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Given That The Reeds Are The Same


Ptarmigan
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I keep hearing that wooden ended Concertinas are better to sing with than metal ended ones, but, given that the reeds are the same in both, why do wooden ended Concertinas sound softer than metal ended ones?

 

Does anyone really know how this works?

 

Cheers

Dick

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I keep hearing that wooden ended Concertinas are better to sing with than metal ended ones, but, given that the reeds are the same in both, why do wooden ended Concertinas sound softer than metal ended ones?

 

Does anyone really know how this works?

 

Cheers

Dick

 

i know very litlle about acustics(and spelling :rolleyes: ) but i'ld venture that maby because wood is much more porris then metal theres more material to absorb the sound instead of reflecting it (in the case of the metal) thats just a total guess. anybody actually know? Also i think this is generally just a rule of thumb, surely there are some wooden ended ones that have more bark then other metal ended ones.

p..s been browsing about this placve for a while. it's a happy thing your all so vocal about this wonderfull instrument!!

-kj.

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My own very unscientific opinion is the kj is on the right track with absorbtion and reflection.

 

But the basic assumption that all steel reeds are the same may be faulty. Scale of the reeds, hardness and resiliency of the steel, reed shoe material and button board material may all make a difference. Here is a link to a previous thread that might bear some rereading.

http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php...4&hl=Wakker

 

Complicated little instruments with lots of variables. Fun, though!

 

Greg

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My own very unscientific opinion is the kj is on the right track with absorbtion and reflection.

 

But the basic assumption that all steel reeds are the same may be faulty. Scale of the reeds, hardness and resiliency of the steel, reed shoe material and button board material may all make a difference.

Complicated little instruments with lots of variables. Fun, though!

Greg

 

Good point Greg - so many variables, which may vary between two examples of one model by one manufacturer!

 

Have any of you ever tried swapping one end material for another on one and the same concertina? You could use existing metal ends as drilling templates for temporary wooden ones - the fretwork needn't be too fancy, just a few holes scattered about to give you the same ratio between wood and holes as in an original wood-ender.

Could be an interesting experiment!

 

Cheers,

John

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My own very unscientific opinion is the kj is on the right track with absorbtion and reflection.

 

But the basic assumption that all steel reeds are the same may be faulty. Scale of the reeds, hardness and resiliency of the steel, reed shoe material and button board material may all make a difference.

Complicated little instruments with lots of variables. Fun, though!

Greg

 

Good point Greg - so many variables, which may vary between two examples of one model by one manufacturer!

 

Have any of you ever tried swapping one end material for another on one and the same concertina? You could use existing metal ends as drilling templates for temporary wooden ones - the fretwork needn't be too fancy, just a few holes scattered about to give you the same ratio between wood and holes as in an original wood-ender.

Could be an interesting experiment!

 

Cheers,

John

 

I suspect that it would be equally interesting to experiment with a variety of woven fabrics to line the inside of the ends. The metal ends of my Anglo are lined with a finely woven, silk-like (but probably man-made) fabric which must surely have some impact on the tone of the instrument. Different fabrics might well give rise to different tonal effects. I notice that many, if not most instruments appear to have no fabric lining of any sort on the inside of the ends. I would expect un-lined metallic ends without linings to produce a more 'metallic' sound and wooden ends by their very nature to produce a rather more mellow tone. Fabric linings also play an important role in preventing dust, dirt and other foreign bodies from gaining access to the engine room. I have voiced similar opinions before on this forum and am quite prepared to be told that I'm talking nonsense !

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I notice that many, if not most instruments appear to have no fabric lining of any sort on the inside of the ends.

I would expect un-lined metallic ends without linings to produce a more 'metallic' sound and wooden ends by their very nature to produce a rather more mellow tone.

Good point Rod,

 

I've seen a few Lachenals with fabric inside, including wooden ended ones, & my little Sally Army Ab/Eb Lachenal actually has very thin red leather, which must surely restrict the escape of the noise :P from the reeds.

 

Eventually, I plan to send this away to have it re-tuned & cleaned up, so it'll be interesting to see what it'll sound like with just a fine, thin material in place, instead of this leather.

 

Does anyone else have this leather inside, or have you seen it being used?

 

If not, I'm thinking that perhaps a non musician may have replaced the gauze with this leather, not realising that it would make the box quieter.

 

However, if this fabric does play a big part in the sound, perhaps fitting material inside, might be the way to go, for anyone who wishes to soften the sound of a metal ended instrument, they wish to sing with. Obviously you would have to choose your material carefully, so that it wasn't going to be shedding loads of fibres & so clog up the reeds. ;)

 

Cheers

Dick

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Guest HallelujahAl!
I've seen a few Lachenals with fabric inside, including wooden ended ones, & my little Sally Army Ab/Eb Lachenal actually has very thin red leather, which must surely restrict the escape of the noise :P from the reeds.

