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Differences in reeds


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I just bought a 1922 Wheatstone 48 button. It's condition looks brand new (for the most part). It doesn't play as well as I expected for a '20's era instrument. I opened it up along side my 1935 Wheatstone 36 button English and began comparing the reeds. The '22 tina has shorter and more narrow reeds than the '35 model for the same note. I am wondering if the '35 has bigger reeds just because there is more room or if there is some other reason for the difference.

 

Has anyone ever seen this before?

Fred V

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11 hours ago, fred v said:

I just bought a 1922 Wheatstone 48 button. It's condition looks brand new (for the most part). It doesn't play as well as I expected for a '20's era instrument. I opened it up along side my 1935 Wheatstone 36 button English and began comparing the reeds. The '22 tina has shorter and more narrow reeds than the '35 model for the same note. I am wondering if the '35 has bigger reeds just because there is more room or if there is some other reason for the difference.

 

Has anyone ever seen this before?

 

Most definitely Fred V, you'll find different reeds used in different models that were made the same week, never mind 13 years apart! Whilst a 36-key English made in 1935 ( is it #33694?) is going to be a "Special" (one-off) instrument that was made for a particular purpose.

 

If I'm right in identifying your 36-key, it's listed as a No. 21 model, a flat-metal-ended instrument that would ordinarily be a 48-key, and those are generally pretty loud anyway, but if yours is of standard 6 1/4" size it may have extra large chambering and reeds.

 

Meanwhile, what model is your 1922 Wheatstone 48-key?

 

Pictures, especially of the reed-pans, would be a great help.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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C.Wheatstone and co use three reed scaling approaches - normal scale (the shortest reeds), best scale (longer than normal) and long scale (normally reserved for the likes of an aeola). All of these approaches to making the reeds will produce the same notes but the reeds are of different lengths. 

 

It sounds as if your 36 key English has maybe the next grade up in reed scaling, as to whether its best scale or long scale I don't know. 

 

To simplify it the general idea of this stuff: longer reeds = better reeds. You cant fit long scale into everything though. Maybe they cut down on the range of the 36k instrument so they could fit a better scale in there.

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11 hours ago, Stephen Chambers said:

 

 

Most definitely Fred V, you'll find different reeds used in different models that were made the same week, never mind 13 years apart! Whilst a 36-key English made in 1935 ( is it #33694?) is going to be a "Special" (one-off) instrument that was made for a particular purpose.

 

If I'm right in identifying your 36-key, it's listed as a No. 21 model, a flat-metal-ended instrument that would ordinarily be a 48-key, and those are generally pretty loud anyway, but if yours is of standard 6 1/4" size it may have extra large chambering and reeds.

 

Meanwhile, what model is your 1922 Wheatstone 48-key?

 

Pictures, especially of the reed-pans, would be a great help.

 

 

 

 

Thanks Steve. Mu 36 key is 33011 and it is a fabulous playing tina. I was disappointed in the 1922 model. I'll take some pix of the reed pans and also add some dimensions of a reed from each one. Here is the '36 model.

Wheatstone 1933 model 21a  33011.JPG

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3 hours ago, Jake Middleton-Metcalfe said:

C.Wheatstone and co use three reed scaling approaches - normal scale (the shortest reeds), best scale (longer than normal) and long scale (normally reserved for the likes of an aeola). All of these approaches to making the reeds will produce the same notes but the reeds are of different lengths. 

 

It sounds as if your 36 key English has maybe the next grade up in reed scaling, as to whether its best scale or long scale I don't know. 

 

To simplify it the general idea of this stuff: longer reeds = better reeds. You cant fit long scale into everything though. Maybe they cut down on the range of the 36k instrument so they could fit a better scale in there.

Jake, I didn't know they used different reeds like that. I've read a lot of history and been all over the museum site but never saw any discussion on reeds.

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3 hours ago, fred v said:

Thanks Steve. Mu 36 key is 33011 and it is a fabulous playing tina. I was disappointed in the 1922 model. I'll take some pix of the reed pans and also add some dimensions of a reed from each one. Here is the '36 model.

Wheatstone 1933 model 21a  33011.JPG

 

Aha, so there were at least TWO of them made then! Only #33011 was made in 1934 (July 19) not 1935 (or '36) - which is why I didn't find it.

 

And there's another 36-key below it, #33012 the following day, with rather a confusing description:

 

"SP. [probably Special, rather than silver plate, or did it have metal ends?] Black [ebonised woodwork] 36 Keys No7 [strictly a 56-key tenor-treble, though, with so few buttons, more-correctly a tenor]"

 

(But describing custom-ordered instruments, rather than "stock" models, could be complicated, confusing, and inadequate - for example my own instrument, #25100 from 1910, described in the ledger as a "No.6, Black, Gilt Fittings, Special" is basically a high-specification 48-key Aeola, only in "best hexagonal" form.)

 

I'd say these 36-key instruments were most-likely made for a concertina band, and ask (for the sake of clarification) is #33011 a treble (bottom note G) or a tenor (bottom note C)?

