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The general availability (and cost) of reed sets?

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As I've been working on my concertina, I'd been contemplating whether it would be logistically and economically feasible to obtain a second set of reeds. The current reed set is brass, and while I enjoy the sweeter, quieter tone for personal playing, I would also like to have a steel set some day to swap to if playing sessions. I sold off my previous concertinas this past year and regretfully do not have a performer at the moment, and instead rely on my B/C melodeon for events. Having a steel set might be in the cards if I intend to play out with this concertina... 

 

So my question is: what does a set of steel concertina reeds for a 30 button run for on the current market? I suppose everyone that owns sets charges varied amounts, but what can I expect to be the average? I know the Barleycorn stated somewhere that they have thousands of old reeds, so imagine they must be available. 

 

Apart from that, I'd been considering DIX Concertina reeds as well. Will these fit a l and lachenal reed slot and how much does a set run?

 

Thank you all for your help in advance!

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People do have swappable reed pans usually in a different key, ( generally provided by the person who made the concertina )  but while converting brass to steel is probably possible,  the tongue / shoe lengths for reeds of the same pitch will probably not be the same and could require substantial alteration to the reed pans as well as revalving and tuning.  Going back and forth simply by trying to swap out reeds I don’t think is either practical or even really feasible.  If you like your sweet sounding Lachenal,  just play it, and either play your B/C if you need the added volume, or buy a separate  concertina more suited to playing out.  
   Concertina style reeds are not at all standardized and will vary from maker or manufacturer, though some concertina makers have endeavored to produce quite good copies of reeds found in certain popular models of concertina.  Even within one manufacturer, there are / were different scalings of reeds to better suit different types or models of concertinas.

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Ah, I see, thank you so much for shedding some light on this. When I first got into concertinas a few years ago, I thought they were exceedingly complex and as time has gone by, they seemed more simple and now even more complex. It's the nuance and variability of each factor that really makes this an instrument of amazing engineering. 

 

Anyway, considering I dont see reedpans come up for sale very often (and even if they did, they probably wouldn't fit my instrument l) I will leave this instrument as is. Though, there are a number of steel reeds in this one too, so they must've worked out alright at the time. 

 

Barring full reed swaps, what of replacement reeds in general? I'd like to track down a brass E reed (second button, middle row, right hand) as mine seems to have some issues and wonder if spares are available out there in America. 

 

Thanks again!

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For possible USA sources:

  • Dana Johnson (in Maryland) who kindly replied above
  • Greg Jowaisis (Kentucky)
  • Bob Tedrow (Alabama)
  • the Buttonbox (Sunderland Massachusetts, near Amherst) which likely is closest to you.

All of them deal in new and/or used concertinas, and perform concertina repairs. Greg was able to source two original Jones reeds for me several years ago from his stock when I wanted a couple of notes swapped, but the instrument was already in his shop at the time, which allowed him to verify the fit.

 

I appreciate that you likely are capable of some maintenance and repairs yourself, but you may find that taking your instrument to any of these for a bit of professional attention might help resolve whatever issues that troublesome reed is presenting, and possibly avoid the need for a replacement?  Or at least allow for a confirmed fit of an available replacement reed if needed, and also provide a once-over look towards preventing any other future problems.

 

Or if do you want to consider a second concertina again, with steel reeds for sessions/performance, I expect any of them would have available something to tempt you.

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Dix supplied the attached drawings of the various reed sizes when I bought some from them about 18 months ago, and were very helpful with any queries. This was when the reeds were single rivetted, rather than clamped, so it may not be the definitive version. Contact them through their website for more information.

DIX CONCERTINA Reed sizes.pdf

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Bill Crossland said:

Dix supplied the attached drawings of the various reed sizes when I bought some from them about 18 months ago, and were very helpful with any queries. This was when the reeds were single rivetted, rather than clamped, so it may not be the definitive version. Contact them through their website for more information.

DIX CONCERTINA Reed sizes.pdf 62.03 kB · 4 downloads

I'm intrigued by these reeds.

Bill, or anyone else here, do you have any practical experience with these reeds?

How do they sound, especially compared to traditional concertina reeds?

Do they have a more accordion sound to them perhaps?

Edited by SteveS
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The treble side if the Anglo I made was preety good, but the bigger reeds on the left hand were reluctant to speak quickly. Having said that, putting traditional Lachenal concertina reeds in didn't massively improve the left hand, so that may be a problem with my construction, rather than the reeds themselves. More professional makers get a far better result - Ralf Schlimm's Seven Mount boxes are pretty good. 

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17 hours ago, Bill Crossland said:

The treble side if the Anglo I made was preety good, but the bigger reeds on the left hand were reluctant to speak quickly. Having said that, putting traditional Lachenal concertina reeds in didn't massively improve the left hand, so that may be a problem with my construction, rather than the reeds themselves. More professional makers get a far better result - Ralf Schlimm's Seven Mount boxes are pretty good. 

Thanks Bill

I'm tempted to get a set and make myself a couple of reed pans and give them a try in an EC.

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On 1/2/2020 at 9:58 PM, SteveS said:

I'm intrigued by these reeds.

Bill, or anyone else here, do you have any practical experience with these reeds?

How do they sound, especially compared to traditional concertina reeds?

Do they have a more accordion sound to them perhaps?

I found the response to be ok but overall the sound of them is a bit disappointing.A little weak and breathy. I would say they are equivalent to a very average set of Lachenal reeds and the sound to be somewhere between accordian and traditional reeds.

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4 hours ago, DDF said:

I found the response to be ok but overall the sound of them is a bit disappointing.A little weak and breathy. I would say they are equivalent to a very average set of Lachenal reeds and the sound to be somewhere between accordian and traditional reeds.

 

That sounds alright enough, if the existing set of reeds in an instrument are not so hot to begin with. Though, as someone mentioned earlier, there are some makers that seem to get brilliant results.

 

I was combing around Edgleys pages earlier and saw what looked like DIX reeds in an instrument of his. I could be wrong of course, but it looked similar at least. His instruments sound fantastic, as do 7 mount, so as long as the instrument is well made it seems worth it 

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On 1/3/2020 at 12:51 PM, Bill Crossland said:

The treble side if the Anglo I made was preety good, but the bigger reeds on the left hand were reluctant to speak quickly. 

Interesting. I had a concertina which used--I believe--the DIX reeds, and it had the opposite problem. The bass and mid-range were fairly convincing, but the treble notes required vastly more air, and were consequently swallowed up when playing chords. It was a deal breaker for me in the long run. As it was explained to me, this was a consequence of their shoe design, rather than the tongues themselves. I preferred it to the sound of accordion reedded instruments, but it didn't quite have the quality that made me fall in love with the concertina in the first place. 

Edited by James McBee
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