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Strange Sound From Reed

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Hi all I have an English concertina,opened it up to sort out a slow responding reed (e on right) this worked ok but next day the button below (a on right) started to have a sort of growl to it the note is sounding good but it has this strange noise,I have opened it up twice but can't see a problem any ideas please.Ron

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It's hard to diagnose the trouble without hearing the strange sound in question, but the first possibility that springs to mind is that the reed shoe isn't snug in its slot. There are one or two notes on one of my concertinas that tend to need attention for this reason when the humidity drops in the winter. If a paper shim inserted around the reed shoe eliminates the noise, that was the problem. Keeping the instrument well humidified can prevent a recurrence.


Bob Michel

Near Philly

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Adding to what Bob said:


  • This only applies if it’s a traditionally made concertina with real concertina reeds.
  • You may not need the paper shim. A good press with the thumb pushing the reed into its dovetail joint may well do it. If it happens repeatedly with the same note, then start thinking about shims, but as this happened after manipulating the adjacent reed, it may have been knocked loose and not need a shim.
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Could be a valve too. Open her up and take a look. If you lift he valve up and release, it should slap down smartly. Well, that's ideal anyway.


Does the valve for your bum note seem different from the others in this regard? Fuss with it and make sure the valve is seated over the hole evenly and not in danger of falling in. By fussing with it you start to employ the fuss factor. A mysterious but effective principle in repair of all types where if you fuss with the mechanism; it often repairs itself.


Put her back together and see if that helped. If not, replacing a worn or faulty valve has often worked for me when a note sounds funny with a strange growl.

Edited by Jody Kruskal
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