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Author Topic: About reeds  (Read 2279 times)

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Andrew Kennedy

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About reeds
« on: November 04, 2018, 06:29:59 AM »

I enjoy reading about the various makers, and found the melnet article interesting in this respect. It's much harder to find anything about reeds - plenty of opinion, less in the way of hard facts systematically laid out. An article would complement the one on makers very nicely. Any takers?
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Re: About reeds
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2018, 09:46:35 AM »

I enjoy reading about the various makers, and found the melnet article interesting in this respect. It's much harder to find anything about reeds - plenty of opinion, less in the way of hard facts systematically laid out. An article would complement the one on makers very nicely. Any takers?
What exactly do you want to know? This is a big subject. You might be better off visiting the websites of the reed makers directly. They often have technical details and descriptions. There are also a few Youtube videos.

Here are a few websites to get you started.

Voci Armoniche:
Here and here

Ciccarelli video

Artigiana

Cagnoni.
Cagnoni data sheet.

Harmonikas reeds Interesting website; lots of detail and video.
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Martin P

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Re: About reeds
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2018, 10:12:04 AM »

Does anybody know what type of reeds are fitted in a Salterelle Connemara 11, approx 6 years old? Just curious.
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pgroff

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Re: About reeds
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2018, 12:49:21 PM »

All the Connemara IIs that I've played (admittedly these were more than 6 years old) had much nicer reeds than for example the Irish Bouebe.
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GPS

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Re: About reeds
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2018, 01:21:49 PM »

The only Connemara II I've ever played was about 16 years ago; it had reeds similar to those in my Pastourelle -  Italian jobbies with the diagonal line across one corner but no maker's mark.  Not much help, I'm afraid!

Graham
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boxer

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Re: About reeds
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2018, 08:46:18 PM »

possibly Cagnoni
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Theo

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Re: About reeds
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2018, 08:53:42 AM »

possibly Cagnoni

Almost certainly.  The only reeds I've been able to identify in Saltarelles have been Cagnoni.  This is confirmed by the post from Vincent Roux.
We use Cagnoni reeds on all our diatonics accordions. Cagnoni doesn't sign their reeds. We have been in fact asking them to do so to avoid any suspicion.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 08:55:15 AM by Theo »
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Martin P

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Re: About reeds
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2018, 10:03:28 AM »

So, deciding to buying a box based on sound and feel is akin to buying a car purely on test drive without the manufacturer stating what is under the bonnet. It would be nice if box manufactures specified exactly what reads they fit in each box. Mind you, buying by ear is probably the best way of deciding if a box is suits one. Just a rambling thought.
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Winston Smith

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Re: About reeds
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2018, 10:12:45 AM »

"buying a car purely on test drive without the manufacturer stating what is under the bonnet"

I think that "knowing what's under the bonnet" and what sort, and who's, reeds are fitted to a melodeon is a very good analogy. Most people wouldn't know one specification from the other, and will eventually make a choice based upon the performance and/or sound revealed in a test drive/squeeze; and, of course, the cost.
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Re: About reeds
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2018, 12:50:09 PM »

It would be nice if box manufactures specified exactly what reads they fit in each box.
In most cases they do.

Quote
Mind you, buying by ear is probably the best way of deciding if a box is suits one.
In some ways, that's the only thing that's important. If the box sounds OK to you, responds well, and is structurally well-built, does it really matter what reeds and other components are installed?

If the instrument suits you and your requirements, that's mostly all that is needed. I will qualify that to a certain extent though, and point out that how well an instrument can be maintained, tuned, repaired, etc. is also very important. Such issues might not become apparent until some time after a new purchase.

So an instrument which has poor-quality action components (for example) may play well at first but become difficult or unrealistic to repair should something subsequently break. Similarly, higher-quality reeds are more likely to respond better, hold their tuning for longer, etc. 
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Winston Smith

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Re: About reeds
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2018, 03:19:10 PM »

"Similarly, higher-quality reeds are more likely to respond better, hold their tuning for longer, etc."

