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For a long time I've wanted to make a concertina. I'm not asking for it to be a wonderful peace of art or even sound good (I certainly wouldn't mind if it did :) but I do have an anglo that does those jobs very well already!). I just want to be able to say, "Yeah - made that myself." Unfortunately I don't have many of the skills or tools that I would need to do this. After thinking quite a bit I think the best way to suss out any issues I'd face in make a full size 30-key anglo down the line would be to make a smaller, simpler test instrument first.

 

So I have turned my attention towards a minimal anglo concertina. I'm still thinking about various aspects of the instrument but I figured I would start off with a layout. This is literally thinking out loud, I'm asking for comments folks have on this. This design pares down the notes to a small subset which covers maybe 95% of any Irish tunes I'd want to play. At the same time I've tried (with compromise in the placement of the G#'s) to preserve as much as possible the positioning of those notes in relation to a full size 30-key.

 

Any thoughts?

 

minimum%20concertina%20layout.png

Edited by Peter
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For a long time I've wanted to make a concertina. I'm not asking for it to be a wonderful peace of art or even sound good (I certainly wouldn't mind if it did :) but I do have an anglo that does those jobs very well already!). I just want to be able to say, "Yeah - made that myself." Unfortunately I don't have many of the skills or tools that I would need to do this. After thinking quite a bit I think the best way to suss out any issues I'd face in make a full size 30-key anglo down the line would be to make a smaller, simpler test instrument first.

 

So I have turned my attention towards a minimal anglo concertina. I'm still thinking about various aspects of the instrument but I figured I would start off with a layout. This is literally thinking out loud, I'm asking for comments folks have on this. This design pares down the notes to a small subset which covers maybe 95% of any Irish tunes I'd want to play. At the same time I've tried (with compromise in the placement of the G#'s) to preserve as much as possible the positioning of those notes in relation to a full size 30-key.

 

Since seeing the small concertinas made by A C Norman I have thought about this, and I think an important key is in your words "...I've tried ... to preserve as much as possible the positioning of those notes..." To that end, can I suggest you also make every effort to preserve the overlap, as without this the anglo becomes an "along the rows" only instrument, limiting the phrasing possiblilities. This means putting your G# in the right place, and having the two buttons on the top of the G row LHS. In a full size instrument this is no problem, though in a 4" like the Norman it makes things slightly tighter. It may not even be possible to appoint that many reeds in such a small instrument if they are accordion reeds as their footprint is larger. With trad reeds it might be possible to do nine, eight is certainly OK.

 

Having said that, there is nothing about making a 30 key anglo that is harder than making a 12 key one. There is just more of it; if you like, it is longer rather than harder. The problems you face along the way will be the same. As an example, once you work out a good supply of quality leather, felt and cardboard for the pad sandwich and work out how to glue them together and with which glue, it takes about 1.5 minutes more to punch out 30 pads rather than 12.

 

Don't worry about the skills and tools, if you have the enthusiasm you can learn and buy what you need as you go. My first concertina was built on the kitchen table and you can tell, (looking at both the concertina and the kitchen table). Nevertheless it was a learning experience and resulted in a very playable instrument now played daily by someone else.

 

Good luck...

 

Chris

Edited by Chris Ghent
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Any thoughts?

minimum%20concertina%20layout.png

Sounds interesting ! One can easily switch between this and 30 button.

As Chris mentioned, preserve phrasing possiblilities also sounds good. One row instrument needs different push-draw sequence (no choice).

Personally, I would prefer the RHS C#/G# in the top of the C-row like 22 or 24 button instrument, but it is not essential :) .

Hope to see your work someday.

--

Taka

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Hello Taka,

 

It is not only the mini size, but I somethimes think to create a amaller 30, 28 or 26 button mini concertina. If I look at my lachenal 30 button anglo, a reed pan could be smaller, just look at the big hole in the middel of a reed pan that enables you to put your finger in and take it out of the bellows. You´ll realise that a much smaller reed pan can be constructed with 15 reed chambers of the same size. But I´m not sure it will fit in a size of about 5 inch across flats.

 

Another thing. important for a design, is of course that the fingers should be able to reach the buttons when the hands are in the straps, so that needs some space.

 

One thought on your design I had is whether there could be space for an extra button on the right hand side, the reeds are smaller than the ones on the left side. especially on the upper row, at the right side of the C#G# button, but I agree that a minimum number of buttons is charming.

 

Another thought is how the action is constructed. There must be a way to create an action that does not need levers at all, when the pads are inside the reed chamber and you just push them down to open the reed chamber. That could save space and reduce the size of the action board. I know, it is not very wheatstone, but I think that such an action could also be great.

