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Author Topic: Busking, bellows and the cold...  (Read 1961 times)

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EastAnglianTed

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Busking, bellows and the cold...
« on: February 06, 2013, 05:57:21 PM »

    Me and my mate went busking today. Being in Northern Ireland it was absoloutely freezing (as per usual). Luckily the coffee shop we were outside gave us free coffee to keep warm so that was all good and much appreciated.
    Playing was fine, cold fingers were to be expected BUT I noticed that my usually ever-so-slightly leaky bellows (not enough to ever impact my playing) were leaking badly. Checked my pins, gussetts etc.-all were in order. I remember reading that the cold/warm can heavily affect bellows, and having played in blistering cold now I believe it.
    Anyone else had this problem? Any tips? Is this even true? Surely some morris musicians must have been affected by their bellows shriking?  ;)
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Mike Hirst

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Re: Busking, bellows and the cold...
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2013, 08:05:51 PM »

I spent a lot of time last winter busking in sub zero temperatures. Cold weather has a very definite, but short term, detrimental effect on tuning. I have not experienced any noticeable changes to bellows efficiency.
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boscaceol

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Re: Busking, bellows and the cold...
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2013, 08:32:07 PM »

Where do you busk in NI?
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Andrew Wigglesworth

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Re: Busking, bellows and the cold...
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2013, 09:41:32 PM »

I've busked in cold (cold!) weather many times and I've never noticed any effect of the cold on bellows either.

tekyinblack

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Re: Busking, bellows and the cold...
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2013, 08:06:54 AM »

It might be a side effect, but playing outside this time of year and then going indoors, especially where there are a lot of people with high moisture will get a lot of condensation. Playing indoors at that time will get a box full of condensation, so while the cold may not directly do harm, getting the inside and outside of the bellows wet won't be the best thing for them I would imagine.
Last year I walked into a session from a cold day to find I had to wipe the damp from the outside with tissues and didn't feel inclined to play for 10-15 minutes. Did the same at a Wassail last week, except ended up not playing anything.
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Busking, bellows and the cold...
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2013, 08:43:20 AM »

More about playing in the cold in this extract from the Straw Bear thread here.
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mory

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Re: Busking, bellows and the cold...
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2013, 09:04:58 AM »

Had someone bring me a Wheatstone Excelsior all a panic in the cold snap the other week "half the reeds have stopped working properly" turned out it had spent a freezing night in the boot of their car, on returning to a more normal temperature everything was fine. I get the odd squeaky high reed playing out when the temps way down, but never had bellows problems, been using the same box in all seasons and climates for years (n years). AtB mory
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EastAnglianTed

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Re: Busking, bellows and the cold...
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2013, 11:28:56 AM »

Bugger, maybe I've been playing too hard. And I busk with my friend in Coleraine area
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Rob2Hook

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Re: Busking, bellows and the cold...
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2013, 04:19:23 PM »

Played at a couple of wassails this year and can't say I noticed much effect on airflow - perhaps I was distracted by the mind-numbing pain in the fingers!  What I have always noticed in cold weather is that the tone of the instrument is different for a minute when starting, the harmonics seem more prominent than normal.  Anyone care to offer an explanation?

Rob.
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Andrew Wigglesworth

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Re: Busking, bellows and the cold...
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2013, 05:52:16 PM »

Played at a couple of wassails this year and can't say I noticed much effect on airflow - perhaps I was distracted by the mind-numbing pain in the fingers!  What I have always noticed in cold weather is that the tone of the instrument is different for a minute when starting, the harmonics seem more prominent than normal.  Anyone care to offer an explanation?

Rob.

Cold ears?   :P

Sorry, I'm not being completely facetious, it's just that I suppose there are all sorts of things going on, including how we are listening to the instrument. I notice day to day how they seem to me to sound different even in the same room.

Cold must affect the reeds, of course it must, but personally I've never had them jamming up or going "funny" on any of my boxes, maybe they're just used to being played in the cold by now.

I also wonder about the temperature ranges that we are talking about. The difference between 15 degrees C and 5 or 0 may seem very significant to us and our fingers, but to a piece of steel?

David J

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Re: Busking, bellows and the cold...
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2013, 01:26:52 PM »

Played at a couple of wassails this year and can't say I noticed much effect on airflow - perhaps I was distracted by the mind-numbing pain in the fingers!  What I have always noticed in cold weather is that the tone of the instrument is different for a minute when starting, the harmonics seem more prominent than normal.  Anyone care to offer an explanation?

Rob.
No idea why, but I have the same impression that my Baffetti starts to sound better as the reeds warm up. After experiments with several fingerless gloves, I've found some gloves made by Macwet, also used by horse riders and golfers, which offer some insulation and still give sufficient feel on the buttons. Don't slip either. www.macwet.com/
I told them about this, and they put me on their blog: www.macwetblog.com/ under PHOTOGRAPHER FINDS GREAT NEW USE FOR MACWET GLOVES
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