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Concertina v Accordion reeds: 2 recordings


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On another forum, a player was seeking recordings comparing the sound of traditional versus hybrid concertinas.  Since I was recording today for practice, I did the same tune - the 1908 English tune Tars of the Victory - twice, once on a Morse hybrid with accordion reeds, once on a Lachenal with excellent traditional reeds and Dipper mechanism.

 

I'm not sure how valuable the comparison is - as others have noted, the difference in sound between traditional and accordion reeds tends to be attenuated when recorded, even more so when processed through a big PA system - but for what it's worth, here they are.  BTW, the recording settings and setup were identical.  

 

On the Morse hybrid:  

 

 

And on the Lachenal with traditional reeds: 

 

 

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The accordion reeds do have a coarser sound - I equated them on the other forum as the accordion reeds sounding a bit more like a brass band, while the concertina reeds sound more like woodwinds.

 

Thanks for recording and sharing this easy comparison.

Edited by perspiration
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>> I equated them on the other forum as the accordion reeds sounding a bit more like a brass band, while the concertina reeds sound more like woodwinds.

 

Interesting. I came to the same conclusion when comparing a Morse Céilí and a Kensington. But the difference is much more pronounced in "live" listening. 

 

Sometimes I prefer brass, sometimes woodwind.

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for me it's not so much about a "sound" but this unique modulation of the tone, IMO only achievable with trad reeds - so even recorded (or amplified) it can make a difference, if you - the player - are willing and capable to exploit the capability of these reeds - as you of course so evidently are, Jim... ?

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To me the Lachenal has a fuller, rounder sound. But I know how difficult it is to capture the true sound of a concertina. I should admit I am only listening on my laptop speakers.

Edited by Little John
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14 minutes ago, W3DW said:

Thank you, Jim, this is very helpful.  I'll reference this when the next "what should I get? " thread comes around. 

 

And it always does come around, doesn't it?

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I can clearly hear a tonal difference (with headphones). Personally I prefer the sound of trad reeds, but the Morse has a nice sound too. It would be interesting to add a comparison to the third main style of instrument construction: the Chinese cheapies with accordion style reed blocks that are many players' first (and often last) experience with a concertina shaped object.

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Thank you Jim!. Indeed, this is an interesting test.

I understand the recordings can't honour concertina real sound. And both examples do sound very nice.

I had to make two blind listening to decide. My limited references about concertina sound in person are my Stagi Hayden and my Holden Hayden.

One accordion technician said to me, after examining them, the reeds (mounted in blocks, as you know) in the Stagi were poor quality. But I don't claim against Stagi's sound!, even they have, IMO, decent both responsiveness  and dynamic range. 

What I inmediately noticed when first playing my Holden Hayden is the sound is entirely different. The first terms arised in my mind were: way more defined, focused.  Stagi  sounds more accordiony " in the good sense" (someone defined It this way in C.net, and I agree) and , to say, buzzy sound.

 Stagi sounds just very sweet IMO, I like It very much; Holden Hayden sounds sweet but with a defined character that fits more my preferences when playing (playability is a entire separate world...of course).

In Jim' s recordings, I recognised a tone similar to my Stagi in the hybrid example. And specially in bass notes, in the Lachenal I heard the tone type I do appreciate in my Holden.

(@perspiration... Some times, certain notes in my Holden resemble to me like sort of a clarinet air that surprises me? )

 

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I have a Lachenal ec with brass reeds that I think sounds strikingly like a clarinet - even my non - musician audience has remarked on it. Is is especially noticeable on upward chromatic runs.

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3 hours ago, alex_holden said:

... Chinese cheapies with accordion style reed blocks that are many players' first (and often last) experience with a concertina shaped object.

 

The comparison recordings on this thread demonstrate the ("a"?) difference between traditional and hybrid reeds, and on the Wakker Concertinas thread four recordings (so far) demonstrate the differences between traditional reeds in different instruments. Concertinas have a wide variety of tonal quality, but this may not be the most important aspect.

 

To pick up on Alex's point, if people give up after trying a cheap Chinese instrument I believe it's likely to be because of "playability" issues rather than the tone of the reeds. I've owned many concertinas, and the pleasure I've had in playing them has been more to do with playability than tone. My Holden Crane duet is a sheer delight to play not because of its tone (great though that is) but because of its responsiveness, short button travel, good bass/treble balance, light weight, easy bellows etc. The Crabb I had prior to that had a lovely tone but I played it very little until Alex sorted out the action and other issues to make it more playable. Then it became my favourite instrument.

 

1 hour ago, Tiposx said:

I have a Lachenal ec with brass reeds that I think sounds strikingly like a clarinet

 

I have a Wheatstone bass (steel reeds) which to my ears sounds very bassoon-like. I wish we (as a community) understood better why concertinas produce the tones they do. I'm willing to bet that all the traditional-reeded concertinas on this and the Wakker thread are steel reeds in brass frames, so why the widely different tonal qualities?

 

LJ

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I agree it is a mystery. BTW the Lachenal I refer to has brass reed tongues in brass frames, and rosewood ends. I recently sold a Lachenal with similar reeds but mahogany ends. It didn’t sound at all like the rosewood one, or a clarinet.

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8 hours ago, dabbler said:

Both sound great.  More similar than I expected.  I did a blind listen and guessed wrong.  Thanks for posting these.

-George

 

One thing I should add:  to my ear, the difference in sound between traditional and accordion reeds is less apparent  on a CG instrument, significantly more on a GD, with the lower register.

 

 

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