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Chris Ghent

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About Chris Ghent

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    Heavyweight Boxer

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    Blue Mountains NSW
  1. Chris Ghent

    Harsh Reed Work Around

    It seems strange that the only reed different to the rest should be harsher when it is more usual the other way around. Can I suggest shifting the reed to a different position and seeing whether the harshness follows it? If it does then it is either touching, has much tighter clearances than its peers, or is ridiculously thin. As an easy fix it might be the best thing ask around for a replacement reed of the same value. If the problem vanishes when the reed is shifted then it may be the wood slot it is in is shaped to jam one end of the frame but not the other. If the problem stays in the original position then it may be again one end only jamming. This can easily happen when a person reshapes a frame to fit a different instrument and it sounds as if this is true of all of the reeds in your concertina. When a mishapened frame jams only at one end it is often hard to see. Putting a thin sliver of paper down between the frame and wood roughly alongside the tip of the reed while you put the frame in is helpful; if it is easy to pull out when the reed is in then it is too loose at the tip.
  2. Bill, thanks for the insight, I have seen them on eBay and wondered how good they are. I'd like to have one, I can think of a lot of uses for it, but always suspected 40 watts would not be enough. It is hard to know how much power would satisfy me in terms of quality.
  3. That is what I have always done but the laser would not even have to think about it, what would it add, 30 seconds to the process? What sort of power does a laser need to whack through 3/16" ply? Does it do it in one pass? If I could use that site for the drawings and find someone to do this locally I would probably return to wooden cases.
  4. I'm impressed, was making it with the lid ready detached a possibility..? I second the suggestion of birch plywood...
  5. Chris Ghent

    Stiff Bellows

    When people say the bellows seem stiff it can be that the instrument itself can only easily be played quietly and slowly because the reeds are not efficient. I think in this circumstance the best approach is to play quietly and slowly and when you are ready, spend more and get a concertina that is easier to play. If it is actually the bellows then you can test this by holding down as many buttons as possible (or the air button if you have one) and working the bellows in and out to gauge how much effort is going into them.
  6. I have a 1/5 comma meantone anglo centred on G. I find no-one notice the pitch differences in my regular sessions but I am always a little reluctant to give an A for tuning when asked because it is 4 cents out. The concertina is not just sweeter in chords, it seems when playing melody your mind adds up the intervals on the fly and the notes seem sweeter. Having said all that, I would not go out of my way to tune to 1/5th again as the gain is a little too small even though there is no real pain. If I was sure I would be playing on my own for a long time I would shift to 1/4 without a pause.
  7. Chris Ghent

    Suggestion For Experiment

    Tom, Thanks for the gentle history lesson, I followed the links back to the previous conversations, which I had forgotten, and I can see I owe you an apology for throwing un-thought out and unattributed contributions into the current topic. Going back reading those discussions was to return to an old country with fewer shadows and one in which I seem to be a better thinker! A lot has happened since then. Let me talk as one who in a lab might be called a reed technician. If your intention is to throw light on whether brass reeds sound different to steel ones then I am happy in this instance to do the technical work for you, up to a point, which is to say, if it is not too time consuming. Making a steel reeded assembly is not at all time consuming, one with a brass reed is a little time consuming, mainly in the developing of new skills. So that I can do. I will still have technical clarification questions; the two areas which come to mind have already been touched upon, clearances and brass hardening. Sadly, there are two things I cannot understand. One is the concepts you express as equations. In another lifetime perhaps. The other is the technical terms you use ie. " Mathematically, it is called a non-dissipative (frictionless), homogeneous formulation, and the utility of it is that it (along with its boundary conditions) provides the eigenfunctions for any type of bar vibration consistent with its underlying simplifications..." and etc for the rest of the paragraph. I have no doubt I could get there eventually on that sentence but I have not the will nor the time. So in order for us to get to what you want I will need you to be very prescriptive in simple terms. The aim, the projected method, how it will be tested. So far I have the initial aim as, to test whether the two sample reeds, steel and brass, will vibrate the same way. The method is; to make two reed assemblies, one with a steel reed, the other with brass, both with the same bar profile, width and length. The brass one to be 1.41 as thick as the steel. Evaluation methods yet to be discussed. Later we will look at timbre. How am I going?
  8. Chris Ghent

