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Author Topic: Tuning Time  (Read 2033 times)

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Pat McInnis

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Tuning Time
« on: December 18, 2018, 04:58:51 AM »

Alright, I managed to get Papa's Green Machine all back together. It's been a bunch of work to get to this point and it has been a real learning experience. Mistakes have been made and corrected and now I need to get a bit of a tune on this old box. Of course I have no idea where to start so I thought that I would throw myself to the wolves. The D row is actually not too bad with my A4 and one other note being a bit flat. There is also a bit of wheezing sound with one of the notes that may be a valve issue. I'll have to dig deeper. The A row is another story. All three of my G#s are sounding Ab for some reason. This can't be random and my D#4 is sounding Eb4. Those are the rough ones to deal with then I should be down to a more fine tune I think.
Anyways, any and all advice is appreciated.

IMG_8590 by Pat McInnis, on Flickr

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RogerT

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2018, 07:44:07 AM »


Um...if your tuner is set to equal temperament (and not some other wacky meantone setting) then D# and Eb are equivalent. Likewise G# and Ab. Think about where these notes are on a piano keyboard. They are the same...they are the black key between D and E and ditto between G and A. It’s more helpful when you are tuning to play a scale and notice which notes seem off. Also, play that note with its octave and with a fifth and a third above. Forget the electronic tuner to begin with...use your ears.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2018, 07:20:18 PM by RogerT »
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2018, 09:13:54 AM »

Yes, what Roger said about the G#/Ab and D#/Eb.
Also your wheezy sound, which you think may be a valve issue. Try to get this sorted before you start tuning. Replacing valves will usually affect the tuning to a certain extent, so it needs to be done first.
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Pat McInnis

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2018, 04:44:40 PM »

Thanks guys. I wasn't aware how close they were together. I don't play piano. Sounds like I'm closer than I thought. I'll focus on the breathy notes and my flat A.
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Bill Young

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2018, 08:17:23 PM »

Thanks guys. I wasn't aware how close they were together. I don't play piano. Sounds like I'm closer than I thought. I'll focus on the breathy notes and my flat A.
They’re not just close together – they’re alternative names for the same frequencies. You might find this table of frequencies useful: http://pages.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html

Steve_freereeder

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2018, 12:52:33 AM »

Thanks guys. I wasn't aware how close they were together. I don't play piano. Sounds like I'm closer than I thought. I'll focus on the breathy notes and my flat A.
They’re not just close together – they’re alternative names for the same frequencies.
Only in Equal Temperament (ET) as was noted by Roger earlier.
In other temperaments, e.g. mean tone tuning, D# is slightly different from Eb, and G# is slightly different from Ab. This is why English concertinas have separate buttons for those notes; they used to be tuned differently. It allowed nicer sounding intervals when playing in (i) sharp keys (G, D, A, E, etc) and (ii) flat keys (F, Bb, Eb, Ab, etc.). These days most concertinas are tuned in ET, so those notes are tuned the same. ET is now pretty much universal in western music, but nevertheless it is a compromise tuning; only octaves are harmonically true. All other notes are slightly out of tune!

In terms of melodeon tuning, ET is the norm, especially for two- and three-row instruments. Also, in anything other than dry tuning, the tremolo tends to mask and blur out any harmonic discrepancies of ET. The one common departure from ET in the melodeon world is traditional one-row Cajun tuning, where the third and seventh notes in the scale are tuned about 15 cents flat. This makes for nicer sounding right-hand chords, though it can sound a bit odd to our ET-accustomed ears. 

However, this is all rather academic for Pat's tuning needs. Just go with what your ET tuning meter says; tune D# & Eb the same, and G# & Ab the same and you'll be OK.
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Pat McInnis

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2018, 01:06:39 AM »

Thanks guys. I wasn't aware how close they were together. I don't play piano. Sounds like I'm closer than I thought. I'll focus on the breathy notes and my flat A.
They’re not just close together – they’re alternative names for the same frequencies.
Only in Equal Temperament (ET) as was noted by Roger earlier.
In other temperaments, e.g. mean tone tuning, D# is slightly different from Eb, and G# is slightly different from Ab. This is why English concertinas have separate buttons for those notes; they used to be tuned differently. It allowed nicer sounding intervals when playing in (i) sharp keys (G, D, A, E, etc) and (ii) flat keys (F, Bb, Eb, Ab, etc.). These days most concertinas are tuned in ET, so those notes are tuned the same. ET is now pretty much universal in western music, but nevertheless it is a compromise tuning; only octaves are harmonically true. All other notes are slightly out of tune!

In terms of melodeon tuning, ET is the norm, especially for two- and three-row instruments. Also, in anything other than dry tuning, the tremolo tends to mask and blur out any harmonic discrepancies of ET. The one common departure from ET in the melodeon world is traditional one-row Cajun tuning, where the third and seventh notes in the scale are tuned about 15 cents flat. This makes for nicer sounding right-hand chords, though it can sound a bit odd to our ET-accustomed ears. 

However, this is all rather academic for Pat's tuning needs. Just go with what your ET tuning meter says; tune D# & Eb the same, and G# & Ab the same and you'll be OK.


