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Pistachio Dreamer

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Posts posted by Pistachio Dreamer

  1. On 9/30/2022 at 10:42 AM, sven6side said:

    My first post.

    Thinking of building an Anglo. Have plenty of PA reeds. Which is best:
    1 Split the plates lengthwise and only use 1 reed
    2 Use both reeds and tune the other one up/down.

    Thanks Alex for the nudge, and apologies to the OP I'm not on here that often!


    I go with 2 as a rule, as it's very easy to weight and drop the pitch of one of the reeds. I choose the plate for the upper note I want to use.


    I did use 1 as a method for an instrument I have just completed in a limited case. This was an instrument using hohner brass tongued melodeon reeds, a GD. In order to get good response from the lowest G/D reed I paired a cut bass reed for the G with a cut tenor reed for the D. The chamber design was more complicated, but it worked well.


    Hope that helps,


  2. On 11/19/2022 at 12:08 AM, Robin Harrison said:

    I think you are right and thank you !

                What a haunting air, eh !

    Any comments on the 4 fold bellows ?...........seen it lots on vintage English concertinas but not on a more recent anglo.

        Thanks again.................

    Hi Robin,


    I attended a workshop Chris ran in Lewes many years ago, thoroughly lovely guy and a wonderful musician! He explained the 4-fold bellows to us, which he had specially reduced. The principal is that the less volume of air the bellows hold, the quicker the instrument will respond to changes in bellows direction. This helps with playing fast and for the quick and light ornamentation Chris employs. In ITM you do see the players hardly using any bellows with the instrument held fairly closed, this is for the same reason I believe.



    • Like 2
  3. If it helps, I dug out the plastic plates I had printed back in 2014, I got 3 identical prints, each with a non tapering slot of 27mm by 2.5mm on the stl file. I opted for an ABS print in 250 micron layers. They had a 30 micron service but this was prohibitively expensive. Results of my measurements (MIB digital caliper) as follows, width taken in 5 increments from base to tip.




    2.75, 2.69, 2.63, 2.69, 2.66




    2.76, 2.70, 2.68, 2.61, 2.59




    2.72, 2.71, 2.65, 2.61, 2.57


    This does suggest that whilst the dimensions are not calibrated well to the model, the parts are at least fairly consistent between themselves as Lucalaya suggests.


    I'm interested if makers attempt to hit a precise dimension for the slot, or cut and fit the reed tongue to match the slot, at whatever exact dimension it turns out at after fettling?





  4. 1 hour ago, ttonon said:

    Hi Pistachio, why do you say a "cold weld" forms between tongue and plate?  Such does not occur between dissimilar metals, and most reeds have steel tongues and aluminum plates.  I doubt even with brass tongues on brass plates cold welds occur because the mating surfaces probably cannot be cleaned well enough of the metal salts that form on them, but I could be mistaken.  I also don't see how any such weld would affect performance, since riveting and screwing work so well.

    You may well be right, cold welding could be describing the wrong process. I recall reading on here or elsewhere of this being one explanation for reeds playing in and sounding better after a period of time, in that the shoe, clamp and the reed tongue become more like a monolithic piece rather than an assemblage of parts. Chance of me finding the discussion on this now is pretty slim, but i'll see what I can find.

  5. 10 hours ago, lucayala said:

    I was aware of the Edward project. buying reeds from the Harmonikas factory is abolutely out of question. the complete set of bandoneon reeds cost 900 dollars, plus shipping to Argentina. impossible. my intention is to build a cheap instrument that most people in Argentina can afford. the idea is that the plates are printed. there is a college here that developed a bandoneon with the same intention. the first model was fully printed, with the plates also printed. the most recent models use the Harmonikas reeds. that gives these instruments a much better sound, obviously, but at the cost of betraying the original idea. these bandoneons are not commercialized anyway, and as usually happens here, it's very difficult to contact someone involved in the project to ask questions... here it is that project: https://www.behance.net/gallery/26250615/Bandoneon-de-Estudio-Pichuco

    Interesting to see this project. I briefly experimented with plastic 3d printed reed plates as a prototype, before I found a supplier that could print them in stainless steel for a similar cost for bulk orders - https://www.hitch3dprint.com


    Unfortunately my reed tongue making was not consistent enough at that stage (and still isn't) in order to make a suitable sound comparison, what tests I made did not sound great, with a distinct lack of dynamic and tonal range. So I expect there are good reasons for using metal, for example the gradual cold weld that forms between the tongue and the plate and how that may affect the performance. I chose a spring tempered stainless steel for the reed tongues. I'm three reeds off finishing a small set for a miniature concertina, so I'll be posting the results on the forum sometime later this year.


    Good luck with the bandoneon project!

    • Like 2
  6. On 4/7/2022 at 11:51 PM, SIMON GABRIELOW said:

    So, what would happen, assuming I was astronaut doing spacewalk, happening to have ( in my back pack).. a little concertina... Would that vacuum of space cause it to crumple up, ( no air to contain within bellows)..and so  release one last note, lost in the void, that may never be heard? Being, apparently mostly airless?!!! Or maybe that lost soulful note could travel for ever into blackness, and get  picked up by a musical alien person, on a distant planet somewhere as yet unknown!



