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Tuning - Another Idea For A "jig"


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After a few weeks of research and endless trepidation, I made the libations to the gods, sacrificed a dozen suckling asses, and proceeded to tune my Wheatstone which had not been touched for about 40 years. Probably never tuned in all its 80 odd years. Anyway a real discordant banshee which I've been steadily restoring, the last job was tuning.

 

Last things first I got every note within 1 or 2 cents of modern pitch - most spot on. Some had to be raised as much as 60 cents, the average was 15 to 20.

 

What I wanted to share was my tuning jig. A Scarlatti GR4100 kids accordian (as sold by Hobgoblin for £29.95) I got mine for £25 locally. http://www.hobgoblin.com/local/scarlatti.htm

 

I'd bought one of these for fun some months ago, and suddenly realised a day or two ago that it would make an ideal tuning jig/bellows. With a slot cut in suitable location (a bit of measuring required) and a reed holding plate fashioned from a bit of 3mm ply, screwed on , and a couple of wooden slip wedges for the different sized reeds.

 

I used AP tune 3.06 on my laptop which I like, a decent microphone, some tables to mark down the measured pitches on the concertina, the measured pitches on the jig and the target pitch for each reed, I was able to work systematically through the production line. Each end of 48 reeds took an afternoon, each reed got a clean (the grime of 80 years)as all were flat they each got the relevent tip filing to get into tune .

 

I was very careful in the process and every reed was check, check, file, measure, check, file, measure again before it was done, and then more checking.

 

Reason for posting this - whilst it was a daunting task for a beginner like myself, and the instrument is valuable, I felt handy enough to do it. I had a few old scrap flutina reeds to practice on first. I was able to correct the angle of a few reeds

and thankfully messed nothing up.

 

I wouldn't have gone near doing it without David Elliot's book. Thanks for a great book David.

 

A sense of achievement. If anyone else would like details of how to make the Scarlatti into a tuning jig, I'm happy to help. The surgery is totally reversible, a bit of duct tape will fix it....

 

Meantime my Wheatstone sounds a million dollars, (well a thousand or two or three anyway.) :P :rolleyes:

 

Here's a couple of pics of the set up.

 

Simon

 

2353349234_0577b45afa.jpg

 

with a flutina reed in the jig:

 

2352570987_fbd299108e.jpg

Edited by Simon H
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After a few weeks of research and endless trepidation, I made the libations to the gods, sacrificed a dozen suckling asses, and proceeded to tune my Wheatstone which had not been touched for about 40 years. Probably never tuned in all its 80 odd years. Anyway a real discordant banshee which I've been steadily restoring, the last job was tuning.

 

Suckling asses, interesting choice :lol:

 

Alan

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Last things first I got every note within 1 or 2 cents of modern pitch - most spot on

 

A very useful final check is to go through the whole assembled instrument listening to pairs of notes an octave apart, and on both bellows directions. There should be no detectable beat on any of the octaves. Then do the same thing with 5ths. Assuming you are tuning in equal temperament there should be a very slight beat on all the fifths, but for each pair of notes the sound should be the same on both bellows directions.

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After a few weeks of research and endless trepidation, I made the libations to the gods, sacrificed a dozen suckling asses, and proceeded to tune my Wheatstone which had not been touched for about 40 years. Probably never tuned in all its 80 odd years. Anyway a real discordant banshee which I've been steadily restoring, the last job was tuning.

 

Suckling asses, interesting choice :lol:

 

Alan

 

It was either bathing in asses milk or slaughtering suckling pigs, but money was tight so and the asses were making a mess so I thought....

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Last things first I got every note within 1 or 2 cents of modern pitch - most spot on

 

A very useful final check is to go through the whole assembled instrument listening to pairs of notes an octave apart, and on both bellows directions. There should be no detectable beat on any of the octaves. Then do the same thing with 5ths. Assuming you are tuning in equal temperament there should be a very slight beat on all the fifths, but for each pair of notes the sound should be the same on both bellows directions.

 

Thanks for this Theo, at the moment I'm pleased to be nearly there, I will work through this probably next weekend.

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  • 1 month later...

I used an old set of concertina bellows, blanked off at one end, and the other bolted to the underside of the bench.

The bench had a hole in it, and ontop of the bench over the hole, I fitted my jig.

That way I had both hands free and could push the bellows up with my knee.

The reed spoke on the downward pull of the bellows of course.

It also gave the right amount of 'pull' of air. Too much can overblow a reed and leave it out of tune.

 

Well done for the inventiveness.

 

Kind regards - John Timpany.

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