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Tuning up or tuning down

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mdarnton, I gave your friend a call and left a message.  The estate sale is through "Juanita" but they left no Phone #.  It's listed under estate sales on Albany Craigslist. It's rainy here so I'm thinking of taking a ride back up I'll get a #.  If the sale ends he should be able to contact them as they are acting as agents.



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19 hours ago, wunks said:

Inventor You have complicated my life considerably!  I just looked at the Jeff on Theo's facebook page and it appears Identical.  Unfortunately, I'm knee deep in instruments right now as I just yesterday stumbled across an estate sale of a wonderful folk instrument luthier.  I bought what I could and may go back today.  No one seems interested in Dulcimers (hammered and  mountain), Autoharps and such even at rock bottom lawn sale prices.  There's even a stack of Piano keyboards and 2 barns full of air dried instrument wood billets.  Off topic but I mention it in case anyone is near Utica NY and has an interest.  It's probably all going in the trash bin after today.  The address is 237 Daley Road, Frankfort NY.


Wow! Hope somebody manages to save it, particularly the wood. That stuff is getting harder to find.

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I re-visited the sale yesterday and got a # for the estate managers: 315- 894-3262 or 315-717-3673 Juanita Bass.  I discussed the wood with mdarnton's Luthier friend David and he declined to make the 5 hour trip so as far as I know it's still available although the sale itself has ended.  To clarify:  The Instrument builder's name was Carl E. Latray who is listed as a builder of Dulcimers and other folk instruments.  His workmanship, judging from the examples at the sale and some of which I was able to purchase, was exemplary.  The wood appears dry and is stickered in 2 small barns.. as an estimate there are approx. 8 or10 4x8' stacks.  most of it is in short billets which are numbered on the ends.  Much of it appears to be pine but it's hard to tell.  The sale lists hardwoods as well and his instruments would speak to this.  There are also a couple of stacks of thicker live-sawn crooks and such.  I would say it's worth a call if anyone is fairly close by.

Perhaps Concertina.net should host a "Heads up" forum for such things of general interest.  I feel a bit guilty for clogging up this thread.

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Cool.  It's amazing to me that where I live we are surrounded by 2nd and 3d growth hard and softwood forestland where one can sell hardwood logs as fire wood and make more $ than selling to a logger by the standing board foot and yet a 3/4"x5"x6' Oak board costs $50.00 in a big box store.  Band saw mills are a cottage industry among the Amish here but they're mostly sawing Hemlock, White pine and Larch for outbuildings and other farm use.  I did pick up a truckload of Amish sawn Walnut slab firewood for free and it contained several pieces of heart wood.  Go figure (pun intended).

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On 7/21/2018 at 12:20 PM, inventor said:

There is a method often used by Melodeon repairers to tune the reeds down a little; by adding a tiny drop of solder (the old flux cored type at one time used for soldering components to a printed circuit board) to the tip of the reed. This has the advantage that it is reversible with virtually no damage to the reed. I expect that there are  several people shouting "no no no" to this suggestion; but perhaps you might consult one of the repairers of both melodeons and concertinas. Theo Gibb of Newcastle upon Tyne immediately springs to mind, he even has a Jeffries Duet currently in stock for restoration.




Whether you go up or down, you will most likely have to remove steel. If you lower the pitch, you may weaken the reeds, which will make the pitch more subject to the effects of pressure. If you raise the pitch, depending on how much you raise it, some reeds may not be able to be raised that much. Then you would really find yourself in a pickle as you will already have tuned some and then find some unable to go that much. Much depends on how many time the reed has been tuned in the past, and how skilfully has it been done. The safest way to repitch is to tune down by adding a touch of solder to the tip, lowering the pitch. This does not remove any of the steel, and does not harm the reed if it is done thusly: (1) place a razor blade under the tongue, (2)get your self a heat sink (an inexpensive aluminium clip to absorb the heat of the process, thus protecting the temper of the steel), (3) Put a Small dab of flux where you plan to put the solder (at tip), Apply solder with a fine tip soldering iron, (4) Check the pitch on your tuning table and file away the solder to the desired pitch. This is a slow process, but safe and reversible.

Edited by Frank Edgley
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re adding solder, as I have been there twice myself (albeit just for one pair of reeds each time), it might be added:


1. the use of a heat sink vs. going through the process as fast as you (properly) can has been subject of discussions here (in the end I spared it, following Adrian‘s advice as I seem to recall)


2. before filing the solder it might be useful to remove surplus solder spread out across the edges of a reed with a razor blade or scalpel in order not to damage its perfect fit in the slot (with the file otherwise)


best wishes - ?

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