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Matching Cases With Instruments


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Over-thinking< over reacting?

 

I think not!

 

I have repaired I don't know how many instruments, and time and time again I come across what I think of as 'onitsenditus' the value curl away from the underside of a reedpan after stoage on one end problem.

 

I have read, but don't have a copy, of a Wheatstone instruction that not only demands instrument storeage with axis horizontal, but with a radial orientation where the biggest valves are sat with their glued end uppermost, so they, in effect, hang down.

 

So I ask again, in all sincerity, are the valves in accordian reeded instruments imune to this problem, either through material used, supporting spring/ film, or stubbyness??

 

Dave

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So I ask again, in all sincerity, are the valves in accordian reeded instruments imune to this problem, either through material used, supporting spring/ film, or stubbyness??

 

Dave

 

Well the valves in accordions can suffer this problem.

 

Theo

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Definitely, concertinas stored on their ends have valves which curl in a relatively short period of time. How long? It depends on the age, length, and leather of which the valve is made. But rest assured, it will occur, and sooner than you would probably want.

As for accordion reeds, a mitigating factor is the hair springs which hold the longest valves closed no matter how they are stored. However, mid-sized and shorter valves are affected in the same way because the valves on the best accordion reeds are also made of leather, not plastic.

Edited by Frank Edgley
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Many thanks Frank,

 

I suspect that some people were under the impression that I have a snobbist view against accordion reeded instruments, or was trying to belittle the craftsmanship displayed in this superb box for a box!

 

My concern is genuine and I appreciate your intervention, in summary: it's also best for accordion reeded instruments to store them axis horizontal!

 

Dave

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Beauty isn't Everything - a Lesson from History !

 

Lachenal used to supply lovely mahogany fitted hexagonal boxes with their standard quality instruments; there were still quite a few of these around at the time I started playing.

 

However to remove the instrument from the box involves pulling on the end or thumb straps which causes a strain on the bellows. It is never a good thing to pull the bellows without playing a note. However this is not the worst thing that can happen. If the lower end slightly turns whilst removing the concertina Pythagoras's Law kicks in and the lower end may get wedged in the bottom of the box. Pulling a little harder can damage the bellows. After several people had ruined the bellows of their concertinas in this way, the advice was always to break open the box rather than break the bellows. A new box is much cheaper than a new bellows ! With a box glued together with animal glue in Lachenals day this is not a problem; however with modern adhesives it may not be possible.

 

All the better quality Lachenal instruments were supplyed with top opening leather boxes with the instrument resting on it's side.

 

Inventor.

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are the valves in accordian reeded instruments imune to this problem, either through material used, supporting spring/ film, or stubbyness??

No, accordion vavles are certainly not immune from this directional droopiness. Accordions are usually stored in their cases horizontally (oriented as if one were playing it) for long term storage and typically on their bass end when in use.

 

Horizontal all the valves are edge-on to gravity - as are concertinas when set horizontally. Accordions set on their bass side have their treble side valves oriented hanging end-on (probably the best orientation) but the bass valves are standing end-on (absolutely the worst orientation). True that the bass vavles usually have metal spring "helpers" to keep them closed, but all the chord valves do not. It doesn't take long for them all to bend over. Way over- and wind up getting caught in the bellows where they get torn off.... I've seen countless accordions like this.

 

I've also seen and repaired many, many concertinas with permanently droopy vavles due to being stored vertically.

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I have read, but don't have a copy, of a Wheatstone instruction that not only demands instrument storeage with axis horizontal, but with a radial orientation where the biggest valves are sat with their glued end uppermost, so they, in effect, hang down.

Dave,

 

It reads as follows :

 

NOTE POSITION OF INSTRUMENT IN CASE :

 

The corners, with number and name label, point to the bottom of case, and the thumb strap buttons flat to the back. This position is most beneficial, as it tends to keep the valves in proper place, and the instrument in good order.

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Beauty isn't Everything - a Lesson from History !

