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Pistachio Dreamer

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Everything posted by Pistachio Dreamer

  1. Thanks Tap! Yep the scale up is definitely not something I'm interested in doing, it ends up with just another factory made box. I'm aware I'm trying to offer something different in a hand made beginner instrument with a bit of customer focus. Most makers are concentrating on the high end instruments for good reason - they command a higher price, and therefore better return. I've worked out some techniques and material choices that makes their construction pretty straightforward and quick, I may do some further posts on here about that another time. Another advantage of a vegan instrument is the materials also tend to be a bit cheaper, especially leather. Reeds themselves, they're as little as 10p each when supplied in a beaten up old accordion, and they sound fine if you know which ones to go for and are prepared to do some fettling. You would be welcome to post a link on reddit, thanks very much. Funnily enough I found myself mentioned on a Japanese concertina forum the other day, a nice post once I translated it! I'm not against these sort of organic introductions. I haven't used reddit much but I did take a look today and contributed to a post as you might have seen, it looks like a nice community and good to have the link back to cnet to harvest new forum members! Keep up the good work! Paul.
  2. Thanks - making these isn't even my full time job! Early days for this little side project, I think by the end of the year I'll have a few people who may be able to give an outside opinion on this forum and elsewhere. Making loads isn't necessarily my aim, and I don't do any marketing as such for that reason. I think if I got loads of orders I'd simply end up with a rather long waiting list. That maybe ok for a high end instrument, but I think for a first instrument people would want to get their hands on something fairly soon they'd go elsewhere or lose interest. I am keen on getting people started on a half decent instrument though, so hope to do my bit there.
  3. Agreed, something that the recording I reference attests to. There is a distinction between "sea songs" and "sea shanties" the latter being particularly for work requirements and even felt to be bad luck if sung on land, superstitious as sailors were. I think the distinction now is getting very blurred, and the OP notes the exaggerated connection between the concertina and the sea. However, this is how music lives and I look forward to the land based development of this art form, with or without concertina accompaniment, and great too if it results in a greater interest in the instrument.
  4. Hi Yohan, It might be something lost in translation, but I suspect you will not be able to make this "as new again". But hopefully playable and enjoyable for some small hands. First the reeds. Identify the problem reeds by taking the plates off (make sure you are aware of the order they go back, and mark up both the plate and the instrument in pencil if required). Press the button that has the problem note, looking at the reed side and see which pad lifts. Find the corresponding reeds on the plate. The "push" (exhale) reed is on the outside of the plate, the "pull" (inhale) reed is within the chamber. Look at them closely to see if anything is blocking the movement of the reeds. Gently press them with a wooden tooth pick into the slot by a small amount into the slot to see if they move freely. A small bit of dust or dirt is enough to prevent this. Look to see if the little valve is not in the way. If the reed snags on the sides of the slot this is another common problem. Get some very thin metal shim and use this between the reed and the slot with the reed depressed, in order to push it ever so slightly to one side or the other. If that's fine, make sure the reed is not too high above or too low in its slot. Compare with other working ones. Gently push the reed with the toothpick to set a new angle, be careful as it doesn't take much with this metal! Again using your trusty toothpick, you can try and straighten the valves by holding the attached end and running the toothpick underneath the valve with some pressure on top, which helps to bend them back to lie flat. This will help with volume and response. Secondly the bellows. As this isn't a very valuable instrument, some form of tape or even sticking plaster is okay to use to try and cover the holes, easiest to add on the external side. For a neater repair, small patches of thin leather can be applied on the inside, though getting to it may cause more damage if the material is brittle and you have to stretch the bellows out to do so. Alternatively, a whole new diamond shaped corner piece can be fitted from thin leather. Good luck with fixing this up, and I hope your kid enjoys playing it! Paul.
  5. Having learnt on a Stagi myself I can vouch for their suitability as a beginner instrument. I managed to pick up a second hand 30k for about £250 on ebay at the time, and it really did play very well, much better than the reports I get of other similarly priced new boxes, though I haven't tried a good many of them. I've tried concertina connection's accordion reed instruments in the past too, though not the Rochelle, but I was impressed by the quality. As for range, I would say a 20K is a very good start for a complete beginner. I started on a German 20K before graduating to 30, and it does help to get your head around the layout before adding the more confusing row of accidentals. Also, I doubt there are many shanties that you can't play entirely on a 2-row, even if you have to transpose the key. I ship my own tutor model anywhere in the world, though it probably adds around £70 in shipping and taxes. I'm finding adding a few additional buttons to the 20K to give a bit more flexibility is proving popular, e.g. a 22-26K range. I will check your feed on Reddit out, it sounds good and nice to see there is an increase in interest. I can also definitely recommend this 1979 recording: "on deck and below" by Tom Sullivan, it has lots of shanties, tunes and songs on a variety of instruments, all recorded on board a working ship. Mr Sullivan himself plays a Bastari (i.e. Stagi) on the recording, which were popular on the boats as they were less valuable than English made concertinas. Certainly sounds good to my ears!