 

This is not about anglo´s, but another thing (only for chromatic systems') I have been thinking of is that it should be possible to create a reed chamber with only one reed which will be triggered both on push and on pull. But it takes some extra valves and a more complex channel construction, and the reed is more ore less encapsulated, making it more difficult to take it out for tuning, and it will not reduce the weight of the instrument a lot (which is related to the idea to get rid of half of the reeds). It needs more wood (weight) for the extra tunnel construction. Nevertheless, it should be possible for a system where notes are equal on push and pull, sorry, I am off the anglo topic, just an additional idea that I found somewhere in my skull.

 

Greetings,

Marien

 

Any thoughts?

minimum%20concertina%20layout.png

Sounds interesting ! One can easily switch between this and 30 button.

As Chris mentioned, preserve phrasing possiblilities also sounds good. One row instrument needs different push-draw sequence (no choice).

Personally, I would prefer the RHS C#/G# in the top of the C-row like 22 or 24 button instrument, but it is not essential :) .

Hope to see your work someday.

--

Taka

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This is not about anglo´s, but another thing (only for chromatic systems') I have been thinking of is that it should be possible to create a reed chamber with only one reed which will be triggered both on push and on pull. But it takes some extra valves and a more complex channel construction, and the reed is more ore less encapsulated, making it more difficult to take it out for tuning, and it will not reduce the weight of the instrument a lot (which is related to the idea to get rid of half of the reeds). It needs more wood (weight) for the extra tunnel construction. Nevertheless, it should be possible for a system where notes are equal on push and pull, sorry, I am off the anglo topic, just an additional idea that I found somewhere in my skull.

 

Wheatstone actually patented such a system in the 1840's. (Fourth claim on p.9, and in figure 13 of the 1844 patent-- see http://www.concertina.com/wheatstone/Wheat...041-of-1844.pdf ) I've been thinking and drawing and plotting how to use a variant to produce a single reeded, but bisonoric (same note from same reed on push and pull) bass. I even went so far as to buy a set of organ reeds to experiment with. Early Wheatstone basses seem to have used harmonium reeds, so my idea doesn't seem too far fetched. My designs need four valves per note. I'm not sure that the channel construction is significantly more complex than the usual reed pan+action board.

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The one reed both ways concept is interesting, but shouldn't this be taken to another thread, Peter's is about minimal Anglo layout etc.

Edit: And the same reed both ways concept will never work for an Anglo! :D

Tom

Edited by TomB-R
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This is not about anglo´s, but another thing (only for chromatic systems') I have been thinking of is that it should be possible to create a reed chamber with only one reed which will be triggered both on push and on pull. But it takes some extra valves and a more complex channel construction, and the reed is more ore less encapsulated, making it more difficult to take it out for tuning, and it will not reduce the weight of the instrument a lot (which is related to the idea to get rid of half of the reeds). It needs more wood (weight) for the extra tunnel construction. Nevertheless, it should be possible for a system where notes are equal on push and pull, sorry, I am off the anglo topic, just an additional idea that I found somewhere in my skull.

 

Wheatstone actually patented such a system in the 1840's. (Fourth claim on p.9, and in figure 13 of the 1844 patent-- see http://www.concertina.com/wheatstone/Wheat...041-of-1844.pdf ) I've been thinking and drawing and plotting how to use a variant to produce a single reeded, but bisonoric (same note from same reed on push and pull) bass. I even went so far as to buy a set of organ reeds to experiment with. Early Wheatstone basses seem to have used harmonium reeds, so my idea doesn't seem too far fetched. My designs need four valves per note. I'm not sure that the channel construction is significantly more complex than the usual reed pan+action board.

 

 

I have been thinking about the same matter, some reed organs were operated by push and/or draw wind, they were rather complex in their construction. Is it not possible to use idioglottic reeds as in the sheng? Concerning the keyboard lay out would a B or C Griff as a lay out for duet concertinas make sense? Because one plays a concertina just for the sound of it, not for the complexity of the system!

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IIRC there was a thread some years ago about a Wheatstone which worked on a system like this, including pictures. The reeds were in a a small tube with some sort of reversing valve mechanism for the airflow.

 

Chris

Edited by Chris Ghent
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For a long time I've wanted to make a concertina. I'm not asking for it to be a wonderful peace of art or even sound good (I certainly wouldn't mind if it did :) but I do have an anglo that does those jobs very well already!). I just want to be able to say, "Yeah - made that myself." Unfortunately I don't have many of the skills or tools that I would need to do this. After thinking quite a bit I think the best way to suss out any issues I'd face in make a full size 30-key anglo down the line would be to make a smaller, simpler test instrument first.

