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Can Concertinas go out of tune?


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I was just wondering if there was any evidence of Concertina Reeds actually being so affected by extreme heat or humidity in for example a hot, steamy pub session environment, to the extent where their tuning would be altered?

 

Or is this impossible with both steel & brass Reed instruments, or .............................

 

Cheers

Dick

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I was just wondering if there was any evidence of Concertina Reeds actually being so affected by extreme heat or humidity in for example a hot, steamy pub session environment, to the extent where their tuning would be altered?

 

Or is this impossible with both steel & brass Reed instruments, or .............................

 

Cheers

Dick

 

If fluctuations of temperature are enough to produce any expansion or contraction in a metal reed this must surely effect it's tuning. If humidity were enough to produce corrosion I would expect similar problems. Rod

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I was just wondering if there was any evidence of Concertina Reeds actually being so affected by extreme heat or humidity in for example a hot, steamy pub session environment, to the extent where their tuning would be altered?

 

Or is this impossible with both steel & brass Reed instruments, or .............................

 

Cheers

Dick

It is not normal for reeds to go significantly out of tune over the course of a few hours in the conditions you have mentioned. But there are a few exceptions which come to mind.

1. Very rarely, reeds may sometimes fail from metal fatigue. If this is happening, a micro-fracture will initiate somewhere on the reed tongue and can propagate relatively quickly (perhaps over a few hours or less). During this time the reed will go significantly flat until it finally breaks in two and stops sounding altogether. It is a rare condition anyway and the probability of this happening simultaneously to many reeds at once must be vanishingly low.

 

2. More likely to happen is that in the conditions you have mentioned, there is a possibility of some of the reed frames to become loose in their dovetail slots as a result of minute changes in dimensions of the wooden slot. The effect of this is often to make the affected reeds sound flat. The remedy is to allow the concertina to reach normal, stable conditions of temperature and humidity and after a few hours, open it up and check that the reed frames are pushed fully into their dovetail slots and will stay there and not become loose again. If they are permanently loose, you will have to insert a thin paper shim between the reed frame and the dovetail slot, only be sure the shim is only present at the ends of the reed frame. If the shim runs the whole length of the slot, it is likely to distort the reed frame so that the reed tongue fouls the edge of the reed frame, stopping it from sounding or again altering the pitch.

 

3. In a very humid environment, I can foresee problems with condensation occurring on the reeds, reed frames or leather valves. Any of these could cause immediate pitch alterations as the relative masses of the reed tongues, the gap between tongue and reed frame and the action of the valve may change. Additionally the excessive moisture could initiate rust or other corrosion in the longer term. So - avoid excessive humidity as far as possible.

 

Just my ideas. Others may shed more light on this.

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I've never known a reed go out of tune except in case of impending reed failure. The loose reed frame possibility that Steve mentions usually manifests itself as a very distinctive and mournful mooing sound. Once heard ...

 

I usually use a very thin sliver of masking tape to fix that problem, stick it around the top of the reed frame and it makes the job a lot easier.

 

Chris

Edited by Chris Timson
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hot, steamy pub session

 

The mind boggles!! .. yous must be very randy up North.

 

Och you've no idea Tombilly.

 

Here are some of the guys ;) taking a break, in the corner of our session pub! :P

 

Cheers

Dick

why do they wear towels,that surely makes them hotter .

 

Doh! Dick. :rolleyes: ..... Of course we all take our towels off, before we start the session again! B)

 

 

 

:lol:

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hot, steamy pub session

 

The mind boggles!! .. yous must be very randy up North.

 

Och you've no idea Tombilly.

 

Here are some of the guys ;) taking a break, in the corner of our session pub! :P

 

Cheers

Dick

why do they wear towels,that surely makes them hotter .

 

Doh! Dick. :rolleyes: ..... Of course we all take our towels off, before we start the session again! B)

 

 

 

:lol:

the one on the right looks like shes passing wind .

