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Rich C R

What can be done to reduce the volume when playing at home?

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When playing the violin in the house a heavy practice mute can be used to reduce the sound right down.   With the saxophone a cloth is stuffed into the bell end..... What can be done with the Concertina apart from bellow control?

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Posted (edited)

My metal-end Lachanel was too strident for my taste. Since I play a lot of harmony, upper partials of the various notes were clashing in bad ways and I was bothered by a slightly different quality in some notes. As a test, I decided to put in baffles such as came in many old instruments. I bought thin dense foam, about 1mm thick in a craft store. I think the real use is to cut up pieces and layer them to build things like Christmas ornaments--this type of thing:   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/421368108856837725/?lp=true

 

I cut pieces that fit loosely (1.5mm all around the edges, casually around the keypad) and fastened them in to the underside of the metal ends with double stick tape. If I were to do it again, I might go tight at the edges, loose in the middle, far away from the pads. 

 

Anyway, the result was a very slight drop in volume, but a much nicer tone that people around me didn't mind listening to. I didn't lose a bit of dynamic range, just the uncomfortable harshness that seemed to penetrate throughout the house and irritate those around me. 🙂 I wouldn't call the sound mellow at all--just "right" and very clean.

 

It might be worth a try. Or you might cut pieces to fit outside, in the same manner, that you could remove when you wanted the normal sound. The foam cost me about a dollar, so it's not a big deal to try it. It's available in black, and is basically invisible. I was hoping for red, but none of the other colors were deep enough to satisfy.

Edited by mdarnton

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When I used to live in a small mid terraced house, I used to drive to a quiet layby overlooking the river and practise in (or near, depending on the weather) the car.

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Rich C R:

Maybe, the following concertina would be what you need:

I have a wood-fret 30-key Lachenal Anglo that is in the piccolo range: that is, it is in the keys of C and G but one octave higher than the usual C/G Anglo. Since an octave higher, it is quieter than the usual C/G Lachenal. Serial number 106712, made circa 1889. Bone buttons, steel reeds, and 6-fold bellows with decorative papers. Comes with a fitted hard case. Recently appraised as in very good condition with an appraised value of US$2,500. I will offer it to you at $2000 plus $50 for shipping and shipping insurance (which is probably below  the actual shipping cost).

I do not know what you face in Scotland regarding import duty or other taxes. However, the $500 discount from appraised  value should defray the cost.

Please send me a personal message to let me know whether or not you are interested. If yes, I can send you some photos of the instrument.

I am giving you the right of first refusal. If you are not interested, it will be posted in the Buy and Sell section of concertina.net.

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2 hours ago, Dowright said:

I do not know what you face in Scotland regarding import duty or other taxes. However, the $500 discount from appraised  value should defray the cost.

The last time I checked, there would be import duty of 3.8% and VAT at 20%.

$2050 would become $2553.48, converted to pounds at whatever the exchange rate is at the time of the transaction.

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I'd also love to know if anyone's found a good solution to this issue. I spent an afternoon going to Hobbycraft to buy foam then making baffles to fit to my concertina and it had absolutely no effect at all! I'm sticking to trying to only practice when no-one else is at home - since my neighbour is a drummer who plays nothing but bone-headed rock music and hasn't bothered going down the brushes/practice pads route for playing at home I don't care if he can hear my terrible concertina playing...

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Posted (edited)

There  is  a version  of  my  powerfull   metal ended  Wheatstone which  produces a very mild  tone  and  gentle  volume.  The  only difference  I can  determine  between    these two models  is  that the quiet  one has  almost  no open fretwork.  The model has been called    'Pinhole'  or 'Dot & Comma'   , refering to the fretwork.  So, it stands to reason, from this example,  that  restricting the    grill  in some way  can  considerably  reduce  the  projected volume.  

 

I did try baffles  on  a  Duet  where  the amount of  notes  I wanted to play , as chords, on the left side  were  too  loud  for the single melody lines on the right.  I have also  experimented with  accordion  baffles  in a similar  way.  It is often seen  that  accordion players  remove the right hand grill  to  obtain  the maximum  output...  Stands to reason that Baffles do work  Fane... you'll just need to be  more assertive  with their use.  Thicker  cloth or  foam  and cover all the fretwork.

 

It would be great if someone came up with a  baffle   that could be  switched  on  and off  at will.😃Kind  of like a waw waw pedal  !

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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Quote

It is often seen  that  accordion players  remove the right hand grill  to  obtain  the maximum  output.