 

Lachenal used to supply lovely ... fitted hexagonal boxes with their ... instruments;

post-436-1117674588_thumb.jpgHow about this for a beautiful Lachenal fitted hexagonal box Brian ? :)

 

(You can see it in all its glory :blink: here, in my Michaelstein paper.)

 

 

A new box is much cheaper than a new bellows !

Maybe not always ! ;)

 

 

However to remove the instrument from the box involves pulling on the end or thumb straps which causes a strain on the bellows.

I would always invert the case, and let the instrument slip out gently by force of gravity, putting no strain at all on it.

 

 

If the lower end slightly turns whilst removing the concertina Pythagoras's Law kicks in and the lower end may get wedged in the bottom of the box.  Pulling a little harder can damage the bellows.  After several people had ruined the bellows of their concertinas in this way, the advice was always to break open the box rather than break the bellows.

In 35 years, the only instruments I have encountered that were jammed in their cases were either because somebody had forced them in there the wrong way round, or because they were trapped by an overly thick thumb strap, or other obstruction, but I have always got them out undamaged, only removing the bottom of the box as a last resort.

 

 

All the better quality Lachenal instruments were supplyed with top opening leather boxes with the instrument resting on it's side.

I don't think there can be any argument that the instrument in my photo was absolutely top quality when it was made, possibly for one of Louis Lachenal's daughters in 1865, but square cases became usual later.

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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Accordions are usually stored in their cases horizontally (oriented as if one were playing it) for long term storage and typically on their bass end when in use.

 

Hmm, does that mean I've been storing my button accordion the wrong way all these years? I've always put it into the case with the right-hand keyboard facing forward, then stood the case so that the handle is on top. That means it's sitting on the bass end. If I've interpreted your remarks correctly, it would be better to face the treble side to the right, so that when the case is stood with the handle up, the valves on both sides are "edge-on to gravity."

 

Is that right?

 

I just tried it, and my button accordion fits either way. I have an old piano accordion, though, that only fits in its original case one way -- with the keyboard facing front, where it is protected from the straps by a satin apron. It would seem weird to stand the case up so that the only handle is on the side.

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A starting point for concertinas, at least (but certainly not the last word), that I heard years ago is to orient the case so the instrument is in playing position relative to gravity. You can take refinements (oriented to favor valves on lowest reeds for an EC etc.) from there.

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Accordions are usually stored in their cases horizontally (oriented as if one were playing it) for long term storage and typically on their bass end when in use.
I've always put it into the case with the right-hand keyboard facing forward, then stood the case so that the handle is on top. That means it's sitting on the bass end. If I've interpreted your remarks correctly, it would be better to face the treble side to the right, so that when the case is stood with the handle up, the valves on both sides are "edge-on to gravity."

 

Is that right?

That's right, but note that I said "horizontally... for long term storage." Long term as in months or more, a situation typically found when storing them before sale (as a manufacturer or wholesaler would). I remember visiting Castiglione's warehouse and seeing floor to ceiling accordions in cases all sideways (with their handles sticking out sideways). John would show me this and that by pulling one out of the middle of a stack (he didn't use shelves then) and the rest would stay put from the pressure of all of them.

 

OTOH, for general use - playing and putting the down frequently, moving them around, etc., accordions are designed to receive bumps (as when one puts them down) on their bass side (they even have "feet" some resilient and/or padded ones - there as othey stand stably).

 

I suggest you continue to use your accordion and rest it on its bass feet when out of its case, and when cased, do it like you have been with keyboard frontward (toward the case handle) - and set the case with the handle *upward* so that the accordion is on it's bass end. That way it will take the knocks and shocks of carrying it around. If you plan to leave it for a long time (like abandoning it for the winter while you frolic in Hawaii), put it in the case as you have been, and then turn the case sideways.

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You can take refinements (oriented to favor valves on lowest reeds for an EC etc.) from there.

 

Okay, but pretend that you all aren't experts for a moment.....So the makers provide a deficient case, you store it in a position from which you can't easily pick it up, and NOW, I'm supposed to disassemble a perfectly good instrument to figure out where the lowest reed valves are in order to further complicate an already silly process???? All I can say is "Wow". This is definitely NOT a user-friendly situation!

