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Author Topic: Translation query, Castagnari reed speak!  (Read 461 times)

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rileycat

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Translation query, Castagnari reed speak!
« on: May 16, 2018, 04:27:24 PM »

I'm sure someone here can readily translate 'fatto a mano' on a set of Castagnari reed blocks for me.  I don't know if this is Castagnari speak for what we call TAM - tipo a mano - or is it full hand-made - a mano - reeds.  It's probably obvious if taken literally in translation, but I'm wondering if the good folks at Castagnari use something different to distinguish between the two types of reeds.  I've only got the one instrument to look at, so can't refer to other sources to compare the stampings.  The reeds are V A in a Wielly.  Thanks folks.
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arty

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Re: Translation query, Castagnari reed speak!
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2018, 04:43:05 PM »

According to Google translate, ‘fatto a mano’ means handmade  (:)
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Rees

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Re: Translation query, Castagnari reed speak!
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2018, 04:49:27 PM »

In the case of Castagnari the 'fatto a mano' applies to the instrument itself and not to the reeds.
I discovered this many years ago.
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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malcolmbebb

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Re: Translation query, Castagnari reed speak!
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2018, 04:56:45 PM »

It's in several places in my Giordy, none of them particularly relating to the reeds, which ties up with Rees' comment.
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Theo

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Re: Translation query, Castagnari reed speak!
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2018, 05:02:01 PM »

On recent Castagnaris there is also a label from VA the reed maker describing the quality of reeds.  Tipo a mano is standard.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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rileycat

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Re: Translation query, Castagnari reed speak!
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2018, 06:36:09 PM »

Thanks, folks.  Rees has kicked the stamp on the reed blocks clue into touch as being no guide to reed quality, sooo I re-opened the box to check out Theo's label suggestion. Unfortunately, the VA label acknowledges their 'authenticity' and the links to Salpa and another maker (I've forgotten the name!), but no further info.  As the instrument isn't one of the more commonly found models, I'll try once more to search the net for an older Castagnari site or give up the quest. It's a nice box whatever the reeds, but I wondered if Castagnari's stopping the use of 'hand-made' reeds due to 'tuning issues' was likely to be a future problem for me in using this box?
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pete /acorn

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Re: Translation query, Castagnari reed speak!
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2018, 06:40:36 PM »

Have a look at the reeds themselves,The square part at the bottom which is blue.on A Mano reeds the edge at this point is normally also blue,if it is silver on all the reeds the reeds are Tipo A mano

A Mano reeds were only fitted to special order on some boxes for a short time,they were fitted as standard in Handry models until fairly recently,they now only fit Tipo a Mano to all models

pete
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 06:44:48 PM by pete /acorn »
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Rees

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Re: Translation query, Castagnari reed speak!
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2018, 06:46:54 PM »

Have a look at the reeds themselves,The square part at the bottom which is blue.on A Mano reeds the edge at this point is normally also blue,if it is silver on all the reeds the reeds are Tipo A mano

A Mano reeds were only fitted to special order on some boxes for a short time,they were fitted as standard in Handry models until fairly recently,they now only fit Tipo a Mano to all models

pete

Unless they are Export/Dural as fitted to some of the lower priced models.
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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rileycat

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Re: Translation query, Castagnari reed speak!
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2018, 07:42:28 PM »

Thanks again folks - query answered.  I followed Pete's advice and removed a reed block and checked the 'blueing'.  The reeds are TAM, as the edges of the blued ends are silver.  Just out of interest, were the a mano reeds really better   in any way or have manufacturing methods now overtaken the need to have full human intervention for straight out of the box instruments?!
PS I am happily aware that good 'fettling' in later life really does enhance an instruments playability.
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Theo

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Re: Translation query, Castagnari reed speak!
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2018, 08:02:44 PM »

The quality of hand made reeds depends critically on the skill of the reed maker.  Individuals like Binci and Ciccarelli have a reputation to look after and all the a mano reeds I’ve seen from them are excellent. On the other hand I’ve seen reeds with all the visible signs of being hand made but were very poor players.  These latter were all in Saltarelle Nuage models and did not carry a makers name,  but Vincent Roux was very clear on another topic that Saltarelle only ever use Cagnoni reeds.
So to answer the question,  yes a mano reeds can be better, but it’s nit guaranteed. It’s best to judge the reeds by how well they play.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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pete /acorn

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Re: Translation query, Castagnari reed speak!
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2018, 08:39:43 PM »

To explain further re A Mano reeds.

These are manufactured from a strip of steel the width of the reed tongue,ie the width of the blue square at the base of the tongue.
Tipo a Mano are manufactured from a role of steel about 300mm wide then this is cut length ways into strips,hence the blue and silver edging to the base of the reed tongue.
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-Y-

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Re: Translation query, Castagnari reed speak!
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2018, 09:03:43 AM »

The quality of hand made reeds depends critically on the skill of the reed maker.  Individuals like Binci and Ciccarelli have a reputation to look after and all the a mano reeds I’ve seen from them are excellent. On the other hand I’ve seen reeds with all the visible signs of being hand made but were very poor players.  These latter were all in Saltarelle Nuage models and did not carry a makers name,  but Vincent Roux was very clear on another topic that Saltarelle only ever use Cagnoni reeds.
So to answer the question,  yes a mano reeds can be better, but it’s nit guaranteed. It’s best to judge the reeds by how well they play.

I can relate for a mano reeds. I bought a Handry 18 about 8 years ago, and it was then fitted with a mano reeds (whereas the Handry 12 featured tipo a mano). I had real trouble with the tuning that was not stable at all. Several other Handry 18 owners from that period also had the same issue, and they managed to have all the reeds changed and fitted with new sets, but I couldn't, being too far away from the shop I bought mine to go under such procedure. I think the numerous problems around that time is what decided to go for tipo a mano on those models (without changing the selling price), in order to have less variability in the reed quality (and, IMHO, not changing one bit of the sound quality or timbre).
8 years later, my tuner spent a whole week on tuning my accordion (and even had to change 3 reeds), the tune stability was still not that good, he told me sometimes he would tune a reed just fine, go back 15 minutes later to see it was completely out-of-tune… He did a good job (though quite painful for him), as it's stable now.
I should add that I'm not telling this to blame anyone (I should have complained more if I wanted the thing sorted), Castagnari work is very reliable anyways.
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Y.

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diatonix

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Re: Translation query, Castagnari reed speak!
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2018, 03:59:48 PM »

I may have pointed this out before: there are many factors that must be taken into account. Category (and  maker) of the reeds is just one of them. Even the most well renowned reeds have to be checked and often modified/optimized by the actual builder/tuner of the box in question. Then there are the valves, they are almost as important as the reeds themselves and have to be chosen and glued on correctly. Then there is the reed block, size of the openings, presence or absence of register slides etc. Are the blocks stabilized with cross-braces or not? And of course, quality of the wax is always a concern. And last not least, there are the skills of the tuner. More than once it has made me angry to realize that perfect circumstances were ruined by the use of a Dremel or worse.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 04:01:41 PM by diatonix »
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rileycat

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Re: Translation query, Castagnari reed speak!
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2018, 05:50:58 PM »

Thanks for all these illuminating responses - Melnet has such a depth of wisdom in the dark arts of 'reedery' and the things-to-be-aware-of when buying.  I appreciate the time you folks have given to my query, especially as it must have dragged some of you away from the best weather we've had for ages and the tuner's workbench! Cheers to all. 
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