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Author Topic: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM  (Read 4324 times)

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Sandy Flett

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Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« on: October 11, 2010, 06:19:58 PM »

The latest concept floating about in my mind is to convert a Castagnari Tommy from LMM to MMM, and at the same time make it a 4th button start.

Has anyone thought of, or done this? Or are there good reasons for not doing it?

Anyone got a spare Tommy M reed block?

Would the reed chambers need any work if just moving the reeds up one place to give 4th button start? Is it relatively easy to get the additional lower note reeds?

What would be a good plus and minus offset for the musette (cents at 440)? Any idea of the tuning of John Kirkpatrick MMM box, which is the sort of sound I have in mind?
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blackdot1234

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2010, 07:41:01 PM »

hi there i changed my tommy b/c to mmm i made the reed block myself and sent it to theo gibbs and he supplied the reeds and tuned them and i fitted the block in the tommy job done the reed block was not easy to make but it turned out well
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Mike Averill

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2010, 08:08:34 PM »

It would be an ill adviced move. For a fourth button start you need at least a 23 button layout to give the range, and I've yet to hear a Castagnari sound good in a wet tuning.
For the JK sound a much better option is to spend you money on an old  2nd hand Hohner Corso or Corona III. They'll take the musette sound much much better.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2010, 08:11:37 PM by Mike Averill »
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Hohner - 1 row 4 stop C and G, pokerwork DG, DoubleRay C#D, Corso CC#, Corona III ADG, CLUB X CF, Elysium II CF
Saltarelle 1 row 4 stop D, Castagnari Giordy DG, Sander DG
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Andy Simpson

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2010, 09:44:14 PM »

It would be an ill adviced move. For a fourth button start you need at least a 23 button layout to give the range,

Depends on the tuning, for a semitone box or a G/C definitely but on a D/G the top two buttons are so high they're almost totally useless and I've never heard of anyone missing them when changing to or buying a 21 button box with a 4th button start.
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Rees

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2010, 10:34:45 PM »

I would miss them, I use those notes quite a lot as a high harmony.

erm.................... I do just happen to have a Corona III MMM in ADG and a rare Corso MMM in D/G for sale.
Both have JK/Jimmy Shand musette and are early 1960s models with celluloid covered wooden keyboards, etc.
From the same era, I also have a Double Ray DeLuxe MMM in B/C.
No idea of prices until they've all had a good service.
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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Jon Loomes

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2010, 11:15:41 PM »

So what you want is a D/G Roma?

Cheers,
J

Theo

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2010, 11:19:06 PM »

Or how about a Vignoni LMMM D/G nice wet three voice sound, and a low reed too. 
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Rees

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2010, 11:26:35 PM »

So what you want is a D/G Roma?

Cheers,
J

Gorgeous!
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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Rees

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2010, 11:29:35 PM »

Or how about a Vignoni LMMM D/G nice wet three voice sound, and a low reed too. 

Divine!

So you see, Sandy - Theo, Jon and I all have the perfect box for you. I think the three of us have been clearing out our attics at the same time!  ;D
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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Andy Simpson

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2010, 11:45:10 PM »

I would miss them, I use those notes quite a lot as a high harmony.


I stand corrected, I've now heard of one person who'd miss them. ;D

But hang on a minute, you've got a Castagnari and you want it to sound like someone who's playing a Hohner?. You've got that the wrong way round, you're supposed to have a Hohner and be in despair that you can't make it sound like a Castagnari. ;D
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Lester

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2010, 08:17:43 AM »

You've got that the wrong way round, you're supposed to have a Hohner and be in despair that you can't make it sound like a Castagnari. ;D

Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Theo

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2010, 08:25:35 AM »

Any idea of the tuning of John Kirkpatrick MMM box,

Do you mean the B/C/C#?
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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ganderbox

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2010, 09:04:36 AM »


For the JK sound a much better option is to spend you money on an old  2nd hand Hohner Corso or Corona III. They'll take the musette sound much much better.

I agree with Mike. Don't mess about with the Tommy. Go out and get yourself a nicely fettled Hohner, and you'll not be disappointed.
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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2010, 10:05:21 AM »

I also agree about leaving the Tommy alone. I know that tuning preferences are very much a personal thing, but I've heard (and played) a wet-tuned Tommy and to be honest, I didn't like it much at all. Although it had a strong beat to the MM reeds, it didn't sound like a Hohner.

I think Castagnaris sound best when they are dry tuned or with a light swing tuning. If you want to sound like JK, buy a nice Hohner and spend a bit of time/money getting it well set up and properly tuned.
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Sandy Flett

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2010, 11:57:10 AM »

Many thanks for all the responses, words of wisdom, and attic clearances on my behalf.

I am not after a strong musette box as such, and had thought John K's BCC# Casali (and its replacement), although MMM, was not tuned wide - indeed I recall him saying in a workshop (1980s) he gave up his Shand Morino after the Morris On album because it was "too musettey".

I have ended up with a Tommy because its size, weight, great action and bellows control make it ideal for the style of melodeon playing I am after. The only problem I have with it (apart from the G bass note could do with being lower) is that I find the MM sound is just a bit thin. However, adding the L reed gives it much more body, but the LMM sound is not what I am after for most things I play. So I thought, could I get a fatter sound with three MMM reeds, without any of them having to be very wet (which I agree does not suit the Castagnari).

On the 4th button start, my style of playing has not so far required the highest notes, whereas I often get frustrated not having the few extra low notes.

I had a look inside the Tommy this morning and confirmed that it is not "just" a matter of getting a spare Tommy M reed block as the holes for the L reed block are not in line like the M reed blocks. And I am not into making reed blocks like blackdot1234 above. So I think I will take the general consensus of advice and not seek to convert my Tommy to MMM.

However, ..... this exercise has got me thinking about a previous Tommy modification concept which I will follow up shortly under the original thread "Hohner reed block inside Italian body" - http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,4722.msg59965.html#msg59965
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Theo

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2010, 12:41:43 PM »

The only problem I have with it (apart from the G bass note could do with being lower) is that I find the MM sound is just a bit thin.

My suggestion would be to have the MM reeds tuned to give a bit more tremolo.  I did this for member Lin Erica earlier this year and it made a big difference to the sound.  Its not a terribly expensive task, and its reversible.  So if everything else about the Tommy suits you I think this would be a sensible first step.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Sandy Flett

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2010, 01:01:15 PM »

Theo - I currently have it tuned to +5 cents at 440. Would you suggest trying +10 for a start? But I think a lot of my problem with the sound is that it is so "clean", almost a sine wave, whereas I love the resonance and richness of tone you get from a Hohner.
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Rees

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2010, 01:08:26 PM »

Perhaps even as far as 15. Full Hohner wobble is 20 - 25 ish.
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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Theo

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2010, 02:12:24 PM »

I agree with Rees.  10 is  still in the region that would be called "swing" pretty typical of Saltarelle factory tuning.

And looking at a slightly different aspect, I think A DG box benefits from having the low reed because it makes the top octave more usable.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Jon Loomes

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Re: Converting Castagnari Tommy to MMM
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2010, 03:40:46 PM »

Quote
Divine!

So you see, Sandy - Theo, Jon and I all have the perfect box for you. I think the three of us have been clearing out our attics at the same time! 

I don't have a Roma...I don't think they still make them.  Edwin's got one, but it's G/C.

Cheers,
Jon
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