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Joel Trenalone

Duet Baffle

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Hello,

I just purchased my first Concertina (32b Crane Duet) from Greg Jowaisas. Great buying experience, and am really enjoying learning.

 

I just wondered if anyone has any suggestions for baffle material. I have read the well written article by Robert Gaskins. I would love to purchase the goat skin, but am not quite ready to put out $100 for a piece of skin at the moment. Perhaps sometime in the future.

 

Is there any alternative material that works well that is not so pricey? I tried a piece of corrugated cardboard just for experimentation, but apparently it is too thick and pushes one of the valves open.

 

Im willing to experiment,

Thanks,

Joel

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Hello,

I just purchased my first Concertina (32b Crane Duet) from Greg Jowaisas. Great buying experience, and am really enjoying learning.

I just wondered if anyone has any suggestions for baffle material. I have read the well written article by Robert Gaskins. I would love to purchase the goat skin, but am not quite ready to put out $100 for a piece of skin at the moment. Perhaps sometime in the future.

Is there any alternative material that works well that is not so pricey? I tried a piece of corrugated cardboard just for experimentation, but apparently it is too thick and pushes one of the valves open.

Im willing to experiment,

Thanks,

Joel

I used the kind of cardboard that comes on the back of a writing tablet on the left side of my CC Peacock, and a piece of manila folder material on the right side. They both work great for mellowing the tone. I can't say that they made it a lot quieter, though.

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Boy, did I read the thread title wrong. I was looking for a duet version of the song in Deliverance!

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JimR :)

 

David, thanks for he article link. I read that in detail, and I throughly enjoyed his detailed research.

 

I will eventually put out the money for the goat skin (wish I could purchase in smaller size), as it ends up being around $130 total with goat skin and silence material.

 

But I was just wanting to try something a bit cheaper in the meantime.

 

I actually may try the corrugated cardboard and cut wider around the buttons so as not to interfere with the action, and see if that appreciatively reduces the volume.

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They sell sheepskin chamois cloth at most hardware stores for waxing cars, etc. It has varying degrees of thickness/flexibility at a cost of $5-10. It is usually treated with fish oil, so a bit fishy smelling, however, I imagine there are ways to reduce/eliminate that. One piece should be big enough for a baffle on both ends.

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When I experimented with this, I got some goat skin on ebay. It was a cheap piece because it had some flaws in it, but there was a concertina sized area that was nice. Of course I could have gotten fleeced, I don't know enough about leather to distinguish goat skin from anything except cow hide. But it seemed to do the job.

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David, thanks for he article link. I read that in detail, and I throughly enjoyed his detailed research.

 

Might be worth knowing that the author (Bob G) is the guy that invented PowerPoint. Made zillions selling it to Microsoft. I once had dinner and a session with him and a few other concertina players at a friend’s house.

 

When I experimented with this, I got some goat skin on ebay... Of course I could have gotten fleeced...

That’s a joke, right?

Edited by David Barnert

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I wouldn't get too fussed about the leather. Any soft leather that won't shed bits will very likely be fine. The thing with baffles (using the method that I originally worked out with Colin Dipper's help and which Bob then took forward) is that they're easy to fit and replace. Try something and if it works you're quids in. If not then try something else, using the first set as your template.

 

Chris

 

PS it's a shame that Bob is no longer as involved in the concertina world as he used to be. He's a nice chap and has proved helpful on a number of occasions, as when he snagged the concertina.org domain for the ICA back in the days when I was their first webmaster.

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Hi Joel,

 

I wonder if there's a typo in your message? The smallest Crane duets were 35 and 42 buttons. I've never come across a 32 button.

 

You don't say why you're interested in baffles. The commonest reason for duets seems to be to make the bass side quieter because the treble can't be heard against it. If this is your reason you might be interested in my experience. In my time I've had three Crabb Crane duets (35, 48 and 55 buttons, but I've only got the 48 now). I also have a 42 button Crane & Sons (really a Lachenal). None of these suffers the problem of the treble being too quiet and I'm happy to play two- or three-note sustained chords in the bass against a melody. However when I got my Dipper it did suffer the problem of hearing the treble against the bass. I solved this with a leather baffle glued inside the bass end (with a small gap all round).

