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Bring the Elise concertina into a new league


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Ubik: I thought that the person who will be doing the conversion started already… We discussed your request and I emailed him the blueprints.

 

Replacing the action does not have any effect on sound quality, only key pressure and action noise. You can only improve these parameters by installing a heavier (brass) action. Improvement will be around 10-15 grams of key pressure reduction. Noise reduction is too small to measure. Airflow improvement is minimal. All our entry models (Jackie/Jack/Rochelle/Elise) score >95%. I can name quite a few higher priced traditional and accordion reeded concertinas that don’t even come close to these values….

 

Stephen is right, ‘a mano’ reeds do not sound better per se. Reed quality classes relate to air flow resistant and harmonics they produce. Low end reeds produce less harmonics (less bright) and need a higher air flow value because of energy efficiency and reed resistance.

Example: If you want an instrument to sound round, not harsh/bright, and the air flow value is 75, you can easily use reeds that need a 50 flow value and produce less harmonics, since your instrument produces way more than the minimum that is required. If you install higher end reeds which need a lower air flow in this instrument, you will just get a brighter/harsher sound, and a big risk that the high air flow will choke your reeds, especially when mounted ampliphonicly.

 

That’s another misconception. Reeds mounted in blocks are not of lesser quality… In fact, it is the opposite. Besides the technical reasons such as air flow consistency, foot print, etc., block mounted reeds are the preferred construction in accordions and bayans. Just think of it, don’t you think the engineers that design $50.000+ instruments know what they’re doing?

 

Although we also use ampliphonic construction in our intermediate instruments (Clover anglo and the english and duet models that will be introduced later this year) the reason is cost related, not quality.

It is a lot easier and cheaper to lay the reeds flat on the reed pan, and is fine as long as you can prevent pitch bending or reed choking due to excessive air flow. If you own an accordion reeded concertina try playing a lower note fairly loud. If the pitch drops, or when the reed doesn’t sound at all, the reason is the amplifonic mounting, not reed quality. It is a sign that there is something wrong with the design of your instrument.

 

Frank: I get the impression that you think ‘a mano’ reeds are made by a person with a saw and file, making the reed and frame by hand. If I am correct, you need to book a vacation to Ossimo and take a tour through the factory. A mano means the reeds are machine cut differently and tolerances are slightly smaller than other qualities and they are hand finished/checked. Like I explained before, the result is more harmonics and energy efficiency related than sound. One more assumption, I understand that you use the wide vented frames Harry Geuns developed years ago for the Wakker-Geuns models. If I am correct, than the values of your reeds don’t even come close to the new reeds we use in the Rochelle.

 

Inventor: I agree with you that the action would improve with concertina buttons and bushing. The only problem is that it would almost double the price of the instrument. The action has proven to be very reliable. With 3000-4000 instruments over a 7+ year period the failure rate is less than 0.5%.

Even with the 7” frame there is no space for extra reeds. Believe me, there is a lot more to it than just stuffing reeds in an instrument.

 

Wim Wakker

Concertina Connection Inc.

Wakker Concertinas

 

"One more assumption, I understand that you use the wide vented frames Harry Geuns developed years ago for the Wakker-Geuns models."

No, I do not. Furthermore, I will not comment on the relative qualities of another maker's instruments. I apologise since my own previous statements seem to have violated my own rule. I certainly don't want to get into a p***ing match, as it can do no one any good.

 

"If the pitch drops, or when the reed doesn’t sound at all, the reason is the amplifonic mounting, not reed quality. It is a sign that there is something wrong with the design of your instrument."

That would explain why a lot of Jeffries and my Dipper drop in pitch when played hard? Perhaps they would have been better instruments if they had had their reeds block mounted?

 

"Frank: I get the impression that you think ‘a mano’ reeds are made by a person with a saw and file, making the reed and frame by hand. If I am correct, you need to book a vacation to Ossimo and take a tour through the factory."

Response:

No, I don't. This is the terminology of the maker, not me. I was not born in the back of a turnip truck. I know the process. I do take exception to the condescending tone of this statement, however. I suggest that out of professional courtesy, we cease any further comments in this direction.

Edited by Frank Edgley
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Geoff: I don’t know the range yet. I am still trying to decide which frame sizes to use. It is a compromise between number of reeds and quality of the lower notes…

 

Frank: I certainly did not mean to be condescending. I was merely reacting to your earlier remarks about reed banks and reed quality which were both incorrect. Also comparing accordion and concertina reeds, which are like apples and oranges, does not make sense.

