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Jake Middleton-Metcalfe

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Posts posted by Jake Middleton-Metcalfe

  1. Well done on all the hard work and dedication you have and are putting into your work. I have been doing it a bit under 10 years and can see how demanding the job is especially if, like yourself you make your own reeds. It can be quite a demanding lifestyle in it's way, and it's a form of manufacturing which from what I have learned does not always fit easily into the modern manufacturing paradigm... So mostly the maker has to go at it alone. 


    Best wishes from England and enjoy the world outside the workshop, you will have to tell me what that world is like exactly 😂

    • Like 1
  2. Gary thank you for sharing this video, I was not aware of what Mr Crook was up to. I met him some years ago and he seemed a good chap. 


    Very interesting to see the ways of dealing with reed making people come up with, that belt sanding setup used to profile the reed is something I never imagined. Its a bit like the Italian way of doing it, but the belt sander they use is at a different angle with the reed flat to the workbench. There are a few videos of Italians making reeds this way on youtube as well.



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  3. I did stainless ends at 0.7 at one point and would not recommend doing it any thinner, as Alex points out the design itself is quite a big factor as well. I would not personally go thinner than 0.7mm using any metal. Looking at older instruments most Lachenal instruments seem to have 0.7mm nickel silver, Jeffries can by anything between 0.7 and 0.91, the thicker 0.91 generally a bit better for the very fine fretwork some Jeffries do have. I once worked on a Wheatstone with 0.6mm ns ends and that was really a bit flimsy in my opinion, with pillars under the hand rest being a necessity. The pillars are quite relevant - on Anglo concertinas especially, they will stop the fretwork flexing if thinner metal is used, the thinner the metal, the more important they are. That is my experience anyway. Good luck with the project, can we see them when they are done? Its always interesting to see peoples work.



    Best wishes


  4. I can play the melodeon and that was my first instrument, honestly I don't really pick the melodeon up anymore I was not dedicated enough to maintain what I would call a competent standard on melodeon and concertina at the same time. I can play tunes on it though. 


    If anyone was living in Hertfordshire in the noughties they may well have seen a teenager with red hair busking with a melodeon, that was me. @Geoffrey Crabb you might have seen me, one of my regular places to play was Bishops Stortford. For years I was at it. 

  5. My local folk club - The Song Loft in Stony Stratford (England) is putting on a concertina music event here are the details:


    A Feast of Concertina Music -February 16th 2024

    In recognition of International Concertina Day (6th February) the Song Loft brings to you four talented concertina players: Jasper Kanachowski, Stephen Ferneyhough and Jake Middleton-Metcalfe. If you want to learn more about concertinas and to hear some top-class performances this is the event for you.

    Steve Turner will be making a guest appearance and will play some tunes from his 9th album “Curious Times”.

    Doors Open 7.30pm. Event starts 8.00pm

    Tickets £11 from https://www.wegottickets.com/event/596607 or £12 on the door.

    here is a link to the song loft website: https://thesongloft.com/concerts-2021/


    for those not familiar with the song loft it is at this address:

    York house centre, London Rd, Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes MK11 1JQ


    Perhaps some people on here might enjoy this!


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  6. 17 hours ago, fred v said:

    One comment on reeds. I have a model 21 from 1922 and a 1933 36 key. The '33 instrument has reeds stamped F# but tuned to G. This is for all reeds so Wheatstone took the larger/lower pitch reeds and tuned them up a half step.

    The result of this is that the reeds sound with less air pressure and will play louder when pushed so the dynamic range is quite amazing. I can definitely tell a difference between the two instruments.

    It's interesting that the frames were actually stamped at the note below what they actually are. It does sound like they stamped the notes before building the tongue or they then tuned the tongue up after it being already made. Anyway it sounds like you have long scale reeds there (all notes made 1 size bigger except the very highest) - and that would explain them sounding with less pressure and being able to play louder, sounds like a great instrument.

  7. 29 minutes ago, Little John said:


    I think most of us would agree that the difference would be negligible. In fact, zero in some cases. The raised metal ends shown by @alex_holden in an earlier post were beaten from a flat sheet; so flat or raised would have been the same weight unless it caused the fretwork to be cut differently, which seems unlikely. In this case Alex raised the ends first then cut the fretwork. On an earlier instrument the did the reverse.