I was sure that, some little time ago, I read on here that hand-made reeds tended to be much more temperamental, as far as staying in tune went.
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Theo

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Re: About reeds
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2018, 04:19:19 PM »

I think that may have come from Castagnari and was part of the reason that they now only use tipo a mano reeds.

My experience is that there is not much difference between a mano and tipo a mano in their long term stability.

Part of the difficulty in providing categorical information about reeds is that there seems to be no agreed standards for the many variables that relate to reed manufacture. 

Some of the important variables are:
manufacturer of the steel used for tongues.
carbon content of steel
physical properties of steel such as hardness and Youngs modulus.
width of tongue and whether it is trapezoidal or parallel sided
scale length of the tongue
side clearance of tongue
end clearance of tongue
thickness profile of tongue
plate material - soft aluminium or harder alloy, (or brass or zinc)
Surface finish of reed slot
thickness of plate
hand riveted or machine riveted.

None of these is as simple to compare as the engine specs of cars, such as cubic capacity or power output, so I think that analogy is of only limited help.

It's all a bit of a minefield.  It's especially hard for beginners and relatively inexperience players who may not have developed the playing skills to be able to really appreciate the differences in playing quality.

The reed maker that publishes the most detailed specifications is undoubtedly Harmonikas of Louny do give a lot of technical detail.  Cagnoni and Voci Armoniche each have tables to compare their products, which give plenty of detail, but it's not so easy to make direct comparisons between makers.







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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Dick Rees

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Re: About reeds
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2018, 04:23:16 PM »

It's like comparing Stradivarius to Guarneri.  FYI, a Stradivarius burns with a bright BLUE flame...
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Theo

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Re: About reeds
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2018, 04:25:46 PM »

 ;D
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Andrew Kennedy

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Re: About reeds
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2018, 07:36:59 PM »

Thanks, Theo, for what are some useful pointers/indicators.
It's clearly a complex issue, but I see posts where the main concern is whether an instrument has (for example) Cagnoni or Binci reeds. Following the car metaphor, this seems like  wanting a Jaguar or Mercedes engine without checking how many cylinders it has or whether it's diesel or petrol. Or have I missed something?
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Theo

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Re: About reeds
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2018, 08:07:29 PM »

Petrol or diesel is a binary choice, everyone knows what the main differences are.  Number of cylinders is is quantitative. If you must use those analogy's the fuel one is more like the difference between Shell and BP, and the cylinder one is more comparable with how many voices a box has.  The difference between reed makes are all qualitative and subjective. 
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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melodeon

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Re: About reeds
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2018, 11:23:11 PM »

The Connemara II was originally designed by and for Mairtin O'Connor and was specified to have "hand made reeds".
By my observation this was also subject to the request for a mano reeds put out to bid.
It is known that Cagnoni reeds have been more attractively priced than others. Likely the reason you see Cagnonis and not Binci or other well known brands such as those used by Castagnari.

According to my sources, Saltarelle was in a "reed war" with other makers in the 90s and early 2000s..
Saltarelle's answer was not necessarily higher quality but a higher designation such as "a mano" rather than Castagnaris standard of "tipo a mano" and higher quality from other makers than those who supplied Saltarelle.

Gabbanelli of USA also played that game.
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Andrew Kennedy

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Re: About reeds
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2018, 09:11:03 AM »

Petrol or diesel is a binary choice, everyone knows what the main differences are.

Yes, analogies are tricky, and I suppose I could have said petrol, diesel, hybrid, PHEV, or two-stroke, let alone supercharged or turbo; I think I was trying to say that it appears at times that branding is more important than actual specification (and therefore sound).  But then I favour a 30-year-old Lilly, which must have 'matured' somewhat, and otherwise tend to prefer Hohners.
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Andrew Kennedy

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Re: About reeds
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2018, 09:12:38 AM »

And my apologies for the incompetent setting of the quotation!
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John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: About reeds
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2018, 04:23:33 PM »

I have a Hagstrom in G/C, it's a big lump of a box, and has never even been played in, in spite of it being about 50 years old. Anyway, the point of this post is, the reeds in it are really sweet sounding but they have no identifying marks. So I wonder if anyone knows who made their reeds?

Sir John
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