 

Naw Dick, with that grin she's wearing, I'd say she's straining too hard for wind ... it's more likely to be solids! :P

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Doh! Dick. :rolleyes: ..... Of course we all take our towels off, before we start the session again! B)

:lol:

 

Sauna or later, no doubt!! ;) Mind you, the humidity doesn't do the concertina any good. :( Jody's 'Naked Concertina' springs to mind, here. :lol: The Silver Birch (Betula pendula) is Finland's national tree. I believe it is sometimes the practice to use leafy, fragrant twigs of silver birch to gently beat oneself in a sauna.....before plunging into a pool of cold water afterwards. But, let's not b**t about the bush! :rolleyes: On a more serious note, stringed instruments, such as fiddles, being made of wood, are affected by temperature changes and do go out of tune sometimes and need retuning. And I gather that American made concertinas are designed specially for their climate, with this in mind.

 

Chris

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Dick,

It may not have been the atmosphere in the pub but some type of oscillating fan that made your concertina seem temporarilly out of tune. This could be a ceiling fan even at low revolution or a floor fan blowing horizontally. Very disconcerting for a concertina player!

 

Greg

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Another possibility is that the hot pub might have been making string and woodwind instruments go flat, making you sound sharp. This happened to me a couple of weeks ago in a session where the other instrument was an alto recorder. I don't think heat was the problem there, probably just the player not blowing enough, but the melodeon I was playing suddenly seemed sharp enough that I didn't want to keep playing.

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Is there any significance that this topic was started by someone whose videos have revealed that he sits playing very close to a roaring open fire ? !! Rod

 

Naw Rod, the truth is that guys just miming for me in those videos.

 

I'm actually the thin, handsome young chap, sitting just off camera, keeping & looking real COOL! :lol:

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Another possibility is that the hot pub might have been making string and woodwind instruments go flat, making you sound sharp. This happened to me a couple of weeks ago in a session where the other instrument was an alto recorder. I don't think heat was the problem there, probably just the player not blowing enough, but the melodeon I was playing suddenly seemed sharp enough that I didn't want to keep playing.

 

You hit the nail on the head Theo! ...... so time for the truth guys.

 

The fact is, I was asked this by the Flute & Guitar player at a session last week.

 

Of course I was almost 100% sure that ALL my reeds weren't going to go sharp or flat just because the pub was really warm, but I wanted to go back this week armed with some second opinions ... hence this thread.

 

In my opinion, the most likely explanation was that in the heat, the Flute went flat & when the guy stuck on his Capo, his strings sharpened due to high action.

Of course he has an expensive Louden Guitar, so he refuses to believe that his guitar could ever possibly be out of tune. :rolleyes:

 

Here's another interesting fact though, we both have electronic tuners, different makes, but his 440 is different to my 440!

I guess that goes to show you cannot rely on those instruments 100%!

 

Thanks for your thoughts.

 

Cheers

Dick

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You hit the nail on the head Theo! ...... so time for the truth guys.

 

The fact is, I was asked this by the Flute & Guitar player at a session last week.

 

Of course I was almost 100% sure that ALL my reeds weren't going to go sharp or flat just because the pub was really warm, but I wanted to go back this week armed with some second opinions ... hence this thread.

 

In my opinion, the most likely explanation was that in the heat, the Flute went flat & when the guy stuck on his Capo, his strings sharpened due to high action.

Of course he has an expensive Louden Guitar, so he refuses to believe that his guitar could ever possibly be out of tune. :rolleyes:

 

Here's another interesting fact though, we both have electronic tuners, different makes, but his 440 is different to my 440!

I guess that goes to show you cannot rely on those instruments 100%!

 

Thanks for your thoughts.

 

Cheers

Dick

 

Hi Dick,

 

Just saw this thread and was beginning to get paranoid that your Lasher might have taken offence at the key change and spontaneousely retuned itself back to Ab/Eb :o

 

regards

 

Dave

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