Jump to content

Reeds In Dot & Comma Aeolas!?

Recommended Posts

Due to my mistake on my concertina-for-sale-list a disccussion came up as to what estabishes an Aeola!?

I have both an early six-sided dot & comma treble and a baritone Aeola. Would they have the typical long-scale-reeds?

Some people say that the late eight-sided Wheatstone concertinas shouldn't be called Aeolas any more ( even though that's what the late price-lists say )!?!?

Edited by conzertino
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To this I might state the obvious Robbie,


which is ' Aeola is just a word' ... Concertinas are just concertinas.


I bought a 'dot & comma' treble in 1975 for £8 in a 'musical' junk shop, I was very pleased with my purchase and used it to learn how to tune reeds :o !! Yes, I was young and ignorant back then but, as I recall, my method of finding modern pitch was by comparing with the reeds of my TT Aeola. So, I can be fairly certain now that the D&C's reeds were not as long as those in my 1927 Octo. If it had reeds that were longer than a normal Hexagonal 48 I do not recall.


A couple of years ago I did a comparison between several Aeolas with regard to their 'Long Scale Reeds' trying to see why one instrument produced a very different voice to another. I discovered that although there may be a standard for a certain model, at any particular period, there were variations in reed sizes used for different types of Aeola. My researches were not too comprehensive as I did not have access to a lot of Aeolas at the same time but I could see that the size of the reeds may relate to their use or the desired voice intention.


As a quick example the low reeds of a MacCann duet 31529 are noticably longer than those in English Baritone/Treble 31518.... this could be because the much larger duet has the space for 'full sized' reeds but I think the reed lengths had been chosen for their purpose and tonal balance.

Edited by Geoff Wooff
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since I'm not familiar with Aeolas (or even Wheatstone) in any way, I can only add that the Lachenal pricelists were promoting the Excelsior (former top-model, apart from the Amboyna finish of the Non-Pareil) as follows:


...tempered steel reeds, broad scale...

which may indicate that the scale of the reeds had been generally regarded as kind of a quality feature by the customer back then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Any chance of some photos of the dot a d comma aeloa's you have acquired?

I had only been aware of the treble versions, although the existence of Baritones makes perfect sense. Deeply envious! But this does give me hope of finding (and possibly)affording one.

Jt would be really interesting to hear some sound files when this is possible - not least to get an idea of how reed type and the peculiar ends interact for the final sound. Ibave a standard treble aeola from c.1900 (missing ledger period) which I find has a particularly mellow tone compared to later aeola treble - probably as Geoff suggests relating to intended purpose.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 1927 67-key Maccann duet (serial no. not to hand) is listed in the Wheatstone ledgers as "octo" but is hexagonal. However, it appears to be built to "aeola" standards. I assume the reeds are the same as if had been octagonal, but if anyone is interested in comparing reeds with a similar "true" aeola I'm game...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my limited experience with reeds from a variety of related ( Wheatstone) instruments, the different ranges get different reed " scales" if you could call it that. A Tenor Treble English might share the same reeds as a 48 button treble, but a baritone of the same quality won't use the same reeds where they overlap with the low end if the other instrument because the low reeds are just too powerful and they need more powerful higher reeds to match. In something like a larger duet, even if the low reeds are downsized, they are still poorly balanced with the upper reeds, and other methods are used to subdue them.

As far as I can see, the only reason for using shorter scale reeds that require more tip weight, is either to save space or have some advertising point to sell a more expensive instrument. The low reeds are where the bigger difference is. The size of the scales converge at the upper end anyway, and the longer less tip weighted reeds are more responsive and better sounding. I do know that whatever I may think, the people who made these instruments knew what they were doing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...