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Bill N

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About Bill N

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    Heavyweight Boxer
  • Birthday 01/10/1959

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    Hamilton, Canada

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  1. I haven't noticed much difference after gluing (in theory it would lower the button height)- the Fish Glue I use makes a pretty thin film. Also, anytime I've done this I've been replacing all the pads, so any slight change (maybe .5 mm?) is even across the whole keyboard. I made my tool from a common 6" nail, pounded flat and filed at the business end to a thickness of about 3mm. Could be a little thinner (I got tired of pounding and filing), but it has to be pretty stiff- not sure your ruler would be stiff enough. Also, it can't be too wide, as you have to get into some tight spots with it.
  2. If you are replacing pads, I find it much easier to bend the levers before the pads are attached. I like to attach the samper(little leather disc) to the pad, and put the end bead on the lever and set it all in place, measure, adjust- then glue. When the lever end beads thread on to the levers they are often not completely symmetrical- the radius from the centre of the lever can vary quite a bit- so sometimes you can make small adjustments to the button height(without bending the arm) by rotating the bead so a thicker or thinner side of the bead makes contact with the pad. Hope that makes sense (I just woke up and am only halfway through my first coffee!)
  3. After a very brief period on a C/G Rochelle I switched to a G/D Morse, which at the time suited the music I was learning and playing (English trad and Morris tunes). That was my main squeeze for 6 or 7 years. I played mostly "along the rows", with a little bit of cross row, and hardly ever reached into the 3rd row. When I started to sit in on ITM and Newfoundland trad sessions I ran into the same problem as you, so I got a good C/G. At first I played my existing English repertoire on the G/D, and learned new ITM stuff on the C/G. About 2 years ago I got serious with the C/G. There was definitely a tough transition period- I was doing as much un-learning as learning and progress felt frustratingly slow. However, after a couple of years playing both, my playing style has really changed largely due to what I have learned on the C/G. I use all 30 buttons (well, maybe 29) on both boxes and have revisited the way I play a lot of my old repertoire. Now when I learn a new tune I'll try it out on both, regardless of whether it's ITM or ETM (is ETM a thing?) and go with the instrument/fingering that suits the way I want the tune to sound. I play some fast, bouncy Irish tunes on the G/D, and some of my old stuff ended up sounding better on the C/G (same key, different fingering) My playing and phrasing have really improved (according to people who have listened to me play for years) and I am able to tackle tunes in keys that I wouldn't have touched with a barge pole in the past. As to which instrument to buy, I would say it should be at least as good as what you are playing now in terms of action and response. I don't think I would have stuck with the transition if I'd gone back to a Rochelle.
  4. I also have one of Danie's concertinas (mine is in D/A) Everything in Graham's diagram is correct except for the lowest button in the C row. I think you will find that on the push it will play c3, and on the pull g3.
  5. With no sessions, dances or gigs on the horizon I feel like I've gotten off the "just good enough" repertoire treadmill. I've been focusing on technique and phrasing, and tunes that I like but that aren't likely to catch on as session or band staples. And with my wife now working from home I'm practicing in the cellar or out on the deck so as not to provide a soundtrack to her video conferencing!
  6. Thanks all, I think you are all correct. Brazilian Rosewood seems like the best match. Getting back to the Lachenal catalogue description, I've seen a few amboyna instruments, but are there any vintage instruments in Zebra or Coromandel/Calamandel out there?
  7. I've just finished restoring Lachenal English #6915, a 48 key, brass reeded instrument which Dowright has dated to 1860. On a recent thread about glass buttons Stephen Chambers posted a link to an 1862 Lachenal catalogue which describes my model as: " Amboyna Coromandel Zebra (or any description of wood preferred), with Bellows and all pertaining to exterior finish tastefully matched, Silver Touches or Glass Studs, as preferred." I had assumed that the ends were of a highly figured Rosewood, but glass buttons aren't shown as an option for Rosewood treble instruments. Now I'm wondering if the wood is Coromandel or Zebra? I know there are some members here with experience and keen eyes for wood species:
  8. Thanks so much Greg. I get it now!
  9. Thanks so much Greg. A light touch for sure. Just to make sure I understand: I should press the tip of the reed down? Won't this bend the reed the wrong way if I want the tip slightly above the shoe?
  10. Hi All, One benefit of self-isolation is that I'm getting some projects finished. I've been working on a c. 1860, 48 key, brass-reeded Lachenal English for many months. So far I've rebuilt the bellows, re-glued woodwork, made new thumb loops and pinky rest covers, replaced all valves and pads and some springs, and tuned it down from an old higher pitched tuning. I just have a bit of fine tuning and some reed response issues to deal with and it should be ready to turn over to a very patient friend. I have Dave E's book, and have determined that some of the reeds need to be reset after their re-tuning. From the diagrams and trouble-shooting chart I know what I'm aiming for, but the book doesn't give any information on how to put the reeds back into their proper profile. Can any of the old hands provide any tips/ best practice for tools and techniques? Edited to add: most of my reed issues are with the lower-pitched reeds. Thanks! Bill
  11. Yes, a wooden core wrapped in thin sheet brass. Alex: the chamfering is definitely done by hand. One button was loose in the ferrule, so I've reversed it in the photo below. The hidden end is quite rough. It almost looks like it was scored and snapped. (see photo below- upside down clear rod next to right-side-up red button)
  12. To add to the date range, I have a Lachenal 48 button English #6915, which Dowright has dated c. 1860. Others here have called it an "Inimitable"- besides the glass buttons it has rosewood ends with brass inlay at the corners and green, gold tooled bellows and straps. The buttons are very similar to those shown above in Don's post, except that the brass ferrules aren't quite as robust. The button tops are flat, with a chamfered edge. Paint or dye has been put in the bases of some buttons (red for C, black for sharps and flats), causing the colour to reflect up through the clear glass of the whole button.
  13. I found the same thing happened after I did some major repairs and new top runs on a previously very flat bellows. I made a pair of hexagonal blocks that are small enough to just clear the the reed pan blocks when inserted into the ends of the bellows, and used a bar clamp to compress bellows. After about a week it was much flatter, although still with some spring to it. I note that the bellows on my newly built Carroll still spring partly open when it is taken out of its case, so some springiness is to be expected I think.
  14. Found them. PM me your e-mail address and I'll send you a PDF.
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