 

Yes similar thing here Dick, but this time its my Salvation Army Wheatstone Treble that has a quite thick red gauze inside the metal ends. On the Wheastone ledgers it actually mentions the gauze in the listing. Sounds great to sing to - I regularly lead worship on it (yep, at the Army). I'm sure that it's that that contributes to the beautiful tone it has (well, its nothing to do with my playing it that's for sure). Interestingly I have a Triumph Duet as well (Lach) which also has a thin white leather liner inside the wooden ends. It still sounds awful, that I do put down to my playing!

 

regards, AL

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All vocal chords are made of the same material, but voices don't sound the same.

 

Sound a reed on its own, with no box around it and you get a fairly mediocre noise.

 

Twang a guitar string under tension and you will get a less satisfying sound than if the string is properly attached to a guitar.

 

There are three things going on, at least:

 

Resonance. The vibrations of the reeds, strings, etc. in a musical instrument make the body of the instrument and all its various components vibrate too. A wooden box will soften the sound. A metal ended box will soften it less.

 

Absorbtion. Some substances will absorb some of the sound. I'd expect wood to absorb more than metal.

 

Reflection. Some of the sound has to bounce around inside the box before it finds its way out. Wood and metal will reflect differently.

 

Think about the jews harp: a twanging reed with no musicality until the skilled player uses all parts of his mouth to adjust the pitch and quality of the sound.

 

Sing in the car, then sing in the bathroom, then sing in a field. Same voice, different sound quality.

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I have an Edgley A/E with metal sides and leather baffles. It was crafted this way and hasn't any negative effect that I can tell. The instrument plays quite loudly when I want or need it to and the tone is excellent.

Edited by CaryK
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Think about the jews harp

Mike, sorry but I have to correct this. The instrument you refer to is a jaws harp (think about it). I'm not sure where the 'alternative' name came from (probably just popular misconception) but it's pretty non-PC although widespread admittedly.

 

Pete.

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Think about the jews harp

Mike, sorry but I have to correct this. The instrument you refer to is a jaws harp (think about it). I'm not sure where the 'alternative' name came from (probably just popular misconception) but it's pretty non-PC although widespread admittedly.

 

Pete.

 

Pete, while calling it a "jew's harp" is decidedly un-PC as you say, that name predates "jaw harp" by a goodly chunk of time--Wikipedia, admittedly a less than perfect source, states that the more socially acceptable name only showed up in the last century or so (according to the same source, the OED--would that I had one here to check--is decidedly uncharitable about the theory that "jew's harp" derives from "jaw harp," calling it "baseless and inept"). The Jew's Harp Guild website says that the first written source calling it a jew's harp dates to 1595, whereas "jaw harp" is a 20th-century creation. There are apparently several theories as to were the earlier term came from. In the meantime, you can also call it a mouth harp, a maultrommel (the German term) or lots of other things--and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with calling it a jaw harp, just that the weight of history is not behind that term.

 

jdms

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Think about the jews harp

Mike, sorry but I have to correct this. The instrument you refer to is a jaws harp (think about it). I'm not sure where the 'alternative' name came from (probably just popular misconception) but it's pretty non-PC although widespread admittedly.

 

Pete.

Well actually Pete, we usually call it a TRUMP ... north of the border! ;)

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..... and then it is magically transfrormed into a horrendous irritating din .......

Dave

I must be honest, I resemble that remark Dave! :(

 

You see, I actually won the 'Jews Harp' competition at the Kinross Folk Festival, way back in '74 I think it was, when, if I remember rightly, Aly Bain {believe it or not } was judging!

 

But then, let's be honest, what the heck would Aly Bain know about playing the Trump! :D

 

Cheers

Dick

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-I have an open-back banjo and alter its tone and mute it for late practice by stuffing a cloth inside. The cloth mutes volume and also cuts overtones and sweetens the sound. Density/weave variation changes the sound i.e. velour cuts volume a lot and fine linen changes it a little. The banjo is reedless of course :P but the dynamics of sound attenuation should be similar. Reflecting metal concertina ends might be considered corollary to the banjo's metal tone ring. Concertina is often perceived in better odor than banjo, which suffers a downscale image alluded to in this t-shirt text "Paddle faster. I hear banjos."

:lol:

 

-B.

Hey B,

 

I know there are a million & one Banjo jokes, but are there many jokes about the Concertina & it's players out there?

 

Cheers

Dick

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