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Re-tuning


m3838
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Hi.

I'm still pondering of re-tuning G row of a 20 row concertina half step up, and think that previus threads got too lengthy and need some refreshing.

Well, I just spoke with a local person, who fixes free reeds instruments, about tuning C/G Lachenal to C/g# sort of thing.

He wasn't at all enthusiastic, said such a job will be very costly as he will probably ruin a few reeds and will have to make new ones. And generally that this type of raising of pitch equals of 100 cents and is ruinous for the reeds, esp. brass. The I got an idea to loosen the bracket holding tradtitional Lachenal reeds in place and slightly move the tongue in.

Then he had an idea of covering the gap with electric tape. He said mexicans do it on their instruments to raise pitch (they snap the end of a reed tongue off and use electric tape with good results). I'm thinking to use thin metallic tape they use in rhythmic gymnastics to wrap the hoops.

What do you guys think?

I don't want to ruin an antique instrument and not sure if I need diatonic 20 button.

30 button are out of my reach. So the question is, whether I play a concertina or not. (I'm trying to make you feel for me).

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If the project under consideration here is redoing a Lachenal.... We can easily retune a half step up but it would be far easier (and less expensive) to just replace those reeds with ones of the pitch you want (we have many hundreds of old Lachenal reeds) and keep the original reeds so that a future owner could restore them to their "proper" place.

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Then I got an idea to loosen the bracket holding tradtitional Lachenal reeds in place and slightly move the tongue in. Then he had an idea of covering the gap with electric tape. He said mexicans do it on their instruments to raise pitch (they snap the end of a reed tongue off and use electric tape with good results).

 

 

Does this work??? Sounds a bit dodgy to me, but I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise.

In the meantime, remind me not to buy second hand accordions off eBay Mexico listings... :o :o :o :o

 

MC

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Why do you want to, or feel you need to, retune your G row to sharpen every note? If you want to play concertina, then play concertina, a 20 button concertina is no less a concertina than a 30 or 40 button one. If you want to do this to emulate the Irish box players(on B/C# accordians, or whatever it is that they play these days), or facilitate the playing of Irish music, then you will be shooting yourself in the foot. Should you do that, you will have no D natural, or F # on your second row, both important notes in Irish music(nor will you have an E natural). 'And, worse than that, you will have no F# on the whole instrument, the F# on the G row being re-tuned up a half step will now be G natural, and you are now out of the game for Trad music!(your E nat. on that row becoming an F nat.) The instrument is now useless for playing in the key of G and D, which both need F #'s. You can, however, play in the key of F and B flat, not possible with the original tuning(however, the range of notes may not be convenient to use, being that they are out of kilter with the design of the instrument, though that remains to be seen) I wouldn't do it, but, good luck, whatever you decide to do, take care,

 

Don

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...I just spoke with a local person, who fixes free reeds instruments, about tuning C/G Lachenal to C/g# sort of thing.

He wasn't at all enthusiastic, said such a job will be very costly as he will probably ruin a few reeds and will have to make new ones.

Sounds like he's honest, but not competent to work on a good concertina. Any experienced restorer of (English construction) concertinas should be able to safely retune the reeds a half step without breaking them, though most would -- like Rich Morse -- recommend against it. And if he did have to replace a reed, how would he insure that the steel (or brass?) was of the same quality? There are better alternatives. E.g., simply substituting "original" reeds of the proper pitch from the Button Box' spares.

 

And generally that this type of raising of pitch equals of 100 cents and is ruinous for the reeds, esp. brass.

Well, since it removes metal, it's not reversible. Depends a lot on what technique is used, too. Accordion repair people often mention "scratching" reeds to fine-tune them, but no self-respecting concertina repair person would do that, as scratching weakens the reeds.

 

The I got an idea to loosen the bracket holding tradtitional Lachenal reeds in place and slightly move the tongue in.

I would expect that to allow more air to flow around the reed, making it less responsive and also reducing the dynamic range.

 

Then he had an idea of covering the gap with electric tape. He said mexicans do it on their instruments to raise pitch (they snap the end of a reed tongue off and use electric tape with good results). I'm thinking to use thin metallic tape they use in rhythmic gymnastics to wrap the hoops.