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14 minutes ago, Stephen Chambers said:

 

Aha, so there were at least TWO of them made then! Only #33011 was made in 1934 (July 19) not 1935 (or '36) - which is why I didn't find it.

 

And there's another 36-key below it, #33012 the following day, with rather a confusing description:

 

"SP. [probably Special, rather than silver plate, or did it have metal ends?] Black [ebonised woodwork] 36 Keys No7 [strictly a 56-key tenor-treble, though, with so few buttons, more-correctly a tenor]"

 

(But describing custom-ordered instruments, rather than "stock" models, could be complicated, confusing, and inadequate - for example my own instrument, #25100 from 1910, described in the ledger as a "No.6, Black, Gilt Fittings, Special" is basically a high-specification 48-key Aeola, only in "best hexagonal" form.)

 

I'd say these 36-key instruments were most-likely made for a concertina band, and ask (for the sake of clarification) is #33011 a treble (bottom note G) or a tenor (bottom note C)?

Bottom note is G so a treble. Pardon my memory. looks like it is a 1933.

http://www.horniman.info/DKNSARC/SD02/PAGES/D2P1310S.HTM

 

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38 minutes ago, fred v said:

Bottom note is G so a treble.

 

That's what I expected, but wanted to be sure of - it's a good range for a treble if you're playing band parts, or for folk/traditional music.

 

Quote
Quote

Pardon my memory. looks like it is a 1933.

http://www.horniman.info/DKNSARC/SD02/PAGES/D2P1310S.HTM

 

You're right, they're diving between years in those entries, with #33000 and 33001 in 1933, but #33002 in 1934. They'd give you a headache!

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Here are some pix of the reed pans. '22 48 key on the left. '33 36 key on the right. an interesting thing with the '33 model is that the reeds are all stamped on step lower than how they are actually tuned. The low G and High G are shown in the photos. The following are the reed tongue dimensions with the '22 on the left and '33 on the right.

low G:  .107" X 1.155------ .120" X 1.220"

hi G:    .074" X .661"-------.088" X .705"

You can see the difference in the photos.

 

 

reed pan low G.JPG

reed pan high G.JPG

Edited by fred v
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11 hours ago, fred v said:

an interesting thing with the '33 model is that the reeds are all stamped on step lower than how they are actually tuned.

 

This might confirm that it was intended as a band instrument. Brass instruments are "transposing" instruments - the note that sounds isn't the one that's written. So a trumpet for example sounds a Bb when the written note is a C. I'd suggest your concertina was configured similarly to sound at the same pitch as a trumpet or flugelhorn. Then quite likely it was tuned up a tone for someone who wanted a normal treble.

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2 hours ago, Little John said:

This might confirm that it was intended as a band instrument. Brass instruments are "transposing" instruments - the note that sounds isn't the one that's written. So a trumpet for example sounds a Bb when the written note is a C. I'd suggest your concertina was configured similarly to sound at the same pitch as a trumpet or flugelhorn. Then quite likely it was tuned up a tone for someone who wanted a normal treble.

 

Yes indeed, it would also help explain the bigger chambering, and longer reeds. I guess I must have posted while fred v was editing his post and adding that information...

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I've never understood the Salvation Army tuning. I've read it was pitched lower than our A440 but didn't they use standard reeds just tuned to A420 or something similar? That is different than being a whole step lower as these reeds indicate.

 

This is marked SP and it is truly a special concertina. I've owned 4 Wheatstones over the years and none of them played as easily as this one, even the Aeola.

 

Thanks for the discussion.

Fred

Edited by fred v
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8 minutes ago, fred v said:

I've never understood the Salvation Army tuning. I've read it was pitched lower than our A440 but didn't they use standard reeds just tuned to A420 or something similar? That is different than being a whole step lower as these reeds indicate.

 

The Salvation Army, and the concertina makers, were using what was then the commonest pitch in Britain Fred, which was half a semitone sharp of 440.

 

Though it's not so much a question of pitch, but of key. Your 36-key was made as a transposing instrument, to play in the key of Bb when fingered as though it was in C.

 

So the reeds must have been tuned up by a semitone and a half, from high pitch Bb to 440 pitch C.

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1 hour ago, fred v said:

This is marked SP and it is truly a special concertina.

 

From my reading of the ledgers, it's the one below that's marked "SP". 33011 is shown as a model 21 with "NP" which I think indicates "nickel plate" ends.

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21 hours ago, Stephen Chambers said:

 

That's what I expected, but wanted to be sure of - it's a good range for a treble if you're playing band parts, or for folk/traditional music.

 

 

You're right, they're diving between years in those entries, with #33000 and 33001 in 1933, but #33002 in 1934. They'd give you a headache!

 

2 hours ago, Little John said:

 

From my reading of the ledgers, it's the one below that's marked "SP". 33011 is shown as a model 21 with "NP" which I think indicates "nickel plate" ends.

Sorry, you are correct but it sure plays and sounds extraordinary.

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