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Author Topic: Tuning Advice  (Read 2648 times)

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HallelujahAl

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Tuning Advice
« on: July 20, 2009, 07:52:08 AM »

Has anyone experience of using Dirk's Accordion Tuner? I've downloaded the demo version and am still trying to learn how to use it.

Alternatively, what other tuning systems do you use? Until now I've only really touch tuned the odd accordion/melodeon reed here and there when necessary, although I've also tuned many concertinas (anglos, duets and english) just using my faithful korg chromatic tuner. But now I want to fully tune my heligonka restoration projekt and am hoping to garner some useful tips and advice.
Thanks.
AL
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Aaro

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Re: Tuning Advice
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2009, 08:20:28 AM »

I am try Dirks accordion tuner, certainly a good tuning software.

I use Korg OT 120 and Peterson 490.
Korg is good choice, peterson    is very expensive tuner.

Aaro
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HallelujahAl

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Re: Tuning Advice
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2009, 08:32:59 AM »

Thanks Aaro, yes, my little korg OT-12 is a superb little tuner. And enables me to get very accurate tuning for single reeds. But I'm completely ignorant about tuning multiple reeds. With say a two voice instrument like my heligonka do I tune 1 reed exact and the second reed 'up' by a few cents in order to produce a certain beat? Or does one tune reed 1 'down' and reed 2 'up'? My understanding is that Dirk's Tuner enables one to measure the beat between the reed centage, is this so?
AL
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LJC

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Re: Tuning Advice
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2009, 08:50:46 AM »

Dirks tells you the beat frequency.

Normally for a MM box you tune one set of reeds to 0c off the note frequency and one set sharp. If you kept a constant cent difference between the reeds then the beat frequency of the tremolo between them would increase the higher up you go (since the frequency of the note is also increasing... the maths gets quite complicated).

So what you have to do is decide on a cent difference between the low reeds and gradually decrease it the higher you go. Eg. The cent difference on the D push on the D row might be 10c between the two reeds (one at 0 the other at +10c). To keep the same beat frequency of the tremolo between them, as you get to the octave D, then the beat rate should half to give you the same wetness as the octave below (5c sharp).

In practice this doesn't always happen and different makers use different tuning tables for the drop off in sharpness to make their boxes sound as they do. The clever thing about Dirks (I believe, it doesn't work on my mac) is that you can load up a tuning schedule and tune to that. The programme takes the effort out of working out what the next tuning offset should be allowing you to easily tune across the whole reed block to the same tremolo/beat frequency.

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HallelujahAl

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Re: Tuning Advice
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2009, 08:57:47 AM »

Quote
The clever thing about Dirks (I believe, it doesn't work on my mac) is that you can load up a tuning schedule and tune to that. The programme takes the effort out of working out what the next tuning offset should be allowing you to easily tune across the whole reed block to the same tremolo/beat frequency.

Yes, that's my understanding too - but thanks, your explanation is helpful.
AL
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Theo

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Re: Tuning Advice
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2009, 10:27:20 AM »

Agree with everything LJC says, and with Aaro's endorsement of the Korg OT120.  I'd just like to add that the various ways of working out pitch differences in cents (or Hz)  though important, actually more than that they are essential, the final judge has to be your ear. 
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Rees

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Re: Tuning Advice
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2009, 11:50:54 AM »

the final judge has to be your ear. 

Which one?  ???
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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Rees

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Re: Tuning Advice
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2009, 12:04:08 PM »

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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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TonyRussell

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Re: Tuning Advice
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2009, 12:09:10 PM »

I like Theo's advice - there must have been a lot of tuning went on before the age of electronic tuners ;) Tony.
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Theo

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Re: Tuning Advice
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2009, 12:24:52 PM »

Well the old fashioned way is that as an apprentice you build your own tuning table that incorporates a set of 12 reference pitch reeds and then you tune to those. To get the appropriate amount of tremolo you learn to count beats, possibly using a metronome as a time base for the beats.  I must say I do often find myself counting beats in the final stages of tuning.  One handy tip, especially useful on the mid to lower pitches, is that I rest my hand on the top of the reedblock I'm tuning so can feel the beat of the fundamental frequency.  Quite often there are lots of other beats happening between higher  harmonics, and the sense of touch is better than the ear at detecting the lower pitch beats.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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RGF

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Re: Tuning Advice
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2009, 02:45:48 PM »

I have been using Dirk's Tuner for a couple of years, and I really like it. The way I use it for tuning the tremolo reeds is to determine the increase in beat rate that I would like to achieve across the range of the instrument, and enter those values for the lowest and highest notes. The software will then fill in the blanks for you and tune according to that slope or curve. For two or three reeds of the same pitch, for octaves, and chords. There is also a module (optional cost, as I recall), that will let you record everything and print out a tuning report. Very slick.

Bob
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LJC

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Re: Tuning Advice
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2009, 11:36:52 PM »

Just for interest, with the last box I restored (one of my keepers), I tuned the inside row by the numbers and the outside on totally by ear... I preferred my tuning since it just 'felt' right. Another thing to keep in mind is that even if the reeds are bang on the desired pitches, you may find you get an odd harmonic or overtone meaning one or the other just needs an extra scrape in one direction to really make it sound sweet.

I also find that once I've tuned it needs to be played in for a while to let the metal settle down, and the tuning does change over a couple of weeks as it all gets back to normal - its worth touching it up after a bit.

Its also worth thinking about the bass end - you want 0c difference in the octave bass reeds but if your chords have a root note the same octave as the high bass reed then you can tune that a little sharp to balance the two together. The major thirds of the chords can also be flattened slightly to help make them sound sweeter compared with the melody side. The tuning really becomes apparent when you can play the melody and chords and getting them to sound really sweet together takes quite a while of tinkering, listening, and ignoring what the tuner says.
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forrest

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Re: Tuning Advice
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2009, 05:41:03 AM »

 I have had good success with Dirk's. There is quite a bit of trial and error removed from the tuning process with this software. One feature: play each note of your box and the current state of tune is recorded so that it can be saved as a chart, or printed as a report.
 
   It not only shows the data for the reed tuned to pitch, but also the tremolo reeds, (up to three reeds simultaneously) and shows the relative differences in either cents or Hz. You can build your desired tuning layout onto a chart, and load it into the tuner. When you play the existing notes, you will be shown their pitches as well as the amount of difference between them and your desired goal.

If you choose to remove the reedblocks to sound and tune them, you only need to know the difference between your recorded values,and the desired outcome. Since the pitch shifts slightly when the reedblocks are not happily installed, you need merely to make the amount of correction between your recorded value, and your desired value. When you replace the reedblocks, you will find that the pitch may not be exactly where you want, but very close. This saves you from having to remove and replace them a zillion times while tuning. Of course final tuning must be done with the reeds in the box, and as has been mentioned, small corrections and tweaking done by ear.

  Also does up to three octave tuned reeds at once, handy for basses, as well as showing the values for three note chords.

  It is rather important to have a reliable way to sound the reeds ( a test bellows, or tuning table) so that you can get true and consistent readings.

There are some small quirks in learning to use the software. I find it necessary to repeat playing the note(s) to get a solid consistent reading. Could be the mike I'm using.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2009, 05:47:32 AM by j.w.forrest »
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Aaro

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Re: Tuning Advice
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2009, 07:37:22 AM »

the final judge has to be your ear. 

I agree with Theo.
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