Do you think you can adjust the positioning of the tape to a few hundredths of a millimeter? Drawing back the reed can also increase the gap at the sides, by amounts that can't be adjusted with tape.

 

And I'm not familiar with the "thin metallic" tape you mention, but electrical tape will definitely decay over time. How many Mexican box players are playing instruments more than 100 years old? Even more than 50? I would guess that at least half the concertinas owned by C.netters fall into that latter category. All Lachenals are more than 98 years old, Jones and Jeffries older still. Most Wheatstones, as well.

 

Also, do these Mexicans play melodies as fast and intricate as the Irish, or with wide dynamic variation?

 

You have to decide what you want to do with the instrument, including how well you want it to be able to play. But I'm getting the feeling that you're more attached to the idea of doing your own tinkering than to the idea of having a playable instrument. If the latter is your goal, I think having The Button Box provide new reeds -- or even an entire concertina with the reeds/notes you want -- would be not only the quickest, but possibly even the cheapest way to get the instrument you want to play. Furthermore, if you later decided you wanted to change a note or two, doing it with substitute reeds from the BB would be far better than re-retuning reeds, which would weaken them.

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Thanks for all the responces, so far information is very contradictive.

--Some say, including Chris Algar, that replacing the reed assemblies is not necessary as it is easy to re-tune half step up.

--Rich Morse is saying the replacements is the way to go (and I tend to agree with it for monetary and reselling purposes).

--Yes, Mexicans do play fast repetition of the notes, intervals and chords. As for nuanciation, depends on the talent. I'd say, to 90% of irish, mexican and all other players I heard, nuance is a foreign issue. No national boundaries here.

--Yes, there is a problem with tapered reed tongue, I haven't thought about it.

--Electric tape is good for a few years, than it's easy to replace. Yes, it is possible to fit it very tightly. However, I don't think "cheap" Lachenals sport such a precision.

Metallic tape is very thin, shiny tape, that is used in Rhythmic Gymnastics to wrap clubs and hoops. Very durable and very thin.

--No, I'm not going to replace all the G with G# row. It's not necessary, You're quite right.

I posted my proposed layout in other threads, but just in case, here it is again:

 

---------------C----G----c----e-----g----|||||----c'----e'----g'----c''----e''-------------push

---------------G----B----d----f-----a-----|||||----b----d'----f'-----a'----b'--------------pull

 

-----------Bb----d----g#---b----d'#-----|||||-------g'#---b'-----d''----g''----b''-------push

-----------d#-----f#--a#---c'#---e'------|||||-------f'#---a''#----c''#--e''----f''#------pull

 

--I understand that 20 button has it's merits etc. No, I don't intend to play Irish, but wanted to make a small, inexpencive chromatic instrument with a good tone.

 

Overall most people just go with a flow. If they we lucky and the "flow" is benign, good for us. In other cases we are not so fortunate.

 

I've heard many put downs about my new music stave, for example. Despite all the tests, that show it's working better, musicians refuse to accept it. It felt to me, that most of my critiques appreciate that most people can't read music.

Goram Ram is another example. I remember following his threads about ergonomics.

He invented handles for EC and AC, that will enhance your playing immensly. Still many people, who otherwise complain to pain in the palm, elbow etc. - are vigorously defended same very contraptions that gave them pain in a first place.

 

Season's Greetings to everyone.

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Hi again, seasons greetings to you, also. I like your stave, it makes sense. I understand wanting to make your 20 button chromatic, that is a cool idea. But it will not be chromatic by retuning the G row to G#, there is no F# in the G# scale, what you wrote there is wrong. You could do it by retuning like the modern Irish accordian players do, C/C#, or B/C, I believe with either of those configurations you could get a chromatic concertina, however, I think there would be a ridiculous amount of cross-fingering(it doesn't bother some people, but it makes me crazy!). A friend of mine from Newburgh NY several years back bought a Jurgen Suttner concertina, and he had it built so as to be tuned like a button accordian, as my friend is a button accordian player, so your idea is not as far fetched as some people(myself included, initially) As for yesterdays post, I am sorry for sounding so harsh, I shouldn't have come across that way, I apologize for that. Good luck with what ever you decide to do to it, it sounds fun, and whatever makes music, work! Take care,

Don

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Hey.

