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Purchasing Reeds


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You didn't list Ciccarelli. You might want to sign up to melodeon.net, there is a forum there you could use and a number of people who buy reeds.

When we visited Castelfidardo 2 years ago Ciccarelli's published address was a private house .... and no-one answered the door.

 

Binci showed me dual 'accordian' reeds on a brass frame ... and single reeds on aluminium frames ... both were said to be current and available ... assuming I understood what was said! An interesting experience .....

 

Richard

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  • 1 year later...

Hi All,

 

I'm a harmonica hacker and player, interested in all things free-reed.

 

This is an old thread, but I'd like to reactivate it to ask a couple of questions. I'm wanting to make harmonicas using accordion reeds, and need to buy them in specific pitches as single reed plates. It seems Harmonikas Louny are an excellent option, and so are Cagnini reeds from CGM Musical. A couple of other options I'd like your opinions on:

 

1. Has anyone here bought Hohner accordion reeds from their online shop?:

http://www.hohner-cshop.de/en/Accordion/Parts-Accordion/Reed-Plates/

 

Lots of pitch and length options there, acceptable prices and I imagine the delivery is pretty swift. Hohner harmonicas are great, but what about their accordion reeds? Any comments?

 

2. I've made a couple of test harmonicas with reeds taken from an inexpensive Chinese-made Scarlatti 30 button concertina that I bought from Pip Ives for parts. The reeds are no doubt not up to Italian/Czech quality, but still seem pretty good. I'd love to know if it's possible to buy Chinese accordion reeds directly from the Chinese makers in single sets. Anyone know if that's possible?

 

If you know of any other sources of single reed plates that one can buy and receive quickly (aside from dismantling old squeezeboxes, which is a good option too, though a bit of a waste of the other bits), let me know.

 

Cheers, Brendan Power

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Brendan,

 

I notice that "Accordinas" whilst being something between a harmonica and an accordion tend to use reeds made of Stainless Steel for the obvious reason that saliva will quickly rust the steel normally used for accordion reeds.

 

perhaps a look at www.accordinas.com could prove interesting....

 

Other than that I don't have an answer to your question,

best of luck with your project,

 

Geoff.

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Yes Geoff, that's been the received wisdom for ever: you can't use spring steel reeds in harmonicas because they'll rust. But I don't believe it would be a serious concern if you let the harmonica fully dry after playing, before putting in a case or box. I guess the manufacturers can't take the chance, because a lot of players would not take the right care of steel-reeded harmonicas and the reeds would rust, and then they'd get complaints.

 

There is one harmonica brand with stainless steel reeds: Seydel, made in Klingenthal, former East Germany. They get their reeds and reedplates made by accordion reed makers Harmonikas of Louny, just across the border in the Czech Republic. You can see the Seydel reedplates on their website here:

 

http://www.harmonikas.cz/en/other-production/job-order-pressing#obsah

 

Condensation can and does cause rust in concertinas and other bellows-blown boxes, so it's not a specifically harmonica issue. The reed makers put on a light anti-rust coating on the reeds. With some basic care I believe steel reeds will not give any more trouble in harmonicas than they do in squeezeboxes. But I'll have to see how that works out in practice, as I'm only just starting this project.

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BTW I know the Accordina well. When I worked for Suzuki Musical Instrument Co, they asked me to buy one on their behalf for evaluation, and I took it apart to see how it ticked. They have a very sweet tone

Edited by BeePee
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Well, it sounds like you know more about it than I, Brendan.

 

Perhaps if you had a system where you could 'wash and dry' your instruments after use, to clean off the sugars and acids in Saliva, it could prolong the life of the Steel reeds ?

 

As I recall it was said that Larry Adler used special made Hohners that had steel reeds..... don't know if that is true.

 

Hope you find what you seek,

 

Geoff.

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Actually there is a very high-end 4 octave chromatic harmonica made with steel reeds already, Franz Chmel's very impressive NC-64:

 

http://www.chmel.at/nc64/specification.html

 

http://www.chmel.at/nc64/test-report.html

 

I haven't tried one, but his reports on the reed life are incredible, Machining the reeds longitudinally (along their length) is key, and something that virtually no other free reed manufacturer has done AFAIK.

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I'm surprised to hear that harmonica reeds usually break frequently. I wonder why. When you say the reeds are cut longitudinally, do you mean they follow the grain of the steel (the direction in which it was rolled)? I believe that is how concertina reeds are normally made. A maker on this forum recently mentioned that he is getting good results with an alloy spring steel intended for industrial reed valves.

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The counter bore "chamber" on the high output reed is on the back side of the reed, not the top. Do these reeds have any back relief on the windows or are they just accordion reeds in concertinas shoes? Accordion reeds have little to none, concertina reeds generally have significant amounts, which according to Steve Dickenson helps them respond at lower pressures. This has also been my experience. I think Steve got that from a Wheatstone factory person when he was learning how to make concertinas.

I would think this gouge might make setting the reeds difficult. They don't do this on any accordion reeds I've seen, so I wonder why they did that on this reed.

Dana

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I'm surprised to hear that harmonica reeds usually break frequently. I wonder why. When you say the reeds are cut longitudinally, do you mean they follow the grain of the steel (the direction in which it was rolled)? I believe that is how concertina reeds are normally made. A maker on this forum recently mentioned that he is getting good results with an alloy spring steel intended for industrial reed valves.

Perhaps they mean the tuning or profiling marks follow the length of the tongues and are not across the reed. Every reed I've ever seen has been cut with the rolling grain.

Those grind marks can be focal points for fracturing, and brass reeded harmonicas may be more sensitive to this. Concertina reeds sometimes break, but many last as long as their instruments as long as corrosion or bad tuning practice doesn't set up a local stress riser. The key to any spring design is to keep the level of bending below the point where deformation becomes permanent.( when work hardening starts)

Dana

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  • 2 years later...

Obviously more than one person agrees with you, as that's the price they reached at auction.

They are Lachenal, there's no mystery about the quality. Except that these have been very well serviced, going by the description.

You might still have to fine-tune a reed to get the best out of it though, after fitting.

And the fact remains that they are probably a hundred years old, so you don't know what sort of life they've had, or if they've had a lot of tuning.

 

I agree, it's not a surprising price for a single reed. But for a bunch of forty, which few people would have an immediate use for, I was surprised. But to a repairer, who is more likely to use them all, I guess it's a good buy, potentially saving a lot of work.

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