    Any remaining air in the bellows would not have the corresponding external air pressure to contain it, so it would apply some pretty large forces to the insides of the instrument in a bid to escape. The bellows would probably swell up and rupture, how explosively depends on how much air was inside and if any keys were pressed to allow it to escape. After it had equalised, I suspect you could open and close the bellows at will, whether or not any keys were pressed, and that not only would there be no sound, but neither would the reeds oscillate. A grim prospect for any concertina player, but others might disagree!

  7. 1 hour ago, Clive Thorne said:

    Mind you, it would be difficult to base mass production on reclaimed reeds, which would otherwise be a major part of the cost (I guess).

    Too right. I'm definitely a cottage industry, not a mass producer. Neither does the monetary cost factor in the time spent scouring ebay for deals, cleaning them up, weighting and tuning them etc.. Although given that there are some high quality reeds to be had here, it woudn't surprise me if there was a market for second hand reed sets for accordion and melodeon players at least.


    I do think it's a good approach for creating an inexpensive one-off hybrid instrument, as long as you are experienced enough in manipulating them and setting them up. It doesn't escape me that I take reeds from instruments that in their day contributed to the decline of the concertina industry, to turn them into new concertinas!

    • Like 1
  8. I've calculated that the materials that go into one of my basic 20K Ducklings total not more than £50, including the reeds, which are reclaimed, so this sort of economising is certainly possible, and there are many ways to do this. Clearly this must also be possible for mass produced instruments in order for them to be profitable, but with a one off instrument you do not have the benefit of economies of scale. Happy experimenting!

    • Like 1
  9. 3 hours ago, d.elliott said:

    E Flat Major, often used in church music or ballads

    Also a favourite of Beethoven, I believe. As a string player I'd also have it high on the list, with the open G string giving resonance on the major third.


    For folk, you really need to talk about modes. C with Bb is mixolydian, that's a favourite, more commonly starting on G. Along with the dorian, e.g. D minor with the B natural major 6th.

  10. 13 hours ago, Dashy said:

    Update on the mockup stuff, made a pegboard version!



    Tolerances on the pegs are a pain to get right and strangely inconsistent, but it's working. Not pictured is the handrest, haven't quite gotten the tolerances right for that yet. Gonna take some experimentation to find the right layout, but I'm super glad I'm doing this because now I know my original ideas weren't really ideal.


    You are not wrong. The button field is pretty tall, and making these mockups I've realized how important handrest height is in addition to distance from the buttons.

    Please turn that into a concertina themed board game once you're done!

    • Like 2
    • Haha 1
  11. 8 hours ago, Don Taylor said:

    I seriously doubt that a 64/66K Hayden with accordion reeds could be made in a 7.25" octagon.

    I can confirm this is possible, but it was a squeeze! It's a 65K instrument with 33 keys on the LH side going down to Eb2. It involved accordion style blocks in addition to flat mounted reeds, plus a raised tray with reeds underneath. However, we were all pleased at the consistency in tone that resulted. Of course, the bass reeds weren't quite as loud and responsive as they could be if we had extra space for long scale reeds.

    • Like 1
  12. I think with these instruments there are accordion style reed plates held down with screws? Have you tried loosening the screws holding the problem reed down, just a touch, and seeing if the problem sound goes away or at least changes? That would identify that the reed is catching in the slot, which would account for the sound. I set up hundreds of these reeds, the tolerances are so tight that any slight warping of the softer aluminium plates can cause the reeds to catch. Sometimes even the action of tightening the end bolts is enough to trigger this, if that flexes the reed pan a little.


    Hope that helps.


    • Thanks 1
  13. Hi Robert, interesting idea. I think it would depend on how many chords you were expecting to be able to play, so would need a more detailed brief to make any call on cost or feasibility. If it is bespoke, there's a lot of design and testing to be done, so that needs to be considered and factored in.


    You would probably want it to be a unisonoric instrument (sounds the same note/chord on push and pull), but you still could use an existing anglo concertina with accordion style double reed chambers as a basis, and replace these with bespoke blocks with the two notes you want under each button. Perhaps I and V together on the LH, the third and upper octave on the RH. With a 20K donor instrument you could cover at least 10 keys in this way, as long as the greater number of bass reeds could be accommodated.


    I'd be interested to hear what others think, and whether similar instruments already exist. When I first read your comment I immediately thought of shruti boxes, but they are probably just as hard or harder to lug about as a guitar!





  14. Hi,


    It sounds like you have an instrument that does not hold air well. There needs to be enough pressure through the reeds for efficient playing. If there are leaks, this reduces the amount that gets to the reeds. There are a few main culprits, including holes in the bellows, leaking pads that cover the holes, failed gaskets and misalignments of the various parts of the instrument. Sometimes the reeds and reed valves can be a problem too.


    If it's worse when you're compressing the bellows than when opening them, this might indicate a pad issue or lack of spring tension in the levers. If the bellows look good, the next check is to unscrew the ends, if you're confident doing this, and take a good look inside for any issues.


    May I ask for more information on the instrument, what is the type and who made your concertina, and what sort of general condition is it in? This will help us determine the cause and suggest whether there's anything you can do yourself, or if it's best looked at by someone else.


    Best wishes,


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