  6. Good to hear from you Dana, thanks for your reply, and others in the forum too. This is the stainless grade I'm currently experimenting with: https://www.materials.sandvik/en-gb/materials-center/material-datasheets/strip-steel/sandvik-7c27mo2-flapper-valve-steel/ It really does shear very smoothly and straight, once I figured out to leave the reed strip on the LH (static) side of the shear! I think there is an equivalent from Voestalpine, including a new one called "flap-x" that looks to be harder-stronger-faster-better, but perhaps not necessarily so for concertina reeds. When I did my initial research the sandvik looked similar in properties to UHB20c, i.e. a bit better on hardness, tensile strength than 1095, which as you say I've also found doesn't hold its set as well. The shoes are 3d printed in 316L, which I understand is pretty good for "marine" applications, however interested in what you and others say about galling. I chose 304 for the clamp fixings as I found a source that said the corrosion would be minimised by mixing of alloys. I have no idea though how the 316L will react with the reed steel over time though. The nice thing about the 3d printed design of the shoes is that I can experiment with a variety of materials. The design of the shoe doesn't require tapping for bolts so I can try out new tech and materials such as technical ceramics. As for rounding of the reeds, I'm most likely to end up with a few with rounded edges as I definitely need to work on my filing technique, so it's a comfort to hear from you and others that it may not be so critical to the overall performance. In my experience to date I'm finding that the profiling and clearances have the greatest effect on the reed performance of course, with other improvements perhaps only giving marginal gains, not to mention allowing various manufacturers to claim a benefit for commercial reasons!
  7. Thanks all, really interesting discussion as always
  8. Indeed! If there was a way to vibrate the reed outside of the shoe, then it would be virtually noiseless. I was thinking of starting with using shot only, with some detergent perhaps, but not abrasive paste or finer grain material. Really relying on multiple impacts on the metal to promote hardness, rather than it being a poishing operation per se, which I'd do more efficiently with micromesh files. Sorting them out again afterwards sounds a nightmare, unless I can scratch a number on the spare length at the base. Those tumblers seem a lot of money for what they are, I might set about making my own.
  9. Hi Alex, I was thinking to profile, set and tune the reed to within 20 cents say, then take it out and tumble it before resetting and fine tuning. I was imagining any operation would probably affect the tuning, so there would need to be some fine tuning afterwards. However, if I did end up with round edges I guess I could do some tumbling earlier in the process on an overwidth reed, then file back to a clean edge. Are there any other things concertina makers employ to make there instruments sound more played in to begin with? For example, a device that sounded a reed at a steady (or even programmed to be varying) pressure constantly for several hours might be beneficial (as long as it was in a sound proof enclosure or far from habitation!)
  10. Thanks Clive, I'm definitely for experimenting. I'm actually using 3d printed stainless steel shoes for these, which is working out very economically at the moment, around £5 per reed.
  11. Thanks Jake, I did appreciate that a sharp edge underneath was critical. One thing blue tempered spring steel isn't good for is not rusting - my initial line of enquiry was trying to make a high quality instrument more resistant to a marine environment. I'm interested in why stainless is not recommended, does it have other disadvantages or is it just not as good in terms of sound quality? I'm getting what I'd describe as a very pure tone in experiments, with a very good response at low pressures, but maybe not the harmonic depth of some non-stainless reeds. However, I also have a very non-standard shoe design, and have a lot to learn on profiling, so many factors at play. I will no doubt post some updates as I go.
  12. HI All, I'm experimenting with making reeds from stainless steel, the kind that is normally used in compressor valves. I know a few others have tried this and there have been some previous topics. The data sheet for a particular alloy I have brought has this advice: "A good tumbling operation giving a round, smooth edge is necessary in order to minimize stress concentrations. Tumbling also increases the residual compressive surface stresses which gives a significant further improvement in fatigue properties." In terms of concertina reeds, does anyone have any experience of tumbling the reeds post working? The increase in fatigue performance sounds welcome, if not really necessary, but I'm wondering if it has any effect on the sound, i.e. acceleration of the normal work hardening by playing = mellower initial sound. Also, rounded edges sound to me like bad news for a reed, but that depends on what sort of radius you could expect to be left with, as I doubt it will knock a lot of material off, especially if the shot is of a softer metal. What are your thoughts - is it worth the investigation? Paul.
