Jump to content

Middle and higher notes are much quieter than bass notes


Recommended Posts

I recently acquired a lovely 1938 tenor treble Wheatstone aeola and notice that the middle and higher notes sound much quieter than the bass notes when compared to my 1928 Wheatstone treble aeola

Is this usual or could there be an issue involving the valves or reeds?

there are no baffles fitted.

Many  thanks

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If  the  bass notes and the  very  highest  notes are ok   this would  suggest  warped  reed pans  or  pallet boards, causing  leaks  around  the  reed  chambers.  Air leaks  due to  loose  fitting   reed pans  or  loose height blocks  in the  bellows  will give  the  symptoms   you  describe.     

Edited by Geoff Wooff
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Completely agree with Geoff’s suggestions. Loose reed pan supports tends to be more common than warped parts, and is more straightforward to fix.

 

if you bought it from a shop or dealer you should start by taking it back and asking them to put it right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I have experienced the same on two modern (and therefore relatively new) concertinas and have been struggling to understand the reason/ find a solution.  I have considered the ideas discussed here including air leaks, misbehaving valves, reed tongue position at rest, various reed chamber resonance theories, and reed design.  So far, I very much like Alex Holden's note offering that designing a balanced reed is a refined skill (and so perhaps not a skill every maker has).  Still, I must not conclude this to be the case with one instrument since the reeds were not hand-made (possibly Harmonikas).  Any restoration/repair expert, please suggest what 3 things you would look for if an instrument came to you with slow-to-respond and muted right-hand reeds - for the sake of the question - all those above B5?

Edited by David Lay
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, David Lay said:

I have experienced the same on two modern (and therefore relatively new) concertinas and have been struggling to understand the reason/ find a solution.  I have considered the ideas discussed here including air leaks, misbehaving valves, reed tongue position at rest, various reed chamber resonance theories, and reed design.  So far, I very much like Alex Holden's note offering that designing a balanced reed is a refined skill (and so perhaps not a skill every maker has).  Still, I must not conclude this to be the case with one instrument since the reeds were not hand-made (possibly Harmonikas).  Any restoration/repair expert, please suggest what 3 things you would look for if an instrument came to you with slow-to-respond and muted right-hand reeds - for the sake of the question - all those above B5?


First - unnecessary/too stiff valves. Proper valves matter A LOT. Basically, you increase the pressure threshold to start the reed the stiffer/heavier the valve is. 
 

Second - wrong padhole position. Small reeds often work better when the padhole is over the tip of the tongue.

 

Third - too deep chambers. Too much air coupled to the reed slows the response and weakens the tone of high reeds. 

  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

David, 

 

I would start by trying things out and looking/ listening for other evidence:

 

Are the affected reeds going down to the same height of 'stop' position when being pressed, as the other keys that are sounding properly? Are those keys sitting higher or lower when the respective pads are fully closed? Are there any ghost tones being sounded? are there any damaged end bolts, any cracks in the pad board? any loose of missing reed pan support blocks. Is there any evidence of looseness of the reed pan in it's bellows frame gasketing.  Valve condition is important, but also look at the chamber walls, often the chamber wall can slope and catch the valve when blown open. Do the affected note all have the same size of valve, if so is that valve sizes made of a stiffer or thicker leather. Once this overall assessment is complete then you may well get some useful pointers or frighten yourself to death. With a Wheatstone or Lachenal  I would doubt a design flaw like chamber sizing, pad hole diameter etc.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I thought I’d comment on this, because inconsistent reed volume is an issue I encounter now and then. One approach I take is to remove the pan and operate it face down on my (foot operated) tuning table, with a soft hand held cap to block off the end of the chamber (a folded wedge of craft foam), and pressed down with the other hand. I use sheets of craft rubber with apertures cut to form a gasket on the table. This way I can see what’s going on with the reed (a bit easier with the reeds facing upwards, but also v quick to inspect the inner reed). Volume can be affected by simple things like…the reeds are dirty, or the gap isn’t optimal, or the valve is slow or stiff. Changing the valve can miraculously alter the volume. Sometimes it hasn’t been fitted correctly, grazing the chamber, or isn’t sitting flat when closed, or is stiff with age. New valves or repositioned valves solve this. Also the reed might not be tight enough in its slot. The point is, there is quite a lot that can be easily checked with this approach, and often the solution presents itself. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Something worth taking into consideration is the reeds in that section of the instrument may not be of the same quality. The higher reeds need smaller clearances and it is harder to achieve in a smaller reed. 
 

If I was presented with this issue I would first check the pan blocks and look for warping of the woodwork, and then take a valve off one of the poor performing reeds and see (hear) the full potential of the reed. If its no better then the issue is likely the reed, if its louder then lighter valves could be the answer.
 

Also, a way to look at this comparison between your two instruments would be to question the bass end of the more balanced instrument. Has the bass been restricted in some way to balance it with the naturally quieter top end?

Edited by Chris Ghent
Reason for edit: stupidity
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...