    The tiny amount of wood saved on the action box sides is countered by the taller hand rests. All pretty negligible. 

    good point about the hand rests. Perhaps its more significant in an English where you have no hand rests but still - on its own raising the ends (or indeed lowering the frames which is what is really happening) would be a very small difference in weight. Really the weight saving approach has to be applied to the whole design rather than just the ends if its to be a significant difference. 


    I really have no idea about the differences in sound some people talk about with raised ends, but that is interesting to hear about.

  8. 1 hour ago, RAc said:

    Alex once gathered experiences about this while Mullering an EC where he replaced the wooden end plates with metal ones. The results, I believe, were sobering as hardly audible. I had pondered ordering both metal and wooden plates for #3 but moved away from that idea due to his previous results

    As in there was no or hardly any difference in sound between the wooden or metal ends? I have to say I found the same thing, I made 2 instruments to the same design and tuning one with wooden ends and one with metal and was astonished that it was incredibly hard to tell any difference. At a guess I would say it is probably more to do with the pattern of the fretwork and how large the holes are .. somewhere on here I posted a recording of it but I'm not sure I could find it now 

  9. On 1/20/2024 at 7:07 PM, Steve Schulteis said:

    Back on the subject of raised ends...


    It seems to me that raised ends make a lot of sense in the context of metal ends. They add structure that makes the sheet metal more rigid. They make room for a bushing board while minimizing the perceived bulk of the instrument. If you're already using a press to form the edges of the sheet metal, they perhaps don't add a huge amount of extra labor to production, at least at scale and compared to carving or laminating wooden ends. This leads me to wonder if raised metal ends appeared first before being copied in wood. Anybody have historical evidence to support or reject that theory? I'm not familiar enough with vintage models to have a clue.

    I am not sure which came first, the metal or wooden but it sounds to me that the metal end would most probably be more rigid, though I am not an engineer. 

  10. I have been re reading this thread a bit. Firstly sorry I got a bit heated in my discussions with Goran Rahm (HansQ) This is a good forum, I don't mean to dis the forum generally.


    In relation to the weight idea though personally I have never actually done a precise weight test, to see what the actual difference would be in grams. It would actually be quite hard to precisely measure the weight saving unless you made two identical action boxes except one had raised ends (with slightly lower frames) and one had flat ends but both were designed to encase the same action and then weigh them both (before the action is built inside) and see the result.


    The reason for doing it that way is if you weigh an entire concertina (especially an old one) there are so many other variables in hand made instruments and the designs varied so much for example: is the diameter of the pad board holes the same im both the instruments? Or are the reeds the same size for a given pitch? Reed scaling is incredibly diverse in older instruments. Or did the wooden frames get machined to exactly the same thickness - or indeed the action levers in Wheatstone concertinas for example were just clipped to size by eye - someone might clip the lever with more overhang over the centre of the pad, someone with less - and all this could give difference in the weight - and you would weigh two seemingly similar complete instruments and see there is a difference in weight but you would have no idea what actually caused it. 


    So its actually a bit hard to test that - if I ever do it... I will report back! Gosh this is going into it deeply though, we must remember the simple joys of enjoying playing some lovely music.



    • Like 1
  11. 1 hour ago, HansQ said:

    Im not sure I am "over thinking"...too stubborn maybe...Earlier it was said that raised ends made the instrument lighter. When comparing a couple of Wheatstone and Lachenal trebles raised end plates with reasonably alike flat end plates NO weight differences were noticed !


    The weight argument itself becomes dubious also when finding that the Aeola wooden treble is not significantly heavier than the common wooden flatended sixsided,  BUT the metalended Aeola weighs 150 grams (> 10%) more than the wooden ended one. Conclusion: For *metal  raised ends instruments*  the weight argument seems entirely meaningless. Apart from that:


    Firstly..."less weight=less work"....TRUE physically maybe but NOT relevant for all "work" when playing squeezeboxes. 


    Secondly...even if/when there is some weight difference what importance does it have...really?

    Just as with sound...what do possible differences mean if you cant hear them ??

