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Rattling Reeds

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I'm a new player (one month in) so this may be a dumb question. I have a Jackie EC which I really enjoy playing but I've noticed that alot of the reeds seem to be rattling a bit while sounding :huh: . A low frequency rattle (or very slow buzz) like someone shaking a pair of dice in a cup. I've taken the ends off and cleaned the exposed side of the reeds I've got shiny reeds now but the rattle remains.. :( .The valves look ok, nothing warped, torn or missing and the action looks ok too although I'm not sure what I should be looking for...anybody ever experience this condition? How did you resolve it? I searched through the forums but didn't see any reference to 'rattles' in the reeds. I'm not sure how old this Jackie is since I got it used but maybe I should consider upgrading these reeds and checking it over real good while I have it apart. <_<






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Hi Linrose,


I'm no expert, just a person who fixes my own Stagi Tenor-treble 56 key concertina quite often (it's 5 years old and gets a very rough life), and am trying to enhance it in various ways.


- Can you posts a few photos of the insides of the concertina to help us muse about possible rattles?


- Can you record the rattle so we can hear what it's like? (Maybe use the Windows Sound Recorder, or mobile phone, or do a video and post it into YouTube, explaining the situation.




Bruce Thomson in New Zealand.


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Hi Linrose,

I am very sorry that the Jackie is giving you problems. I never noticed "rattling" reeds when I played it.

It is somewhat over four years old. I bought it used in November 2010 from the Button Box; they said it had been a rental for a few months before they sold it to me.


I have had the "rattling" happen occasionally with my vintage Lachenals. I think it is related to low humidity. If the heater has been running in your house, it can make the air too dry for a concertina.


You could send a message to Concertina Connections who made it. They might know what to suggest.

Best wishes in resolving the problem.


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It is not the reeds that rattle, but the unbushed buttons of your Jackie. And this was so annoying for me after purchase of my Elise, that I have modified it within two weeks of delivery…


Unfortunately there is not much you can do about it except for entirely replacing the buttons. The problem is caused by those thin and light metal strips that form the base of the buttons, which tend to vibrate on the levers due to air vibration and rattle on the levers. This is a big design flaw of concertina-connection entry level instruments, strangely happens only to some batches of those instruments or only some of buyers find it annoying. But it is definately button-related, as it has vanished completely after button replacement.

[A quick edit] What you could try to do besides replacing buttons is to cover the end part of levers with some sort of silicone paint - a layer thin enough to easily go through a hole in button posts, but thick enough to dampen some of the vibration. Or you could try to bush only endplate holes with a thin felt, but this may require redrilling the holes to a bit larger diameter - the felt bushing holds buttons a bit and this may be enough to dampen any unwanted vibration.
Edited by Łukasz Martynowicz
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You could also try this: http://www.plastidip.comin it's liquid (not spray) form. It creates a thick, elastic, rubbery paintcoat, that should dampen the vibrations well and you won't risk greasing everything inside your concertina, but I'm not shure how thin coat you can achieve with this, as I have used it only in completely unrelated project.

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Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll try a humidifier first and then investigate the base of the buttons...BTW, I think the Jackie is a great starter instrument it feels very solid. I look forward each day to playing it...I must be improving since the neighbors have stopped calling the SPCA...


Thanks again,

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To amplify what I wrote earlier, this is what Wim said to me in an email:


"The buzzing noise is caused by the button and lever : You can put a small amount of synthetic grease on the lever where it meets the button. An other option is to glue a thin strip of plastic or even paper on top of the levers. Just make sure there still is enough play in the button/lever joint."




"The problem with an unbushed action is that the vibration of the reeds cause the button to vibrate on the lever. The clearance between them is about 0.1mm.

Usually there is only one or 2 buttons that vibrate.
If you shim the levers make sure the material is thin and allows the button to move back and forth. If the joint is too tight, the button will prevent the pad to close all the way.
There are 3 ways you can dampen vibration in a metal action (all used for decades in the accordion industry)
1 shim with paper/plastic
2 apply some grease
3 glue foam type material on the buttom, making sure it also touches the lever."
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I think there is one other way: you could glue a piece of thin plastic (preferably a foamy one) on the button plate itself (not the lever), and make an apropriate hole in it with a sharp, thick needle. The plastic will warp around the needle and fit snugly into existing button hole, imitating exactly what a felt bushing does.


As Don, I and Wim (the very maker of the instrument), have said - the problem has nothing to do with reeds or humidity.

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