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A little while ago I acquired a large 40 key English concertina, which apperared to have been originally pitched somewhere between bass and baritone. A previous owner had started some dastardly modifications to the reedpan which rendered it unlikely to ever be reinstated in its original form. In the fullness of time I intend to make new ends and reedpan in anglo format.

 

In all there were 80 reeds, some in the reedpan, others separately bagged.  In the upper register, they are all conventional concertina style reeds to fit into dovetailed slots. The rest of them are surface mount. Some of these appear to be standard larger surface mount concertina reeds, steel tongues and conventionally stamped as you would expect to find in a traditionally made bass/baritone instrument.

 

Others are brass reeded with stamping that suggests they are probably taken from an old harmonium - some have continental stampings on to indicate the notes. They are quite a size but I will probably have enough space to accomodate them - they sound quite good on a tuning rig. Picture attached showing both brass and steel reeded versions, the two on the left I would suggest are made by an English concertina maker.

 

1. Does anyone out there have any experience of using harmonium reeds in a conventional concertina? What are the drawbacks?

 

2. I'm short of a good few bass reeds in the lowest register, two octaves below middle C - anyone out there have any available?

 

 

Bass reeds.jpg

Edited by Bill Crossland
Typo

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Hi Bill, the Harmonium reeds that I have seen were French, as were some Wheatstone reeds at one point, the reeds had a very swan neck like profile. Yours looks like possible clarinet instrument to be played with brass or other band s. The last time I had anything like this I converted it to modern pitched baritone, extended down words to where ever it ended up. I did end up moving the finger slides and thumb straps to suit the key boards 'home' keys.

 

Dave

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Thanks Dave - they might be interesting in a bass anglo.

 

I had the opportunity to look inside one of Neil Waynes Wheatstone badged Harmoniums  - a photo of the reed array below. It proved to be continental in origin - he has others badged by George Jones and Rock Chidley, which are also continental. 

Reeds.jpg

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my Lachenal New Model Baritone has harmonium reeds in the lower register, as usual (hence the extended hex shape) - works fine.

 

best wishes - 🐺

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This is inside the right hand of my single action baritone, probably Wheatstone. It has the harmonium style reeds throughout. It has a very mellow sound and has retained its tuning in the 50 years I’ve had it. I acquired it in a second hand shop in the east end of London. 
 

Mitch

 

 

DA4CA707-401C-4B73-98D9-02A4F5C2FE74.jpeg

97AF277D-C141-40C3-9A46-DD4FEB284C07.jpeg

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Thanks Mitch - I will still need to sort out the bass register, but I certainly have the basis of a big, mellow baritone! 

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I've been thinking for the last few years about making a bass 'tina from harmonium reeds.

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31 minutes ago, SteveS said:

I've been thinking for the last few years about making a bass 'tina from harmonium reeds.

 

"It's all about the bass, 'bout the bass, no treble!".  Harry Guens Makes a Bass au Pieds which was apparently popular in the vintage concertina era, but I haven't been able to find an older example.  I wonder if harmonium reeds would allow space for a bass thumb cluster (perhaps split between both hands) on a regular instrument.

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Hi Wolf,

 

how did you identify your Baritone lower end reeds as 'harmonium' reeds.? 

 

Many thanks

 

Dave

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On 11/8/2019 at 8:44 PM, d.elliott said:

Hi Wolf,

 

how did you identify your Baritone lower end reeds as 'harmonium' reeds.? 

 

Many thanks

 

Dave


You‘ve got me there I‘m afraid, Dave.

 

I reckon I‘ve been talking of „harmonium reeds“ in a wider sense only, as they‘re still made of steel, and possibly still smaller then genuine harmonium reeds too.

 

However, maybe we could speak of harmonium-style reeds, as they are rather large/long-scale, and in rectangular frames/shoes, which have to be screwed just on top of the soundboard, in parallel arrangement.
 

Best wishes - 🐺

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Hi Wolf,

 

The harmonium reeds  that I have dealt with have a different tongue shape and voicing, it is true that even Wheatstone bought reeds from France , possible from harmonium reed manufacturers, however the reed set up is just like any other concertina reed. The size and the length of the reeds are about pitch and volume. Many baritones have the lower octave or so set out in parallel as opposed to radial chambers, this enabled the lower reeds to have more oomph, and the instrument to support more treble instruments. The downside is that the upper registers with the radial part of the reed pan can sound a bit reedy compared with the bass end of the keyboard. The reeds are just appropriately big concertina reeds, surface mounted or otherwise. I know these stretched, part parallel part radial instruments  as band baritones, because of their ability to support lighter instruments.

 

I concertina band work I have noted that one baritone can support four of five comparable trebles , and one bass can support say three baritones, yet a full band only needs one piccolo concertina, the human ear is just odd in the way it works.

 

 

In short, I dont think there is such a thing as a harmonium style reed, in a concertina sense. However, someone may well wish to contest this.

 

 

Dave

 

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