 

Based on little bits of information I get from different people in this industry and people who play your instruments, I wondered if you were the one who uses the wide vented reeds Harry Geuns developed. If you don’t, I apologize if I offended you.

 

What I do not appreciate is judging our entry level instruments without any facts. I don’t mind comparing them, but please use real data. Like I mentioned, if you would have measured the reed performance in our Rochelles and compared them to your reeds, I don’t think you would have made those remarks. Besides, we do our very best at the Tianjin shop to make the best possible affordable instruments. We have very knowledgeable professional free reed engineers with years of experience fine tuning our production process. I don’t appreciate putting instruments down based only on the fact that they are made by Chinese workers. As you know I designed these instruments myself and we at the Concertina Connection stand 100% behind them, and the people that make them for us.

 

Maybe we should just start a thread comparing instrument performance data. Factors like air consumption, maximum reed amplitude, air flow economy/reed coasting, harmonics produced, pitch stability, equilibrium, key pressure, key travel, etc.. This is how instruments are normally compared, just like cars and other products: you compare measurable facts, not opinions. I am not going to start something like this, but if someone else does, I will be more than happy to include all our instruments, both with accordion and traditional reeds.

 

Wim Wakker

Concertina Connection Inc.

Wakker Concertinas

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I almost feel like it's my fault for mentioning accordion reeds at all. Anyhow, three cheers for civil discourse.

 

Maybe we should just start a thread comparing instrument performance data. Factors like air consumption, maximum reed amplitude, air flow economy/reed coasting, harmonics produced, pitch stability, equilibrium, key pressure, key travel, etc.. This is how instruments are normally compared, just like cars and other products: you compare measurable facts, not opinions. I am not going to start something like this, but if someone else does, I will be more than happy to include all our instruments, both with accordion and traditional reeds.

 

That would be amazing. I pledge a dollar to whoever will start this thread.

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I will not comment on the relative qualities of another maker's instruments. I apologise since my own previous statements seem to have violated my own rule.

 

Though your comments sounded more like they were about generic "cheaper concertinas from China and Italy" rather than any particular brand or design... :huh:

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Just think of it, don’t you think the engineers that design $50.000+ instruments know what they’re doing?

I'm not an expert in this particular field, but in general I have found that:

 

Individuals making high quality products usually know what they themselves are doing, but they don't necessarily know everything that their competitors are doing, much less all the potential consequences of all the different ways that things
could
be done.

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It never occured to me that the instrument in question was a product of one of our contributors to the forum. I should have known better. My assumption was that, like most Chinese instruments, quality, design, and playability are not their stong points. There is no reason to tar all Chinese instruments with the same brush. It's just that I have, personally never seen or played one. To be honest, I have never seen or played an Elise. I guess this was my error, as I was making an assumption, as to the causes for the post in the first place. Stephen is correct, in my making comments about,""cheaper concertinas from China and Italy" rather than any particular brand or design..."" However, I don't think I am alone in having made comments without the benefit of having actually played the instrument, but based upon playing instruments which may have something in common with the instrument in question. Just as some people make incorrect assumptions regarding Italian-style reeds, but have never tried them all.

I have played just about all of the current makes of anglos (with traditional style and Italian style reeds), and have my opinions of all of them based on actual experience. But as a maker, I think it unprofessional to discuss my opinions regarding specific instruments in a forum as public as this. Regarding concertina reeds vs Italian reeds being like comparing apples & oranges I would say that if they are both used in concertinas the basic points of comparison would be "how do the perform, and how do they sound?" There are vast differences in tone & playablility with concertinas using traditional reeds, and vast differences in playablility & tone with the various makes of concertinas using Italian-style reeds. I have been a staunch promoter of the very best Italian-stlye reeds, so my original comments have nothing to do with that style of manufacture. In fact, I use my own instruments, exclusively, when playing gigs, doing a recording for CDs, or playing by myself. This has nothing to do with "appearances" as most of the time no one in the audience can tell what I am playing. This, in spite of the fact that I do own a very expensive vintage-style instrument. So my comments, though not based on personal experience with that brand, had nothing to do with the style of manufacture.

Edited by Frank Edgley
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I will not comment on the relative qualities of another maker's instruments. I apologise since my own previous statements seem to have violated my own rule.

