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sleepymonk

Push vs Pull - why?

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8 hours ago, Tradewinds Ted said:

 

Well, if you really want to try it, you may be able to do so for free:   What make of concertina do you have?  and how do you feel about opening it up and tinkering?

 

If yours is a traditional concertina reed instrument, you likely could swap out all the reeds (keeping them in their reed shoes) to the opposite side of the reed pan, if the reed shoes for the push and pull reed under each button are the same size, or very close.  Absolutely free to try, and completely reversible once you are done, as long as you have carefully marked where each one was originally!  For any one button, the notes on the push and pull are usually very close in pitch so the reeds/shoes are likely to be very close in size.

 

If it is a hybrid/accordion reed instrument, and the reeds are fixed in pairs to plates screwed to the reed pan, then it is likely very easy to just turn each of those plates upside down (inside out?) to reverse the reeds, and again, this is free and completely reversible.  Again, be sure to carefully mark how they were originally.  A friend of mine actually did flip the plate holding the reeds for the C#/Eb on the right hand of one of his Wheatstone system Anglo concertinas, to make it more similar to his other Jeffries system instruments, at least for playing in D.  I changed it back, when I later bought his instrument, and it only took a couple minutes to carefully swap the one plate, so swapping thirty of them could be done well inside of an hour.

 

On the other hand, if they are accordion reeds waxed in... while this is theoretically also reversible with new wax, it would be a terrible hassle, and an amateur attempt seems a catastrophe waiting to happen. I wouldn't do it!

 

I have a Wren, a beginner’s instrument. Bought a year or so ago, but I’ve only been practicing and making more progress recently.

 

I’ve opened one side enough to check a problem with a valve or tongue (clicking, gurgling), but didn’t remove the pan.

 

I’ve been reading the repair forum here, and have the concertina maintenance book, so will probably open it up again to look and maybe tinker with it.

 

I have some minor valve and button issues that are more evident as I learn to navigate around some more difficult tunes. One vanished button popped back out when I merely loosened two long screws (and tightened them back up). That’s too difficult a maneuver while in the middle of a tune ...

 

I’m probably going to want to upgrade to a better instrument, but not sure what at the moment.

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3 hours ago, sleepymonk said:

On the other hand, if they are accordion reeds waxed in... while this is theoretically also reversible with new wax, it would be a terrible hassle, and an amateur attempt seems a catastrophe waiting to happen. I wouldn't do it!

 

I remember why I briefly looked inside the concertina before and closed it back up.

 

Here are two photos of the left hand reed pan (iphone photos so distorted). I'm not sure what I'm looking at, whether it's push or pull valves. Assuming I'm looking at valve 10  E (pull) on the far right (second photo), it is open, and would explain the gurgles. I also have some minor clicking on valve 4 F (pull) but nothing looks out of place there.

 

I can't see the opposite reeds at all as they are enclosed in these wooden blocks.

 

The valves themselves appear to be some kind of thin plastic. I don't know what I could do to close the gap, but I can live with it. I don't think it's bad enough to ship it back to MacNeela for a fix. I've no idea who repairs concertinas near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, so I hope I don't need any other repairs on this instrument.

 

Some food for thought as I ponder which concertina might be next for me.

 

Wren reed pan A.JPG

Wren reed pan B.jpeg

 

Edited by sleepymonk
clarification

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12 minutes ago, sleepymonk said:

 

I remember why I briefly looked inside the concertina before and closed it back up.

 

Here are two photos of the left hand reed pan (iphone photos so distorted). I'm not sure what I'm looking at, whether it's push or pull valves. Assuming I'm looking at valve 10  E (pull) on the far right (second photo), it is open, and would explain the gurgles. I also have some minor clicking on valve 4 F (pull) but nothing looks out of place there.

 

I can't see the opposite reeds at all as they are enclosed in these wooden blocks.

