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Reed Not Sounding All The Time


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Since returning from my first long journey with it, my 'tina's note on the draw of the highest button on the C row is sounding intermittently. When it's not sounding, you just get really high harmonics.

 

I noticed that the material underneath the ends had shifted slightly, and so attempted to move it back. This appeared to fix it (the note sounded clearly). However, when I put the instrument in my normal playing position, it stopped sounding again. Grr.

 

Is this just a matter of taking the ends off, and moving the material, or am I missing something?

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I don't understand what material you mean that is moving. Do you mean the chamois leather? Maybe glue is the answer to keep it in place (put glue on the wood, let dry for a minute and press the chamois in place).

 

Wat you describe happens if the air is not pressed through one reed chamber the air may be slipping over the edge to another read chamber as well, triggering a whole chord. This happens when the reed pan is not held against the action plate by the end bolts. It sounds to me like you have a (slightly) warped reed pan, there may be small edge blocks (that should support the reed pan) missing in the bellows (or positioned too low).

 

If you take of the right hand end you can check inside whether the reed pan of the left end is resting okay on the blocks, and mark the position where blocks should be added or repositioned. Then you could open up the other end clean up and sand the relevant part of the wood inside the reed pan and re-position the missing blocks with a dot of PVA glue.

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If you are speaking about the material that you can see when you look through the cutouts (fretwork) in the ends, then it is the baffles, not the chamois, of which you are referring. Not all instruments have baffles, and in terms of function, they serve a dual purpose of keeping the dust out and altering the tone of the instrument. I suppose they also could serve a third purpose of being ornamental as well. However, the baffles would not be causing the problem that you are experiencing. What I suspect is that the reed shoe in question has come loose and merely needs to be pushed back securely into its slot and perhaps a paper shim should be applied to keep the shoe in place. The fact that the note sounded when you made the adjustment probably had more to do with the shoe sliding out of position as you held the instrument at a different angle to make the adjustment. When you returned the instrument to playing position the note fell out again.

 

I would take the instrument apart, locate the offending note in the reedpan and see if it is not sitting loosely in its slot.

 

-Wally

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Hmmm..... Wally's scenario sounds more like what's actually happening. Any road up, looks like I'll be taking her to bits, with the advice from marien & Wally in mind.

 

(Alternatively, she's still covered by warranty from Barleycorn, so I could let someone do it who knows what he's doing. ;) )

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What I suspect is that the reed shoe in question has come loose and merely needs to be pushed back securely into its slot

 

These things happen during transport, but it does not explain the sounding of a whole chord if only one button is pressed.

Cheers.

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Marien, we might have read the original post with different understandings and perhaps some clarification from Melzer is needed. If there is a whole chord sounding when a single button is pressed, I would agree that this would be an air leakage question. In reviewing the thread, however, I don't see this mentioned. I took the phrase ". . . note on the draw of the highest button on the C row is sounding intermittently" to mean that sometimes it sounds when it is pressed and sometimes it doesn't, not that it goes off occasionally when not pressed, though I see how this could be taken as the meaning. On the other hand, you may have had some private communication with Meltzer that gave more information than the original post.

 

Anyway, regarding doing the repair yourself . . . if it is a loose shoe, this is a very easy fix (assuming the endbolts aren't frozen in place and that we are speaking about a traditional reeded instrument). All you have to do is unscrew the endbolts on the side where the problem is occurring, then with the removed end in hand, press the offending button and look underneath the end to see which pad lifts up so that you can find the corresponding chamber on the reed pan (which should still be in the bellows). The offending note, which you mentioned is a draw note, will be on the visible side of the reed pan (there are notes on the underside of the pan as well for the push notes). You should be able to push the note back in place without removing the pan from the bellows but if it still feels loose or that it might easily come loose, then you will want to remove the reedpan in order to put a paper shim at the heel of the shoe to lock it in place. The reedpan is held in place by friction and should have a hole that goes all the way through it. Simply stick your finger through this hole and pull it out. It might stick a little so proceed carefully. There should be some marking on one of the corners (usually an "R" for 'right side' or sometimes a serial number) that corresponds to a similar marking on the inside of the bellows, which is used to correctly orient the reedpan when reinstalling. The best paper shims that I've used are made from spongely paper like that used in paper towels. Cut the paper a couple millimeters long and place it on the side of the shoe adjacent to the bolts that clamp the reed tongue down. Don't let the shim extend into the middle area of the reed as it could cause the side of the shoe to press against the tongue. The shim is held in place by pressure and does not need to be glued in place.

 

If you would like to make a more permanent shim, rather than using paper, you can put a tiny dot of white glue on the sides of the reed slot at the same place where you would put the paper shim as described above. Use a toothpick to make sure that only a small amount is used and that it is put in the correct place. Slide the reed shoe into the slot over the wet glue and let it sit for no more than 10 seconds and then pull it out. Wipe off any glue that is on the sides of the shoe and let the glue in the slot dry for 5 minutes. Slide the shoe back into the slot and see if it now holds. If not, repeat these steps until it does.

 

-Wally

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If you would like to make a more permanent shim...

