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Author Topic: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?  (Read 746 times)

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John Stoutimore

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Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« on: March 17, 2019, 10:03:33 AM »

When replacing a single reed plate, how can you ensure that it matches the remaining reeds?

I want to acquire a Steirische accordion, but nearly all of them come with Gleichton buttons that I don't want. A Weltmeister Steirische model 620 sold on eBay for under $500, and I could kick myself for passing it up, but it had Gleichtons. I have the ability to replace a reed plate, but I don't have the knowhow to ensure that a replacement reed plate would match remaining reeds. Weltmeister doesn't offer the instrument without Gleichtons. (Some brands, such as Strasser, do).

I replaced a cracked reed in my Hohner Compadre, but it was easy to locate a Hohner reed -- just tell Hohner what keys the instrument is in, and the button number -- $9. But how do you do that in less common instruments?
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Anahata

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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2019, 10:31:23 AM »

It wouldn't be a Steirische without the gleichton!

You should be able to get a gleichton replacement and re tune the appropriate reed. Going up a whole tone on a new reed shouldn't damage it.

If you're nervous about doing such a job yourself, Melnet is full of eminently competent fettlers who'd do it for you, and it wouldn't cost the earth.

If I got a Steirische box myself (and I've been tempted) I'd keep it in Steiriche tuning. I have a Club melodeon still with gleichton and love it for the things it can do that a "standard" layout can't, as well as for the sound of it.
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John Stoutimore

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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2019, 11:34:03 AM »

Do you mean that I could merely detune the existing Gleichton reeds? I've noticed that most eBay sellers offer to change out Gleichtons if desired by the purchaser at no extra cost. I cannot understand how they do this at no cost.
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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2019, 12:08:45 PM »

I agree with Anahata...embrace the gleichton!

John Stoutimore

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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2019, 12:14:10 PM »

I thought Anahata was just joking! What benefit is there to a gleichton? If it's good, why wouldn't you tune a Hohner that way?
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folkloristmark

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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2019, 12:14:31 PM »

You can retune the existing reed it may be easier said than done for a novice. One tone on only one reed. Or you can buy a replacement reed from a diatonic set matched with what you have or another type.Unlikely to tell the difference, or failing the above use an accordeon  reed as a basis and  go one semitone on both reeds.The club system is interesting and why not try it first if you have other boxes it will improve your ability on both, if it done work them fettle away.

The Hohner club accordeon is tuned such a way and was the main system for many years.It gives the ability for for smoother runs and some changes  and greater choice of treble chords. Noodle with it and you will see. The dutch system flips  that button for the similar reason and thats a little harder but again gives different options.You need to spend time with them.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2019, 12:19:38 PM by folkloristmark »
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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2019, 12:28:24 PM »

The gleichton supplies a missing reversal, which has fairly obvious uses. There are plenty of Hohner clubs about. Not so popular round these parts, but not unknown.

Sorry if this is off topic, but, how does a Steirische differ from a club? Just more diatonic rows, or are are there more fundamental differences?
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John Stoutimore

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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2019, 12:42:27 PM »

In my mind, the significant difference with a Steirische is the helikon bass. I am a newbie, but I cannot conceive why a player would want two boxes with different treble fingering. I play the piano. Suppose tunings on middle C and D were reversed. It would create a big mess, particularly if you have one piano tuned that way, and another tuned conventional.
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2019, 12:58:31 PM »

In my mind, the significant difference with a Steirische is the helikon bass. I am a newbie, but I cannot conceive why a player would want two boxes with different treble fingering...
Most people don't. Most people either play a 'conventional' tuning box or a Club/Steirische box. As has been mentioned earlier, the Gleichtons give you a great deal of flexibility especially with scale passages on the pull, which isn't quite as convenient on a box with no Gleichtons.

Also if you want a true Steirische box, be aware that they are heavy instruments, especially the 4 or 5 row instruments, and not especially amenable to a playing style which uses rapid bellows changes. The Gleichtons make it much easier to play.

I agree with Anahata:

It wouldn't be a Steirische without the gleichton! ....
If I got a Steirische box myself (and I've been tempted) I'd keep it in Steiriche tuning. I have a Club melodeon still with gleichton and love it for the things it can do that a "standard" layout can't, as well as for the sound of it.
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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2019, 01:01:53 PM »

One of my favourite Steirische videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Co95xEvn67U
Not too many rapid bellows changes...
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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2019, 01:09:48 PM »

The original question, which has only been partly answered, is quite interesting.

It doesn't just apply to Steirische boxes or gleichtons. If you want to replace a reed, perhaps because it has broken or, as the OP, you want to change the box layout, how would you go about choosing a replacement reed that wouldn't sound different to the others?

Obviously the box itself determines how a reed will sound, but if you have a choice of suppliers  - Charlie, Hohner, Harmonika for instance - how would you choose which one to use?
Or do the box characteristics swamp any reed variations?
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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2019, 01:15:14 PM »

Obviously the box itself determines how a reed will sound, but if you have a choice of suppliers  - Charlie, Hohner, Harmonika for instance - how would you choose which one to use?
Or do the box characteristics swamp any reed variations?