    I think I would have to see the instruments you are measuring to validate any of what was just said. 


    If you can't see why a heavier instrument is going to be harder to play if only fractionally then I don't think there is any hope for you on this one. 


    More and more on this forum I see self appointed experts going on and on about things and when a professional adds something they are not even listened to. This is why most of the professionals in the UK are never posting on here and the online community is poorer for it.

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  12. Basically the reason given for the raised ends design feature was: "less weight = less work for the player". I learned this at the C.Wheatstone and co workshop as part of a period of training that has lasted a number of years. 


    I would caution people against over thinking this one.


  13. 15 hours ago, HansQ said:

    With all respect...this sounds very strange.

    Firstly as a motive for raised ends in general since it is more costly both for producer and user.

    ( again it would be SO interesting hearing what the Lachenal folks said about the idea when it came up from the start !!) 

    Secondly the possible "weight difference" (when there is one at all...) would likely be negligible in factual playing anyway.

    Thirdly,  is not the common concern about instrument weight exaggerated? 


    What "performance" was actually meant to be improved by the measure ? 


     This philosophy has to be applied to all aspects of the design for it to make sense, if you just remove the few mm of height from the action box by adding raised ends it is a very small difference in weight - insignificant one might say. But if you then - reduce the weight of the buttons by making them metal capped plastic or just plain plastic or bone instead of solid metal, and then also use for example 1/16" brass for the reed frame clamps instead of 2mm and numerous other things then the end result of all of these efforts is of significance in terms of reducing the weight. The weight of the instrument isn't the be all and end all but it was believed by these designers to be a factor. Yes, added cost can be a factor in this - if a manufacturer would go down that route it depends really on if they are making an instrument up to a standard which the cost has to follow or down to a price and the quality has to follow that.


    It might seem finickity or a bit fussy as an approach but the thing is comparing a "very very good instrument" to "an instrument where you literally could not imagine it being any better" is probably only a matter of 5 or 10% in terms of performance (though I would not try too hard to quantify that mathematically). 


    Also I should add, don't let it appear that I am saying anything without raised ends is bad, I'm just trying to explain the thinking of designers in the past. Personally I have never made an instrument with raised ends! 🤣Also I feel I should mention this funny story: I recently repaired what I considered to be a really bad instrument and was unhappy with it, when the musician (a very well known musician) collected it he played the most beautiful music I had heard in ages on it. Ultimately its the musician who makes the difference I suppose.


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  14. I learned about this somewhat at C.Wheatstone and co who always do raised ends nowadays I think. The reason they do it is it lets you make the action box shallower, using less wood thus less weight. It is a very small difference but the philosophy is to try to improve the instruments performance where ever possible even if only by a small amount.

  15. Here are some of the measurements from concertinas which I have copied the button placement from in the past. There is variation of how grouped together the buttons are as well as how far from the hand rest.


    Measurements taken from edge of hand rest (the edge which faces the buttons) to the centre of the G push A pull button on the left hand side G row (assuming its a c/g anglo)


    Lachenal mahogany ended 30 button 52.63
    modern Wheatstone anglo 30 button: 51.6
    Jeffries 38 button: 49.28
    Jeffries 31 button: 47.58


    Based on that I would say that your measurement of 40mm to the centre of the G/A button on the left hand side is an unusually short distance - it is quite a bit below the historic instruments I have studied at any rate. Perhaps the manufacturer had some internal design based reason for doing this but it is unusual. 


    I hope this is helpful



  16. Just a question: is the glue joint between the strip of leather Which connects the bellows frames to the bellows securely glued? Or is it coming off. I only ask as there have been a number of new bellows turning up recently on old instruments where they don't even seem to be glued together in a manner that will keep. I have no idea who is making them. This might not be one of those though. 


  17.  I always denoted middle C as C4 (scientific pitch notation) and uploaded a variety of diagrams to my website. 


    I think its easy enough to work out what is what when looking at these diagrams but the fact that people would use different numbers might confuse people - C.Wheatstone and co supply a nice diagram which has the notes on the stave for each button which clears up any doubt, probably that is helpful to include on the diagram as well as the octave numbers (from whichever octave numbering system one chooses). I would like to do that at some point.

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