OK Thanks again. If I needed to go about changing tune of a particular reed what is the operation? For the layman if you don't mind. A tuning table is in my future but not yet.
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2018, 02:09:48 AM »

OK Thanks again. If I needed to go about changing tune of a particular reed what is the operation? For the layman if you don't mind. A tuning table is in my future but not yet.
How to tune reeds is a big subject and there are many threads on this forum* and other on-line articles which cover the subject. You would be well advised to read as much as you can before you even start. You also need to assemble a few tools such as fine needle files or fine diamond files, scratchers, reed lifters and so on. Many tuning technicians make their own tools. Even files can be made by gluing narrow strips of 400 or 600 grade carborundum paper on to wooden dowels cut in half longitudinally. You will need a lot of practice and you will make mistakes at first, so get an old scrap accordion from Ebay to learn on.

But in a nutshell, assuming that all the valves are working properly and the reed tip gap is correctly set, to sharpen a reed you use a file to remove metal from the tip of the reed. To flatten a reed you remove metal from the middle section towards the rivet by using a file or a scratcher, or else by adding a weight (solder or brass) to the tip of the reed. 

*try using the google search facility on the blue strip menu at the top of every page on this forum.
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Theo

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2018, 07:46:03 AM »

[[ADMIN]]

I have a request - please don’t quote the entire previous post when replying,  it just fills up the space for no purpose.  Quoting is very useful if you want to highlight just a particular point,  or if your reply follows directly from an earlier post.  To just quote the whole of the  immediately previous post is not helpful.

I’ll start a new topic here for discussions of quoting etiquette.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2018, 07:55:24 AM by Theo »
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Pat McInnis

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2018, 05:36:19 PM »

[[ADMIN]]

I have a request - please don’t quote the entire previous post when replying,


Appologies Theo, I'll try to do better.
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Pat McInnis

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2018, 10:29:25 PM »

Alright, so as I mentioned before this is my first build and the learning curve has been steep. I do of course have a few more questions. Now that I've been playing through the scales on both rows and getting a feel for this machine I feel like my ears are getting a little better. I notice that a few of the notes seem a bit flat and lack that certain "organ sound"? Sorry, that's the best way I can describe it. Is that what people call tremolo? If so, is it controlled by the valves? I'm thinking that I could have gone too heavy or light on the valves causing this problem. I already found two inside valves that I had trapped under the plate. I replaced them (since they had some wax and damage) and it sounded better. I'm slowly getting a nice sound. I appreciate all the help.
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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2018, 05:55:22 AM »

Tremolo is the result of a very slight difference in pitch between two reeds sounding together. In a 2-voice box one reed of the pair will normally  be tuned exactly on the note and the other a shade sharp.

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Pat McInnis

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2018, 03:28:24 PM »

Tremolo is the result of a very slight difference in pitch between two reeds sounding together. In a 2-voice box one reed of the pair will normally  be tuned exactly on the note and the other a shade sharp.

Thanks for this.
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Pearse Rossa

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2018, 04:45:17 PM »

.. I'm thinking that I could have gone too heavy or light on the valves causing this problem. I already found two inside valves that I had trapped under the plate.
What do you mean by "too heavy or light on the valves"?
You haven't put more than one valve on each reed, have you?
Quote
I'm slowly getting a nice sound
You should find that everything sounds reasonably ok once you have re-valved and re-waxed, provided that those
jobs are done properly and the reeds were sound before you started.
I'm sure that what you are hearing is tremolo of some description...the trick now is to refine it!
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2018, 05:34:30 PM »

.. I'm thinking that I could have gone too heavy or light on the valves causing this problem. ...
What do you mean by "too heavy or light on the valves"?
You haven't put more than one valve on each reed, have you?

The things which can influence the response of the valves are:

1. Thickness of the valves (especially if leather). If too thick or stiff, the valve may not open sufficiently.
2. The stiffness of the spring or vinyl leaves (if fitted). If too stiff or strong, the valve may not open sufficiently.
3. The length of the glued portion of valve. If too long, the valve may not open sufficiently.

If the valve does not open sufficiently for any of the above reasons, the result will usually be a heavy 'feel', a muffled sound and flat pitch.
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folkloristmark

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2018, 06:10:16 PM »

Hi
If you cant hear that organ sound it may well be that only one of the reeds is sounding on that note.Have a close look at blocks outside the box, it may be just the gapping or valves.It would also be caused by the two reeds being tuned to close together.Can you perceive  a slight volume drop as well as as lacking the organ sound? A tip when filling reeds is to file away from the end(sharpening) not toward the end as you may think you are removing metal but are actually moving it towards the end. Quite baffeling when you have filled to sharpen a reed but it fact goes flatter. You can always get replacement reeds do practice a lot first and read all the info.
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Pat McInnis

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2018, 07:10:47 PM »



[/quote]
What do you mean by "too heavy or light on the valves"?
You haven't put more than one valve on each reed, have you?


The plastic valves come in four different weights and sizes based on the reed size.

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Pearse Rossa

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2018, 03:31:48 AM »

The plastic valves come in four different weights and sizes based on the reed size.

True, true...and it's important that the proper size is fitted to each reed, but I'm guessing that you have
figured as much at this stage.
If it's the case that wrong sized valves have been fitted to some underside reeds, there is a method
of replacing them without the need to remove the reed from the block. It's very tricky though, and it's probably
best that you remove the reed and do it again properly.
The topside reeds are straight forward of course.
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Theo

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2018, 10:03:19 AM »

The plastic valves come in four different weights and sizes based on the reed size.

True, true...and it's important that the proper size is fitted to each reed,

There are even more than 4 sizes!

The basic method is to use the smallest valve that will cover the vent,  and trim the tip if necessary.
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Lester

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Re: Tuning Time
« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2018, 11:59:31 AM »

The basic method is to use the smallest valve that will cover the vent,  and trim the tip if necessary.
And if it is a multi layer valve trim the other layers proportionally.
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