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Pistachio Dreamer

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  1. Cohen, thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed review, it is much appreciated, and your comments are very useful feedback for me. Most of all, thanks for your superb playing and teaching. I'm really happy knowing my instruments are helping to get a new generation involved with the concertina. Paul.
  2. I've just made a set using very thin plywood, I think I used 0.8mm. Worked very well, and for the strength didn't bulk up the folds as much as card does. Any reason why this isn't used more often, other than tradition and increased difficulty in shaping? I use the "Tedrow" method, as they are cut together as a strip on the bandsaw it really made no odds, actually was cleaner to cut than card.
  3. Interesting discussion, thanks Alex for alerting me. When I started making bellows sans leather I didn't spend long experimenting with leathercloth - I didn't like it's look and feel on the bellows. I make my own fabric by layering up a cellulose/latex cleaning cloth material with fabric interfacing, with an acrylic fabric medium coating and dubbin providing the finish and greater air-tightness. They are very supple, look great, and easy to maintain with further coats of paint/dubbin. They aren't quite as airtight as leather, which is something I am trying to improve. The other material I have been experimenting with is Kraft-tex paper "leather". This is way too thick, stiff and non-compliant to make bellows in the traditional way, however I've developed a method of making these in tube form that works pretty well, and has the advantage of being much faster to build. The material itself seems incredibly hard wearing, and whilst not quite as supple as leather does seem to break in well over time. I've also been able to assemble these purely using pva, whilst making bellows traditionally with synthetic materials often requires a synthetic adhesive, I've found, particularly to get the gussets to behave. I haven't had any reports of bellows failures yet, though my first instrument made in this way is not even 10 years old by now, and in that time my methods have improved somewhat.
  4. Hi Mike, I've found www.georgeibbotsonsteels.co.uk helpful in the past, but anywhere you look you will be subject to a minimum order quantity. With the aforementioned it wasn't so bad at the time - 1kg, which for the 0.53mm was a sheet approx 1m by 30cm - but too much perhaps for your purposes. If you only need to do 6 or so reeds my advice would be simply to do more filing of the 0.53 stock. Down to 0.2mm (I assume you meant?) is not too difficult given the small area involved. If you were making multiple sets it might be handy to have some thinner stock, but for a few one-off mends it's certainly possible. I actually owned a Crabb in standard C/G that used an approx 0.5mm stock for every reed. Hope that's of use, Paul.
  5. I have found it results in a greater range, without the natural stopping point you get with bellows made with individual gussets, which is no bad thing in a way as it helps with the range. However, I use a really thick card-like material called kraftex, which is relatively stiff and is actually quite hard to pull all the way back out into a cylinder, though seems supple enough in the playable range once you have compressed the bellows. If they are using relatively thin leather or leather type material, I suspect it would be easier to draw the bellows out into a complete cylinder as you suggest, unless they have some further mechanism to prevent this. In the extreme case, you could find that when you return the bellows the cards could conceivably pop out rather than in, which would certainly make playing interesting! Looking at the videos it doesn't look like this would be an issue, maybe in the way they have tucked the additional gusset material to the back of the cards, which does look a good deal neater than my attempts. I initially experimented with an armature within each top run to help the bellows keep their shape. After a while I realised these weren't necessary and use them just to keep everything regular during construction, then remove them afterwards. I wonder if there is something similar here, or if there is a jig to use to make sure each run is lined up with the previous.
  6. Alex, apologies owed as I thought the Jeffries layout hybrid I made had an A6 in that position - it is in fact an A5. I was working from a reed chart with no octave markings as you mentioned, so I must have made that decision unconsciously at some point! Good to know this is the standard.
  7. Hi Dennis, Sounds like an interesting project. Let's qualify this is for the "Wheatstone" layout in particular just in case there are differences at the upper end. This is the more common and what your students will likely be encountering. I think you are missing A6 and B6 on your C/G range? Here's G/D: G2,B2,C3,D3,E3,F3,F#3,G3,G#3,A3,A#4,B3,C4,C#4,D4,D#4,E4,F4,F#4,G4,G#4,A4,A#4,B4,C5,C#5,D5,D#5,E5,F5,F#5,G5,G#5,A5,A#5,B5,C6,C#6,D6,E6,F#6 I've seen concertina music in both bass and treble clefs, for sure. I don't think there is an accepted standard, it will be more to do with what sort of music you are notating. A Duet would do well to have a score with bass and treble to represent chords and melody, for example. A simple Irish tune can be easily notated in treble and transposed if playing on a bass instrument. There might have been some accepted ways of notating concertina music in the 19th century with the English concertina, as much was written for it in a classical setting, others here will no doubt know more or point you towards resources. Good luck with the app, certainly interested in the outcome and post again if you need further advice. Paul.
  8. Pausing at 2:35 - it look like they are constructing the bellows in a somewhat similar way to how I am currently for my less expensive builds - with cards applied to the fabric, no separate gussets. However they are dividing this into individual strips of pairs, rather than the whole sheet. This does have some advantages, so very interesting to see. The twist to change key is intriguing, must be trade offs with airtightness but a great idea nonetheless.
  9. Usually yes, however in this case we were talking about the reed being cut as a tongue in a sheet of material that then remains and acts as the reed frame. A bit like the principle of a wooden tongue/slit drum.