 

 

 

 

DSC-0085-small.jpg

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1 hour ago, Geoff Wooff said:

I did try baffles  on  a  Duet  where  the amount of  notes  I wanted to play , as chords, on the left side  were  too  loud  for the single melody lines on the right.  I have also  experimented with  accordion  baffles  in a similar  way.  It is often seen  that  accordion players  remove the right hand grill  to  obtain  the maximum  output...  Stands to reason that Baffles do work  Fane... you'll just need to be  more assertive  with their use.  Thicker  cloth or  foam  and cover all the fretwork.


 

 

What material did you use, out of interest? I tried 1mm thick dense foam, same sort of stuff that mdarnton linked to above.

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1 hour ago, Fane said:

 

What material did you use, out of interest? I tried 1mm thick dense foam, same sort of stuff that mdarnton linked to above.

 

I cannot recall exactly, but knowing me it was probably something I had  hanging about the place.  The last time I  was fiddling with  the baffle idea, on the bass end of an accordion, I used    a thin cloth  and kept adding layers  of it until   I arrived  at a suitable sound balance   however, if  you put  the word  Baffles  into the search  box  there are pages  and pages  on these forums  where you  might find your perfect solution.

 

I am surprised  that you  did  not  get some  change of out put from  your baffling  trial.  What sort of concertina  are you  playing ?

 

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most effective would be wooden baffles I reckon - fellow concertinist @RatFace has a video online which demonstrates the sound

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Duct tape!  Just kidding-kind of......

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On 1/1/2019 at 7:01 PM, Mikefule said:

When I used to live in a small mid terraced house, I used to drive to a quiet layby overlooking the river and practise in (or near, depending on the weather) the car.

For a moment I thought you were going to say you would practise in the river.....

 

Steve

  • Haha 1

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Start with blue painter's masking take that leaves no residue and peels off easily, and apply it to the outside.  Cover any areas that seem harsh or too loud while being played.  You can cover quite a bit of the fretwork, and if you overdo it, the tone will announce the fact. 

 

It seems that by closing some of the fretwork the sound is obliged to bounce around more decreasing the output energy, and it seems to attenuate higher frequencies more.  

 

If you find a tape pattern you like, you can make a pattern from it and cut an internal baffle of a non porous material - I used a black colored manilla file folder because there was very little space available. 

 

Using a soft material to absorb sound is a useful strategy and can be used for both the manilla file area (to make the paper less reflective) and over the open areas if it does not restrict the already reduced air flow too much. 

 

And you can always drape a sweater over your hands and concertina! 

 

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When sound was bothering me on a metal ended concertina I used paper tape for bandages on a few spots on the outside of the grill.  It is very low tack and doesn't leave a residue.  It is a thin tape designed to hold gauze on wounds and not pull off your skin when removed. I never had it pull off any finish on my metal ended connor, but I wouldn't leave it on for more than a couple of days in a row.  If you use any tape test it on something else to see if it leaves residue, something you don't want to deal with  I was also encouraged by my teacher that sometimes, "playing like the babies are asleep in the next room" will actually help me work on dynamics.  For my own personal protection when I really want to honk away I use ear protection.  The modern ear plugs with silicone cups surrounding a rather complex small filter work really well.  I have seen them marketed  as Eargasms and I with other names.   I find I can hear others speak to me in noisy sessions but no longer have ear pain should I find myself next to a banjo or bohran, let alone the volume I can get on my own instrument.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, LateToTheGame said:

...For my own personal protection when I really want to honk away I use ear protection.  The modern

ear plugs with silicone cups surrounding a rather complex small filter work really well...

 

Agreed - I use 'em on long train journeys - when I can get a train, that is (I live in Northern Rail territory!). Unfortunately, they don't filter

out the announcements about over-priced refreshments after every station though.

 

Serious point, which I think I may have made before. If you do use these silicone based ear-plugs, do be careful when removing them.

The seal is so good that if you just pull the buggers out, you'll pull your brains out at the same time! They usually come with a short

leaflet describing how to remove these things safely.

 

Oh, aye, buy them at an industrial clothing/safety equipment supplier - they will be a fraction of the price you'll pay at a pharmacy.

Edited by lachenal74693

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When I started playing, I over pushed the bellows and everything was loud, in particular the  chords! I have found that playing along with a YouTube video set to a low volume helps me control my volume. It makes me play soft enough to hear the speakers. Other times, I'll up the speaker volume and increase my level. Going back and forth from time to time has helped me play with clarity at a lower volume. 

I suggest that you look for a YouTube version of a tune in the correct key. 

Crag Road, McHughs and The Mist Covered Mountain is one example.

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