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James Plamondon

Reeds: What's The Difference?

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Gentlepersons,

 

I apologize for my too-frequent postings. I can only plead an insatiable curiosity, and hope that you'll tell me if my questions are adequately dealt with elsewhere.

 

Much is said by concertinists on the Internet about how much better concertina reeds sound than (hawk, spit) accordion reeds. Knowing nothing about it, I am certainly not going to disagree, but I do wonder: what, exactly, is the difference? Specifically, how does the timbre/spectrum of a "true concertina reed" differ from that of an accordion reed? I mean, acoustic theory, metallurgy, and machining are all far better understood now than in the 1840's, so presumably one could make a reed today that sounded exactly like the originals, or far "better," however "better" was defined.

 

So, what's the diff?

 

Thanks! :-)

 

--- James

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Well, firstly concertina reeds don't necessarily sound better - that's a matter of taste, but they *do* sound very different. They have a much purer and sweeter sound ("pure" here is not intended as praise, merely descriptive usage).

 

Also concertina reeds are significantly smaller than accordion reeds, whixch enables you to crowd a lot more reeds into a small space. Thus the English concertina has 48 buttons. The only way to make one with accordion reeds is to make it larger (Stagi) or reduce the button count (Morse).

 

I personally do not "hawk, spit" on accordion reeds - of the 6 concertinas I own 2 use accorion reeds, and one of those gets played a *lot*. For personal taste, I do prefer the sound of the concertinas that are made with concertina reeds, but it's not a big issue with me. Although I would be sad if the sound of the concertina reed was lost.

 

BTW, you can of course make concertina reeds today that are as good as any made in the 19th c, as Dipper, Dickinson and Suttner show.

 

Chris

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I might add on this subject,

 

For two years I posted an audio reed quiz on my website.

 

I played ten instruments, same melody, same microphone same day.

 

In that time, not one person was able to accurately discern the reed types on the ten concertinas I listed.

 

 

Bob Tedrow

Edited by Bob Tedrow

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For two years I posted an audio reed quiz on my website. I played ten instruments, same melody, same microphone same day. In that time, not one person was able to accurately discern the reed types on the ten concertinas I listed.

I would think that the quality of your test sound would be quite influenced by the sound card and speakers of one's computer - which could make things quite indiscernible.

 

As we get into some pre-Squeeze-In planning here, we've had enough people comment/query on the tonal characteristic differences between concertina/accordion reeds that one of our mini-events this year will be a blind testing of several concertinas with audience evaluation.

 

We'd be pleased to have one of your boxes partake!

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