Also interesting questions!
I once had a 1930's Hohner Club I which had had the treble reeds replaced with Cagnoni macchina quality reeds. The original Hohner reeds must have been u/s for some reason; rusted beyond repair perhaps. The Cagnoni reeds were brilliant and virtually indistinguishable from Hohner reeds in terms of sound. However, put the same reeds in an Italian box and it will sound like an Italian box.
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Steve
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Lester

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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2019, 01:25:08 PM »

Obviously the box itself determines how a reed will sound
Not really, I have a Hohner Club which I fitted with a set of Saltarelle reeds I came by. Sounds nice but doesn't sound like either a Hohner or a Saltarelle.

Or do the box characteristics swamp any reed variations?
Not in my estimation

Eshed

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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2019, 01:39:59 PM »

It would create a big mess, particularly if you have one piano tuned that way, and another tuned conventional.
As someone who plays both club and conventional tuning (albeit badly), it does result in a mess and slows learning and improvement . However, I do enjoy both systems for what they provide and in my opinion the delay is worthwhile. I'd also imagine learning a new system early on is still easier than doing so later.
If you care about your harmony options, the gleichton is priceless. I'd recommend trying it
« Last Edit: March 17, 2019, 02:05:09 PM by Eshed »
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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2019, 02:04:27 PM »

...I have a Hohner Club which I fitted with a set of Saltarelle reeds I came by. Sounds nice but doesn't sound like either a Hohner or a Saltarelle.[/font]

I once had a 1930's Hohner Club I which had had the treble reeds replaced with Cagnoni macchina quality reeds. The original Hohner reeds must have been u/s for some reason; rusted beyond repair perhaps. The Cagnoni reeds were brilliant and virtually indistinguishable from Hohner reeds in terms of sound.

So here we have two different views!

One thing not mentioned so far in the 'Italian reeds in a Hohner box' discussion is how the tremolo tuning is set up. This will have a significant impact on the resultant sound. A friend has her Tommy (with Antonelli reeds) tuned quite wet: think Chinese Pokerwork wetness. On the MM setting, It no longer has the Castagnari sound we're used to, but not really like a Hohner either. But it's closer to the latter than the former.

My Hohner Club I with Cagnoni reeds, mentioned above, with its 1930s gentler tremolo passed the 'I can't believe they're not Hohner reeds' test with many people, including an on-stage gig and a test play by Hohner afficionado Pete Coe.
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Steve
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John Stoutimore

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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2019, 02:10:42 PM »

Eshed makes sense on learning the best system early. Just so I'm clear on this: If I were to tune my Hohner Panther and Compadre so they had gleichtons on the 6th button of the 2nd and 3rd rows, would they have "club" tuning?
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Eshed

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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2019, 02:25:06 PM »

Eshed makes sense on learning the best system early.
This was not exactly my intention. I don't think there exists a "best system". If you wish to play more than one system however, don't delay the second system 20 years into the future.
There might be a system that is best for you, but finding which one is a bit of a tricky subject.
Quote
Just so I'm clear on this: If I were to tune my Hohner Panther and Compadre so they had gleichtons on the 6th button of the 2nd and 3rd rows, would they have "club" tuning?
While the gleichton is the most significant property of the club system, it is much more than that. It also consists of a specific half row of accidentals, a change in the pull note of the button closest to the knee on the first row and a slightly changed bass layout.
If you add a gleichtons (or more) to a regular box, you'd get a regular box with a gleichton (or more).
There are advantages and disadvantages for this, same as any other system.
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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2019, 05:15:25 PM »

One of my favourite Steirische videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Co95xEvn67U
Not too many rapid bellows changes...

D*** you Steve, I knew what that would be and now I'm in love again  :|bl

That one is a good illustration of how the gleichton is useful when your harmonies are mostly tonic + dominant 7th: with a gleichton the pull notes all make a dominant 7th chord.

Sorry if this is off topic, but, how does a Steirische differ from a club? Just more diatonic rows, or are are there more fundamental differences?
More inner diatonic rows, each with a gleichton, going up in 4ths,  e.g. G/C/F/B♭ or F/B♭/E♭/A♭. 3 rows for "student" models, otherwise usually 4, occasionally 5. The bass layout is a bit different, and obviously has a extra buttons for the extra RH rows.
And the helikon basses, of course...
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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2019, 06:44:28 PM »

John a club only has the accordeon reed on one row in the case of Cf box, the C of the F row Thats the club system were we are talking off, a two row box with accidentals With two rows changed you would be closer to Sterlishe but they usaully have more rows and can be chromatic or diatonic.Not an expert. You can get melodeons with Helikon basses. These are all related yet different systems.Which ever you get on with. PS also depending on how many voices the box has the number of reeds to change will be greater

I cant remember were I read about them may well of been here, but I recall a box from a specific region of Switzerland with Helikon basses but straight rows? I remember someone comenting on them being heavey. Definatly saw a video. Search this site?
« Last Edit: March 17, 2019, 09:36:41 PM by folkloristmark »
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Re: Replacing a single reed. How to ensure it matches?
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2019, 07:00:47 PM »

D*** you Steve, I knew what that would be and now I'm in love again  :|bl
I think she's already spoken for...  ;)
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