  10. I remember seeing this years ago, thanks for the reminder! I wonder if he's still playing?
  11. The German multireed plates tend to be fixed in this way, rather than with accordion reed wax, borrowed form bandoneon/chemnitzer construction of the same era. Looks in good nick, and small brass reeds aren't meant to last a long time so it's done well. I like the sound of them, much softer and quieter than accordion reeds.
  12. A laser would still have too much kerf for the slot clearance I think, in fact most ways you can machine metal would result in a kerf too big for good reed response, though someone might correct me here. With the sheng, the material is so thin I think they were simply cut with a sharp knife. They are tuned by a blob of wax on the tip. I don't think the reed profiling matters as much for the resultant sound, which is more like what you get with the vibrating column of air in an organ pipe than a concertina or accordion type instrument.
  13. Hi, I don't know how old your concertina is, but it's definitely made in Germany, typically these were made in the Klingenthal region during a similar time frame to English made instruments. The zinc reed frames with brass reeds might indicate quite an age, perhaps pre-war. I love the buttons! I don't think these are original so you've done a fine job there. Paul.
  14. It's a fascinating instrument, I've got one lurking somewhere. The most interesting distinction for me is the fact you have one reed which vibrates with both directions of air flow, rather than accordion/concertina reeds that are always in pairs. For this to work, the reed needs to be dead level in the slot. What I find over time is that the reeds of the sheng bend up or down and need to be reset. As they bend it causes them to be "voiced" like a normal concertina reed and therefore sound even when the hole in the pipe is open. The main struggle with playing them is the completely idiosyncratic layout of notes, here's a chart I made for mine. I read somewhere that if I bought another one it would likely have a completely different layout. sheng21layout.pdf
  15. Ah I see what you mean. For these instruments it's not so much the space on the reed pan that's an issue, but the routing of the action, and the fact I can't put a button in the inner Bb/Ab (LH) and C#/D# (RH) positions - it's too close to the sides. I am however redesigning this from scratch to overcome this problem, so watch the space.
  16. Thanks Chris, I see what you mean about having more on the RHS, it's the EC cross hand principal speeding you up. When you say "one of d#s" are you referring to the jeffries layout in particular for this? I could certainly make the drone key accidentals instead, like a reversed E/F, good thought.
  17. Thanks for your comments Chris, really useful to have your point of view as a teacher. Here's another idea for a layout based on keeping the reversed A/G. If Bb's are not essential, perhaps neither are Eb/D#s be also (ok apart from minor 6th in A minor maybe) so how about the elusive E on the pull on the left hand side instead, I wonder if this has ever been done? The right hand side is 2/3s of a Jeffries layout at least, and I think going from this to a full 30 button wouldn't be as much of a jump as the previous layout. You very rightly point out that you want a tutor model to translate well to the full 30k when the student upgrades. Whilst I'm sure a player of a 20K upgrading to 30k also would relearn a good number of tunes to take advantage of the further possibilities, perhaps messing with the accidental row is a bridge too far! 26k-exp.pdf
  18. Thanks for your insights, I was aware of the compromise with picking the more useful notes from two buttons for one. Personally I'd miss the a on the push more than the g on the pull, and would miss having Bb for g minor, but really interesting to hear a different opinion. I'd agree that Ab is dispensable.
  19. Hi All, As some are aware I've been busy producing an entry-level instrument (CSO) for the last 6 months, aided by a plucky £300 laser cutter and a very expedient bellows design. I'm finding the expanded 20K ranges are popular, and have come up with a simplified accidental row for the 26K. This was due to the limitations of the design; I wasn't able to place a button at the standard Bflat/Aflat position of the 30K. I've made a short video here running through the notes: I find the layout to be quite "natural", in that coming from a 30K instrument I don't find it too difficult to adapt to the positions where altered. However, I should caveat that as I do regularly switch between Wheatstone/Jeffries layouts and happily play wrong notes. I also like the fact it is very regular in the way the standard accidental row is only almost. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the layout, and if there are previous incarnations of which I should be aware. Paul. 26+drone layout.pdf
  20. Hi Matthew, You could certainly use most of the C row, but after that things get difficult. A few of the B row reeds work in the accidental row, beyond that you will either need to find other reeds (a single G-row hohner perhaps?) and/or retune reeds that are closest to where you want them to be. You can also use the bass harmonising reeds to help, though sometimes these are made in a way that they speak a little quieter than the RH reed blocks. As an example, you will need to repurpose a reed for the bottom C/G reed of the concertina, which doesn't turn up on a melodeon. I do this in one of two ways. For a short scale application I find a reed tuned to upper G, and drop one side using solder to the C. If I want a long scale instrument with a powerful sound, I find a weighted base reed at the lower C and remove the weight on one side to get up to the G. Good luck with your experiments! Paul.
  21. these instruments will live longer than us individually, so I wonder whether the penchant for anglos is permanent, or whether at some point in the future duets will become the more sought after system, so we'll end up converting them back. I believe quite a few Jeffries duets have been converted to anglos.
  22. You're welcome. No concertina is 100% airtight, yours sounds pretty decent given how you describe the movement. A popular airtightness test is to hold the instrument vertically by one end, with no buttons pressed, and let the other end fall. The rate it falls as the bellows open gives an indication airtightness, though this does depend on other factors too. Don't force the air in or out without a button pressed though as this can stress the seals. Keeping the instrument stored with the bellows reasonably tightly compressed is also important, so the slight opening you describe does not cause them to lose their shape and full range over time.
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