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Ptarmigan

Advantages of a raised ended model?

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I've just been asked this question, over on The Irish Concertina.

 

Can somebody please tell me what are the advantages of having raised ends on the concertina?

 

They are just about to order a Suttner & can't decide whether to go for a raised ended model or not.

 

I have a raised ended model myself, but have never actually had it side by side with a flat ender, to be able to compare them.

 

However I'm sure Wheatstone had a good reason for making their Aeolas ... & charging so much extra for them. ;-)

 

Can anyone point out, in layman's terms, why they are superior?

 

Cheers,

Dick

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A very good question Dick!

From a mechanical/asthetic view point; the raised end allows the bushing support for the buttons to be placed further up the shaft of the buttons whilst the side walls of the ends can be of a shallower height. Thus the instrument looks neater while also maintaining the stability of the keywork.

 

The raised end is also stiffer and stronger than a flat end, especially on a metal ended instrument and therefore the support blocks that are normally under the flat fretwork can be dispensed with which might allow the ends to vibrate, or 'Ring' a little... which might add to the overall tone.

 

From the manufacturers point of view, originally, it will add value to the instruments and create a range of products which would be seen in a marketing sense to be a good thing.

 

A person goes into a shop to buy a produce. The assistant shows the customer all the products that match the customers request.... the customer then asks " what is the difference between the lowest and the highest priced item because other than the packaging or colour they all look equally capable?" The shop assistant answers "The price".

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I think the only significant advantage is aesthetics. They do look beautiful, probably because of the curves on the end-grill. However, from a player's point of view, I can see none. By raising the area around the buttons, the fingers must arch back more to access the buttons, and unless the handles are also raised this would make the instrument less comfortable to play. It may also make it more likely that the area around the buttons may get marked up by the finger nails if the buttons do not protrude sufficiently above the surface of the grills. But they do look good.....

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Hi Guys To be honest reading the available Wheatstone literature “short touch and rapid articulation “ I thought raised ends was just a sales gimmick ,but just one day playing the raised ended version in comparison to the flat ended it’s so much easier to play it quite unbelievable I do mean “a massive difference” not just a slight improvement

 

Your fingers seem to flow naturally and depressing two buttons together with one finger for say an um –pah F to Fmaj7 chord is suddenly so easy also its almost effortless, it’s like powered steering the end result is pretty much the same but the effort required to achieve it far less

 

The hand position is actually more as your hands would naturally rest and returning to the flat ended version I can see my hand requires a less natural approach to play and returning to the raised ends is just so much more comfortable

I’m sure this would certainly reduce the possibilities or RSI and as I have a pre-existing wrist injury the reduction of effort is a great plus

 

Very few things in life do exactly what they say on the tin LOL

 

Fortunately this is one of the exceptions

 

Tony

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I agree with Frank. I'm assuming that we're talking about Anglos. My first concertina was an early Suttner (#48) and it was a raised end Linota model -- even though I don't know if there was such a thing when Linotas were new. The height of the palm-rest was too low given the raised center section and I was constantly fighting with it. My fingers had trouble arching back -- especially for the G row which is closer to the palm-rest on Wheatstones than it is on many other brands. The low F# was particularly tough to reach with my big hands. The problems went away when I got my first Jeffries -- a 28 button C/G from Paul Groff. Possibly, a taller palm-rest would have helped, but I always found the ergomonics uncomfortable.

 

If you really think you want a raised end concertina, my advice would be to find someone with a raised end model and try it out first. And confirm the key dimensions with the maker before you commit. Otherwise, flat ends are the way to go.

 

Ross Schlabach

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Dick,

 

I have both flat and raised end Suttners (38 button). The raised metal end C/G dates from 2004 and it took a long time to get used to playing with the lower relative height of the rests, especially when playing standing. (They should really be called “lowered edges”, and not “raised ends”!) I thought about making higher rests, but that would have also increased the distance from the corner of the hexagon (where your palm sits) to the rest, which when you’re playing standing, is quite critical. The flat, wooden end Bb/F, I’ve only had for 2 months, but it’s such an improvement in sound, response and ergonomics, that I’d not go for another raised end model. I did have a chance to compare like with like, at the last German concertina meeting, when somebody else brought a Suttner 38 flat metal-ended C/G along. I preferred the sound of theirs to mine, but it was also a newer instrument, and I guess the grass is always greener :-)

If you want encourage them to drop down to our concert in Lewes on 1st of April, or come to the German meeting in a few weeks time, they can try both…

 

Adrian

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There was another thread about this a while back. One smart fellow explained that the raised ends also give less corner space inside the action box for the sound waves to bounce around in, so a raised-ended box will tend to have a slightly brighter sound, as the higher harmonics aren't quite so muffled by the ends.

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Hi Guys Gals it must be different on Anglos ? I just measured the wheatstone duets and the palm-rest height is higher on the raised ends to compensate for the raised ends height “wouldn’t like to have to say it fast” LOL

Tony

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Thanks folks.

 

I sent them the link to this thread, which they found very useful.

 

Then they posted this comment:

 

I got to try a raised end concertina yesterday and I found it very comfortable compared to my old Lachnel.

 

So, all's well that ends well! B)

 

Cheers,

Dick

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Hi, I have a slightly different question about raised ends.

Does anybody know how the wooden ended ones are made?

 

Is the wood steam-bent, or are they carved that shape?

 

I have an old Lachenal Edeophone with broken Ebony ends, and I was going to have replacements made in rosewood, as it's less brittle when it gets older.

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Hi, I have a slightly different question about raised ends.

Does anybody know how the wooden ended ones are made?

