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BCarveth

Solution To A Breathy Note

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For some months I have had a reed (an f) that was breathy to the point of almost not sounding. My instrument is a George Case, something like 1855. With a friend I took off the end cap and we inspected the chambers. Ultimately we glued back some chamois And the instrument seemed a little improved. This was some months ago. Problem returned. Much worse this time. I took it apart a few weeks ago and really didn't see anything. Started studying up using the concertina repair book I have (Elliott) and decided it must be a valve. Went back inside yesterday morning and the valves looked just fine, but I noticed that the valve stop pin for this same problem reed was pointing the wrong way. I touched it with a small piece of wood and found that it wasn't really attached at all. So I made a new one out of the end of a low banjo string, sharpened the end a bit and pressed it into place. Finally, the f was brought to life. It now has a bright sound (maybe even a little brighter than some of its neighbors).

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Well done,

 

breathyness in a reed can come from various causes, one is slow and stiff valves, and if a loose or incorrectly placed valve pin is causing a valve to fail to move evenly then you have a root cause solution. The other thing to check is the gapping, or set, of the reed. The clearance between the underside of the reed tongue, and the top of the reed frame or shoe. especially at the tip portion of the reed. Too bigger gap and you have breathyness and aslowness to start, to narrower gap and the reed starts quickly but is muted. No gap or minimal gap and the reed can stall and make no sound at all.

 

So again, well done

 

Dave

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