 

Most of my making experience is on violin family instruments, and on the relevant forums you quite often get people saying, "I'll do the first one with cheap wood" etc. I think this is a pity because there is generally so much work involved in making an instrument the "time investment" far outweighs the materials cost, so it's a shame to cripple the result from the start. Similarly, there's so much work goes into any concertina, the saving from reducing the number of keys is pretty small in the overall scheme of things. (Think of all the work that is the same for anything from 10 to 56 keys!)

 

I think it's also partly a matter of temperament. If you're a slow and methodical worker, taking no step until you're very sure about it, and meticulous along the way, why not try to build something you'd really like as your first effort. On the other hand if you prefer to "go for it" and learn by actually making the mistakes, then it might be worth going for a minimal "proof of concept" type thing with the recognition that it's just a stepping stone, and if you can knock a few tunes out of it, then that's as good as it gets.

 

Either way, best of luck.

Tom

Edited by TomB-R
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  • 2 weeks later...
This is not about anglo´s, but another thing (only for chromatic systems') I have been thinking of is that it should be possible to create a reed chamber with only one reed which will be triggered both on push and on pull. But it takes some extra valves and a more complex channel construction, and the reed is more ore less encapsulated, making it more difficult to take it out for tuning, and it will not reduce the weight of the instrument a lot (which is related to the idea to get rid of half of the reeds). It needs more wood (weight) for the extra tunnel construction. Nevertheless, it should be possible for a system where notes are equal on push and pull, sorry, I am off the anglo topic, just an additional idea that I found somewhere in my skull.

 

Wheatstone actually patented such a system in the 1840's. (Fourth claim on p.9, and in figure 13 of the 1844 patent-- see http://www.concertina.com/wheatstone/Wheat...041-of-1844.pdf ) I've been thinking and drawing and plotting how to use a variant to produce a single reeded, but bisonoric (same note from same reed on push and pull) bass. I even went so far as to buy a set of organ reeds to experiment with. Early Wheatstone basses seem to have used harmonium reeds, so my idea doesn't seem too far fetched. My designs need four valves per note. I'm not sure that the channel construction is significantly more complex than the usual reed pan+action board.

 

 

I have been thinking about the same matter, some reed organs were operated by push and/or draw wind, they were rather complex in their construction. Is it not possible to use idioglottic reeds as in the sheng? Concerning the keyboard lay out would a B or C Griff as a lay out for duet concertinas make sense? Because one plays a concertina just for the sound of it, not for the complexity of the system!

 

I asked about this too a few years ago: seems like it could work, but nobody has implemented it that I have heard of. I would think it would save alot on materials and time as you would be tuning less reeds. They gave me a bunch of reasons why it would be difficult or wouldn't work.

 

as to the layout:

 

why not just stick with the basic Richter scale and focus on just being diatonic in a key you often use? I have considered usign harmonica reed plates to make a mini anglo, true they would not be "concertina" reeds but its a mini, which i doubt you will do any extended playign on. also, I suspect anybody who wants a mini can do without "vintage tone"...

 

I had considered making a box you could just plug in a whole harmonica on each end (perhaps even 2), or just the plates. You could make somethign that could use interchangeable harmonicas, so, if you need another key just plug in another harmonica, or if a reed goes out of tune easy fix (harmonicas are cheap).

 

If it has to look like a concertina, you could still do it

 

Honher makes some small ones, but they are in limited keys. The bigger ones you might need to cut the plate and I'm not sure you can do it without warping it.

 

Ive seen bellows for testing harmonicas at the store, where they put the harmonica on the bellows so nobody blows on it with their mouth.

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4 days after I originally posted this I was laid off. So the point is moot for now :(

 

I'm very sorry to hear that Peter, and a joky post wouldn't be appropriate, but any chance that this will give you a bit more time than usual?

With a bit of ingenuity, and maybe the odd compromise, a project like this could be done with extremely low material and tool costs.......

 

Tom

 

Edit: Just in case hexagonal mitreing seems a bit tricky, how about

http://hmi.homewood.net/square/

Edited by TomB-R
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  • 3 weeks later...
...no need to invent the wheel for a second time I suppose?

Two good reasons for trying to reinvent the wheel:

  • You just might come up with a better wheel.
  • But if not, you'll have a much better appreciation of why the original was such a good design.

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