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?-Fold Bellows


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This is probably a stupid question, but hey, I'm stupid, so here goes.

 

Since acquiring my concertina about 2 months ago, I've done a lot of looking at pictures of

instruments, both here and in other places on the internet.

 

It's clear that there are a lot of 6-fold (and more) bellows instruments about - my instrument

is 5-fold.

 

What are the advantages/disadvantages of having more (or fewer) folds in the bellows? There

are some obvious answers to this question, but are there more subtle reasons for having more

than 5-fold?

 

For example, do 'budget' instruments, using accordion reeds need more air (and therefore

more folds), etc?

 

Finally, what are the 'best' materials for the bellows - leather, parchment, paper, high-tech

sailcloth, 'plastic'?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Roger Hare

Edited by lachenal74693
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As a novice player myself, I recently bought a Rochelle Anglo. One of the reasons I bought this "beginners" box was because it has 7 fold bellows compared with other budget models which have less. It just seemed a better design. I have learnt since that more folds equate to more air in the bellows.

 

interestingly, I am coming from a Melodeon background where nobody mentions how many folds are in bellows, perhaps because good Melodeon technique is to use minimum bellows movement.

 

BTW, I see you are based in Brixham. Are you aware of West Country Concertina Players who have regular workshop days Nr Taunton? Also look up Folk Orchestra of Torbay (FOOT), one of WREN Music community groups.

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Melodeon bellows are easier to make because they have 4 right angled corners instead of 6 x 120 degree corners. They need more air because they have multiple reeds per button. I imagine that the cost of the bellows is a small part of the cost of a melodeon. However, it is quite a job to make concertina bellows (even more so for the 8 or 12 sided models) and it must have a significant effect on the cost.

 

It is not just the number of folds that matters, but also the depth of the folds and the size of the instrument. Deeper folds will allow the bellows to stretch further. If the instrument is half an inch bigger across the body, the volume of air it contains will be substantially greater. Better reeds will take less air to make them sound, and so on.

 

How much bellows movement you need depends on a number of variables including the type of music you play, whether you play across the rows, how good you are, how loudly you play, etc.

 

On the whole, more folds implies a better instrument, but it is only part of the story, in much the same way as a 750cc motorbike is not necessarily faster or more powerful than a 500, but it is likely to be.

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Style of music to be played is significant. Two, three or four note harmony/chord work will of course consume proportionately more air than a single note melody line and in those conditions bellows technique becomes that much more critical on an Anglo.

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>BTW, I see you are based in Brixham. Are you aware of West Country Concertina Players who have

>regular workshop days Nr Taunton? Also look up Folk Orchestra of Torbay (FOOT), one of WREN

>Music community groups.

 

Thanks - I'm aware of both these groups and am hoping to go to the next WCCP workshop, which

will be early next year, I think.

 

Roger

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The bellows are composed of ''ribs" made of card stock, hinges made of leather and cloth, and gussets made of leather as well. The exposed surface of the ribs after construction is covered by decorative or plain papers or in some cases leather. The purpose of the "papers'' is more than cosmetic. They act along with the starch in the adhesive to seal the cards.

 

Edited for grammar.

Edited by michaelpier
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>BTW, I see you are based in Brixham. Are you aware of West Country Concertina Players who have

>regular workshop days Nr Taunton? Also look up Folk Orchestra of Torbay (FOOT), one of WREN

>Music community groups.

 

Thanks - I'm aware of both these groups and am hoping to go to the next WCCP workshop, which

will be early next year, I think.

 

Roger

 

The WCCP residential weekend for improver and more experienced players is March, the beginners weekend is in October. I can recommend both having attended both weekends this year, not as a player, but to provide repair workshops and a running repair service. However I did get chance to see what was been done at all levels within the playing workshops. It was impressive and, irrespective of system played, there was something to engage and help virtually all players or aspiring players.

 

The March workshop is being set up now, the tutors are appointed and the booking is in progress. The WCCP has a finite capacity at these weekends, so if you are interested, do not leave it too long.

 

 

Dave E

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