Jump to content

Reed 'brightness', And Tongue Thickness

Recommended Posts

Hello good folks,


I have here a concertina of the cobbled-together and home-spun variety, for which I have the benefit two different sets of reeds.


The first is a set of worn out, poorly tuned, raggedly-valved reeds originally installed in a massive garish red and green plastic concertina-shaped thing. The second set are 'Tipo A Mano' melodeon-type reeds made by harmonikas.cz.


While they look the same (tapered tongues in blocks of aluminium with little plastic valves) the reeds out of the cruddy festive instrument sound much brighter and chirpier to me than the new a-mano ones, which sounds a bit fuller but slower.


While trying to work out why the first set of reeds sounded brighter (which is my preference), I noticed that the tongues seemed to be a touch thinner. Does anyone know if this this is a likely cause and effect?


Similarly, does anyone know if any of the reeds harmonikas advertise are made of thinner steel, or if it's possible to order any like this?


Kindest Regards,



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, the proof is in the sound.
And while the valves on the old set might be worn out, I doubt if that goes for the reeds. Unless they have been tuned time and time again, the steel is probably as good as when new.


I've always found melodeons with Czech reed ( i.e. Delicia ones ) to have a very nice tone. Admittedly not as "bright" as Hohner ones, although I would put it as less harsh. But a very "juicy" sound that I find superior.


Of course, what sounds good in an accordion might sound less so in a concertina.

I don't know the answer to the thickness question though.


If the metal is thinner for the same note, I would have expected the opposite, a less bright sound. But that's just a blind guess. It would depend on the contour as well.

Edited by Patrick McMahon
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A some Questions, are the reeds the same length for the same pitches and the same length to width ratio? Narrower reeds generally are not as bright. Clearance also makes a big difference with close fit reeds being brighter than ones with a wider gap on the sides. However, this effect grows more pronounced the closer the reeds get to the window wall gaps wider than a couple thousandths won't make much of a change except for increasingly crappy responsiveness .

Thinner reeds can reach maximum volume ( and brightness ) at lower pressures, stiffer ( thicker ) reeds reach their greatest brightness at louder levels. So up to the volume where thinner reeds max out, they will be brighter all other things being equal.

Heavier / stiffer valves decrease brightness. No clue how yours compare with each other but it doesn't take a lot of difference in valves to make a noticeable difference in tone. All of this presumes identical mounting and the same instrument since what reed plates are attached to makes a big difference too.

If you get the idea that a lot of things ( not all mentioned here ) have an effect on brightness, you can see how a specific answer for your case is not so easy to come by.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...