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Author Topic: "Breaking In" A New Melodeon  (Read 833 times)

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Don Bergland

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"Breaking In" A New Melodeon
« on: July 28, 2017, 02:45:27 PM »

I've just purchased a new Castagnari Brio, and am going through a transitional period in learning to adjust to this instrument (I'm coming from a Hohner Erica).

I have heard a wide diversity of opinions regarding a so-called "breaking in" period for melodeons. This "breaking in" concept covers many ideas, from reeds to bellows operation. Some say the concept is nonsense, while others say it is a reality.

What opinions do you hold regarding the idea that a new instrument must (or even can) be "broken in?"

Thanks
Don
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Chris Ryall

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Re: "Breaking In" A New Melodeon
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2017, 02:51:10 PM »

Yes.  Grenoble's Pignol / Milleret say on their "Aire et Geste" CD that it takes up to a year.  "They are still improving at 2 years". 

I think this is 'generally true' - and the more true the better the quality of the instrument.  But they all 'play in'.  Consider getting it looked at by a good fettler/tuner in about a year. I've done that twice and both were better for his attention. 
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: "Breaking In" A New Melodeon
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2017, 02:53:34 PM »

I've just purchased a new Castagnari Brio, and am going through a transitional period in learning to adjust to this instrument (I'm coming from a Hohner Erica).

I have heard a wide diversity of opinions regarding a so-called "breaking in" period for melodeons. This "breaking in" concept covers many ideas, from reeds to bellows operation. Some say the concept is nonsense, while others say it is a reality.

What opinions do you hold regarding the idea that a new instrument must (or even can) be "broken in?"

Thanks
Don

Certainly with Castagnari instruments, they should play well right from the start. The bellows might be just a bit stiff to begin with but that should soon ease off. No desperate stretching measures normally needed; just play the box.

After a few weeks/months of playing, there should be a gradual realisation the reeds are really starting to 'sing' and everything should feel nice and comfortably eased in.
Probably after a year or so, depending on how much and how hard the box has been played, it might be worth having the tuning checked over, just to do a bit of spot-tuning to correct any tremolo that might have drifted a bit, although the necessity of this perhaps depends on how sensitive your ears are.
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Don Bergland

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Re: "Breaking In" A New Melodeon
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2017, 05:23:58 PM »

Hi Chris and Steve: I appreciate the information.
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Lester

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Re: "Breaking In" A New Melodeon
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2017, 05:34:49 PM »

If you have stiff bellows I recommend the Marc Serafini method of freeing them up

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iigObdMdK6I

pikey

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Re: "Breaking In" A New Melodeon
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2017, 05:45:29 PM »

Play it as often as you can , both rows , all octaves , all basses !

The reeds will settle and the tone will improve
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syale

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Re: "Breaking In" A New Melodeon
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2017, 06:27:21 PM »

Don't drive it faster than 50 mph  ;) (especially if you have a new Ferrari!)

Stephen
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Re: "Breaking In" A New Melodeon
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2017, 08:11:49 AM »

Don't drive it faster than 50 mph  ;) (especially if you have a new Ferrari!)

Stephen

This one perhaps?
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Chris Ryall

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Re: "Breaking In" A New Melodeon
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2017, 09:44:09 AM »

After a few weeks/months of playing, there should be a gradual realisation the reeds are really starting to 'sing' and everything should feel nice and comfortably eased in.  Probably after a year or so, depending on how much and how hard the box has been played, it might be worth having the tuning checked over, just to do a bit of spot-tuning to correct any tremolo that might have drifted a bit, although the necessity of this perhaps depends on how sensitive your ears are.

I'd put that differently: My 'spot tunes' were done on general principles rather than any 'necessity'.  The boxes were sounding just fine to the ear.  But were definitely 'finer' after being tweaked. 

It's quite subtle things like some reed pairs moving to different level of tremelo from others, notes being slightly 'off' diatonic scale, or its many variants if you like to play on row, the odd reed playing faster, or slower than it should?  There's also no harm in re-setting the pallets etc :|glug
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Don Bergland

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Re: "Breaking In" A New Melodeon
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2017, 04:22:33 PM »

I appreciate all the fine opinions offered on this matter. I've been playing the instrument quite vigorously for a few days, and it already sounds better! I think, however, that this may be due to my deepening relationship with the instrument and its tonality and capabilities.

I wonder how much of the "breaking-in" process is psychological, and has nothing to do with the mechanics of the instrument?

Thanks
Don
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Rees

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Re: "Breaking In" A New Melodeon
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2017, 07:56:59 PM »


I wonder how much of the "breaking-in" process is psychological, and has nothing to do with the mechanics of the instrument?

Thanks
Don

Indeed, the box has to get used to the player too.
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george garside

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Re: "Breaking In" A New Melodeon
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2017, 10:37:02 PM »

not only psychological but likely to t require  a ''re programming''  of the finger muscles  if buttons mechanism and springs are different to the box someone is used to playing.  This  happens automaticallly ( without conscious thought) when a new box has been played a few times.  It is also the reason why trying other peoples boxes or ones in shop  can feel less comfortable than playing your own - comfortable slippers and all that!

 For those of us who play a veriety of boxes regularly , in my case from a lilly up to a 96 bass gaelic  ''autopilot'' seems able to store the necessary information in respect of different button tensions, spacings etc etc.

same of course goes for bellows stiffness or otherwise.  Wonderful thing the autopilot section of the brain!!

george
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Guy

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Re: "Breaking In" A New Melodeon
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2017, 12:56:05 AM »


I wonder how much of the "breaking-in" process is psychological, and has nothing to do with the mechanics of the instrument?

Thanks
Don

Indeed, the box has to get used to the player too.

I've always found that when I buy a new (to me) box from someone else it seems to want to play tunes that I don't think I know...but that's fun....

Cheers,
Guy
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