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Chris Ghent

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Everything posted by Chris Ghent

  1. Thats a sound that could easily be made by a valve but I have been fooled by this a couple of times with waxed-on reeds. They can be cracked in the wax and when you put pressure one way they work perfectly because the pressure holds the reed plate against the wood. The other way though the plate is pushed away from the wood however much the shape of the crack will allow and then they chatter. The ones I fixed I did by holding a hot solder iron close because I am not set up for waxing.
  2. There is plenty of advantage in having more than 30 buttons for Irish music; the foremost (to my mind) is to not be forced into particular phrasing, to have choice. I am not suggesting 40 keys, I think around 33 could be adequate (ie. supplying reversals of the C,E,F,F#,G#,A# from the left hand side and the f#,f,g# from the right hand side including changing the pitch of some of the dog whistlers). However there is a point of view in Ireland favouring the traditional 30 key. The justification is the limitations of the instrument have forced particular phrasings into the music and these are emblematic of the concertina in Irish music.
  3. Robin, I have had a coil which broke when forming the foot no matter what, very disappointing, as it was expensive. I had bought two at the same time and the other was fine.
  4. Effort in getting a concertina to play is usually the reeds being of lower quality. Occasionally it is the bellows or both. The particular aspect of the reeds that makes them harder to play is too large a gap between reed and frame, thus makes them inefficient and you have to compensate by pushing hard. Other contributing factors include the overall size of the instrument (affects llbs per square inch ratio), the size of the chambers and the thickness of the reeds. The play between these factors is important. For example, a concertina with less efficient reeds could compensate if the overall instrument is smaller etc.
  5. Mike, such a good point, you do see reeds with irregular fits, sometimes with a couple of points with a fit of perhaps .3 of a thou (this is a guess, these clearances are hard to measure); this is what a fitter would call a “false fit”. These could be closer to collision in some temperatures. It is also possible some metals might heat or cool quicker than their companion metal, and collide until the temperature is equalised. All in all I discount this; look at the figures Dave mentioned. They are tiny. Your point about accordion reeds is also well made. I wonder if aluminium (the most common accordion frame metal) expands/contracts more with temperature change than brass? Either way, metal expansion from heat or wood expansion from humidity, the wax joint would have to hang on during the process so this would not rule out reed pinching. I’d be interested to hear if it happens with accordion reeds that are screwed down. Dana might have a relevant experience here as his concertina reeds are screwed down.
  6. I checked out the “metals contracting and expanding at different rates” theory a decade ago. I consulted Machinery’s Handbook for the different coefficients of expansion. Between brass and steel there was not sufficient difference in contraction or expansion at any practical temperature to take up even a close clearance. I throw my vote in with humidity swelling the wood.
  7. If you lower the static position of the reed it will become more responsive but the pressure at which it will choke will be lowered also.
  8. When brass looks pink it can mean it has been cleaned with citric acid. The acid leaches the zinc out of the brass and leaves a not quite copper colour.
  9. I think this thread needs to have the words “Where is Don Nichols” in the title.
  10. Throw them into a bucket of diesel for a week before trying to undo them.
  11. See if you can find a few old harmonium reeds and take the brass out of them. There will be someone in the UK who sells them.
  12. Not quite sure what you mean about your reeds pinching if the cutter is wider than the reed tip width, but one issue if you are using old reeds is the cutter you link to is 10°. You could get a 1/4” dovetailing bit at 7.5° ( such as this one, look at the table at the bottom, its the first listed https://www.timbecon.com.au/torquata-dovetail-jointing-router-bit) which would be a better side angle, and shorten the end of the carbide inserts, leaving the cutter with a smaller diameter. You would need a cutter grinder to do this well but there are people who do this as a service. They would also make you one from scratch.
  13. There is no absolute reason springs have to be jammed immovably into the hole in the action board. They can’t go anywhere if they are a sliding fit and are then easily removed to adjust the preload.
  14. Apart from its great technical properties (5 times the fatigue resistance of brass, very slow to corrode) phosphor bronze is lovely stuff to work with; easily ducted, beautiful to look at. Stainless is ruthlessly practical and cold.
  15. Squeeze the bellows without a button pressed and listen for leaks. Do the same with it held near your face (I put my tongue out because it is more sensitive) and you can feel small leaks. You have to do a lot of turning the concertina around because you will not feel a small leak unless you are within about 10mm The effect you are describing, does it occur when you have shut the bellows and then put the concertina down in a hard surface? Does the bellows then shuffle open on its own? If so, this is a fault condition, but if it is only a little you can live with it. If it is excessive it could be dealt with by taking the concertina apart and compressing the bellows in a clamp for the a fortnight. You need to make a couple of blocks to fit inside the entry to the bellows to get an even compression. A concertina repairer would be familiar with this process. Whether an accordion repairer would be I don’t know. But ask yourself, does it really get in the way, and is it worth getting it fixed on what is essentially a learner instrument?
  16. Lovely to see Richard Morse’s name resurface after all this time…
  17. I find if your fingers have to bend back towards your hand ( from the proximal interphalangeal joint, sorry, don’t know the common name, is it second knuckle?) to use the closest row then it is harder to play. Raising the handrest height does not increase the distance to the close row at all but it allows you to straighten the last joint. I have my handrest set at 30mm. More valuable for a larger hand would be to incline the handrest back at an angle a little. This would be relatively straightforward if making a new rest. I did it once on a 4.5 inch concertina to make it easier for an adult to play. The handrests could be swapped to the other ends so the incline then set the top closer towards the buttons and it could be played by a very small child.
  18. My experience with building one of these was the old squeaks and whistles were not wonderful. I did wonder if it was because the chambers were too small. I exchanged the old squeaker (think it was from a Lachenal) I first used with one from a modern dog toy and it was much louder.
  19. So glad I can now recommend this album; I waited until people could buy it. I have had it for three or four years. It is a brilliant recording and shows Ciarán O’Grady (Cogsey) to be one of the great anglo players of the world. His wife Afric is equally skilled on the fiddle. Disclaimer: well, more of a claimer! They are friends..! But seriously, listen to them.
  20. Find yourself some harmonium or reed organ reeds as a source of the brass. They will be around, almost no-one keeps the instruments but people sometimes keep the reeds. Take the reed from the harmonium reed frame; it will still need drilling, filing to fit , riveting (the secret there is to have a hole in the reed a little bigger then the rivet and this will allow you to adjust the position of the reed as you rivet it) and then filing to pitch.
  21. Looking at the reed in the foreground, if that one is not sounding quickly then no surprise. While people often say the tip needs to be raised up above the frame, in fact the reed needs to be raised up above the frame from about 1/3rd of the way along the frame from the root, not just the tip.
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