 

The valves themselves appear to be some kind of thin plastic. I don't know what I could do to close the gap, but I can live with it. I don't think it's bad enough to ship it back to MacNeela for a fix. I've no idea who repairs concertinas near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, so I hope I don't need any other repairs on this instrument.

 

Some food for thought as I ponder which concertina might be next for me.

 

 

So the plates are waxed in.   Flipping the plates to reverse the direction as an experiment would require re-waxing.  Possible, but not worth it, particularly since you will most likely want to flip them again after, to bring your instrument back to normal.  But not expensive, unless you end up paying for a professional repair later.

 

I think you are correct, the lifted valve on the far right is the E on the pull.  Air pressure ought to be enough to pull that valve down into place, but perhaps it doesn't land quite where intended.

 

The internal construction of your Wren is much more like an accordion, so someone experienced in accordion repairs would be appropriate, when you need them.   You are in luck, a quick google search came up with "Musical Instruments of Canada"  operated by the De Florio family in Toronto.  Their website accordionscanada.com indicates that they do repairs on site, and also sell  the beginner Concertina Connection instruments, so would certainly be familiar with concertinas similar in construction to yours.  (The Rochelle construction also uses blocks with waxed in reed plates.)

 

Perhaps four hours drive away, in Windsor Ontario, Frank Edgley builds more traditional concertinas, as well as hybrids.   From what I have read on this site, it is certainly worth looking him up if you are considering options for an instrument you may want to upgrade to in future.

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5 minutes ago, Tradewinds Ted said:

You are in luck, a quick google search came up with "Musical Instruments of Canada"  operated by the De Florio family in Toronto.  Their website accordionscanada.com

 

Thank you for looking that up for me. It’s good to know.

 

I looked at Edgley instruments online when I was first considering buying one, but didn’t think I wanted a more expensive instrument as a beginner. I didn’t think I’d become proficient enough to warrant the purchase.

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That accordion link says the server is down. I noticed a listing for Wilson Music who service accordions - I bought a blues harmonica there a few years back, so that’s who I would start with for repairs. Thanks for clarifying this for me!

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In the real world, I doubt any theoretical differences in pressure make any difference, at least not one that is noticeable to players or listenerss.  Similarly with dexterity, as players of all systems play with equal facility in both directions (although individual players may have a preference).  There are only two possible arrangements, push-start or pull-start scales, and both have been tried.  The flutina (pull-start) didn't catch on.  The reasons why push-start was more successful is probably for physiological or psychological reasons than musical ones.

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23 hours ago, Little John said:

 

You'd have thought that if the bellows direction for the start made any difference, English and duet players would have cottoned on and exploited the effect. I've never heard it mentioned.

 

John, I think that this neglection derives from the fact that hardly anybody really wants to that much focus on up- and downbeats asf., but it could be done, and maybe it should, at some point.

 

Anyway, there certainly is a different feel as for me. Starting a tune on the push can feel a bit wobbly when the bellows are not that widely opened (or short by themselves), as the positioning on the knee/thigh may be irritated, whereas - as mentioned - pushing the bellows can help accentuating single notes (I‘m loving to do that with bellows extended to the max, and twisted... but then again it‘s possibly only because I can watch - and better hear - myself playing then?).

 

However, I love to explore and rely upon all this subtle options from time to time..

 

All the best - 🐺

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32 minutes ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

 

John, I think that this neglection derives from the fact that hardly anybody really wants to that much focus on up- and downbeats asf., but it could be done, and maybe it should, at some point.

 

Anyway, there certainly is a different feel as for me. Starting a tune on the push can feel a bit wobbly when the bellows are not that widely opened (or short by themselves), as the positioning on the knee/thigh may be irritated, whereas - as mentioned - pushing the bellows can help accentuating single notes (I‘m loving to do that with bellows extended to the max, and twisted... but then again it‘s possibly only because I can watch - and better hear - myself playing then?).

