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Dana Johnson

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About Dana Johnson

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    Heavyweight Boxer

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  1. Dana Johnson

    Perfecting a setup

    Thanks Chris for talking some sense here. It is fine for people to describe how they do things, but proper diagnosis has to be the starting point. Bob Snope at the Button box once said most problems in concertinas can be traced to the valves. Sure there are lots of things that can and do go south ( or is it north for Australia?). But for anything but new instruments, reeds are pretty stable and problems are much more likely to come from the environment the reeds live in. Valves are generally not stable. They curl, get stiff, or lose their elasticity, depending on lots of factors. They should be your starting point, not reed set. Dana
  2. Dana Johnson

    Tuning and setting waxed-in Morse reeds

    If sending it off to the B.B. deters people, or any of their dealers across the Pond, just remember, you don’t tune to the given note, but tune the deviation amount. Whether in the instrument carcass or removed from it, if a note is 5 cents off, tune it 5 cents from whatever pitch it is if removed and on a tuning table. Don’t expect it to have the same pitch if pressed in place vs. Waxed. Draw notes will need to be removed to reset in hybrid instruments, if they really need it. Press reeds don’t. Don’t assume bad setting is the problem. Sometimes on reeds from the Italian reed makers, the valves come unglued and the reeds become less responsive since the reeds then deal with bypass air. In this case, press reeds may have lost their valves, while it will be obvious if the draw reeds have lost theirs. Dana
  3. Dana Johnson

    Buzzing Reed

    Humidity can affect both valves and reed pans. If the reed is hitting the frame, you can’t tell by looking unless the reed is forced into the frame. At rest, you can easily see light all around, since the reed is sitting above the window. Pressing it flush to the window. Is the only way to see if it is touching. On an instrument this old, I doubt if the reed has moved enough to touch on it;s own, but swelling of the reed pan can pinch the window enough to cause a buzz, or even to stop a reed from sounding. In this case, pulling the reed shoe back and pushing it home until it feels snug will un-pinch the reed. Changes in humidity can affect the valves by causing them to curl down so they touch at the root and tip, and then bounce up and down when the reed is trying to sound. (This happens with increasing humidity generally. Drying tends to curl valves upwards, spoiling response, but not causing buzzing.) Loose reed shoes (frames) will buzz in their dovetails as well, and it isn’t always the buzzing note that is loose. Sometimes the vibration transfers to a different location, or can cause a buzz in any part of the concertina that resonates around that pitch. Dana
  4. Dana Johnson

    Reed Chamber Length Experiment

    I think what my split chamber says is that high reeds like chambers that are as small as they will fit in. Volume may not be the issue. In my C/Gs, the same reed sits happily in a full width chamber the same length as the reed, but it is 1.5 mm shallower compared to the rh reed pan in the low G/D. Chamber depth has an audible effect on tone. I refined my chamber depths to get the tone I wanted. This is one place where experiment is a very practical method to follow, rather than speculating on theory. Dana
  5. Dana Johnson

    HELP loose lever posts

    Just be careful to use a tiny drop, like the amount that would bead up on the point of a pin. The stuff wicks like crazy and can flow between the lever and post, freezing them up. If the post is out of the hole when you start, you are pretty safe. it does work really well. Dana
  6. Dana Johnson

    Is it just me?

    Hey Paul, we are all in your debt for sacrificing time playing tunes to keep concertina.net up and running. Like the new look! best, Dana
  7. Dana Johnson

    making a jig for springs

    When making new springs, don’t copy the ones that have broken. In my experience, poor spring design has dramatically increased their fatigue. Each diameter and material of spring wire will begin to fail if bent around too small a diameter a mandrel. A small increase in coil size can drastically increase the life of a spring. When I first started making springs, I got about 100,000 cycles before failure. By increasing the mandrel size, to 3mm, the springs would go for over 4 million cycles without failing. With the right coil size, springs will effectively last indefinitely. Heavier wire needs larger coils. ( this relates not to spring tension, but to the microscopic damage done when the metal is bent beyond it’s yield point.) find a safe coil size, then determine the number of coils for the desired force range. Dana
  8. Dana Johnson

    Reed Chamber Length Experiment

    It will be fun if it is of some use to you. I know we are all indebted to you for the work you did at the Button Box. best, Dana
  9. Dana Johnson