 

Though your comments sounded more like they were about generic "cheaper concertinas from China and Italy" rather than any particular brand or design... :huh:

 

Yes and I would like to add that having assumptions about the poor quality of chinese products is totally normal and legitimate. I'm saying that as someone who just spent almost 7 months in Vietnam, which is a direct neighbor of China. Even the chinese and vietnamese here will avoid using chinese or vietnamese products when they can and if they can afford it. All the bridges, boats, trains and major infrastructure is Western built. The airplanes here are flown (is that the correct conjugation?) by westerners only, and vietnamese or chinese pilots are not allowed to fly commercial flights.

 

I'm not commenting on the quality of the concertina parts in question, of course there are many exceptions to the rule, I'm just saying that assuming most chinese products are probably of poor quality is a valid assumption in my opinion.

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RE: comments by Azalin at 12:34 am

 

I sincerely hope that you have no idea of the prejudicial implications that comments like the ones that you've just expressed can have; and trust that you would not have articulated them if you did.

This sort of commentary, in my opinion, is unnecessary and out-of-place on this forum.

Generalized and unqualified commentary about parts and products is one thing. It is quite another when describing people, societies, and cultures.

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Yes and I would like to add that having assumptions about the poor quality of chinese products is totally normal and legitimate. I'm saying that as someone who just spent almost 7 months in Vietnam, which is a direct neighbor of China.

 

 

 

I sincerely hope that you have no idea of the prejudicial implications that comments like the ones that you've just expressed can have; and trust that you would not have articulated them if you did.

This sort of commentary, in my opinion, is unnecessary and out-of-place on this forum.

Generalized and unqualified commentary about parts and products is one thing. It is quite another when describing people, societies, and cultures.

 

Truth hurts when it's not politically correct. And oriental people only know to manufacture quality native things. Everything else is crap - with the exception of japanese and, to some extent, korean -.

Edited by Fergus_fiddler
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Yes and I would like to add that having assumptions about the poor quality of chinese products is totally normal and legitimate. I'm saying that as someone who just spent almost 7 months in Vietnam, which is a direct neighbor of China.

I sincerely hope that you have no idea of the prejudicial implications that comments like the ones that you've just expressed can have; and trust that you would not have articulated them if you did.

This sort of commentary, in my opinion, is unnecessary and out-of-place on this forum.

Generalized and unqualified commentary about parts and products is one thing. It is quite another when describing people, societies, and cultures.

Truth hurts when it's not politically correct. And oriental people only know to manufacture quality native things. Everything else is crap - with the exception of japanese and, to some extent, korean -.

I disagreed with some of the implications of Azalin's comment but thought that it represented a legitimate perspective. This one, on the other hand, is out-and-out racism. It's also factually incorrect in the concertina context. The Jackie/Elise/Rochelle concertinas are built by Chinese (not "oriental" people) and are much, much better than "crap".

Edited by Daniel Hersh
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It's not racist. It's a fact. Concertina Connection's instruments are made in China under Wim Wakker's especifications & control. My first 'tina was a Rochelle and I've not complain at all - for the price I paid, of course -.

 

On the other hand, chinese clones with 20 and 30 keys are crap.

 

So, please; don't follow the 'racist, fascist' path. It's overused & boring. Even if they were made by martians, I'll say they're awful.

Edited by Fergus_fiddler
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RE: comments by Azalin at 12:34 am

 

I sincerely hope that you have no idea of the prejudicial implications that comments like the ones that you've just expressed can have; and trust that you would not have articulated them if you did.

This sort of commentary, in my opinion, is unnecessary and out-of-place on this forum.

Generalized and unqualified commentary about parts and products is one thing. It is quite another when describing people, societies, and cultures.

 

What I'm stating here is the general 'feel' local people here have about chinese or local made products. You would be surprised at how many people told me to avoid the milk in small shops at it is probably chinese made milk, and all the jokes I heard about the vietnamese people about the quality of their own products. What you describe as 'racism' with your western mind is not racism here. Also, some of my input (but not all) comes from my vietnamese wife. Anyway, what I meant to say is the perception of poor quality products in China isn't only in the West, it's also in China and surrounding countries.

 

PS: I'd like to add that it's very shocking as a westerner to be around here sometimes. There is a perception that all whites are rich, and there is sometimes blatant racism from vietnamese against other vietnamese. For example, if you want to go in a club and there is a 20 minutes lineup, if you're white they will come and fetch you to go inside, bypassing the line up. Many restaurants in Saigon will even refuse to serve vietnamese, and vietnamese cannot legally enter casinos here, only western passeports are accepted. It is quite shocking, and left me feeling uneasy quite a few times. But I digress from the main subject, sorry about that!

Edited by Azalin
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