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Eric Root

English Concertina Reed Problem

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Hi. I've already posted this to rec.music.makers.squeezebox.

 

 

My wife's early-70s Crabb treble has a problem with the push reed

on the G above middle C: it requires greater-than-normal force to get

it to speak, and when it does, the timbre is a little harsh, the note

is somewhat muted, and note is a little flat. If I can fix the

speaking problems, I'll attempt to tune it. I've already had the reed

out several times, run a shim under the tongue, made sure there aren't

any dust particles binding the reed, checked the set of the reed

under a magnifying glass and messed with it a little both directions,

to no avail. When examined under the mag glass, the tongue appears

straight in the carrier with the exact same space all around, so the

tongue is not at any sort of lateral slant, nor does it appear cracked

or chipped. If we can't fix it, she'll have to stick to guitar in an

important upcoming gig. I'd let her use my '30s Wheatstone but it's

off getting new bellows from Bob Tedrow (yay!). Anything we haven't

tried? We are in SW Virginia, USA.

 

BTW, I do have the Dave Elliott maintenance manual.

 

Eric Root

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Eric,

You might want to check the opening valve for this reed in the chamber on the opposite side of the reed pan. Make sure, if there is a wire from the chamber side wall that this wire has not been inadvertantly pushed down restricting the opening of the valve.

 

Other possible causes of your problem might be the fit of the reed shoe in the slot. Too loose results in a muffled, flat note and too tight can pinch the shoe sides which appear to have plenty of clearance when out of the slot.

 

Comparing the problem push reed and shoe to its behaving pull twin is always a worthwhile troubleshooting technique.

 

Best of luck and let us know how it turns out.

 

Greg

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Hello Eric, have you tried swapping the pair of reeds over to ensure that it is the reed itself at fault? Is the valve still soft and flexible? Just a couple of thoughts.

 

I have to say that the description you have given sounds like a fouled or failing reed to me. Hopefully one of the real experts will be along before too long to add their invaluable advice.

 

Pete. :)

 

Edited to add: Whoops! Greg beat me to it!

Edited by tallship

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Sounds to me like air leaking between the reed carrier and the wooden dovetail joint it fits in. If you've tken it out and pressed it back into place a few times already (that often fixes it), you may need to add a shim, a thin strip of newspaper or cigarette paper along one edge between the metal and the wood.

 

I would not try to tune it yourself. That should be done by someone who knows what they are doing. But if the shim helps, it will fix the intonation as well.

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Hi. I've already posted this to rec.music.makers.squeezebox.

 

 

My wife's early-70s Crabb treble has a problem with the push reed

on the G above middle C: it requires greater-than-normal force to get

it to speak, and when it does, the timbre is a little harsh, the note

is somewhat muted, and note is a little flat. If I can fix the

speaking problems, I'll attempt to tune it. I've already had the reed

out several times, run a shim under the tongue, made sure there aren't

any dust particles binding the reed, checked the set of the reed

under a magnifying glass and messed with it a little both directions,

to no avail. When examined under the mag glass, the tongue appears

straight in the carrier with the exact same space all around, so the

tongue is not at any sort of lateral slant, nor does it appear cracked

or chipped. If we can't fix it, she'll have to stick to guitar in an

important upcoming gig. I'd let her use my '30s Wheatstone but it's

off getting new bellows from Bob Tedrow (yay!). Anything we haven't

tried? We are in SW Virginia, USA.

 

BTW, I do have the Dave Elliott maintenance manual.

 

Eric Root

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I'll try this again. I have a Crabb treble of the same vintage, and what you describe seems to be a problem from time to time. As Dave suggested, sometimes just re-seating the reed does the job, but at times I have switched the reeds and that has fixed the problem. And once I added a sliver of paper as Dave also suggested. I am not sure why this problem arises, but it may have somelthing to do with the wood in the reed pan. JGG

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Well, I just tried the shim, and it worked! We're back in action! Thanks, everybody for the advice. I had read about shims in the Elliott book, but it didn't seem that that would have anything to do with the problem.

 

Eric

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Sounds to me like air leaking between the reed carrier and the wooden dovetail joint it fits in. If you've tken it out and pressed it back into place a few times already (that often fixes it), you may need to add a shim, a thin strip of newspaper or cigarette paper along one edge between the metal and the wood.
Well, I just tried the shim, and it worked! We're back in action! Thanks, everybody for the advice. I had read about shims in the Elliott book, but it didn't seem that that would have anything to do with the problem.

This is a common enough problem that anybody with a classic reed pan construction instrument would do well to learn how to deal with it. My Wheatstone was built in the 1980s but I've had to deal with this kind of leak dozens of times. It is often described as a wheeze or a honk. As I mentioned earlier, usually it only requires pressing the reed shoe into its slot with your thumb. I've only had to shim two or three notes.

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Well, I just tried the shim, and it worked! We're back in action! Thanks, everybody for the advice. I had read about shims in the Elliott book, but it didn't seem that that would have anything to do with the problem.

 

Eric

 

Eric,

 

oh! ye of little faith.......

 

Dave E

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Well, I had a similar problem recently with the 'A' note on the push on the right-hand side of my Wheatstone treble and that was fixed by cutting off a small strip of the sticky part of a post-it note and using that as a shim, a dodge recommended by Colin Dipper, no less! A tiny strip of masking tape would work even better.

 

Chris

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