 

I currently have my gig bag stuffed sideways under a chair in my office...no idea about valve orientation...as an added bonus, my cats seem to like the handle as a toy....I may have to move it into the bedroom closet, but then if it fell off the high shelf, disaster.

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Stephen,

 

thanks for the quotation from Wheatstone!

 

This thread is drifting away from the orginal start point. I would like to congratulate Bob on his fine craftsmanship in both the concertina and the matching box.

 

I think we have aired the topic of instrument orientaion when not in use, and the consensus is that its better to avoid putting the concertina away so it is stood on its end. I have instruments in hexagonal boxes, but they are all laid over when not in use, transit or out and about.

 

There are other issues with hexagonal boxes, like damage on woodwork and belows from lock retaining screws, proper bellows compression, and dragging the instrument out as opposed to carefully tipping it out. These are all missuse concerns which the unaware player can fall foul of. In themselves, they are not the fault of the hexagonal box.

 

In industry we would want to design out the potential for accidental abuse, and the square box with bellows blocks does this. In the care of an aware owner I suspect that Bob's superb box will be fine. All I wanted to achieve is to reinforce the message about the potential for harm, and test the vulnerability of accordion reeded instruments, not detract from Bob's craftsmanship.

 

Dave

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Just a couple of thoughts on cases and storage:

 

 

Firstly I have to agree that Bob's case is a work of art, as is Stephen's old Lachenal case, but then I'd ask "what is the purpose of a case?".

 

My own answer to the question (others may disagree) is that it's there to protect the instrument and take the knocks and scratches that the instrument itself would otherwise suffer. As such does a case need to be a work of art? Indeed doesn't making a work of art somewhat defeat the object as you then start to worry about the case itself getting damaged?

 

To my my mind a flight case style is the ideal: Solidly built, metal re-enforced corners and edges, at least two separate catches ( preferably recessed), blocked inside to properly support the instrument, and with a small amount of spare for a few essential extras such as a screwdriver and a cloth etc.

 

My wife's old 1936 saxophone has a formed plywood case covered in a "snake skin" finish, with three separate catches . It is battered to pieces: the wood is exposed and chipped on the corners and the leather is missing off the handle. It has obviously had a hard life, including falling of the back of her pushbike and boucing down the road, and having been in several airplane baggage holds. The point is though, that the instrument inside is unscathed. Surely this is what a case should be?

 

 

 

My second point (more of a question really) is regarding the storage position and drooping valves.

 

I understand the idea that gravity might eventually cause the valves to fall away from the reed plate if the instrument were in storage for a prolonged period. But I would have thought this affect would have been very slight compared with the stresses of normal playing, where the valves are forced fully open, but only ever return to the flat position. Thus you might expect the valves to aquire a permanent set slightly clear of the plate.

 

Also, the leather used in valves is a natural material and generally has a "smooth" and a "rough" side. As such it isn't it natural for it move over time due to aging or drying out? Has anyone fitted valves 'smooth' side down to see if they still end up curly away from the plate, or curl towards it ?.

 

Plastic valves surely have some advantages in many respects:

They are homogeneous and so should not move with age.

They behave as a spring and so will return to the flat position more reliably.

They are lighter than leather and so would be less affected by any gravitational affects.

 

Obviously they change the sound of the instrument slightly, but whether this is good or bad is a matter of taste.

 

 

 

Thoughts please.

 

 

Clive

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Chris,

 

I think you may have solved the worlds energy problems!

 

If you play your concertina in this orientation there will be small voltage induced in the reed. What we then do is somehow wire up you reeds and and pull of the resulant current to charge a battery or something.

 

All we then need to do is persuade everyone to take up concertina and hey presto, we have global renewable energy source!.

 

Of course pulling a current off the reeds will dampen the reed oscilation and hence flatten them, but hey, what's the cost of a retune compared with free energy for life?

 

Clive.

Edited by Clive Thorne
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