If you look carefully at the design of the G row, you'll see that I do not retune G row to G#. Initially I had C/C# in mind, but after some consideration decided on altering a G row.

I leave F# where they are, and leav D, B and E where they are. Only altering the very last B to Bb. Other Bb I'll get from A#. So I'll have b, d, e reversals plus one Bb reversal too, only an octave low. May not be so bad.

I eliminated most of cross fingering, as my sharps lay in the opposite side from naturals.

As for my music stave, where did you see it? I remember posting it a few years ago, do you still remember it? I'm impressed!

Going back home now.

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Say, a cheap reed's clearances are not tight. Where is it more important, at the sides of the tongue or at the tip? Often times I see alluminium plate "hammered" at the tip of the reed to close the gap.

I don't advocate hammering the 100 years old reed plates to make the reed more responcive, but thinking about that metallic tape, you know?

It's very thin and sturdy and sure may have much more useful applications, than wrapping those hoops.

I know, I know, it sounds a little too Eastern Block fixing, but what do you do with old inexpencive Lachenals? Throw them away? Attach big bellows? I've seen russian players with diatonic accordions and huge bellows attached to them. Looks ugly, but probably functional.

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Hey, I would like to be put on the lachenal waiting list! It will make shipping easier, two smaller boxes instead of one big one, as suggested by Mr. Prebble! Just kidding. The tape would, of course, be an easy and inexpensive modification, and you will know right away if it is working. And, as to your reply to my posting, I hadn't realized that you were leaving the F#s alone, I had assumed you were re-tuning every note up. Interesting idea. I think if you do it, you should go with the reed replacement idea. You could do the whole job in an hour or less. Pop 'em out, and pop 'em back in again! (a very cool feature of tradionally made concertinas!) And to make the reeds fit better in the frames, you can take them out and dress them with a shapening stone, or very fine file to make them fit tighter. I have three Lachenals, and the reeds all seem to be pretty closely set in the reed frame to me. But, I guess they are all different. As for the stave, the more I think about it, I may have it confused with something else, could you send me a copy to either refresh my memory, and/or introduce me to it? Keep us posted, Thanks,

Don

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To Don:

Thanks for ideas.

And thanks for the pump-up.

I'll go with the reed replacement and order from The Button Box as per Rich Morse's suggestion.

Now for the stave:

Here's the idea in short:

I thought of making music to be written the same in all octaves, thus getting rid of the cleffs.

So here it goes:

for printed music it has only two lines instead of 5

 

---C---

 

B

---A-----------------

G

F

----E----------------

D

----C----

 

 

And for hand written it can be like this, with dotted or thick line between F and G, which is not the line for the notes, but a division between lower and higher halves of the octave.

 

 

---C---

B

-----A---------------

G

============

F

-----E---------------

D

----C----

 

Tha result is the lower halve of the octave is written as it is now from middle C to F.

The upper halve of the octave is written as it's equivalent of the bass cleff.

Easy to learn and it is symmetrical in all octaves and in all cleffs. The C is wrtiine on short lines inbetween the long lines and is a clear indication of the octave.

There can be signs to indicate an octave, or it can be left to musician's disgrecion: an instrument dictates the pitch of "middle" C.

I have transcribed some pieces of music - everythin is read easily and basically the same way as now, only there is no more confusion between the cleffs.

The hand written variation is slightly less compact than 5 line stave.

The print variation is somewhat more compact.

Not the revolutionary idea, but brings music reading a bit closer to the masses.

 

Hope the charts are clear.

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  • 1 month later...

Hey. It's 2am and I just finished installing accidentals to my 20 button Lachenal.

It has now a G row modified, so most of the reeds are replaced with their sharps, except for the

very low B, which is Bb now. The very high reeds I left untouched.

Now I will dig out some easy classical pieces and try to learn it on my 20, yes, chromatic in 2 octaves, Lachenal Anglo.

I'm very exited.

My next project will be getting some old german 20 button and replacing the reeds with Hohner Pokerwork, and see, what will happen.

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