 

Try cutting the shim from the sticky end of a post-it note. Place the sticky side against the wood. If you have to remove the reed again the shim will stay in place, but is easily removed if necessary. :)

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Anyway, regarding doing the repair yourself . . . if it is a loose shoe, this is a very easy fix (assuming the endbolts aren't frozen in place and that we are speaking about a traditional reeded instrument). All you have to do is unscrew the endbolts on the side where the problem is occurring, then with the removed end in hand, press the offending button and look underneath the end to see which pad lifts up so that you can find the corresponding chamber on the reed pan (which should still be in the bellows). The offending note, which you mentioned is a draw note, will be on the visible side of the reed pan (there are notes on the underside of the pan as well for the push notes). You should be able to push the note back in place without removing the pan from the bellows but if it still feels loose or that it might easily come loose, then you will want to remove the reedpan in order to put a paper shim at the heel of the shoe to lock it in place. The reedpan is held in place by friction and should have a hole that goes all the way through it. Simply stick your finger through this hole and pull it out. It might stick a little so proceed carefully. There should be some marking on one of the corners (usually an "R" for 'right side' or sometimes a serial number) that corresponds to a similar marking on the inside of the bellows, which is used to correctly orient the reedpan when reinstalling. The best paper shims that I've used are made from spongely paper like that used in paper towels. Cut the paper a couple millimeters long and place it on the side of the shoe adjacent to the bolts that clamp the reed tongue down. Don't let the shim extend into the middle area of the reed as it could cause the side of the shoe to press against the tongue. The shim is held in place by pressure and does not need to be glued in place.

 

If you would like to make a more permanent shim, rather than using paper, you can put a tiny dot of white glue on the sides of the reed slot at the same place where you would put the paper shim as described above. Use a toothpick to make sure that only a small amount is used and that it is put in the correct place. Slide the reed shoe into the slot over the wet glue and let it sit for no more than 10 seconds and then pull it out. Wipe off any glue that is on the sides of the shoe and let the glue in the slot dry for 5 minutes. Slide the shoe back into the slot and see if it now holds. If not, repeat these steps until it does.

 

-Wally

 

There is another failure mode not yet considered, the clue being that the reed stops on re-assembly, the second clue is the reported harmonics. Could be that the reed tongue is shifted to one side, and any changes in humidity and end assembly clamping pressure cause the reedpan to deflect, putting pressure on the reed shoe side. The reed shoe closes up fractionally, causing the reed tongue flank to bind on the side of the shoe vent slot. This has the effect of shortening the tongue causing high harmonics to be sounded.This is not uncommon in different circumstances.

 

Release the clamping pressure on the end bolts and see what happens, and or check the alignment of the reed tongue to the vent slot. Also check for binding of the shoe in the reedpan housing; it an be too tight in the wrong places as well as too slack.

 

Dave E

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It's very likely that Dave's comment fits here, as the heard harmonics are higher notes (shrill?).

If it is a loose reed frame you would hear it rattling, and then you can push it back in its slot.

But when the slot is too narrow it could make it worse to push the reed further in the slot,

and result in a squeeky reed or complete silence of the whole reed gets stuck inside the reed frame, isn't it?

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It's very likely that Dave's comment fits here, as the heard harmonics are higher notes (shrill?).

If it is a loose reed frame you would hear it rattling, and then you can push it back in its slot.

But when the slot is too narrow it could make it worse to push the reed further in the slot,

and result in a squeeky reed or complete silence of the whole reed gets stuck inside the reed frame, isn't it?

 

Marien

 

Nicely put, in these circumstances, the tighter the slot is to the reed frame the deeper the manure; but if the tendancy exists, it can also be aggravated by distortion of the reed pan from changes in humidity and end bolt pressure.

 

perverse little machines!

 

Dave

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Somewhere on this forum (I forget just where) was a picture of a reedpan made from perspex, a good use of modern materials in my opinion, removing at least some of the perversity. :wacko:

 

 

and some of the concertina tone & tambre??

 

Dave

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Since returning from my first long journey with it, my 'tina's note on the draw of the highest button on the C row is sounding intermittently. When it's not sounding, you just get really high harmonics.

Hi Meltzer,

 

I missed the start of this thread; have you resolved the problem yet?

 

This doesn't sound like a major problem, to me, and a quick look inside the instrument should identify the issue. I see that you are in SE London; if you are happy to come across to Croydon, I'll take a look at the instrument if you like. You can have a play with the "toys" while you are here.

 

Regards,

Peter.

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and some of the concertina tone & tambre??

 

Dave

I honestly don't know Dave, never having heard such a thing being played. I thought I'd read yet another thread debating the relative merits of tonewoods for concertina making and I believe the consensus was that such materials would have little, if any, effect on the overall sound of the instrument. I presumed that the sheer thickness of the reedpan timber, its tightness in the bellows frame and the compression from the action board would have prevented any movement so all that is left to affect tone and timbre is the ability of the materials surface to reflect or absorb sound waves within the chamber. An interesting subject but I'm not likely to make a perspex (or any other type) reedpan anyway.

 

Just to stay slightly off topic, does making reed shoes from aluminium rather than brass have a dramatic effect on the overall sound of a concertina?

 

Edited to add:

I found the thread discussing tonewoods and perspex reedpans here. The thread contents contradict almost everything I've written above. :o

 

Anybody got a cure for a totally dodgy memory? :unsure:

Edited by tallship
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Just to stay slightly off topic, does making reed shoes from aluminium rather than brass have a dramatic effect on the overall sound of a concertina?

 

Edited to add:

I found the thread discussing tonewoods and perspex reedpans here. The thread contents contradict almost everything I've written above. :o

 

Anybody got a cure for a totally dodgy memory? :unsure:

I think you've already discovered it: the
Search
facility.
:)

Try it on alumin(i)um vs. brass reed shoes. ;)

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This doesn't sound like a major problem, to me, and a quick look inside the instrument should identify the issue. I see that you are in SE London; if you are happy to come across to Croydon, I'll take a look at the instrument if you like. You can have a play with the "toys" while you are here.

 

Regards,

Peter.

Cheers, Peter. That would be most kind. B) (Will send a PM at lunchtime).

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