 

I though no more of it for years, but when I obtained the 55 button Crabb the penny finally dropped. All the notes, throughout the whole range, sounded at the same low pressure. My Dipper had been set up for morris dancing with higher pressure needed all round, but higher in the treble than the bass. The result was that at low pressure the treble didn't sound and at any pressure the bass was louder. So I took it to Colin and asked him to reset the reeds and hey presto - I could suddenly play quietly without losing the melody. I reckon I could do without the baffle now, but since it's stuck in I'm not going to disturb it.

 

Incidentally, it's also my experience that the bass/treble lack of balance is more noticeable to the player than to any other listener.

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Incidentally, it's also my experience that the bass/treble lack of balance is more noticeable to the player than to any other listener.

 

A good point!

 

When I got my 48-key Lachenal Crane/Triumph, I had the impression that the high G on the RH side got drowned out by LH accompaniments. I actually made a habit of thinning out the accompaniment when playing this note.

Then I made a recording of the Crane, and found that the high G came out just as clearly as the other treble notes. (The recording was made with the microphone pointing at the middle of the bellows, to give a true picture of the balance between the sides.)

 

Thinning out accompaniments is a Good Thing, even when there's no suspicion of imbalance between the sides, so I kept up the habit, extending it to other RH notes that didn't sound weak to me when playing.

 

FWIW,

Cheers,

John

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You don't say why you're interested in baffles. The commonest reason for duets seems to be to make the bass side quieter because the treble can't be heard against it.

 

My reason for installing baffles was to damp out some of the higher harmonics to make the tone more mellow. I've been much more satisfied with the tone of my Peacock with the baffles in place.

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There was a discussion of baffles for a duet just a few weeks ago, and that included mention of EVA craft foam sheets in the latter part of the thread.

http://concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=19626

 

I've not tried this, I just happened to remember seeing that thread. There is some mention in the thread that the foam is harmonically neutral, which might mean it makes the instrument quieter, rather than damping specific harmonics.

 

The foam itself is readily available in craft stores, at least here in the USA, in various thickness. For example: Joanne Fabrics lists online that they sell packs of 12 pieces for $7.99 in a variety of colors , each piece 12 inches x 18 inches x 2mm thick. I expect that they sell individual pieces separately for less than that, if you go to the store. One piece would be plenty to give it a try.

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My reason for installing baffles was to damp out some of the higher harmonics to make the tone more mellow. I've been much more satisfied with the tone of my Peacock with the baffles in place.

 

 

Ad that, of course, is the correct answer. If that's what you want baffles will do it a treat. A good example of when you might want to do this is if you want to accompany singing. If you try to control the volume of the left hand using a baffle then you'll have a concertina whose ends sound different, which is not ideal.

 

Chris

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If you try to control the volume of the left hand using a baffle then you'll have a concertina whose ends sound different, which is not ideal.

And yet, desired by some. There are at least a couple of examples of duets originally built with one metal end and one wooden end. Perhaps to make playing sound like a duet of two different instruments?

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Strange indeed!

 

I learned much more than I expected to from this post. Yes it is a 35 button crane, my mistake.

 

Little John:

Even before I received the concertina, I was looking into ways to quiet it as I was concerned about practicing in my house and disturbing others. But when I received it I was impresssed (after some practice) that I could play relatively quietly if I went easy on the bellows while playing melody with the right hand. But I did not anticipate how much more air the bass notes take when I started adding left hand accompaniment. This made it more difficult to control the volume, and it did seem that it drowned out the melody. So my mission changed to baffling the left side.

 

I did buy a piece of sheepskin chamois from the auto parts store and used it on the left side as a baffle, and it fit and looks good. It is hard to tell if the volume has decreased much. But as others mentioned, with some practice I am getting better at "thinning" the left hand.

 

So as mentioned by "Anglo Irishman" it seems the style of left hand accompaniment is really key to making it sound good (i.e. thinning). Although am going to still fool around with some different baffle material.

 

Thank you for all of your help. This is indeed a fun instrument.

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When Ron Copper (of the Copper family) was teaching himself to play the English his wife objected to the noise, so he invented the trouser baffle. He put each of his arms up one leg of a pair of trousers (i.e. from the bottom not the top) and wrapped the concertina in the top of the trousers. This, apparently, worked well. I have to say, though, that I haven't yet seen any evidence of the trouser baffle ever being used on stage or in a session.

 

Chris

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