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Daddy Long Les

English Concertina Reeds - Same Tone Press And Draw?

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Playing my two English concertinas this morning I was struck by the fact that I liked playing identical phrases on different directions of the bellows to get a slight change in tone.

 

Then I was wondering should the press and draw reeds have an identical tone or should there be a subtle difference?

 

In other words, is the mark of a quality instrument the fact that you can't tell the difference between the press and draw reeds in respect of tone and volume or is that difference to be desired.

 

 

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I'll stick my neck out and say that on a quality instrument the tone and power of the notes will be the same on push and pull... all else being equal, which it rarely is and I'm sure there are people with fancy sound measuring equipment that can testify that air moving into or out of a squeezebox will produce varying results.

 

If you look at some of the youtube videos of accordeonists playing passages where they shuffle the bellows back and forth rapidly... I imagine that calls for a quality instrument that has been very well set up... but it is not then posible to detect a difference... is it ?

 

Playing phrases in one direction or the other is something I find myself doing but that is more due to fingering comfort or ease of emphasis etc.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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The reeds are interchangeable. If you fracture a reed and try to specify whether you want a press reed or a draw reed to replace it with, your supplier will think you're nuts.

 

That said, the fact that the flow of air is carrying the sound out through the fretwork on the press and into the bellows on the draw might introduce some variation in volume or tone quality, but I've never noticed it, either on expensive or inexpensive instruments. That has nothing to do with reeds, however, and the question, as phrased, specifies concern for reeds.

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Thanks for your answers to this question. I detect a subtle difference on the press and draw on my Lachenal in terms of tone which I like and thus makes a repeated phrase interesting played in different "directions".

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There is also the difference in response, the speed of response on push is always a tad faster than on pull. especially noticeable on some big reed double action instruments

 

Dave

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Chris Sherburn of Last Night's Fun once explained to me that he chose the pulled note in preference to the pushed one at certain key points in a tune because it gave him a better tone. Perhaps it's because of this that I think I can detect a difference - though not so great that I make use of it in my playing. He was talking about an anglo, so the two reeds were activated by different buttons, but the principle is the same. Of course the reeds are the same but, as David says in his second paragraph, the direction of the airflow (into or out of the bellows) may account for a difference.

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For Anglo, the difference in tone is often due to the location of the two different reeds - the ones under the handrest will often sound slightly muffled.

 

Gary

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Reeds of the same note can have different tone ( slightly ) if one has tighter clearance than the other, or is profiled significantly differently. The first is quite a possibility on a Lachenal which often have poorly made reeds mixed in with better ones. Since they share the same chamber on an English, position isn't a factor. The difference in attack as Dave mentions is a factor in perception and one that often leads people to prefer the draw direction for subtle expression.

Dana

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Reeds of the same note can have different tone ( slightly ) if one has tighter clearance than the other, or is profiled significantly differently. The first is quite a possibility on a Lachenal which often have poorly made reeds mixed in with better ones. Since they share the same chamber on an English, position isn't a factor. The difference in attack as Dave mentions is a factor in perception and one that often leads people to prefer the draw direction for subtle expression.

Dana

As a harmonica player, I often notice the similarity in the two instruments when I draw on the concertina even to the point of getting a slight bluesy bend in the note when I do.

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The tuning of the two reeds is also likely to be marginally different which might give the feel of a different tone, especially if played as part of a chord.

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The tuning of the two reeds is also likely to be marginally different which might give the feel of a different tone, especially if played as part of a chord.

 

Yes, but there's no reason to expect the difference to be consistent from one note to another with respect to whether the push is higher or lower than the pull.

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