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A while ago I bought a 1916 model 2 Wheatstone 48 key treble - rosewood ends, nickel buttons, brass reeds. I was quite surprised to find that all 96 reeds were valved, and they all looked original or at least quite old. I thought it might have been re-valved by an inexperienced repairer who didn't realise that the top few notes on each side aren't usually valved at all (as I understand it).

 

Recently I came across a mid range Lachenal 48 key treble - rosewood ends with metal inlays, nickel buttons, 5 fold bellows. Quite a nice looking thing but needs a fair bit of attention to get it back into playing condition. Again it has valves fitted to all 96 reeds. Did I misunderstand the description I read somewhere that said that the higher reeds in a treble (a few on each side) weren't fitted with valves at all, or have I found two fairly good quality instruments that have suffered at the hands of inexpert repairers?

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A while ago I bought a 1916 model 2 Wheatstone 48 key treble - rosewood ends, nickel buttons, brass reeds. I was quite surprised to find that all 96 reeds were valved, and they all looked original or at least quite old. I thought it might have been re-valved by an inexperienced repairer who didn't realise that the top few notes on each side aren't usually valved at all (as I understand it).

 

Recently I came across a mid range Lachenal 48 key treble - rosewood ends with metal inlays, nickel buttons, 5 fold bellows. Quite a nice looking thing but needs a fair bit of attention to get it back into playing condition. Again it has valves fitted to all 96 reeds. Did I misunderstand the description I read somewhere that said that the higher reeds in a treble (a few on each side) weren't fitted with valves at all, or have I found two fairly good quality instruments that have suffered at the hands of inexpert repairers?

 

It is more a case of "very high reeds do not need valves", than "very high reeds should not have valves". A good approach from here would be to say, how well do they work?

 

Chris

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It is more a case of "very high reeds do not need valves", than "very high reeds should not have valves". A good approach from here would be to say, how well do they work?

 

Chris

 

 

Not strictly true, its more a case of "very high reeds MAY not need valves".

 

There are a number of variables that come into play:

Reed edge/tip fitting clearances; reed set; reed material strength etc. Even the variation in different comparative valve flexibilities can effect the perfomance of the valves when/if it is fitted.

 

Two key questions:

 

1: does the fitting of the valve mute or slow the reed response? if so remove the valve, or weaken it

2: do the reeds beat & burble when valves are not fitted? if so then fit them

 

Clearly the above will vary from machine to machine. So there is no hard and fast rule.

 

Dave

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