it side-by-side! Why some historical instruments have this feature and some not is a matter that can't be resolved by speaking to the makers. The added cost of the feature seems to be a dubious suggestion as the feature is to be seen in some relatively inexpensive makes and models and vice-versa.
  7. Five years ago, I was part-way through building my 7th Anglo Concertina 'from scratch' when a major health problem occurred and I have not worked on it since. As I think that I'm unlikely to want to complete the project personally, but would not like to see what work I have done go to waste, I would like to hand it over to a suitable person who has the enthusiasm and necessary skills to complete the job. This was to be a 5" dia. 26 key Anglo with walnut ends. All the necessary materials and components come with the offer. I'm prepared to give advice on the work needed! I would certainly only be prepared to pass the project over to someone who is within striking distance of me in Cornwall, England, and who can satisfy me that they have 'what it takes'! I would think it sensible (in order to eliminate casual time-wasters) to ask a nominal sum in money for the above, how much that should be depends on who, if anyone comes forward! Update as of1430, Sun 23rd Dec. I'm fairly sure that this PROJECT has found the right person, so in fairness to anyone else, I must consider the offer WITHDRAWN.
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