 

Is the wood steam-bent, or are they carved that shape?

 

I have an old Lachenal Edeophone with broken Ebony ends, and I was going to have replacements made in rosewood, as it's less brittle when it gets older.

 

 

I do not think it would be possible to reliably "steam bend" either Ebony or Rosewood. The Ebony ended models were sometimes

Ebonised Pearwood, or something similar, which 'might' have been pressed into that shape.

The real question for you is how to have the replacements made.

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Hi, I have a slightly different question about raised ends.

Does anybody know how the wooden ended ones are made?

 

Is the wood steam-bent, or are they carved that shape?

 

I have an old Lachenal Edeophone with broken Ebony ends, and I was going to have replacements made in rosewood, as it's less brittle when it gets older.

 

 

I do not think it would be possible to reliably "steam bend" either Ebony or Rosewood. The Ebony ended models were sometimes

Ebonised Pearwood, or something similar, which 'might' have been pressed into that shape.

The real question for you is how to have the replacements made.

 

i would have Andrew Norman make new ends.

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Hi, I have a slightly different question about raised ends.

Does anybody know how the wooden ended ones are made?

 

Is the wood steam-bent, or are they carved that shape?

 

I have an old Lachenal Edeophone with broken Ebony ends, and I was going to have replacements made in rosewood, as it's less brittle when it gets older.

The ends are made of a laminate and pressed to shape in a mould. If you want a fancy veneer on the outside you can make sure this is applied at this point.

Ebony ends were usually ebonized wood - probably pear.

I made the new raised ends for the concertina in my avatar.

Be aware though forming the ends is one thing, cutting out the fretwork is a very long job, and getting the button holes aligned correctly is critical.

Edited by SteveS

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Hi, I have a slightly different question about raised ends.

Does anybody know how the wooden ended ones are made?

 

Is the wood steam-bent, or are they carved that shape?

 

I have an old Lachenal Edeophone with broken Ebony ends, and I was going to have replacements made in rosewood, as it's less brittle when it gets older.

 

 

I do not think it would be possible to reliably "steam bend" either Ebony or Rosewood. The Ebony ended models were sometimes

Ebonised Pearwood, or something similar, which 'might' have been pressed into that shape.

The real question for you is how to have the replacements made.

 

i would have Andrew Norman make new ends.

and before I did that I'd ask Chris Algar and anyone else who's been in the business a while if they have a set of ends for the appropriate size of edeo. They aren't going to have wood ones but there's an outside chance that for a few calls you might find some metal ends. (I have a spare set of ends for my 72 Aeola that came from Chris A, for example.)

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Many thanks for the advice.

 

I'm pretty sure that the original ends are ebony, solid not laminated.

As they are broken, you can clearly see the clean broken edges, and there is no sign of layers, or of dying. They are pure black, all the way through. Ebony is known for brittleness as it gets old, so it's no surprise.

 

But I have no plans to use the same again. My main problem is getting the raised contour right.

 

I'm planning to make some rough ends, just to get it playing again, and do a good job on the proper ends.

That's a good idea about looking for some s/h ends though, I'll give that a go.

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Many thanks for the advice.

 

I'm pretty sure that the original ends are ebony, solid not laminated.

As they are broken, you can clearly see the clean broken edges, and there is no sign of layers, or of dying. They are pure black, all the way through. Ebony is known for brittleness as it gets old, so it's no surprise.

 

But I have no plans to use the same again. My main problem is getting the raised contour right.

 

I'm planning to make some rough ends, just to get it playing again, and do a good job on the proper ends.

That's a good idea about looking for some s/h ends though, I'll give that a go.

I make no claims for this being the "right" way to do things, but my method of repairing broken raised ends is to start with a piece of rosewood a little thicker than the original. Having made a pattern and cut out the replacement piece on the scroll saw, I glue it into place so that it stands a little proud, then sand it back to the correct profile. If it's a black end, any irregularities where old meets new can be filled with Loctite 4105. If not, a good deal more care is needed in the fitting of the replacement piece!

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I make no claims for this being the "right" way to do things, but my method of repairing broken raised ends is to start with a piece of rosewood a little thicker than the original. Having made a pattern and cut out the replacement piece on the scroll saw, I glue it into place so that it stands a little proud, then sand it back to the correct profile. If it's a black end, any irregularities where old meets new can be filled with Loctite 4105. If not, a good deal more care is needed in the fitting of the replacement piece!

 

Yes, me too. I would add though that before cutting the patch I always trim the edges of the missing area to create a simple shape with straight edges, which simplifies the process of fitting the patch.

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Agreeing with and adding to David and Theo's comments, I'd say it's always best to make the gaps as small as possible but to fill any gaps there are, I use the sawdust (or sanding dust) mixed with Titebond as a filler. The result is slightly darker (not always), but blends in to look like a grain line on rosewood and doesn't stand out like a sore thumb even on mahogany.

 

In a response to the original question about the worth of raised ends, they certainly look good, and they can contribute to a reduced overall weight for the concertina which could make the feel better for some. It's possible that the tone might change slightly as the distance from the fretwork to the pads would be very slightly shorter, but I wouldn't think it's as significant as the difference between wooden or metal ends (or even the difference between two ostensibly identical concertinas)

 

I've recently restored a Jeffries with raised ends and metal hand rests which were totally shot so I had a bit of a job to make sure that the handrest-to-button height felt good, but I feel that's not a difficult adjustment (I had a different problem with a similar machine where the distance between the metal handrest to the first button row was too small - in that case, a raised handrest made it a lot easier than the original)

 

Alex West

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