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One note louder than others..


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Hello All,

 

I tried and failed to find a previous discussion on this issue; on my relatively new and by no means cheap concertina I've noticed that the middle D/C note sounds noticeably louder than it's pals. I'm a rank amateur at repairs and adjustments, although I am learning slowly. But I'm stumped as to what to do with this one. Any help would be much appreciated, thanks!

 

Ruairi

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Obvious answer: contact the people you bought it from.

 

You've probably figured out that concertinas are mechanically complex beasts, and it's not uncommon for new (or old) instruments to need a bit of fettling. A reputable seller should do that for you, within reason. You will still want/need to do a bit of basic servicing yourself, though, and the best resources for that are (a) this forum* and (b) Dave Elliott's Concertina Maintenance Manual.

 

*Except for me. I haven't a clue how to fix one note sounding louder than the others.

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Yes, concertinas are quite complex mechanisms, and issues can arise, especially when you think how they are to be used so thoroughly when played!

There may be any number of reasons notes sound different; some may buzz more, others maybe more breathy in tone. Once one of my own  instruments note buzzed, for example, and I found it needed dust blowing out; and that did the job.

As for louder more, hard for me to say; but if it's new, I would not attempt to open it yourself, until more competent in such matters.. maybe it is just it's individual character and how it is.. they are all different, not fully mass produced and will vary in their sound, even on one instrument!

Edited by SIMON GABRIELOW
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Thank you for your replies! Alas, the maker is in my home town of Dublin, and I am in midwest US - I think the instrument took a beating in the arctic temperatures that occurred at time of delivery, it sounded rough as hell at first. I do have a little previous experience at adjusting and cleaning of things, etc. so I like to think I have nursed this newer instrument back to almost complete health; recent warmer weather seems to have helped the recovery too (I think). And I might have memorized Dace Elliott's manual by this point :). I might do another 'tune-up' of everything as that seems to help, and thank you again for the advice, all. I'll post with any astonishing breakthroughs as they happen...

Best

Ruairi

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Hello Dave (not Dace, sorry)!

 

Thanks a million for all your help through your manual. It is a newly made Eiru concertina from Sean Garvey's Irish Concertina Company in Dublin, Ireland; being from up the road I wanted to shop local, as it were, even though I don't live in Dublin now. So to answer, it was custom made for me with my own key specifications (like a drone D, and C sharp options etc.). Does this newness-of-the-instrument change very much how I should be approaching any issues? As in, should I be treating this newly made concertina in any particular way? This really is a minefield for me, but I am fairly confident that my explorations are not going to do any harm to the instrument, touch wood.

Again, thank you to everyone for helping.

 

Ruairi

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I tried to reply already so apologies if this posts twice; I wanted to stress that I am happy and getting happier with the instrument, I just think it took an awful hammering from the transport and the weather - the whole time it was in transit over here the temperature was about 20 degrees Ft below freezing. So no complaints or regrets about the choice of maker, just to be clear; if I had such a problem I would be speaking directly with them. Still would love the satisfaction of solving these minor issues myself, if only to give me confidence for future issues.

Thanks!

Ruairi

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If  it is  just  the  notes on  one  button  that  are  considerably  louder  than others  it  is  possible  to    effect  a cure  by  adjusting the  height  that  the  pad  lifts  off  the  vent hole.    This  can be  done  by  bending  the  lever  or   adding  a  felt  washer  or  two  under the  button  to  reduce  its  travel.

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It sounds like you have an accordion reeded concertina, so most of the advice I would give is void. Having said that, if the reed's start of sounding is a bit breathy at low playing pressure, then abruptly speaks out loudly, then the reed tongues' set may be a bit too wide. 

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Dave, I meant to reply that as far as I know these are concertina reeds, clamped. Wish I knew more to add, but there you go. I don't notice any abrupt change in levels that I'm capable of hearing anyway. Many thanks,

 

Ruairi

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Ruairi,

 

perhaps a photo of the reed pan??

 

Interested in the video from JackJ, somewhat horrified by the the idea of using adhesive tape to 'stiffen a valve. :(  

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Forgive me from jumping in here, but I would always advise to never attempt to adjust anything unless you are confident enough to fix things! Many screws on concertinas are screwed in, for starters, quite precisely, careful you do not damage wooden bellows frame!

And do not make adjustments which cannot later be undone; if you have make things removable again, not permanently fixed. I have made adjustments to concertina over the years, for myself, and replace buttons, and for exampke..recently prevented a piston lever spring from moving too much,  by addition of fine brass sheet, and very tiny brass screws .. it is all removable should it need to be in future. So, go cautiously, as there's many solutions to issues with concertinas; if not sure get expert help!

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I will try and send a picture of the reed pan, Dave, thanks. Simon, I agree completely and am proceeding in more of a look-and-learn way than actually making much in the way of changes, certainly not permanent ones. I did fix an overlapping note on my old concertina which I am proud of to this day :), but caution/expert help is my approach for sure.

Thank you!

Ruairi

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I'd love to see photos of the reeds on these instruments. Information on them is very vague, but he certainly markets them aggressively. I suspect he's using Czech reeds, but maybe I'm wrong. Personally I would be sending it back to the maker, unless it's something simple like a reed worked out of the dovetail in transit. 

Edited by Sohcahtoa
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Hi All,

 

Sohcahtoa, I've no idea what these reeds are and honestly I don't know what Czech reeds are, or if that's a really bad thing; if I find out I'll post about it, thanks.

In a weird turn of events, I took my concertina to an outdoor gig this weekend, where I mostly played guitar, banjo, but I did play some tunes on the concertina, thinking it might benefit from a little change in humidity, conditions being perfect for once. It sounded, to my ears, exceptional. Then I tried it back at home yesterday and today and it still sounds really good, by which I mean that it feels like all the notes are coming in fully and evenly, no volume discrepancies and no buzzing or weirdness that I can discern. I'm confused but happy; was it perhaps just a little warmth that it needed, I have no idea, but it is currently sounding like I hoped it would all along. I hope to be able to say the same thing after a week or two but for now I am so much happier with what now sounds like the instrument I envisioned. Strange! And if I do take it apart again I will post pictures of the innards, but I don't want to tempt fate right now.

PS As an aside to this conversation, I was playing the concertina through my acoustic Fishman amp, miced by a small CAD condenser microphone, and the sound itself was unbelievably pure and good, almost like I knew what I was doing...

All the best and thanks again,

Ruairi

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