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chris vonderborch

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About chris vonderborch

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  • Birthday 03/20/1935

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  • Interests
    I am a "hobby" maker of concertinas (and celtic harps, classical guitars). I like to experiment with my musical instruments, no two of which are the same! I have made 4 concertinas over the past 5 years, an English, a C/G Jeffries-style Anglo, a G/D Jeffries-style Anglo and a radial-pan C/G Anglo. I am involved with traditional music, and am in an Adelaide sea-shanty group...being a marine geologist and a diver gives me at least some credence in that area! I am addicted to concertinas, by the way.
  • Location
    Adelaide, South Australia
  1. The Lachenal baritone, as I described, has F2 as its lowest note, which is on the left side. It does not have Fsharp2, however. Csharp6 is the highest note; the top left-hand button on the right side. Basically, if one ignores the F2 button, it can be played like a normally-tuned English concertina.
  2. Jack, I am unsure of the specs. for the phosphor bronze; it was handed to me as a scrap piece from a now extinct engineering shop. If I recall correctly, it was about 0.6mm thick.
  3. Next year (around June) I will be thumbing a lift from Australia to Kansas City, to visit my daughter and grandkids. Well, as fer as I know, Kansas City has NO ocean and NO mountains, so I will definitely need some extra stimulous whilst there. Can anyone advise of the folk-music and, hopefully, the concertina scene there?
  4. Modern phosphor bronze makes excellent reeds; I have used it to replace broken brass reeds. Incidentally, I find it virtually impossible to tell it apart in sound from either brass or steel reeds. Which begs the question: how do instruments, such as some Wheatstone Aeolas (even baritones) produce that lovely muted tone?
  5. The Lachenal is a 50 button one. Indeed, it has the sets of parallel harmonium bass reeds and radial others. Its dimensions are: 20cm across the larger "flats" of the "stretched" hexagon (thankyou, Jim), and 21 cm across the other 2 flats. The lowest note, which is on the left side, is F2 (F in the second octave, using my Korg piano-tuner). The highest note is Csharp6. The ends are flat, by the way.
  6. I have what appears to me to be a rather unusual baritone concertina. It is a Lachenal, serial number 40848. The instrument is slightly larger than a Wheatstone Aeola baritone, and it is 6-sided. However, in order to incorporate the large bass reeds, 2 sides of the hexagon are longer than the others...a "squashed" hexagon. The ends are rosewood, and it is one of the more up-market Lachenals, because the fretwork etc is very well done, and the reeds are carefully made. It is in a rosewood case with an appealing brass carry handle. The bellows are typically Lachenal and are in mint condition. In fact, it looks as if it were constructed last month! It is quite loud, and would compete with a church organ, I would guess! The concertina is in concert pitch, and the reeds do not show signs of drastic re-tuneing, so it may not have been a Salvation Army instrument. Has anyone come across such a beast?
  7. I have often wondered...are the two (usually) small dowells that connect the concertina face-plate to the action-board really necessary? I have not included them in my home-built instruments...both English and Anglo. Yet I often wonder!!! The venerable makers of old never did something for nothing. So my question is: Are the posts simply there to strengthen the face-plate?? Or could they have an acoustic action. By this, I do not imply that they act like the sound-post of a violin. However, could they be there to somehow acoustically connect the action board (that plate with the air-holes) with the face-plate? Maybe they are designed to give some support to the action-board and the more central portions of the underlying reed-pan itself, which are well-supported around their edges.
  8. I have just re-made steel reeds for an English concertina that I put together several years ago. Whilst one needs to be well aware of objectivity vs subjectivity when judging tonal quality and playability, I am fairly certain that I have detected an improvement in tone and response during the 2 weeks since I filed the reed-steel. I have also noticed this in an Anglo that I made. OK, I realize that controlled physical tests are required to fully verify this; however,I have a hypothesis that some sort of relaxation(??) takes place in freshly-worked spring steel in a relatively short period, and that this is advantageous to the concertina's sound.
  9. A couple of years ago, I made an ebony-ended English concertina, which I built around a pair of quite good reed-pans from a deceased Lachenal. The original Lachenal reeds were brass, and not particularly well fitted. The resulting instrument, predictably, was not fantastic, nor was it particularly air-efficient. When I examined the reeds, I could see that the brass shoes had (as usual) been punched out, but the original reed-smith had not touched them up with a file. The slots had far too much "undercut" resulting from the punching process. So I set about replacing the brass tongues with steel. I also carefully filed each slot, slightly enlarging it and, in particular, ensuring that the slots were not severely undercut; in fact, I made the slots almost vertical-sided in section. I re-assembled the concertina; it sounded awful...like it was made from packing-case material rather than selected woods!! A perusal of the reed- pans suggested to me that the chambers were too deep, particularly the bass ones. Also, the pans were not firmly embedded in the chamoise leather lining, So I blocked up the pans and shaved about 2mm off the tops of the fences, re-lined and re-fitted. Eureka!! Time to celebrate with a cold beer!! The instrument now sounds a million dollars, is air-efficient, and I am happy...all I now need to do is to make a couple of dozen steel treble reeds!! Unfortunately for we "experimenters", I altered at least two variables at once...(1)the chamber heights, and (2) the seating of the pans. So I remain unsure which of these functions contributed most to the improvements!!
  10. It is possible that you have not been able to see a region of the tongue that could be just touching the shoe; I always examine my reeds with a head-magnifier, which shows up much more than even my be-spectabled eyes can see! If you do see such a region, you need to gently lever the tongue away, prefarably using a piece of shim-steel; be careful, however. Chris
  11. When I logged in to the new-look forum, I made my username "chris". I would like to change it ti "chris vonderborch". How do I do it!! Chris
  12. I have just completed a radial-pan Anglo, having made a Jeffries-style one previously. I designed the wedge-shaped chambers to be as small as possible in volume, by placing the partitions as close as possible to the reed ends. The result is a bright instrument with a rapid response, and one that sounds (to my ear) very sweet when chords are played. However, all I can truthfully say is that I cannot discern any real difference between my radial pan and the Jeffries type. I have not used any acoustical devices to test my observations, by the way!! Some time ago, I began to experiment with reed tone in mock-up chambers...using a piston type of slide, I could vary chamber volume as I sounded a reed, a little like the way a harmonica's tone can be varied by mouth position, hand placing, etc. I confess that I didn't get too far with the experiment. However, someone with the acoustic frequency-response gear might like to try it!!
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