    Reed Chamber Length Experiment

    I have found using a similar setup to Alex’s that the “nasal” sound occurs at certain locations of pad hole along the chamber length. Since most concertinas even with long reeds tend to put the reed dovetail close to the outside end wall, the usual place for the pad hole at the end of the chamber is generally a safe space. For the reeds I have tested, mid and low range, there are usually 2 nasal sounding positions along the chamber, perhaps three if the chamber is a long one. Their distance apart seems proportional to chamber length, which is why a secondary chamber shortening partition can sometimes solve this for a nasty sounding reed. dana
  10. Dana Johnson

    Reed Chamber Length Experiment

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, the highest note on my G/Ds lies on the press side of a chamber sized for a reed the next shoe size larger. Mostly the reeds never are paired with ones much different in size. I found that while the longer of the two reeds was excellent in response, the smaller was not satisfactory. In this case, I divided the chamber and cut down its length on the higher note. It was instantly right up there with all the other reeds. I haven’t had a problem on any higher pitched instruments because even my wonderful personal A/E doesn’t have a large shoe size break in the high end. While Jeffries reed pans are oriented with the parallel chambers perpendicular to the Button rows, I had difficulties getting my long scale reeds on the Left to fit anywhere close to the buttons they were connected to. I found that by turning the reed pans 60 degrees clockwise and anti clockwise ( left and right pans respectively, ). That not only could the longest reeds be placed in the longest chambers, but my shortest lever ( 3/4 inch on a Jeffries) was now 1-1/2 inches and much more similar feel to all the others. I also was able to put the pads for the important doubled notes on a c/g like the middle D and g/a Button’s so they were placed in similar positions relative to my hand so that they had the same timbre when played. (Also placing the air pad under my hand to quiet it a bit.) I have done them this way now for the last 28 years. It also really helps with the low pitch instruments, where the reeds are that much longer. dana
  11. Dana Johnson

    TT modification on the low end (D# to B?)

    The reed tip where solder weighting is applied / removed is the point of least bending/ most movement. Consequently even if you lower the temper at that point, it will have negligeable effect on the reed’s “strength” compared to the added stiffness from the solder. (also negligeable ). For years I have been using a low melting point lead free synthetic rosin core silver bearing solder for this purpose where needed “Kester” brand, for moving into a lead free zone and it’s superior wetting power on carbon steels. I shove a sheet of silicone rubber under the reed tip and apply the solder, then as soon as the solder freezes, I use a tissue or bit of paper towel to wipe off the still liquid flux. I can’t remember the last time I bought tin/lead solder. Must have been 40 years ago when the 95/5 tin antimony solders came out. These days, there are a number of better choices. Dana
  12. Dana Johnson

    Tricks To Cover Up Mistakes

    Pretend it was on purpose and keep playing. If you can hear a musical variation based on the “mistake” then play that and add the variation to your repertoire. But for the most part, trying to think your way out of it will just create more errors. Mistakes aren’t the end of the world.
  13. Dana Johnson

    Pop Up Ads

    Don’t mind the ads, but they should push the whole page down. Otherwise much of the navigation menu at the top of your web page is covered. Unfortunately, if you close the ad, google asks you why, making it obvious that they are collecting more info on you. However, these things are so ubiquitous that it isn’t going to make much of a difference. Going to a good cause!
  14. Dana Johnson

    D/a Vs C/g Starting Out?

    Unless you have perfect pitch, your concertina is just a bunch of notes at fixed intervals. If you are playing by yourself, then think in terms of do, re, mi. instead of ABC. Noel Hill plays his D/A in concerts because it carries really well. The fingering doesn’t change. If you wan’t to play in multiple keys, a 30 Button is something to look for. It opens up lots of possibilities, especially playing with others. A c/g gives a good range of keys with minimal fingering difficulty, though most keys are easy if you practice them for a while. But if you are playing by yourself, get a 30 Button c/g layout chart and treat your d/a as though it was a c/g. Then if/when you switch, your g tunes will be in g, your A minor or other modal tunes that don’t use a c# will be the real thing and you’ll be able to add keys without having to relearn all the fingering. I think thinking of your instrument as a badly tuned c/g was really the best bet. Don’t get stuck with labels.
  15. It is a difficult decision to make as I do make use of almost the full low end of the instrument. Meanwhile there are at least 3 buttons on the high end I can honestly not remember ever using in a tune. That is a good point about the full F major scale. I don't actually know any F Major tunes, but I suppose I may wan't to in the future. I guess it might be just be better to look for an instrument with more buttons or a drone button in the future. A lot of East Clare tunes are in F or Bb. The more I learn in these keys ( or the modes that use the same notes), the more I want to learn. They often go well with C tunes, which was clearly someone’s idea of an important key
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