 

However, I love to explore and rely upon all this subtle options from time to time..

 

All the best - 🐺

 

I happen to aside with John here in full. Let's not forget that concertinas have been around for > 200 years, and entire life times have been devoted to exploring the instrument (regardless of layout) to its maximum. So if there *was* some kind of systematic asymmetry that would influence the tone as with the fiddle (as I seem to deduct from the violinist's contributions), it would be common knowledge*.

 

I rather tend to think of it as the master musician's ability to compensate for all clear tone deficiencies in a given instrument through technique. A simple example that comes to mind is to make up for lesser air volume; a good player will make a 6 fold cheapie sound almost like an 8 fold vintage jewel by adapting the bellows movement to the available air volume. Likewise, if a given instrument will indeed expose some asymmetry in tone between pull and push (I tend to believe that this is not inherent in the physics of the concertina if it happens but an attribute of a given instrument), the master musician (which does  NOT include myself which goes without saying) will almost intuitively adapt by either subtly changing the attack in one direction or preferring one direction in their playing. The broad range of answers I got in my "resting" thread seem to support the theory that there are a lot of dynamics involved; the playing technique involved at any given moment seems to be a rather complex function of the player, his(her) preferences and the instrument played at the moment, with concertina physics playing only a minor role in the equation.

 

*I do seem to observe, though, that a good number of players appear to not want to be confronted with such issues at all, as you imply. I do not know why that is the case.

Edited by RAc

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23 minutes ago, RAc said:

I rather tend to think of it as the master musician's ability to compensate for all clear tone deficiencies in a given instrument through technique. 

 

I widely agree here Rüdiger - but since I don’t aim at just maximising evenness but rather a fluid expressiveness I tend to include exploiting all these different strong points in my playing - leastwise when given the opportunity by chance, I’m taking notice and gladly expand these minor tricks - it’s not at all about complaining, and not even about restrictions or issues - just playing with what we happen to have got...

 

Best wishes - 🐺

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On 8/16/2019 at 4:43 AM, Tradewinds Ted said:

 

Well, if you really want to try it, you may be able to do so for free:   What make of concertina do you have?  and how do you feel about opening it up and tinkering?

 

If yours is a traditional concertina reed instrument, you likely could swap out all the reeds (keeping them in their reed shoes) to the opposite side of the reed pan, if the reed shoes for the push and pull reed under each button are the same size, or very close.  Absolutely free to try, and completely reversible once you are done, as long as you have carefully marked where each one was originally!  For any one button, the notes on the push and pull are usually very close in pitch so the reeds/shoes are likely to be very close in size.

 

If it is a hybrid/accordion reed instrument, and the reeds are fixed in pairs to plates screwed to the reed pan, then it is likely very easy to just turn each of those plates upside down (inside out?) to reverse the reeds, and again, this is free and completely reversible.  Again, be sure to carefully mark how they were originally.  A friend of mine actually did flip the plate holding the reeds for the C#/Eb on the right hand of one of his Wheatstone system Anglo concertinas, to make it more similar to his other Jeffries system instruments, at least for playing in D.  I changed it back, when I later bought his instrument, and it only took a couple minutes to carefully swap the one plate, so swapping thirty of them could be done well inside of an hour.

 

On the other hand, if they are accordion reeds waxed in... while this is theoretically also reversible with new wax, it would be a terrible hassle, and an amateur attempt seems a catastrophe waiting to happen. I wouldn't do it!

 

 

Would not try switching reeds about, it can result in a host of misery. 

 

There is a thought which has been expounded before, in engineering it is call burst energy. if you have a pressurised  container, and you suddenly release the pressure there is a surge through the point of release, if we are talking the reverse where the container is at negative pressure the surge through the point of release is softer. It is so long ago since I had cause to look at this that I forget the details. I do remember that the HSE got quite excited about it when pressure testing pressurised railway tanker wagons.

 

Dave

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