    Suggestion For Experiment

    Hello Tom and Johann I could do this but not until at least June. I have never seen/heard what I would call a quality brass reed ie. one with excellent clearance between reed and frame. Consequently when people say brass reeds sound different to steel I wonder if it is a quality difference we are hearing more than or as much as an intrinsic material difference. This is similar to the argument "later Wheatstones are not as good as early ones. Later Wheatstones have aluminium reed frames. Aluminium frames are not as good". So while the test would need to be simple in order to get done can I suggest the clearance between tongue and frame would need to be consistent across both examples? If brass reeds were to create a different and warmer sound than steel then it will be for a specific scientific reason, not because they are honey coloured. My guess is they would have a different stiffness and for this reason it would be interesting to be able to measure the tip speed of the reeds. This might not need fancy equipment, maximum tip height above the frame could be used in conjunction with hertz to calculate a speed. This would mean we could see if any difference in higher partials and consequent tone might be explained by tip speed. The time involved to create the steel reed assembly would not be great, but sourcing brass at the right hardness would be an issue, starting with an ignorance of what that hardness might ideally be and even how it is measured in brass. So, a few questions ; does banging it with a hammer to work harden it only create a zone of surface hardness? What happens when you file it to create a profile, does it lose its hardness on the top? All of the brass I have here is "free machining", ie. includes a small percentage of lead. Can this be used? Does anyone have a working comparative knowledge of steel and brass profiles? Would brass and steel deliver the same pitch for the same physical profile and length and width dimensions? So many questions... An afterthought, perhaps the thing to do would be to get a brass reed assembly and copy it in steel.
  9. Chris Ghent

    Very Small Reeds

    Are the small reeds any smaller than those at the dog whistle end of a Wheatstone extended treble EC..?
  10. Chris Ghent

    Stiff New Bellows

    Dana's advice is exactly what I do with new bellows (not the machine, the slight over extension everytime for a while when starting to play, though I would use the machine if I had one). Ray, you did not say whether it is a new concertina and what sort it is, or whether you have had the bellows replaced in an older one. Either way, have you checked the bellows stiffness with the air button depressed? What feels like stiff bellows while playing can be a result of less efficient reeds. If so, a partial solution is to play slower and quieter.
  11. Chris Ghent

    Odd Tuning In A C/g Jeffries

    A person who only played left hand chords or a "viola" part with occasional right hand help? Or their left index finger was too short to reach the far row?
  12. Chris Ghent

    Refurbishing A Slightly Battered Box

    I think the case looks beautiful as it is. It is a historical "document". Strip and finish it, it may look nice but it will just be a box.
  13. I am on the "there is no soundboard" side of this argument, and this is why I am using the term padboard rather than soundboard. To be looking for a soundboard is to be laying a stringed intrument analogy over the top of the concertina. They work differently.
  14. When I first started reading this forum the idea of steel being an important factor in tone was deeply entrenched. It was common for the success of Jeffries in particular to be credited to the hard Swedish steel used. I don't see this point of view being proffered often now and I think the reason is we know more. My mother believed British nightfighter pilots could see better because they ate carrots, a result of a propaganda campaign to hide the use of radar. It may be concertina people believe particular steel is important because advertising slogans said so a long time ago. The penny dropped when I placed a Jeffries reed in several other makes of concertina and no-one could identify which note was the Jeffries, though in some concertinas the person playing it could pick the reed from the better response. From this I infer nothing intrinsic to the reed materials creates the sound of a particular concertina. Remember, the reed itself make no sound. What you hear from a concertina can be modified by; the reed set, the reed profile, the clearance between reed and frame, how soundly the frame is fixed to the reed pan, the density of the reed pan, the size of the chamber, the size of the padhole, the wood in the padboard, the valve material, (takes a deep breath) the pad material , the degree of transparency in the end design and the material that makes up the end . So everything affects the sound (yes, Theo said that earlier, I have noticed he is never wrong in my opinion.) When evaluating materials both absorption and reflection need to be taken into account ie. when evaluating a wood for the ends consider the reflection and absorption qualities of the wood on the underside as well as the look of it on the top. One thing a different steel can do is change the response and the volume. To anticipate someone saying brass tongues create a different sound, I think the different stiffness of brass means a slower reed tip speed for any given frequency leading to fewer higher partials being generated and a more mellow sound. So Wes, could the difference be in the organic parts of the instrument? Might a bright instrument be absorbing the fundamental (padboard/end/reedpan wood, loose reedpan/reedframe joint) and quietening lower partials (same) which can drown out the upper partials and/or failing to adequately filter out the higher partials (valves, pads, end design and materials, padboard/reedpan wood etc.) Most modern instruments have better fitting reeds than the average vintage one meaning they will be generating more higher partials as a trade off for louder, faster operation. Maybe in the old days people had less need of volume, music was slower, people were stronger. All my opinion, little supported by quotable sources, open to being challenged in the spirit of learning.
  15. Chris Ghent

    Post Wwii Wheatstone Reed Pans

    I think this is right, making a tapered dovetail fit is time consuming. Fine when the dies and cutters are new, very expensive when changes are needed.