  13. Hi Notemaker, I love the idea that instruments are somehow living and breathing, with their own characters, especially apt for concertinas. My Crabb that I have just sold was from the late 40s, and it also had what I would describe as a sweet musty scent, which I put down to the old leather on the bellows. I can't remember it being strong enough to fill the room though, or if it improved depending on how well I played! I wonder if this is a function of the type of leather they were using in the post-war period, as the older Lachenals I have owned certainly don't smell as nice! Paul.
  14. Hi Notemaker, Since the last posts I decided to rebind my Crabb for its sale, on Dave and others advice on this post that other leather fixes could be problematic. I'd be interested in knowing how you get on. I enjoyed your other post you refer too, and wonder if a rebind would mask the pleasant smell of the bellows you refer to. Paul.
  15. I agree with that. I'm sure you and your neighbour make a wonderful duo. I think classical/folk musicians have a lot to offer each other. That is also my favourite Bach suite, if it's the one in Eb major that you meant?! I think your neighbour might have transposed it to a more concertina friendly key perhaps? I would love to hear it on the concertina.
  16. Glad to hear it. Usually that means the pads/bellows/gaskets have been intact for long enough to protect them, as then the air within the instrument is sealed off to the outside. Good luck with your restoration, you certainly have your work cut out!
  17. Amongst the various things I dabble with (concertina making etc.) I also compose a little when I have the inspiration to. I've long been interested in adding to the concertina repertoire and think it could hold its own in an orchestral setting, and I know there are some concerti written already. With that in mind about 6 years ago I started sketching for a concertina concerto, and now have a first movement of sorts. If you are interested you can hear it in robot orchestra form here: https://pistachiodreamer.bandcamp.com/ The concertina sound is provided by the midi harmonica patch, which is probably the closest equivalent but I am aware it is a pale comparison to the concertina! It started with the opening power chords, which sit really well under the C/G anglo fingering. I definitely can't play it all yet, it gets pretty virtuosic towards the end, but is feasible in principal. I belong to a local amateur orchestra, as a cellist, so might try and give it a go in the future. Hopefully by the time I learn it we'll be rehearsing again. I'm well aware this won't be everyone's cup of tea, I'd describe my style as classical/post minimalist. I sometimes use folk elements, but there's not any folk influence to speak of in this particular piece. I'm interested in writing for different instruments for different movements, e.g. I might write the second movement for a G/D. I would be interested in any feedback, however critical, and your thoughts on the concertina in an orchestral setting.
  18. if the casework is in this sort of condition, how are the reeds?
  19. When I first started messing around with concertinas I bought a few of these, and for my first scratch built instruments I cut the reeds from the combined reed plates to mount individually as per a modern hybrid. The reeds are so small I managed to get a 30k in the same size box as the 20k you've spotted there. You can then build a traditional action around it and nice bellows. Possibly a waste of time but it got me started anyway!
  20. There were a lot of these cheap imitations made, though I've not seen the slightly smaller size. It makes sense given the reeds on shared plates don't take up a lot of space. Four end screws and the button angle and material are the giveaways, along with the leather tooling in this case too. This will definitely be prettier on the outside. Since the insides are somewhat important for the function as an instrument, in my opinion it's overpriced, and it's likely to be in a strange key and not at concert pitch. You may be able to get a restored 20k Lachenal with brass reeds for a similar sum, which would sound and play a whole lot better, but it is cute and collectable nonetheless.
  21. I've got a very similar issue by the sounds of it. I've used the furniture clinic for wood restoration before and their products were very good, though haven't tried the leather products yet. I was thinking of buying a repair kit - https://www.furnitureclinic.co.uk/leather-care-products/leather-repair has anyone had any experience with using leather fillers on concertina bellows?
  22. Hi All, I'm thinking of selling a 1940s Crabb, 30K anglo, metal ends. Currently it has all black leather bellows, no tooling. Two questions, does anyone have thoughts on whether vintage instruments sell better with the bling factor of bellows papers, and if so what would be an appropriate style for a Crabb? I'm minded to sell as is, though I have had an experience where I have sold a restored instrument on ebay, only for the buyer to add papers and sell it for considerably more (than it was worth, in my opinion!). Thanks, Paul.
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