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Interior Baffles In George Case Tina


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I recently bought a rather nice old George Case treble English from the Boosey & Ching period (around 1859). See my web page with pictures and description. I was surprised to find hexagonal wooden baffles fitted to the inside of the reedpan, facing into the bellows. Having read around I find that George Case and some other early manufacturers did this. However it was soon stopped, presumably because they were found unnecessary. So what is the modern feeling - are they useful? They do add to the weight of the instrument, and as they can be easily detached (three screws each), I am wondering about removing them for now (but keeping them safe to replace).

 

Comments on the pros and cons of such baffles, and on the general history and construction of this instrument.are welcomed.

 

Regards,

Paul.

 

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What a beautiful instrument!

 

I don't know about baffles (which I think have been extensively discussed here and there on this site) but I have a question about the reed plans. Were they divided on both push and the draw, or was this a glitch in the photos? And if they did have compartments on both sides, was this typical of the period?

 

I realize that these questions are not about baffles, but it seemed appropriate to ask them here.

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I recently bought a rather nice old George Case treble English from the Boosey & Ching period (around 1859). See my web page with pictures and description. I was surprised to find hexagonal wooden baffles fitted to the inside of the reedpan, facing into the bellows. Having read around I find that George Case and some other early manufacturers did this. However it was soon stopped, presumably because they were found unnecessary. So what is the modern feeling - are they useful? They do add to the weight of the instrument, and as they can be easily detached (three screws each), I am wondering about removing them for now (but keeping them safe to replace).

I think it's wrong to call these "baffles", as they aren't placed between where the sound is made and where (most of) it exits the instrument. Instead, they form the "covers" of the chambers on the "under" sides of the reed pans. The key here is the doubling of the chambers, not any muting of sound.

 

I remember that a friend of mine had one of these many years ago (I think it was late 1970s). One difference is that her cover plates were not screwed on, but simply laid on the usual corner reed pan supports and then held in place by the geometry and the pressure of underside partitions once the reed pan was in place and the ends screwed on.

 

As I understood it at the time -- though I don't remember the source of the information -- these doubled chambers had been an attempt to balance the tone (also response?) between the pull and push reeds, and that it was likely abandoned because either 1) in reality there wasn't enough difference for most listeners to notice or 2) simpler ways were found to get the same result.

 

I don't know about baffles (which I think have been extensively discussed here and there on this site) but I have a question about the reed plans. Were they divided on both push and the draw, or was this a glitch in the photos?

I don't see what you seem to be describing... or else I'm not understanding what you mean. There are still two reeds -- push and draw -- in each chamber. But each pair of reeds has an enclosed chamber on each side of the reed pan.

 

And if they did have compartments on both sides, was this typical of the period?

If so, it was a very brief period. No, I think it was an experiment by a few makers (how few?) that never made it significantly into production.

 

I realize that these questions are not about baffles, but it seemed appropriate to ask them here.

Absolutely, since as I said, they aren't baffles, though there is some similarity in appearance.

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I played this instrument when visiting Simon Skelton recently and can testify to it's sweet playability, however I did not look Inside, shame. If I had examined it internally I would have paid more attention to any différences between In and Out notes. :rolleyes:

 

Sounds like it has gone to a good home, congratulations Paul!

 

Geoff.

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I played this instrument when visiting Simon Skelton recently and can testify to it's sweet playability, however I did not look Inside, shame. If I had examined it internally I would have paid more attention to any différences between In and Out notes. :rolleyes:

 

At least as relevant, I think, would be for you to listen for any differences between in and out on your own unisonoriic (English and duet) concertinas, to see whether there is any noticeable difference where the chambers aren't doubled. I'm pretty sure the doubling was not an attempt to create differences. I suspect it was a solution to a "problem" that didn't really exist except in theory.*

* Or maybe the problem existed for only a few very sensitive ears? I'm reminded of a fiddler/violinist at a country dance who politely but firmly told me to stop playing along on my "new" concertina, because I was out of tune with her violin and the piano. No one else, including myself and the pianist, had noticed anything uncomfortable. Later measurement showed that my concertina was apparently tuned to A441, which left me wondering how she could stand to play with any instrument that was tuned to equal temperament.

Edited to correct where I originally said "bisonoric" but meant "unisonoric".

Edited by JimLucas
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I played this instrument when visiting Simon Skelton recently and can testify to it's sweet playability, however I did not look Inside, shame. If I had examined it internally I would have paid more attention to any différences between In and Out notes. :rolleyes:

 

At least as relevant, I think, would be for you to listen for any differences between in and out on your own bisonoriic (English and duet) concertinas, to see whether there is any noticeable difference where the chambers aren't doubled. I'm pretty sure the doubling was not an attempt to create differences. I suspect it was a solution to a "problem" that didn't really exist except in theory.*

* Or maybe the problem existed for only a few very sensitive ears? I'm reminded of a fiddler/violinist at a country dance who politely but firmly told me to stop playing along on my "new" concertina, because I was out of tune with her violin and the piano. No one else, including myself and the pianist, had noticed anything uncomfortable. Later measurement showed that my concertina was apparently tuned to A441, which left me wondering how she could stand to play with any instrument that was tuned to equal temperament.

