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tomlaw90

"accordion" Reeds Vs. "concertina" Reeds

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Now if we could get some of the makers who actually make their own reeds to post here as well.

Colin has told me that the reason he avoids the Internet is because he think he would spend too much time on it if once he let himself go, and the business would suffer. I'm sure I speak for everyone on the waiting list when I say: the fewer distractions the better. :)

 

One maker who does post here from time to time of course is Geoffrey Crabb.

 

Chris

Edited by Chris Timson

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Why has the concertina reed lasted so long when the accordion reed is so much cheaper? This is one of the reasons, perhaps the main one. Accordion reeds are much larger than concertina reeds. Mr Norman would be very hard pushed to make a 40-button anglo using accordion reeds and keep it to a normal size. Making an English or a duet would be just out of the question - that's why the Morse Albion has a reduced buttton count.

 

Chris

What about that 52-button Hayden duet Bob Tedrow showed off on the forum and on his website? Although there wasn't anything in the photos for scale, it didn't look abnormally large.

 

Bob - are you listening? What's the size spec on the Hayden?

 

Tim

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I have one on the bench now, it is smaller than the first Haydens I built.

 

I don't have the dimensions on me, I am in my jammys drinking coffee.

 

I will get the information up later.

 

Bob

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In the case of the Haydenovskaya, of course, the approach was different again, with lots of reeds all affixed to one large metal plate. This however appears to have foundered on a lack of appropriate machinery to cut holes in the plate (unless this has changed, Samantha?). I'm surprised no-one else has picked up on this idea.

 

Chris

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BILL: "When I get all of them I will definitely take some time and do a detailed comparison of all the instruments."

 

FRANK: The pressure is on! Actually, Bill, I was doing work on your instrument just yesterday. I have been meaning to contact all the people on the waiting list. I have just starting to make a new design "angled" reed pan based on a concept I saw on one of Colin Dipper's concertinas. Obviously it is not a copy as reed pans with Italian reeds are quite a bit different than those with English-style reeds, but it is based on the idea, and it works. It gives a purer tone than a standard reed pan, although a bit more labour involved. Tom Lawrence as well as Jim Henry just got concertinas with this design. If you, or anyone else on the waiting list would like your concertina upgraded with this new design reed pan, please contact me.

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I don't have the dimensions on me, I am in my jammys drinking coffee.

That is sure to keep you awake - maybe you wanted (or should try) real tea, or hot milk?

 

- john :rolleyes:

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Definately coffee in the morning,

 

Cabernet at night.

 

The Hayden I am working on is 7 1/4" across the flats. It is an eight sided concertina.

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Concertina or accordion reeds...does it matter? For me no longer. Each instrument I have had a chance to play or listen to has had a different voice.

 

For almost a year I've owned an Albion. For a good six months before I ordered it I hesitated over concerns about the reed and wax issue. All water over the bridge now. Do I miss my long gone 1921 Wheatstone? Yes, a first love. However, I am smitten with my Tina. A strong, beautiful tone that reacts to any requirements I have as to piano or forte playing...and speed...wowzah!

 

Most weeks I attend a seisuin and sit beside an older gentleman with a tiny, beautiful 1861 Wheatsone. The instruments compliment one another very well as do we. Frequently durning an evening we switch instruments and oh what an exquisite grand dame he owns, but I prefer to get my tart Tina back in hand after a couple of tunes.

 

What type of reeds or makes the two of us play seems of little concern to the other musicians. They can certainly tell who's voice is doing what though.

 

My hat's off to Mr. Morse for his fine concertina.

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My hat's off to Mr. Morse for his fine concertina.

Or maybe (to revolve things): Hats off for Mr. Wheatstone who made concertina's more than 100 years ago that almost sound like those of Mr. Morse :huh:

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Well Mr. Wheatstone was not trying to emulate the sound of a vintage 1990's/21st century instrument when he made his so perhaps its disingenuous to turn the tables :)

 

That being said all of this though really reflects the opinion I have expressed a couple of times which is that many of the new accordion reeded instruments are so good that calling them mid range instruments really is hardly appropriate. In quality, speed or response, etc, they are fully the equal of most high end free reed instruments; only when based on the very specific definition of tone and using traditional concertina reeds to these instruments fall short of being high end instruments.

 

--

Bill

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Fair enough! Would I like to own a vintage Wheatstone again? Yup! Three teenagers under my roof and one starting college in the Fall preclude any such foolishness (which is how my dear wife refers to my present concertina as she smiles shaking her head).

 

With what they (antique concertinas) cost now I'd be reluctant to play it vigorously as is my want or or let it leave the house for fear it would come to some damage or worse.

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Bill,

 

I have made a few 31 button anglo concertinas but nothing larger in an anglo yet yet. No reason other than no reason.

 

Bob

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Rich:"The reason why players prefer the Dipper may be due primarily to the better response of the concertina reeds. There are Dippers which are "less harsh" and "fit in better" too. "

Frank:At the risk of offending some concertina makers of "vintage-style" concertinas, no one makes concertinas like Colin, or ever has, for that matter. Without question, Colin makes the best concertinas that have ever been made, IMHO. However, I'm not sure that the concertina players that Tom surveyed were referring to response, but to Dipper's tone, which I believe, noone has surpassed. However, there is the all-pervasive prejudice that purists cling to that having two reed tongues per rectangular frame somehow makes them less responsive than a single tongue on a tapered frame. (I wonder if Tom's test was a "blind test"?) It all depends on how they are ground. I would certainly agree that accordion reeds intended for full size accordions may require a bit of effort, comparitively, to make them work, especially if they are not the premium hand-made reeds, but if they are ground differently they can be more sensitive than most anglo reeds found in old instruments. The tolerances between the best hand-made Italian reeds is closer than most antique reeds because of advances in technology. The "springiness" or resiliency of the steel in the reeds I have made for me surpasses all but Jeffries of all the antique concertinas. After 20+ years of tuning and repair I've seen many vintage concertinas. That leaves tone, which is a very subjective matter, and as someone has already said differs from instrument to instrument even from the same maker. That everyone will have to decide for themselves.

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Yes, Tom's survey was toward tone rather than response, and I grant that modern accordion reeds can have great response - in many ways exceeding that of many vintage concertinas....

 

One *part* of the response I'm concerned with is the RANGE of response. I have yet to see any accordion reed that will start and sound with as little air as a decent concertina reed.

 

A simple test would be to position the same pitch accordion reed and concertina reed against a test bellows and apply pressure until one or the other sounds first. A more sophisticated test would be to graph the air pressure sound volume at which both will start and on to wipe out. When installing the reeds against the test bellows the concertina reed should be complete with its pan and the accordion reed can be naked (the concertina reedpan acts as an extension of the concertina reedplate or shoe.... The accordion reedplate assembly is complete).

 

Of course playing softly or having all the reeds "start" at the same time at low pressure is not how many people tend to play, so this sensitivity property may be moot for many traditional dance music players.

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Hmmm.... Now that I've written that about reed sensitivity, I should add that there *are* ways to make accordions reeds more sensitive to low pressure by using concertina vent-profiling techniques and reed tongue resiliency adjustments. These (and other) tweaks are refinements TO accordion reeds (reedplate assemblies, actually) which some concertina makers are using to elicit better response.

 

And the more I think about it, this follows the course of this hybridizing trend. Not only are the carcasses constructed along vintage lines, but now accordion reeds are hybridized towards concertina design too. At some point rather than hybrids being a clear species, the better ones will creep into the realm of vintage concertinas.

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