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Rod Pearce

Peterson Strobosoft Tuning Software

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Does anyone use this software for tuning concertinas?

 

I have been using it for a while, and I would like to understand if anyone else experiences what I would call 'bounce' as the tuned reed is sounded. Although I am expanding / contracting the bellows at a steady rate, as if the instrument is being played, I  get different readings on the display depending on where the bellows are in the compression cycle. The reading can vary by as much as 10 cents.

 

I am assuming I should take the reading as near to the middle of the compression cycle rather than at the start or.finish?

 

Rod

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Posted (edited)

That is what I do, I think it is good to be consistent. I have come across a couple of concertinas I was told were tuned to the initial reading. They did not sound in tune to me.  There are other inconsistencies;  bellows pressure if you are not using a constant -air source and also how much force is used to hold the frame down in the tuning jig can change the tuning. If you are using a mechanical clip it will be consistent but if you are using hand pressure the reading can vary a lot and you need to develop a “standard touch”.

 

Edited to add, sorry I did not answer your direct question. All of the tuners I have used show the bounce. I understand the great legacy and affection for Peterson Strobes but don’t use Strobosoft because I find it fussy. I currently use APTuner because it supplies a large analogue style needle and a cents reading. I have checked it against my Korg Orchestral and also Cleartune and there is no difference. Hey, it is also free. 

Edited by Chris Ghent

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I use Peterson iStrobosoft and I'm sure the change in pitch Rod describes is not an artefact of the tuner, but a real change of pitch.  So the question that really needs answering is how to find a consistent method of sounding concertina reeds that produces a stable pitch that matches the pitch of the reed in the fully assembled instrument.   My method is a bit different from that used by most other concertina repair people who I know about.

 

My tuning rig consists of a very large, foot operated, accordion bellows, so I have ample air supply to sound a reed for far longer than is possible with a concertina bellows.  I sound the reeds while still fixed in the reed pan, so the acoustic environment that the reed "sees" is quite similar, though not identical, to that inside the concertina.  

 

I've found from experience that when the pitch stabilises while sounding the reed at low volume then that is a good match for the pitch when the reed is played in the assembled concertina.  A good match in this context being within 1 to 2 cents of the target pitch over most of the range.  It can be 5 or 6 cents out for the highest pitches on a treble EC, and the lowest reeds are generally a little more difficult to get a stable pitch.

 

I've also found from experience that I need to have a general idea of how the owner of the instrument will be playing.   Someone who plays at full volume much of the time will need a different tuning from someone who would usually play more quietly, even on the same instrument.

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Chris, Theo

 

Thank you for your feedback.

 

I believe the process I am using is somewhat flawed, as I have been sounding each reed in the concertina sitting on my lap, the reed pan in situ and holding the action box in place without screws while expanding the bellows.  I do have a tuning rig but was unable to get the reeds tuned closely enough to make using it worthwhile.

 

This afternoon I have made a frame to hold the tuning bellows and will start using this for initial tuning. It should improve the consistency.

 

When it comes to fine tuning and sounding the reeds in the instrument, do you tune/ install / sound the reeds individually, or do a side at a time to minimise the number of times you need to reassemble the instrument? I went for one at a time, hence the process I described above.

 

Many thanks

Rod

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Posted (edited)

I think most people who tune more than the occasional concertina reed will go through something similar.   This is what I do :

 

1 with instrument fully assembled make a record of the pitch of every reed.  You need to prepare a simple record chart to write down the pitch of each reeds with a +/- cents deviation from the target pitch.

2 with the reeds on your chosen tuning rig  first take a reading of the pitch, then tune the reed up or down by the amount you measured in stage 1.  So for example if note A pull showed + 6 cents inside the instrument, and shows +8 cents on the tuning rig, then tune it down by 6 cents to leave it at +2 cents on the tuning rig.  Do this for every reed.

 

Then re-assemble the the instrument and repeat 1 and 2 above until all reeds sound the correct pitch.

 

 

Edited by Theo

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