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Alex West

Lachenal New Model English - Missing Reeds Or Air Button?

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I've just been sent a Lachenal New Model English 48 key treble for a bit of a tune-up. Nothing too serious, just a bit slow.

 

There's one curious thing though. Although the layout appears to be a standard 48 key treble English, both the push and draw reeds for the upper Bb6 (the "northernmost "button on the accidental row closest to the thumb on the left side) are missing, thus creating an "air" button. The slots are all there, ready for reeds but there are obviously no valves or valve pins (notes that high probably wouldn't have them anyway)

 

Was this standard, or might this be something that a previous owner has done (on the that that upper accidental was hardly ever used)?

 

I'm asking the current owner whether he wants to keep it like this or have me put in replacement reeds but I'm keen to know what the original might have been.

 

Alex West

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Probably not unusual Alex.

 

The temptation to provide an air button on an EC can be strong. I currently do not have one on my band/session English and have considered making a proper one but I have come across several with removed reeds oribablt for this very purpose.

 

I've just become used to pressing lots of keys when needing a silent closing of the bellows. One is, of course, supposed to plan one's playing to end a piece with a closed bellows!

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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Like Geoff I had established the workaround of pressing down lots of buttons to more or less silently close the bellows, but with increasing number of folds and overall volume of the (replacement) bellows the temptation would most likely rise (at least I positively have use for the - single - air lever provided by my Model 24 with seven-folds bellows).

 

Though the removal of a pair of reeds may be common I can't convince myself of such a solution having been provided by the maker himself back then - and I guess I personally would be bothered by the occurring gap, as there are no enharmonically surplus reeds available in the highest register - however unlikely the usage of the particular reed may seem; but this may be a sort of foolish thing).

 

Best wishes - Wolf

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I have met a few players who have removed a pair of reeds for this purpose. They did retain the reeds in case they were needed by themselves or a future owner.

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Just to clear this up; it's my concertina and for years I have removed these reeds on my instruments to create a breather button. I have never needed this note so it does not limit my playing. I keep the reeds so that they can be re-installed by a new owner.

 

Alex, please keep it as it is.

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A perfectly good ploy I've used it myself, though I prefer the top high D sharp, on the right hand side:

 

1. Outside row, very last, so I can find it even with my eyes closed

 

2. It has an enharmonic mate, E flat, on the left hand side, if needed.

 

3. I never have been able to sing that high so don't really miss it.

 

4. No lasting damage.

 

Les Branchett

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I regularly get 'tinas with missing reeds like this, some times on the compress side of the reed pan only. Every time I see it I tend to wince, the instrument is not complete anymore, there must be a little goblin with a stack of matchboxes all with either one or two reeds in them. I have a Rock Chidley baritone on the bench with just this issue, what happened to the reeds all those years ago? back to my Goblin Theory.

 

Dave

Edited by d.elliott

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If Dave is regularly seeing 'tinas modified like this it would seem that players want this feature. It may be orthodoxy that you should finish a piece with the bellows closed but I have certainly never been able to achieve this and find the removal of a never-used reed the solution to closing the bellows without an unseemly squawk. I have no qualms in doing this to make the 'tina play as I want but I do keep the reeds in the case against future need. I do wonder how many players ever use this Bb; can we have a straw poll? I don't think I have ever played above the C below this, it's squeaky bat territory.

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I never thought I did ,or would, go up so high but one of my favourite EC's is a Baritone /treble that does not have the top row of buttons of a 48 Treble , and now and again I miss those notes.

 

The air button on the English appears to be a 20th century addition... it probably was not thought necessary before, and appears to ,perhaps , have started some time after the 'Bowing Valves' idea..

 

I have a 120 bass accordion that was made without an air button ! :blink:

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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