 

Ah, yes ,Sorry Jim,

I should have said "lack of difference" or different to the normal set up.

 

I notice, as I'm sure many of us do who play unisonic squeeze boxes, a preference for playing certain notes on push or pull... notes for emphasis (or not.).. suggesting that we may recognise these differences in tone or volume but had not necessarily related it to the internal construction of the instrument.??

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Ah ha! I see where I went wrong. I didn't focus on the word "interior" and just thought about conventional baffles, between the reed pan and the fretwork. Now it all makes sense. I can even see, looking at the photos more carefully, there there isn't a usual baffle.

 

What surprises me is that the instrument could get enough air to make much of a sound.

 

Mike

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My own "aha!" here, as I hadn't looked carefully at Paul's photos before responding. After all, I remembered what it looked like. (Which is the "oops!" smiley? :unsure:)

 

Turns out my friend's instrument wasn't quite the same. On hers the hexagonal plates covering the underside chambers extended to the full width of the reed pan, hence my description of how they were held in place and also why the screws affixing Paul's weren't necessary. Instead of a gap around the edge to let air through, there was a separate hole for each chamber/reed pair, more or less equivalent to the pad holes over the normal chambers. Like the pad holes, those holes varied in size with the size of the reeds/chambers, but my memory says they were sort of teardrop shaped rather than circular... maybe a circle the same size as the pad hole with an additional angle cut away to make the teardrop shape? (My memory isn't precise enough, but that would fit, and it makes sense.)

 

What surprises me is that the instrument could get enough air to make much of a sound.

And so the answer to your surprise is that, if you can get enough air through the pad hole, then you can certainly get enough air through a second hole that's at least as big. The teardrop-shaped vents on my friend's instrument were that, and the gap around the edge of the cover plates in Paul's concertina appears to be even more so.

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http://www.concertinamuseum.com./CM00191.htm

 

I can't scroll down the pictures on my tablet, but from the description, this one has the teardrop baffles

Not just your tablet, I suspect. My browser shows 2½ photos with lots of blue space below. By simply moving my hovering mouse cursor (not the usual click and drag) over the images I can scroll the three photos to where I can see the whole of the bottom one while the top of the top one is "chopped". But no more pictures than the three, and none of anything internal.

 

I agree that the description matches the instrument my friend had, and I do believe that was also a Case.

 

Oh, but please don't call them "baffles". That's not what they are. Like parachutes and umbrellas, there may be a similarity in appearance, but the function is quite different... Mary Poppins not withstanding. B)

 

Edited to add: Oh, wait! To see other images, one needs to click on the various links describing the appropriate parts. In this case, clicking on "Bellows" should get you these images. The top one shows the chamber cover plate inset into the end of the bellows. The bottom one (scroll with the mouse cursor) shows the bellows from the outside, where it can be seen that the ends are deeper than usual in order to accommodate the double chambers.

Edited by JimLucas
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Thanks for all the comments. If I don't call it a baffle, what do I call it? Presumably its supposed function is to act as a sound reflector and help form a resonant cavity.

 

Sorry to mislead about the differences in reedpan construction from normal - I was concentrating on the existence of the 'baffles' that I hadn't seen before, and ignored the fact that the reedpan is double in that it has divisions into 'chambers' on both sides. I'm used to seeing that appearance from one side, so it didn't stand out.

 

So to confirm, it has the usual paired reeds for push and draw, but each pair is enclosed by vertical walls on *both* sides of the reedpan. The baffles form the 'top' of these chambers on the bellows side - the padboard forms the 'top' on the outer side.

 

There is plenty of space for air to get in/out round the edge of the baffle - it is a good half inch smaller than the padboard all round.

 

As such, I suspect it is the doubled reedpan that adds more to the weight than the baffles, so there is probably not much to be gained by removing them (and maybe a loss of tone). When I have an excess of time (rare), I may do some experiments.

 

As a further exercise to the reader, can anyone interpret the cryptic pencil writing on the padboard?

 

Regards

Paul.

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Paul,

 

I have seen and worked on maybe three of these before. Your ' baffle is actually a chamber resonating board or plate, acting as the pad board does on the outer face chambers to enclose the resonating chamber. The more usual format is that the the resonating plate is not screwed to the reed-pan, as has been commented upon above.

 

The last one of these I saw had three sets of reed pans, philharmonic, modern and a continental, Berlin?? The owner must have been a professional who traveled around and simply switched pan sets to suit where ever he was playing. The whole thing, with spare pans, were housed in a very deep hex box.

 

Dave E

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