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Odd Beastie


Pete Dunk
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This is a strange item. Fretwork like a pinhole Aeola but only six sides. Action looks like Wheatstone but seller claims it's marked Aola? Only four fold bellows, what an odd little thing it is. It's only about 15 miles up the road from me but the massive damage makes it hardly worth the trip to take a look. Anyone have any suggestions about what it is? Is it an Aeola prototype?
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This is a strange item. Fretwork like a pinhole Aeola but only six sides.

Six sides was standard for "pinhole" Æolas.

 

That looks like one. Fretwork damage is common with them, because the ends are solid ebony or rosewood, which seem to like to dry out, crack, and crumble. There are exceptions, but I'd recommend taking a look at it. If the innards are still in good shape -- a real possibility, -- then I think it would be very much worth having new ends made. They were excellent instruments.

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Fretwork damage is common with them, because the ends are solid ebony or rosewood, which seem to like to dry out, crack, and crumble.

Indeed, though "solid timber" would ordinarily be considered superior to "ply", concertina ends (as I'm forever telling people) should best be made of laminated timber as it is much stronger. It's why the ends of many cheaper quality instruments (especially Jones' it seems) are often in poor condition when found.

 

They were excellent instruments.

They were, though even when they were new, some people criticised them for their "smothered" tone.

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Fretwork damage is common with them, because the ends are solid ebony or rosewood, which seem to like to dry out, crack, and crumble.
Indeed, though "solid timber" would ordinarily be considered superior to "ply", concertina ends (as I'm forever telling people) should best be made of laminated timber as it is much stronger.

Yes, but it depends very much on the kind of wood that's used for the "solid timber" foundation. I don't believe either rosewood or ebony was used for that purpose.

 

They were excellent instruments.
They were, though even when they were new, some people criticised them for their "smothered" tone.

"Mellow" or "sweet" is how I would describe mine. :)

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They were excellent instruments.
They were, though even when they were new, some people criticised them for their "smothered" tone.
"Mellow" or "sweet" is how I would describe mine. :)

Jim,

 

I put the word "smothered" into quotes as that is the word I have seen used to describe them when they were new, and I wouldn't argue with your choice of words to describe the same tonal quality, which is more a result of their lack of fretwork than the use of solid timber. But I wouldn't swap either of my octagonal Æolas for one. :P

 

Stephen,

 

... would the sound be influenced by applying laminated ends instead of solid wood?

Marien,

 

I'd agree that "The [material of the] end may be not the most crucial point for the sound (unless you skip to metal ends...", but I'd suspect that there might be only a marginal difference between laminated or solid wood ends. Certainly the most highly regarded vintage instruments (octagonal Æolas, Edeophones etc.) would have laminated ends for strength, though the lamination is also part of the production process to create "raised" ends.

 

But Edward Chidley senior, who was responsible for the introduction of these hexagonal "pinhole" Æolas, does seem to have had a preference for solid timber, the result of which is to be seen in the not untypical damage to the ends of this one.

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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I put the word "smothered" into quotes as that is the word I have seen used to describe them when they were new, and I wouldn't argue with your choice of words to describe the same tonal quality,...

Yep. And I wasn't disagreeing with you, but with whoever you were quoting, however inaccessible they may be at this point in time. :D

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Certainly the most highly regarded vintage instruments (octagonal Æolas, Edeophones etc.) would have laminated ends for strength, though the lamination is also part of the production process to create "raised" ends.

Although a lot of the Edeophones did have solid ends I believe, with an associated tendency to break (I have one now nicely repaired!)

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Certainly the most highly regarded vintage instruments (octagonal Æolas, Edeophones etc.) would have laminated ends for strength, though the lamination is also part of the production process to create "raised" ends.

Although a lot of the Edeophones did have solid ends I believe, with an associated tendency to break (I have one now nicely repaired!)

Really? I've never seen one! Their ends seem to usually be laminated stained pearwood...

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Certainly the most highly regarded vintage instruments (octagonal Æolas, Edeophones etc.) would have laminated ends for strength, though the lamination is also part of the production process to create "raised" ends.

Although a lot of the Edeophones did have solid ends I believe, with an associated tendency to break (I have one now nicely repaired!)

Really? I've never seen one! Their ends seem to usually be laminated stained pearwood...

Could they be laminated and still with a tendency to break up perhaps?

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Certainly the most highly regarded vintage instruments (octagonal Æolas, Edeophones etc.) would have laminated ends for strength, though the lamination is also part of the production process to create "raised" ends.

Although a lot of the Edeophones did have solid ends I believe, with an associated tendency to break (I have one now nicely repaired!)

Really? I've never seen one! Their ends seem to usually be laminated stained pearwood...

Could they be laminated and still with a tendency to break up perhaps?

Yes, especially if the wood gets very dried-out, but the biggest problem with Edeophones is that they roll so beautifully and the ends get broken/cracked (especially around the thumb strap or finger plate, depending on how they land) as a result of this. :(

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I heard and agree that solid wood ends sound better. I also heard that an end of relatively thick (7mm) layers laminated ebony may have a similar projection of the sound and it will sound better then an end with many thin layers (1mm). The end with many layers will keep in shape for a longer period though.

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I heard and agree that solid wood ends sound better

Marien , I wonder if you meant you "prefer" the sound of wooden ends.........anyway........I wonder if anyone has ever done a blind listening trial of wooden versus metal ended concertinas with a meaningful number of instruments (resist the tempation to add your "deaf trial" puns :P ) I rather think it could be more difficult than one imagines to differentiate them.

I am constantlly surprised at how mellow a metal ended concertina can sound and the reverse with wooden ended concertinas.

 

Robin

Edited by Robin Harrison
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Robin,

 

I admit that some metal end concertinas can sound more mellow than a wooden end concertina.

 

Nevertheless, I think that compared to wood, a metal end resonates high frequences louder. A wooden end will contribute less in resonating this higher frequencies.

 

To test that it does not take 1000 concertina's. It only takes one concertina with metal ends that temporary could be replaced by wooden ends and a measurement instrument.

 

As I posted before, to my idea the material of the ends is not the most important thing for the sound. I think that the quality of the reed, the type of reed frame/plate and the size of the reed chamber are more important there.

 

Cheers.

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