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Ebony Vs. Rosewood


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Willie Van Wyck makes reedpans from perspex, which is Plexiglass. His concertinas sound very good- bright and clear, with good volume.

I've heard of them, and I'd love to see one, but didn't you sell yours?

 

Would the type of wood used in the chamber walls of a concertina have a significant effect on the sound?

The size, proportions and shape of the chamber would have the most significant effect.

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They use zinc, IIRC, which would be a bit different. And that's for the reed plates. The reed pans are integral to the action board, and made out of wood.

Harmonicas, accordions and German concertinas don't have reedpans. Harmonicas are basically one ganged reedplate, accordions typically have reed *reedbanks* (which is what their reedplates are secured to) and few accordions and some of the cheaper German concertinas have truncated reedbanks (reedplates secured to chambers which lie "flat" onto the padpan aka the "soundboard").

 

The action board is the piece that deals with the action (secures the springs and lever fulcrum posts, and usually provides guide holes for the button ends). The action board is usually secured to the padpan/soundboard).

 

-- Rich --

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Would the type of wood used in the chamber walls of a concertina have a significant effect on the sound?

I don't think so though the surface texture seems to have a significant affect on the sound. We experimented with several types of solid wood (and fiberboards, particleboards, plywoods) which resulted in that the smoother and harder-surfaced the material, the a brighter/clearer sound. Actually well into overly bright. Seemed to magnify/reflect some portion of the sound spectrum we didn't like.

 

The worst of the batch was particleboards which were lased. I'm suspecting that this type of board has the highest ration of glue to wood and that the lasing process (a type of burning/melting) left a mirror-smooth and hard "cut" surface.

 

-- Rich --

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The action board is the piece that deals with the action (secures the springs and lever fulcrum posts, and usually provides guide holes for the button ends). The action board is usually secured to the padpan/soundboard).

There we disagree I'm afraid, the traditional name for that piece is "disc" (because that is the shape of it in an English concertina), though I've also come across it corrupted to "desk" by a London maker (a bit like bellows/bellass!), and the action board (otherwise pad board, or pallet board) is what it sits on, which you call padpan/soundboard - names that I've never heard used for it before. :huh:

 

Mind you, if we were both talking about the "hood" of a car, we'd also be meaning very different things... :rolleyes:

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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Would the type of wood used in the chamber walls of a concertina have a significant effect on the sound?

I don't think so though the surface texture seems to have a significant affect on the sound.

I've often wondered if the rough finish of the chamber walls that you'd see in Jeffries instruments might be having a slight damping effect... :unsure:

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If it's a new concertina you're getting, it will be a veneer so not too much to worry about. With vintage ones, the solid wood ebony tended to be very brittle although ebony was usually used on the better instruments.

Juergen Suttner advertises "flat solid ebony ends" as an extra-cost option on his new concertinas. See his price list.

It would be interesting to know how these stand up over time. I wonder if he's the only one.

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The action board is the piece that deals with the action (secures the springs and lever fulcrum posts, and usually provides guide holes for the button ends). The action board is usually secured to the padpan/soundboard).

There we disagree I'm afraid, the traditional name for that piece is "disc" (because that is the shape of it in an English concertina), and the action board is what it sits on, which you call padpan/soundboard - names that I've never heard used for it.

Interesting. I've never heard it called a "disc", though it certainly makes sense. New "words" often arise when things have to be described in isolation though I don't think our shop is the only one to call those parts "action board" and "padpan". The soundboard I mentioned was due to the inclusive nature of the post toward accordions. We don't consider traditional concertinas to have "sound boards" though that is what many people call that similar part of an accordion.

 

-- Rich --

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Willie Van Wyck makes reedpans from perspex, which is Plexiglass. His concertinas sound very good- bright and clear, with good volume.

I've heard of them, and I'd love to see one, but didn't you sell yours?

 

Would the type of wood used in the chamber walls of a concertina have a significant effect on the sound?

The size, proportions and shape of the chamber would have the most significant effect.

 

Good God, are there no secrets on this board? You still don't know my blood type!

 

I did sell the Van Wyck, but not because it wasn't good. The sound was excellent but I found the response of the reeds was a bit slow. For other than Irish music, or for somebody who plays more vigorously than I do, it might be fine. I suppose the reeds could have been tweaked to get a better response but I decided to get a concertina that I liked better right from the start, and one with a Jeffries layout.

 

I have a broader question. Suppose certain notes were too bright, say in the upper octave. Would lining the offending chamber walls (or parts of the chambers) with a thin piece of leather - or just roughing up the chamber walls - make the sound less piercing or shrill?

 

It's interesting that the Herrington, which didn't have what I thought was a pleasing sound (although well made), doesn't have reed chambers. Do other hybrids likewise have no proper reed chambers? Could this account for a larger difference in sound than just the difference in reed design? Dana Johnson solders the base of the reed to the phosphor shoe and that seems to work just fine, giving a traditional sound and response. Rich and other concertina makers will sooner or later make a concertina that is affordable and that has a more traditional sound.

 

I'm going to post this on the Instrument Construction and Repair thread and see where it goes. Sorry for the double posting but I think it's an nteresting question.

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Willie Van Wyck makes reedpans from perspex, which is Plexiglass. His concertinas sound very good- bright and clear, with good volume.

I've heard of them, and I'd love to see one, but didn't you sell yours?

Good God, are there no secrets on this board? You still don't know my blood type!

Not yet David, though I'm working on it... ;)

 

Mind you, I seem to remember a thread or two here about you selling it? :rolleyes:

 

Would the type of wood used in the chamber walls of a concertina have a significant effect on the sound?

The size, proportions and shape of the chamber would have the most significant effect.

Suppose certain notes were too bright, say in the upper octave. Would lining the offending chamber walls (or parts of the chambers) with a thin piece of leather - or just roughing up the chamber walls - make the sound less piercing or shrill?

That's a huge question, and there are less drastic traditional "tricks" that I'd try first, but right now I have to get into my car and drive up to Dublin... :(

 

Normal service will be resumed ASAP. :lol:

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Suppose certain notes were too bright, say in the upper octave. Would lining the offending chamber walls (or parts of the chambers) with a thin piece of leather - or just roughing up the chamber walls - make the sound less piercing or shrill?
I think that would have some effect - depending on your instrument. Most hybrid makers have all wood chamber parts while traditional concertinas use the bellows frame gasket chamois for that part of the chamber enclosure. I would think that the addition of leather surfacing or alteration to rougher surfaces would have far less sound dampening effect on a vintage concertina than on a hybrid.
It's interesting that the Herrington... doesn't have reed chambers. Do other hybrids likewise have no proper reed chambers?
HH's concertinas *do* have reed chambers, as do all other hybrids. They are constructed differently, and might appear to be quite different from traditional concertinas, but they are there.

 

-- Rich --

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edgley's have reed chambers. i am assuming the other hybrids do too.

 

and i agree with richard--as far as i understand, reed chambers are not supposed to resonate the pitch. the harmonic system is very different from wind and string instruments, and the research i have read states that a resonant reed chamber chokes the reeds, so the chambers are designed specifically not to resonate. and to note, i think there is sometimes a difference between the strict definition of the word and the usual use of it. when i say resonate in this instance, i mean that the chambers are not "in resonance," i.e. oscillating at the maximum amplitude. you cou could also say that the natural, resonate frequency of the reed chambers are not equivalent to that of the natural frequency of the reeds oscillating.

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